Thursday, February 7, 2013

Your Wild and Precious Life

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver says in her New and Selected Poems. I first saw the quote painted high up on the wall of a one hundred year old house. I sat in a large rocking swing with my daughter eating organic homemade ice cream, our rhythmic movements soothing, the ice creams' delectable flavors (lavender vanilla) rendering us speechless for a time. Olivers' quote is painted in large cursive meandering along the top of the wall, food for thought while experiencing food bliss.

How wild is my one life? Do I view my life as precious every day? My mother's house was sprinkled with calligraphy. I inherited one piece reminding me, "What I do today is very important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it." There are many days in my life which pass by without extraordinary events occurring. And then there are years in which hardly a break exists and the pacing is relentless. But right now my life is fairly quiet. I have the luxury of contemplation. And the subject often on my mind is the plan for my wild and precious life. Or rather the meditation is on what to make of the rest of my life.

I've accomplished many things in my life so far. "You're an amazing manifester of creativity," said a friend visiting recently. I acknowledged her compliment and yet feel distant from that woman, me, who has created so much. The near death experience last year is still teaching me, though my body has recovered. One of the things it has given me is retreat. Stillness. Forced me to it I will admit. But once I accepted it would not go away, the recovery taking longer than I expected, I surrendered my pushiness and have even, I dare say, embraced the stillness. I look into it, listen in it. Feel it. Revel in what comes out of it.

The silence speaks. Or maybe the small voice is that of my heart, a voice I have heard over the course of my life, which is gaining far more respect from me now than ever before. I wonder how fully we inhabit our own lives. How fully we make our life what we want. Or do we even allow ourselves to dream? Do I take hold of my thoughts and consciously channel them along lines I chose or do I let them meander as led by others, media, ancient history?

I've been told that we are now in times in which people are able to manifest quite rapidly. I've been told that everything in my life is what I have created. So the still point of the last year is of my own making. Oddly what most keeps me still is the deep sense that I am creating my one wild and precious life. Exhilaration and awesome responsibility course through me. Sitting at the halftime break, as I have come to view this season of rest, I have taken apart everything that guided the first half. I step consciously into each act of the present moment.

The most recent illumination coming from the silence revealed a subtle course of movement in which my choices were guided by how others would respond. Important. Sure. Considering others is a very good and necessary part of getting along. But it is not the only thing. And how or whether others appreciate, validate, approve or understand what I do is unimportant when living my one wild and precious life. I say this with deep understanding of the law of love, that which holds my actions to a course honoring the life and choices of others. But so much, so very much, of what I choose to do with my life is "none of your damn business" as my grandmother would say.

I woke with a vision of a person, the fullness of life which is possible holding the smaller life being lived within. I wonder how many of us inhabit our lives fully, letting ourselves bloom and grow and live planted free and outside of a bonsai existence?  What a lively garden we would all make if we give ourselves the gift of exploring our wild and precious selves.

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