Yesterday, just before conferring university degrees to my daughter and her fellow soon-to-be-graduates, the Resident Dean of her dorm recited a poem. These were the words, she reminded the students and parents, that she sent to the students, before they moved into the dorm, and these were the last words she wanted to leave them with. I include the poem in its entirety:
radical gratitude spell
by adrienne maree brown
you are a miracle walking
i greet you with wonder
in a world which seeks to own
your joy and imagination
you have chosen to be free,
every day, as a practice.
i can never know
the struggles you went through to get here,
but i know you have swum upstream
and at times it has been lonely
i want you to know
i honor the choices you made in solitude
and i honor the work you have done to
i honor your commitment to that which is
larger than yourself
and your journey
to love the particular container of life
that is you
you are enough
your work is enough
you are needed
your work is sacred
you are here
and i am grateful
This poem expresses gratitude not for the possessions or acquisitions one may obtain in life, but rather gratitude for the presence of those here on the planet, doing their sacred work. This poem does not say, thank you for giving me what I want, but rather thank you for being.
This poem honors the importance and necessity of every person, for their individual passions and gifts and sacred work. This poem does not merely tolerate difference; it celebrates it. It says, yes, please do your thing; we need you.
This poem is a beautiful way to envision how we can love others, by honoring them, giving them space, and thanking them for being who they are. And the final stanza of this poem is my new daily mantra, reminding me that I am enough, that I am needed, that my work is sacred. Reminding me to be grateful for myself. And so grateful for all the beautiful souls I share my life with.