Create a Life you Love – this one wild & precious life

Photo: Emily from wild & grace

‘Create a life you love’ came up within my insta feed today, care of Elephant Journal, which just may publish a wild & grace story, might i add.

I’m mid-festival. ‘dancing’. Programming gifted people to come share their years of finding, with us here in Bay of Plenty, Aotearoa.

My brain and breath is very full, cluttered, the jaw keeps meeting itself with a little too much pressure.

Even though i promise myself, re-promise most mornings and in many exhalations i will be YOGA as i bring this YOGA festival together, like meditation, i keep falling off, and climbing back on again.

Can i breathe through this.
Can i trust.
Can i bring the joy to the surface.

I find Mauao on our daily manoeuvrings and she/he/they lift me up as i pour my faith into that beautiful shape sitting in our harbour. I tell her my doubts and she lifts my eyes to the skies. Her body like a container to tip into.

And i return to this question posed by, i don’t know – do you?

Create a Life you Love.

What would i change?

I found myself asking husband after a delicious, slow and simple, out in nature, moving bodies, hearts and minds family day, this:

How would you bring more joy into our life, and less stress? What would you change? Or what would you do to invite to the solution – this more joy, less stress, equation.

This came about as during the school holidays i wandered through facebook finding snowy pictures of partners in love and photogenic, full young families smiling, relaxed, on holiday, liking each other and i felt envy or jealousy.

Enter a caption

At first i thought i wanted the romance, adventure, novelty of that fresh dump of snow, and the promise of laughter and exhilaration that brings.

Then i realised it was the close-ness i craved.

By body pressed against my husband, cheek to cheek, smile to smile, twinkling eyes matching twinkling eyes.

I yearned for a moment where i SAW our children. Where i HEARD their laughter. FELT their love.

For when i stop to really absorb all the love they send to me, through their fingertips, hugs, wanting me to watch, sharing their carrot-stick with me, picking a flower, bringing home sheets of sea-lettuce from the estuary, writing my name of their masterpiece, this abundantly present LOVE, it’s the most heavenly elixir on this non-stop planet.

I wanted that.

I wanted control over my mind and work (not life, work) to STOP and see them, hear them, feel them, smell them.

So on that final School Holiday Saturday i announced we were going on holiday.
I thought about want i wanted and needed the most.
Not stress.

A radical home-made movie played in my head to pile in the car with merinos and wet weather gear and chase the glory of that snow.

But i yoga-ed my FOMO-ed mind back.


We went for a family bike ride around Daisy Hardwick.
It wasn’t perfect.
The not-used-enough-and-not-loved-enough-bike tyres were flat.
The neighbours helped.
I had to bike beside the car cos i couldn’t fit.
BESIDE the car.
But we were all together.
The pooch.
The husband.
The wife.
The three kids.
The 3 kingfishers.
The shag.
The trees.
The estuary.
The winter.
The bike home, beside the car, the kids calling out like happy morning songbirds:

Mama, mama, mama.
Smiling, waving, cheering me on, my young champions.

Create a life you love, someone asks.

What would i change?

I’d travel more.
But what does that mean?
Leaving the work behind, the festivals, the blog posts, the clutter clearing, the afghans, the homemade chicken stock, the photo albums, the washing mountain, the spring bulbs that never make it into the earth.
Leaving those endless lists, behind.
Travel means adventure.
It means moving my body.
Being outside.
Connecting with people.
Noticing the other beings that share this lifetime with me.
Slowing down.
Giving thanks for the little things.
Not trying to get anywhere.

That’s all i’d change.

Travel doesn’t have to be on a plane or a boat it can be shifting the space that i’m in.

This is what i want.
Cultivating the habit of making space for me

And it takes discipline and discerning to recognise this is what i want.

Freedom – the ability to be spontaneous and enjoy it.


Be present and accept it.

I didn’t fit in the car, but i heard the laughter of my children and the accelerating engine of my lover, in this one wild and precious life that i’m leading.

What would i change to bring more joy and less stress in my life.
Today i’d say: learn to say no (to the desire for constant achievement / work), see the little joys.

Yet in all of this, i am a walking contradiction just as the valley that follows the hill.

For having a vision and focus to believe in those adventures, those travels, that fresh perspective that being nomadic brings is also something that empowers me, fuels me, gives me a direction to keep moving.

As husband read in Sapiens. Following the agricultural revolution 12,000 years ago humans began to experience anxiety. Setting up camp. Marking territory. Protecting stock. Planning for the future. Saving. Ensuring there were enough supplies for the winter – ’cause you could no longer wander until you found. All of this future thinking, this amassing was the beginning of it all, the worry, the doubt, the constriction, the focus off the present.

You folk campervaning across lands, you wandering Maasai, you lead the way.

To finish a gratitude love note to Mary Oliver and Lara Zilibowitz for that sumptuous evocation.

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver

Written by Emily Marks with wild & grace

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