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My Work is Loving the World

--by Mary Oliver (Aug 15, 2016)


My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird - 
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

Which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
 

This is the first poem in Mary Oliver's collection Thirst, titled, "The Messenger."

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16 Previous Reflections:

 
On Oct 25, 2017 Eddie wrote:

 How can I NOT be supremely grateful?...?...



On Feb 6, 2017 Marge Richards wrote:

 My favorite part is when she writes that her work is mostly standing still. Someone once told me that my addiction is busyness, and so 'standing still' is my challenge but I keep practicing. Thank you for including this poem in our gratitude sessions, 



On Oct 8, 2016 Jack Junior wrote:

 This poem gives me a full dose of enthusiasm. The rhyme is very good. It shows how we are working in offices.Thanks for sharing this poem
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On Aug 22, 2016 Manisha wrote:


Life takes twist and turns
Sometimes predictable and sometime in-explainable
Sometime I see a crying face and somewhere there were thunders of laughter
Around me so many souls and still everyone is alone
The blue sky is mine
The green and earth around belong to me
but how a soul next to me is not mine?
So I look for the ways of self awareness
around me and above me
in the void and below my feet
aware of each moment
aware of me
So distance to cover and I have not started till
Dawn will come and I will be lifted by the sun's brightness
Go to eternal light!


On Aug 18, 2016 luv4all wrote:

 What if we receive a comfortable, healthy life but no one to love us truly? Will we be happy will such a life? Many rich people fall in this category and keep wanting more fame, name, stuff etc. wondering how to get real happiness. Greed, over-ambition are as much sign of missing love in life as depression or stress.  Few centuries back, people were more content than today -- while they didnt have many of the technical progressive stuff and machines to comfort life. What was different ? They had each other; more often in deeper relations. I feel loving others is the most beautiful, wonderful thing I can do. It creates a loving , nourishing space which has the capacity to heal others and me.  ******************************************************** Few years back i was assigned under a manager who was dominating the team to the extent to take away their rights given by the company. He was also more bothered about self-centric benefits than what is good for overall team  See full.

 What if we receive a comfortable, healthy life but no one to love us truly? Will we be happy will such a life?
Many rich people fall in this category and keep wanting more fame, name, stuff etc. wondering how to get real happiness. Greed, over-ambition are as much sign of missing love in life as depression or stress. 

Few centuries back, people were more content than today -- while they didnt have many of the technical progressive stuff and machines to comfort life. What was different ? They had each other; more often in deeper relations.

I feel loving others is the most beautiful, wonderful thing I can do. It creates a loving , nourishing space which has the capacity to heal others and me. 

********************************************************
Few years back i was assigned under a manager who was dominating the team to the extent to take away their rights given by the company. He was also more bothered about self-centric benefits than what is good for overall team or company. I raised a concern with seniors and meetings were being held to look into the matter. 
Over a few days, I saw the manager extremely tense and worried. He was shouting at me at times. I was upset but in that moment, while responding to his email ; something else happened. 
I could look at him as a person who spent years making his career, creating a goodwill and reaching a certain position in career. Though, some of his ways were wrong; yet the way of handling was becoming harsh from human angle. Hence, this email I wrote with more understanding and softness; realizing that this will prevent the case/me to be taken seriously any longer. 
It happened and the manager got some levy, though i suffered from his behaviour itself. I am still content that in that one moment , I could let go of ego related victory and put humanity first.

**********************************************************
To practice gratitude, when I sit down to pray daily, i kneel on my knees and offer gratefulness for 3 things. It really helps to be consistent and feel grateful.

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On Aug 17, 2016 Kristof wrote:

What will  happen if we do not love the world.............?How to love a mosquito,I need to know how to love the whole creation,,,it is part of me,us.what will happen if I do not love?



On Aug 17, 2016 Wanda wrote:

 I am astonished when I hear the owls in my backyard.  I am astonished when I see bluebirds at the birdbath.  I am astonished when I feel my little baby granddaughter's silky skin against mine.  I am astonished when I taste my first cup of coffee each morning.  I am astonished when I smell rain is coming.  I know I am doing an excellent job being in love with the world.



On Aug 16, 2016 Marie wrote:

 Thank you for this extraordinarily beautiful poem.  I relate to this notion by realizing that although other work is important, only loving the world, humanity, nature and the cosmos changes me.  I, with my husband, have raised a family, been in small business and worked for other employers.  These parts of my life have been imbued with more or less love depending on the situation, but now it is only through loving the world I am whole and feel incredibly blessed and grateful.  There is no rush to fix, change or perfect situations when I am  ín-love with the world.  I have experienced this when listening to a friend share her deep, dark and shameful (to her) secrets of her life.  Just to love her in that situation was more than enough and I was astonished at her beautiful authentic should shining through her pain.   My main practice is stopping comparing the present, judging the present moment and just allowing the moment to be what  See full.

 Thank you for this extraordinarily beautiful poem.  I relate to this notion by realizing that although other work is important, only loving the world, humanity, nature and the cosmos changes me.  I, with my husband, have raised a family, been in small business and worked for other employers.  These parts of my life have been imbued with more or less love depending on the situation, but now it is only through loving the world I am whole and feel incredibly blessed and grateful.  There is no rush to fix, change or perfect situations when I am  ín-love with the world.  I have experienced this when listening to a friend share her deep, dark and shameful (to her) secrets of her life.  Just to love her in that situation was more than enough and I was astonished at her beautiful authentic should shining through her pain.   My main practice is stopping comparing the present, judging the present moment and just allowing the moment to be what it is - usually in meditation but sometimes it just surprised me that I can be simple awareness itself.  Bless you Mary Oliver.

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On Aug 14, 2016 david doane wrote:

Our work, responsibility, and privilege is to love the world.  Our world is Mother Earth, and we are of it.  What we do to it we do to ourselves.  We pollute it, exploit it, disease it, kill it, and we pollute, exploit, disease, and kill ourselves.  We take care of it, enjoy it, embrace it, love it, and we take care of, enjoy, embrace, and love ourselves.  Just a few days ago I saw the most beautiful sunset and sky I have ever seen.  In that experience, what mattered most was to stand still, be in the moment, and be astonished.  In and through such experiences I learn to be astonished.  The practice that helps me develop gratitude for my life is being aware that I am alive at this time in this body, reminding myself that I am part of all that is, reminding myself that all that is is sacred, and letting that awareness sink in.  With that practice, gratitude comes easily.



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On Aug 13, 2016 Jagdish P Dave wrote:

 I am looking for beauty far away in the snow clad Himalayas; I am seeking fragrance in the flowers in the garden of Aden; I am searching for the holy foot prints on the sand of the Ganges; and I am  yearning to hear the Divine voice in holy places.  When I stand still, I hear the soft  whispering voice of a flower right in front of me, look at me, I am right here fully present. O seeker! Where are you? I am like the musk deer looking for the enchanting fragrance coming from somewhere. I go North, South, East and West, look above, look below getting exhausted and worn out.  When I stand still,I hear the sweet voice coming from within like the voice coming from the navel of the musk deer. I am here, right here within you. The Upanishad Rushi sings with his hands folded, It is far and it is near. It is near, it is far. We need to visit ourselves, be with ourselves as poet Rumi says. May we find a quiet space within ourselves everyday to embrace ou  See full.

 I am looking for beauty far away in the snow clad Himalayas; I am seeking fragrance in the flowers in the garden of Aden; I am searching for the holy foot prints on the sand of the Ganges; and I am  yearning to hear the Divine voice in holy places.

 When I stand still, I hear the soft  whispering voice of a flower right in front of me, look at me, I am right here fully present. O seeker! Where are you?

I am like the musk deer looking for the enchanting fragrance coming from somewhere. I go North, South, East and West, look above, look below getting exhausted and worn out.

 When I stand still,I hear the sweet voice coming from within like the voice coming from the navel of the musk deer. I am here, right here within you.

The Upanishad Rushi sings with his hands folded, It is far and it is near. It is near, it is far.

We need to visit ourselves, be with ourselves as poet Rumi says.

May we find a quiet space within ourselves everyday to embrace our searching soul and listen to our quiet inner voice, counting my everyday blessings.

Namaste.

Jagdish P Dave

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2 replies: Marie, | Post Your Reply
On Aug 12, 2016 Abhishek wrote:

Beautiful poem...manages to capture that space of stillness in some ways for me....

As a part of nature, I try to think of myself as a leaf of a large tree....the leaf that will fall off eventually but the tree will go on....we live in each of these different ways, as plants and birds and as you and as me.....and the beauty to me seems that each of our experiences is a unique localized one :)

Regularly pausing or sometimes being jolted into the wonder and strangeness of the world around....that for me is living deeply......for now, with the whiff of the biryani smell, the kiss of the wind punctuated by stray horns, headlights of hurried cars, a playful mosquito and my fingers as they touch the keyboard... :) 



On Aug 11, 2016 man wrote:

beautiful, so simple, stand still and be amazed, yet we are all worriers first and foremost, making plans, worrying about plans, full of regrets, worrying about missed things, such a waste of precious time