theorems and corollaries contrived in the kitchen
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 your 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.
— Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”
Sometimes it’s hard to honor my body, even when I live every moment with the intention of doing so. Sometimes it’s hard to hear the soft voice from that soft animal, or even distinguish its voice from other internal voices with subtly harsher intent. Yes, Mary Oliver, I do not have to be good— because what does good even mean? With such subjective terms, the mind normalizes where it is at and sets the standard higher and higher. It grasps for some solid proof that it is being good… but then I lose the whole point that being in the right place is about feeling, about intuition, not able to be captured in distinct, communicable steps.
When I feel strong, I will have honored my body in letting it love what it loves. When I feel adventurous, I will have honored it. When I truly honor my body and its inseparable connection to my mind and soul, then I will have found my place in the family of things.