Instructions for Living a Life

Instructions for living a life:
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.
~Mary Oliver

This morning, walking the dogs with Eric, I saw: a huge tree that’s been dead for a long time finally fell down (and it was big enough that it certainly went “boom” when it did), a dead beaver carcass, two white tailed deer, one whose tail wasn’t quite working so it might be hurt, one massive turtle still looking for a spot to lay her eggs walking like a tiny dinosaur through the grass by the creek between Wood Duck Pond and the McMurray Ponds (same exact date we saw her last year, so May 31st is now officially Turtle Day), two mini Herons, one of which looked more like a Penguin as he stood on a log fishing (turns out they are actually called a Black Crowned Night Heron), one large Blue Heron in flight over the river that later was heard squawking and flying in the other direction, and finally, a bicycle parade.

I paid attention and was astonished, and I wanted to tell you about it.

Black Crowned Night Heron

I received gifts: access to workshops with amazing women at the World Domination Summit in July (yoga with Marianne Elliott, Writing with Susannah Conway, Book Content Mapping with Cynthia Morris, and Identifying Superpowers with Andrea Scher…holy wow, such amazing women that I so adore, my head/heart might explode), my Kickstarter reward from Danielle Ate the Sandwich arrived, along with her new album, which is every bit as good as I knew it would be, and I found a heart-shaped rock on our walk.

I paid attention and was astonished, and I wanted to tell you about it.

I gave gifts: some were shared words of wisdom and kindness, others were scholarships for Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project Practitioner level, and finally there was my heART exchange project, which I finally finished and mailed to Australia today. I plan to write a post about the process (I didn’t just make something, I learned stuff) once my swap partner receives it.

I paid attention and was astonished, and I wanted to tell you about it.

heART exchange project sneak peek

Tribe: it’s Tribe week in my Unravelling ecourse with Susannah Conway, so I’ve been thinking a lot about that, how we can be a tribe of one even. I spent a little bit of time being a tribe of one, writing and eating lunch while waiting for a friend to arrive so we could be a tribe of two and have a long talk about perfection, art, boundaries, dogs and trust. Then, I spent part of the afternoon having another long talk with another good friend, drinking mango lemonade and eating a blue flower cookie as big as my head. I have amazing women in my life, in my tribe.

I paid attention and was astonished, and I wanted to tell you about it.

Yay Turkey, Split Pea Soup, Root Beer, and a notebook at Red Table.

I’ve had moments of being wholehearted, with myself and others in my tribe. These two quotes from Anne Lamott remind me how wonderful and difficult that is: “The love and good and the wild and the peace and creation that are you will reveal themselves, but it is harder when they have to catch up to you in roadrunner mode” and “We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be.” I am reminded to slow down, stop doing so much and be.

I paid attention and was astonished, and I wanted to tell you about it.

14 thoughts on “Instructions for Living a Life

  1. Lindsey Mead (@lemead)

    That Mary Oliver quote is one of my very favorites, and runs through my head several times a day. I love these vignettes from your life. I love your blog in general. Thank you for all the ways you remind me to pay attention, remind me of how much there is to be astonished about. xox

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      I love Mary Oliver’s work so much, every last line, the way she sees things, the way she uses words to share how she sees things, the way she reminds me to look. You are so welcome and thank you, Lindsey! It fills me up to share your noticing, to know you’re noticing, to know you are there in my wonderful tribe of fellow bloggers and noticers.

  2. Nancy McGlothin

    i paid attention, I was astonished and I wanted to tell you about it!

    Jill I always enjoy reading your blog, but this entry has special resonance. I love Mary Oliver, and this quote has been my mantra for the past several weeks. Thank you!

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      I am so touched by your comment, Nancy. Thank you! I adore Mary Oliver, every word she writes makes me feel the full measure of how precious life truly is.

  3. Julia Fehrenbacher

    Whew. I’m astonished by your paying attention, dear Jill, and there’s so much I want to tell you about, so much I want you to tell me about, so much I want to share. This life truly is astonishing.

    So very happy we are part of the same tribe.

    You, my friend, melt & open me with your beauty-filled, wide-open heart.

    Thank you for being so beautifully you.

  4. vivjm

    This is a lovely, lovely post. I love the Mary Oliver quote and enjoyed reading what you paid attention to and were astonished by. Beautiful.

    1. jillsalahub Post author

      I can’t wait to meet you at WDS, Cynthia! Funny that I am traveling to Oregon to meet you, when you are so close now, but I just haven’t been able to coordinate getting to one of your workshops here.


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