… what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? I just got home from a book reading. Actually, it was more of a mindfulness workshop, but I didn’t know that when I decided to go. The author included lots and lots of mini meditations in her lecture. And one of them focussed on this simple question, taken from a poem by Mary Oliver called The Summer Day.
Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
When the words first hit me I was paralyzed – by their simplicity to which I had no answer. Maybe it was too sudden. Maybe the question caught me off-guard. But then again, shouldn’t we all know what we want to do with our wild and precious life? And shouldn’t we know it by heart, literally and figuratively speaking?
Well, I didn’t. Not because I’ve never thought about it. Rather because I have thought about it too much lately. And not surprisingly, I have not been able to come up with a rational answer that would satisfy me. I was stuck in analysis paralysis.
I now know that I was stuck because I had been thinking about it mainly within the tight framework of career change and occupational choice. Which is not surprising as I’m in the middle of a career transition. Well, so far, it’s only theoretical. I haven’t taken any decision yet, because I know what I do not want to do anymore, without knowing what I do want to do.
Interestingly though, after many more mini meditations – including a body scan, a gratitude exercise and a self-love meditation – she asked us that same question again. There was the gong. And off we went again. I closed my eyes – and to my huge surprise the words just poured into me….
What I want to do with my one wild and precious life? I want to live, not just survive. I want to take life in fully, I want to rediscover the joy of live. I don’t want to hold my breath anymore, I want to reconnect with the childlike playfulness I once knew. I want to love with all my heart again, fearlessly, and be loved back with that same intensity and fearlessness. I want to live my life so that I have nothing, no thing, to regret when my time eventually runs out.
Is that a career choice? No. But it certainly would be a life worth living. And maybe, once I started living that way, all the other pieces – like which career choice would fulfill me more – might then fall into place all by themselves.
The key to answering the question, I now realize, was not to focus on what I want to do with my life but rather how I want to live, how I want to be, how I want to feel. It’s answering the question with my heart, not my mind. It might not answer all the questions (yet). But it’s a damn good start.
What is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? How would you like to live? How would you want to be? How would you want to feel? Think about it.
(And tell me, if you like).
Feature image © Pixabay/ElisaRiva