The Heart Aroused Quotes

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The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America by David Whyte
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“It is not the thing you fear that you must deal with, it is the mother of the thing you fear. The very thing that has given birth to the nightmare.”
David Whyte, The Heart Aroused : Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
“The rich flow of creativity, innovation, and almost musical complexity we are looking for in a fulfilled work life cannot be reached through trying or working harder. The medium for the soul, it seems, must be the message. The river down which we raft is made up of the same substance as the great sea of our destination. It is an ever-moving, firsthand creative engagement with life and with others that completes itself simply by being itself. This kind of approach must be seen as the "great art" of working in order to live, of remembering what is most important in the order of priorities and what place we occupy in a much greater story than the one our job description defines. Other "great arts," such as poetry, can remind and embolden us to this end. Whatever we choose to do, the stakes are very high. With a little more care, a little more courage, and, above all, a little more soul, our lives can be so easily discovered and celebrated in work, and not, as now, squandered and lost in its shadow.”
David Whyte, The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
“Poetry is the art of overhearing ourselves say things from which it is impossible to retreat.”
David Whyte, The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
tags: poetry
“But then we always knew heaven would be a desperate place. Everything you desired coming in one fearful moment to greet you.”
David Whyte, The Heart Aroused : Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
“Take any step toward our destiny through creative action (it may be as simple as lifting a pen over a blank sheet of paper), and we know intuitively that we are giving up whatever cover we had. Tiptoeing like the unwitting souls of classical myth who blundered into Pan on the mountainside, we have ventured into the sacred temenos of our own desiring and startled a god. The universe turns toward us, realizing we are here, alive and about to make our mark. We hear the wild divine elements in the world hold their breath, waiting for our next move, our next word, but at last the center of real attention, we turn quietly and take a step back, into the shadow of the trees, and, it is hoped, a quieter life.”
David Whyte, The Heart Aroused : Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
“Self-doubt is that part of the soul that is able to taste the bitter in life as well as the sweet. It is open to a side of life that a sunny disposition must ignore in order to carry on smiling. It is less interested in pretense and more aware of the suffering entailed in daily living. It is realistic about the balance of suffering and happiness, but because of this realism is willing to be thankful for whatever genuine happiness is possible. It celebrates the melancholy nature of aloneness, but because of its refusal to shirk aloneness knows the worth of a real relationship.”
David Whyte, The Heart Aroused : Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
“We might at first label the body’s simple need to focus inward depression. But as we practice going inward, we come to realize that much of it is not depression in the least; it is a cry for something else, often the physical body’s simple need for rest, for contemplation, and for a kind of forgotten courage, one difficult to hear, demanding not a raise, but another life.”
David Whyte, The Heart Aroused : Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
“We have patience for everything but what is most important to us. We look at the life of our own most central imaginings and see it beckon. For the most part, we have not the courage to follow it, but we do not have the courage to leave it. We turn our face for a moment and tell ourselves we will be sure to get back to it. When we look again, ten years have passed and we wonder what in God’s name happened to us.”
David Whyte, The Heart Aroused : Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
“To quote a Shakespearean cliché, repeated to death because it is so stubbornly true: “All the world’s a stage.” Work is theater. The place where life unfolds to our tragic or comic satisfaction.”
David Whyte, The Heart Aroused : Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
“In some ways Coleridge committed a form of artistic suicide attempting to solve the complicated mystery he saw in the flocking starlings. In a harrowing self-indictment he later described himself as a 'starling self-encaged, & always in the moult, & my whole note is, tomorrow & tomorrow & tomorrow.' Slowly losing confidence in himself as a poet, he attempted to become an all-knowing philosopher-king. He ignored the simpler images central to his life as a poet and attempted to create an equally complex system of philosophy that would hold it all in place. He eventually produced the Biographia Literaria, an immense tome, impressive in learning, thought and scholarship, but in my heretical opinion as an unrepentant lyric poet, a tragedy of wasted effort and a loss to all of us compared to the vital geniums of his early poetry.

This happens in a parallel fashion to many skilled managers who convince themselves that the organization's vision is their own vision. They suddenly find themselves in positions that are seen as rewards for rather than consummations of their skill; their natural abilities may not translate into the job they have been promoted to, nor may their interest, but because of the pressure of the career path, they may convince themselves into a phantom life under an overarching system that includes everything except their own desires.”
David Whyte, The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
“All the evidence from the science of complexity says that given certain clear parameters...communities or teams will become self-organizing. They will be attracted to certain flowing states of organization natural to the people who make them up. In complexity theory, these flowing states are poetically called strange attractors. ...

A work team made up of collaborating individuals would...have, if you could measure and plot creativity, failure, and success, a strange attractor that depicted the edges and patterns of the team's behavior. This pattern would be constrained by the forces operating within the company and outside in the market, but it would be most affected by the focus and vision of the team. A strong vision and purpose acts as a kind of strange attractor, allowing individual creativity while acting as a natural constraint to behavior that is detrimental to the team. Without repressive rules, then, a cohesive team with a strong sense of its mission, ethics, and tasks can be allowed a lot of leeway to develop its own approach to problems.”
David Whyte, The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
“We do not even have time to find out if our momentum is taking us over the nearest cliff.”
David Whyte, The Heart Aroused : Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
“No matter how narrow our perceptions become in the daily obsessions of the organization, there is no such thing as a life lived only within an organization. There are other necessities calling us to a much greater participation than any corporation can offer. The most efficiently run, streamlined organization, the best-groomed, most-organized executive is interwoven with the ragged vagaries of creation, and despite our best attempts to anchor ourselves in the concrete foundations of profitability and permanence, we remain forever at the whim, mercy, and pleasure of the wind-blown world.

Ironically, we bring more vitality into our organizations when we refuse to make their goals the measure of our success and start to ask about the greater goals they might serve, and when we stop looking to them as parents who will supply necessities we can only obtain when we wrestle directly with our own destiny.

In a sense, we place the same burdens on our organizational life as we place on the rest of our existence. We feel there is something wrong at the center of it all, and we have to put it right. We are forever looking for a cure for our ills. We do this by placing ourselves in the position of manager, of thus managing change. Unless it is managed, something is wrong. But our real unconscious and underlying wish is to find a cure for the impermanence of life, and for that there is no remedy. Most of the difficulties we confront at work are no different from those human beings have been dealing with for millenia. Life is full of loneliness, failure, grief, and loss to an extent that terrifies us, and we will do anything to will ourselves another existence.”
David Whyte, The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
“. . those who can most truly be accounted brave are those who best know the meaning of what is sweet in life and what is terrible, and then go out, undeterred, to meet what is to come. —PERICLES”
David Whyte, The Heart Aroused : Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America
“One of the prices we pay in the segregation of education by age is the self-referential reality that each class year and generation makes for itself. There is nothing more conservative and repressive in this world than the peer pressure of teenagers determined to enforce the unwritten codes of their world.”
David Whyte, The Heart Aroused : Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America