One of my favorite quotes is from the American poet Mary Oliver:
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I have this posted on the corkboard over my desk, and I look at it every day. Like many of us, there are days when my life becomes cluttered with tasks and worries, and I need to remind myself of the finiteness of my existence on earth. It is very easy to put off the things that bring joy in exchange for “getting stuff done.” We are a society driven to produce, to accomplish, to achieve. I like to think that I haven’t bought into that paradigm, but in reality I have. Sitting still, strolling without measuring miles or heart rates, or even reading purely for pleasure can produce a voice inside that says, “you could be getting something accomplished.” Checking off tasks feels good momentarily, but then leads to new lists, new distractions, new reasons to avoid being truly present.

In a week’s time I will be departing for a grand adventure to Mongolia with three other women. I have a nagging feeling that I should be scrambling, getting everything done that I won’t be able to do while I’m gone. However, if I listen to my higher self, I know that this week could find me joyfully enjoying my time at home prior to leaving. Instead of rushing around doing household and business chores, I could allow myself to feel the excitement of my imminent journey. Packing my bag would be play, not a chore filled with worry about forgetting something. Walking my dog and enjoying my freshly brewed coffee are sacred moments. When I take a moment to just be present, and to live in wonder of all of the amazing things in this world, I feel more solid and sure than when I finish everything on my to-do list.

It isn’t about getting things done, it’s about finding joy in what we do. Letting the rest of our mental chatter go. Distilling our experience to its essential core. Living fully in each moment.

“Stop measuring days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence.” – Alan Watts

My wish for you is that you allow yourself to be present with your one wild and precious life, and to allow your “must-dos” to become “want-tos.” You only get one shot so make it count…joyfully!