Thursday, February 9

Saving you, Saving Me...

carsten balancing in big bear, kodak LS753

"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" by Mary Oliver, Collected Poems

I read this poem the other day and it struck my heart like lightening. There have been quite a few times throughout my life when I had made a decision I just knew in my heart was best for me, despite those around me not in agreement. And because it is natural for me to please those I love, it took much strength to continue to step forward, not allowing their advice or ideas to stop me and hold onto my own voice telling me to keep going..."determined to save the only life I could save"...which is mine.

There was also a time in my life when I felt the need to save people. I didn't know what to do with this big, clumsy heart of mine. So, I threw myself into helping others, saving others...but along the way didn't have energy left to save myself. This happened with boyfriends, friendships, family, etc.

Through the years I slowly realized that I couldn't really save anyone. That they in the long run, had to save themselves. That my well meaning advice, love and guidance is helpful and perhaps inspiring but the only way for them to truly come out of their despair was to find that strength within, their own voice, their own confidence.

Once I discovered that I am not responsible for other people's happiness and in turn, they are not responsible for my own happiness, it was quite empowering.

Empowering for them, empowering for me.

To know that as yummy and warm and fuzzy it feels to have my loved ones surround me in a circle when I am at my lowest, the only one that can truly pull myself out of it is me.

The only one that can follow my dreams is me. To keep going, keep walking forward, listening to my own voice, pulling myself up and out the door into my world as it should be.