Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
The Summer Day — Mary Oliver
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”.
This can be a terrifying question. I spent many years afraid of truly going after what I wanted in life. Looking back I see I was afraid. Afraid of failure, afraid of rejection, and in hindsight I see I was secretly afraid of success too. That fear had kept me “safe” for years, yet was I really living my most inspired and aligned life? It took years of digging deep, uncovering all sorts of old stories to explore what my fear was about and where it came from ( and I’m not sure I’ll ever be done digging). Through this process I realized that I was the only one that could change my life. I was the only one who could live my most wild and precious life. It was up to me. No one can do that for me.
Shit. How liberating, yet truly terrifying, that realization was.
In June 2017 I found myself co-leading retreat in the wild and beautiful Todos Santos, Mexico. Our desert retreat center was filled with dozens of dream catchers. One of the women that worked on the retreat kitchen crew, along with her daughter and husband, created these dream catchers to supplement their meager income. Most of the dream catchers were bought by our women on retreat to take back home to the US as mementos. As our retreat came to a close we asked if she would be willing to teach those of us who were staying an extra night to make our own dream catchers. We had no idea the adventure we were about to embark on.
The woman and her pre-teen daughter arrived right after dinner. With great care each of us picked out our colors of yarn, string, ribbon and the lovely beads, trinkets and feathers that we wished to weave into our creations. That evening the woman and her daughter sat with us for hours and hours as we each worked with diligence. Though we spoke different languages we shared, we laughed and connected the best we could. There were moments where each of us had to overcome boundaries in communication or where we had to ask for help because we were stuck, didn’t know what to do, or because we messed up. The woman and her daughter patiently offered their knowledge and wisdom with kindness and compassion. As midnight neared we still sat working together, determined to see the dream catcher creations through till the end. At the end of the night we were exhausted, amazed, and proud of the individual creations we each so lovingly created. Each dream catcher was a unique, yet beautiful reflection of the woman who created it. None of them were perfect creations in a traditional sense, yet each was a perfect reflection of the journey we had just completed.
I’m pretty sure making a dream catcher is a metaphor for living our best life.
Though the evening was a fun little art project, I learned a few things that have imbedded deeply within my soul. I learned that catching our dreams takes great determination yet is always worth the effort. And that messing up, especially when we embark on something new, is just part of the process. I learned that the patterns we weave with intention and mindfulness will always be beautiful, even if they don’t look like we envisioned they would. I learned that surrounding yourself with a community of others who are on this path is essential. And asking for help from those who have walked this path before us reminds us we are not alone.
So, I ask again, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Join us on retreat or in our Soul Nourish + FORM yoga 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training with Mandy Roberts and Shari L Fox. Head to Soul Nourish Retreats to learn more about our programs and we can support you in living your most inspired life.