Where We’ve Been



“Our ability to find something to love…depends greatly on how we resolve and integrate where we’ve been before.” ~Mark Nepo

Yesterday was a day of celebration. Me and Dana (I’ve written about Dana in A Friend for the Journey) had a picnic, a tradition that started nearly 4 years ago when we found each other on the path of lives. The intersection where our lives crossed was breast cancer. We started in a very dark place, each other a source of light, taking turns leading the way. How special to pause and reflect on where we’ve been and how we’ve been able to integrate our experience into our lives, now breathing into a life that is lighter.

The reading in Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening spoke to me that morning. I shared it with her at the picnic table under the shady tree in the park. Together we paused in a moment in silence and gratitude. He writes about the nautilus and the spiral shell it builds, and how it lives in the most recent chamber keeping its buoyancy with gas or liquid in the older chambers. He asks, can we build strong chambers with our traumas, not living there but breaking our past down till it is fluid enough to lose most of its weight…can we internalize where we’ve been enough to know that we are no longer living there? When we can life will seem lighter.


* Image courtesy of flextiles.wordpress.com


About Vicki L Flaherty

I am most alive when I am creating, whether through my writing, gardening, photography, or my work. Running and yoga enrich my being. I am happiest when I’m with my husband Jim. Travel opens me to new possibilities and greater awareness. I find a special joy in helping people succeed. I’ve done something valuable when I’ve helped a colleague or friend see their brilliance and express their full potential. I have awesome opportunities to do this as an industrial/organizational psychologist through leadership, mentoring, coaching, career and other talent programs. As I've focused on living more mindfully, I've found special joy in expressing myself through poetry and photography, and in truly being in relationship with those I meet along my journey.

7 responses »

  1. I am continuously amazed at how well you build support into your life, Vicki. It is such a gift. Speaking for myself, I will have a vague longing for something, but not know what to do about it. You know what it is, and you do something about it. I look forward to that day when we meet in person, and we have a picnic (even if its’ December!) and we read from that book – honestly, you are such a lovely spirit in the universe. Thank you!

    • Thank you, Maureen, for helping me appreciate something I do well that I hardly even noticed. You are so good at that! Thanks to your comment, two things are coming together for me:
      1. Appreciation of life as it’s available here and now. I recall my Dad telling me when my parents left me at college – enjoy the moment, be present for THIS experience, not focusin on what it will get you for the future. That wisdom – looks a lot like mindfulness to me! – is showing up powerfully in my life right now.
      2. Building a community of support. The power of community was vividly real for me when I decided to run a marathon and told everyone about it and then had literally a party of people actually there for the event. That realization was a critically important building block for my ability to move through my cancer diagnosis and treatment. Oh, my the support I had and continue to have!
      Many years ago I set an intention to have an awesome collection of inspiring friends – and, oh, my gosh! It’s been a growing abundant deliciousness, with you being one of the gifts that showed up in my life. We both have an intention of meeting in person one day…so no doubt that gift is on its way!
      I hope you are having a celebratory and rejuvenating weekend after all the dedicated focus on draft one of your strengths book! Congratulations on reaching that milestone! Can’t wait to have the book in my hands!

  2. Pingback: Community | Leading With Intention

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