Our real journey: chanting the beauty of the good

turkeys in our back yard

As I was writing my post yesterday, I became distracted by a family of turkeys clucking in our back yard and thought I’d take a minute to look at them before I continued with the blog. I meant to hit the  “Save Draft” button but hit “Publish” instead. Thus, yesterday’s rough-draft, nameless blog, went out into the world with the title given by WordPress of: New Post 6299. I thought about posting a follow-up blog (explaining that the title didn’t make any sense), but that didn’t feel right either, so I went out for a run.

I was wishing that I’d paid more attention while I was writing, feeling bad about my lack of focus, and thoughts that others would be confused (and it would be my fault). “Not good enough” would have been the chant going through my mind if I had given it a title.  I knew I needed to change this if I wanted to feel better, and started thinking about all of the good things in my life, (keeping my mind off the post for a while). Emerson said, “Don’t waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good” and these words suddenly popped into my head.

As I ran and talked to myself,  I felt a lightness that surprised me. I realized (in a deeper way than ever) that my intention for every blog entry;  that my words always be helpful in some way to someone, was still there, beneath the words, even if they didn’t quite make sense.  I came home and read Kathye’s comment about the number 6299 being associated with redemption and I knew that even this was not a mistake.

We hold ourselves up to these false standards of excellence sometimes, believing that whatever we’re doing must be perfect (and fearing that it is almost certainly not), logical and easily explained to others, and yet, how could it be? How could I, with my limited conscious mind, ever understand the great interconnected mystery of it all?  How do I know that my “mistakes” are not perfect in the scheme of things too?

In the same group of emails waiting for me when I got home, was a poem from my brother.

The Real Work
by Wendell Berry
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.




34 thoughts on “Our real journey: chanting the beauty of the good”

  1. Oh Mary,

    This is perfect! I am sitting at my computer NOT diving into a project I fear will be less than perfect because I am quite stupid, and certainly not as capable as everyone else in my ability to accomplish what needs to be done!
    Your message today, and the timely poem from your brother has lightened my mood so that I’m off to accomplish what I can and move on!

    Love to all members of the WFFF,
    From Fran

    1. I love it when that happens Fran! Sending you good thoughts for your perfect project!

  2. Perfectly imperfect! I love the Emerson quote and the Wendell Berry poem. Through your “mistake” we all benefit, Mary. Isn’t perspective wonderful!

  3. Mary – What a beautiful Emerson quote to have pop in your head! I really needed to read that today. We’ve probably all been guilty of holding ourselves to “false standards of excellence”. It’s lovely to think of our mistakes as being perfect. (I was curious about the symbolism of wild turkeys and found that they are associated with abundance, generosity, awareness, and sacrifice.)

  4. There are NO “mistakes.” Everything is designed for our greater good, even when (or especially when) we don’t understand it! My favorite expression, which I read in something by Paramahansa Yogananda is “Relax and lean back into the arms of God.”

    1. That quote makes me want to take a deep breath and smile Laurie…thank you!

  5. Dear Mary. Thank you for your always honest and wonderful posts! I love that once you ‘sat’ with your oops from yesterday, you realized that your intent in publishing your blog posts is always pure and good and you were able to clear your head and heart. For me, it’s a most powerful reminder to be true to my inner most intentions and to be patient with the seemingly goofy or misunderstood mistakes that happen in life, especially those for which I am responsible. Thank you for who you are and for the beautiful peace and acceptance you bring into the lives of so many!

    1. Thank you Debra for these most lovely and encouraging words

  6. Your messages playing in surround sound make the people who read (and spread them) all the more aware,mindful and gentle on themselves and others. Understanding and flexible acceptance helps everyone. Thanks

    1. The idea that my messages help others to be easier (in any way) on themselves is delightful to me Cindy…thank you!

  7. This is why we come to you daily, Mary, for your words, your ‘realness’ and your ability to show us all that we’re ALL stumbling along on this road called ‘Life,’ doing the best we can with the mystery we’ve got.

    I really love the poem by Wendell Berry. He always nails it….just as you do. Thank you once again for making me tune into ways to make life more sweet.

    1. I am so grateful that you do come here daily Suzanne and add your energy and uplifting thoughs and heart…thank you!

  8. I just read that poem on Sunday, Mary! In fact, that whole collection of Berry’s poems in a book called Leavings is just wonderful. One of the qualities of the wild turkey that Pam A. shared with us this morning was “awareness”. Instead of thinking of yourself as distracted by those magnificent birds, and unable to focus on your writing, I like to think that you made the right choice in leaving your desk to be aware of them, to enjoy them in that moment that had you not heeded, would have been gone. We get to see the turkey today in all his/her glory, and we are all the better for your moment of distraction. Love the Emerson quote, “chant the beauty of the good.”

    1. Thank you Susan, and something that I became aware of (in an even greater way after this post) was the huge amount of love and support we have for each others seeming imperfections here. I felt it after that first post and it was like a soothing balm for my soul

  9. I really like this Emerson quote! And I find that I, too, often get distracted and I like the idea of viewing the distraction as a ‘creative break’…a brain stretch…your blog could wait…the turkeys might not…great choice!

    1. I love that quote too Kathye, and found it so interesting that I was “wasting’ my energy in self rejection…I had never thought of it that way until the quote popped up (and it really was not difficult to turn around once I saw it)…thank you for your loving and always uplifting presence on this blog!

  10. Thank-you for this wonderful post Mary. I love your turkey picture! My facebook is full of my turkey families as they’ve come and gone these last three years! Mine marched through the yard with four new youngsters in tow yesterday! I just love nature and our animal friends. I gain such a sense of peace and strength from them. They keep me faithful. 🙂

    1. Thank you Cindy! We have had more turkeys this year than ever before and I feel a thrill every time I see (and hear them)..

  11. Thank you for sharing the Wendell Berry poem, it’s the encouragement I need right now with trying to figure out what to do next. Love the photo and the usual amazing insights you so kindly share.

  12. Mary..once again your message and Wendell Berry’s speaks to me at the perfect time..Thank you! marjorie

  13. Mary, I love the way you admit to concern about things that seem to fall short of your intentions but also have the insight to realize that they perfectly express your intention. No mistakes. That’s so liberating! Thank you.

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