The Journey to Benin Anew

Sharon Salzbert 28 day meditation challenge
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.

The first time you have to do anything, it is new to you. I find that it really doesn’t matter if you have done something like it, or spent time thinking about it. There is just a process you go through when something is new. We may be tempted to label the experience as good or bad, and us as happy or sad. But those labels are often what keeps us stuck. What if we suspended judgment? I invite you to do so as you sit, for the first time, during our 28-day challenge (sign up for free meditations at No matter if you have meditated before—whether you’ve done so for years or days, on retreats, or in your room, through centered prayer, yoga, or martial arts. I invite you to meditate today like you are meditating for the first time.

I invite you to hold a curiosity for the meditation, like you might have when entering a foreign land. You might try envisioning the sitting as a great open field which you are entering, or perhaps like a fresh blanket of snow in which you may create your snow angel. Each breath a footprint, each thought a falling snowflake. And in this way, you may leave the time-worn past behind, and begin anew.
-Urszula Klich

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