Changing it Up

After posting “From the Toys of Babes” last month, the words “You are your own Dolly Alanna!” have continued to echo in my mind.  I was speaking about setting intentions for the New Year; specifically, cultivating values (i.e. honesty) and feeling states (i.e grateful) rather than chasing the sometimes grandiose and unrealistic goals we’re conditioned to believe we should aspire to in order to achieve a socially constructed state of happiness.  I’ve decided to take my own challenge and use this blog space as a tool to hold me accountable all year long to the feeling state I want to experience more of, which is to feel inspired.  By inspired, I mean invigorated, excited, hopeful, and creative.  I want to feel more of those things and I know they won’t come without an active pursuit.  To that end, each month I will find and share whatever it is I’ve heard, seen, or experienced that inspires me most.  My hope is that at least a sliver of what illuminates me will illuminate you.

January, of course, marks the beginning of my inspiration experiment.  As it so happens, one of my favorite poets, Mary Oliver, passed away two weeks ago.  I was introduced to her work before I knew I was standing on the precipice of transforming my life.  I’d never been able to connect with or appreciate poetry because it didn’t make sense to me.  It felt too abstract and more laborious to interpret than I had interest in studying it.  And then I read the poem below.  I’ve come back to it often and will forever hold it as a reminder of what it feels like to be in the throws of uncertainty alongside the pain and joy of discovery.  Mary Oliver’s words inspired me to find my voice and listen to its wisdom.       

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.