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I Worried

Life has aspects we cannot change about and worrying simply comes to nothing as Mary Oliver suggests. There are many things we do not control even when we think we can. It is important to let go and recognize these phenomena as part of the unfolding of life.

Although Mary Oliver includes phenomena outside our control, she includes advice on how to deal with the lack of control. We can go out and sing or act in ways that are creative and life-giving. We can accept the world as it is and not try to correct it. Nature will do what she naturally learns to do. Our role is to be in the world, live in it lovingly, and attempt to do no harm in our living.

We control certain phenomena in the sense we can avoid what is destructive, but there are things that we learn and taught in living naturally.

I worried a lot.  Will the garden grow, will the rivers

flow in the right direction, will the earth turn

as it was taught, and if not how shall

I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,

can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows

can do it and I am, well,

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,

am I going to get rheumatism,

lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.

And gave it up.  And took my old body

and went out into the morning,

and sang.


About ivonprefontaine

In keeping with bell hooks and Noam Chomsky, I consider myself a public and dissident intellectual. Part of my work is to move beyond (transcend) institutional dogmas that bind me to defend freedom, raising my voice to be heard on behalf of those who seek equity and justice in all their forms. I completed my PhD in Philosophy of Leadership Studies at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA. My dissertation and research was how teachers experience becoming teachers and their role as leaders. I focus on leading, communicating, and innovating in organizations. This includes mindfuful servant-leadership, World Cafe events, Appreciative Inquiry, and expressing one's self through creativity. I offer retreats, workshops, and presentations that can be tailored to your organzations specific needs. I published peer reviewed articles about schools as learning organizations, currere as an ethical pursuit, and hope as an essential element of adult eductaion. I published three poems and am currently preparing my poetry to publish as an anthology of poetry. I present on mindful leadership, servant leadership, schools as learning organizations, how teachers experience becoming teachers, assessement, and critical thinking. I facilitate mindfulness, hospitality retreats. and World Cafe Events using Appreciative Inquiry. I am writing and researching about various forms of leadership, how teachers inform and form their identity as a particular teacher, schools as learning organizations, hope and its anticipatory relationship with the future, and hope as an essential element in learning.

25 responses »

  1. Through my mindfulness practice and application, it unfolded for me that we control so little it is amazing.

    We control where we place of attention, the greatest influence in life and our attitude.

    Anything else is damn near impermanent and will change on its own.

    Just a thought.

  2. I have a pain in my right elbow. sorry

  3. Pingback: I Worried | Poetry for inspiration |

  4. Pingback: I Worried | Greatpoetrymhf's Weblog

  5. Enjoyed that poem very much.

  6. Such a meaningful poem. Thank you.

  7. Such a wonderful poem. I’m still in training to let all worry go, but making some progress – liberating!

  8. I love Mary Oliver’s writing. Stephen Covey has the same message ….. but it is so dry! The Serenity prayer barely touches the surface. Thank you for sharing her energy and spirit Ivon.
    Val x

  9. Thanks for sharing this poem.This came perfectly right on time when I need a stronger push to let go… 🙂

  10. Well, you know I love M.O.
    And you summarized what I was expressing to my husband, just last night, quite beautifully:
    Our role is to be in the world, live in it lovingly, and attempt to do no harm in our living.
    I was saying that the things that ‘make’ me happy are probably misunderstood by many – it’s living in the world, as you describe, (and I would add) – knowing how messed up our species is and what we are collectively acting out here – yet still loving it and loving them and loving just being here. It’s all a miracle.

  11. I love this – this is good, and exactly what we should do!! 😀 Of course worry is actually another form of fear, and fear does seem to be one of our greatest battles – I wonder sometimes if it is our only battle, and our minds dress it up with other stupid stuff. I shall remember this perfect advice next time I get caught up! 😉


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