The Blessing of Silence

I struggled with words today.

I downloaded the On Being with Krista Tippett podcasts as MB suggested. I’ve listened to 1.5 podcasts, and there is a lot to share there. I had trouble locating her recommendation of Irish poet John O’Donohue via the podcast library, and turned to the On Being website, which is how I found this poem this afternoon.

For One Who is Exhausted, a Blessing

By John O’Donohue | Special Contributor

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 tide 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 in 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 color
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.

After I read this, I wrote what follows, then took a long nap, and enjoyed both the escape and silence.

I feel discontent.

Partly because I am anxious about Saturday.

Partly because I am anxious about today, and all tomorrows.

There is so much in flux.

So much and not enough busyness at the same time.

I yearn for quiet, and a long walk.

The type of walk I enjoy most in the forest preserve, when all that I hear are my feet crushing the snow, or even a brisk walk around the block, allowing just enough time to admire the changes in the landscape from the day before. Placing one foot in front of the other, each step being a purposeful act of connecting with the Earth. With each step I am grateful for the ability, action, and the ground that is underfoot preventing me from falling.

2 Thoughts

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