Ages ago I read Diane Ackerman's Dawn Light. In one section she writes about fatigue, exhaustion. And she quotes from a passage in David Whyte's Midlife and the Great Unknown, where the author meets a monk to whom he confides about feeling "bone-weary, waterlogged, and windless."
Ackerman says, “His friend listens with concern in the dwindling hours of the night, and then says something that still gives me pause: “You know the antidote to exhaustion is not rest. It's wholeheartedness.” ”
Okay, that's so wonderful, so powerful, I'm going to repeat it:
And just generally thinking about what it means to be wholehearted. Here is Pema Chödron:
“Wholeheartedness is a precious gift, but no one can actually give it to you. You have to find the path that has heart and then walk it impeccably....It's like someone laughing in your ear, challenging you to figure out what to do when you don't know what to do. It humbles you. It opens your heart. ”
Let's look at the dictionary definition of what it is to be wholehearted:
Definition of wholehearted
1: completely and sincerely devoted, determined, or enthusiastic
2: marked by complete earnest commitment: free from all reserve or hesitation
When considering wholeheartedness, we might look at another word, too: broken-heartedness, which is “having the spirits crushed by grief or despair.”
I think it's likely that we're going to swing back and forth between wholehearted and broken-hearted. In the wholehearted life you walk a path with enthusiasm, with an open heart. You're sincere and authentic. And so inevitably, our spirits will be crushed. It's good to know that we're going to swing back, with equal inevitability. How quickly that happens has to do with how carefully we've cultivated the whole heart.
“Wholehearted living is about engaging with our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think, ‘No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.’ It’s going to bed at night thinking, ‘Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”
― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection
As Pema Chödrön says, no one can give you the gift of wholeheartedness, no one can tell you what your very own path that has heart happens to be.
The oft-quoted line by Goethe pops into my head just now: “Do not hurry; do not rest.”
We are tired, but let us not rest. Let us proceed with enthusiasm and courage and wholeheartedness. Let us meet each other on this imperfect path and encourage each other.