Everywhere I can, I’m simplifying in preparation for what will come.
Sometimes, I wonder what’s ahead. I think about Mary Oliver’s question, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
I muse about it. I let it go.
A little later, I remember her words, “Listen. Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?”
I notice I’m breathing just a little. I pause and breathe deeper.
A hummingbird comes to my window. My heart lifts. (How can a thing with wings cause so much happiness?) Thank god for birds.
There are also many butterfly visits to these same flowers. Thank god for butterflies, too.
I do especially love things that fly. I also love anything with roots that’s blooming.
Another line from one of Mary Oliver’s poems crosses my mind: “I want to be improbable, beautiful and afraid of nothing, as though I had wings.”
She said, “I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.”
I sing a little. (Singing helps everything. Immediately.)
Returning to the kitchen, I place dishes, vanilla, and spices back into newly painted cupboards and sort as I go. Do I love this cup? This sauce pan, this plate, this cinnamon tea…
The simpler I get, the more clear I become.
I might love clarity more than anything I own. Clarity is valuable anytime, but especially in the coming days.
Simplicity is Freedom
by Mary Oliver
When I moved from one house to another there were many things I had no room for. What does one do? I rented a storage space. And filled it. Years passed. Occasionally I went there and looked in, but nothing happened, not a single twinge of the heart.
As I grew older the things I cared about grew fewer, but were more important. So one day I undid the lock and called the trash man. He took everything.
I felt like the little donkey when his burden is finally lifted. Things! Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful fire! More room in your heart for love, for the trees! For the birds who own nothing – the reason they can fly.
Today, I’m sharing a story about how I accidentally accomplished something on my bucket list. I ran through an exit gate while looking the other way. The hood of my car is scratched up, and one windshield wiper is a mess, but let’s have a good laugh about how we never expect what “getting what we want” includes!
It seems to be a growing fad these days to call someone a narcissist, or declare they are toxic.
Political name-calling is similar—we assign politicians and voters to categories, and brush them off as if they are unintelligent, inferior, or even worthless.
By labeling others, we miss their humanity. We gloss over their struggle, their best effort at dealing with life. We dismiss them.
We do to them what we believe they are doing to others.
Look past a label, and in the soft light of day, there stands a person like you or like me, coping as best they can. At the end of the day, no friend, parent, or lover making conscious choices intends to be mean, or to ignore, or to embellish. There is always more to the story.
If we label others, then for sure we label ourselves. We trap ourselves into believing we are less than. Or not enough. Or we don’t give ourselves the time and forgiveness to work through our “stuff.” Maybe, if we stopped accusing others of narcissism, we could forgive ourselves for those moments when we were narrow-minded, inconsiderate, or afraid.
When it comes to labels, nobody wins.
So, my dear people, I suggest we peer a little deeper into ourselves to investigate a need to separate ourselves from others by tacking them with a label filled with disdain or scorn.
It is my wish that you view this video and take it to heart.