Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver: Reading and Meditation

May 15, 2020  • Executive Leadership Seminars Department

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Why I Wake Early, Mary Oliver


One of my favorite dinner conversations follows the prompt, “If you could spend a day with anyone, who would you choose?” My answer is always Mary Oliver. What I would give to be tutored by her stillness, her marvel at the world around her, her recognition and reverence for the seemingly mundane. Oliver, who passed away in early 2019, is famous for her poetry about the natural world. Her work inspires us to feel alive and present to all the miracles in the world, and encourages us to take notice. 

In “Why I Wake Early,” you can almost feel Oliver’s fresh breaths as she greets the new day, bowled over with delight at the wonder of the sun. As you greet today, what do you notice? Allow yourself to be overcome with gratitude for just a few things you normally take for granted. What is your sun today? How can you start the day in happiness, in kindness? 

Brianna Curran, Washington, DC

Wellsprings of Living and Leading
April 15, 2020 •