A Challenge

18 Jun

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

We’re almost through the first half of the year. I came across Mary Oliver’s work a couple of months ago. I didn’t go looking. The quote just fell into my view. I don’t go seeking poetry on any subject so it struck me how profound the words were to me.

Lest you think you must do something great by society’s yardstick, see the beginning verse of another poem.

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.”
Mary Oliver

“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”
Mary Oliver

More of Mary’s works are here.

So I challenge you. What are you going to do with “your one wild and precious life?” I’ll start out.

I’m going to be true to myself and love what I love.


Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Boise, inspiration, Love, poetry, writing


Tags: ,

22 responses to “A Challenge

  1. Liz Flaherty

    June 18, 2012 at 4:26 AM

    I’m going to enjoy every day and find something (or someone) in it to love.

    • Janis

      June 18, 2012 at 8:56 AM


  2. Red Tash

    June 18, 2012 at 5:08 AM

    I love that lady. She is astonishing and terrific.

    I am going to make sure people know that I love them.

    • Janis

      June 18, 2012 at 8:57 AM

      I’m glad I found her. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Peggy Staggs

    June 18, 2012 at 7:59 AM

    “The instructions for living a life” really speaks to me. I’m going to print and keep it where I can see it.

    • Janis

      June 18, 2012 at 8:57 AM

      I loved the “be astonished.”

  4. Liz Fredericks

    June 18, 2012 at 8:44 AM

    I’m giving myself permission not to feel guilty if I spend a little time/money on me. So, thank you thank you thank you Janis for this reminder. I’ve scheduled a massage for later today. Hooyah.

    • Janis

      June 18, 2012 at 8:58 AM

      Why or why do we feel we can’t be kind to ourselves? It’s something I need to work on as well.

  5. Meredith Conner

    June 18, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    I’m going to laugh with my children, love as much as I can and find happiness every day.

  6. Janis

    June 18, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    Have fun!

  7. Janis

    June 18, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Children know how to live, don’t they?

  8. Lynn Mapp

    June 18, 2012 at 1:56 PM

    Janis, that’s a tough one. I’m going to try to laugh a little bit more, and cry a little less.

  9. Janis

    June 18, 2012 at 2:08 PM

    Good luck. You’ll do it.

  10. ramblingsfromtheleft

    June 18, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    I’m going to take the time I have left and make the last part of my life, the best it can be 🙂

    • Janis

      June 18, 2012 at 5:30 PM

      Great goal.

  11. marsharwest

    June 18, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Hey, Janis. Nice post. Obvioiusly, a very important reminder to us to love ourselves first. (No feeling guilty about that massage, but you know we do!) I heard a social worker say once, you have to take care of yourself first before you can help others.
    All we have is this one life, and at this point it feels like it’s flying by. I look at my grandkids and project forward till they graduate from high school. I need to take better care of myself if I want to be around to see that. LOL But seriously! I’m not big on poetry, Janis, but Mary’s is really good. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Janis

    June 18, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    I think about my health as well because I want to be around a long time for my kids. I’m going to be good to my body.

  13. Patsy

    June 19, 2012 at 7:30 AM

    I want to experience life. Travel. Be more than I am.

  14. stephaniebergets

    June 19, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    I’m not big on poetry, but she’s amazing. Thank you for finding her.
    I’m going to look for adventure, and embrace peace when it pops into my life.

    • Janis

      June 19, 2012 at 6:17 PM

      Adventure away, Steph!

  15. maryvine

    June 19, 2012 at 3:13 PM

    Yes, as Stephanie says, looking for adventure is good, also I want to take time each day to look around myself and appreciate each day as they slip away so fast.

  16. Janis

    June 19, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    Oh gosh, I can’t believe July is almost here! Time is elusive, isn’t it?


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