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When We No Longer Know May 12, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Magick & Mystery, Mindfulness, Poetry.

Turtle-UnderwaterIt may be when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.

~ Wendell Berry


1. Andra Watkins - May 12, 2013


nrhatch - May 12, 2013

Last night, as I read Coming To Our Senses, this quoted poem sang out to me.

2. Tom Merriman - May 12, 2013

Very true, Nancy… and I think my mind will always be employed, for I am always baffled! ๐Ÿ˜€

nrhatch - May 12, 2013

Yes! When we look at our befuddlement and bafflement this way, we see doubts and confusions as motivating factors causing us to look deeper still.

3. aprobertsstories - May 12, 2013

This is wonderful. Thank you for sharing it.

nrhatch - May 12, 2013

I’ve never read any of Wendell Berry’s poetry before . . . but these few lines said so much.

4. Nancy Curteman - May 12, 2013

What an uplifting philosophy. It encourages us to continue seeking when we feel lack of direction.

nrhatch - May 12, 2013

Yesterday, I got “stuck” and started to fret about being “stuck” ~ this poem reached out and said, “Roll up your sleeves . . . there’s work to be done.” :mrgreen:

5. katecrimmins - May 12, 2013

Happy mother’s day!

nrhatch - May 12, 2013

Thanks, Kate. Now that my nieces and nephews are older, the only “mothering” I do is taking care of Tigger. Hope you’re enjoying the latest additional to your family.

6. ericjbaker - May 12, 2013

I just asked my GPS what I should do with my life and it said “You choose”

nrhatch - May 12, 2013

It might have said, “Turn right in 300 feet.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

ericjbaker - May 12, 2013

My GPS is apolitical.

nrhatch - May 13, 2013

Haha! I should have seen that coming! :mrgreen:

7. diannegray - May 12, 2013

This is fantastic, Nancy. My mind is always baffled and when it’s not I’ll be worried. What a lovely quote! ๐Ÿ˜€

nrhatch - May 12, 2013

Here’s to being baffled! ๐Ÿ˜›

8. sufilight - May 12, 2013

I am at that age when i don’t need to worry about finding a career or purpose to define me, yet, there is a part of me that wants a direction, a depth waiting to be expressed. Now which way do I go? Guess, I would have to ask my GPS.

nrhatch - May 12, 2013

It’s great to see the “next best step” or have our “inner GPS” point us in the right direction.

When we are clueless, there’s “real work” to be done.

sufilight - May 12, 2013

Wow, I never saw it this way, Nancy. Thanks for the insight.

nrhatch - May 12, 2013

I found the poem reassuring . . . it’s OK to not know what comes next.

9. Catherine Johnson - May 12, 2013

I love ‘the mind that is not baffled is not employed’ that would make a great blog header

nrhatch - May 12, 2013

That word has been a FAVE today. I often say, “I don’t know,” but now I’ll be content to say, “I’m baffled.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

10. aawwa - May 12, 2013

Some real wisdom there. It is when we hit rock bottom that sometimes there is rare insight ๐Ÿ™‚

nrhatch - May 12, 2013

I used to try to map out the future. Now I’m generally content to know only “what’s next?” Yesterday, even that was beyond the scope of my headlights.

But searching for “what next” caused me to bump into this poem.

11. Perfecting Motherhood - May 13, 2013

Oh, I feel that’s where I’m at right now! I’m just not sure which direction to go and how.

nrhatch - May 13, 2013

Not knowing what’s next can be disconcerting . . . especially when we’re used to having “all the answers.”

Here’s to finding our next best step. ๐Ÿ˜€

12. Three Well Beings - May 13, 2013

I’m such a Wendell Berry fan, Nancy! This is perfect!
“The mind that is not baffled is not employed.” Is that not just excellent!!

nrhatch - May 13, 2013

Iโ€™ve never read any of Wendell Berryโ€™s work before. Seeing how much he said in these few lines, I understand why you’re a fan.

Reading this made “not knowing” OK . . . for now, anyway.

13. adeeyoyo - May 13, 2013

I love this, Nancy. It rings so true.

nrhatch - May 13, 2013

I thought about introducing it, or sharing my thoughts on it, but decided it would do just fine as a “Stand Alone Poem.” ๐Ÿ˜€

14. Don - May 13, 2013

Marvellous words. Full of hope.

nrhatch - May 13, 2013

It appeared just as I needed to read it ~ “it’s OK not to know.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

15. Pix Under the Oaks - May 13, 2013

As you know, I am all about befuddlement so I like this idea of the mind that is not baffled is not employed.. ๐Ÿ™‚

nrhatch - May 13, 2013

Here’s to being befuddled and baffled! ๐Ÿ˜›

16. dearrosie - May 13, 2013

Oh gosh what a brilliant poem. I recognize Wendell Berry’s name and I know I’ve read his poetry but I can’t remember any of them so thanks for the nudge that I need to go check him out …

nrhatch - May 13, 2013

Glad you enjoyed it, Rose. One of my favorite things about blogging is how easy it is to share nudges with each other.

17. dearrosie - May 13, 2013

I found some of his poetry on Garrison Keillor’s “The Writers Almanac”

“… born in Port Royal, Kentucky (1934) Berry publishes poetry, essays, and novels, most of which reflect his concern for the natural world and the ways we interact with it.

Berry said, “Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you.”

nrhatch - May 13, 2013

Good philosophy. I read a few other poems by Berry after bumping into this one . . . but this one remained my favorite.

18. colonialist - May 13, 2013

I prefer to use Satnav, and not waste time! ๐Ÿ™‚

19. Christine M Grote - June 6, 2013

The story of my life right now.

nrhatch - June 6, 2013

I got that sense reading one of your posts today:

Our befuddlement and bafflement, doubts and confusion, can be motivating factors causing us to look deeper still.

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