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“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

As a Ukrainian refugee pursuing higher education in the United States, the English language did not make the process simple for me. In college and now my PhD, I had to learn to write as an academic in order to move through the program efficiently. And I struggled. I still do. I’m rarely able to communicate as smoothly as I’d like. Often finding myself lost amongst the many languages floating in my head.

 But I remember coming to my advisor in my undergraduate studies, feeling shame in my struggle to put the right words to paper. I told him, “I can see where I’d like to be. The story is inside of me, my vision vivid, but I am so STUCK. The right words are beyond me. And worse, I’m afraid I do not have them.” And my advisor, the infinitely compassionate Dr. Smith, assuaged my fears with the simplicity of wisdom: “Begin with one word”. Write your paper starting with one sentence. And the rest will come. 

And that wisdom has become one of the great themes of my life. One simple step. One. One word, call, email, move. One risk to change everything.  

Any journey in life starts with a single step. When I see clients overwhelmed, losing control, in panic over the story that has become their life, I help them start with a simple step. When we create movement, any movement, we create small motivation. In a new visceral experience, we create life potential. Too many people become overwhelmed with the road ahead and hide in denial. Yet, the road was meant to be walked a step at a time, each honored for the experience. And in a thousand, ten thousand, a lifetime of single steps, you will look back and see that the road, the overwhelming journey, has become one of joy and accomplishment. By narrowing your focus to one moment, one action, the journey becomes your own. 

Tulsa Trauma Counselor

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