One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voice behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life that you could save.
- Mary Oliver
'The Soul is Shy'
The soul is like a wild animal: tough, resilient, resourceful, savvy, and self-sufficient; it knows how to survive in hard places.....Yet despite its toughness, the soul is also shy. Just like a wild animal, it seeks safety in the dense underbrush, especially when other people are around. If we want to see a wild animal, we know the last thing to do is to go crashing around through the woods yelling for it to come out. But if we will walk quietly into the woods, sit patiently at the base of a tree, breathe with the earth, and fade into our surroundings, the wild creature we seek might make an appearance".
~ Parker Palmer
A Hidden Wholeness
The Well of Grief
Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief,
turning down through its black water
to the place we cannot breathe,
will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,
nor find in the darkness
the small round coins,
thrown by those who wished for something else.
~ David Whyte
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive!
It doesn’t interest me what “planets are squaring your moon”.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals -- or, have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to “hide it” or “fade it” or “fix it”.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes! -- without cautioning us to “be careful”, “be realistic”, or to “remember the limitations of being human”.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you’re telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another -- to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.
I want to know if you can be faithful, and therefore be trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day, and if you can source your life from God’s presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes!”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone -- and do what needs to be done -- for the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you are or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me -- and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or “with whom you have studied”.
I want to know what sustains you -- from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep - - in the empty moments.
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Books, Authors, and Audibles
Let Your Life Speak - Parker Palmer
Soulcraft - Bill Plotkin
Think Like a Monk - Jay Shetty
Journey Within Yourself - Eckhart Tolle
Untethered Soul - Michael Singer
The Places that Scare You - Pema Chodron
Fierce Intimacy - Terry Real
The Audacity to Be You - Brad Reedy
Films and Videos