Walking the Line


It has been suggested that we all walk a fine line between sanity and insanity. Sufferers of mental ill health blog about it, authors write memoirs and rappers just rap about it. Artists describe cycles of creativity and madness, a drive to their edge.


This fragile tightrope we tread could also be said to represent other contrasts in life: birth and death, dark and light, love and hate, heart and mind. Echoes of Johnny Cash perhaps.

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There is something about a boundary in lines though, keeping something in or out, marking a space, treading a path. Montessori nursery kids develop concentration, balance and co-ordination by walking along a line marked out on the floor.


Richard Long’s ‘Line made by Walking’ or David Whyte’s poem ‘Santiago’ represent journeys, a line from one place to another, footsteps both physical and emotional.

The road seen, then not seen, the hillside hiding
then revealing the way you should take,
the road dropping away from you as if leaving you
to walk on thin air, then catching you, holding you up,
when you thought you would fall, and the way forward
always in the end the way that you came,
the way that you followed, the way that carried
you into your future, that brought you
to this place, no matter that it sometimes took
your promise from you, no matter that it always had to break
your heart along the way, the sense of having walked
from far inside yourself out into the revelation,
to have risked yourself for something that seemed
to stand both inside you and far beyond you,
that called you back in the end to the only road
you could follow, walking as you did, in your
rags of love and speaking in the voice
that by night, became a prayer for safe arrival…

Excerpt from “SANTIAGO”
From PILGRIM: Poems by David Whyte
©2012 David Whyte


Wherever and whichever line you are walking, you may need the solitude and time for reflection alone, but if you are struggling, talking to someone you trust can help. If you feel you need more specialist support, counselling is one option you may wish to consider.

For related resources join us facebook or Twitter @psychodynamix

About Adela Stockton MBACP

Psychological Therapy; Clinical Supervision; Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
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