“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” The first time I read these words by poet Mary Oliver they thundered through me. They still do.
It’s taken me years, almost 60 to be exact, to understand Mary Oliver’s words.
Born in Kahuku, a plantation town on the north shore of O’ahu, I hardly thought of my life as precious. And wild? Well, that was inconceivable.
Our lives are the greatest adventure of all. As with any expedition, especially one as significant as this, we deserve the best guidance.
I can think of nothing better than wisdom that has withstood the test of time. Throughout the world, in some of the most remote regions, are people who maintain a cultural intelligence that’s as relevant today as it has ever been.
Within you is a potential so extraordinary that if activated, properly channeled, and fully expressed, could change the world… an internal guidance system so accurate and unfailing that celestial navigators in the Pacific use it to sail thousands of miles of open ocean without the need for GPS or instruments. The same instinct that guides Polynesian navigators lives as a seed of possibility in you.
My teacher for ten years was a Palu, a Micronesian master navigator named Pius Mau Piailug. Mau was considered the greatest non-instrument wayfinder in the world. He could look at the first glint of light on the horizon and predict weather conditions days in advance. In his teachings he would say, “Close your eyes so you can see.” What he meant was shut out the distractions of the world in order to heighten your perception. Go to the quietude within yourself. There you will discover the most important map of all, the map of the human heart. It will never forsake you.
This ability is available to everyone who is willing to develop it. The awareness that lies in a navigator from the Pacific or a mystic from the Himalayas is the same potential that’s also in you.
Why does it matter? It matters because the world has gone mad.
We’re connected 24/7, yet loneliness at an all-time high. It matters because we’d sooner reach for a mobile device than for the hand of someone in need. It matters because there is no greater gift we can render humanity than to live our best lives.
The world doesn’t need more confusion, fear or rage. It needs clarity, courage, and compassion. It needs you to live boldly despite possible rejection from those who secretly wish to be as brave.
There is no more important time than now. There is no more important person than you.
No one else can see the world through your eyes or express it as only you can. The elders say, “If your gift remains dormant, it can never be expressed through another person. And that would be a loss to the world.”
Imagine if a small woman in India thought that caring for the poor and dying was too much trouble we might never have been inspired by a nun named Theresa.
This is the Power of One… one person’s willingness to help another, one person’s commitment to love the world, one person’s passion to set in motion a ripple of such magnitude that it creates a sea change.
Until your arms outstretched become like wings you will never know what it means to soar to the height of your potential or understand the immense power of your embrace.
Until you look into the eyes of a stranger and see your reflection you will never know the sweet taste of compassion.
And until you experience failure you will never dare laugh at its impotence or realize how much you’re admired for your courage. Is it any wonder why we fall in love with the bravest person in the room, the one who stumbles, then gets up and tries again? It’s because that’s how we want to be!
In the end, the sages, mystics, and elders that I’ve had the privilege to live among in the most remote parts of the world understood that the power in you is connected to the whole.
ONE Person, ONE Planet, ONE People.