Today I attended an all-day lecture by author and poet David Whyte, at the new La Jolla Yoga Center. David Whyte was amazing. I’d never heard him speak before, never even read one of his poems. I went only because the owner of LJ Yoga Center, Jeanie Carlstead, recommended him on her website and I felt drawn to go to this lecture in some way I can’t explain (which is kind of strange because David Whyte’s big thing is poetry and I must confess poetry was never my thing in high school or college).
So I’m sitting there with my husband (whom I dragged along), surrounded by a lot of very spiritual looking people, many of whom are obviously quite limber too. (There was an area for sitting on yoga mats in the back). Here’s the funny part: David Whyte started the lecture by reading a beautiful poem. It was fantastic, and clearly there was some very deep, profound message it was conveying….but I had no idea what most of it meant. I looked around and there were people with their eyes closed, nodding. A few rows to my right, there was a man who looked like Obi-Wan Kenobe from Star Wars—he was transfixed by the poem and emanating the energy of the very wise and enlightened. I was still lost. I was having flashbacks to that English Lit. class in college when I had no idea what the author meant.
Finally, after a lot of mental scrambling and a moment or two of inner panic, I relaxed and started to absorb the greatness that is David Whyte. And I don’t say that lightly. He is incredible. He has a marvelous English accent. His intellect, vocabulary and use of language are extraordinary. The entire day was one gem of wisdom after another. The lecture was a mix of stories, personal insights, truths and poems. The themes he covered were about mid-life, the challenging life issues everyone faces as we get older, about marriage, divorce, parenting, and the personal inner struggles everyone goes through in their life. There was so much he talked about which applies to people going through divorce.
An added bonus was that he explained the poems in a way that you GET IT. Yes, at 44 years of age, I finally understand the power of poetry, thanks to David Whyte. (The secret is it should be read aloud and have someone explain the context and why the poet wrote it to make the poem come alive).
So the wisdom of the day is: Go read or listen to David Whyte! Although he is not specifically talking about divorce, the themes of loss and how to navigate our lives during rough times are powerful stuff that will get you jump-started on your inner journey as you go through your divorce.
I bought a bunch of his stuff at the lecture, but found that everything is available on Amazon.com. I recommend his audio CD, “The Three Marriages: Work, Self and Other.” His other audio CD I bought is “Midlife and the Great Unknown.” I’m going to buy his book of poetry called River Flow.
By the way, for those out there who don’t like the word “God,” he’s your man. He’s clearly a spiritual person, but the entire day he used the word “God” only once, I think.