how would it be to allow for knowing and not knowing: allowing room for the mystery of creating to be able to wonder softly without needing to understand everything to trust in the process to trust in love to trust in the mystery and wonder of the universe that beats softly wildly true all round about us, that is hidden in the mists in the clouds and the rain in the wind blowing and the rain lashing down on your window, reminding you poetically prosaically that this is where you are, on the island, at the edge, in a place of finding and refinding, and remembering to remember the feel of the mist, wind and rain.
I first discovered this wonderful poem on Radiating Blossom and found it to be an invitation to open to not knowing, to allow space for mystery, and to feel what’s present in the moment.
A Blessing for One Who is Exhausted by John O’Donahue
When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic, Time takes on the strain until it breaks; Then all the unattended stress falls in On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,
The light in the mind becomes dim. Things you could take in your stride before Now become laborsome events of will.
Weariness invades your spirit. Gravity begins falling inside you, Dragging down every bone.
The tide you never valued has gone out. And you are marooned on unsure ground. Something within you has closed down; And you cannot push yourself back to life.
You have been forced to enter empty time. The desire that drove you has relinquished. There is nothing else to do now but rest And patiently learn to receive the self You have forsaken for the race of days.
At first your thinking will darken And sadness take over like listless weather. The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have traveled too fast over false ground; Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight, Taking time to open the well of color That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone Until its calmness can claim you. Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Stay clear of those vexed in spirit. Learn to linger around someone of ease Who feels they have all the time in the world.
Gradually, you will return to yourself, Having learned a new respect for your heart And the joy that dwells far within slow time.
I saw a familiar quality in Mr. O’Donahue’s poem: moving from darkness to light. A shift that happens somewhere along the way. So often when I feel inspired to write, it’s a journey of growth, moving from a place of challenge to a place of release, a place of confusion to clarity, a place of discontent to contentment, a place of resistance to openness. Can you see where the movement begins? Ah, slow, free, calm, gentle, ease, joy…yes.
Another lovely invitation from John O’Donohue (from Anam Chara) which I first read on the Mindfulbalance blog. (Thank you, Karl, for making me aware of another lovely piece by this author.)
We should not force ourselves to change by hammering our lives into any predetermined shape. We do not need to operate according to the idea of a predetermined program or plan for our lives. Rather, we need to practice a new art of attention to the inner rhythm of our days and lives. This attention brings a new awareness of our own human and divine presence…if you work with a different rhythm, you will come easily and naturally home to yourself. Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future. John O’Donohue
This seems a sage suggestion, especially since recently I retired from IBM. Instead of my work and leadership mostly determining the shape of my days, I have the opportunity to create my life, to really lean into manifesting an abundantly delicious life that is open with possibility. What a beautiful time to practice the art of attention, to listen for my inner rhythm. The newfound space is quite special, although finding my rhythm is a journey and the path for coming home to myself is sometimes elusive. 🙂 Mr. Donohue’s wise words invite me to trust and be patient.
* I took this photo near Kotor, Montenegro on the Lustica Peninsula.
If you liked this, you may also be interested in these other posts featuring John O’Donohue’s work: