View Full Version : David and the Toothpick

11 January 2008, 01:26 PM
My abiding image of David comes from around 10 years ago in Georgina's living room at Long Close Farm in the English Lake District. It is my first experience of David and he is facilitating me and my 'stuff' in front of the group during the after-dinner session.

He is slouching comfortably in an armchair, using a toothpick, both to clean his teeth and to conduct the group in asking me his next question. There is soft lighting in the room; beyond the windows, the dark outline of the hills against a clouded moon.

The most striking aspect of the memory is his eyes. How do they convey that unique cocktail of full attention, ready laughter, intelligent challenge, dry humour and total acceptance of the person before them?

As the piece of work continues, I falter - is it too much? He doesn't push, he doesn't back off; I am there, he is there, in this moment.

Down the hall towards the front door, I glimpse something I can't explain, even to myself. It seems universal, spiritual, incredibly energetic, dangerous even. I feel like a child stealing a peek through a crack in the door.

At the same time I feel adult; trusted and trusting, very fully alive. I have never been here before. Is it something David is doing? Or what he's not doing? Somehow David seems to be bringing out the boy and the man in me simultaneously.

And still he sits with that enigmatic expression, watching, listening. When he speaks, his voice is low, slow, even tender - and any minute now he'll laugh in that lightly mocking way, as if to say 'we can laugh at this AND know it's important too'.

The moment passes, our work concludes. While for me the otherness of the experience slowly fades into everyday normality, David is already scanning the room for the next person. Someone shifts position in her chair; David's eyebows twitch; he smiles. 'Looks like it's you next then'.

The toothpick goes back to work.

Haere ra e hoa raputia to Ao hou. Aroha nui.

It means something like "Farewell my friend and seek your new home/space in the New World. Much love."