“What do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

When I first encountered this now oft-quoted phrase from Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Mary Oliver’s “The Summer Day,” I was a summer away from one of those “decade” birthdays situated at the midpoint of life. 

Being introspective by nature, Aries by birth, and intentional by design, Oliver’s question resounded deeply and resulted in giving myself the gift of a  fourteen month “sabbatical” to explore just that.  (Technically, it’s a deferred salary leave, a benefit from my employer, wherein they saved 20% of every paycheque over five years for me to then have a paid leave.  I deferred the deferred by a year and am taking it now, starting July 1, 2010 and concluding in late August, 2011.)

Family, friends and colleagues have been asking what I’ve got planned, urging me to stay in touch.  My mentor-friend in leadership development for educators, Dennis Sparks, recommends writing as a way to gain clarity for purposeful knowing and skillful action.  I’ve been intent to enhance my  21st century literacy skills.  BLOGGING seemed like the perfect way to respond.  So last week, my colleague and tech whiz, Rick came over to teach me how.

As the arrival of my leave drew closer, I began pondering and then describing to others my intention framed as three questions:

  1. What if?” – evoking curiosity, possibility, exploration and experimentation
  2. “What now?” – an invitation to being present and engaged in this moment
  3. “What next? ” – a commitment to remaining open, sensing the emerging future, taking wise and skillful action

My “way in” would be to follow the wisdom of  “moving at the pace of guidance,” one of The Seven Whispers from Christina Baldwin, as a means of sensing an emerging future .  Voila!  I had my blog’s title and tagline!

Over these next fourteen months during which I’m writing and travelling the “U” (see below), your comments will be a most valued source of perspective, clarity, insight, humour and provocation.  Avanti!

About Katharine Weinmann

living and leading with courage, clarity, compassion and creativity
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2 Responses to “What do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

  1. Terri Blair says:

    Kath,
    As I am starting on a new life path, I have decided to read your blog from the beginning to give me an idea of where to begin. In the last year I have lost my grandmother, my mother, my father, sold a house, travelled about 2000km per week, sorted through all my parents possessions, gotten engaged, have decided to retire from my job at an Ontario College and will soon be married…..it has been quite a year. Through it all I have learned the wonder and joy of balance. I am reviewing my life and my interests and determining what I will do in this new and wonderful phase of my life. Thank you for coming back into my life at a time when your adventures have given me a glimpse of the possibilities. Your gentle nature comes through in your words. Terri

    • Dear Terri
      You honour me and my writing to have used it as a means to help you with such a huge year of transition. I have just returned home from a women’s weekend retreat which I co-hosted, a most lovely event in which you would have been so welcomed and brought such lived wisdom and compassion. Your responses to my blog have been such a sweet surprise from our past so many many years ago. Thank YOU for reconnecting with me in this way. Warmly, Katharine

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