Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

from Dream Work by Mary Oliver

A note from Rulik

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver is such a beautiful and powerful answer to protestant morality that so often reduces lives to guilt and shame. Something happened decades ago. You made a mistake, you broke something, you hurt someone unintentionally, or even intentionally. Maybe you missed an opportunity.

And a large part of the soul got stuck at that place, unable to move. Falsely believing that somehow, you have to repair or repent, before you will be allowed to live again. The Wild Geese help the therapy process travel between the two poles of the poem and of the psychological work.

“You don’t have to be good” what a radical idea! After generations of repeated message that the gates of heaven are closed to you, as long as you not cleansed from “evil.”

On the other pole, the Wild Geese are announcing that there is a place for you in the world. Specifically in this larger family of things. You are loveable, acceptable and welcomed, As You Are.

Can you hear their call to you? Can your imagination accept the offer?