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The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate Americaby David Whyte
Synopses & Reviews
What would our days be like if we came out of hiding and brought our fears, loves, and dreams directly into the workplace?
In The Heart Aroused, poet David Whyte shows that the best way to respond to the current call for creativity in organizational life is to overcome our habitual fear and reticence and bring our full passionate, creative human souls, with all their urgencies and unnamed longings, right inside the office with us. When Whyte, who often consults for corporate clients, walks into an organization, it is not just to advise, strategize, and make recommendations. Instead, he clarifies our personal--not organizational--difficulties at work by placing them in the age-old context of poetry and story. To follow Whyte through his brilliant, soulful discussion is to raft the turbulent stream of conflicting currents that make up our lives in American organizations.
Whyte uses poetry to bring to life the experience of change itself. When he retells the story of Beowulf, he shows us how to face the nightmares that intrude into even the most organized workplace, nightmares we face in the demands, conversations, and relationships that make up our work life. He shows how to say what we mean and stand by it, even in the face of hostile authority--based on how poets William Blake, Rainer Maria Rilke, and T. S. Eliot lived their beliefs--in the simplest of words. He reveals how power must be built on vulnerability, how innocence cannot be sacrificed to experience, how creativity is the art of wedding simplicity and clarity with chaos.
Now available in paperback with an all new user's guide, The Heart Aroused shows how to use the language of prophecy, poetry, and enlightenment to give voice and strength to our most creative but most hidden desires.
Born in England, David Whyte is one of the few poets to have taken his perspectives on creativity into the field of organizational development, where he works with many American and international companies. He has published several audio collections and three books of poetry.
But what is soul, and what is meant by the preservation of the soul? By definition, soul evades the cage of definition. It is the indefinable essence of a person's spirit and being. It can never be touched and yet the merest hint of its absence causes immediate distress. In a work situation, its lack can be sensed intuitively, though a person may, at the same moment, be powerless to know what has caused the loss. It may be the transfer of a well-loved colleague to another department, a change of rooms to a less appealing office, or, more seriously, the inner intuitions of a path not taken. Though the Oxford English Dictionary's lofty attempt at soul is the principle of life in man or animals, depth-psychologist James Hillman describes it in far more eloquent terms in his provocative book of selected writings, A Blue Fire:
To understand soul we cannot turn to science for a description. Its meaning is best given by its context...words long associated with the soul amplify it further: mind, spirit, heart, life, warmth, humanness, personality, individuality, intentionality, essence, innermost purpose, emotion, quality, virtue, morality, sin, wisdom, death, God. A soul is said to be "troubled," "old," "disembodied,"
Explaining how to transform the practical necessity of work into an opportunity for spiritual nourishment, a poet and corporate consultant argues that true success arises from working less on organizational matters and more on one's life. Reissue.
In the middle of the road of my life I awoke in a dark wood where the true way was wholly lost
Like Dante, many of today's corporate workers find themselves lost in the day-to-day duties of their jobs. Our lives seem shaken by the events of September 11 and the seemingly endless examples of corporate scandal, it's become more difficult than ever to find meaning in the workplace.
Has your work lost its meaning? Are you afraid of pursuing your dreams for fear of failing or--worse--getting fired? Do you yearn to find creativity, and even joy, in your job?
In The Heart Aroused, David Whyte brings his unique perspective as poet and consultant to the workplace, showing readers how fulfilling work can be when they face their fears and follow their dreams. Going beneath the surface concerns about products and profits, organization and order, Whyte addresses the needs of the heart and soul, and the fears and desires that many workers keep hidden.
Through the poetry of both classic and modern masters, Whyte helps readers find both professional and personal fulfillment. In Beowulf, Whyte uncovers the key to confronting office conflicts. Like the poem's courageous hero, readers will travel to the belly of the beast of a problem and emerge triumphantly with a solution. The poems of Pablo Neruda help on find inner silence even in the busiest, most confining office space. With T.S. Eliot as a guide, Whyte teaches readers to appreciate the need to open themselves up to possible failure--and as a result, probable success.
At a time when corporations are calling on employees for more creativity, dedication, and adaptability, and workers are trying desperately to balance home and work, this revised edition of The Heart Aroused is the essential guide to reinvigorating the soul.
About the Author
DAVID WHYTE grew up among the hills and valleys of Yorkshire, England. He is one of the few poets to take his perspectives on creativity into the field of corporate development, educating workers of many American and international companies about how to foster qualities of courage and engagement in their careers. In addition to four volumes of poetry, he has published an audiocassette lecture series and an album of poetry and music. His latest book is Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as Pilgrimage of Identity. He lives with his family in the Pacific Northwest.
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