You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
This poem by Mary Oliver reminds me how the day I lost my mom changed the trajectory of my life. It has taken many years and countless struggles to get to the place I am at today, married for 18 years with 2 children.
Most of my struggles have come from not knowing how to manage my thoughts and feelings, causing myself countless years of anxiety, frustration, self-sabotage, and keeping people at arm’s length to protect myself from pain.
Living in a body that, because of this traumatic loss and those that I had suffered at other times in my life, was wound so tightly that for the first few years of my yoga practice, I could not sit in a cross-legged “easy seat” position without painful tension in my back and hips and legs that would tremble.
But…I slowly managed to build up the courage to start changing. Taking tiny steps to feel better.
Reading and studying about how to start feeling like a human being again and less like I could crack as easily as an eggshell. Taking the time once again to look around me at all that is beautiful in this world.
Recognizing that the desire I had had since high school to help women and girls know that they do not have to live a life of fear; that they can feel strong and capable was within my abilities.
What’s your unique gift? What can you offer to someone in need or to someone who may share your struggles? I’d love to hear your ideas!