when i was a kid, i bought a framed poster at a yard sale with a sort of poem on it. it was titled “how to be an artist” by sark. make friends with freedom & uncertainty. take moonbaths. listen to old people. i loved the long string of random bits of advice, some that seemed silly & some sage. and i’ve loved lists like this ever since.
i stumbled upon the one above by mary anne radmacher within the last year, & i like that hers is particularly practical & practicable.
live with intention. this is one of the greatest mantras for the student of Life. we must be deliberate in soaking up the moments, lessons, memories, & emotions. i’ve written a lot on this topic. walk to the edge. this has literal & figurative implications. in a literal sense, i’ve never needed to be told to walk to the edge because it’s my favorite place to be when outside hiking! but figuratively, that’s another matter. i have to work much harder, taking deep breaths & baby steps, to muster up the courage to come to the edge in life. the challenges & changes. the unknown. but every time i do, i learn that it’s worth it. it’s as exhilarating as the edge of a cliff, looking down upon a vast expanse of nature & feeling on top of the world. listen hard. as a talker, i need this advice on a minute-by-minute basis. even when i’m not talking, i am not always a careful listener or observer. but it’s in listening & observing that we learn best about other people. practice wellness. i firmly believe in a holistic approach to health — body, mind, spirit. i don’t practice it well, so i have much room for improvement. summertime seems a perfect time to work on it for me — with the fresh fruits & veggies in abundance & the hot sun giving me a thirst for plain cold water, with our annual pilgrimage to north carolina to see friends & family & spend a week at bible camp, teaching & learning, healing & being healed. i want to practice wellness better even today. play with abandon. it’s amazing how a child will transform you back to youthfulness. i’ve known this for many years from working with teens, but now taking care of roo everyday, i’m finding a kind of playfulness i didn’t know i was capable of. and i’m kinda loving that part of staying at home with my baby. laugh. this is an easy one for me anyway, but roo increases the laughs in my life exponentially, mostly when she laughs! choose with no regret. i’m not sure what all i think about this piece of advice. i think it’s a pretty loaded statement & one that needs more mulling over… continue to learn. well, you had to know this would be my favorite! student of Life & all. there are things i’m learning on purpose this summer like watercolor painting & cross stitching, & many more lessons on the horizon yet unknown. appreciate your friends. i’m not very good at this & desperately need to be better. it’s not that i don’t emotionally appreciate my friends. i just am not consistent about demonstrating it. do what you love. this one is easy for me because i already do! i work with teens, i help others find their passions, i design, i write. it’s crucial to one’s quality of life, whether it be via your job or hobbies. and i don’t mean “do whatever makes you happy.” i think there’s a huge difference. happiness is a fleeting feeling. love is a stronger motivation, not necessarily an emotion. do what you’re passionate about in life, what you were born to do. figure out what that is & pursue it relentlessly. live as if this is all there is. obviously, i don’t believe this life is it as a follower of Christ, & i don’t want to exclude eternity from our thoughts. but living today as if it’s all i get before i enter eternity is worthwhile indeed. that’s how i choose to take this last statement of advice.
i could write so much more on each of these capsules of wisdom, but these are words to LIVE by, so instead of just talking about them, let’s put them into practice, shall we? i’m going to get off this computer & go play with my daughter before i make a yummy snack with fresh produce from our garden. what are you going to do right now to start living with intention?