Revelation Must Be Terrible

August 9, 2010

Revelation must be
terrible with no time left
to say goodbye.

Imagine that moment
staring at the still waters
with only the brief tremor

of your body to say
you are leaving everything
and everyone you know behind.

Being far from home is hard, but you know,
at least we are exiled together.
When you open your eyes to the world

you are on your own for
the first time. No one is
even interested in saving you now

and the world steps in
to test the calm fluidity of your body
from moment to moment

as if it believed you could join
its vibrant dance
of fire and calmness and final stillness.

As if you were meant to be exactly
where you are, as if
like the dark branch of a desert river

you could flow on without a speck
of guilt and everything
everywhere would still be just as it should be.

As if your place in the world mattered
and the world could
neither speak nor hear the fullness of

its own bitter and beautiful cry
without the deep well
of your body resonating in the echo.

Knowing that it takes only
that one, terrible
word to make the circle complete,

revelation must be terrible
knowing you can
never hide your voice again.

David Whyte
from Fire in the Earth
©1992 Many Rivers Press

As you step in to your leadership role for the first time revelation must be terrible knowing you can never hide your voice again. When you step up or out into the role you were suppose to play there is no going back. You will be seen and your voice will matter. How you show up matters, others will look to you and it is up to you to lead them. You no longer get to be cared for and nurtured – the stakes are high and it is your turn. You must let go of those who have lead you and begin to use your own voice. You are on your own even if you seek others advice it is and must be your voice that is heard.

What is critical is that you realize this is no game. There are real stakes for yourself and others. The loudest example of this would be celebrities like Mel Gibson who uses his voice to say things that can never be unsaid. Emily Dickinson has a poem that is stenciled on to our living room wall, “A word is dead when it is said, some say, I say it just begins to live that day.” Enron executives, Country wide Mortgages, Lehman Brothers must have had a revelation for they will never be able to hide their voices again. There is no undoing that which is done.

Have you stepped up to your voice yet? What is stopping you?

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