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Video: Mary Oliver Reads "The Journey" & 5 Lessons We Can Learn from It



In this video Mary Oliver reads"The Journey" is, a masterful ode to the inner struggles and triumphs that come with following one's own path. It resonates deeply with anyone who has ever felt the pull to break free from external expectations and chart a personal course. Here, we explore five key lessons from Oliver's poem that can inspire and guide us through our own life journeys. Each lesson serves as a beacon, helping us navigate the often tumultuous waters of personal growth and self-discovery.

1. Listen to Your Inner Voice

At the core of "The Journey" is the critical moment when one realizes the necessity of listening to their inner voice. Oliver writes, "One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began." This line speaks to the profound realization that comes from finally hearing and prioritizing your own needs and desires over the noise of others' opinions and expectations.

Takeaway: Start by spending quiet time each day to reflect on your thoughts and feelings. Journaling or meditation can be effective ways to tune into your inner voice and discover what truly matters to you.

2. Embrace the Challenge of Change

Change is rarely easy, and Oliver does not shy away from acknowledging the difficulties. She describes how "the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations," symbolizing the challenges and resistance one might face when making significant life changes. Despite these obstacles, the protagonist of the poem continues on their path.

Takeaway: Understand that obstacles are a natural part of growth. Instead of fearing them, view challenges as opportunities to learn and strengthen your resolve. Stay committed to your path, even when it becomes difficult.

3. Free Yourself from Others’ Expectations

A significant theme in "The Journey" is the struggle to break free from what others think and expect of us. Oliver reflects on the voices which, "though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice," the individual persists on their journey. This illustrates the external pressures that can divert us from our true paths.

Takeaway: Work on setting boundaries with others. It’s important to respectfully decline advice or expectations that do not align with your personal goals or well-being. Remember, it's your life, and you are the one who gets to decide how to live it.

4. The Power of Determination

Mary Oliver highlights the importance of determination when she describes the continued effort of the poem’s subject to move forward, despite the hardships. The journey is not just about realizing what needs to be done but also about the persistent effort to do it, even when the path is lonely and rugged.

Takeaway: Cultivate perseverance. Setbacks will happen, but staying focused on your long-term goals is crucial. Keep taking small steps forward, no matter how slow progress might seem at times.

5. Saving Yourself is the Greatest Victory

Perhaps the most powerful message of the poem comes in its final lines, "determined to save the only life you could save." This speaks to the essential journey of saving oneself through the act of self-discovery and authenticity. It’s a reminder that in striving to find and save ourselves, we reach the most significant form of success.

Takeaway: Prioritize self-care and self-respect. Make decisions that foster your well-being and growth. Remember, improving your own life positively impacts those around you and can inspire others to embark on their journeys of self-discovery.

Last Words

Mary Oliver’s "The Journey" is more than just a poem; it's a roadmap for anyone on the path to finding their true selves. Its lessons are universal, reminding us of the importance of listening to our inner voices, embracing the challenges that come with change, freeing ourselves from the weight of others' expectations, maintaining determination, and ultimately, saving ourselves. Each step taken in authenticity is not just a move towards personal fulfillment but also an act of profound courage that lights the way for others. Embrace these lessons as you continue on your own journey, knowing that each step is a part of the greater journey toward self-realization.

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