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Brother David Steindl-Rast (was) the nearest thing I had to a really wise person in my life at that time or at any time since. We would read German poetry together—he would translate the original text, I read the translations, all the while drinking the red wine. But I had my day on my mind, and the mind-numbing tiredness I was experiencing at work. I said suddenly, out of nowhere, almost beseechingly, “Brother David, speak to me of exhaustion. Tell me about exhaustion.”

And then he said a life-changing thing. “You know,” he said, “the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest.”

“What is it then?”

“The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness. You’re so exhausted because you can’t be wholehearted at what you’re doing…because your real conversation with life is through poetry.”

It was just the beginning of a long road that was to take my real work out into the world, but it was a beginning.

David Whyte

Brother David S…

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