Tell me…

… 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


20 thoughts on “Tell me…

  1. “What I want to do with my one wild and precious life?…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…I want to live, not just survive.”
    Wow, you captured the essence of that age-old question perfectly! I think it’s very liberating when we can make an honest assessment of want we really want out of life: Live, not survive. How, not what.
    Thanks for sharing your heart & great to see you back on the page.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have to tell you… you speak my language. What a wonderful journey you are on, and you have a lot of courage and are building more courage by sharing it with the world!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your beautiful remark, lolabees. I’m afraid I’m not such a sucker for change as you are, given your last blog post, but I certainly start seeing the benefits. And I guess we appreciate the journey more once we’ve taken it and can see the fruits. The ultimate thing would, of course, be to enjoy the journey as we walk it… Maybe one day 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I was interviewed​ by the Daily Mail in 2014 to discuss an operation I’d had, and I told them pretty much the same as what you said, before the operation I felt I was existing but not living.

    For me, I just want to live honestly. I want to do the things that bring me joy, spending time with my family, walking the dogs, baking, gardening. I try to treat my household as if it could be their last day on earth or my own, and that way you’re far more loving – even with their or your bad habits.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can so relate. It seems we need a little shake-up, in whatever shape, for us to realize what is really important and find the courage to actually focus on it. I feel the same about living honestly. I have also recently taken up baking bread. What a wonderful way to calm down. And I also garden, well, take care of my terrace. You might like this post:
      PS: My garden does not look so great at the moment. Gets me thinking….


  4. Thanks for sharing, I’m with you… in some sort of transition about work, although I haven’t left the job yet, nothing else appeals to me much either. So I’ve been sitting in the depths of what-to-do next and realize I want to live with abandon and freedom, joy and passion, and just as you say, with “childlike playfulness.” Over these many years mothering and financially supporting children consumed me and now as they are moving on and out, at almost 62, well, enough of this adulting! It’s time to enjoy more. Now I just need to figure out how to get started.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my God I am so touched. Please feel free to contribute this to Forgiving Fridays for this week – what an amazing experience and opening to your heart.

    I happen to love Mary Oliver. What would I do with my one wild and precious life? LOVE and express joy!!!!! And do forgiveness coaching around the world, spreading kindness and connection. Thank you for asking.

    Blessings to you ❤ Debbie
    ps – here's how you contribute (I know you did it before, just in case it's helpful to have a reminder): simply include a pingback to my most recent Forgiving Fridays post & #ForgivingFridays in your tags. Here's the most recent link:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Debbie. Loving and expressing joy and forgiveness coaching sound like a very good choice! (always happy to link back to your Forgiving Fridays site, I just didn’t want to overcrowd your blog posts. There are so many good posts about forgiveness out there) 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi!! ❤ You are welcome to contribute to Forgiving Fridays anytime! I love reading your posts, and I get a lot of value for them. Sharing this post with my readers is a fantastic gift. I got the pingback on my blog & plan to share this tomorrow. Sending many blessings your way. Mary Oliver is wonderful. 🙂


  7. Well-written and something I need to keep focusing on- being instead of just doing. After having left my profession in 2012, I have basically just been wandering around trying to put the pieces together for how to live from here on out. Messy and somewhat embarrassing, but I will get it figured out sooner or later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tell me about it…. sounds similar to what I’m going through, wandering around and putting the pieces together. Not straightforward to put general ideas into practice in day-to-day life. I’m sure we’ll figure it out eventually 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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