Every so often, we may be blessed to encounter a fellow human being who causes us to stop for a moment and reflect. Psychologist Dr. Fred Craigie is one of those human beings. We met a few years ago at the annual Thomas Nevola Conference at Colby College, which he founded and coordinated. The topic was civil discourse and I had been invited to be on a panel about The Value of Public Discourse and the Need for Many Voices. That afternoon, I attended Dr. Craigie’s presentation on the Inward Journey of Civil Discourse. I have since learned that he is passionate about leading people on inward journeys by posing deep, reflective questions, such as what makes your life sacred? Who hasn’t asked themselves what is the meaning of my life? Dr. Craigie’s questions go so much further. If you take the time to ponder them carefully, you may be surprised by what you discover about yourself and the meaning of your life. In this episode of the Catching Health podcast, Dr. Craigie invites us to turn inward and learn more about ourselves. He also tells us all about his new book Weekly Soul: Fifty-two Meditations on Meaningful, Joyful, and Peaceful Living.

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Something came up
out of the dark.
It wasn’t anything I had never seen before.
It wasn’t an animal
or a flower,
unless it was both.

Something came up out of the water,
a head the size of a cat
but muddy and without ears.
I don’t know what God is.
I don’t know what death is.

But I believe they have between them
some fervent and necessary arrangement.

melancholy leaves me breathless…


Water from the heavens! Electricity from the source!
Both of them mad to create something!

The lighting brighter than any flower.
The thunder without a drowsy bone in its body.


Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.


Two or three times in my life I discovered love.
Each time it seemed to solve everything.
Each time it solved a great many things
but not everything.
Yet left me as grateful as if it had indeed, and
thoroughly, solved everything.


God, rest in my heart
and fortify me,
take away my hunger for answers,
let the hours play upon my body

like the hands of my beloved,
Let the cathead appear again-
the smallest of your mysteries,
some wild cousin of my own blood probably-
some cousin of my own wild blood probably,
in the black dinner-bowl of the pond.


Death waits for me, I know it, around
one corner or another.
This doesn’t amuse me.
Neither does it frighten me.

After the rain, I went back into the field of sunflowers,
it was cool, and I was anything but drowsy.
I walked slowly, and listened.

to the crazy roots, in the drenched earth, laughing and growing.

—Mary Oliver

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it your plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver

Fred Craigie and wife
Dr. Craigie and his wife with Dewey
Weekly Soul front cover
The Fred Craigie Meditation Labyrinth at the Alfond Center for Health in Augusta, Maine