Who Am I Again? The Longest Journey In The World – The Shortest Distance Travelled

Counselling has been an absolute revelation to me. It has helped me to see how I have spent most of my adult life moving away from the young person I once was and becoming the ‘Me’ that was expected of me. Expectations from family and friends, and the influences of other people, people who had less than my best interests at heart – only their own. Counselling took me on a journey. It has been the longest journey I have ever been on (in terms of time) and the shortest ever journey (in terms of distance). I love to travel, to see the world, to expand my horizons. I had no idea that my horizons would be expanded the most by taking a journey of only a few short inches – out of my own head into my own heart. Counselling was the key that enabled me to do this. I have written about this experience in fairy-tale form in a previous post – ‘The Path To Wise Counsel’.

I hadn’t noticed that by trying my hardest to be the person I felt was expected of me, over time, and much reinforcement, I detached myself from the person I was truly born to be. It has taken me 30 years to rediscover the ‘Small Version Of Me’ and what she has to say. She has a strong and confident voice. I had just stopped hearing her. To be fair the ‘Bigger Version Of Me’ has learned a lot. This wasn’t wasted time. And now, thanks to the blessing of being referred for counselling, it has facilitated a long-overdue reintroduction between the two. With the smaller one’s strength, and the bigger one’s experience, I think they are going to amount to a potent force.

In order to achieve this reconnection, counselling has given me the permission I needed to extract myself for a while from the voices of others. It has been a critical necessity in order to better hear what I truly have to say, what my heart has been trying to tell me all along, that very short distance from my previously omnipotent head.

For me, writing is the gift that allows my heart to speak. When I am blue, or angry, confused or lost, putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, is how I hear my voice. My thinking head takes a break and my feeling heart is allowed to exhale and say “This is how it is. Thinking it through is all very well for practical everyday matters. But feeling it is the only way you are going to be able to befriend these emotional critters running around the place”.

I used to believe that my need to be alone stemmed from insecurity. And I was an insecure person. I would feel uncomfortable and ‘less than’ in the company of others. They all seemed to know themselves, their minds, so well. I didn’t know mine at all, and therefore got pushed and pulled by the prevailing winds. Only now can I see that my insecurity was trying to work for me, encouraging me to take a step back into myself, so I could better hear myself, before I reopened the door to let others in.

Thanks to the safe space of counselling, and the gentle nudging of a skilled counseller, I am now undergoing the transformation of my life. Perhaps a subtle thing from an observer’s perspective – my friends may tell you nothing seems to have changed at all. But they would be quite wrong – 30 years of programming does not get undone overnight. But the journey inside? The one they cannot see? Oh my, the places it is taking me! The biggest journey of my life. I’ll see you all when I land.


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.


Copyright © 2016 · Forty and Everything After

8 thoughts on “Who Am I Again? The Longest Journey In The World – The Shortest Distance Travelled”

  1. Great work. What an honest and sincere exploration of yourself and you are so brave for sharing it with everyone. Thank you.


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