What if this one journal entry was the only writing left of mine at the end of my life?
What if this was the very last thing you ever read?
I'm reminded of a poem by Wendell Berry:
The Wish To Be Generous
All that I serve will die, all my delights,
the flesh kindled from my flesh, garden and field,
the silent lilies standing in the woods,
the woods, the hill, the whole earth, all
will burn in man's evil, or dwindle
in its own age. Let the world bring on me
the sleep of darkness without stars, so I may know
my little light taken from me into the seed
of the beginning and the end, so I may bow
to mystery, and take my stand on the earth
like a tree in a field, passing without haste
or regret toward what will be, my life a patient willing descent into the grass.*
All that I serve in this world will die sooner or later. What essence of me will last through my brief flash on earth... Earth, Holy Earth, cradle of me and trillions of beings like me? What a luminous cradle this place is! An amazing refuge for small little lives that that will be something more and yet nothing at all.
Did I love well in service and self evolution?
Was I present and willing to be here?
Did I primarily give or take from the earth and my fellow beings?
Each moment is the last moment of your history. Soon enough the moment will be the last of your particular life. The endeavor to love truly, simply and wholly is urgent... URGENT. This is not a practice run. We have such a finite span of moments to be together in this form, in this shining wounded wonder of places.
I remember Ram Das saying something like this: The meaning of life is to really experience life (paraphrase).
What do you need to experience today, in this moment, in this life?
What/who will you release to make room for the yearnings of your soul?
What dangerous and loving words must you utter to step into joy in your life?
Copyright Richard Sievers 2011
* Poem The Wish To Be Generous was quoted from Wendell Berry's book The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, page 70, published in 1998 by Counterpoint, Washington, D.C.
Before beginning anything else this morning,
before the plans, the lists, the worries...
Yet after making the kid's breakfast,
sending my spouse off to work,
after coddling the cat,
feeding the chickens and
emptying the bucket
from last night's rain riffling and rifling
through our shingles....
between the need tos and the to dos...
I will praise the world that is
rising from the sunrise mist.
This is a beautiful morning of fists uncurled
and wild hair and drowsy garden.
This morning holds the song of
the organic produce of dung
and clay and sweat and dreams.
The crops are bent in their final days,
offering their lights of glory
to my singing knife and shovel.
They end up on our tables,
the bounty being consumed by so many,
becoming one with
my customers, children and friends.
Living seeds and leaves are offering themselves
to the boiling pot and sweat lodge oven,
becoming more than themselves.
These fruits, herbs and vegetables are the sun stored
and then released in veins and breaths.
This morning I praise the verdant field
which offers it's life for all
who care enough to breathe.
This morning I choose
the the side of life that is filled
with the heat of a once upon a time Summer,
with thirst slaked by the rain,
with feet cooled in the loam and buried stone.
Thank you Spirits of the Land for such bounty
in-between all the doings and undoings,
in-between the season's growth and resting fallow,
in-between inspiration and expiration.
Peace of the Field Be Yours on this Autumn Day.