The Minutes of Your Life

mary-oliver-upstream“Teach the children. We don’t matter so much, but the children do. Show them daisies and the pale hepatica. Teach them the taste of sassafras and wintergreen. The lives of the blue sailors, mallow, sunbursts, the moccasin flowers. And the frisky ones—inkberry, lamb’s-quarters, blueberries. And the aromatic ones—rosemary, oregano. Give them peppermint to put in their pockets as they go to school. Give them the fields and the woods and the possibility of the world salvaged from the lords of profit. Stand them in the stream, head them upstream, rejoice as they learn to love this green space they live in, its sticks and leaves and then the silent, beautiful blossoms.

Attention is the beginning of devotion.”

Mary Oliver – Upstream: Selected Essays

In January, the poet Mary Oliver died, aged 83.

“Attention is the beginning of devotion”.  That line has always been impactful for me in the way that Mary Oliver words often provoke deep contemplation, curiosity and engagement.  Her poems encourage me to keep moving, to lose myself in the awe of the unknown and to give power and time to creative urges and whimsy.  A stroll in my garden to see if the mint has survived the last snowfall.  A walk by the river to feel the crispness of winter air.  Or, on a day like today, being inspired by a favourite poet to write a blog.  In her poem “A Summer Day” she left us also with a question that is often quoted “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Where Does Our Attention Flow?

where-we-focus-attentionWhere our attention goes, so goes our life.  Whatever is the focus of our attention becomes more prominent because our attention, our focus, is an aiming of energy. What we choose to direct our attention toward is what our life ends up becoming.

The key question here is – what are we focusing on?

We already break up our lives into years, but if we break up those years into days and those days into hours and those hours into minutes, how many minutes are in each of our days?  If most people sleep about eight hours per night, that leaves 16 or so hours awake each day.  That is about 1,000 minutes of awake time.  We are paying attention to something in each of those minutes – what is it? If attention is the beginning of devotion as Mary Oliver writes, what are we devoted to?

In our fast-paced world, life is often too busy for us to notice where our attention is focussed.  We work toward making a better future, letting go of the past, and getting through our days.  We cook, eat, clean, drive, exercise, get up, lay down and watch life lived on media screens.   We adorn ourselves in yesterday’s news and try to make sense of our world. We try to engage in our relationships, in our health, in our dreams.   During our day we occasionally stumble upon joy, experience moments of awe and connection with others.  Sometimes day follows day and we cannot account for the thousands of minutes lived that now belong to the past.

What We Give Power to Has Power Over Us

According to Mary Oliver, “to pay attention, this is our endless and proper work” and yet this is no simple task.  How many of those precious minutes in each of our days, in this one lifetime, do we engage fully and consciously in our life’s unfolding?  In our one precious day, how many minutes do we give away carelessly and how many do we safeguard for ourselves?  How many of our minutes do we use to consume, and how many to create?   How many minutes do we spend inside our bodies, grounded to the earth, roots deep in life?  How many minutes do we spend heads in the clouds dreaming our dreams?   And how many minutes do we spend afraid, playing small, meeting other’s expectations, unable to take the steps we know we should and could?  And how many minutes of our day do we spend angry, overwhelmed and resentful?  How about joy, connection, compassion, are these minutes many or few?  How about the minutes that go toward self-sabotaging, self-deprecating, and self-judging?  And the lost minutes that we can never get back, those where life is watching us from the other side of a screen?

How are the minutes of our day invested?  Every day. A lifetime of days.

where do we spend timeWhat Are We So Busy Doing?

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  This line can be an invitation to mindfully engage in our days, in our hours and minutes.  How will we choose today to embrace the gift of this one life?  In this age of distraction, how will we focus our attention so that we are fully aware of what we are devoted to?   What are we so busy doing that being becomes an afterthought?  How will we repair our connection to the natural world, to our relationships, to the wonder and mystery of life?  How do we engage in the wonder and mystery?   What choices would lead us there?  And how will we make those choices day by day so that the days of our lives gather beauty, connection, joy, laughter … all the things that matter to us?

I want to experience a life of grace and purpose. I want my legacy to be about extending loving kindness and having loved well.

What do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

The Minutes of Your Life

mary-oliver-upstream
“Teach the children. We don’t matter so much, but the children do. Show them daisies and the pale hepatica. Teach them the taste of sassafras and wintergreen. The lives of the blue sailors, mallow, sunbursts, the moccasin flowers. And the frisky ones—inkberry, lamb’s-quarters, blueberries. And the aromatic ones—rosemary, oregano. Give them peppermint to put in their pockets as they go to school. Give them the fields and the woods and the possibility of the world salvaged from the lords of profit. Stand them in the stream, head them upstream, rejoice as they learn to love this green space they live in, its sticks and leaves and then the silent, beautiful blossoms.

Attention is the beginning of devotion.”

Mary Oliver – Upstream: Selected Essays

In January, the poet Mary Oliver died, aged 83.

“Attention is the beginning of devotion”.  That line has always been impactful for me in the way that Mary Oliver words often provoke deep contemplation, curiosity and engagement.  Her poems encourage me to keep moving, to lose myself in the awe of the unknown and to give power and time to creative urges and whimsy.  A stroll in my garden to see if the mint has survived the last snowfall.  A walk by the river to feel the crispness of winter air.  Or, on a day like today, being inspired by a favourite poet to write a blog.  In her poem “A Summer Day” she left us also with a question that is often quoted “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

Where Does Our Attention Flow?

where-we-focus-attention
Where our attention goes, so goes our life.  Whatever is the focus of our attention becomes more prominent because our attention, our focus, is an aiming of energy. What we choose to direct our attention toward is what our life ends up becoming.

The key question here is – what are we focusing on?

We already break up our lives into years, but if we break up those years into days and those days into hours and those hours into minutes, how many minutes are in each of our days?  If most people sleep about eight hours per night, that leaves 16 or so hours awake each day.  That is about 1,000 minutes of awake time.  We are paying attention to something in each of those minutes – what is it? If attention is the beginning of devotion as Mary Oliver writes, what are we devoted to?

In our fast-paced world, life is often too busy for us to notice where our attention is focussed.  We work toward making a better future, letting go of the past, and getting through our days.  We cook, eat, clean, drive, exercise, get up, lay down and watch life lived on media screens.   We adorn ourselves in yesterday’s news and try to make sense of our world. We try to engage in our relationships, in our health, in our dreams.   During our day we occasionally stumble upon joy, experience moments of awe and connection with others.  Sometimes day follows day and we cannot account for the thousands of minutes lived that now belong to the past.

What We Give Power to Has Power Over Us

According to Mary Oliver, “to pay attention, this is our endless and proper work” and yet this is no simple task.  How many of those precious minutes in each of our days, in this one lifetime, do we engage fully and consciously in our life’s unfolding?  In our one precious day, how many minutes do we give away carelessly and how many do we safeguard for ourselves?  How many of our minutes do we use to consume, and how many to create?   How many minutes do we spend inside our bodies, grounded to the earth, roots deep in life?  How many minutes do we spend heads in the clouds dreaming our dreams?   And how many minutes do we spend afraid, playing small, meeting other’s expectations, unable to take the steps we know we should and could?  And how many minutes of our day do we spend angry, overwhelmed and resentful?  How about joy, connection, compassion, are these minutes many or few?  How about the minutes that go toward self-sabotaging, self-deprecating, and self-judging?  And the lost minutes that we can never get back, those where life is watching us from the other side of a screen?

How are the minutes of our day invested?  Every day. A lifetime of days.

where do we spend time
What Are We So Busy Doing?

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  This line can be an invitation to mindfully engage in our days, in our hours and minutes.  How will we choose today to embrace the gift of this one life?  In this age of distraction, how will we focus our attention so that we are fully aware of what we are devoted to?   What are we so busy doing that being becomes an afterthought?  How will we repair our connection to the natural world, to our relationships, to the wonder and mystery of life?  How do we engage in the wonder and mystery?   What choices would lead us there?  And how will we make those choices day by day so that the days of our lives gather beauty, connection, joy, laughter … all the things that matter to us?

I want to experience a life of grace and purpose. I want my legacy to be about extending loving kindness and having loved well.

What do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

By |2019-06-18T09:59:05-07:00January 20th, 2019|Dare|0 Comments

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