Reflections on Life's Transitions

Milton Woolley, MS, MFT

Have you recently looked at a picture of yourself or a good friend from, say 10 years ago? Almost everyone says: "I looked so young then!" In those brief glimpses of ourselves historical moments of life spring to mind. Suddenly we find ourselves taking a brief life inventory of what has happened since that picture was taken. Daily life and all of its demands distract us from the realization of the many transitions we've gone through in those intervening years. 


In this and the upcoming newsletters I would like to share a few poems that remind us to be present and awake to our lives while we climb the daily rungs of the latter to our life's transitions. The first poem is by May Sarton and I am constantly moved each time I read it. 


Now I Become Myself

by May Sarton (source:


Now I become myself. It's taken

Time, many years and places;

I have been dissolved and shaken,

Worn other people's faces,

Run madly, as if Time were there,

Terribly old, crying a warning,

"Hurry, you will be dead before--"

(What? Before you reach the morning?

Or the end of the poem is clear?

Or love safe in the walled city?)

Now to stand still, to be here,

Feel my own weight and density!

The black shadow on the paper

Is my hand; the shadow of a word

As thought shapes the shaper

Falls heavy on the page, is heard.

All fuses now, falls into place

From wish to action, word to silence,

My work, my love, my time, my face

Gathered into one intense

Gesture of growing like a plant.

As slowly as the ripening fruit

Fertile, detached, and always spent,

Falls but does not exhaust the root,

So all the poem is, can give,

Grows in me to become the song,

Made so and rooted by love.

Now there is time and Time is young.

O, in this single hour I live

All of myself and do not move.

I, the pursued, who madly ran,

Stand still, stand still, and stop the sun!