“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
- Mary Oliver, The Summer Day
It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day that we forget to make the most of the little things. The birds singing, the smile from the stranger, the taste of coffee in the morning or wine in the evening.
Without paying attention to the little pockets of goodness throughout our hectic days, weeks and months can fly right by us - something we won’t notice until they’re gone.
So today let’s talk about ways to nurture your wild and precious life. Nothing expensive or time consuming, just little regular practices and intentions to keep in mind when we wake up.
What is a wild and precious life?
Your life is wild and precious. The thing I love about that Mary Oliver quote is that it’s not asking how you’ll live wildly and preciously. Those are traits that belong to all life in her mind.
So you’ve already got it. How are you going to spend that currency? You might want to spend your time reading, or nestled up with loved ones, or traveling the world.
Whichever way you choose to spend your time, here are a few accessible practices to help you nurture yourself.
Create a generous schedule
Having some sort of small routine or schedule can be incredibly beneficial. It allows you to work regular practices into your day and provides some structure against which progress can be measured.
When you’re scheduling out your day (aside from your regular routines), be generous with yourself. Can four of your eight tasks be done tomorrow? Can you schedule in fifteen minutes to freely do whatever you want to do.
Change the tempo
When you have fifteen minutes to spare, switch up your surroundings. Sure, it’s okay to snuggle on the couch for a night of Netflix, but balance that out with a walk or jog outside.
Exercise doesn’t always have to be the variance - maybe instead of staring at a screen all day, you spend a few minutes looking far out of the window.
Vary the pace of your life by going slow when you’ve been rushing all day, or speeding things up when you’ve been sedentary.
Unstructured time outside of the normal chaos (or drudgery) allows a little human wildness back into your day.
Seek sensory pleasure
This isn’t about only seeking pleasure - it’s about seeing the pleasure when it’s present. A warm cup of coffee is taste, smell and touch all in one.
Feel the blankets on your toes when you wake up in the morning, listen to the music on the radio and be glad to hear it. By connecting with and enjoying our senses, we connect to ourselves.
“All credibility, all good conscience, all evidence of truth come only from the senses”
- Friedrich Nietzsche
Show yourself some love
Any of the practices I’ve mentioned in this post can actually be a form of self-love if you frame it that way. In fact, the simple act of listening to a podcast on your daily commute (like you always do) can be self-love, too.
Begin by being open to the good things in your day. You might find it easier to blatantly “treat yo self” by shopping or purchasing a specialty coffee, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
Drink from your favorite mug, pet your dog or read a few pages of a book you’ve had on your list.
Do something kind for yourself, and your kindness will be more available to others when they need it most.
Write it down
I’m not going to say you have to journal - although I believe it’s a helpful and lovely practice (that I have yet to add to my regular routine).
If you’re still in the beginning stages of nurturing yourself, it’s way easier to just grab whatever paper is available and jot a few things down.
What things? Try things you’re grateful for, good things that happened today, beautiful things you’ve seen, or happy thoughts you’ve had.
You can even write down your worries with a few words of self-encouragement. When you’re done, toss the paper if it’s loose. No need for a permanent, snoop-able journal.
Writing things down helps make them feel more real and more present in your mind. Take just a few moments to write something that isn’t a grocery list because it can make you happier, smarter and more focused.
So go out today and celebrate in your own small way! Is there a practice that you keep to nurture your one wild and precious life? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.