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  • Writer's pictureKim Gibson, MS, ATR, LPCC

Exercise: Honoring Our Voice through our words and images

This is a three part exercise designed to increase awareness of our own strengths and the power of our experiences. Start by reading the poem "The Journey" by Mary Oliver.

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.

Exercise: Honoring Our Voice

1) After reading the poem...notice what images and thoughts come to your mind. What comes up for you from your own life experience? Think back to a time in your life where you had a similar experience of knowing, “what you had to do”. Maybe you allowed yourself to take a step, even though there were other voices offering conflicting advice. Or maybe there were things blocking your road, but you heard your voice and you choose to move forwards anyway.

2) In your journal, describe this experience using images or words. Reflect on this time when you listened to your own voice and walked through the darkness into the light.

Maybe you changed jobs, or left a relationship. Maybe you started something brand new. Those are just a few examples. Take the time to reflect & honor your own unique experience.

Remember: These are the stories of our voice & of our strengths

Consider these details:

Where were you?

How old were you?

Who else was around you at that time?

Were there people giving you conflicting advice?

What were the roadblocks in your way?

How did it feel to honor your voice and take that step?

3) Reflection: What thoughts & feelings come up for you now as you reread your words & look at your images? Has your story shifted to one of strength?

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