Here’s a bit of timely inspiration as we stand in the gateway of a new calendar year, in the month of Janus (looking backward, looking forward, standing in the present).

Double living root bridge in East Khasi, 2016, Arshiya Urveeja Bose. CC via Wikimedia.

In an April 2017 TED Talk on the “lyrical bridge between past, present, and future,” the poet David Whyte shares three illusions that keep us from fully inhabiting the pilgrimage that is our life, that keep us from incarnating fully, as we might word it.

As we know, and as he says, it is a very human urge to try to (or think we can) control things, to engineer the path and rid our lives of uncertainties, discomfort, or failure.

“Which means most human beings are at war with reality 50 percent of the time,” he notes. (That’d refer to that challenging yet rewarding practice of nonresistance!)

Whyte mentions these specific illusions – recognize them? (I sure do!)

  1. “… the first illusion is that you can somehow construct a life in which you are not vulnerable.”
  2. “The second illusion is, I can construct a life in which I will not have my heart broken.”
  3. “The last illusion is, I can somehow plan enough and arrange things that I will be able to see the path to the end right from where I’m standing, right to the horizon.”

As the old saying goes, “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.”

The Sower of the System, 1902, by George Frederic Watts.

Another illusion — though he doesn’t share it in this particular talk — is the Lone Cowboy (or Cowgirl) illusion … that we have to do it all by ourselves (or worse, holding to the illusion that we do achieve anything at all by ourselves, much less find our way along the fierce edges and unknown byways without aid).

The illusion that to ask for help is a weakness, when it fact it’s a strength. (Been there, done that, learned better!).

We are vulnerable, we will have our heart broken, and Life will disrupt our perfect strategies of how neatly things should unfold and work out.

And, though it may seem counterintuitive, that’s a really, really good thing.

In the mythic-symbolic language of astrology, of these inconvenient passages and certainty-disrupting life-quakes, we might say,

“Meet Uranus and Pluto (and Pals), disrupting your illusions and dancing you awake.”

(If you’ve had Uranus and Pluto (and Pals) have their way with you, you know what I’m talking about! If you’re wondering what’s shaking the ground you stood on, schedule a Sophiastrology consultation and we’ll find your clue-trail.)

But what to do, what to do, about these ultimately unhelpful illusions that keep us from stepping into our life, with all of its fierce edges and uncertain horizons?

Here’s one thought from David Whyte:

“But just by actually standing in the ground of your life fully, not trying to abstract yourself into a strategic future that’s actually just an escape from present heartbreak; the ability to stand in the ground of your life and to look at the horizon that is pulling you — in that moment, you are the whole journey. You are the whole conversation.”

Hear David Whyte’s full TED Talk here.

More Sophia’s Children inspiration for stepping well into the new year:

Our Soul-Deep Need for a Worthy Horizon

MuseWorthy Quotation: Victorious Nonresistance

Mission (Possible?): Uncommon Skills

Might You Be an Uncommon Leader and “Island of Sanity?”

Big Love and Be Well,


Featured Image Credit: Thai Rainforest. Photo by Michael Cory, CC via Wikimedia.

Phoenix Rising. Image courtesy of All Day 2.

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Lots of love,