I was recently asked to give a reflection on the question posed by Mary Oliver . “What will you do with your one wild and precious life.?” The text for my talk is below.
My life has been fairly wild, and certainly precious. In my fifty seven years I have lived in the Caribbean, studying with Tibetan monks, learned four languages, received an Ivy League education, home birthed and homeschooled three children, founded and ran a vocational Healing Arts school, been married twice, drove to Alaska with a newborn, lived in a tent, bought Yellow Sulphur Springs, renovated so many structures, written, directed, and acted in plays, attended protests, bike commuted, attended dozens of music festivals, thrown hundreds of parties and given thousands of acupuncture treatments.
Definitely wild, definitely precious.
Somedays the wildness seems distant. I have been sorting through our hundreds of loose photos and am indeed being reminded that in fact all those things are true.
My life these days is more sedate, more ordered. I treat patients or teach six days a week. There is a bit of paying back the piper in all this – some of those adventures had been secured on credit.
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy”. Rabindranath Tagore
My work is service. I am service – as Gary Johnson would say “it’s my Love Language.
And I have discovered that the “random acts of kindness” are as rewarding as working at the food pantry.
The more I give away, look for what is wanted and needed, provide food for those i love, the more manageable my own life seems. And so I give: not as a martyr, I take care of myself plenty and have pretty solid boundaries, but because there is, as mother used to say, “no lack.”
I will always practice acupuncture in some way shape or form. While there are many days I don’t want to go to work, there are never any days I don’t want to BE at work once I get there. I know that if I quit working, within two weeks someone would have a headache, a pain, a misery that I know would benefit from a healing touch, a well placed needle.
AS I look further into the future I see that at some point soon we will have to transfer the responsibilities of owning Yellow Sulphur and we will have to pay the Parent Plus Loans we secured for college educations. I would like to travel a bit more. And there will be grandchildren to help take care of.
Right now I chose to live my life without too much peering ahead and worrying about what will become of me. I have a deep faith in the order of the universe and I trust that if I keep my heart open and pay attention I will be in the right place at the right time. One of my mantra’s is “Every day I give, every day I receive. “ And so I do. Thank you.