When Life Feels Overwhelming

There are moments for each of us when life feels overwhelming – when we look fear or despair in the face and are tempted to say, “ok, you win.”  I recently read this poem in a beautiful book, by and for teachers, called “Teaching with Fire,” edited by Sam Intrator and Megan Scribner, and I found myself reaching for hope and saying instead, “I am strong, the world is wonderful and full of mystery and I will not give up.”  So for those moments when you need courage:

Wild Geese

by Mary Oliver

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 deep tress,

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.

If there is a poem that inspires you, I would love to see it.

Posted by Laura

Laura Marshall, LCSW, is the founder and director of the Sagebrush Center for Relationship Therapy. Her experience spans thirty years of supporting couples and individuals to create healthy and meaningful lives and relationships. She is also adjunct faculty for the New Mexico Highlands School of Social Work. She lives with her husband Steve and five sons in Farmington, New Mexico.

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