“Sometimes it takes a great sky to find that first, bright and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart.” – David Whyte
I first encountered world-famous poet and philosopher David Whyte six years ago, when a guest recited his poem “Sometimes” to me at Segera. In that moment, my life changed. I realized that perhaps the one person who could translate that unique spiritual and emotional reconnection with self that only happens in the wild, was David Whyte. I envisioned a group of inquisitive, open-hearted travelers exploring our state of being – how we find the natural rhythm of our souls when we flow with nature; our deepest truth. With this vision, a bundle of creativity, and a dash of blind faith, “Into the Wild with David Whyte” became a reality. That this transformative week took place at Segera – the source of my first encounter with David’s work – brought me full circle. Even with a carousel of photos in my mind and on my phone, I still can’t believe the sheer gift we created.
I’ll try to find words to describe the indescribable: six spectacular days of magical moments that brought tears of raw elation and wild awe as we listened to sunrise poetry at the foot of Mount Kenya and words of wisdom under a bowl of stars. We gazed into the depths of the fire and let the wind whistle around us. Unbidden peace and nourishment. Giddy with delight and excitement when we spotted a rare pack of wild dogs! As I recounted stories and shared old friends with new friends, like my fellow Zimbo, sommelier Joseph Dhafana (proof positive of the power of the human spirit), a new and evolving friendship with my inner self began to unfold. Even as the host, I felt refreshed and renewed. Growth, authenticity, and a robust, vital aliveness were palpable as we all rediscovered the most ancient part of ourselves. Instead of the deadening seriousness of our daily journey, a light youthfulness of the soul sprung to life.
Africa is the original source, the cradle of our collective humanity. The elements of earth, water, fire, air, and ether that fuel our lives find their purest expression here. Each day was designed around these elements, bringing awareness to exactly how each element lives both inside and outside of our lives.
The heady combination of David’s words, his enlightened insight into the complexity of our tightly held selves, in concert with healing sessions guided by the continent’s best healers of breath, sound, touch, and energy, resulted in a state of mind and place none of us could have imagined. I found myself reflecting. Ultimately we find the awe, expansion, lucidity, and creativity we all crave far from the cosmopolitan world most of us live in. Instead, they’re found in the psychedelic sunrises, moonlit skies, wildlife and vast open spaces of Africa’s untamed wilderness. David Whyte’s words, working in tandem with the perfect setting, roared and restored. The trust, vulnerability, openness and purity they unlocked were a privilege to witness.
We seldom consider the impact we have as guests on the people in the lands we travel to. Segera’s massage therapist Rosanna, described the week thus: “If I said this was the most important moment of my life in Segera, it would be an understatement of being divinely favored to meet every one of you. You touched me in a different way.”
I’ve said it before: where you travel, what you do when you get there matters. For it’s the people who make up the fabric of any travel experience. As we dove into Kenya’s unique culture and abundant wildlife, I encouraged our guests to know better the power of the land and the people of Segera whose graciousness, knowledge, and wisdom are my perpetual inspiration.
The closing circle was one of my life’s most vulnerable, powerful moments. Together, guests put words to the profound journey we all experienced in a deeply personal way. We laughed. We cried. We shared a collective clarity and vision. In the words of one guest, “I've found awe, wonder, and a newfound openness unknown to me before.” While another described how he was “so inspired again by the power of intention, vision, and creation,” saying, “This is how we can change the whole world.”
David alluded to how we wake up with “a cargo of revelations” before the burdens of the day set in. Then we lose them; we lose, in his words, “the discipline to be touched by life.”
I could talk for days, weeks, months even, about just how touched by life I feel right now. Through this journey, we rediscovered wonder. We learned how to cling to wild awe both inside and out, how to gaze with kindness. Together, we found the great sky and wedge of freedom. We returned to the source. We arrived.