03.29.2011 Posted In: Keynotes By meghan oconnell
I felt the wind at my back, just a few minutes into David Whyte's keynote address on Saturday morning. I knew I was embarking on a journey with a wise and generous guide who could show me how to see with fresh eyes. I followed, trusting his knowledge of the landscape of the heart and his willingness to share, with sincerity, the ups and downs of his own journey.
He led us through a varied landscape — a mix of poetry and story, reflection and prophecy. Along the way he invited us to consider again the landmarks of our own interiority. In his company, I was emboldened to look and to see how beauty can rise from ash; how the hurt and experiences we try to avoid are simply milestones on the road of a life rich in promise.
He shared a touching anecdote about connecting with his teenage daughter
over tea. Then there was his powerful reading of Shakespeare's Sonnet 29 and, just after, a turning in the road of his address brought us to this astonishing statement:
"There's no journey of sincerity that a human being can take in life without having their heart broken."
He invited us to engage in all aspects of our lives — our loves, our work, our relationship with ourselves — in the full knowledge that we will fall short:
"If you don't become disappointed in yourself, you're not trying."
Then, with his well-known gentleness and wit, he encouraged us to abandon ourselves anyway:
"There is no way you can love without getting your heart broken, so why not get good at it?"
I laughed, I teared up and I was encouraged — literally. I left with my heart open and feeling brave about the road ahead and whatever I would encounter on my way.
I believe I was not alone.
Let us know how David Whyte touched you — in his morning address or during the workshops.
Today was typical and atypical for a Wednesday. It usually starts with heavy breathing and lots of sweat but my personal trainer was out of commission, having undergone reconstructive knee surgery for the second time in 6 months because of basketball-related injuries (or should I say injuries due to delusions of immortality). So I slept in – and loved it. Yesterday had been a seven-client day and I had gone to bed exhausted from lugging projections from session to session. Sometimes you can leave it in the office and other times, it gets in you and stays in you. Even my yoga class the night before had been only mildly restorative. At times, the breath is no match for seven hours of potent and unsavory unconscious attributions. I was told once that the key to being a good therapist is finding a way, when you’re getting covered in shit during a session, to keep one eye open so you can see where the shit’s coming from. Certainly some days smell sweeter than others, but there does seem to be truth in that advice.06.02.2009 Posted In: NETWORKER EXCHANGE By meghan oconnell