We all know we get just one go ‘round at this party on planet earth.
We’ve nodded at the old statement/cliche: “no one on their death bed ever said: I wish I’d spent more time at the office.”
And I’ll betcha you’ve heard Mary Oliver’s inspiring poem The Summer Day (or at least the iconic final line): “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” and felt a longing to live that way. (you might’ve even pinned that one on your “inspiring quotes” board on pinterest.)
But are we living mindfully? Living in a way that reflects that longing?
I know I’m not always mindful. I’ve been known to veg out on the couch, binging on old episodes of The Office on Netflix. Or sleeping in instead of getting on the elliptical – even though I know I’d feel better if I did.
You might wonder why I confess this, since I make my living helping women use journaling to figure out what they want to do “with their one wild and precious life,” and then do that…but I’m not always on track doing it myself.
Because living a life of meaning, and/or trying to forge a life off the beaten path isn’t easy. And it takes practice.
We try and we fail…but if we really want it, we try again. We remind ourselves, we get up again; we course correct. We find allies and fellow travelers; we ask for support. We forgive ourselves and keep at it.
Everyday we have to choose it and work it.
One great way to get started is…
(you know what i’m going to say, don’t you? it’s the secret sauce in my arsenal of self-discovery …)
…to write for a few minutes every day. Write to remind yourself what you want and what matters. Get up in the morning, or stop before lunch, or right before bed, pull out whatever notebook or scrap of paper you can find, and remind yourself that if you don’t want to wind up regretting the long hours at the office, the neglected relationships, or the lack of a creative outlet in your life, you’ve got to spend time with yourself. Take a few minutes today and remind yourself what you really want.
If you don’t KNOW what you really want, all the more reason to write.
Try this at home: Start with: “I don’t know what I want, but I really want to know…” or “I wonder what I want…”
Because if you want to find your way to your own answers, be in the process, write your way out of and into new goals and dreams, you’ve got to start where you are. Get writing. You’ll meet yourself on the page in between kvetch-fests and to-do lists. You’ll uncover repeat patterns, and you’ll discover the ways that you are your best ally, and where you sabotage your own best intentions. (note to self: you feel better when you do a 1/2 hour on the elliptical. for fark sake, deb, get on the damn thing tomorrow).
What are YOU going to do today? What are you going to do with that one wild and precious life?
I encourage women to use a writing practice as a tool for self discovery, making more aligned choices and living a fabulous life of meaning.
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