“How am I made for the world”? ~David Whyte
One of the most frequent questions asked in childhood is, “what are you going to be when you grow up”, as if there is only one destitute of vocations. There is one career path that we are meant to follow. Once found, all falls into place. We will receive satisfaction from our work, regular pay checks and scheduled leisure with friends and family.
In “The Three Marriages”, David Whyte invites the challenge of work-life balance. Our sense of self, derived from our commitment to our partner and loved-ones, from our work and from our own wellbeing, is in fact the very foundation of joy in all three areas.
In juggling the tasks of spouse, parent, child, sibling, boss, mentor, employee and many more, we ought to be aware of who we are, i. e. our “marriage” to the self. This ever-present undercurrent not only drives our external relationships but also integrates all of which that is “us”.
Marriage is a great analogy for the most intimate kind of relationships. One where the boundaries of self and the other are blurred.
In Ken Robinson’s “Finding Your Element”, he discusses the search for passion; “what do you love and what do you love about it”? But is it simply that we find what we love to do, do it and happiness proceeds?
Paulo Coelho refers to the “personal legend” as what “makes the world more alive for you and makes you more alive within it”. But what truly makes us happy can elude us. Whyte, therefore delves into the inclinations by which we are called, the tendencies that are in fact “bigger” than the finite path.
There is, within us an innate leverage of fulfilment that gives our lives purpose and meaning. That influence embodies not only what we do and to whom we marry but also, who we ultimately are. We are engulfed by a greater force that motivates us to explore certain paths. And if these paths don’t enhance one another in a way that ultimately empower that great virtue, they will lead us to disappointment and sorrow. But if we can discover what truly drives us and propel our decisions, we enhance that strength. That strength is our essence.
Our choice in what we do, who we marry and how we interact with the world depends upon our relationship with that which is innate. When we enforce that which motivates us, our paths are not only clear but they entwine. All decisions become of less weight. They are the most natural unfoldings. We no longer choose between our job and our family. They are one. And how we integrate them calls on the keystone of self-knowledge, an understanding of our inner being so innate that we may be afraid.
Naturally, we are afraid of what could be revealed. But this conversation with the self is so important and significant. Once conquered, we are invited to a banquet with all those we are connected to and we can celebrate. We celebrate the love and the passion, the joy and understanding. The recognition of what made us and therefore, how we are made for the world.
Armed with such affirmation, we brave the world and establish our significance. And how apparent we are. We are indeed wonders of creation for which the world requests. We are elated beings so adept to what the world needs. All our relationships observe such celebration. We are made to rejoice. We are called to be glad, in all of our endeavours, the spouse, the work and most importantly, the self.