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.