Gratitude, Poetry and The Way It Is…

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change…

We quickly recognize what poet William Stafford is getting at in these two opening lines of his poem, “The Way It Is.” Of course, we each want to live by this thread he is describing. After all, it is our thread!

It is our own unique thread of making a difference in the world as we define it. It is our thread of caring for and supporting friends and loved ones. And it is also our thread of staying more fully connected to ourselves, others and the great other.

The practice of gratefulness supported by poems we love clears the path and fuels our journey as we follow this unique thread, which is ours alone. On this path, we sometimes experience triumph and joy. And sometimes our path is filled with the most difficult obstacles and challenges.

Gratefulness practice bolstered and intensified by poetry provides our hearts the strength and courage needed each day of our lives and journey. And particularly during those times when our normal and ordinary means of support fail and fall away.

To be sure the way it is… is each of us following our thread. It is each of us on our own unique, fierce and wonderful journey. It is each of us simply, gratefully and courageously taking one step at a time.

PS: It is not too late to sign up for my new webinar created in collaboration with the good folks at – A Fierce and Enduring Gratitude: How Poetry Supports Us In Good Times and Bad

PS PS: Please stay tuned. My new prose book is just about to be published. It is called: Poetry for the Leader Inside You… A Search and Rescue Mission for the Heart and Soul. It will feature Stafford’s poem, The Way It Is. Here is the entire poem. Notice what is at stake for each of us…

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

– William Stafford

William Stafford, “The Way It Is,” from Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems. Copyright © 1960, 1998, 2014 by William Stafford and the Estate of William Stafford. All reprinted with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc. on behalf of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota,

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