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David Whyte; Poet of Potential

163I am the co-founder of a gathering of the world’s most accomplished business coaches: The Keepers of the Flame. This gang – all 10 years+ heading TEC/ Vistage Presidential groups – meet in Boulder. The conference has grown over 10 years from 12 to 95 attendees from all round the world.
So in recognition of our 10th, we splurged on David Whyte. David had delivered a spell-casting talk to our world conference in 1999 – many here had not forgotten.

Pathmaker, there is no path
You make the path by walking
By walking, you make the path

Weaving incredibly apt and timeless poetry into his call to deep self examination, David’s warm brogue and Irish turn of phrase created a rapt audience, richer in the possibility of language and life path. He guided us in asking The Beautiful Question: unfortunately seldom asked in beautiful circumstances.
What does he invite? Courageous conversation.
He recognizes that by advancing midlife, some have been nicked by fate and need to find another gear. And in that short day of reflection it happened for many. How have we abstracted ourselves in order to live with loss, disappointment and failure?
What vows had each one contracted – in his or her separate deal with life and contribution?

I made no Vows but vows were made for me
And I walked on in blessedness
which even now remains.
– Wordsworth, The Prelude

What is the invitation we are making as we “come on” to our world. What arises in others at our approach?
How are we doing with the failures that are an inevitable part of a life longer lived:

Last night as I was sleeping, I dreamt-marvelous error!
that I had a beehive here inside my heart.
And the golden bees were making white combs and sweet honey
from my old failures.
– Antonio Machado

And children! Teenage variety.

How do they know so exactly where to insert the stilleto?
They’ve been studying your weak points…

That was David. But poetically, that gloriously indirect way to getting to the heart of the matter, he spoke of his daughter reaching Finisterre, “the end of the earth” after her pilgrimage to Santiago. She was challenged to abandon her boots on finishing the long trail. He asked us: What boots, boots that so faithfully carried you here, do you now need to shed in order to move on freely? – David has talks available on Sounds True or CDs thru Amazon.
If you go with him, you will be richer for the experience. Be prepared for some faraway gazes…lost in a spell cast by a marvellously evocative word magician.
He wasn’t the only deep person at this gathering. All brought their very considerable heft. My provocative friend, Rick Eigenbrod, has his ebook ready: What Happens When You Get What You Want? available on Amazon for Kindle reading.
20 years in the hatching, Rick will rattle the cage of comfortable illusions that all will be well if you can just cash that “sold it” cheque and go direct to heaven. Guess what? Life must continue to be lived and fulfillment cannot be captured in a cash figure even if it is in your account….
When I’ve read it, I’m sure you will hear more.

Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

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What’s Our Business?

Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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