I recently had the huge honor of spending three days at a small and intimate event with the Irish poet and philosopher, David Whyte. True to the Irish tradition of giving voice to the full range of human emotions in poetry and thought, he brought us more deeply into ourselves. To the place where sadness, longing and loss reside alongside love, joy and hope.
David’s thoughts and poetry reached me in exactly the place that I needed to be reached.
Recently, my beloved son moved out of my home and into the home that he has created with his fiancé. I am thrilled for them and love how they love each other.
But, back home, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my last child has left and is building a life where his “home” is not with me. I have needed to come to terms with the aloneness that this creates, and how I need to reshape my life now. This is my current story and one that I have been trying to avoid thinking about.
Well, that avoidance is over!
I just spent three days getting “real” with myself, going deep and, ultimately, being better equipped and more hopeful, as a result.
I got deeply into the conversation I was having with myself about aloneness and grief. I also became aware that thinking about this change in that “frozen” way, was preventing me from seeing the possibilities for a changed, but real, connection with my children, friends and life.
I feel transformed in my thinking about this life transition.
Again, I was brought to awareness of Thinking About how I Was Thinking. It’s really the key to our experience of life, in all the aspects of it.
Most of what we are confronted with these days tries to influence us to think about ourselves, as center of our world. We are inundated with messages that we should acquire goods, that we are defined by our earnings, that our material possessions show us and others who we are.
David Whyte gives us another focus.
On love, he declares that we must be vulnerable. That to truly enter into the “conversation” of the relationship, we have to know intimately how we feel, what we bring, what our “stuff” is.
Then the love conversation becomes the relationship. Two vulnerable people, self-aware and willing to show their struggles and dark parts as well as their shiny and bright parts.
This is a huge “ask” that we all find daunting and frightening. “Will he want me if he knows my darkness?” “Will she think me unworthy when I share my longings and fears?”
When we enter the love “conversation”, we can’t know the answer to these questions. For most of us, that unknowing leads us to secrecy and withholding our true selves from our partners.
Fear of being judged and rejected is powerful. Our instincts lead us to self-protection, which actually also “protects” us from real, deep love and connection.
We need to balance those competing urges—to protect ourselves vs to enter into deep and enduring love.
Why did I write about this? For several reasons:
• How we think about things determines our experiences. To remind both you and me.
• We all, including me, have to become alert and aware of our thinking and shift it when it is not serving us.
• Self-awareness is crucial to being a great partner and to having a loving and connected partnership with another person
• I felt called to Introduce you to new perspectives, once I experienced it myself with David Whyte.
Calls to Action
1. Think about how you’re thinking about your relationship and yourself. Write your insights down in your journal.
2. Read some of David’s Whyte’s poetry or listen to his podcasts, if you want to rock your world.
3. Keep an eye out for my upcoming course, Couples SOS, launching in January 2018. How to recognize and change mindset, perspectives and limiting beliefs are foundational pieces of the course.
As always, please comment here or privately to me at email@example.com