The Fertile Fields of Our Soul

I’m working today (horror of all horrors) but thought that I would post a new entry while I was here, slaving away at my mother’s desk while the students complete pages of paperwork. Muahahahaha. I love substituting for my mom, since I know exactly what she expects, and she always leaves the students plenty to do (the less I have to hear them speak, the less I have to be discouraged by the current state of our students and society in general).

I spoke of change in my last few blogs, and how I’ve been patiently waiting for Synchronicity. Of course, it’s too early to determine anything, but I feel it finally happening. The wind is shifting, and the light is bursting through the cracks of the doors in my life. I’m blinded by the occasional glimpse of Beauty awaiting me. I’m hopeful, and I’m smiling in the inside… all the time. I can’t sleep at night, because I’m bombarded with Hope and anticipation. When I do sleep, my dreams reflect my hopes, and I wake with the blurriness of pseudo-reality becoming Real.

I’m happy to be alive again.

My last post was a poem – “Meanwhile, You and I.” I still haven’t recovered from this piece; it was formed straight from the fibers of my soul, and I am honored that I was allowed to create art with my words. It had been a while since I had written something new, and I was glad to have the dam finally burst again, upon the page. I never cease to garner great happiness from writing… nothing in the world makes me feel more alive, or to believe I have any truer purpose.

One of my dear friends has been hurting lately, overwhelmed by this life and the realities it offers us. Financial and emotional entanglements are strangling her, holding her back from her purpose. She is beautiful, and filled with such promise and light. I want her to break through the walls that hold her back, and press herself upon the world in a powerful way. She has the power to redefine her reality, and I think she is becoming aware of this. I want to be by her side as she comes alive. I am so proud of all that she is, and I hurt when she hurts.

If only I could ease everyone’s pain, just a little. Perhaps then we could all breathe for a moment, and with that breath offer the world a bit of Peace.

Someone new has come into my life and validated my soul. I wanted to share this, for it has added new wonderment and joy to my life. I feel as though my soul is reflected in another, and this offers me hope for the future, and the knowledge that I am not alone.

When we find this reflection in another, it is a glimpse into the earthen depths of our lives, into the grace that is God, and the gift that is our souls.

I am quite obviously slipping into my “purple prose” for this entry, something I have been critiqued for by every English teacher I have ever had (save one or two). I can only hope that I am slowly stripping myself of cliche, and other such saccharine sweetness, and rather delving in the deliciousness of the soil – the vibrating richness of the world.

For we all need a little poetry in our lives. 

We all need a little randomn love and beauty.

  

John O’Donohue: in memoriam

“To enter into the gentleness of your own soul changes the tone and quality of your life… you learn to see how wonderfully precious this one life is. You begin to see through the enchanting veils of illusion that you had taken for reality. You no longer squander yourself on things and situations that deplete your essence” ( 78 )

I couldn’t sleep last night, thinking about John O’Donohue. It is unlike me to care so excessively about the loss of someone I’ve never met, and of a sort of “celebrity”-like status. However, I can feel the loss of his presence on this earth, and it saddens me on a very selfish level that I was never able to meet him, to shake his hand, to tell him how profoundly he has affected me.

I know that it’s a beautiful thing that he has returned to the earth that he has always cherished so dearly, but as I said, selfishly I was looking forward to many years of him bestowing his wisdom to the world, and to me. I also anticipated joining him for one of his week-long retreats in Ireland, and it is hard for me to wrap my mind around the idea that this can now never happen.

As a (small) tribute to him, I want to take the time to type up a few excerpts from my favorite of his books, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace. This is a publication which has absolutely changed my life. I mentioned it briefly in my earlier post, saying it is a book of which I have been unable to read past the first 100 pages; its effect on me is that profound and brilliant. I hope you take the time to read some of this, even if only because I took the laborious (:P) effort of typing it out. Ignore the fact that I type 75+ wpm, and humor me. 😛

“The human soul is hungry for beauty; we seek it everywhere – in landscape, music, art, clothes, furniture, gardening, companionship, love, religion, and in ourselves. When we experience the Beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming. Some of our most wonderful memories are of beautiful places where we felt immediately at home. We feel most alive in the presence of the Beautiful for it meets the needs of the soul… In the experience of beauty we awaken and surrender in the same act… Without any of the usual calculation, we can slip into the Beautiful with the same ease as we slip into the seamless embrace of water; something ancient within us already trusts that this embrace will hold us.” (2)

If you notice, this passage can be located on page TWO of his book, and it is just a small glimpse into the genius that is his piece of art. I remember the day I found this book – I was with my Aunt Gin, and we were in Tatnuck Bookseller in Worcester, MA (now out of business) and I wandered over to the Spiritual section. The title caught my eye, and as soon as I opened the book and read a passage, I thought I was dreaming. I turned to another page, found myself transported again, and could barely believe my heart. Here were words that perfectly reflected the secret thoughts and dreams of my Soul. Here was a man who was unafraid to write about the great Truths and Beauty of this world. And after that glimpse, I was never the same. For a while, I would read a page or two a day, but after a bit even that became too intense for me. Now, I usually read a couple pages a month, and that is enough to carry me through, to transport and inspire me.

“Beauty is mostly forgotten and made to seem naive and romantic. (3) Sadly, whether from resentment, fear or blindness, beauty is often refused, repudiated or cut down to the size of our timid perceptions.” (4)

This following passage calls forth ideas that I am currently considering for a book of my own:

“There are secret sources of courage inside every human heart; yet courage needs to be awakened in us. The encounter with the Beautiful can bring such awakening. Courage is a spark taht can become the flame of hope, lighting new and exciting pathways in what seemed to be dead, dark landscapes.” (6)

“When we awaken to the call of beauty, we become aware of new ways of being in the world. We were created to be creators. At its deepest heart, creativity is meant to serve and evoke beauty… The wonder of the Beautiful is its ability to surprise us. With swift, sheer grace, it is like a divine breath that blows the heart open.” (7)

“Our deepest self-knowledge unfolds as we are embraced by Beauty.” (8)

A section of his book that really started to unfold secret parts of my heart was a section called ‘In Difficult Times to Keep Something Beautiful in Your Heart’. It begins like this:

“There are times when life seems little more than a matter of struggle and endurance, when difficulty and disappointment form a crust around the heart. Because it can be deeply hurt, the heart hardens. There are corners in every heart which are utterly devoid of illusion, places where we know and remember the nature of devastation. Yet though the music of the heart may grow faint, there is in each of us an unprotected place that beauty can always reach out and touch.” (16-17)

Honestly, this is taking a lot out of me to even glance back at the passages in his book which I have marked up and starred- words that have completely altered my paradigms and encouraged my soul to breathe again. I wonder if without the seeds of hope and beauty Mr. O’Donohue has planted in my heart with his words, if I would ever be where I am now – on this incredible journey. Dreaming dreams long forgotten.

John O’Donohue writes about how a single thought can alter a person’s entire life-world, and that concept has always held so true with me. He writes that “a person can dwell inside a thought. Sometimes a thought is the most intimate and sacred temple, a place where the silence of the earth is wed to the fire of heaven.” (43)

“It is everywhere, and everything has beauty; it is merely a matter of discovering it.” (49)

Oh gosh, I will stop this now. Partly because I don’t want to go on too long, and lose your attention, and partly because I may burst. I guess all I’m trying to convey is the profound effect this man and his words have had on me, and how he will continue to inspire me on my own journey to touch the world and people with my thoughts and words. We have lost a great man, but the world beyond has reclaimed something pure and beautiful, which always belonged to another dimension. I will attempt to gracefully accept that, but damn it!

Damn it.


“True poetic beauty emerges when the poet is absolutely faithful to the uniqueness of her own voice… the depth of that exposure seems to call beauty.” (81)