You do not have to be good ...
Originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.
I know this poem has possibly been repeated near to death with all the people who love it and want to share it with everyone they know. I heard this for the first time in the early 80s ... (hmmm, I wonder when she wrote it?) during a body massage. The massage therapist had made a tape of her wooden flute music mixed with readings of her favorite poems. I listened to these words of acceptance and felt Mary Oliver was talking directly to me ...
Over the years I have come back to this poem again and again. I never tire of reading it, writing it down, typing the words, hearing other people say this. I hope there is someone reading this who needs to hear these exact words right now. Take it in and know that you don't have to do anything. You are precious just the way you are.
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
-- written by poet, Mary Oliver