Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Things I need to remember...

Pain is a given. Joy is a discipline. - Orion Foxwood

And from David Whyte's Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity. This passage strikes me deeply, for reasons that are obvious to those who know me or are in the middle of their own struggles:

"Brother David?"

I uttered it in such an old, petitionary, Catholic way that I almost thought he was going to say, "Yes, my son?" But he did not; he turned his face toward me, following the spontaneous note of desperate sincerity, and simply waited.

"Tell me about exhaustion," I said.

He looked at me with an acute, searching, compassionate ferocity for the briefest of moments, as if trying to sum up the entirety of the situation and without missing a beat, as if he had been waiting all along, to say a life changing thing to me. He said, the form of both a question and an assertion:

"You know that the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest?"

"The antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest," I repeated woodenly, as if I might exhaust myself completely before I reached the end of the sentence. "What is it then?"

"The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness."

He looked at me for a wholehearted moment, as if I should fill in the blanks. But I was a blank to be filled at that moment, and though I knew something pivotal had been said, I had not the wherewithal to say anything in reply. So he carried on:

"You are so tired through and through because a good half of what you do here in this organization has nothing to do with your true powers, or the place you have reached in your life. You are only half here, and half here will kill you after a while. You need something to which you can give your full powers. You know what that is; I don't have to tell you."

This book, by the way, is made of awesome. To sum up?

"And to die, which is the letting go of the ground we stand on and cling to every day..." - Rainier Maria Rilke