Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? ― Mary Oliver
I recently had the privilege of hiking up to the El Chorro waterfalls, located above the town of Girón, just outside of Cuenca, Ecuador. There’s nothing like standing under 1500ft of pure power to wake you up and out of your daily slumber. As the cascading water crashed down on the rocks that formed the mountains around me, my heart sped up. There was a lot of noise but all I heard was silence. All I felt was absolute joy. It’s difficult to explain but in that moment, with every drop, I felt a calling and then I felt an answer. The majestic force in front of me was fulfilling its purpose right before my eyes. Without questions, fear of judgment or obstacle; without apologies or explanation; without hesitation or distraction, it harnessed the power at its core, the very power it had been given by Life itself, and it flowed.
Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be? ― Charles Bukowski, Post Office
For so many of us, our priorities are warped. We are diligent when it comes to a lot of things except matters of the soul. We make an appointment to get to work every single day and we will do this for over 92,120 hours—we will show up for other things and other people except ourselves. Outside of those hours, we will engage in nonsensical activities, spend hours scrolling, judging, wishing, lurking and proving on social media, all while putting off the conversation about why we’re here. It really can’t be just for the 9-5 and the “likes” right? That would be sad.
The waterfall knows why it’s here. It is a channel for energy. Its purpose is to show up, in every drop, every second of every day and pour. It will pour on people from so many walks of life; the happy, the hurting, the curious, the scared and the lost. In the moments that all of us gather under its power, we will be whole. It is a simple purpose but it will leave its mark—on every rock and every soul.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world. ― Mary Oliver
We hide in routines and expectations, we procrastinate and tell ourselves that it isn’t the right time. We fear failure so we build for others instead of ourselves. Some of us don’t even show up to the fight at all. I often say that Life wants to know itself through us but how can it if we won’t allow it? How can Life know what it’s capable of if we won’t look within to explore and channel the power pounding through this human form?
The purpose has never been about the destination. The flow of the water from the top of the mountain is not about how far down it can go or how fast it will take to get there. It is about the experience. We are not here as spectators of life, we are here to experience every nook and cranny, every gift, every high and every low. We are here to wander and we are here to wonder.
To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work. ― Mary Oliver
As I turned around to leave Girón, I asked myself a slightly morbid but necessary question. If the world ended in that moment, what would matter? The emails left behind? The jobs and money lost? The “busyness” of the business of life? According to a recent study published in the journal, Psychiatric Services, more Americans are stressed, depressed and anxiety-ridden than ever before. We have forgotten why we’re here. So, I’ll ask you the same thing that I asked myself, if all of this ended right now, could you stand, proud, powerful and in all your majestic glory and say like that waterfall, “I lived my purpose”?