The poet William Blake believed that a big problem in life is half-heartedness—that tendency to just get by, hold back, become complacent or stay stuck in second gear.
He also believed that whenever we work to convert half-hearted living into whole-hearted living, this releases a new energy he called “exuberance”. Blake thought exuberance was so important, he wrote many proverbs about it. Let’s reflect on a few.
“Exuberance is beauty.”
Blake saw exuberance all around us, in riotous rivers, the roar of the ocean, the mystery of the stars, the play of children, in music, laughter, color, a wild flower, a grain of sand.
Every day, Blake believed, the exuberance of this world calls us to an experience of life that goes beyond “just enough” to “more than enough.”
“You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.”
Doing and being “just enough” can lead to complacency and unlivedness, Blake thought. Life is best lived in the “more than enough” mode, where there is always more to learn, more to create, more to give, more to love, and more to your story. This is life traveling on the road of exuberance, the road of whole-heartedness, the road of excess.
“The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.”
By “excess,” Blake means a life that moves beyond the glass-is-half-empty or the glass-is-half-full mode to a life that overflows. A life that is exuberant.
And a life that overflows—rather than a too-cautious life—is the path to wisdom, Blake says. The person who quietly puts her whole heart and mind into what she does and who she is will learn important things she would never learn otherwise. She will learn to fly.
“No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.”
We were not meant to crawl through life, says Blake. Exuberance and whole-heartedness free us to soar on our own wings in the fulfillment our own unique life.