letting the voodoos of ambition sleep

by Mary Oliver

Today I’m flying low and I’m
not saying a word.
I’m letting the voodoos of ambition sleep.

The world goes on as it must,
the bees in the garden rumbling a little,
the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten.
And so forth.

But I’m taking the day off.
Quiet as a feather.
I hardly move through really I’m traveling
a terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors
to the temple.


When I read this poem for the first time, I was immediately drawn to:

  • “I’m letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.”
  • “I hardly move though really I’m traveling a terrific distance.”

As I continue to move away from my days working full-time in corporate America to a calmer, more relaxing life of retirement, I often find myself facing the “voodoo of ambition” and open myself to the possibility that life’s work right now is not in the realm of achievements or accomplishments but rather in the space of quiet being and living in gentle kindness. I have a sense of deep personal growth, although as I move from day to day, it often feels like nothing is happening. When I look back at the 15 months since my last day working, however, I see the “terrific distance” I have traveled. Thank you Mary Oliver for enabling me to see that I am not alone in my feelings and experiences.


For a few weeks, I’m featuring posts from Mary Oliver’s A Thousand Mornings. If you missed last week’s post, you can read it here: three things to remember and positively drenched in enthusiasm.


* I took these photos 1) top left – Lela Palace Hotel in Bangalore, India, 2) top right – public beach on CR 20, Lake Koronis, and 3) bottom – at a shop front garden in Fish Creek, Door County, Wisconsin.

the light of the sun

Lake Koronis July2019 (2).JPG

From Meditations on Intention and Being: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga, Mindfulness, and Compassion by Rolf Gates, Day 352

“The light of the sun is warm, gentle, and strong. A place for wounded hearts and withered spirits to find the strength they need to walk back into life. A place to remember picnics by the river and the way your heart leaps at the sight of flowers in bloom. The sun’s light is perfect for adventures with friends. In her presence we will take someone’s hand and they will take ours. In her warmth we will remember that we can begin now always. With her light on our face we will find our place among the grateful and our love will be true.”


Oh, the many abundantly delicious days of my life blessed with sunshine and all that goes with it! Indeed, there is something special about the sweetness of the sun’s light and how it touches and shapes our lives. I’m really tuning into her these days, as her hours upon us shrink into the seasons of fall and winter, and relishing each moment she graces me with her presence.


* I took this photo at Lake Koronis, Minnesota, USA.

she chooses the light

Blair and Ginny Sparklers.jpg

Over and over, she keeps choosing the light.


Seems that’s how it is. Repeatedly choosing. In each moment, there is a choice. In each moment, we get to shape what we create for ourselves.


* I took this photo at Lake Koronis of my friend’s Blair and Ginny. We were making some’mores and drawing with sparklers. It felt like being 10 again!