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Wake Up in 2011–Mary Oliver’s Poem, Mindful

As the year 2010 draws to a close my mind goes back over the year past with appreciation and gratitude for the opportunities the year offered.

During the pre-Christmas Advent period I listened to Bach’s Cantata, Wachet Auf!, quite often.  Wachet Auf means Wake Up!  As I heard the words, Wake Up!, I realized how I/we are regularly not awake, and I thought of Anthony De Mello’s ( conception of spirituality.  For Anthony de Mello spirituality is, first and foremost, BEING AWAKE.

Mary Oliver gives vivid images of being awake in her poetry.  Today many people in search of awakeness have turned to an Eastern meditative practice called mindfulness.  Mary Oliver captures a sense of this experience in her poem, Mindful.

My hope for 2011 is that all of us may be even more awake than we were in 2010.


Mary Oliver (Why I Wake Early, 2004)

Every day

   I see or hear


         that more or less

kills me

   with delight,

      that leaves me

         like a needle

in the haystack

   of light.

      It was what I was born for—

         to look, to listen,

to lose myself

   inside this soft world—

      to instruct myself

         over and over

in joy,

   and acclamation.

      Nor am I talking

         about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,

   the very extravagant—

      but of the ordinary,

         the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.

   Oh good scholar,

      I say to myself,

         how can you help

but grow wise

   with such teachings

      as these—

         the untrimmable light

of the world,

   the ocean’s shine,

      the prayers that are made

         out of grass?

Posted in Mindfulnessspiritual issuesspirituality on 31 December 2010
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