Below is a blog entry I wrote several years ago honoring Mary Oliver. In light of her passing a couple of days ago, I thought I would re-post this as a tribute to her....
The interplay of light and shadow,
the subtlety of color, form, texture, and shape....
Delicate, lavish, lush and sensual...
and the scent.....
Life unfurling in Spring...
Below is a poem by Mary Oliver, one of my favorite poets. Her poetry is a treasure and a gift to us all. She has won the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and is admired by many. She often writes about the natural world, creating an intimate portrayal of its landscapes and inhabitants. Her poems, full of such beauty, somehow captures in the way only poets and artists can the unspoken part of what lay in the details of this beautiful world.
I believe this is why poetry, music and art are so important to the world, to people and society. It is heartening to know that our joys and struggles are on some level universal. When an artist is able to express what we ourselves cannot say, it frees and inspires us. This is why we are moved by art, by the combination of notes, of colors, of words. It stirs something within us and touches those parts that are forgotten and long to be remembered…….
From New And Selected Poems by Mary Oliver
This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers
and they open --
pools of lace,
white and pink --
and all day the black ants climb over them,
boring their deep and mysterious holes
into the curls,
craving the sweet sap,
taking it away
to their dark, underground cities --
and all day
under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,
the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air,
their red stems holding
all that dampness and recklessness
gladly and lightly,
and there it is again --
beauty the brave, the exemplary,
Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
Copyright Peonies - Mary Oliver
Blog Entry Copyright Map To The Imagination 2013
Sometimes life circumstances can take us on a different course. We all know that things happen: someone loses a job, moves, there is an illness, we decide to have a family, there is a divorce, we need to pay bills, take care of our job. And still the dishes need to be washed, the laundry folded and hey, wait a second...what's for dinner?
But there is also part of you that dreams…
We are all dreamers somedays…..
Somedays your dream whispers and other days it shouts,
“Hey you… I’m over here. Remember me!?“
So, in honor of you who may have had your dreams delayed; who have been taken off course, don’t give up. Please persist. Find that smoldering ember inside and stoke it. Stoke the fire of your passions, of your dreams….Fan the flames, and by its light, begin again.
Why it’s never too late to try something new:
It gives us hope.
It adds to the story of our life.
It makes us healthier, happier and more inspired.
When we try something new and follow a passion or a dream, it can be like finding a missing piece of ourselves…It makes us whole.
When we take risks, we feel alive.
You never know what positive changes it can lead to in your or another's life.
You could make a new friend.
Because it might heal something.
Artists have a natural curiosity for life...Even as children, they have a tendency to push the boundaries and question the status quo...It's an inherent part of being a creative individual...
Each time artists risk, expose, and make themselves vulnerable, each time they give a voice to those authentic parts of themselves, they have the capacity to touch others and to express the thoughts, hopes, and struggles of humanity. This is why art has inspired people for thousands of years.
Art unifies and connects us to each other. It casts a wide net, welcoming even those who have been marginalized. Art dares to be heard. It questions, pushes, risks, and speaks of what has been suppressed by society.
It is important then, as artists, to discover this authentic voice, to be comfortable in what is uncomfortable, to be strong in our vulnerability, and to be aware of anything that holds us back from that. How often do we edit ourselves? How often do we change who we are, curate our lives, to please others or to be accepted? And in doing so, how does this ultimately affect our happiness, our confidence, our lives, and of course our art?
It touches each one of us to be understood, but understanding occurs at a level of truth and vulnerability. We can only really be understood, when we risk being seen. And to be truly accepted, we must risk acceptance for authenticity. This is the place where transformation happens…personally, in our families, in communities and globally. It only takes one person, but ultimately, authenticity liberates and empowers each one of us.
How to tap your authenticity:
Journal, Create, Rebel, Meditate, Allow, Accept, Encourage, Play, Travel, Read, Unplug.
Ideas to strengthen your authentic voice:
Follow your intuition, Take risks. Be bold. Be brave. Extend compassion and kindness,
Keep an open mind.