Her work has touched so many of us, lovers of the natural world and seekers of things unseen. Here, I join the chorus of thanks since her death. Mary Oliver, your life invited more life in ours. We’re lucky it still sings out in your poems.
This poem partially inspired my healing practice name. I love how it points to mystery in the mundane, to magic and possibility.
To honor this transition for our family, I am going to take a few months off from offering healing sessions in Middletown, starting next week. I will miss working with you folks during my time off, but I am excited and grateful to be able to cocoon away with our new little one. I will let you know when I am back to work and open for sessions.
When I observe creatures and plants in the natural world, I am often struck by how boldly “themselves” they are.
I recently watched juncos bathing in puddles on the first clear day after several weeks of rain. These little birds did not mope about wishing their legs were longer or had more meat on them. Nope. They unreservedly threw themselves into the winter water bath, shaking their feathers, gripping the mud with their toes, raising their beaks to the sun.
For those of you who I haven’t seen in a few months, I have news to share: my husband and I are expecting a baby!
I am six months pregnant with our first child, and what a journey these six months have been for me: Nearly constant nausea in the first trimester . . . the adventure of hormonally influenced emotions . . . developing a relationship with a miraculous, unseen being growing inside me . . . a deepening of trust and newness of purpose with my life partner (the photos in today’s letter are from our recent Southwest “babymoon”).
I pull on a wool hat and down jacket, stuff my pajama pants into rain boots, and head out to the woodpile. My breath leaves a trail of tiny clouds in the frosted air. The wheelbarrow rumbles through puddles and over lumps of mud.
I throw back a tarp and, though I have seen the sight many times before, this time my heart swells.
“You have suffered enough and warred with yourself. It’s time that you won.”
This past weekend wasn’t the first time I’d heard the song “Falling Slowly,” by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, from the film and Broadway musical Once. For several years now, I’ve enjoyed the soulful, raw harmonies in the song, with sweet acoustic guitar and piano. But until this last weekend, I hadn’t noticed that set of lyrics: “You have suffered enough and warred with yourself. It’s time that you won.”
I have witnessed many sources of grief this month:
An ended relationship, lost pets, a miscarriage, the Clayton Fire, the end of one job for a more desired one (yes, grief even there), the effects of a custody battle on a child, the failure of a long-hoped-for project.
I have also witnessed many sources of joy: garden harvests, vacation with friends, new loves, family reunions, visits among old friends, job promotions, unexpected gifts.
The grief rests alongside the joy, often more quietly. Yet, it is there.
Summer heat presses down on Lake County, politicians sling mud from one national convention to the next, kids soak up long days of vacation, and in my Cobb Mountain garden, the healing metaphors keep springing up left and right. If you’re up for a little sunflower saga, read on.
When someone comes to see me for help with depression, an autoimmune disease, cancer, or anything else, I’ll ask what they want to create in their life.
A lot of people answer, “I just want to feel better.” I’ll press them: “Anything else you want?” “No, just to not hurt anymore, just to feel better.”
Now, this goal makes a lot of sense when you are in constant pain. However, I’ll often encourage this person to get in touch with something else they want, with the use of an undervalued tool: imagination.