Start Close In

Start close in,
don't take the second step
or the third,
start with the first thing close in,
the step you don't want to take.
Start with the ground you know,
the pale ground beneath your feet,
your own way of starting the conversation.
Start with your own question,
give up on other people's questions,
don't let them smother something simple.
To find another's voice follow your own voice,
wait until that voice becomes a private ear
listening to another. Start right now
take a small step you can call your own
don't follow someone else's heroics,
be humble and focused, start close in,
don't mistake that other for your own.
Start close in,
don't take the second step
or the third,
start with the first thing close in,
the step you don't want to take. ~ David Whyte

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Beldon Lane

Rather than a question, I’ve decided to include something that may provoke questions.

The following statements are excerpted from The Solace of Fierce Landscapes by Beldon Lane, a professor of theology. He has written dozens of articles and his books, Landscapes of the Sacred and The Solace of Fierce Landscape, are well known.

In our jobs we look for an ultimacy they can never provide. The holy is seldom captured in the places we seek it most. ……….

The gift of mystery often comes indirectly, as a function of plodding, inglorious labor. The vision is distinct from the job; it happens of its own accord. But it comes in the very process of attending to the job at hand, with all its aching drudgery……….

This is a crucial insight for those who been taught to expect transcendent meaning in their jobs. Surprisingly, sometimes it happens. But there is often more absurdity that glory in my job…….As Kierkegaard knew, truth comes indirectly – sneaking in endwise, engaging us when we least expect it.

I love my job, but I do it well only as long as it remains secondary to something else. Describing that something else, that holy work to which I am called first, is always elusive. It’s much easier to define the parameters of my job that to speak precisely about my work……One’s true work can seem to lack accountability, it has no quantifiable purpose……..

The art of living well is to accomplish one’s job without diminishing the priority of one’s work. Yet the temptation for me is always to confuse the cover [the job] with the ultimate concern…… There is a danger for all of us in looking for more meaning in our jobs than they can provide. One is never fulfilled by one’s job, only by one’s work.

Yet there is necessary and startling connection between the two. The very work that by its nature is so intangible and ethereal is indirectly but repeatedly encountered through the job………I discover the holy not by assaulting heaven in all its glory, but by peering under the edges of the ordinary.

Perhaps Abraham Maslow was right; those most likely to have what he called peak experiences are the ones most able to engage themselves
in ordinary things without being bored.

In the next posting, I will begin to explore how we work with personal shadow. If you have a specific question, please send it to

No comments: