Saturday, August 10, 2013

*The Journey (The Poem that Rocked Me to the Core)

  • The Journey 

    A Poem by Mary Oliver

    Today I offer two artistic presentation (not quite 3 minutes) of my favorite poem, or the words, simply written:

    One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice--- though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles. "Mend my life!" each voice cried, But you didn't stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations--- though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late enough, and a wild night, and the road full of fallen branches and stones. but little by little, as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice, which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do--- determined to save the only life you could save.

    This poem shook me alive as I read it. I felt someone had peered into my very soul and had written my feelings down for me. There were some who were hurt by my decision to end my 22 year marriage a few years ago, but I have never known the depth of inner peace and happiness I have had in my heart since that time.  

    This much I know: the very night I moved into my own little house, I was terrified. Insomnia has been my demon through most of my adult life. How would I be able to sleep all alone in that unfamiliar place? Without so much as a sleeping pill, that night I fell into a deep, peaceful sleep. I didn't awake until daylight was peeking through the windows. The bulging knots of tension in my shoulders were gone; the upset stomach and pounding headache had disappeared; I had slept through that whole night. The peace that entered that little home were signs to me that for all the things I may or may not have done well, I had done this one thing right. Heaven had blessed me with the knowledge that I had made the best decision for me at that time.

    Why am I digging this up to share now? Many old memories have resurfaced after spending a delightful time with a college roommate yesterday. How do you catch up on 30 years in an afternoon? We gave it a good effort.

    After discussing the trials and blessings which brought us to where we are today, last night I was haunted in my dreams by such uncomfortable ghosts of the past. Feeling the harsh judgement of others, trying to appear happy when I was not, experiencing the loneliness all over again. The confusion and conflicting emotions of the past were the overriding themes in my dream that are still with me as I try to wake up, and live in this moment.

    Living in the now continues to challenge me. I feel irritable and somewhat angry that I would allow something that isn't even real to overshadow the reality, which today is better than that dream. My head is pounding. It is so hard to convince my brain that not only was all of that in the past and it is OVER, it was JUST A DREAM.

    My journey continues. Of course, there are challenges. I am just grateful for the lessons I've learned along the way. I am finding my voice. I am learning that in order to truly love and be of service to others, I have to love and take care of myself first. That is a tricky thing for most women. We put everyone else first, to the detriment of ourselves at times.

    Dwelling in THIS moment, I am grateful for many things. My children bless me by living their lives independently, and making this world a better place with their values, strength, and laughter. My friends continue to buoy me up when I falter and need support. My cup runneth over.

    I am grateful for another sunrise that will help me erase the troubling thoughts from the night. Routines will begin anew, and before I know it, that old dream will be a fading memory. The prayer in my heart will be that I will have learned enough from my past that I won't repeat the same mistakes, and that I will control my thoughts to the point that I will fully immerse myself in the peace that this moment in time offers me.'s there, just waiting for me to come back into it.


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