the sound of wisdom

Ring of Kerry, Ireland
the sound of wisdom

i hear the sound 
in the quiet of morning
not angry voices
sharp and biting and mean
no, it’s a soft reverberating
embracing and kind
the sound of wisdom,
the whispers of my heart 
echoing against my being

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.

fall into the darkness


Fall into the Darkness

Fall into the darkness
Curl into the quiet
Nestle in until the stillness comes
Rest in the rhythm of your breath
Allow the morning light to seep into your being
Awaken to the mysterious flow of life


This poem came as an invitation: stop resisting, and open.

By falling into my dark spaces of fear or negativity, really letting them in, even momentarily, I am released from struggle. To courageously stop fighting and allow myself to be vulnerable is like moving through an invisible doorway from one room to another. The new room is filled with energy that carries me where I want to go.

This falling in and resting until stillness comes – it can take a second, or it can take days, or months. Whether it’s a little stressor or a bigger life obstacle, there is something powerful in detaching, not judging, allowing, and opening. It’s like clearing debris so that life’s energy can move through me again.


* I took this photo at sunrise on the beach at San Agustinillo, Mexico.