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Take Notice

“I praise loudly. I blame softly.” – Catherine the Great

Start and end with gratitude, with loud praise and joy follows in ordinary days, in ordinary ways. Breathe in deeply and take notice. The symphony of birds welcoming spring, a flower reaching for the sky. All in reach. Be available, accept the invitation, linger.

by Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings

“Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
‘You must change your life.’”


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