Wild GeeseYou 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
I had a horrible day last week. I was exhausted and I felt as if my spirit had deteriorated over the course of a few hours. I thought to myself: "You're no good, and everybody knows." I cried a good cry, and made out with a pizza slice afterwards. As I walked home, I meditated on my day. It was then that the line "You do not have to be good," popped into my head. I said it out loud, over and over. It became my mantra for the rest of the week. It lifted me up, and brought me back to where I needed to be emotionally.
I will not always succeed at every endeavor that I set out to pursue. I may not always be proud of what I write, but I will keep trying until I get there. You do not have to be good. There is so much more to life than dwelling on the negative things that keep you from being your honest self. The oceans still roll, and the sun hasn't burned out yet, so do whatever it is that you love, and do it confidently.