Monday, August 29, 2011

10 QuestionsThat Have No Right To Go Away by David Whyte

Whoops! I thought I had my blog posts all lined up while I was away on vacation last week. I’m not surprised I forgot to double check my postings, I was a bit scatterbrained and not very grounded pre-vacation and once I got home, I was just exhausted. A two hour time change is harder to adjust to than I would have anticipated!


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

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.
Oprah.com

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.

 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

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

We've all been here with this weeks question.  "If only I had more time. If only I'd done this sooner. If only, if only, if only..."

10 Questions That Have No Right to Go Away



By David Whyte
Oprah.com
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."

6) Am I too inflexible in my relationship to time?

In Ireland, where I spend a great deal of time, they say, "The thing about the past is that it isn't the past." Sometimes we forget that we don't have to choose between the past or the present or the future. We can live all of these levels at once. (In fact, we don't have a choice about the matter.)

If you've got a wonderful memory of your childhood, it should live within you. If you've got a challenging relationship with a parent, that should be there as part of your identity now, both in your strengths and weaknesses. The way we anticipate the future forms our identity now. Time taken too literally can be a tyranny. We are never one thing; we are a conversation—everything we have been, everything we are now and every possibility we could be in the future.

Statute, Puerto Vallarta, Jaliesco, Mexico
scifiwithpaprika.blogspot.com

Monday, August 1, 2011

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

We live in a world that bombards us with noise almost twenty four hours a day.  We listen to the radio or TV while getting ready for work, we listen to the radio on the way to work, many of us listen to the radio while at work.  We are contantly on the phone. There are TV's in nearly every restaurant. The TV is on from the moment we walk in the door till we fall asleep to some late night show.  We listen to an iPod while running or working out. We congregate with our friends for lunch break and coffee break.  Our brains are overflowing with constant input...

We have become a society afraid to turn off the noise. 


10 Questions That Have No Right to Go Away by David Whyte
As posted on Oprah.com The thought-provoking poet David Whyte considers what we should be asking ourselves—especially when we least want to confront our own answers.

June 15, 2011




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."


5) Can I be quiet—even inside?
All of our great traditions, religious, contemplative and artistic, say that you must a learn how to be alone—and have a relationship with silence. It is difficult, but it can start with just the tiniest quiet moment.


Being quiet in the midst of a frenetic life is like picking up a new instrument. If you've never played the violin and you try to play it for the first time, every muscle in your body hurts. Your neck hurts, you don't know how to hold that awkward wavy thing called a bow, you can't get your knuckles round to touch the strings, you can't even find where the notes are, you are just trying to get your stance right. Then you come back to it again, and again, and suddenly you can make a single buzzy note. The time after that, you can make a clearer note. No one, not even you, wants to listen to you at first. But one day, there is a beautiful succession of notes and, yes, you have played a brief, gifted, much appreciated passage of music.


This is also true for the silence inside you; you may not want to confront it at first. But a long way down the road, when you inhabit a space fully, you no longer feel awkward and lonely. Silence turns, in effect, into its opposite, so it becomes not only a place to be alone but also a place that's an invitation to others to join you, to want to know who's there, in the quiet.