In July, looking for inspiration to think and write beautifully, I spent an hour on 3 consecutive Sundays listening to David Whyte, a wise and warm poet of English/ Irish origin who speaks and writes, seemingly from his spirit. I thought he was some kind of a magician as I felt mesmerized, awakened and soothed by his presence and his words.
He described the simple involuntary act of breathing as a life-sustaining exchange for the planet – inhaling is receiving and exhaling is giving. Generosity and gratitude – reciprocity in every moment. Last Sunday he spoke on the seasonal subject of ‘giving’ and I can’t help but share the synopsis of his talk in his own words here.
- The foundational understanding that giving is not just a logistical act of transferring something from one person to another, but an art form to be practiced. Like all art forms, practicing it takes time and spaciousness and the ability to create a relationship with the unknown, the invisible and the unspoken.
- To learn to give is often the simple, heart-breaking act of giving again.
- Giving is an essence of relationship. To stop giving is often to call an end to relationship.
- Giving asks us to have a close relationship with both time and timelessness. All gifts change with the maturation of both the giver and the receiver.
- Giving is an imaginative journey into another’s life with all the implications accompanying that journey.
- Giving can be a form of blessing, a way of empowering another life. The blessing is made through giving what a person does not even know they need themselves.
- Giving, in the words of Shakespeare, is ‘Twice Blessed’. Through exploring the edges of our own generosity, we come to understand where we have trouble receiving ourselves; and this teaches us to ask for what we ourselves might not feel we deserve. In the enriched relationship, giving becomes a reciprocal harvest where giver and receiver are not so easily distinguished.
(PS: On 3 Sundays in January 2021, he speaks about resolutions for new beginnings. Recordings and written resources available if you are able/unable to attend the live event)