Save your life first

I found this poem on the site of a botanical artist whom I admire. One of the reasons I am working to improve my art skills is to ‘save myself’. Many women in the past… and present, have been able to support themselves and their children through art. I have spent many years of my adult life taking care of ill people to the point where it was impossible to have a career outside the home. I have tried other ways to work independently; I am a certified personal trainer but standing around counting to 10,12, or 15 multiple times per day while people who cheat on their diets wonder why they don’t lose weight- quickly lost its appeal. There are other things I plan to incorporate into my art but these plans are not yet ready to be revealed.

Here is the poem. I hope it touches those who needed to read the wisdom it contains.

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.

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