By David Whyte
In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.
What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.
To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.
You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.
Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?
Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the writing desk?
That hardly noticed moment in which you wake is such a fleeting moment, and can be so easily missed when not paying attention. But perhaps you may indeed find yourself looking through the slanting light of the morning window toward the presence of everything that can be and find the urgency that calls you to your one love, to the shape that waits in the seed of you to grow and spread its branches against a future sky.
These past months I have found myself living in that barely noticed moment. A moment caught in time, that when stretched to infinite capacity pulls at my very core of existence and my, at time tenuous, hold on this moment. A moment within which everything dissolves when plans are made and everything is found anew when lived wholeheartedly.
I have found myself living with so many transitions, loss, grief, and pain, as well as being blessed with gratitude, openness, joy, and love. I have transitioned through, and still am, letting go of everything I know – the shape of my family with two children moving away from home and one moving countries with me; the shape of my relationship with a separation after more than twenty-five years of that being all I know; a letting go of a work community at a time when I have become even more entrenched and needed; letting go of a life community of friendships and family that have sustained and nourished me. All this to risk what can be found in a life lived wholeheartedly, without holding anything back. All risked on a chance to live this life to its fullest. And in so doing perhaps give permission for others, including my children and family, to do the same.
So here I find myself in London. About to move into a much smaller space, without the many possessions and trappings I thought I needed, even as I need to negotiate a safety net for now. Without any real knowing of how the future will unfold, but willing and excited to show up for each and every day, for this one life I have to live with deliberate intent. To know what it is to become a fluid fully present part of the unfolding around me, and trust that my life’s work will continue, my friendships real will nurture and nourish, and that life in all its wisdom will find me.
Jerry Wennstrom, an artist who in 1979 destroyed all the art he had ever created, gave everything he owned away, and began a new life, put it this way: “In the cyclical rhythm of life, we eventually come up against a profound moment in which we must decide how much faith and courage we are willing to give ourselves to. Most often, in deciding this, we also establish how much courage we will live with for the rest of our lives.” Friends and family have commented on my journey from two differing positions – either thinking me extremely foolish or brave. To be honest both apply. It can be the way of the courageous fool to be open to life in all its unfolding rather than try control it. It certainly brings a relief of its own to give in to my deepest heart’s longing and follow that call. This is the start.
So on this day of new year and renewal may your own journey into the next be one of listening to your heart and following it’s call, no matter now difficult. It is the only one that beats in your chest for you, in the only life you have.
Wishing you all well from my new abode for now – in London.