Why this? Reflection in a critical time

In the third year for the Frontier Retreat, everything feels different. And everything feels the same.

“This is a crucial threshold that requires all of us to be in the conversation, all of us to be just half a shade braver, half a shade more willing to meet the ‘other’ in our societies, including a previously middle American society that now itself feels marginalized; half a shade more willing to speak from emerging uncertainties into public forums, rather within our familiar communities of locked-in demands and dogma.

…We live in a time where each of us will be asked to reach deeper, speak more bravely, live more from the fierce perspectives of the poetic imagination; find the lines already written inside us: poetry does not take surface political sides, it is always the conversation neither side is having, it is the breath in the voice about to discover itself only as it begins to speak, and it is that voice firmly anchored in a real and touchable body, standing on the ground of our real, inhabited world, speaking from a source that lives and thrives at the threshold between opposing sides we call a society.”

David Whyte, “Half a Shade Braver,” davidwhyte.com

The questions we hear from our friends, colleagues and clients are more intense.

“Should I feel bad about pursuing my career while living inside a kleptocracy?”

“I believe my work truly matters, but I’m working myself into poor health. How much is enough?”

“I don’t know how to reach across these divides.”

“I know my organization has tremendous potential. I believe in it! But getting it to change is so slow, and I really don’t know where to start. Should I leave? Should I get a different degree?”

“I find myself in a position of great influence. But I wasn’t trained in ‘influence’! I feel too small for what I’m being asked to do, and excited at the same time. How do I handle this?”

But the questions we bring to the retreat are the same.

  • What are the courageous questions that define my frontier?
  • What does it mean for me to take my place? What is my work?
  • How might I put myself in thriving contact with the world?
  • What does it look like when I live out my creative wholeheartedness?
  • Who am I, in the midst of all this uncertainty and challenge?
  • What communities am I willing to commit to?
  • What am I afraid to say yes to, to say no to?
  • What if I were enough, just as I am?
  • How do I make room in my life for these questions?

Open reflective dialog in the company of like-minded people, in a setting that pulls us away from our daily concerns and reconnects us with a mythic, poetic view of life and ourselves: this is the best recipe we know for creatively and courageously engaging with our own edges and frontiers.