The Summer Day by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?

Who made the swan, and the black bear?

Who made the grasshopper?

This grasshopper, I mean–

the one who has flung herself out of the grass,

the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,

who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down

who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.

Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.

Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.

I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down

into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,

how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields

which is what I have been doing all day.

Tell me, what else should I have done?

Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

With your one wild and precious life?

Blind spots

‘WE ALL HAVE MOMENTS when the curtains part and we see no longer “through a glass darkly,” but instead with utter clarity and conviction, something that is unmistakably true or real. It can happen when you’re sweeping the kitchen floor, when you’re thinking about what you will eat for dinner, or while you’re wondering whether your niece is going to heal well from surgery’ Kelly Boys

Gaps in our knowledge, natural cognitive biases, unvisited wounded places, even our gut instincts when they are hacked by previous experience, emotions and core beliefs born in less than optimal childhoods or collective experience, all contribute to the creation of our blind spots that serve as filters and to a great extent define our experience, our choices and roads taken, and ultimately, our suffering and happiness below our conscious awareness. In her book The Blind Spot Effect, Kelly Boys defines blinds spots as ‘unconscious impulses, fueled by emotions and beliefs, that create habit-building patterns in relationship to ourselves and others’. She suggests that ‘blind spots start wars and break up families…..  foster disconnection and isolation at home and at work……  hold us back or force us into places we never wanted to be’ and that ‘seeing blind spots is like a treasure hunt — but not a witch hunt. If we approach the subject with curiosity and affection rather than shaming ourselves, we can discover some immensely valuable truths’. A metaphor to describe the damage that blind spots can cause could be that of a prestigious museum with a sophisticated security system to guard against invaders and theft of its most valued objects and works of art. The blind spots in the security scanning system are the weak links in the system that ultimately allow the robbery to occur often in broad day light (at least in films) Read more….


I first heard the poem Kindness being recited by Jon Kabat-Zin. It moved me and I returned to it several times. I then posted it and eventually wrote it on a black board type surface above my kitchen counter where I often write quotes and poems that have touched or inspired me. Today I realised I knew nothing about the poet, Naomi Shihab Nye. So I read a few more poems on the net and listened to her reading her poem Kindness at:  and an interview at: Enjoy! 

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend