Invitation

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
melodiously
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude-
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.

~ Mary Oliver

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Cultivate a sense of possibility.

Especially where you are inclined to believe that there is no possibility.

Rumi:

What if someone said to an embryo in the womb,

“Outside of your world of black nothing

is a miraculously ordered universe;

a vast Earth covered with tasty food;

mountains, oceans and plains,

fragrant orchards and fields full of crops;

a luminous sky beyond your reach,

with a sun, moonbeams, and uncountable stars;

and there are winds from south, north and west,

and gardens replete with sweet flowers

like a banquet at a wedding feast.

The wonders of this world are beyond description.

What are you doing living in a dark prison,

Drinking blood through that narrow tube?”

But the womb- world is all an embryo knows

And it would not be particularly impressed

By such amazing tales, saying dismissively:

“You’re crazy. That is all a deluded fantasy.”

One day you will look back and laugh at yourself.

You’ll say, “ I can’t believe I was so asleep!

How did I ever forget the truth?

How ridiculous to believe that sadness and sickness

Are anything other than bad dreams.”

photo via Mascha

“Not as the world giveth, give I unto you.”


“There is not a guarantee in the world. Oh your needs are guaranteed, your needs are absolutely guaranteed by the most stringent of warranties, in the plainest, truest words: knock; seek; ask. But you must read the fine print. “Not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” That’s the catch. If you can catch it it will catch you up, aloft, up to any gap at all, and you’ll come back, for you will come back, transformed in a way you may not have bargained for – dribbling and crazed. The waters of separation, however lightly sprinkled, leave indelible stains. Did you think, before you were caught, that you needed, say life? Do you think you will keep your life, or anything else you love? But no. Your needs are all met. But not as the world giveth. You see the needs of your own spirit met whenever you have asked, and you have learned that the outrageous guarantee holds. You see the creatures die, and you know you will die. And one day it occurs to you that you must not need life. Obviously. And then you’re gone.

I think that the dying pray at the last not ‘please,’ but ‘thank you,’ as a guest thanks his host at the door. Falling from airplanes the people are crying thank you, thank you, all down the air; and the cold carriages draw up for them on the rocks. ‘Do you think I made the universe in jest?’ Allah demands. No, divinity is not playful. The universe was not made in jest but in solemn incomprehensible earnest. By a power that is unfathomably secret, and holy, and fleet. There is nothing to be done about it, but ignore it, or see. And then you walk fearlessly, eating what you must, growing wherever you can, like the monk on the road who knows how vulnerable he is, who takes no comfort among death forgetting men, and who carries his vision of vastness and might around in his tunic like a live coal that neither burns nor warms him, but with which he will not part.”

~ Annie Dillard, Pilgrim At Tinker Creek