David Whyte, author of the poem included below, "Self-Portrait", relates how he wrote this poem in Amsterdam, after visiting the Van Gogh Museum, and looking at some of the artist's self-portraits. "I was struck," David says, "by how the artist looked into the mirror, hence into our image, without a trace of self pity. I returned to my hotel, determined to see if I could write a poem expressing the same qualities I saw in Van Gogh's eyes. When I dropped into the poem, and the image came up, I was surprised at the first line I wrote down." As was I, when I first heard the poem.
For me, the question is about living authentically. Can I look Life in the Eyes, without recoiling or seeking escape? Am I ready to be defeated, perhaps more than once? Can I fall into Life and therefore towards what I long for? Can I speak quietly, saying "This is Who I am." Can I look the fierce and flying owl directly in the eyes, even as he swoops to attack?
If we can, we will touch God.