This blog is for discussions regarding the symposium Keynotes

David Whyte


I felt the wind at my back, just a few minutes into David Whyte's keynote address on Saturday morning. I knew I was embarking on a journey with a wise and generous guide who could show me how to see with fresh eyes. I followed, trusting his knowledge of the landscape of the heart and his willingness to share, with sincerity, the ups and downs of  his own journey.

He led us through a varied landscape  a mix of poetry and story, reflection and prophecy. Along the way he invited us to consider again the landmarks of our own interiority.  In his company, I was emboldened to look and to see how beauty can rise from ash; how the hurt and experiences we try to avoid are simply milestones on the road of a life rich in promise.

He shared a touching anecdote about connecting with his teenage daughter
over tea. Then there was his powerful reading of Shakespeare's Sonnet 29 and, just after, a turning in the road of his address brought us to this astonishing statement:

"There's no journey of sincerity that a human being can take in life without having their heart broken."

He invited us to engage in all aspects of our lives — our loves, our work, our relationship with ourselves — in the full knowledge that we will fall short:

"If you don't become disappointed in yourself, you're not trying."

Then, with his well-known gentleness and wit, he encouraged us to abandon ourselves anyway:  

"There is no way you can love without getting your heart broken, so why not get good at it?"

I laughed, I teared up and I was encouraged — literally. I left with my heart open and feeling brave about the road ahead and whatever I would encounter on my way.

I believe I was not alone.

Let us know how David Whyte touched you — in his morning address or during the workshops.

03.29.2011   Posted In: Keynotes   By meghan oconnell
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  • Not available avatar anonymous 03.31.2011 09:36
    Listening to David felt like a soothing bath for an aching soul. So
    beautiful was his delivery and ability to transfer me to these places he had been and to see what he saw...he's like the medicine for the therapist's own broken heart on this path we walk with our patients.
  • Not available avatar Evelyn M. Duesbury 03.31.2011 11:46
    David Whyte, the exquisite David Whyte touched me so deeply that I felt mesmerized throughout his presentation. His style of repeating prominent lines was an excellent emphasis technique. Some of his "touched on" symbolism was most quieting. For instance, being cared for in a manger three days because there was no room for him in the caretaker family's house.
  • Not available avatar anonymous 04.06.2011 19:52
    Could someone share the poems he read(not including his own)? Thanks
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