Archive for November, 2011

For some reason I have been reading a book that had such great meaning and impact for me some years ago. It is one of two extraordinary books by David Whyte. This one is Crossing the Unknown Sea. The other, the one I read first on my sister’s recommendation is The Heart Aroused. Both are about work, and the typical work that most of us are engaged in. Typical in that, while there may have been a time where there was passion in what we spent the vast majority of our time doing (work), for most the passion is gone.

Local artisan, Alberto, at work in Orvieto

I first read these two books when I was in a “normal” job, working for a nonprofit, doing what was, in fact, good work. But like most of us, it had reached a point where it lacked real meaning for me. There are any number of reasons why this happens. But it does, and it does increasingly so as we get into our late 40’s and on into our 50’s and 60’s. Whyte’s books provide insights, comfort and inspiration for those in work who are mostly biding time until they can quit.

So as I was reading him last night, remembering the days when his books resonated so, recalling the melancholy of being engaged in work that no longer called, enjoying the beauty with which he writes And, I was filled with gratitude that I now work at something I love. Add this to the long list of things this Thanksgiving season for which I am thankful.

Whyte said, “What is remembered in all our work is what is still alive in the hearts and minds of others.” What is so completely rewarding about doing our art trips to Italy is that we provide the opportunity for people to follow their passion, and, in so doing, create the things and memories that will keep them alive in the hearts and minds of others. We are nothing more than the vehicle, but what a treat.

And so I give thanks this Thanksgiving for all the guides in my life  like David Whyte, who have led me to do something that is helping others follow their love.

One of our groups with their creations

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The Polynesians believe that Taaora, their God, created the earth and moon and stars in successive periods of breaking out of the shell in which he had been growing. After breaking out, Taaora grows again in comfort for a period of time. Then he begins to find himself feeling confined again. So, he stretches and breaks out of his shell to create something marvelous. I think for so many of those who travel with us, it is not a dissimilar experience.

Last month I wrote about the brave women who travel with us in Italy. I wonder if the thing prompting these ladies to join us isn’t that they too have been growing, are confined by their shell, and the busting out is the braveness that leads them to join us. We all, at certain points in our lives need to grow, get out of our comfort zone, expand and bloom. It is an incredible and

Enjoying Life in Italy

uplifting human trait. How lucky Kristi and I are to see this amazing blossoming take place in so many people who travel with us, and to see it happen in front of our eyes. Despite all the bad news out there, being able to witness the grand spirit that is the human condition is reaffirmation for what an amazing creature we are!

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