I don't know. Three little words that are liberating.

Happy New Year!

This is the time of year when many are reflecting on endings and beginnings.

Are you one of those looking back and taking stock of the pluses and minuses of 2023? I used to, but I don’t anymore.

Why, you ask?

My grand adventure looking back was writing my memoirs. As each story unfolded, insights appeared that gave me a new way of viewing this life adventure.

One of the insights I wrote about is that I no longer believe there are life lessons, only life experiences. There are no right or wrong experiences; there are only experiences, and we react to them when they appear. We respond to them the way we do, as a result of who we are and what we are at that moment. There was no other to react, regardless of what hindsight would lead us to believe. How do we know? Because that is what we did!

The way I see it now is that each breath and every step we take is an ending and a beginning. With each breath and step, we end one moment and move into the next. What is behind is over, never to be seen again or repeated. As we breathe in and take a step forward, we move into a new image of reality. In this new moment, we live and react to whatever appears. Some of it may look familiar, but it’s all new.

As each of us takes the next step into the new year, we are all on a new journey in life.

I would like to share a poem with you that speaks of great beginnings—of quiet revolution!—of starting the incredible journey, we all have to begin someday if we haven’t begun already.
This poem was given to me while in the Amazon, where I was contemplating the next step in my life. This poem summed up how I felt at that moment. Since then, I have read this poem often, and each time, I smile, for I am still on a journey that is solely mine to walk.

May this poem speak to you in a meaningful way as we take a step into this New 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.

With love, joy and gratitude,