David Whyte is a Yorkshire-born poet, a Fortune 500 consultant, and author of The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America. He writes at the outset: "Maturity and energy in our work is not granted freely to human beings but must be adventured and discovered, cultivated and earned. It is the result of application, dedication, an indispensable sense of humor, and above all a never-ending courageous conversation with ourselves, those with whom we work, and those whom we serve. It is a long journey; it calls on both the ardors of youth and the perspectives of a longer view. It is achieved through a lifelong pilgrimage."
Whyte reveals many of the questions, crises, and turning points in his own search for meaningful work suited to his nature. He discusses his stint as a naturalist in the Galapagos Islands and the important role his ancestors have played in shaping the structure and form of his creative work. This emphasis upon our inheritance from those who have gone before us is quite impressive and convincing.
Whyte's use of pilgrimage imagery alludes to the importance of the soul and questing in finding our true vocation. Or as he puts it, "Seen in the light of a pilgrim's journey, work takes on a greater significance than merely paying the bills and keeping the ever present wolf from the door." The author spells out these amplified meanings of work with material on a sense of dedication, waking the giant inside ourselves, standing up to others, overcoming obstacles, incarnating passion, using our intuition, and being creative.
Whyte taps into the resources of poets such as William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Rainer Maria Rilke, Walt Whitman, and William Wordsworth as he unravels the yearning we have for work that we love. Crossing the Unknown Sea is a philosophical masterwork by an author who has hit high stride in his appreciation and honoring of fulfilling work as a spiritual practice.