Mary Oliver

9.10.1935 – 1.17.2019

All through my Reno trip I stopped at every bookstore that came across my way. After a couple visits, I kept noticing front sections on Mary Oliver – had she come out with another collection? The last I read was Dog Songs... and that had been years ago. No… I’d come to learn she’d finally passed.

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Aside from her probably most cited poem (above), I loved how she captured a single, present moment in her work – juxtaposing her inner voice with the external world around her, finding some simple example of nature as a voice for what we often find inexplicable in our own hearts and minds.

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Still one of my favorite poems by Mary Oliver

What I love most in her work is the ability to acknowledge our own personal turmoil with the beautiful world that refuses to yield to it – and the willingness to invite and accept both into our reality. Some of my favorites from her…

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I’ve been pouring over my own favorites form her the past few days for some inspiration. Thought I would post them for my morning and to share a few good words to jumpstart the rest of the week, and the end of a (long) month!! ❤ 🙂

the benefits of failure

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.

So given a Time Turner, I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.”

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