“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oilver
I love these words by Mary Oliver.
They are especially poignant this week as we navigate the loss of one of our cherished yoga students at the studio where I teach.
Whenever death arrives, whether it’s a loved one, a friend, a member of the community or even a celebrity, I find myself taking stock. Turning inward.
Am I living the life I truly want to be living?
Am I appreciating each and every moment?
Do I recognize each breath as the gift that it is?
Do my feet hit the floor in the morning with deep gratitude that I get another day to play in this world?
Do I appreciate and show that appreciation for the people in my life through my words and actions?
Do I enter each encounter as if I might never see that person again?
Have I left anything unsaid?
It sounds like it might be a morbid way to live. Or it may just be the gateway to living with deep gratitude and presence.
I came across this recently by Bodhipaska:
Life is unpredictable. When you’re with someone, you have no idea if you’ll ever see each other again. Everyone you see today—this may your last encounter. And maybe you should behave as if it was. What last impression, what last words, would you like them to have of you, should either of you die tomorrow? Life is short; be kind.
Adopt as a mantra, “We may never meet again.” Let yourself feel vulnerable and tender. Let yourself feel affection. Let yourself appreciate others’ basic goodness. Let your tendency to focus on the negative fall away, and recognize that you’re surrounded by good people who are struggling to find happiness in a world where true happiness is rare. Let yourself love.
The trouble is, you think you’ll have time to love later, and you might not, so behave as if you don’t have time to waste, and let yourself love: Now.
That puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?
Mary Oliver’s words take on a new significance to me now. I used to think they meant I had to find some grand purpose that would change the world for the better.
Now, I think that if I live my life truly appreciating the gift of each breath, each moment, each encounter, living with vulnerability and tenderness, then that is a beautiful way to spend my one wild and precious life.