Risking Everything: A Definition of Personal Growth?

Online managing editor Anne Simpkinson talks about the book that is inspiring her to get more out of life, and how it can help you do the same.

- Posted on Mar 28, 2011

A very dear friend recently gave me a book entitled Risking Everything, by Roger Housden. It’s a collection of 110 poems centered on the theme of self-exploration and revelation.

The introduction alone is worth the price of the book. It begins, “Have you ever longed for a life in which every last part of you is entirely used up? Have you ever followed that longing?”

Too often we play it safe in life—I know I do. I seek security, safety, a just-interesting-enough life. But I forget that my deepest yearnings may very well be calls from God. Challenges to grow and to take risks to achieve a dream, make a contribution. But change takes work. I know that a simple Lenten sacrifice of not watching TV has been a struggle, let alone all that’s involved in changing one’s life’s direction!

But Mary Oliver says it best in her poem “When Death Comes”:

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement…
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”

I find myself reading and rereading the introduction, then diving into the poems, soaking up the words like a desiccated soul thirsting for wisdom and inspiration.

There are many times of the year when we resolve to make changes: New Year’s, of course, and September. But spring too is a time to use the energy of the season to burst out of a deep slumber into your very best you, and as Derek Walcott suggests, “Feast on your life.”

Who would you be if you could become your very best self?

Post your responses below and you will be eligible to win a copy of Risking Everything.

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