The Mindfulness of Mary Oliver

By illuminating the wonder found in the everyday, her award-winning poems remind us to slow down and experience the present moment in all its glory.

francesco chiesa/Adobe Stock

Mary Jane Oliver surrendered her mortal body to merge completely into amazement on January 18, 2019—she was 83 years old.  I am one of her countless admirers and I suppose that like me there are many of us still moved to tears by her poetry even after reading it for decades.  I hope you might indulge me this urge to share a few words of gratitude and praise for the many precious gifts she has left us. I fell in love with her poetry after hearing “Wild Geese” for the first time at a mindfulness retreat 25 years ago.

It’s wonderful that her poetry has won numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award as well a Lannan Literary Award for lifetime achievement –but, it’s it hard for me to imagine that any of these rewards as prestigious as they may be, were at the top of her dream list. Her ecstasy is palatable in far more simple prizes, like watching a…