“When it’s over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.”
These lines by Mary Oliver, from her poem “When Death Comes” have always stopped me in my tracks.
In a speech I gave earlier this year, these lines were the launch. The speech, entitled “Risk.Being.Remarkable,” was for the alumni coaches at Georgetown University. A group of about 300 coaches was listening. Of course, I thought that in itself was remarkable.
I’ve been promising to provide excerpts from that speech. Here is one:
“How many of you can say you have been married to amazement at some point in your life? How many of you feel you are now married to amazement and open to holding the world in your arms?
To be amazed, I believe you have to be able to see what is remarkable all around you. And in doing so, you may be able to see and feel your own remarkability. When you adopt the beginner’s mind that Mary Oliver is referencing in those few lines, you are immensely curious and you will be amazed by even the smallest thing. And you cannot, from there, come from the place called “I know” – a place that our world actually encourages, and that is, to me, a place which likely diminishes our amazement.
It’s worth noting, isn’t it, that coming from a place called “I know” may actually , in and of itself, diminish your chance to be remarkable.”
Try on curiosity. It might feel good.
Not to generalize too much, but I find in my work that so many people live from the head, not the heart. I used to be one of them. I thought the head ruled supreme. I was convinced. Now I know better.
My coaching teacher used to say that people see themselves as a ‘head in a jar.” That is no way to be remarkable. If only the head matters, it will take more and more to ‘be amazed.’ Taking it out of Paul McCartney’s context, Maybe I’m Amazed is a stance that resists remarkability.
Remarkability is only possible when there is a marriage of head and heart, combined with ability to risk, be honest, and give voice to what you know is right. It’s always about bringing your gifts forward, and it often shows up as something insistent and sincere – in other words, a deep knowing. Sometimes it feels so vulnerable. Yes. This is one of the precedents, I think.
Write me about your experiences, I am interested in learning about them.