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sammy b. good ~ samantha brown goodrich

The following is a poem that has brought me some comfort and fortifies me when I find myself frozen between the contrasts of an awakened mind:
I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

—Jane Kenyon, from Otherwise: New and Selected Poems. Copyright 1996 by the Estate of Jane Kenyon.

The piercing nature of contrasts pains me lately.

A few weeks ago I unpacked my suitcase following a warm, sunny vacation while others were dragging theirs through rubble trying to escape horrific conditions. Just this morning my husband and I celebrated a Wordle result with a high five while someone I love struggles to know their own worth.

My practice, lately, has been to notice my tendency to harden around the painful and push away the pleasant. In short, I’m working to remain soft, receptive, and curious both within the pain and peace. I’m practicing remembering that we aren’t meant to feel only certain things, but, rather, to feel all things as they are and not as we wish they were.

When we remember this, we awaken to the understanding we are both tender and strong. We remember we are experiencing both our own existence and interdependence with others.  When we are fully awake, our peace belongs to each other and each other’s pain belongs to us.

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