Tag Archives: Maya Angelou

Mary Oliver and Maya Angelou’s thoughts on Gratitude


In honor of  Thanksgiving–Mandala Reflections would like to share a poem by Mary Oliver and a reading by Maya Angelou on gratitude. Instead of posting on Thanksgiving Day, I thought it might be useful to provide these reflections in advance for everyday pondering. Hopefully if anything they can allow for a pause in your day to remember no matter how bad it seems there is likely something you can be thankful for–in fact, maybe you will find enough reasons to create a list and hang it somewhere you see often.

As the light begins to fade in Minnesota, I have found myself to be in a place of deep reflection which at times can lead to less than grateful thoughts. Both the poem and the video help ground me when I find myself falling into habitual patterns of complaining. Both Mary and Maya remind me that part of well-being includes remembering and honoring what is important and practicing gratitude.

Mindful by Mary Oliver

Every day
I see or hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for –
to look, to listen,

to lose myself
inside this soft world –
to instruct myself
over and over

in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant –
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help

but grow wise
with such teachings
as these –
the untrimmable light

of the world,
the ocean’s shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?

One Percent by Maya Angelou