The rich, deep imagery of nature in Walt Whitman’s “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking” speaks to the poet’s heart. In the poem, he recounts how he awakened to his heart and how he discovered his life purpose.
Whitman relates this awakening through the experience that he had as a young person when he kept track of a mating pair of mockingbirds on the sea coast. One day the female vanishes, and he believes that the seemingly incessant call of her mate is directed at him.
The poet realizes that the sea and the bird speak directly to him. His heart applies them to his life. We can see this in the progression of revelation: “Demon or bird! (said the boy’s soul,) / Is it indeed toward your mate you sing? or is it really to me?…now I have heard you / Now in a moment I know what I am for, I awake…A thousand warbling echoes have started to life within me…” He knows! Life purpose to express his core Self in poetic voice.
How, though, would that voice be freed? He knows he needs something else, because he cries out “O give me the clew [clue]!]…O if I am to have so much, let me have more! / A word then…final, superior to all…” What is that word? “Death, death, death, death, death.” Ego had to die to free the soul, the heart, the life purpose. And who is whispering it for him to hear? The sea, characterized as “some old crone,” who is rocking the cradle of his new understanding, nurturing and caring for him in his new understanding — she softly, gently speaks. He knows it, for “the sea whisper’d me.” He seeks meaning; he listens; his heart assures him.
Are you looking for a life purpose? You can create it. There is more than one way, but if you are questioning, searching you might consider our poem today. The poet, looking back on how it happened for him, gives us some “clews” (the way Whitman spelled it, at least in this poem!).
If you try the following with the intention of discovering self, you might be surprised!
Spend some time in a natural setting very close to home so that you can visit regularly for some time. Intend to find purpose, discover Self, but don’t insist. If something appeals to you, attracts you, in some way, speak to your heart, listen intently for an answer. It could be as soft as a whispering leaf or as loud as a thunderclap. If you discern a message for you, write it down. And be happy!
Questions to consider:
How many times have you asked yourself or simply thought about the following questions?
Who am I, really?
What is my truth?
How do my actions reveal what I really feel and believe?
What would I do with my life if I could do anything?
What is my passion?
Why am I here?
How can I discover answers to any of these questions?
If you have considered any of these questions, I hope that my experiences and writing will give you some guidance. Please read my blog and comment and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!