I awoke

this morning

in the gold light

turning this way

and that

thinking for

a moment

it was one


like any other.


the veil had gone

from my

darkened heart


I thought

it must have been the quiet


that filled my room,

it must have been

the first

easy rhythm

with which I breathed

myself to sleep,

it must have been

the prayer I said

speaking to the otherness

of the night.


I thought

this is the good day

you could

meet your love,

this is the black day

someone close

to you could die.

This is the day

you realize

how easily the thread

is broken

between this world

and the next

and I found myself

sitting up

in the quiet pathway

of light,

the tawny

close-grained cedar

burning round

me like fire

and all the angels of this housely

heaven ascending

through the first

roof of light

the sun has made.

This is the bright home

in which I live,

this is where

I ask

my friends

to come,

this is where I want

to love all the things

it has taken me so long

to learn to love.

This is the temple

of my adult aloneness

and I belong

to that aloneness

as I belong to my life.

There is no house

like the house of belonging.

-The House of Belonging by David Whyte from River Flow: New and Selected Poems 

There is an obvious joke in this poem when thinking about these times with Covid and social distancing–there is no house like the house of belonging, because we all belong at home right now. Setting all my nerdy jokes aside, this poem is one of my favorites of Whyte’s because of the way he seeks revelation and self-discovery not by going out into the world for grand adventure and notable accomplishments but in grounding in the self-revelation that comes from digging into our aloneness and building a life that is centered in love. 

Loneliness is part of the human experience. We can feel alone in a marriage as easily as single, we can feel alone as parents despite the din of tiny humans. Loneliness is not something to be avoided or prevented, rather it functions as a teacher. In our loneliness we learn what makes us vulnerable. That self-knowledge can teach us how to nurture ourselves well so that we can be in healthier relationship with others. Loneliness is an experience that teaches us about who we are, what we love and what brings us discomfort. From that we can learn how to healthily and thoughtfully connect with others and our labor in the world. 

Be Kind,


PS If you are curious about the poet David Whyte and want to hear him read the poem himself during quarantine you can find his live reading HERE. I also really love David Whyte’s interview with Krista Tippett if you are looking for calming and thoughtful podcast to keep you company. 

To Find a Steady Center is a daily poem and meditation to offer a short, good word to those who are anxious, fearful or lonely and who might need a gentle word of hope, encouragement or perspective during social distancing. 

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