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The Discipline of Recognizing What’s True and Beautiful

This Mary Oliver poem carries a reminder I can use every day: look and listen all the time for whatever it is that will “kill me with delight,” that will “instruct me in joy and acclamation,” that will help me grow wise.

It takes no special talent to look around our world and point out things that are numbing, depressing, or death-dealing. But becoming keenly and consistently aware of what’s good, true, and beautiful demands a discipline: we must open our eyes, minds, and hearts, and keep them open.

As we open up, we begin to see beauty everywhere, not only in nature but in human nature. There’s a lot of bad news out there, but there’s a lot of good news as well. Pass the word and help keep hope alive!

by Mary Oliver

Every day
I see or hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

In the haystack
of light.

(Excerpted from Why I Wake Early. Read the full poem here.)

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