“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
― Mary Oliver
There are some words that hit you square in the chest. They leave you gasping for air, unsure of how the patterns of your mind were even drawn before they weaved their magic through your world.
It’s as simple as that. They cast their spell and help you to see the path ahead with brighter eyes.
Yet it’s as if they were always there. It’s as if they belong.
I have a dear friend called Fleur: a creative soul who is bursting with love and talent, but totally unaware of it. Our time is spent sending one another little gems of inspiration, of exquisite beauty, bringing light and power into each and every day.
She recently re-introduced me to the divinity that is Mary Oliver through the sublime podcast, On Being. Listening to her tales, the stories behind her poetry, I felt a shift beneath my feet. Because here is a woman with passion and intelligence running through her veins, causing fireworks from her fingertips and an unfathomable energy shivering onto the paper.
I found myself eagerly sifting through her many stunning words and passages, each one lighting a fire within.
“Listen–are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?”
“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”
“I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”
On and on I went, breath catching in my throat and tears casting shadows against my eyes.
Because they rung true. They rung oh so true.
I have known in my heart that I wanted this to be a year of finding myself, giving in to adventure and throwing aside fear. I have known it, and I have felt it. I want to find inner happiness away from the confines of expectation and what is the “right” thing to do.
And yet… I have procrastinated. I have avoided the actual “doing” and just settled into a routine that, on the outside, appears near enough perfect. Working for myself, copywriting for a living, spending my hours and days off soaking up the Sydney sun in one of the many Northern Beaches. I feel selfish for longing for anything other than this.
But I cannot avoid it. I dream of discovery. My heart yearns for the thrill of the unexpected. My soul is searching for something else.
So, with Oliver’s words sitting heavily on my chest, I took the plunge.
I committed. I made the choice.
In less than 3 weeks, I will leave Sydney to travel across the East Coast totally alone. I will do so without my work, just myself, whole heartedly. For 6 weeks I will see and experience things I have only ever dreamt of.
I will kayak with dolphins, canoe the Everglades, scuba dive in the Great Barrier Reef, take a HeliFlight across the Whitsundays, delve through the most idyllic of waterfalls, sleep in a rainforest, skydive over Mission Beach.
The list goes on. The journey extends further than my wildest fantasies.
Following this, I will take to Melbourne – a city I have found no end of joy – before driving across the Great Ocean Road, West Coast and Northern Territory. After that? Who knows.
It’s a future I never envisioned for Amber from the Council Estate. Never did I believe that I would ever find myself in a position where such an experience was possible. Things like this just don’t happen for girls like me.
And, I suppose, Oliver’s words accelerated quite how important this was to me. How much I needed to do it. I no longer see “climbing the career ladder” as the steps to my own peace. It’s a statement that might seem bizarre, if not stupid, to many… yet it’s the truest one I have ever proclaimed.
I want to feel.
I want to see.
I want to do.
I want to be a part of this intoxicating planet and learn from its enchantment. To be inspired with every footstep, the writing spilling like blood out of my pen.
I will not be ashamed for veering from the track. I will be proud of taking the reins and another dive into the unknown. For loosening the grip on people’s perception. For giving in to my heart.
“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”
― David Bowie