May you be blessed with good friends, by John O’Donohue

May you be blessed with good friends,

And  learn to be a good friend to yourself,

Journeying to that place in your soul where

There is love, warmth and feeling.

May this change you.

 

May it transfigure that which is negative, distant,

Or cold within your heart.

May you be brought into real passion, kindness,

And belonging.

 

May you treasure your friends.

May you be good to them, be there for them

And receive all the challenges, truth and light you need

©John O’Donohue

A blessing by John O’Donohue

John is probably my favourite spiritual author – but it wasn’t until I slowed my life down that I could appreciate the beauty of his language and wisdom. May you be blessed.

May you awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
May you respond to the call of your gift and find the courage to follow its path.
May the flame of anger free you from falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and may anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.
May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.
May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.

~ John O’Donohue

 

John O’Donohue’s Blessing For One Who Is Exhausted.

A blessing for one who is exhausted

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 ride 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 colour
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.

John O’Donohue

 

Wholeness Lies Beyond Perfection

What does authentic living mean to you? For me, it means no more masks. It means being who I am – light and darkness, wherever I am. It means all-ways showing up as me. So that’s why I’m going to share this story because it’s the preamble to my next one which wouldn’t have happened without this first.

I’ve had fibromyalgia for some time, which can be painful. After several years of visits to various doctors, I was diagnosed with Autonomic and Peripheral Neuropathy and am currently going through tests to find out why. In many ways it was a relief to get a diagnosis, as I was sure the doctors sighed when I turned up with another symptom. (Had they looked at me holistically they would have put the pieces of the jigsaw together years ago)

It has significantly affected my life; no more 48 hour days, lots more rest, finding ways to still exercise safely, and steroids that affect my immune system. It affected my handwriting so I stopped writing as it was so untidy. Above all, it came with fatigue, but I brought pity to the party. I felt very sorry for myself.

Perhaps as a result of all that, I ended up ill with a nasty bout of bronchitis and tracheitis. This turned out to be a total blessing. It gave me precious time to journal and talk to myself about how I wanted to live my life. I dare people to be happier but I wasn’t walking my walk, so it was time to see if I really believed that people can always choose their attitude, even when faced with life changing news (and I do!) I had time to find my dreams again, dust them off and see if they still fitted who I am – and they do. I still want to heal, encourage, inspire and encourage people with my words.

It was a period of recuperation, reflection – and of transformation, once I got to the stage where I could read and think again, and I know the power of words to transform lives (thanks Andrea Gardner and Cheryl Richardson and Viktor Frankl) I realised that some of my tribe and community could also be through books (thanks Robin Rice)

I realised what I wanted above all was wholeness, and that wholeness lies beyond perfection (thank you, Rachel Ramen). I also found that I would find that through following my heart, feeding my spirit and being present in this moment. I learned that I transform me, my life, my beliefs and actions as well as what happens, when I observe without judgement (thanks Ariel and Shya Kane)

I learned you give what you seek, to listen from my heart, to go with the flow, with “what is.” (Thanks, Deepak Chopra)

Instead of focussing on my health problems, I learned that my body deserves to be respected, minded and understood in its spiritual nature (thanks, John O’Donohue)

I also learned that moving into wholeness is where I find healing, not by running away from it into a quick fix – and that “suffering, whether physical, emotional, spiritual, or as is often the case, all three, can be a doorway to transformation.” (thank you, Dean Ornish). And that transformation takes place when you stop trying to fix yourself, and choose instead to own your own story, be who you are, and shine.

I learned that this moment is perfect as it is, and I must enjoy life moment by moment because this stops worry and anxiety and gives peace. I learned I can do less and accomplish more because my heart is in it and I’m focused.

And I realised I’m a spiritual being having a human experience and all that has happened – whether by my own actions or others – is what my soul has called to it for the lessons it must learn. And learning all this – with great peace – opened the door for what happened next. Namaste

John O’Donohue – A Blessing On Waking

 

Don’t you just love this?!

I give thanks for arriving

Safely in a new dawn,

For the gifts of eyes

To see the world,

The gift of mind

To feel at home

In my life.

The waves of possibility

Breaking on the shore of dawn,

The harvest of the past

That awaits my hunger,

And all the furtherings

This new day will bring.

© John O’Dononue

Rediscovering the Lost Art of Blessing – A Guest Post by Karen Horneffer Ginter

 

I love John O’Donohue, and his book of blessings, “To Bless The Space Between Us” is one of my favourite books. This article was written by Karen Horneffer Ginter is co-founder of the Center for Psychotherapy and Wellness and the author of ‘Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit: Nourishing the Soul When Life’s Just Too Much’ . It was published with permission on the Daily Good website, and Karen has given me permission to share it here. May you be blessed…

In his book, “To Bless the Space Between Us,” John O’Donohue describes an experience he had when he was a young priest visiting a group of nuns. He was asked by one of the older women to offer her a blessing. After he finished, he knelt down in front of her, and similarly asked her for a blessing. She was completely taken aback by this because, apparently, no one had ever asked her for such a thing.

It’s odd to live in a world where some people, but not all people, feel worthy of offering blessings. To change this inequity, O’Donohue encourages all of us to rediscover our power to bless one another.

I’ve become enchanted with this invitation, regardless of whether we define a blessing as being a wish or a prayer, whether we conceive it as coming from us or through us, or whether we offer blessings though what we say, write, or think. In any of these forms, the act of blessing another contains several irresistible qualities.

First, blessings are empowering because they connect us to our capacity to offer good to the world through simple thoughts and actions. They also provide us with a constructive way to redirect our thoughts and emotions, which might otherwise get channeled into worry, frustration, or self-absorption. Our concern for our child can be held in a blessing: “May this situation work out for you.” Our frustration at work can fuel a thought: “May this situation find harmony.”

When we find ourselves consumed with our own predicament, we can expand our thinking by offering blessings to others who might be involved in similar situations: “May we all find resolution and clarity.” Such shifts in our awareness can help us to broaden our patterns of thinking so that we don’t get caught up in a tight web of repetitive and consuming thoughts.

When we find ourselves responding to numerous requests for money and time, it’s also helpful to have ways of initiating acts of generosity. When we don’t have time to do this by engaging in “random acts of kindness,” offering blessings gives us something we can do in no time at all—just by thinking a positive thought about someone else. Allowing our attention to move outside of ourselves can be a refreshing change when we feel overwhelmed by all that’s on our to-do list.

Thinking such thoughts is useful in times when we wish we could be helpful, but there’s nothing we can do. It helps to remind us that we can always, at least, offer a wish to the person or situation in need. We can also develop a habit of offering blessings to people we pass by or interact with, as a way of regularly turning our thoughts toward compassion. Our wish, on their behalf, can be quite simple: “May you find fulfillment in your work,” “May your travels be safe.” We can also write out such blessings to loved ones just as we might tuck a note inside of our child’s lunch box: “May you find unexpected joy today,” “May you always know how much I love you.”

It’s fun to be creative with our blessings by finding small objects—maybe a heart or a fall leaf—which symbolize our wish, or writing our words on something interesting, like a stone. We should also consider including ourselves in our blessings, possibly starting the day with a kind thought: “May I feel peaceful and happy today.”

The more we offer such blessings to ourselves and to others, the more contagious it becomes to water these seeds of kindness and generosity in our own mind and heart, and in the world around us.

Gifts Wrapped In Love

 

“One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise never have crossed on your own.” John O’Donohue

I am grateful for knowing some great friends, who give me perspective and the simple joy of belonging. I am especially grateful for my Anam Cara’s. John O’Donohue is an Irish author who wrote a book of the same name, and defined the Anam Cara as, “a person to whom you could reveal the hidden intimacies of your life. This friendship was an act of recognition and belonging. When you had an Anam Cara, your friendship cut across all convention and category. You were joined in an ancient and eternal way with the friend of your soul.”

This too has been my experience – and one of them has just given me one if the most special gifts I’ve ever had. Though I chose her gift with thought and care, as my kids said, “Diane 1, Mum Nil.”

It started with a key ring called “The World According To Caroline” – in itself significant. I’m called Caroline but long ago, my mum shortened it to Carol, and won’t call me anything else. Nor will anyone who knew me prior to 1999, the year I decided to stand up for my life. I love my name, Caroline; it’s who I am now – and Diane knows about this struggle to be me.

The gifts were all wrapped in love and labelled in the order I had to open them. Only after I opened them and then read the details in the keyring did I realise that and she had read the “Links To Your Name,” and had given me one of each. That’s when I sat humbled and started to cry at such an amazing gift of love.

She gave me:

Fragrance: Mint – and I got a healthy dark chocolate mint bar

Plant: Fern – I got a scroll with a fern on it, that said that, “like the fern, we grow and flourish if we unfurl toward light or truth. The more we unfurl, the more the tendrils of our true nature begin to show as we loosen, surrender and soften, releasing and opening as we let go of old stories…”

Flower: Dahlia – I got a paper cup cake holder with dahlia’s on it as a reminder to keep baking (which I last did in 1998)

Tree: Elm. Now Diane could not know that I once lived in a house called ElmValej, but what she did know is that I’ve been learning to nurture myself and avoid overwhelm. She gave me the Bach Flower remedy Elm, which helps me do just that ..

Animal: Reindeer, so I got a Christmas ornament and a decoration for my tree. Yet a deer is also significant as we both attended a storytelling event where we found our power animal – and found exactly the same one. A deer…

Metal: Titanium – she emailed me David Guetta’s Titanium (one of my favourite tracks of 2012)

Hue: Turquoise – I got a beautiful Turquoise crystal

Day of the Month: 22, which happens to be my husband’s birthday, but it was the day she arranged to have my present delivered..

Number 41: it was all organised by Diane, who is 41

And last, but very much by no mean last, Gemstone: Sapphire – and inside a trinket box with angels wings and love on it was a turquoise pendant which had been precious to her mum but which she wanted to pass to me..

Gifts wrapped in love indeed. Wow!

Project Me – 38/101 – Miracles and New Steps

And so they continue. I harvest my journal and see the amazing things that happen in just over a month…

Miracle 11 – White Rabbit

I feel disconnected, discontented, wondering what my soul was really aching for. Am I running (in my still sedentary type of way) to a new future – or from something I don’t want to deal with?

I feel like the White Rabbit, racing about like a headless chicken knowing he’s late for SOMEthing, but not sure first. I haven’t thought of that story for years, and download it. I thought I had my next steps sorted, but then realised the journaling course I was about to teach was what I needed to learn first. Mindful, nurturing balance. Then at our journaling Meet Up, MaryAnne tells me she has the whole book on a poster.

Then Leslie starts posting the exact quotes I was thinking of. Then Diane’s allotment is invaded by rabbits, because she hasn’t put her fence up yet. Rabbits, I learn, signify boundaries – and appear at a time when you are trying to run away from something you need to face head on. Hhhhmm

Miracle 12 – I want to go home

I don’t know!! I keep anticipating, ducking and diving, hoping it will be clear in due course. I realise I’m not being present. I need a map, a centre again. A map to get me home to where I feel grounded, rooted, and free to be me. With mentors, Anam Cara’s, direction. With a startling realisation that feels like an electric shock I realise I need MY haven. Now. Where I am.

Home as a haven was critical for me, as a place to have friends and family connect and share. I am a connector – except in this one place, for I have blocked this for some 14 years, afraid that previous patterns would be repeated. But that was then and this is now.

I go through my house removing clutter to rubbish dumps and charity shops. Car loads. Unheard of, six big bags of books go too. I make a list of all the little things we will do before Christmas to make our home perfect for us. That load-of-my-back feeling is there again. Skip! Laugh! Jump for Joy!

And the same day I realise this, Leslie invites me to her next story-telling event. Hansel & Gretel/Finding Your Way Home

And because I am now in flow, the flow extends, and I tell Diane about this and see tears spring to get eyes. It’s HER story, she says, as she realises it is time for her too to haven her home.

Miracle 13 – The House of Belonging

When I started, I had no idea how many I would actually write about. And it turns ours it is 13; my number. Wow!

I buy a book for a friend and end up reading it because I’m not well enough to work. It quotes John O’Donohue, one of my new favourite authors. He says this:

“When you learn to love, let yourself be loved, you come to the hearth of your own spirit…you are warm and sheltered.”

I read this in Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book Moving On, in the context of explaining about the House of Belonging. I don’t know what that refers to, but immediately, it sings to me. THAT is what I am aching for. She then tells me it is an ancient Celtic metaphor for “the body as the earthly home for souls, as well as for the deep peace and feeling of safety, joy and contentment found in intimate connections with people, places and houses.”

The House of Belongings. Peace. Safety, joy and contentment. Connections.

Perfect. Amazingly wonderfully perfect.

Blessings on St Patrick’s Day

Happy St Patrick’s Day – surely the best day of the year to post this wonderful, magical poem by John O’Donohue.
Beannacht, which means Blessing.
May you be blessed in reading it, or in listening to him reading it.

On the day when the weight deadens
on your shoulders and you stumble,
may the clay dance to balance you.

And when your eyes freeze behind
the grey window and the ghost of loss
gets in to you, may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green, and azure blue
come to awaken in you a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays in the currach of thought and a stain of ocean blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours, may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhMCBnwS220&feature=youtube_gdata_player