Breaking Through

Breaking Through

Poet David Whyte Invites Us to the Edge of Discovery

By Mary Sykes Wylie

November/December 2008

Imagine yourself scurrying through a typical day, innocently following your all-too-familiar routine, when suddenly everything begins to unravel. You find yourself sitting in blank-eyed stupor at a desk piled high with papers needing immediate attention. You hold the phone receiver to your ear, but can't make yourself listen to or care about what the voice at the other end is saying. You bite your tongue with a client so as not to snarl, "Quit bitching and get a life!" You look around your office and wonder wearily how you're going to get through the next project, the next day, the next minute.

What if the fuzzy, gray blur of your life were suddenly pierced by a series of jarring questions emerging from nowhere? Like an amnesiac coming to in a strange city, strange office, strange body, you hear yourself asking, "How did I get here?" "Who the hell am I?" "Who did I use to be?" "What happened to the last 15, 20, 30 years?"

Anyone wise in the ways of convention and common decency would surely suppress those unsettling questions, do the adult, prudent, responsible thing, and soldier on. "Grow up!" you might scold yourself. "Get a grip! Quit whining! This is life! Whoever promised you a rose garden? You've got kids, a mortgage, car payments, health insurance, college tuition, and a 401K to think about, so suck it up." You tell yourself this because, if you pay any real attention to these little gremlins, you're in serious trouble. Give them a few…

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