Wild Geese

Beloved poet Mary Oliver passed away on Thursday at the age of 83.  Oliver’s poems were much inspired by the link between the natural world and spirituality.

When I read her poem Wild Geese back in 2015, it stirred me to write about my feelings of belonging, or lack thereof, and of my own place in the world.

Having lived through a number of moves, changes, and upheavals, my transitions often deemed me as a newcomer who will probably always feel a little like someone on the outside, looking in.*

Yet, when I read that poem and let the words sink in, they seem to grant me the freedom to love and experience all the things that mean the most to me. I can now belong in this life I’ve created, just as everyone belongs to the bigger picture that is the universe, to bear witness to a journey filled with joy, sorrow, and exquisite beauty.*

Of course, Mary Oliver said it better than I ever could:

photo: jenniferkellandperry.com

*Excerpts from my blog post: Belonging, March 12, 2015.
Many of the comments on your own feelings of belonging were a real eye-opener for me!

What is “your place in the family of things”?

Belonging

012 (1024x559)My life, over its span thus far, has weathered significant change.
I know I’m not unique in this, but both as a child and as an adult,
I’ve lived through a number of transitions,
a multitude of moves, two marriages, and many homes.

013 (1024x613)Some people I know have lived in one place throughout their entire existence.
I try to imagine what that’s like:
living in the same town you always have, where you’ve always belonged.

020 (1024x678)Some of my upheavals, both personal and professional,
were unexpected, unplanned, and downright painful.

021 (1024x614)Other transitions were dreamed up, longed for, and finally brought to fruition.
And yet, these changes have pegged me as somewhat of an unknown,
a newcomer who will probably always feel
a little like someone on the outside, looking in.

069 (1024x742)Being an introvert at heart,
this is not as strange a designation for me as you might think.
My “rich inner life” keeps me warm and happy.
I let myself love and experience all the things that mean the most to me.

057 (1024x624)I allow myself to belong in this life I’ve created,
just as everyone belongs to the bigger picture that is the universe,
to bear witness to a journey filled with joy, sorrow, and exquisite beauty.

Perhaps Mary Oliver* said it best:

055 (1024x686)new

*“Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver (full poem)

Where do you feel the greatest sense of belonging?
What is “your place in the family of things”?

A special thanks to Kath Unsworth,
who shared the poem on her
 Facebook page
and inspired this post.