David Whyte

David
Whyte
1955

English Poet

Author Quotes

Walking the roads is enough today, I?ll follow the dark line of receding sun

When your eyes are tired the world is tired also. When your vision has gone no part of the world can find you. Time to go into the dark where the night has eyes to recognize its own. There you can be sure you are not beyond love. The dark will be your womb tonight. The night will give you a horizon further than you can see. You must learn one thing. The world was meant to be free in. Give up all the other worlds except the one to which you belong. Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet confinement of your aloneness to learn anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.

A real conversation always contains an invitation. You are inviting another person to reveal herself or himself to you, to tell you who they are or what they want.

Being a good parent will necessarily break our hearts as we watch a child grow and eventually choose their own way, even though many of the same heartbreaks we have traversed.

Heartbreak asks us not to look for an alternative path, because there is no alternative path. It is an introduction to what we love and have loved, an inescapable and often beautiful question, something and someone that has been with us all along, asking us to be ready for the ultimate letting go.

In the longing and possession of romantic love, it is as if the body has been loaned to someone else but has then from some remote place, taken over the senses ? we no longer know ourselves. Longing calls for a beautiful, grounded humiliation; the abasement of what we thought we were and strangely, the giving up of central control while being granted a watchful, scintillating, peripheral discrimination. The static willful central identity is pierced and wounded, violated and orphaned into its own future as if set adrift on a tide.

Maturity calls us to risk ourselves as much as immaturity, but for a bigger picture, a larger horizon; for a powerfully generous outward incarnation of our inward qualities and not for gains that make us smaller, even in the winning.

Put down the weight of your aloneness and ease into the conversation. Pay attention to everything in the world as if it's alive. Realize everything has its own discrete existence outside your story. By doing this, you open to gifts and lessons that the world has to give you.

Strangely, forgiveness never arises from the part of us that was actually wounded. The wounded self may be the part of us incapable of forgetting, and perhaps, not actually meant to forget, as if, like the foundational dynamics of the physiological immune system our psychological defenses must remember and organize against any future attacks ? after all, the identity of the one who must forgive is actually founded on the very fact of having been wounded.

The moment you?ve uttered the exact dimensionality of your exile, you?re already turning towards home.

There's a fierce practicality and empiricism which the whole imaginative, lyrical aspect of poetry comes from.

Wanting soul life without the dark, warming intelligence of personal doubt is like expecting an egg without the brooding heat of the mother hen.

You can't talk about leadership in its charismatic forms.

A soul-based workplace asks things of me that I didn't even know I had. It's constantly telling me that I belong to something large in the world.

But no matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.

Heartbreak is how we mature; yet we use the word heartbreak as if it only occurs when things have gone wrong: an unrequited love, a shattered dream? But heartbreak may be the very essence of being human, of being on the journey from here to there, and of coming to care deeply for what we find along the way.

It is always hard to believe that the courageous step is so close to us, that it is closer than we ever could imagine, that in fact, we already know what it is, and that the step is simpler, more radical than we had thought: which is why we so often prefer the story to be more elaborate, our identities clouded by fear, the horizon safely in the distance, the essay longer than it needs to be and the answer safely in the realm of impossibility.

Maturity is not a static arrived platform, where life is viewed from a calm, untouched oasis of wisdom, but a living elemental frontier between what has happened, what is happening now and the consequences of that past and present; first imagined and then lived into the waiting future.

Questions that have no right to go away are those that have to do with the person we are about to become; they are conversations that will happen with or without our conscious participation.

Stranger still, it is that wounded, branded, un-forgetting part of us that eventually makes forgiveness an act of compassion rather than one of simple forgetting. To forgive is to assume a larger identity than the person who was first hurt, to mature and bring to fruition an identity that can put its arm, not only around the afflicted one within but also around the memories seared within us by the original blow and through a kind of psychological virtuosity, extend our understanding to one who first delivered it. Forgiveness is a skill, a way of preserving clarity, sanity and generosity in an individual life, a beautiful way of shaping the mind to a future we want for ourselves; an admittance that if forgiveness comes through understanding, and if understanding is just a matter of time and application then we might as well begin forgiving right at the beginning of any drama rather than put ourselves through the full cycle of festering, incapacitation, reluctant healing and eventual blessing.

The Opening of Eyes: After R. S. Thomas That day I saw beneath dark clouds, the passing light over the water and I heard the voice of the world speak out, I knew then, as I had before, life is no passing memory of what has been nor the remaining pages in a great book waiting to be read. It is the opening of eyes long closed. It is the vision of far off things seen for the silence they hold. It is the heart after years of secret conversing, speaking out loud in the clear air. It is Moses in the desert fallen to his knees before the lit bush. It is the man throwing away his shoes as if to enter heaven and finding himself astonished, opened at last, fallen in love with solid ground.

Things have a way of being richer in the end, a product better made, for the circuitous route we take to include all the elements that are necessary for a job well done.

We are each a river with a particular abiding character, but we show radically different aspects of ourself according to the territory through which we travel.

You feel your longing and desires and they do the Work. My whole life has been following my intuition and strange beckonings.

A soulful approach to work is probably the only way an individual can respond creatively to the high-temperature stress of modern work life without burning to a crisp in the heat. It takes the soul's ability to elicit texture, color, story, and meaning from the tumult of events, to meet fire with fire and still have a somewhat restful existence that is capable of wise policy somewhere at the center of it all. The corporation, in calling for a little more creative fire from their people, must make room for a little more soul. Making room for creativity, it must make room for the source of that fire and the hearth where it burns ? the heart and the soul of the individual.

Author Picture
First Name
David
Last Name
Whyte
Birth Date
1955
Bio

English Poet