Swans? What?!! Well I was talking in the previous post about listening to good stuff. One of my favourites to listen to is David Whyte, a poet and mountain loving soul whose words and richness seep deeply into those parts of you that are seeking nourishment.
He talks on one track about the importance of having a sense of self compassion for the particular way that you’re made, the wisdom of acknowledging that some of your awkward ways of being in the world are absolutely necessary to you and provide the frontiers at which you feel most alive. This is where the swans come in:
If you’ve ever seen a swan out of the water, it certainly doesn’t carry any of the grace that we love in the swan when it’s bathing in its own immaculate white reflection. If you see a swan out of water it actually looks as if doesn’t quite belong to the world. It takes a step and the whole weight of the creature sways to one side, and it looks forever as if it’s going to fall over and hit the ground. It just catches itself and then swings back through the whole pendulum of its awkwardness and back to the other side of itself. And it really looks as if it’s about to trip over its own feet.
But the moment of transformation occurs when the swan touches the water…
All the swan does in order to effect its transformation from awkwardness to grace and belonging, is move toward the element where it belongs. That’s all it does.
And I felt it was an astonishing key, an extraordinary key to transformation. All you have to know in life are the things that you love, the things you hold in your affection. You only have to know the frontiers, where simply by being at that frontier, you come alive.
And when you think about it, you can go through your whole life to take an inventory of these frontiers: What is the work that brings you alive? What are the places that bring you alive? What are the conversations that vitalise you? In whose presence, simply by being in their presence, do you find yourself making the best of yourself, do you find yourself coming to the fore? Will you have faith in those frontiers, in those extraordinary places that effect extraordinary transformations? And will you arrange your life so you can spend more time at those frontiers?
– David Whyte, Mid Life and the Great Unknown
So, do you know your frontiers? Do you know what the element is, that simply by moving toward it, you come alive? Worth a bit of reflection, don’t you think?
Relaxing, inspiring, frontier-discovering Welsh Mountain Retreats
– with home-cooked meals, cosy log fire & optional Cuddling Cat
In the beautiful Llanthony valley, near Hay-on-Wye.