Today I watched David Whyte in his online offering Just Beyond Yourself: The Power of Robust Vulnerability. The word vulnerability comes from the Latin “wound”.
He began by reading the poem “Just Beyond Yourself”. It’s written for John O’Donohue and you can read it online.
He then shared about how going to the Galapagos brought him to a place of innocence which then led to hubris. He had to break apart.
I was most struck when he spoke of his time in the Himalayas when he came to a broken and precarious bridge. He was afraid to cross and then a “lined” older woman came skipping along and said, “Namaste”, which translates to “I greet the God in you”. After watching her disappear across the bridge, he crossed too.
I had a similar experience when I was in the Everest region of Nepal. I was standing hesitant to cross a rickety looking bridge when a tiny, sprightly elf of an elderly woman carrying a heavy pack on her back came skipping across and seeing me standing there, said “Namaste”. She then continued along as I watched her, inspired by her energy and light. I write about her in my book Airing Out the Fairy Tale.
Whyte speaks of his mother’s death, and how there is the loss, yes, but also a recognition revealed in his poem “Farewell Letter”, also available online.
The workshop has a homework task. Each day this week we enter into silence and invite a time of heartbreak or grief. Allowing ourselves to touch into the bottom ground of our grief, we perceive a new horizon. I’ve done this before, gone fully into a place of grief, and what I discovered was joy, laughter, and bliss, so though part of me is hesitant to begin the task, another part trusts the reward.
We are living through a challenging time. Certainty, such as it was, has disappeared, so we’re given an opportunity to meet what’s coming new, and in that, open to our poetic center and honoring the seasons, bloom in our time.