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wild and precious

2019 is firmly here and some people will have been working on their new year’s resolutions for nearly a month now. Are you one of them? How is it going?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

 

buscando_casa2

 

Since giving up my pocket poem “Guest House” I have been searching for a new poem for daily reflection. Something to carry with every day to remind of why I’m here and what I’m trying to accomplish on this short visit to planet Earth. Something that reminds me to stop right now and just be. Something to remind me that as the seconds and days go by, with each one, I too … by the seconds and days … move past 50 years old. Turning 50 hasn’t been bad, on the contrary. It feels like it’s been a a gentle, rolling wake-up call: the proverbial “some day” is now. The past 50 years have been great, but I have just sort of fumbled forward following my heart and opportunities. For some months now I have been wondering … what am I doing with my life, what is important to me and what must I do before I go? I am seeking my true calling, my vocation and passion. I am seeking what makes me really come alive. I sense it is something to do with education and training for social change, but what, where, how and with whom?

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a poem: the summer day by Mary Oliver

I’ve decided upon the last two lines of US American poet Mary Oliver’s “The Summer Day” for my next poem in my pocket. The poem is beautiful, and yet these two lines alone are also poetic and they are precisely my mission.

all_threeThe Summer Day
….
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
….

poetry in the pocket

As someone working on my own personal transformation for myself, as well as the collective social well-being, I believe in and am moved by poetry. It’s one of my little pick-me-up, quick touchstone, a way to ground. There is power in the skinniness of the words and the enormity of the story that poetry can tell.

grounding and being

Since every now and then I put things in my pocket to help me keep on track when I am navigating a tricky stretch of life. The “things” tend to be a … rock or pebble, note to self, poem, piece of string, tiny doll, coin, seashell …. The thing is there to anchor me in my journey, reminding me with its mere presence to mindfully pay attention and work whatever trick the object is tasked to remind me of. It invites me to ask with simple, non-judgmental self-observation: what I am doing, where it is taking me, and why I’m going there?

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Poetry is a tool for self-support to help me keep something important alive in my head and heart even in the moments when life rushes over me blurring my priorities.

2019 and beyond

I also do the donkey work of making plans, setting goals, checking-in on my progress, adjusting the plan as necessary and (very important) I keep trying. January is a good time to do this, but in my view so is the whole year. Following through on plans, goals and progress require steady work after all.

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In previous posts like, Guest House, 2015 and SMART goals, I have shared a bit about my approach. And this year, with this new poem in in my pocket is where I’m headed – towards a wild and precious life. Join me?

 


RIP —  Rest in Power, Mary Oliver who passed away last week, 17 January 2019.

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 would I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?

From Mary Oliver, ‘New and Selected Poems’, Boston, Beacon Press, 1992

 

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