Inhabited Simplicity

From Finding the Holiness in the Holidays by David Whyte, from Mid-Winter Thoughts (2014):

Holiness is not in Bethlehem, nor Jerusalem, nor the largest, most glittering, mall, unless we are there in good company, with a friend, with a loved one, with our affections, with our best and most generous thoughts, with a deep form of inhabited silence, or in a grounded central conversation with what and how we like to give. Holiness is coming to ground in the essence of our giving and receiving, a mirror in which we can see both our virtues and our difficulties, but also, a doorway to the life we want beyond this particular form of exchange.

Holiness is beautiful beckoning uncertainty: time celebrated and time already gone so quickly. Holiness dissolves the prison of time and lies only one short step from the present busy moment: just one look into the starry darkness of the mid-winter sky at the midnight hour, just one glance at a daughter’s face; just one sight of a distressed friend alone in the midst of a crowded celebration.

Holiness is a step taken not to the left or to the right, but straight through present besieging outer circumstances, to the core of the pattern we inhabit at the very center of the celebration. Holiness is reached not through effort or will, but by stopping; by an inward coming to rest; a place from which we can embody the spirit of all our holy days, a radical, inhabited simplicity, where we live in a kind of ongoing surprise and with some wonder and appreciation, far from perfection, but inhabiting the very center of a beautiful, peripheral giftedness.


Header photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash