my birthday present

my birthday present
My awesome birthday present 1/26/11 (see story under my first post)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Decision Point

For a New Beginning

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.

~ John O'Donohue ~

(To Bless the Space Between Us)

Last night I was reading from John O’Donohue’s book To Bless the Space Between Us, and I came across this poem. I immediately thought of The Journey by Mary Oliver. I think they are basically saying the same thing, but isn’t it interesting to see the different approaches they take in delivering similar messages.   O’Donohue's poem is gentle and patient, suggesting the process of awakening to new possibilities is natural and perhaps inevitable. Oliver’s poem suggests you have come to the end of the road, perhaps a crisis, and must make a decision; there is a definite urgency in her poem. Do you find yourself drawn more to one poem than the other? As for me, I get a great deal from each of them.   

The Journey
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.
Mary Oliver
(Dream Work & New and Selected Poems Vol. 1)


Loretta said...

Mary Oliver leads me to believe that I am responsible for choosing to make my life better. For some time, I thought it was selfish to put my needs before the needs of others. In this poem she makes it clear that I really cant make changes in the life of another.

"You gotta please yourself," as Ricky Nelson sang to us years ago.

O'Donohue awakens in me a spirit of adventure and encourages me to trust my soul. That adds such a comfort. I need all of my poets.

Shakespear says it well: "To thy ownself be true."

It must be true.


Jayne said...

I have been telling people lately that I used to try to save the whole world, but now I can only save myself. Mary Oliver's poem confirms that. I usually start every day reading from "Bless the Space Between Us." However, today I didn't have time. So this poem blessed me! For me, Mary Oliver's poem seems to give more of a sense of urgency to the decisions we make on our journey. O'Donohue seems to say that we can relax into the change a bit more slowly and trust that the Spirit will help us to make the changes.