Saturday, 22 October 2011

Some Saturday soul food: Mary Oliver

Hello, Lovelies. I've been a bit preoccupied this week, helping Mum sort through (and dispose of) a lot of Dad's paperwork. A distressing but necessary task. Fortunately, he kept it in immaculate order but there's a lot of it. Miss India is on the mend, the doctor having reassured us this morning that she doesn't have tonsillitis - huge relief on PB. We've been gardening in the glorious Spring sunshine, attending the Royal Hobart Show, celebrating Mr PB's birthday and throwing open our kitchen bi-fold doors. So, blogging has taken a back seat this week. 
Anyway, I thought for Saturday Soul Food* this week I'd treat you to some wisdom from the American poet Mary Oliver who asked:
Tell me, what is it you wish to do with your one wild and precious life?
Some of you might recall that this is the line I used at the start of my eulogy at Dad's thanksgiving service.

It really resonates with me right now. So much so, that I've bought this glorious print from the delightful Claire at Scissors Paper Rock.
It's certainly something which has been preoccupying me lately. Seeing how my Dad make his indefinable but lasting mark on the world, in his humble way, is an inspiration to me. This quotation presses the right buttons for me, compelling me to question how I can make a difference to the world. On my own terms. I'm very much a work-in-progress on that score.

I'd love to hear if this line strikes a chord deep within you, stirring up long-buried thoughts and passions. Or maybe you just find it a bit naff and simplistic. Do share - all opinions are gladly welcomed!  
* After publishing last week's Some Saturday Soul Food, somewhere from within the deep, dark recesses of my brain recalled that my dear friend, Kerry, has her regular 'Soul Food Friday' posts. Mortified, I asked her if it was okay to use the phrase 'soul food' for my series of posts. Gracious as ever, she replied "Nah, don't worry about the soul food thing, Jane...great minds think alike :)". What a  darling! So, thanks Kerry - 'Some Saturday soul food' it will remain!


  1. I love this quote.
    It poses a challenge as well as a poignant reminder that this is it - one shot. Make every moment count in ways that truly matter to you.

  2. I agree with Mum on the Run, we only have one shot of life, so make the most of it. Mimi xx

  3. As a specialist educator for many years I have been asked to define what the term 'giftedness' means. It can be a scratchy topic at best and all sorts of emotions usually bubble up within people when they hear this term.

    There are oodles and squoodles of theorists and definitions and usually education systems create their own with guidelines on how to identify and support those students who 'bubble up' with their 'gifts'.

    You may be wondering why I share this here.
    Well, in addition to explaining the theory and guidelines to educators, parents and the students themselves I would add a caveat.

    No matter what your gift or abilities, my theory is that they've been 'given' to you so that you will share them with others. To use for the forces of good, to make the world a better, more sparkling place.

    For each of us this will mean something different and THAT'S GREAT!

    The trick is to uncover what it is that brings us delight and makes the world a better place....for some of us this is an easy question to answer, others need time and support to figure it out.

    Either way Mary Oliver's line is a great 'incentivator' to make the most of what we've been 'given' for as long as we've got.

    Apologies for the rave, you've obviously touched a great big twanging chord.


  4. Always..since the age of fourteen, it's been the same. To love God with all of my my journey of a life time has been to find out what I can do for Him and how to go about it. This has been a satisfying life so far and more is to come!

  5. We all have different sized lives don't we. I really like to live by the buddhist mantra of do no harm. I haven't always succeeded of course but its worth a go! And thank you for the postscript...I knew you'd do're a lovely woman :)

  6. I love that quote, very thought provoking and inspiring. A beautiful print to remember it by x

  7. Oh dear Jane, you have already without a doubt made a difference in the world, but I get what you mean about this quote making you think. It has made me think too. I kind of like the idea of a life being wild and precious. Bit of a contradiction in terms really. I guess I'd like to live life wild enough to enjoy it, but not so wild that it compromises the precious aspects either. Be kind, respectful, love passionately and treat others how I would wish to be treated... if these are followed through, the rest of life should naturally fall into place :o) xo

  8. Oh yes, i know my parents are preparing to sort their paperwork out, my father is nothing if not methodical!!
    On tonsillitis - putting my pharmacology hat on - ride it out, if they take antibiotics, the symptoms last a whopping 6 hours less, than just leaving it alone with paracetamol & rest. Avoid ABs at all costs, so they work when you need them. Love Posie

  9. I feel like I've missed out on so many blogs this last month while my in-laws were visiting! I'm busy catching up on your recent posts.

    An excellent quote and one that we need to read regularly to remind us of why we are here...


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, you gorgeous soul. You've just made my day! J x

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