I don’t remember the first time I read these beautiful words by Mary Oliver, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” but I’ve read them thousands of times since. It’s a big, scary question, but one we can benefit from visiting frequently.
I haven’t always known the answer to this question, and for a long time, I didn’t even consider it. I was too busy, and too consumed with everything I thought I was supposed to be doing. My life was on auto-pilot.
When I began to simplify my life, I realized there was another way, and so much more to consider about how I was spending my time and energy.
1. Write every day.
When you put what’s on your mind on paper, your thoughts become real and something to actually consider. Be honest even if you are afraid of the answers. Your mind can easily dismiss your dreams, but your eyes and heart cannot.
2. Capture beauty.
Learn to appreciate your surroundings and capture photos of what you think is truly beautiful to help you define the wild and precious in your life. Try a creative photography course, or create a daily photo challenge for yourself.
3. Make space.
Box up everything in your living room and put it in another room. Only bring things back into the room that contribute to your wild and precious life.
4. Make time.
Make an appointment in your calendar at least once a week that is time just for you. Use it to take a walk, read a book outside, or to visit a museum or art gallery. Make this weekly date sacred.
5. Make love.
Give your time and attention to someone or something you love. Engage, connect, and the love you give will come back in so many ways.
6. Express your gratitude.
You’ll never be happy with a new way of living if you can’t recognize what you love about your life right now. Look around you right now and identify 10 things you are grateful for. They are always right in front of you.
7. Let go.
If there are struggles standing in the way of your one wild and precious life, ask for help and see if there is a better way through. Make the heavy things light when you can, and give yourself permission to let go when it’s time. Consider that you may be holding on to things you think are holding you.
8. Change course.
There is nothing wrong with changing direction, or changing your mind, and charting a new course. Explore, be curious, and be open to something new
While we can’t be certain about how our lives will unfold, when we decide to be mindful about how we spend our time, and the people we want to be, we have a shot at not only knowing the answer to this lovely question, but living it too.