What Do We Know

Mary Oliver is one of  my favorite poets of all time. She has won the Pulitzer and I believe she’s a more enlightened version of Robert Frost. She writes about nature and people so beautifully and poignantly and I’ve never read a poem of hers that I didn’t like. My all-time favorite is “The Journey” which everyone should Google and read immediately, but this morning I came upon a new one that I really love. I read in one of my Enneagram books the other day that Eights need to practice meditation to help them connect their body to their thoughts (or something like that…) and I’ve always had a hard time with sitting still and doing it quietly. Thus, I usually turn to poetry. My dad has an impressive collection of poetry and owns every book Mary Oliver has ever published so I always get excited to come home and read. This morning I have to go and make magic happen with my LSAT books but I decided that before that I could afford a moment of zen.

The poem I want to share with you comes from the compilation What Do We Know: Poems and Prose Poems published in 2002. Enjoy! Love, Ahn

Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me

Last night
the rain
spoke to me
slowly, saying,

what joy
to come falling
out of the brisk cloud,
to be happy again

in a new way
on the earth!
That’s what it said
as it dropped,

smelling of iron,
and vanished
like a dream of the ocean
into the branches

and the grass below.
Then it was over.
The sky cleared.
I was standing

under a tree.
The tree was a tree
with happy leaves,
and I was myself,

and there were stars in the sky
that were also themselves
at the moment,
at which moment

my right hand
was holding my left hand
which was holding the tree
which was filled with stars

and the soft rain-
imagine! imagine!
the long and wondrous journeys
still to be ours.

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Soul Sunday

Uh huh, you know what it is: Soul Sunday. I kind of stole this title from (gag me) Oprah. I do not especially love Oprah- I just don’t trust women who make magazines about themselves- but I have to give it to her, she has some good ideas. I kind of took Soul Sunday and made it my own. Mad props to my girl Alastair (Alex) for making this sign and posting it on my door so no one interrupted my me-time. 

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As the sign suggests, SS (as it shall be heretofore abbreviated) is my version of church. I have always said that I’m “spiritual not religious” which my dad says is BS. I just don’t have a lot of love for organized religion and especially not for evangelism. But I’m all for getting in touch with yourself and some nebulous Earth Mother. I always say that I may not believe in “God” in the traditional sense; I definitely don’t believe God is a dude with a beard (or a man at all) but I do believe in Mother Willow from Pocahontas. She’s comforting and wise. So SS is all about getting in touch with your Mother Willow. Here are the ingredients for a perfect SS:

1) Ideally it would be pouring down rain
2) Waking up around 7:45 without an alarm
3) Being the first person up in your house
4) A cup of coffee (it would be best if it were a latté but unfortunately, I’m broke as a joke- I wish it were a joke- so drip is the best I can do) in your favorite mug and a bowl of oatmeal with fresh blueberries. (Sidenote: This is my most specialist mug from Sissy- my aunt- she got it from Tiffany’s in downtown Seattle where we spent the MOST AWESOME, magical day ever sipping lattés and eating chocolate croissants at the Pike Place Market and walking around the city in 70 degree weather after spending a night in a cool hotel. So anyway, this adorable mug is a memento from our perfect day together and it makes me happy every morning when I have my coffee out of it)
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5) Mood lighting- no overhead lights allowed 
6) A clean room 
7) Candles– lots and lots of them
8) Either some soft Frank Sinatra, James Taylor or Etta James (Coldplay if you’re feeling REALLY broody- that’s just not a place I like to let myself go very often) OR my personal fave, some Bach by Yo-Yo Ma. The Pride & Prejudice soundtrack is PERFECT for the occasion as well. 
9) Poetry. Some of you might be too cool for poetry. Well that sucks for you. Cuz poetry doesn’t suck. Check out Mary Oliver’s “The Journey.” It really has helped me through some hard times. Also Hafiz. Just nothing too dark or brooding, cuz Soul Sunday is all about self-acceptance and cultivating inner peace. 
10) Solitude. You can’t do SS with a friend, sorry. 
11) A journal. Mine has a van Gogh painting on the front, which I really like. I hate “journaling” so I mostly draw, collage, and tape poems or NY times articles in it) 
12) Pajamas. For the love of god, don’t even try to do SS in jeans. That will ruin everything. 
13) A comfy chair and a desk. Shout out to ma boo Clare for gifting the rolly desk chair to me (which I keep forgetting to pay for…sorry!) It really makes Soul Sunday. 
14) A good book. My current undertaking is Anna Karenina by Tolstoy. I am really loving it. I try to read a few chapters every day. 

I think that about covers it! Go ahead and give Soul Sunday a whirl; you won’t regret it!
Peace and love,

Ahn

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