Your one wild and precious life


The unconventional rule-breaker Chris Guillebeau has written a book – The Art of NonConformity – that has struck such a deep chord in me.

A chord that is resonating down to the inner cave where I keep hidden, way in the back, over behind a pillar, a pile of precious dreams.

A pile of dreams that I stashed there – inside a worn steamer trunk, covered in mirrors and starfish – back when I was 12, back when I was 20, back when I was 29.

Each time that I gave up, each time that circumstances seemed bigger than I was, each time it seemed that the world might not be able to deliver to me the life that I thought, until then, I was going to have.

This has been a very powerful year. My kids left home for college. My life was virtually overtaken by my parents’ needs.

I struggled to keep my head above water and keep on purpose, on target, on … sanity.

I embarked upon Danielle LaPorte’s study-yourself-at-home program, The FireStarter Sessions, stealing precious pre-dawn hours to be with myself, a white mug of tea warming my hands, pondering, contemplating her brilliant questions – my favorite, What do you obsess about?

What do you obsess about?

That question led me down rabbit warrens of truths that led me to the door of that inner cave I was talking about.

Such silly things…

… my weight, this crooked tooth here, the way that the right side of my face seems to be shifting toward the left and of course, money and how there seems always, just enough to maintain but never that ‘little bit more’ it would take to shift.

I obsess about shifting.

I was already dancing.

Dancing with a shift into 100% Raw with Susan Powers’ Rawmazing recipes. My body telling me how much it loved this deep tissue nourishment.

Dancing back out again.

Dancing, shifting into %100 low-carb
and out again.

Dabbling in yoga, giving it up. Coming back to the mat. Quitting again.

A dance of excuses and also, of real-life, can’t get out of them, obligations.
A dance of “will I ever choose a path and stick to it?”

A dance with my shadow and my soul.



Then, I started reading Chris’s book, The Art of NonConformity. Deceptively simple, written in a clear, matter-of-fact tone, it’s a powerful spark – a wake-up call, a beacon of hope to all of us ‘unconventionals’ who’ve been pretending that we were, you know, just like everyone else.

And pretending we don’t know that ‘everyone else’ is just pretending, too.

And then, yesterday morning at 6:15 a.m., cuddled under my jacket in a corner of my favorite cafe, I was reading Chris’s book…

…in love with his words, in love with the possibility of my own life

….when a verse from a Mary Oliver poem drifted toward me: Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

I have had that question taped to the inside of my vision notebook… for years.

Because I really really want to use my one wild and precious life well.

And of course, so do you.

And so today, I am envisioning and taking a stand with myself. I am forming a future that is worthy of me, worthy of the expense of my one wild and precious life.

I invite you to do the same.

Doing this presses me up against some deep fears:
1) That I am more powerful than I can possibly imagine (or keep tabs on).
2) That when I manage to wrestle my wild mind into anything like focus, I will be able to create a powerful magnet that will, inevitably, draw my sailboat joy life toward me.

That’s what I call it: My sailboat joy life. And the thought that it might be out there, waiting for me, is the most exhilarating and terrifying thing of all.

What do you call yours? The dream life that calls to you. What’s its name? What does it call you toward?

I thought you might like to see some of what I’ve written (this is only a summary. The actual vision that I crafted is over two, single-spaced pages long.)

After you read it, feel free to use the comments section to share some of your own wild and precious dreams with me.

I rise with the sun

I sit on the porch of my beautiful new home on the East End of Long Island – overlooking the water, pinching myself with joy and counting my blessings.

I have just returned from Paris, where I spent a month writing in cafes and getting reacquainted with the city I fell in love with 30 years ago.

My book has been published, another is with the publisher.

I am offering a workshop which I am calling Sanctuary: A retreat for the soul

I am fulfilling my purpose

My relationships are honest, clean and fiercely loving.

My children, launched into their own lives, are thriving.

My body is healthy and strong.

My skin is bright and clear; my eyes shine with peace and health.

I am fully feeling my life

I am opening and opening and opening the heart.

I am teaching; I am learning. I am serving.

I am opening and opening and opening the mind.

to faith
to the wisdom of the elders and the ancients
to the mysteries God shows to me
to the light/love/life energy is flowing through me and from me as I do the work of my soul, writing, teaching, loving – in partnership with the Divine.

What BIG dreams do you have hidden in the caves and closets of your heart?
What do YOU obsess about?
What will you make of this one, wild life?

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