START

CLOSE IN

 

One of my first Big Life Decision came at 21 when I was working part-time as a nurse’s aide in a local nursing home.  One day a co-worker and I went to the local Goodwill to buy some clothes for her kids.  She made her purchases quickly and soon we were back in the car smoking and I was telling her how I wanted to quit school. As I talked, she began to burn the price tags off the clothes with the tip of her cigarette. She wasn’t sad, but the moment suddenly scared me. I didn’t know what I wanted in life, but I knew right then I didn’t want to be burning the price tags off clothes in 5 years.  That was her world and I knew I needed to find my own world. I stopped talking. And I decided to give school another try not because of what I wanted but more because of what I knew I didn’t want. I’ve faced many Big Life Decisions since that time with lovers and family and jobs. Sometimes what I’ve needed to do has come to me in a flash, like that day in the car. But mostly when presented with a Big Life Decision, I don’t know what to do. I like David Whyte’s poem because it invites me to start close in, with what I do know. His poem tells me it’s ok to take one step at a time—and it doesn’t have to be a big step or a small step or any particular sort of step, so long as it’s mine.

 

Start close in,

don’t take the second step

or the third,

start with the first

thing

close in,

the step

you don’t want to take.

Start with

the ground

you know,

the pale ground

beneath your feet,

your own

way of starting

the conversation.

Start with your own

question,

give up on other

people’s questions,

don’t let them

smother something

simple.

To find

another’s voice,

follow

your own voice,

wait until

that voice

becomes a

private ear

listening

to another.

Start right now

take a small step

you can call your own

don’t follow

someone else’s

heroics, be humble

and focused,

start close in,

don’t mistake

that other

for your own

don’t follow

someone else’s

heroics, be humble

and focused,

start close in,

don’t mistake

that other

for your own

 

- david whyte

Thank you so much for your interest!  You can reach us at ucg@wonderpress.org

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