Friday, September 30, 2011

return of the wild geese

After the disappointment of missing the Catch The Light retreat in the Gorge, I had to try to come back to the dance, healing back and all, and learn to listen to my body, dance gently and begin to move again. The movement comes from within and without and is vital to my existence. Inquiry seemed like the perfect class to attend since it is more gentle and combines my love of movement and writing. Winky so beautifully said that dance is the sign language of the divine, and that truly spoke to a place deep within my soul. Before we started I told Winky that I wondered which Mary Oliver poem is our dance inspiration this week and she asked me to guess. Without hesitation I said I think we are revisiting Wild Geese. We were both flabbergasted. I could feel the pull of the poem. It is truly probably one of my top two favorite poems by Mary Oliver, the second being The Journey. We sat for about a half hour and wrote in response to our line, mine being perfect, as always, "in the family of things" but when we went around the circle, I couldn't help but have the other's lines weave their way into my story, my dance. The more I wrote, the more the words created openings of understanding for me. In "the family of things" "you don't have to be good" and "you don't have to be lonely", you can be yourself, and fly high like the wild geese. You can be free to be yourself. "In the family of things" you make sacrifices, but you don't have to give yourself away. How does one let go of expectations, to be comfortable with ones self, and resist the need to fix things "in the family of things"? How do we learn to let go of the resistance? The place in the family is not of "things", it is a deeper place of being, that transcends all other relationships. It is the place you go, to go home. That place of home is also the self, in this body, at this moment in time. That home is always waiting for you. It is safe.
The next night I danced the line "you only have to let the soft animal of your body" and that brought me thoughts of quieting with the equinox, the yin time of the year where you want to nuzzle into yourself, to enter into the cocoon and rest, and begin to learn to practice self-care. You can care for others and not have to sacrifice self-care. It is a constant learning. In this family of things, in this body, I will soar and as Mary Oliver so beautifully stated, "love what it loves", the family and the self.

Wild Geese
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 bodylove 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 ~

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