I love this quotation by Oscar Wilde. It speaks truth and causes us to question our lives; are we living? Or are we merely existing?
When I came upon these words they struck me. We are halfway through 2016 and all the dreams and hopes that we planted in the rich soil called the "future" have withered in the oppressive environment of our daily lives. As with gardens, even the most vibrant and gorgeous of plants, can fall prey to the hot sun, lack of water, intrusive weeds, and lack of pruning. The flowers are there, the seeds we planted bore fruit, yet their radiance is diminished by the choas threatening to overtake it.
We exist in the choas, pouring the cup of coffee, scattered with our to do lists, minds numb with budgets, expectations, laundry still in baskets. Even with everything in order, I can still feel overwhelmed by the neediness of it all. Life is a child running rampant, and I follow behind picking up the pieces, straightening, ordering. Going through the motions of daily life, logging in the hours, not seeing beyond the next item on our list, this is existing.
Yet we are called to LIVE!
So how do we starting living?
It's not what we do, rather how we approach that what we must do, that determines the difference.
When I think of "live" verus "exist", I think of active verus passive choices. Every day we are given many opportunities to choose. It is easy to fall victim to schedules and routines, to outside demands, even to our own unhealthy desires. I find that existing is more commonly found in people who care deeply, because we do not first set boundaries for our own good.
The poem, "The Summer Day" by Mary Oliver, ends with this question: "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
This challenge has an awakening effect on our listless lives. Do we really consider our life to be "one wild and precious"? How might we adjust our choices if we truly believed this?
When we answer this question on a daily basis, we begin to truly live! The answer will be as unique and the individuals who seek it. Look back at your New Year's resolutions. As for me, it's time for a clean slate, to remember that there is no ideal way to live this life, there is only the way that is ideal for you! I will be scheduling time off, time to be with the ones I love, time to be in nature, time to explore, and time to recharge.
Life is too short to exist, LIVE!