to be well

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I know, you never intended to be in this world.
But you’re in it all the same.

So why not get started immediately.

I mean, belonging to it.
There is so much to admire, to weep over.

And to write music or poems about.

Bless the feet that take you to and fro.
Bless the eyes and the listening ears.
Bless the tongue, the marvel of taste.
Bless touching.

You could live a hundred years, it’s happened.
Or not.
I am speaking from the fortunate platform
of many years,
none of which, I think, I ever wasted.
Do you need a prod?
Do you need a little darkness to get you going?
Let me be as urgent as a knife, then,
and remind you of Keats,
so single of purpose and thinking, for a while,
he had a lifetime.

~Mary Oliver

who are you to think you can simply settle for an uninspired life? ……really- life won’t allow it……

inquiry for today~  what deeper calling pushes you away? how subtle is the questioning, the doubting?

write poems, live slowly

At times our dedications are practical: to learn to play the piano well, to build a thriving business, to plant and grow a beautiful garden. But there are overarching dedications as well. We might dedicate our life to prayer, commit ourselves to unwavering truthfulness or to work for world peace. These overarching dedications set the compass of our life, regardless of the outer conditions. They give us direction and meaning.

I heard a story about an inner-city school principal who spent part of her evenings making sandwiches for the homeless. After she finished she would travel around the poorer parts of her neighborhood and distribute them. Even though her day was already full, this evening activity didn’t overwhelm her. It actually made her happy. She didn’t do it out of guilt, duty, or external pressure. They were hungry. She had food. She shared in a way that made a difference for her. Even when she was rebuffed by those to whom she offered food on the street, she didn’t feel rejected or angry, because she wasn’t doing it for the acceptance or appreciation. After some time the local media heard what she was doing and printed a story about her. Instantly she became a minor celebrity. Her fellow teachers and friends started sending her money to support her work. Much to their surprise, she sent back the money to everyone with a one-line note that said: “Make your own damn sandwiches!”

As you begin the New Year, take some time to sit and quietly reflect. If today you were to set or reaffirm a long-term intention, a vow, your heart’s direction, what would it be? It might be as simple as “I vow to be kind.” It might be a vow to build a healthy business, establish a truly loving family. It might be an intention to dedicate yourself to the healing or care of others, or to fearlessly express your creativity in the world. Once you have a sense of your long-term dedication, write it down. Then put it someplace where you keep special things. Now, as you go through the year, let it be your compass—your underlying direction—in spite of changing outer circumstances. Let it carry you.

~Jack Kornfield

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