Awake in the World

“Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.” ― David Whyte, The House of Belonging

Surrounded by the white painted wood of St. Stephen’s Church in Charleston, South Carolina, David Whyte weaved his poetry into an evening of depth and nostalgia for the precious and fleeting moments of life. Whyte, an internationally renowned poet who taught at Oxford and has taken his poetry into corporations for over a decade, works always to take us deeper and draw out reminders of the most evanescent glints of life’s fleeting light. 

Poetry keeps you in contact with the edge of life, Whyte says. His latest book is called Pilgrim. “This is probably the most accurate name for a human being,” he says. Inspired by the Camino of Santiago di Compostella, a long walking pilgrimage that his inspired seekers to take it through the Pyrenees Mountains since the Middle Ages, Pilgrim speaks to our transcient journey through life and how we meet strangers and make friends along the way. It’s often the strangers who love us most, he says poignantly. He uses poetry to put us in a context that enlarges us and draws a tight focus on our beautiful and oh-so-quickly passing moments of life – a drive on a road with rolling hills, leaving the cold body of a friend at 5 a.m. after a wake, seeing the life line on your daughter’s tiny hand. And in one instant, in those oh-so-personal stories, the individual strikes resounding chords in the universal and almost everyone in the crowd smiles wistfully as the night draws to an end.

The event, hosted by the Sophia Institute filled the location.

Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at

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