What Brings You Alive

The antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest. ~Brother David Steindl-Rast, from David Whyte’s Midlife and the Great Unknown: Finding Courage and Clarity Through Poetry (audio CD)

They say ‘I’ and ‘I’ and they could mean anyone.~Rilke

David Whyte is one of my favorite poets and authors, and this is a wonderful work. According to Whyte, when we are weary of the world, it is because we are not tuned into the world, not finding what makes us come alive. We are acting out of self-necessity, living strategically, rather than honoring where our energies lie, what we have affection for. “The antidote to exhaustion is whole-heartedness,” says Steindl-Rast.

In this audio (which is excerpted from a longer audio series, Clear Mind, Wild Heart) Whyte advocates cultivating a relationship with the unknown, living in a place of spaciousness and possibility. As a person who has always been uncomfortable in uncertain and in-between places, this is a lesson I need to learn. To live with ambiguity, to clarify and celebrate the questions, to remain open to the conversation that wants to happen between myself and the world.

I believe the path to whole-heartedness is mindful attention to what feeds us, recognition of what we love, and the courage to follow our hearts. What brings you alive?


5 Responses to What Brings You Alive

  1. dSavannah says:

    I cut this out of a magazine (not sure which one)…

    Nineteenth-century poet and author George MacDonald cautioned, “Work is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness, the cultivation of which is now fearfully neglected.”

    It is hard to be still, to listen (to your heart, the world around you, nature), to not fill every moment with something that needs doing, and to not feel guilty when you are still, listening, and quiet.

  2. quotesqueen says:

    You are so right, and thank you for that quote! It reminds me of Brenda Ueland’s “moodling in dreamy idleness” (see “The Case Against Will” post at https://quotesqueen.wordpress.com/2008/06/01/the-case-against-will/).

  3. donna says:

    I think we have to honor the season, too, and it is a season now of rest. Our culture is a bit crazy making, demanding we run around and buy gifts and try to please others at a time when the spirit may just really want to rest and be still. Perhaps that’s why so many of us end up ill at this time of year.

    So maybe being a bit world-weary is just the body’s way of letting you know to take it easy for a day or two!

  4. Jo says:

    Thank you very much for the comment on my blog http://flowingmotion.wordpress.com.

    Do you read Paulo Coelh? I amd sure you will enjoy him and a perfect read if you are curled up inside with snow falling outside!


  5. quotesqueen says:

    Jo, I haven’t read Coelh, but will definitely try him! Thanks for the tip and for visiting.

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