“See with every turning day,
how each season makes a child
of you again, wants you to become
a seeker after rainfall and birdsong,
watch now, how it weathers you
to a testing in the tried and true,
admonishes you with each falling leaf,
to be courageous, to be something
that has come through, to be the last thing
you want to see before you leave the world.”
Excerpt from “Coleman’s Bed” by David Whyte
We trekked through the ancient, limestone landscape on the misty, rugged coast in the West of Ireland. There were 28 of us—global leaders from all walks of life—beckoned to this sacred place in The Burren seeking inspiration and growth.
The renowned poet, David Whyte, led us to one of his most-revered places—a small clearing beneath a cliff where the ruins of an ancient chapel remained, and where a cave in the hillside (known as Coleman’s bed) was once home to the Irish saint Coleman. David sat upon the remains of one of the chapel walls and explained to us the significance and holiness of the site. He then turned toward us, looked me straight in the eyes, and recited his poem, “Coleman’s Bed.”
I swallowed my urge to cry as his words floated over the few feet of ferns and moss that separated he and I. I felt as if he were delivering a divine directive meant just for me.
When he had spoken the final line of the poem, he let the last words linger and swirl all around us like centuries-old ghosts. I gulped again and tried to remember how to breathe.
His eyes bore down on me again, and the hair on the back of my neck stood up.
“What is the courageous decision you know you need to make?” he asked. “The decision you know that your future self will be so grateful to you for your having made it? Make that decision right now.”
His gaze remained fixed upon me. He recognized in me his old fear and habit of holding back, and he held space to let me find my way forward. In an instant, my heart pounding with fear, vulnerability, and the awkwardness of having been found out, my courageous decision landed.
I knew there was now no turning back.
David seemed satisfied that in that flurry of a moment, he had fostered in me, and each of us, the willingness to let the magic of our pilgrimage shift us like super-charged tectonic plates.
Upon the fragmented remains of that ancient chapel wall, I pledged to bring my whole heart to my creativity, revealing my innermost self in the process. No more hiding out in theoretical language, I would now only choose stories, lessons, and moments that were deeply personal and intimate to me when I wrote.
I would reveal moments of pain, regret, failure, and fear as much as I would write about triumph, joy, connection, and courage. In short, I would write with a daring I had never let myself fully try—a daring to create that will, I hope, continue to inspire others long after I leave this world.
You have a courageous decision to make now as well. Your future self is eagerly waiting for you to step forward. Do the thing you think you cannot do. Become the seeker of your imagination and tap into the energy that creates worlds, as well as unforgettable lives and legacies.
At some of the most pivotal times in my life, I have leaned into the strength of a group of like-minded souls. These groups were not only the birth place of new courage for me, but the source of ongoing support and inspiration. I have created such a sacred circle in the form of a mastermind that launches in January of 2019. I’d love for your energy to be in our group! For details, please visit here.