When it’s over, I want to say, all my life I was a bride married to amazement. Mary Oliver
I dedicate this piece to Mary Oliver, whom we lost this week. She was a true mystic, present to the amazing beauty of nature that surrounds us every day. The mystic sees the sacred in the ordinary. The mystical path takes us from our head to our heart. It is a path of mystery, awe, wonder, and gratitude.
When I am fully present to life, I am able enjoy the birds in my backyard, the park I am able to walk everyday, and the antics of the squirrel that has outsmarted me each day. This beautiful squirrel continues to eat my birdseed and bird suet. I finally went out and bought a squirrel baffler. Looking out in the yard later I noticed the squirrel sitting on a branch of the tree looking at the baffler. He looked up, he looked to both sides, and then stared at the baffler. I am smiling and thinking “Ha got you!” All of a sudden he crouches down, takes a flying leap up under the baffler and proceeds to enjoy the suet. As I watched this great display of nature, I was feeling no stress or tension, I was just smiling and enjoying the intelligence of this little critter. He is now part of my wildlife backyard.
Abraham Maslow once said, “The great lesson from the mystics is that the sacred is in the ordinary, that it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family…in one’s backyard.” Yes, it is what Abraham Heschel calls “Radical Amazement,” the ability to see the world through the eyes of awe and wonder, and to be amazed and astonished at the beauty, complexity, and synchronicity that graces our lives.
Mary Oliver shared her mystical soul with us through her poetry. I thank her for waking me up to a form of earthy, accessible, and mystical poetry. I close with her three recommendations for life:
May you know in your heart that we are all born mystics. Being a mystic is as natural as experiencing wonder.