I Broke a Promise

Photo Credit: Jonny Miller

I broke a promise when I decided I’d no longer serve as a priest.

I broke a promise when I decided I’d end the relationship.

I broke a promise when I decided I’d stop seeing that friend.

Breaking a promise didn’t feel good. But it happened, again and again.

This week I came across a poem by David Whyte about how to break a promise.

Apparently we humans break promises, again and again. Apparently we can learn to do it better.

Shall we accept that breaking promises is part of life, like making them is?

To Break a Promise

Make a place of prayer, no fuss now,
just lean into the white brilliance
and say what you needed to say
all along, nothing too much, words
as simple and as yours and as heard
as the bird song above your head
or the river running gently beside you.

Let your words join one to another
the way stone nestles on stone,
the way water just leaves
and goes to the sea,
the way your promise
breathes and belongs
with every other promise
the world has ever made.

Now, let them go on,
leave your words
to carry their own life
without you, let the promise
go with the river.

Stand up now. Have faith. Walk away.

In “The Sea in You: Twenty Poems of Requited and Unrequited Love” by David Whyte

P.S. David, I hope you don’t mind me sharing your poem here. Thank you.

Podcast: How a Former Priest Creates Badass Teams

My good friend Francisco Mahfuz recently had me as a guest on his podcast “The Story Powers”. It was my first time, and I must say I had loads of fun. Fransisco is a great host.

Some of the topics we talk about are:

  • How being a priest helps me build betters teams
  • Mistakes leaders make in times of crisis
  • My transition and journey from priesthood to corporate trainer

You can listen to the episode here as well as on Spotify and YouTube:

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Thanks buddy for inviting me and keep up the fantastic work!

A Poem on Demons and Life

This evening I will be running our Toastmasters Club meeting. Toastmasters is about communication and leadership. Part of my job is to choose a theme for the meeting. My friend Florian Mueck suggested I go with exorcisms (don’t know where he got that idea).

It is also my job to ask everyone with an active role in the meeting a question related to the theme. This was my question: If I were your exorcist, what demon would you like me to get rid of?

Asking myself this same question, I started playing with a few ideas, and ended up writing this rather philosophical poem. It reflects the irony of how we can sometimes work so hard for something and end up with the opposite, and how life has her way of waking us up to see this.

Though nowhere near his, I’m dedicating the poem to fellow philosopher, David Whyte. His poems have recently reignited my appreciation for the reflections poetry prompts. The audio file is a recording of me reading the poem.

IMPERSONATION

To David Whyte

In a pretension to be another, 

as if cursed by gods, 

possessed by a demon, 

or haunted by ghosts, 

I come to believe I truly am who I seek to be, 

just like a dream. 

But life strikes, 

unexpectedly and hard, 

the pain of the blow waking me from the dream.

Shedding the elusive skin of my pretension, 

I see the true nature of my predicament. 

Who decided who I would dream to be? 

Who has such power to enslave me to this dream? 

Who?  

Life strikes,

unexpectedly and hard, 

and I see the true nature of who, 

I see the gods that cursed me — the gods of perfectionism, 

I see the demon that possessed me — the demon of my ideal self, 

I see the ghosts that haunted me — the ghosts that think it is never enough.

Life strikes, 

unexpectedly and hard, 

and I hear its soft whisper,

“You are not the person you dreamt to be. 

Stop impersonating the ideal you.”  

In my pretension to be the best version of myself, 

I impersonated not another, 

but an idea, 

the idea of who I wanted to be, 

and so I came to believe I truly was who I sought to be, 

just like a dream. 

But I am not the person I dreamt to be, 

I am the dreamer. 

What demons would you like to get rid of?