New ground

Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning.” — John O’Donohue

It started off as a horrific week. My Web site was attacked by a malicious virus, requiring several days of tedious repairs (and I’m still not finished with the archives yet). Same happened to one of those Datacard ID card printers I got, but nothing serious. Later that same day, my dermatologist removed five pre-cancerous patches from my skin. It got a little worse than that, but I won’t go there. It’s enough to say that everything seemed to be eating away at me all at once, or was trying to shed itself. Next appointment – Cellfina in NYC, can’t wait!

Regardless, I was making plans for my garden this morning when I was struck with an overwhelming sense of grace and peace. Which shouldn’t surprise me.

My worry list always seems less significant when I breathe deeply in a garden. Working the soil, I forget about midlife health issues, household chores, film bookings, aging parents, unfinished projects, and what I should try to publish next. I forget about blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. I forget about all those outdated magazines piling up next to the bed, unread. I turn off the endless loop of chatter from the outside world.

Weeding the Zen garden, I am fully engaged in the moment. Clearing space around the stepping stones, I consider summer’s possibilities. I feel the green stirring of something new, though I cannot name it yet. This Celtic blessing says it all. — CL

For a New Beginning
by John O’Donohue

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.

–Reprinted from To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O’Donohue, Doubleday Religion, 2008.  Special thanks to Sharon of One Woman’s Life in Maine for sharing this beautiful poem with me.

17 thoughts on “New ground

  1. This morning my mind was racing so I went out and played in the dirt. My old dog rested close by to alert me to any danger (fat squirrels for example)while I weeded and planned.

    Now I am back inside with a cup of tea and a perfect poem for me to consider.

    I am on a new journey though the destination is not yet clear.

    Thank you Cindy for another poem that is calling to me.

  2. “My worry list always seems less significant when I breathe deeply in a garden.”

    That really sums it all up for me Cindy…. Words to live by. I’m heading out to my garden for a few gulps of fresh air.

    Hang in there. Hope everything turns out all right.

  3. Cindy, I have a similar understanding with the Republic of Balcony. 🙂 I have been reluctant to set up our containers until the nights really warmed up, but I think it might be safe now! Bless you for sharing your thoughts and these word-treasures, and I wish you more peaceful days ahead.

  4. You’re welcome, Cindy. Sharing your thoughts adds another dimension that enriches the poem even more. Isn’t it amazing what working in the garden can do for our soul? I wish you peaceful moments and good health, my friend.

  5. Love the poem. Thank you.

    and I hope you wore a hat to garden. I had three spots removed a year ago. I do wear sunscreen, but I’m guessing the damage is from all those childhood peeling and bubbling burns.

    I guess my call on your site wasn’t right? I didn’t try to click on anything, just saw it open and figured it was fine.
    Hope you have a long stretch of peaceful and pleasant only days ahead of you.

  6. Thank you, all, for the encouragement, and I am so happy you liked the poem/blessing. Thanks again to our friend Sharon for sharing it initially. I think it would be a great poem to read at a graduation ceremony as well, don’t you?

    Deb, you weren’t wrong about the the site when you checked it. I think that by the time you opened it, the virus had been caught — and I updated/fixed all the glitches in the first few (visible) posts. Since then, I have been going over all the material in the archives, though you might find an alien glitch or some weird coding here and there — or some other odd things I didn’t catch. Before I started correcting the virus damage, it looked like a Martian got in and changed all my copy to a weird language….

  7. Wow. What a week, indeed. I salute you for listening to your heart and doing what your soul required. Thanks for the reminder to us all.

  8. Thankfully, tomorrow is always different than today. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. But, nothing seems to stay the same for too long. It makes the prospect of tomorrow a little better when the current day isn’t treating you well. I’m glad you found that comfort today.

  9. Thanks so much again! And Howard, yesterday I got a call from the casting folks for Real Steel — and got another 5-day booking for a scene in June. It really made my day!

  10. Oh Cindy, Oh Cindy, talk about a poem that speaks of and to my heart!

    As your words mingle, ever so gently and truthfully with Mr. O’Donohue’s poem, there were tears (the weepy kind that won’t stop.

    I saw myself, my heard the cry in my heart.

    Admittedly, I am knee-deep in my own version of safety and sameness with whispering calls to adventure, particularly in my writing.

    Maybe I’m in my own little funk because I haven’t been out on my porch in way-too-many weeks.
    Today, I’m setting aside time to head out there.

    Both you and Mr. O’Donohue have inspired me to stop, look and listen (writing in my journal will help do this) and then step out into the street.

    God bless you as you navigate your way through your life challenges. God bless you with the grace, peace and the call of your lovely garden, which always brings you back to your center and inspires you to write pieces this blog post and share treasures like Mr. O’Donohue’s poem.

  11. What a wonderful poem! Thank you for sharing it!

    Gardening is a wonderful way to be present in the moment. I always feel better when the weeds are pulled and the negative thoughts are blown away on the breath of the wind.


  12. I have a new incantation: “Slow down.”
    It is a helpful thing to tell yourself silently in almost every situation you can imagine. It goes along with taking a breath.
    Sorry to hear about your skin issues but it sound like they caught them early. And SPF and regular checkups are you best defense.
    Thanks for the reminder to slow down and take a breath.

  13. Dear Cindy,
    oh my goodness…I just read the poem by Mr. ODonohue – and it wrapped itself around my entire spirit. I am preparing for my retirement from teaching (33 years) in a month, and the poem was written just to speak to me – isn’t that the beauty and depth of poetry! I can’t stop reading it…thank you so much for the retirement gift!!!

  14. Vicki, your comment made my morning — and congrats on your retirement and years of hard work! I hope you’re looking forward to this new time in your life — yet I totally understand how the change can be an adjustment. It sounds like you are looking ahead to an adventure, just as O’Donohue’s blessing poem suggests.

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