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Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

What helps you to keep going when you hit a wall? Is it a song? A poem? A certain friend you talk to? A particular food or beverage? A type of movement or Rest?

For me, it is "Wild Geese" by Mary Oliver. I first encountered the poem in seminary. Institutional pressures were intense and I needed a reminder to let my body love what it loved, instead of sacrificing my wellbeing to earn a degree. I'm sharing this poem with you as an invitation to embrace whatever it is that helps you when you want to keep going but don't know how - when you hit a wall.

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver


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.