This morning I was reading an essay by one of my favorite poets, thinkers, and expressers of life, David Whyte. He was writing about robustness…robustness as being “physically or imaginatively present in the very firm presence of something or someone else.” What a beautiful way to think about and feel into our relationships with our own selves and our relationships with others.
He goes on to say, “Being robust means we acknowledge the living current in something other than our own story. Robustness is a measure of the live frontier in our lives, whether it is a wrestling match, a good exchange of ideas in the seminar room or a marital argument in the kitchen. Without robustness all relationships become defined by their fragility, whither and then die.”
Oooh, I just love the invitation here to dig deep to strengthen, not the perfection or appearance of our relationships, but to fortify our hearts that we might robustly lean in to new landscapes. It feels in me like preparing for a big work-out or run…hydrating well, eating good food before race day, strapping on the trusted trainers and diving in with a deep knowing and trust that I will give it my all…that I will pace myself…be kind to myself…support others as they too give it their all…it feels like being a good athlete and a good sport.
What might it be like to take these qualities into our daily lives outside of “race day”? What would it be like in your life to give it your all while acknowledging the “living current” of someone else who is giving it their all in what look like a very different way (namely your partner, spouse, co-worker, parent, or child)? In this moment of difference and possible fragility in your relationship, what would it be like to put on your trainers, hydrate and dive in with robustness and life?