But not to keep you waiting for the last couple of David Whyte questions:
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."
I still work with this idea. Questions that have no right to go away are those that have to do with the person we are about to become; they are conversations that will happen with or without our conscious participation. They almost always have something to do with how we might be more generous, more courageous, more present, more dedicated, and they also have something to do with timing: when we might step through the doorway into something bigger, better—both beyond ourselves and yet more of ourselves at the same time.
If we are sincere in asking, the eventual answer will give us both a sense of coming home to something we already know as well a sense of surprise—not unlike returning from a long journey to find an old friend sitting unexpectedly on the front step, as if she'd known, without ever being told, not only the exact time and date of your arrival but also your need to be welcomed back.
8) How can I drink from the deep well of things as they are?
In the West of Ireland, there are very old, very sacred wells everywhere. The locals call them "blessed wells" or "holy wells." At them, you find notes to the dead, bits of ribbon, keepsakes that people have left when they've said a prayer for a child or someone who's sick. Often a local church will have a Mass out there once a year. These holy wells are everywhere, and they're part of the local imagination and have been for thousands of years.
So to me, a well, a place where the water springs eternal all year round, is a very real, blessed place to stop and think. Almost always, when I'm struggling over a particular situation, I realize that I am only looking at the surface of the problem and refusing to go for the deeper dynamic that caused all the tension in the first place.
All intimate relationships—close friendships and good marriages—are based on continued and mutual forgiveness. You will always trespass upon your friend's sensibilities at one time or another, or your spouse's. The only question is, Will you forgive the other person? And more importantly, Will you forgive yourself? We have to deepen our understanding, make ourselves more equal to circumstances, more easy with what we have been given or not given. We must drink from the deep well of things as they are.
|Lake Tahoe, one of the deepest alpine lakes in the US|