A Universal Jolt

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life” Mary Oliver

A few months ago, I fulfilled a major bucket list adventure; 14 glorious days rafting down the Colorado river and hiking within the Grand Canyon.

On one calm quiet stretch of river, when drifting was all that was required, one of our guides, Cassidy, put down the oars and said, “this is a beautiful stretch of the river (in my view there are no not beautiful stretches!) who would like to her some poetry?”

She read a few poems relating to life in the Canyon and then she read The Summer Day by Mary Oliver.

With the temperature hovering around 100°F/38°C, blue skies, no clouds and awesome rock formations were our stage.

It’s a lovely poem about being who you are and embracing your natural god given talents and assets. I listened completely enthralled by a sense of time and place and being utterly present to the sounds, smells, sights and feel of my surroundings.

As Cassidy finished reading, the Universe gently jolted me. “Please can you read the last line again?” I asked.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life.”

It was as if that line at that time in that place had been crafted just for me.
What is it that I plan to do with MY one wild and precious life?

I mulled, pondered and wondered for a few minutes and then let it go – only because we were onto our next beautiful poem: another offering from Mary Oliver called Wild Geese.

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves…”

Again I was enthralled and felt a strong resonance. And then the Universe spoke directly to me again through the last line.

“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the World offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese…”

So not only was I being invited to share what I will do with my one wild and precious life, I was also being offered the world to ignite, provoke, challenge and inspire (my words) my imagination.

As I write this it’s been 3 months since that glorious afternoon and those words are sill speaking to my heart and soul. Asking fundamental, Universal and almost spiritual questions.
1. What DO I want to do with my one wild and precious life?
2. If the world offers itself to me, what can I imagine that will feel like such an offer has been graciously accepted?


  1. Amanda neilson
    7th March 2019

    Beautifully written Bev. I wasn’t on the raft with you when Cass read those poems. I absolutely love that last line, I think I’m going to print it out for my office to remind me of the wild and precious life I have outside of the office walls. Thanks for the inspiration xx

  2. Beverley Hamilton
    7th March 2019

    Thanks Amanda>we all have one wild and precious life and the choice to how we live it.

  3. Simon
    7th March 2019

    Great read, very powerful words!

    • Beverley Hamilton
      9th March 2019

      Thanks Simon. I’m delighted you found the words powerful I know my experience was

  4. 7th March 2019

    Powerful inquiries Bev and thank you for sharing this journey with us AS you’re on it. So many folks – myself included, I’ll admit – like to share AFTER they have it all figured out. More vulnerable to share during the inquiries, the messiness, and the uncertainty.)

    I’ve tried to answer some of these questions for the next phase of my life. Not sure I have it right. Not sure it’s going well in some aspects. Yet, in others I find momentum and energy. Thank you for this reminder to keep looking, keep asking.

  5. angela hope-murray
    8th March 2019

    Dear Bev,
    Thank-you for sharing your wondrous journey, I have experienced that precious moment when you hear the gods speaking. I would like to share a wonderful poem by
    C.P Cavafy. called Ithica. which penetrated like a sunbeam in a dark cave before I went into silence in the Sinai desert.
    With Love Angela

  6. Beverley Hamilton
    8th March 2019

    Thank you Angela for your words and for sharing Ithaca. I love this line from the poem – Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,

  7. 18th March 2019

    I love it when we get stopped in our tracks – by the surroundings we place ourselves in, the space we create in ourselves or the words that contextualise others’ experience which nudges (or pushes) us. I love Mary Oliver, she always bring out an expansive space for me.

    I’m excited to hear what happens next in the light of this! 🙂

    • Beverley Hamilton
      18th March 2019

      Thanks Helena. It is amazing how a certain place can help us “be” different and see things in different ways. I know being in nature so often does that for me.

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