About Those Voices in Your Head?!


Mary Oliver is one of my favorite poets – and this is one of my favorite Mary Oliver poems.


I often turn to this poem when I need a shot of encouragement. . .


The Journey

Mary Oliver

    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.



I especially like the lines,

You knew what you had to do. . .

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognized as your own


As with so many of us, there are “voices” that cause us to doubt our abilities and ourselves.


Voices that paralyze us.


Voices that “sound” real and yet, the fears they instill in us are remote possibilities at best, illusory at worst.


And, still, we give them power.


What is something you know you have to do, yet, haven’t mustered the courage because you’ve paid too much attention to the “voices” that say: “Don’t!” and “Why bother? What’s the use?”


Why do you give those lying voices power?


Are there voices you’re ignoring? Voices that speak of work that excites you and generates curiosity?


What would your daily life look like, if you quieted the voices that sabotage you and instead welcomed the voices that encourage you to risk?


Why not begin to do today what you know you have to do and let that be your legacy for this day. . .


and then, take it up again tomorrow. . .and tomorrow. . .



Do you want to break through the negative thinking that is preventing you from

doing the work you know in your heart you want to do?

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