Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Slow Wind of Words

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.
-John O'Donohue

This poem is only a small piece of light that found it's way into my heart this morning as I listened to this interview with poet, philosopher and author John O'Donohue. He reads this poem toward the end and it's worth hearing it spoken in his gentle accent.

On Being: The Inner Landscape of Beauty

John O'Donohue had a beautiful vision of the world. I was mentally highlighting his words as I walked.

"So I think beauty in that sense is about an emerging fullness, a greater sense of grace and elegance, a deeper sense of depth, and also a kind of homecoming for the enriched memory of your unfolding life."

"...everyone is involved whether they like it or not in the construction of their world. So, it's never as given as it actually looks; you are always shaping it and building it. And I feel that from that perspective, that each of us is an artist."

"What amazes me about landscape, landscape recalls you into a mindful mode of stillness, solitude, and silence where you can truly receive time."

"I love Pascal's phrase, you know, that you should always "keep something beautiful in your mind." And I have often — like in times when it's been really difficult for me, if you can keep some kind of little contour that you can glimpse sideways at now and again, you can endure great bleakness."

"I think the beauty of being human is that we're incredibly, intimately near each other. We know about each other, but yet we do not know or never can know what it's like inside another person."

"there is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where there is a confidence and tranquility in you."

" of the huge confusions in our times is to mistake glamour for beauty."

"I think that there is always an uncanny symmetry between the way you are inward with yourself and the way you are outward. And I feel that there is an evacuation of interiority going on in our times. And that we need to draw back inside ourselves and that we'll find immense resources there."

"And I think there are huge thresholds in every life. I mean, I think, you know that, for instance, I'd like to give a very simple example of it is, that if you are in the middle of your life in a busy evening, 50 things to do and you get a phone call that somebody you love is suddenly dying. Takes 10 seconds to communicate that information, but when you put the phone down, you are already standing in a different world. Because suddenly everything that seems so important before is all gone and now you are thinking of this. So the given world that we think is there and the solid ground we are on is so tentative. And I think a threshold is a line which separates two territories of spirit, and I think that very often how we cross is the key thing."

" of the loneliest things you can find is somebody who is in the wrong kind of work, who shouldn't be doing what they are doing but should be doing something else and haven't the courage to get up and leave it and make a new possibility for themselves. "

John O'Donohue died in his sleep on January 3rd, 2008, at the age of 52. This was one of the last interviews he gave. His books include Anam Ċara and Beauty. His final work, which was published posthumously, is called To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings.