Sometimes, just the right poem can give you that thrill of recognition that seems to speak to your soul. The feeling that you are not the only one who has walked this path or felt these feelings can be very healing.
Poetry and journaling are terrific ways to allow yourself to find out what your essential self really thinks. They seem to tap into a different part of your brain than you usually use in social interactions, allowing you to go deeper inside and access your inner wisdom in a way that talk therapy alone will not do.
Here is a favorite poem, reminding us that it doesn’t have to be so hard, and that we are not alone. The drawing is of Amelia Pig, representing the “soft animal of your body, loving what it loves.”
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.
© Mary Oliver – Poem used for therapeutic and educational purposes only.
Photo by Stargardener