In Search of the Big Story

In Search of the Big Story

Learning to Ask the Beautiful Question

By David Whyte

January/February 2016

This March, poet, storyteller, and philosopher David Whyte will once again be the keynoter at the annual Networker Symposium. But what does a non-therapist like him have to say to an audience of clinicians? From Whyte’s perspective, psychology and psychotherapy simply don’t go far enough. Their focus is restricted to the individual’s biography—good for a start but, according to Whyte, too small an arena for the capacious human soul. As he once said, “There’s something beyond your biography in a more soul-based view of existence that helps you make sense of your individual life in a way that psychology can’t do.”

In Consolations, his most recent book, Whyte offers meditations on 52 ordinary words to shift and broaden their meaning, taking them to the edge of revelation and discovery. As always, he seeks to bring us into the Big Story and jog us awake as if to say, “Open your eyes! Watch! Listen! Smell! Pay attention!”

If you can’t make it to this year’s Symposium, here’s the next best thing: some excerpts from Consolations to take you beyond the edge of your familiar, known world. — Editors

Courage is a word that tempts us to think outwardly, to run bravely against opposing fire, to do something under besieging circumstance, and perhaps, above all, to be seen to do it in public, to show courage; to be celebrated in story, rewarded with medals, given the accolade, but a look at its…

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