For a New Beginning

by John O'Donohue


Original Language English

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life's desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

-- from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, by John O'Donohue

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

I haven't been doing many Monday poems recently, but since I didn't send one out on Friday, I decided to start the week off with a poem...


Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening


Isn't this a wonderful blessing of hope and new pathways?

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life's desire.


I like that this poem is kind to the phases of our lives when we feel stuck or reluctant to change and explore. Yet, at the same time, it recognizes that the safety of familiar routine can be a seductive illusion.

When I was young I actively undermined any routines I found in myself, convinced that they led to a sort of psychic numbness and lack of deep fulfillment. I think there was truth in that perspective, but there was also self-cruelty in that approach that led to instability. Once I came to see that, I worked very hard, sometimes painfully, at the cultivation of routine, and began to find unexpected life nourishment there. The crucial element, I think, is that those routines should be consciously selected rather than imposed on us by societal expectation or unexamined habit.

And we can't fall into the seductive idea that we are those routines or that our happiness depends on them. Routine creates essential structure, but endless stasis is death. Life and growth require change. Regular encounters with the new and the unknown reinvigorate the soul.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk


New avenues can sometimes be frightening, occasionally bringing genuine peril, so one shouldn't be brash or blind to the situation. But a certain boldness is natural to our nature when we come to know ourselves. We need awareness, dynamism, creativity, a diversity of life skills -- all wrapped in a vital joy. Then even the perils themselves serve to accentuate the magic and wonder of each stage of the journey.


Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.


Sending love, courage, and new rhythms...



Recommended Books: John O'Donohue

To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong Conamara Blues Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom Echoes of Memory
More Books >>





For a New Beginning