Astonished By Life

“Instructions for

living a life:

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.” ~Mary Oliver, “Sometimes”


A recent, difficult loss compounded by some run-of-the-mill frustrations had me wallowing a bit this evening. Then, Mary Oliver’s glorious and wise words came back to me (thanks for the morning reminder, lovely Angie).

What’s so amazing?  While you and I may differ about what strikes us suddenly with wonder, we do share at least a few common inspirations.  For instance, if you’re reading this right now, you have access to the internet and a computer–2 incredible creations that boggle the mind.

We can even get more basic.  More up close and personal with what astounds: You!

For if you are reading this right now, or even having it read to you, your body and mind are performing countless awe-inspiring achievements rapid fire right now.  And now. And now!


The human body, mind and spirit achieve miracle after miracle, day after day. I am no scientist, but when I remember to appreciate something as easy and complex as the human eye seeing or the brain processing information or the lungs inhaling air and sending oxygen to the rest of the body, I am completely wowed.

The human being alone amazes.  When you add to it the awesomeness of all of nature and her creatures, like the four deer I watched cavorting in the snow this afternoon? Wondrous!

And then there is the magic of music.  I took a short break to make dinner awhile ago.  With my “astonished” glasses on, I was awestruck by the breathtaking beauty of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong singing in an old recording (another miracle).

And when I heard a siren go off, signaling firefighters in my town to help put a fire out, I was amazed at the selflessness and sense of connection people demonstrate all the time. Not just in emergencies, but also in smaller yet profound moments of kindness.



Like so many things in life, our capacity to be astonished depends to some extent on our willingness to be astonished.  On our practices of paying attention and cultivating a sense of wonder.

I’m with Mary Oliver.  Seeking to be astonished…AND then telling about.  Spreading the positivity, the inspiration.IMG_2161

I wonder what astonishes you?


This entry was posted in Inspiration, Kindness/Generosity, Nature, poetry, possibility and expansiveness and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Astonished By Life

  1. When I taught, occasionally as I walked across campus, I would feel astonished at the perfect in of the human body. The ability to simply walk, all body parts moving as they should, amazed me. I felt as though I were magic.

  2. What a lovely, feel good post! Thank you!

Feedback=magic. What's yours?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s