The Journey

Sometimes an author’s work will speak to us because in it we see something that reminds us of ourselves and our own journey.  That’s exactly how I feel when I read Mary Oliver’s work.

the journey.jpgI thought I would share a poem that I see particularly fitting for right now. Given that we’re entering a new year, many of us are embarking on personal journeys.  Whether they’re new ones or we’re continuing on with ones we started long ago.

The Journey resonates with me personally because I started this blog as a means to push myself to write regularly, to be honest and vulnerable, and to help me find my voice.

We’re all on our own unique journeys, but we do not walk alone.  We must never forget that.

I wish you the best in 2016.  May your journey be a beautiful one.

The Journey

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.

The Journey, Mary Oliver

Photo Attribution

You Matter, I Matter

Often times I feel hopeless, because what I’ve done, will do, and am currently doing is all grossly insignificant. Like what I think and feel, is felt by hundreds of millions of other people. Maybe things vary in terms of the details, but human beings are more similar than not. The complexity of our thinking leads us to believe that we are different, alone, and experiencing our lives entirely as if this were the first time in human history anyone has felt this way.

Our culture doesn’t help, either. With the push of capitalist individualism and the cut-throat nature that is climbing the corporate ladder, it’s no wonder we’re feeling lonelier than ever.significance

But then I kind of realized something, without really even forcing myself to draw any conclusions. We are all individuals here. We have vastly different, seemingly unimportant, sequences of experiences that equate to one large experience called life. We share many commonalities, but each experience we have affects us each in different ways. What we take away from each encounter, thought, or event, shapes us into the people we become. The relevance of this is that these minute experiences that often go unrecognized, are essentially what shapes us as human beings. So when we think we are irrelevant, or have nothing important to say, we are sadly mistaken. Change isn’t always obvious, or even outwardly noticeable. Our actions may mean little in our own opinion, but that’s only because we don’t have the chance to follow its ripple affect. It could change the life of someone else. It largely depends on our perceptions and previous experiences, and the ways in which they intertwine to form our subjective realities.

Imagine if we believed we mattered. And not just in the theoretical sense, but in our bones. Imagine if we thought of ourselves as valuable, worthy human beings with potential to really affect change. And I’m not talking individually. I mean as a people. A collective of kind, compassionate, people who believed in themselves and the ability to better the planet. Well, I think we would be a lot better off.

Your contribution may be so small, but the affect it could have may lead to so much more. More progress, beauty, and love. And without you, it never would have happened. Your comment, kindness, or even just to share a moment of solitude, could be the catalyst that forces them to make a brilliant change. Or you could have just made someone a little less lonely for a moment. Isn’t that enough in itself?

If we were truly insignificant, why were we put here?