As the new year approached and even now, a month into this new year, a line I read years ago in a poem has been echoing in my mind:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
— Mary Oliver, "The Summer Day"
I love that. The question ASSUMES so much — that we have but one life, that it’s a worthwhile life, and that we have a responsibility inherent in our existence (i.e., life is what you make of it).
That same question also DEMANDS just as much — that we take ownership of the time we're given, that we be intentional and that we sense the gravity (and grandeur) of our lives.
It’s such a heavy and beautiful question.
Now, take a second and read those words again. "What [is it] you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Does the question overwhelm you? Scare you into avoidance? Excite you to action? Inspire you to dream? Feel rhetorical? Any or all of those? Good. I encourage you to wrestle with those feelings and thoughts. Sit in that discomfort. Embrace the process and go where it leads ...
Here's a few ways to explore your passions and purposes:
Create a vision board. Science tells us that our brains respond to creative and visual endeavors, so take some time to gather images, quotes, and inspiring items and place them strategically in a space where you'll regularly see them. There's no right or wrong way to do this — just find things that represent how you want to feel, what you want out of life and what matters to you. Draw, paint, paste or post — use poster-board or cork-board or chalkboard or even a Pinterest board!
Journal. Allow some time and space every couple of days to sit down and reflect on the question above (or any one of dozens of self-discovery journal prompts - take a second and search "journaling for self-discovery" ...). Writing while reflecting is one of the most effective ways to sort through feelings and thoughts.
Ask around. The people that know you best can be great mirrors, reflecting the truth about yourself back to you. Ask trusted friends and family about what they've noticed makes you happy, angry, excited, curious, sad, etc. Ask for compliments and constructive criticism — both contain information we can use for plotting our futures.
May Oliver's poetic question inspire you in your goal setting, decision-making and hopes for this year. May 2017 be one of profound purpose, intentionality and joy.
(P.S. Need some extra inspiration? I find the song - and video - below seems to always up the ante!)
(P.P.S. The team at Seasons is available, if you’re looking for help along the way — just get in touch!)