On Freeing Oneself — D. H. Lawrence

“I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.

And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly,

that I am ill.

I am ill because of wounds to the soul, to the

deep emotional self

and the wounds to the soul take a long, long time,

only time can help

and patience, and a certain difficult repentance

long difficult repentance, realization of life’s mistake,

and the freeing oneself

from the endless repetition of the mistake

which mankind at large has chosen to sanctify.”

D.H. Lawrence

A coaching client who struggles with environmental illness passed this quote to me. That we all, in our own ways, struggle with the experience of separation from self and from Nature is part of our cultural legacy — “which mankind at large has chosen to sanctify.” D.H. Lawrence captures this challenge we each face of claiming back our own lives beautifully in this quote.


  1. Michael Lewis

    12/09/2009 at 9:47 pm

    A truly great poem, and in the spirit of sharing anothers work, I
    contribute this prosody from the Journal of Edwin Manners:
    December 17, 1908
    Sometimes I feel within me the stirrings of a great poem—of course it should be great or it would scarcely be worth while—or some wonderful picture, statue, temple—some luminous palace of the moving arts, of power, grace and charm—a subtle speech or compelling opera pushes for expression, and I am disquieted. I say, I shall throw aside all else and devote myself to the achievement of at least one of these. But my evangel, better or worse, I misgive, whispers a note of warning: My child, be not perturbed; concern yourself with these, but remember that at best they are but partial arts, that the one whole, complete art is the supreme art of living. Build your own structure of noble outlines and fine details, and whether recognized or not, it will be a glorious triumph!

  2. Larry Glover

    12/10/2009 at 4:47 am

    Thank for the contribution. I particularly love the line… “that the one whole, complete art is the supreme art of living.”

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