Excerpt From “The Tao of Walt Whitman: Daily Insights and Actions to Achieve a Balanced Life” by Connie Shaw and Ike Allen

tao_100Walt Whitman, whose Leaves of Grass was called “the secular Scripture of the United States” by Harold Bloom, is a source of contemporary inspiration. His ecumenical wisdom, which includes both transcendentalism and realism, is encapsulated here in short verses for each day of the year. These, along with a daily action step, become a springboard for readers to transform themselves. The sublime poetry combined with exercises for self-reflection will make this unique pocket-sized daybook a constant companion for those seeking greater balance in their lives. In a world in which poetry has few readers, the authors have created a format to make it accessible and inspire a new audience to find value and use in this genre. By giving readers a context of action or contempation in which to find their own meaning in the text, they reinvigorate the appreciation of the poetic word. Whether the reader is new to Whitman, or poetry altogether, or is already steeped in the words of the masters, they will find in this volume new ways to approach poetic language and their own lives, regardless of their generation. This is a book to share with grandmothers, best friends, young adults, and book groups, and anyone who wants to plumb the depths of poetic wisdom while learning more about themselves.


Week 1 – Truth


All truths wait in all things,

They neither hasten their own delivery nor resist it,

They do not need the obstetric forceps of the surgeon,

The insignificant is as big to me as any,

What is less or more than a touch?

If you’re open to the pedestrian moments along with the larger revelations as you go about your activities, perhaps you will discover some heretofore hidden truth. And you might try answering Whitman’s question as well.


Only what proves itself to every man and woman is so

What are the bedrock principles, truths, or realities you live by? Can they be denied by anyone? Do you think Whitman is right?


O truth of the earth! O truth of things! I am determined to press the whole way toward you,

Sound your voice! I scale mountains or dive in the sea after you.

How committed are you to the truth? To paraphrase Tracy Chapman, “If everything you think you know is wrong, would you change?” Write about 3 things that you’re lying to yourself about and what steps you can take to change things.


The earth does not withhold, it is generous enough,

The truths of the earth continually wait, they are not so conceal’d either,

They are calm, subtle, untransmissible by print,

They are imbued through all things conveying themselves willingly

Give a try at expressing one of “the truths of the earth” in some way other than through words. Perhaps paint a picture, dance a dance, create a melody…


All must have reference to the ensemble of the world, and the compact truth of the world,

There shall be no subject too pronounced

Take one of your most firmly held beliefs and go through your day imagining that the opposite is true. For example, if you sincerely feel that someone in your daily sphere presents a challenge to your wellbeing, take every opportunity to notice ways in which this may not be so.


What do you suppose creation is?

What do you suppose will satisfy the soul, except to walk free and own no superior?

What do you suppose I would intimate to you in a hundred ways, but that man or woman is as good as God?

And that there is no God any more divine than Yourself?

Spend time contemplating the meaning of this. Is this true?


I spent this week continuously asking myself what I could actually say was true. What was true for me? I noticed that my truth was not necessarily true for others. By the end of the week, I noticed that the only thing it seemed everyone could agree on was that we were all having a common experience. Beyond that, it seemed we each translated truth in our way to support us in this experience. What is true for me is that I create my own truths and I choose to create ideas that make my experience here filled with joy by whatever name. I invite you to enjoy your truths and embrace the truth others share with you. –iKE


Connie Shaw is a publisher and poetry lover who lives in Boulder, Colorado. Ike Allen is co-creator of the film Leap! and other movies about consciousness. He leads transformational seminars internationally, and also lives in Boulder.

More Info And Photos: http://sentientpublications.com/authors/c_shaw.php, http://sentientpublications.com/authors/i_allen.php