Your One Wild and Precious Life

I remember the first time I read the Mary Oliver poem “The Summer Day” where at the end she asks: “Tell me, what do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” That question has been my beacon, my light guiding me, nudging me, shoving me, laughing me into my life worth living. It gets me to ask myself the question “is this feeding your soul??” And the answer to that question helps me to know what to do next. It stops me from dreading and moves me towards doing. It keeps my heart light and light in my heart. Because even when I’m getting my tax stuff ready for the tax stuff people, I have a choice in the state of my heart as I do it. Because every moment we have an opportunity to create a life worth living.

And the truly great news is that no matter our story, no matter where our journey takes us, we can still, no matter what – if we are intentional about it, create a life worth living – with this one wild and precious life that we have.

How do you figure out what to do with your one wild and precious life? Well, for many people, therapy is a good place to start. Fun fact: people always want to know – if I go to therapy – do I sit on a chair? Or do I have to lie down on a couch? In my own office, you have both to choose from. (Well, actually one is a love seat not a couch; but as long as you take your shoes off, if you want to lie down, go right ahead – though mostly people sit). The first decision you have to make about your life in my office is where you sit. It is a GREAT place to start, because it DOESN’T MATTER. If you choose wrong, get up and switch. If you choose well, sit there for a moment and think about how it wasn’t so bad to make a decision that you were 100% in charge of. My wish to you is this: May you think it is a great idea warranting action to find your life worth living.

Carolyn Phelps PHD LP

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

—poet, Mary Oliver

Lonsdale Building

302 West Superior Street, Suite 502 • Duluth, MN 55802

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