the best juju: where i begin

…the first lines

of a new poem,

like flowers

of scarlet fire,

coming to fullness

in a new light.

from “It Happens to Those Who Live Alone”, in “The House of Belonging,” by David Whyte

“What do you need to do to start living dangerously, to start living courageously, to stop hiding?” David Whyte, the Welsh poet, asked the audience at the weekend retreat at Krpalü, the yoga center in western Massachusetts. What is your over-arching question that must be answered?”

The month before when my friend Deb asked me to attend with her I said yes because I love David’s poetry, his relationship with place and spirit.

As I pondered the questions, I had a long meditation, then pulled out my favorite natural-linen journal and fountain pen.

In fifteen minutes I’d filled two pages with fifty questions. Some were admonishing of self. “Why don’t I just block out some time and finish the book I’m writing?” “Why don’t I meditate more?” “Why haven’t I finished that silk dress for my daughter?”

When I’d peeled off the outer layer, I unearthed the true blocks – why do I do what I do? What baggage from my upbringing have I found it impossible to shrug off?

What do I need to be able to begin? To take that first step into….

Since the workshop, without referring to the journal, I’ve reached completion or fully answered over half the questions. In naming them, in opening my psyche to them, I freed myself to accomplish them.

What do you need to do to start living dangerously, to start living courageously, to stop hiding?

What is your overarching question that must be answered?

Where do you begin?

Video credit of David Whyte and Jude at Krpalu: Paloma Sylvan

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