John O’Donohue on Longing

Oh, what voices speak us toward our inner being!

from Eternal Echoes, John O’Donohue

There is a divine restlessness in the human heart. Though our bodies maintain an outer stability and consistency, the heart is an eternal nomad. No circle of belonging can ever contain all the longings of the human heart.

As Shakespeare said, we have “immortal longings.” All human creativity issues from the urgency of longing. Literally and physically, each of us is a child of longing – conceived in the passionate desire of our parents for each other.

All growth is the desire of the soul to refine and enlarge its presence. The human body is a temple of sensuous spirit. In every moment our senses reach out in longing to engage the world.

Movement, colour, and shape engage the affections of the eye; tone, sound, and silence call continually to our hearing: touch, fragrance, and taste also bring us into intimacy with the world.

Our sensuous longing is inevitably immediate and passionate: the caress on the skin, the twilight that enthrals your seeing, Faure’s Requiem which suffused the depths of your hearing, the unexpected fragrance of a perfume, the icon of the face that you love. As long as we live in the temple of the sense, longing will eternally call us.



A Blessing for Jess

(go like water, come like water)


May you be blessed with

…wonder and wide eyes

…safety and strength

…language and laughter

…and a whole lot more.

May you explore your inner being

…like you’ll explore the jungle, the way your mouth will explore a new language, the way your heart will explore distance and steadfastness.

May you come back unrecognizable…that those of us who love you say “You are so familiar” and then get to set aside our assumptions of the who of you, falling in love again with all of you.

May you face your fears head on, from that place located at your heart’s center where love leads.

Take pictures in your mind that will last a lifetime.

Trust that if changes need to take place, that all is well.

Enter your work as though this is all that matters.

Live knowing what you are doing is important, world changing, life giving.

And may you know that a candle and a prayer will be lifted for you every day, in a corner of a house in Indiana surrounding you with love and trust and faith.


For Jess, heading into two years of Brethren Volunteer Service in Guatemala

A living breathing Newgrange

This morning, while sitting for meditation in the usual cross legged (not full lotus, not yet) posture in front of my eastward facing bedroom window…. I was there long enough that the sun peaked over the trees and fell into my lap.

It was pretty amazing and I could do nothing but smile. Not a distraction though, from my meditations which are on the moment. In fact, nature is my best partner, guru, teacher during these morning times. I tune my ears to the birds as they call back and forth from the apple tree to the wild patch along the alley. They are a daily reminder of the simple call of the Divine upon all of us: to be who we are created to be. The birds, well, they can only be birds who call and fly and mate and birth and bathe and play. In the moment. And that is where I long to be when I am focused on the Divine each morning.

The moment, the field of now (as Eckart Tolle calls it) is all we have. We fret over the future but it hasn’t happened yet. We cling to the past but our remembrances are more a collection of stories rather than an indication of who we were created to be.

Who were YOU created to be?

What did God slip into your bloodstream, into your bourning cry, into your eye sight? What were you birthed to feel, to proclaim, to see?

That is all that matters.

The morning sun, falling into my lap as though I am a living breathing Newgrange built to capture the moment of the Sacred Sunlight slipping in through my perfectly aligned doorway to light the inner being.

Have you looked at your lap in meditation? It is a grand shape: much like a bowl, or a natural washout in a big rock, or a large bowl of popcorn, or a soup pot or a cauldron or a copper tub used for apple butter. It is not an empty void but a space that you  have filled.

What is in your bowl? What have you put into your space, this ingredient or that ingredient cooking up something? This question was put to me recently. What we have in our bowl, our well, it was postulated, is what we have to offer back to God.

I wasn’t completely sure what was in mine. Perhaps a sludge of something old and mixed, like when you make a stew out of everything in the fridge and then realize it is inedible? So, I decided to clean it out and to be intentional about what I put in it.

What I chose was Gratitude.

And it filled the whole thing up. The whole soup pot, cauldron, popcorn bowl, lap space was filled completely and there is no room for anything else. Not today at least. Not in the past week.

And it made a world of difference. If I enter into an act of creation out of a sense that I am in lack or that what is isn’t quite right, then that is what fills my space. If I enter into my day, my work, every conversation, every meeting, every meeting prep with a word of thanks, of gratitude, I see things differently. And somehow, I don’t know how, this releases who I am created to be.

Ah, Pollyanna….SHE LIVES!!!!

And I’ll take that. Because it makes a difference. What we put our minds to, our energy goes to. It does not mean that we ignore the real peril, the real farce of living, the real pain of loss……but……but….I don’t know what comes after that. If my mind goes back to the birds, I know that they will fly back to be with a companion who has just been hit by a car. They can only be birds in the midst of life and death. I have to look at the birds because I don’t have that answer…my life isn’t currently in peril nor a farce nor painful loss. But I suspect that if the deep warmth of the sun, of the Divine presence, has gone to the core of my bones and soul and emotions that I will survive what comes my way.

But, I don’t look that far out. Today, it is about the sun in my lap.