If I Wanted A Boat
by Mary Oliver, Blue Horses
“I would want a boat, if I wanted a
boat, that bounded hard on the waves,
that didn’t know starboard from port
and wouldn’t learn, that welcomed
dolphins and headed straight for the
whales, that, when rocks were close,
would slide in for a touch or two,
that wouldn’t keep land in sight and
went fast, that leaped into the spray.
What kind of life is it always to plan
and do, to promise and finish, to wish
for the near and the safe? Yes, by the
heavens, if I wanted a boat I would want
a boat that I couldn’t steer.”
QUESTION: What could I risk not steering in 2017?
Reflection: Yikes, is Mary Oliver serious? Wanting something, anything, I could not steer or control sounds suicidal to an Enneagram 1. I know, I know, control is a mere illusion, but it feels as necessary as breathing to me. However, part of me gets it, if only in fleeting moments, when I receive recognition of the larger truth, my True Self. But it fades almost instantly when the next moment of decision or action enters my awareness. Still, I have a memory of that fleeting recognition, and a trust that it will return from time to time. So rather than falling into the trap of trying to answer the question with a concrete goal, I suspect that all I can do is simply to pray for my openness to receive the larger truth, my True Self’s presence, whenever it shows up, and let the illusion of control fade. The upcoming year poses any number of candidates for trying to let go of control, but I suspect it will be a fool’s gold search for me.