Crossing The Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity
by David Whythe
Riverhead Books, 257 pp
Publication Date: March 2001
Don't plan to whiz through this book like so many other business books. David Whyte is a poet and his prose is laced with imagery, metaphors, poems and pithy thoughts
that force you to slow down and absorb not just the words, but the essence of what he's saying.
The book is about the potential of the workplace to help
us find out who we are. The first two of the five sections in the book are autobiographical, yet he draws parallels to the reader’s journey and invites you to explore how your
path and his are shared. I found the third and fourth sections (titled Arrivals and Perspectives), to be particularly fruitful for me as a coach. His description of
the day and how we move through it in ways that ennoble or degrade us was fresh and thought-provoking.
The best way that I can capture this book is to quote a
few sentences that stuck with me. If you like these, you'll want to read the book.
We have to take an inventory not only of the gifts
we have to give, but of the gifts we are afraid of receiving. P.54
Often, in order to stay alive, we have to unmake a living in order to get back to living the life we want
for ourselves. P.77
There are many kinds of silence to encounter in life,
but there is a particular and delicious terror to the anticipatory silence that we create from actually following our heart's desires. P. 136
"…the moment we claim the happiness to which we
have long aspired, large parts of us are immediately out of a job." P 141
There is no mercy in this world if at least once in our lives we do not feel the privilege of being
wanted where we also want to be wanted. P. 195
Deep unhappiness almost always call for deep preparation---preparation for speaking out, for
changing the circumstances, for transferring, sometimes for leaving altogether. P. 200
Whyte’s messages are beautiful and inspiring; they invite each of us, coaches and coachees alike, to s-t-o-p, to listen, to reflect, and to move into the action that is
“right” for us, action that will enrich and fulfill our calling.