I have a rather “unique” perspective of the world. One day I was talking to a colleague explaining my view on weekends. I told him that my favorite part of the weekend is Friday night. The week is officially over, and I have two full days to look forward to. Friday night is full of possibilities. But once Saturday morning arrives I usually have added a few chores and errands to the weekend time. And when Sunday comes I am busy preparing lesson plans and grading papers. So really…for me…Friday night is the ultimate weekend day and I almost consider the weekend over by the time Saturday night rolls around.
I know, rather warped, but it is who I am. And so when I was considering when to offer this weekly summer meme, I thought perhaps Thursdays would be best for me: the day before that gloriously free Friday night. The day that I might begin to dream of fun weekend possibilities, rather than weekly responsibilities. So there you have it…the Life is a Verb Thursday has officially started.
Why Life is a Verb? This is a book written by Patti Digh in 2008 in response to the death of her stepfather. Here is the description from the back of the book:
The death of her stepfather just 37 days after being diagnosed with cancer woke Patti Digh up, scared her, and made her examine her own life. She realized that living your best life doesn’t mean ditching your job and sailing around the world – it means living each individual, glorious, simple day with more intention.
Patti has decided to challenge herself – and the rest of us – to live our lives as if we only had 37 days left (I keep hearing the Tim McGraw song “Live Like You Are Dying” playing in background). In pondering this subject, she has discovered six core practices for living life without regret (and for those of us who like alliteration – she has conveniently found a way for them all to start with ‘I” since our lives begin with us):
- Say Yes (Intensity)
- Be Generous (Inclusion)
- Speak Up (Integrity)
- Love More (Intimacy)
- Trust Yourself (Intuition)
- Slow Down (Intention)
She has several entries in each of the six categories, typically introduced with a short anecdote followed by some exercises. While I am sure the writing exercises (what she deems “action” steps) and long-term exercises (what she terms “movement”) are wonderful, I found while reading the book that I was struck by some small paragraph tucked within the anecdotal section.
In taking notes on the book, I discovered twelve passages that really seemed to speak to me and the place where I am on my own particular life journey. It just so happens that I have about twelve more weeks left of my summer vacation before I begin another academic year. It is my sincere desire to take one of these thought-provoking statements each week and truly meditate on how it impacts my own life. If you would like to do the same, please feel free to join me on this summer of self-discovery. You may come back here and leave a comment with a link to your post.
So the first statement I am going to ponder is this:
I once read of a man who went into a kindergarten class and asked how many of the kids could sing – every hand shot up immediately. How many could dance? Same response. How many could paint? Again, all hands shot up eagerly. He then went into a college classroom and asked the same questions. Did he get the same response? No. No hands went up. What happens in those years between five and eighteen to our sense of joy and possibility and personal command of the universe? We learn to mask ourselves…..Don’t say you can paint, because someone else might paint better than you do and people will judge. Don’t say you can sing, because you’re no Johnny Cash. Don’t say you can write if you’re not on the New York Times best-seller list. (page 39-40 of the Intensity section)