Monday, August 15, 2011

10 Questions That Have No Right to Go Away by David Whyte

I've always liked this saying: We were given two ears and one mouth so that we may listen twice as much as we speak. 

Or, If you can't say some thing nice, don't say anything at all.  Sounds like ahimsa, eh? 

And one from the Noble Eightfold path: Right speech, which should be absent of falsehoods, harsh words and useless chatter. 

But while we "know" these truths, when was the last time we actually stopped and listened to what was coming out of our mouths?  And listened to what was bouncing around the skull?  No time like the present....

Picture found on the web.

June 15, 2011

The thought-provoking poet David Whyte considers what we should be asking ourselves—especially when we least want to confront our own answers.

The marvelous thing about a good question is that it shapes our identity as much by the asking as it does by the answering. Nine years ago, I wrote a poem called "Sometimes" in which I talked about the "questions that can make or unmake a life ... questions that have no right to go away."

7) How can I know what I am actually saying?

Poetry is often the art of overhearing yourself say things you didn't know you knew. It is a learned skill to force yourself to articulate your life, your present world or your possibilities for the future. We need that same skill as an art of survival. We need to overhear the tiny but very consequential things we say that reveal ourselves to ourselves.

I have one friend who, when she is in a quandary, goes out for a drive in her car and sings. Whatever she's grappling with, she sings about it—to the windscreen, to the road, to the oncoming traffic. Then she overhears herself singing how she actually feels about something and what she should do about it.

Sometimes she pulls up to a stoplight, other people look over and she's singing, slightly crazed, into the windscreen, but that's her way of finding out.


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