So often when we cannot accept ourselves, we are struggling with our feelings, our bodies, our past and our experiences. The books below all contain poems that help me to let go — at least a little — of needing to be right, perfect and in control and to treat myself and my path with more tenderness and open-mindedness. I have included one poem excerpt from each to give you a feel for the book.
by Jalal al-Din
Rumi has a gift for providing a mystical and revelrous view of human experiences. Excerpt from “The Guest House”:
“This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!…
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.”
by Rainer Maria Rilke
I appreciate that Rilke speaks of suffering in a respectful voice. Excerpt from Rilke’s “letters (insert your name for Mr. Kappus)”:
“So you must not be frightened, Dear Mr. Kappus, if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloud-shadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall.”
3. Dream Work
by Mary Oliver
Oliver comforts her fellow humans and reminds us of our belonging. Excerpt from “Wild Geese”:
“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves…”
4. 73 Poems
by E.E. Cummings
The excerpt below from “since feeling is first” helps me to appreciate the people who help me to accept and be myself:
so damn sweet when Anybody—…
—does doesn’t unsays says looks smiles
or simply Is
you feel you
6 or 6
teen or sixty
but for once