“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
was breathless as a sense of loss swept through me. The Tibetan monks had just
washed away a sand mandala, an intricate art piece that took them weeks to
build using millions of grains of colored sand. This process of creation and
destruction was an exercise in living in the present without attachment.
Attachment, according to Buddhist philosophy, causes suffering when change
that moment, I recalled a time when I had lost several large paintings that had
taken me months to complete. I had cried for days afterwards, overwhelmed by
the loss. But right then, as I watched the monks let go, I knew that I had a
lesson to learn. The monks created for no other purpose than pure enjoyment; I
created for the sake of possessing the finished piece.
mentality permeated many aspects of my life. I was intensely attached to
material possessions, people, and situations. I found it difficult to relax and
simply enjoy the journey. Instead, I lived for the future, meticulously
planning and relentlessly driving toward my goal. To me, the end product was
the crowning jewel of any venture.
finally began to understand that my focus on results prohibited me from
enjoying experiences for their own sake. I had been robbing myself of the joy
of being fully immersed in the present moment – a moment in which I should have
been feeling and being, not just thinking and doing.
With my one wild and precious life, I will wash away my own mandalas.
will let go. I will let go to live.
— May Lam
Each year we ask our classmates a straightforward, simple question taken from the lines of a poem by Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Mary Oliver.
We share with you intimate and candid responses to this question, "What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
Concept and photography:
Tony Deifell, MBA '02
More Portrait Project
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