Maybe I never spent enough time reflecting on the words; maybe I was just too young. But there was one poem by Robert Frost that really touched me, and didn’t require that I sit for long periods of time searching for an enigmatic message. I first read Frost in high school, and his tale of taking the road less traveled has stayed with me, and seemed the motto for my own life. But I haven’t given Frost, or any poet for that matter, much more than an occasional nod for over thirty years.
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of listening to an audio recording of modern-day poet, David Whyte. In it, Whyte tells the story of an evening when he eagerly anticipates sipping red wine and reading beautiful poetry with a very dear old friend. Before they would embark on the readings, at Whyte’s request, this friend and Benedictine monk shared his thoughts regarding Whyte’s feelings of exhaustion. At that particular time in my life, I, too, was “completely and utterly” exhausted.
I tuned my ears closely to hear his words.
“The antidote to exhaustion,” he had said, “is not necessarily rest.”
Now I was really curious.
“The antidote to exhaustion” he said, “is whole-heartedness.”
Well, that surprised me. For the full enlightenment and discourse, you’ll need to listen for yourself. But I am reminded of this story today, as I write my first blog entry. Whole-heartedness. Where would I be without it, and how do I write whole-heartedly?
For a moment or two, I sit with that thought. As I do, I float sweetly into nearly tearful joy that rises when I feel the precious unfolding of what has been a guiding dream: my new practice called Creative Holistic Counseling. This has truly been a journey on a road not-often traveled, and it was with a whole heart that I embarked on it. Had I not, it is unlikely that I would ever have arrived.
At the outset, maybe 18 years ago, I only had a vague sense of what was to be the object of my long pursuit. The visual image of it was hidden in clouds, but I knew that this place was home, the place where I belonged. If anyone could have told me how difficult the journey would be, I wonder if ever I would have taken the first steps. Thankfully, the vision held my heart captive. Actually, it seemed to call me toward it, drawing me nearer whenever I sat quietly in contemplation.
That was the key to getting here. When I felt lost, or overwhelmed, I would eventually find my way back to my yoga practice, sitting quietly with eyes closed, out of sheer exhaustion. Only then would the vision return, as if on cue, without me thinking about it or looking for it. I always felt unexpected warmth in my heart when it showed up, and I felt the power in its constancy. It seemed to have a life of its own, leading me toward it rather than me doing the creating of it.
In those moments, I reconnected to the love associated with the dream, which cleared the way through the fog of distraction. It brought clarity and focus, and helped me filter through all the unnecessary things, and make my way back to the center. That’s the place where the wholeness of the creation could be felt, and it was from there I was led out of exhaustion.
So here I am today, considering this task of writing from a place of whole-heartedness. As I soar among the parting clouds with awe and gratitude, I can feel the inspiration that has carried me forward, and brought me here to You . . . The love in the dream has carried me to this beautiful place, to live amongst magnificent forests and misty rivers, filled with soaring eagles and silvery salmon, surrounded by mountains and waterfall creeks. It is magical and breathtaking, and quite humbling.
As the doors have opened, and inspiration so moves you, I invite you to join me in yoga, or to sit in circle amongst friends, or to take a moment wherever you are, to just close your eyes, and listen to the dream in your heart. For the fire in there, will by all means, carry you anywhere.
Till then . . .