what does it meeeeean?

I’ve always been of the mindset that everything happens for a reason. There’s a lesson behind it all. There’s meaning in everything.

I’m not saying I don’t still mostly subscribe to this.

But lately I’m wondering.

Am I so busy looking for the reason, the meaning, that I miss living the moment? In its uncertainty and non-answer. In its unknown.

And by knowing, concluding, naming, I am limiting the possibilities of what something might be, how it might turn out.

What if I didn’t do this?

What if, instead of every single thing meaning something, every thing just is. What if I could be with it just as it is?

This sounds scary and ridiculously simple.

I know the mind, the ego, wants hard lines, rights and wrongs. Scary and simple don’t go over well with the ego.

So I turn to the poets who can camouflage simple in story and beauty, so that it sneaks up on you.

There’s something special about hearing a poem. If you have one minute and thirty eight seconds, please enjoy being read to. Just click the MaryO link. The text is also included below.

MaryOpoem

Snowy Night

By Mary Oliver

Last night, an owl
in the blue dark
tossed
an indeterminate number

of carefully shaped sounds into
the world, in which,
a quarter of a mile away, I happened
to be standing.

I couldn’t tell
which one it was –
the barred or the great-horned
ship of the air –

it was that distant. But, anyway,
aren’t there moments
that are better than knowing something,
and sweeter? Snow was falling,

so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more

than prettiness. I suppose
if this were someone else’s story
they would have insisted on knowing
whatever is knowable – would have hurried

over the fields
to name it – the owl, I mean.
But it’s mine, this poem of the night,
and I just stood there, listening and holding out

my hands to the soft glitter
falling through the air. I love this world,
but not for its answers.
And I wish good luck to the owl,

whatever its name –
and I wish great welcome to the snow,
whatever its severe and comfortless
and beautiful meaning.

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8 Responses to “what does it meeeeean?”


  1. 1 Hayidan's Intuition November 15, 2010 at 5:45 am

    I love poetry.. This is a nice poem

  2. 2 Amy --- Just A Titch November 15, 2010 at 6:35 am

    First of all, love that you recorded a poem. So, so lovely. I feel like a creeper, but your voice is so soothing. Pretty sure I’d pay you to record some nice bedtime stories for me ;)

    All creepy comments aside, I think about this whole idea of things just *being* and not “happening for a reason.” Sometimes, I wish I could just do/think/be without seeking deeper meaning. I look at how animals and kids are in the world and I doubt they spend every damn moment thinking about the greater meaning—they just do.

    Also: love the title (Double Rainbow FTW!). Sigh. Best moment of my yoga life to date.

    Love to you, friend.

  3. 3 Jennifer Souza November 15, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Everything does not happen for a reason. I came to believe this when I was a rape crisis counselor and saw daily things like a 9yo gang raped by her uncles, or a 13 yo sold for a snuff film by her dad for $10,000, the 5 men on my caseload who had been abused by priests, a boy molested by his Grandmother, there was no reason for these things.

  4. 4 Emma November 15, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    sign me on for trying to find meaning… but also for trying to get away from that. if you try and look for meaning in everything, you will, in fact, see extra meaning in everything. doesnt mean it’s there.

  5. 5 Kelley M November 16, 2010 at 1:03 am

    I loved that you read the poem to us. I get so much more out of it that way. Thank you.

  6. 6 Leili November 16, 2010 at 2:54 am

    I used to be an “everything happens for a reason.” It’s comforting. But I’m a much stronger believer of “shit happens.” :)

  7. 7 Tracy November 16, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Thank you for the beautiful reading, Michelle! Wonderful poem… I always find Mary Oliver’s work very inspiring. “What if I could be with it just as it is?” That is where I’ve been at for a while…just allowing, not naming. Sometimes I don’t necessarily like it, or many it’s something I can’t control, and terrible things happen all the time to very good people. I used to like to believe “things happen for a reason,” but I’m not so sure. And all of this makes me think about karma too. More and more I believe there is only now, that things can just happen, that we can only dust ourselves off and keep trying, live the inner truth. Great topic today! We travel to the US on Friday to be with family for Thanksgiving and celebrate birthdays–very excited! I hope to post/visit more before we leave. Happy Day ((HUGS))

  8. 8 Kim November 17, 2010 at 12:14 am

    great big sigh…aahhhhhh. yes, what if i could accept this moment, just as it is, and myself, just as i am? clear seeing and compassion practices inspire a present moment acceptance that feels spacious, more relaxed, open. Thank you for your offering and for sharing this beautiful poem.


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