Giving Thanks – Day 8: Instructions for living a life…

Sometimes I read a quote or a poem and it changes my outlook on light.  Recently, a friend introduced me to the work of Mary Oliver, and it was life changing.  Consider this poem:

This is exactly what I have been trying to do with this blog!  I explained this very thought back in my first blog in February.  And the truth is, reading this poem reinvigorate my dedication to writing in this space regularly.

What is better than a good story?  Nothing!  That’s why we shell out countless billions of dollars each year to read books and watch movies and experience stories told by masterful artists.  But we are SO MISSING the BEST story – our own!  Every day our lives play out and we don’t even pay attention.  We don’t notice the details of our day, the intersection of our stories with the stories of others, or how we relate to the bigger events of our times.

 If we would simply PAY ATTENTION, we would realize that our stories are rich in detail and vibrant colours and amazing accomplishments.  Going to work is boring?  What about your amazing co-workers, and the lives they lead?  Your friends aren’t anything special?  Think about all you have done together in the months and years and decades that measure your relationship.  Family can be frustrating and irritating… but think of the fabric of your life without the richness they have added to it.  Instead of considering these relationships as mundane, be ASTONISHED by the amazing relationships we are privileged to have…

But don’t stop there.  TELL ABOUT IT!  Make your story bigger by sharing!  Bring people into your world, and then take note of their world.  This is what I am so desperately trying to do with this blog.  It’s why I share stories about stuff my students say, or how sometimes the drawings I make on the board go awry.  It’s why I share when my daughters discuss their latest idea for a family business, which sounds like the family brothel.  It’s why I had to share the story of my sister-in-law and her heartbreaking loss, and her amazing strength.  It’s why I saluted my Grandpa Gil, gone almost 4 years, for the tremendous impact he had on my life.  It’s why I tell you about the details of conversations with my wifie, even though most people would immediately forget about such a conversation.

This poem perfectly captures what I am trying to do with my life.  It’s what I hope to encourage you to do with your life.  Just this week, I received an email saying how the blog had inspired them to start writing again… I can’t express how rewarding that is to me.  So I will continue to try to live by these words, as to me, the story is what is important:

Instructions for living a life:

Pay Attention

Be Astonished

Tell About It

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One Response to Giving Thanks – Day 8: Instructions for living a life…

  1. J. Larson says:

    Thank you for this reminder!

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