Undoing ‘Good’

The first line of Mary Oliver’s poem, Wild Geese, playing with my thoughts, my heart, my emotions this morning–and quite suddenly. 

‘YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE GOOD’

It’s one of my most favorite lines of poetry, seared into my consciousness during an intensive with my beloved teacher Andrew Harvey. I loved it as soon as I heard it–felt something release inside myself, liberated. 

Raw, random, personal thoughts fill the space in this post….followed by a pause, feeling, listening, tuning in. What does that mean: ‘You do not have to be good’ ? 

It seems to be a statement to define the unraveling of who we ‘thought’ we were–who I thought I was. 

Every time it comes around again, it feels as though there is a clear shift occurring in my belief system, very visible, very palpably felt. While I’m not yet ready to share the details of this transition, I’m soothed by Mary Oliver’s statement to us all: You do not have to be good. 

Funny how it is, though isn’t it–‘good’–a goal we can chase all our lives and never quite reach it. 

Because it’s a fallacy, an illusion that we have taken on and decided holds our truth. 

Then just as we release one layer of that illusion, another reveals itself–opening the cracks that lead to healing, surrender….wholeness. 

And so it goes….the spiral, the cycle of this journey. Letting go….of ‘being good.’ 

Instead….just BEing. Allowing. 

Thank you, Mary Oliver for sharing such richness and Universal truth. 

My statement to myself this day: I do not have to be good. 

I have only to be ME. And THAT is enough. 

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8 thoughts on “Undoing ‘Good’

  1. Jackie – as a middle child, I was always good. I was the good child, the good wife, the good mom, the good student, the good everthing. I often wondered what it would be like to be NOT good. And then one day, I didn’t let the ‘good girl’ show up and what do you know — the world didn’t end. The box I kept myself in expanded and inch by inch the door opened. I think this No Comfort Zone is keeping me out of that box and giving me permission to stand outside and just BE.

    I found the rest of this lovely poem and love the last verse as well:

    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.

    This is precious because the world offers itself to my imagination … and there is no requirement to be anything at all. Thank you for this wonderful thought process you’ve invited me to walk on with you. It’s going to be a beautiful day! xo

  2. Nandini

    Nice thought. 🙂 Difficult to grasp, at first… “have to” is a significant term here, I think. It shouldn’t burden you. And you have put it rightly, just be “you”: who you are.

    I believe, Goodness should always be in our efforts, like a “choice” or “base”, and that would prevent us from doing any wrong, to others as well as to us. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this poem. “Me” is our deep self, ego-less and pure, full of love! Cheers! 🙂

  3. Very poignant message for me today dear Jackie! For I realize that being “good” always comes with someone else’s definition attached to it. Because as you say, we are here to BE, not to be good. This helps me with a decision I feel I have to make today where “being good” feels like making a choice that goes against all the whispers of my heart. Being good is “making the responsible choice” regardless of my inner guidance. Thanks for your courage in sharing this with me, with us! ♡♡♡ Jeanette

  4. This one is really an honest & brave post. ” I do not have to be good. I have only to be ME. And THAT is enough. ” – That’s the best attitude to live with. Thank you for this post. We all need to realize the same about ourselves. 🙂

  5. LOVE IT ——– JUST BE ———-BOLDNESS IS YOU MISS JACKIE ……IT BECOMES YOU ——-:)
    31 ONE DAYS – JANUARY – WOW …..LOOK AT ALL THIS …….IT’S AMAZING STUFF …….
    TELL ANDREW I SAY HI !!!!!!! AND THAT I WISH HIM ALL THE BEST FOR 2O12 ——– 🙂 AND JILL TOO – !!!!
    JUST BE JUST BE JUST BE JUST BE JUST JUST BE
    XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO
    C

I always love to hear your thoughts....xx

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