The fullness of life

Today was a hectic day subbing at the junior high. Because of my long hair and beard (and perhaps my fairly gentle and chill demeanor), the kids at the junior high call me Jesus.

In the midst of aforementioned hectic day, I noticed this quote:

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

The quote was tucked away behind a desk, but I’d like to broadcast every day to every kid in every school. Oh yeah, and let it really sink into the mind of every adult.

The deeply precious nature of life has been one of the more subtle but central points in my spiritual growth during the last few years. I think that other spiritual concepts have been more consciously known to me, but one of my deepest inner motivations has been to appreciate and honor the sacred gift of living.

Until the last few years, I often found myself working jobs that were less than thrilling to me, or doing things that were not meaningful. The system of American life has a way of kind of sweeping us along, defining us in ways that are not altogether life-giving and vibrant for us.

I think many of our national problems would resolve themselves (and more quickly than we might think) if we all made a real effort to do the things in our lives that are life-giving. Because we go along with the system, it keeps the system going. Why do so many good people trade in their one-and-only life for something less than ideal?

Published by

Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

One thought on “The fullness of life”

  1. I too have been thinking a lot about what to do, what to focus on, what to give, what to receive, with this one wild and precious life.

    Cool quote.

    And that is an interesting idea, that many of our problems could be solved if everyone made the efforts you suggest. Like, if no one actually enjoyed spending 40 or 50 hours a week for a large company where they didn’t know personally the people they were making rich, maybe the big companies would wither away. And so what if they did? Granted, we might not be “globally competitive,” or the most efficient in our goods production or service dispensation, but so what? What if our goals and hopes began to have very little to do with economics at all?

    Have you read, “Better Off?”


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