Tag: pay attention

small life open hands

I Don’t Want To Live A Small Life: Poetry by Mary Oliver

Posted on July 12, 2017 by

I don’t want to live a small life.

Open your eyes, open your hands.

small life berry fields

Summer berry picking, near Carmel, CA 2007

 

I have just come from the berry fields,

the sun kissing me with its golden mouth all the way

(open your hands) and the wind-winged clouds
following along thinking perhaps I might
feed them,

but no I carry these heart-shapes only to you.

heart shaped cloud small life

Look how many small
but so sweet and maybe the last gift
I will bring to anyone in this
world of hope and risk, so do

Look at me.

Open your life, open your hands.

~ Mary Oliver

 

small life open hands

Cameron adventuring in Nicaragua, July 2013

This thoughtful poem about taking risks and living life openly by Mary Oliver found its way to me via A First Sip. It brought back memories of berry picking when my kids were little, gazing up at the sky and marveling at the minuteness of our existence when we’ve traveled through the lush and isolated mountains of Nicaragua.

I don’t want to live a ‘small life’ – I want to adventure and step out of my comfort zone. I want to teach my children to open their life, to open their hands, to open their hearts to all life has to offer. That’s one of the reasons I’ve found myself bringing my kids back to Nicaragua every few years – here we can push ourselves outside the small life we live every day – in Nicaragua, we realize that the world has so much beauty and love to offer when we push ourselves to pay attention.

What kind of life do you want to live? Please share your thoughts in the comments, and spend some time today thinking about the small and sweet gifts the world has to offer you.

Words are the spark that ignites my soul. I am a collector of language in all forms, believing the extraordinary beauty of the written word must be shared.

These monthly posts, inspired by another’s words, are my gifts of beauty and spirit, shared with love.

 

primark

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Let Me Be Poetry Celebrating Summer Solstice waterfall

Let Me Be: Poetry For Celebrating Summer Solstice

Posted on June 21, 2017 by

Poetry For Celebrating Summer Solstice

Oh, the water lilies. See how they seem
to open wider out of their own opening?

Let me unfold like that—without thinking,
without assuming I’m already open enough.

Let Me Be Poetry Celebrating Summer Solstice

 

Do not let me close up, all stiff and stoic,
like a walnut that will not crack.

Don’t let me become the one who groans
when someone else starts to rhapsodize
about the fragrant wisteria in spring.

Why is being hardened a respectable, desirable thing?

Let me be soft.

Let me always sigh as I bite
into ripe watermelon, juice spilling in runnels
of pink down my chin, down my neck.

Let someone else stand beside the waterfall
and explain how its negative ions work,
and let me be the one getting drenched
and falling in love with the sheen on the rocks.

Let Me Be Poetry Celebrating Summer Solstice waterfall

Waterfall near Cascade Locks, OR

 

Let me not leave my signature like the woodpecker,
but let me chant endlessly on summer nights
in the way that the whippoorwill does.

And why not?

Why not praise the slender-bodied weasels
who turn white then honest brown?

Both colors are equally lovely.

Why not enthuse
over the bulky walrus that has adapted to stay warm?

Oh, let me be warm and give that warmth back to the world.

Let Me Be Poetry Celebrating Summer Solstice sunrise

Celebrating Summer Solstice Sunrise over the Salt Flats, Wendover, Utah

 

It’s so easy to turn cold, to poke fun, to accuse, to be cool.

Let me be a fool.

Let my thoughts of how the world should be
jump away like a mob of wallabies.

Let me not find pleasure
in making things small or putting others down
or rolling my eyes or criticizing.

Let me be silly.

And gushing with praise for whatever

is the nearest thing I see—
a twig in the rain, a rock on the trail,
a red leaf that has already let go.

~ Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

I fell in love with this poem after reading it on A First Sip. In times like these, when the world seems to be turning upside down, I thought it right to share these words – reminding us to slow down, pay attention and find pleasure in the smaller moments of life.

How would you finish the phrase, “let me be?”  Please share your thoughts in the comments below, and enjoy the summer solstice.

Words are the spark that ignites my soul.

I am a collector of language in all forms and believe the extraordinary beauty of the written word must be shared.

These monthly posts, inspired by another’s words, are my gifts of beauty and spirit, shared with love.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
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Paying Attention

Posted on April 26, 2017 by

Paying attention requires no equipment, no special clothes, no greens fees or personal trainers. You do not even have to be in particularly good shape. All you need is a body on this earth, willing to notice where it is, trusting that even something as small as a hazelnut can become an altar in this world.


~ Barbara Brown Taylor

attention

Pay Attention

If you’ve been reading my blog over the last 5+ years, it probably won’t surprise you why I loved this quote. I write about paying attention to the small moments of life on a regular basis. I frequently use the hashtags #lookup and #payattention on my Instagram and Twitter posts and am fond of catching images that are far above my head or down at my feet.

I love paying attention.

Being an introvert has always given me the gift of watching. I’d much rather hang to the side of a party, or sit on the edge of a group and just watch what is going on. I notice body language, gestures, and simple movements. I watch how people catch each other’s eyes when they want to make an impression, and how the touch of a hand on a shoulder, an aggressive hug or a tensed smile can reveal so much.

I pay attention to my students when we speak, often crouching down to get to their desk/eye level – or standing on my tippy toes to reach the really tall ones! I absolutely love when kids get lost in their conversations and forget I’m in the room – that’s really the time when I learn so much about what’s important to them.

And to my own children, I strive to pay attention to not only what they do when they’re at home, but also when they’re away and standing on their own. Part of my greatest joy as a parent has come in watching my kids ‘adulting’ – making their own decisions, both large and complicated and small and somewhat insignificant. I love watching how they react to situations, like problems with a roommate or frustration with a teacher. I honestly believe that the best parenting I can do really involves just being a ‘body’ willing to notice what is going on in their lives.

When I’m walking, paying attention requires no equipment. I’ve got my face forward, feet sturdy beneath me, and my dog to my side. I’ve sometimes got the sun on my face, or the mist on my jacket as I walk my favorite trail, past the same corners and ponds, not even in particularly good shape but willing, so willing, to notice the curve of a tree branch, the rustle of bird wings, or the delicateness of a cloud. I look up, I gaze down, I trust that my consistency in paying attention to the extraordinary in the ordinary world around me will make all the difference.

Today, just for a moment, try to pause. Look up.  What do you see? Can you feel a breeze on your skin? Breathe in deeply. Pause, and listen to the sounds that surround you. Be present. Be here, now.

Pay attention.

I’d love it if you’d share your observations in the comments – just a few words, a snapshot of where you are. It’s the small moments that count the most, really.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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