Here is a poem by A.R. Ammons that I’m learning by heart at the moment. It goes like this:

 THE WAY

the way I could tell
today
that yesterday is dead
is that
the little gray bird
that sat
in the empty
tree
yesterday is gone:
yesterday and
bird are gone:

I know there’s no use
looking
for either
Of them, bird
running from winter,
yesterday
running downstream
to some ocean-pocket of
rest
whence it may sometime
come again (changed), new
as tomorrow:

how like a gift
the memory
of bird and empty tree!
how
precious
since we may not have
that configuration
again:
today is full of things,
so many,
how can they be managed,
received and loved
in their passing?

As I was learning the last stanza this morning, I could hear Archie setting up for us a kind of reflection piece, which I thought would be nice to share. Let’s call it the Managed-Received-Loved Reflection. Which might go something like this.

What is presenting itself to you today that needs to be MANAGED? (I think by this I mean: what are the worries, issues, problems, and dilemmas in your life that require some form of problem-solving, or breaking down into more workable chunks?)

What is presenting itself to you that needs to be RECEIVED? (I think by “receive” I mean “accepted”, a deliberate attempt to not “fight” or get into conflict – within yourself, or another person, with something you have no control over. I’m thinking here especially of the form of acceptance set out in The Serenity Prayer: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change”…)

And most importantly: what needs to be LOVED? (What is it that you might have been neglecting recently in terms of savouring, enjoying, basking in, feeling gratitude for, and ultimately, loving? What space can you carve out in your day for appreciation, celebration, or just some unadulterated, mindful pleasure?)

 

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