A Blessing (for all that is new)

The late John O’Donohue is one of my favorite writers for a reason. O’Donohue’s words open my eyes. I am posting this blessing for the benefit of anyone starting something new: students, newlyweds, young parents, employees and employers, homeowners, life circumstances, lovers and friends, it’s all here. Relish it.

Blessed be the longing that brought you here and that quickens your soul with wonder.
May you have the courage to befriend your eternal longing.
May you enjoy the critical and creative companionship of the question “Who am I?” and may it brighten your longing.
May a secret Providence guide your thought and shelter your feeling.
May your mind inhabit your life with the same sureness with which your body belongs to the world.
May the sense of something absent enlarge your life.
May your soul be as free as the ever-new waves of the sea.
May you succumb to the danger of growth.
May you live in the neighborhood of wonder.
May you belong to love with the wildness of Dance.
May you know that you are ever embraced in the kind circle of God.

—John O’Donohue, from Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong.
New York. NY: HarperCollins, 1999. 50


Reclaiming the primal sense of belonging

John O’Donohue, in his beautiful book, Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on our Yearning to Belong, speaks of the “longing of the Earth.” He says, “The stillness of the stone is pure, but it also means that it can never move one inch (…) it enjoys absolute belonging.” Further, he writes “Think of your self and feel how you belong so deeply to the earth and how you are a tower of longing in which nature rises up and comes to voice.”

Yesterday, standing beneath the giant boulders of Joshua Tree National ForestI could not help but feel I was a part of this ancient labor sculpted by wind and time. I am a grain of sand, yet feel completely at home here.  O’Dononue says “Stone is the tabernacle of memory. Until we allow some of Nature’s stillness to reclaim us, we will remain victims of the instant and never enter the heritage of our ancient belonging.”

Time spent in untouched nature is wholly restorative. Tranquility returns. We become one with it, even if only for an instant. But in that moment clarity arrives, sweeping away all the clutter of the mind, shushing the mental chatter, slowing the breath perhaps even to the point where God’s whisper might be heard. Where ever it is in nature that your primal sense of belonging emerges, be it a forest, a mountaintop, the ocean, or a pristine lake, in the desert, or a canyon, go there and be reclaimed.

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