This wild and precious, human life

You may have noticed, I’ve not been posting here lately. That’s because, after some life turbulence, I’ve returned to this question, yet again:

“…what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” — Mary Oliver

I’m not like some people, who know exactly what their work is, who have a clear and direct vocation. I don’t have one ‘thing’ I’m here to do. Or, rather, my ‘thing’ is being with what is, together; finding out what could be, together; uncovering stories around what is, and creating new ones, together.

This has in the past found fulfilment in community development, participatory action research, massage therapy, ceremonial work, spiritual coaching, storytelling, youth work, and teaching; in paid work and volunteer work and workers’ co-operatives and self-employment.

But what is its fulfilment now, at this point in space and time, with me as I am, in all my frailties and glories?

I’ve given myself that question as homework for the next few weeks and months, and I’ve started to notice prompts and hints in the world around me that are helping me to explore it.

For example, this morning, I read this post by Heather Plett, about what it means to ‘hold space’. In it, she talks of the space which we hold — when we hold such space deeply — as ‘liminal space’. She describes liminal space as:

…a period in which something… has been dissolved and a new thing has not yet emerged to take its place. It’s that period of uncertainty, ambiguity, restlessness, fear, discomfort, and anguish. [To which I would add hope, excitement, playfulness, and creativity — Elinor.] …

Holding that kind of space is one of the most sacred acts we can do for each other. When we do it, we are standing on holy ground.

This feels absolutely key and core to my work in the world. When I am my strongest self, this is what I do: I create and hold this kind of space, this kind of container for whatever needs to unfold. Healing, deepening, transformation. Joy, grief. Being with what is. Creating what will be.

It is a loving, caring, unconditional, and non-attached place to be. There is a deep mothering and midwifing power to it. Even though I have neither given birth nor adopted or fostered a child in this life, the energy of Powerful Mother flows through me.

This is not an easy energy for me to accept, and an even more difficult one for me to allow to flourish. But I know that for me to fulfil my purpose, it is an energy that I must learn to accept and embrace. 

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