I love the poem below because it reminds me to be gentle with myself. I tend too easily to default toward punishing myself as if I need to repent of being me.
I am slowly learning that just being who I am is enough. I don’t need to make myself anything else or anything more.
And that acceptance bring joy and freedom.
by Mary Oliver (from New and Selected Poems, Volume One)
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
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