Coral Gables, Florida, USA to the World – “Our life experiences happen in waves and cycles. Things go well for a while- until they don’t,” Mary Anne Radmacher writes in her chapter on Relationship in her book Live with Intention: Remember and Do What Matters. “Then, what was easy before becomes hard, even insurmountable,” she adds, “and we need help. If we’re lucky enough, we have friends to call on…” As we, collectively, work our way through surviving a global pandemic, and as we, as individuals, slowly emerge from a great period of hibernation-like living in which former routines have been profoundly altered, perhaps it has never before been more important than now to “remember” and “do what matters.” In this newly re-released book, Radmacher guides us toward self-discovery- or, perhaps, re-discovery- of what that uniquely means to each of us.
Mary Anne Radmacher is described as a writer and artist who has been exploring writing and symbols since childhood and taking that knowledge and experience, combining it with her decades of experience in the business world, and bringing it to her consulting clients. Her sage wisdom has been shared in a broad-spectrum of ways, from original aphorisms printed on posters, greeting cards, and refrigerator magnets- most especially, “Live With Intention”- to editing former President Clinton’s book Be Brave and Chase Your Dreams. Radmacher’s many other books that encourage and inspire living one’s life with authenticity include Lean Forward Into Your Life, Live Boldly, and Life Begins When You Do. She is also the coauthor with Jonathan Lockwood Hule of Simply an Inspired Life: Consciously Choosing Unbounded Happiness in Good Times and Bad and was a significant contributor to Marci Moore’s Love Letters from Your Life: Inspired Ways to Show Up with Love.
Live With Intention: Remember and Do What Matters is presented in two main parts: a first part “Live With Intention” containing thirteen chapters undertaking life activities that Radmacher has learned encourage richness and joy, and a second part presenting what Radmacher calls a curriculum for a twenty-two-day (or twenty-two-step) guided process to live this out. Throughout Part I, Radmacher shares her stories and letters filled with metaphor gleaned through her positive ways of looking at life. The chapters here contain treatments on these major topics: “Live with Intention,” “Completion: Walk to the Edge,” “Spirit: Listen Hard,” “Health: Practice Wellness,” “Playfulness: Play with Abandon,” “Gratitude: Laugh,” “Perspective: Fail with Enthusiasm,” “Forgiveness: Choose with No Regret,” “Enthusiasm: Continue to Learn,” “Relationship: Appreciate Your Friends” (the chapter from which the statement on life experiences above comes), “Leadership: Lead and Follow a Leader,” “Dream: Do What You Love,” and “Generosity: Live As If this is All There Is.”
The items in Part II continue the magic, offering exercises to guide and encourage the reader through the experience of remembering, exactly, what matters to each, how time is used each day (attending to urgent, perhaps, over the important) and ways to make adjustments upon receiving clarity and confirmation in these areas. Quoting Albert Einstein, Radmacher demonstrates the value in doing this particular exercise: “Many of the things you can count, don’t count. Many of the things you can’t count really count.” Radmacher suggests that, as we take this particular inventory after going through the exercises,we can see what fills up our days and weeks and how that aligns with what we most want to accomplish. She invites us to do these exercises on a regular basis- perhaps annually or every few years so we stay attuned to what’s really important, what moves us.
“What you carry, how you travel, and the reasons why you have established those intentions determine the nature of your steps,” Radmacher shares in her chapter on Generosity. “This is why there is power in the suggestion that you remember, and do what matters…” In this same chapter, the author offers us the gift of her poem “Watch What You Carry,” a wonderful reminder of how to walk through life:
Rise up and watch what you carry.
Can you not see your burden?
Listen to the stories you tell.
Listen to the tales you carry,
set down and pick, set down and pick up again.
You are your story.
The words you weave become your garments.
The words you weave become your carpet.
The words you weave are your meal, they are your drink,
they become your liver, your lips, your life.
Rise up, creature, and watch what you carry.
Can you see the road before you?
Listen to the invitation of your soul.
You do not have to travel just because there is a road.
It it is not your journey you may stay.
Rest. Sit a while.
They are your feet- only go where they wish to carry you.
They must not walk a road that belongs to someone else.
Rise up and watch what you carry.
Can you love the wind that blew you here
without insisting it take you further?
Can you thank the warp of your days
without asking it to be on a larger frame?
Can you intend to live with a contradiction
between the acceptance of the is
right beside the possibility of the if? Rise Up.
Rise up, step into the next mystery
and watch what you carry.
“In my own process,” Radmacher writes, “the primary categories which reflect my core intentions have remained largely the same. How I explain them is what changes over the years.” She goes on to further explain the importance in this as she sends the reader off to do her or his own work:
“As you root yourself more deeply in the clarified and better understood intentions of your life, decisions come more cleanly and with greater specificity. Opportunities that are grand in scope can be passed by… because you know they are opportunities for someone besides you. Things that seem beyond your imagination can be embraced, because you know they align with what matters to you.
May clarity and deepened understanding by your companions as you grow and thrive in your intentional life…”
So let the self-exploration- and the remembering- begin!
Text ｩ2021 Michele Caprario Images provided by the author via Mango Publishing, used with permission
Live With Intention: Remember and Do What Matters
By Mary Anne Radmacher
Attractive AND practical gift or personal tool: $18.95