The Journey

Old Bridge crossing the Animas River in Durango, Colorado.  Photo Courtesy of Arianna Smith Counseling LLC. 

2017 is right around the corner.  It’s so easy to get caught up in day-to-day worries – especially with the holiday madness – that we forget to acknowledge how far we have come on our journey in the past year.

So, I invite you to find some quiet time today (or even just a bit quieter than your normal day) to just sit and reflect on the past year.

What was life like for you 1 year ago? 5 years ago?  How have you grown? How has your view of yourself or your life shifted?  

Feel whatever feelings arise as you do this.  Notice them without judgment.  Honor them in a way that feels good to you (i.e. talking to a friend, writing, crying, celebrating) and let them pass.

As you ponder,  I encourage you to notice even the tiniest positive changes.  Such as:  “I have learned to say ‘no’ more often.   I leave the office earlier than I used to.  I can now name some of my difficult emotions, when before I would avoid them. I’ve learned one new way to deal with my anger.”

Change is hard.  We often get push back from those around us when we start to take better care of ourselves or set better boundaries.  Sometimes the greatest push back is from our inner critic that would like us to stay feeling down.

And if nothing feels better or different, that’s okay, too.   I would argue that being a conscious human in this world is – in and of itself – an act of strength and bravery (but that’s a post for another day).

(Aside: If you need some humor around this topic, I invite you to watch the Season 5 finale of Parks and Rec. In this episode, Leslie Knope holds a town meeting after her first year in office.   She asks: “Are you better off now than you were a year ago?”  Hilarity ensues as some business owners respond with how things are not better because Leslie has restricted some of the townspeople’s ‘personal freedoms’ such as the amount of sugar they can put in sodas.)

I share this poem with you, hoping it brings you hope and encouragement, regardless of how you feel about the past year.

“The Journey”
By 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.


Ready to take the next step in your journey?  I would be honored to be part of the process.  

You may reach me below.

Arianna Smith




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