I take solace in those who have followed their hearts before me. Among them, one of my heroes, the ever eloquent Irish poet John O’Donohue. Below is an inspiring passage from his great work, “Anam Cara.” I consider it a call to being fully alive — authentically; truthfully; recognizing but not being controlled by my fears; not giving in to another’s idea of who we should be or how. Despite the logical reasons to perhaps act differently. Even now, beyond the well intentioned suggestions to stop feeling things which are uncomfortable, these days I’m compelled to feel them fully rather than ignore or stow them away. Despite the embarrassment of my missteps as I struggle to walk this hearty path (including the regrettable pains my misreading of the trail has sometimes caused others), despite some very pains as a result, I only know I must keep on, honor the flow, trust in sincerity and love as my markers and guideposts.
As I float along this river like so many before me, being attentive requires tuning out all those “voices shouting their bad advice” as Mary Oliver puts it, trusting my inner guides over the desires of others, even those who are very close. To navigate takes a damping of the ever-present noise, in order to listen deeply to the quiet voice of one’s own soul.
“Each tree grows in two directions at once, into the darkness and out into the light with as many branches and roots as it needs to embody its wild desires…
Negative introspection damages the soul. It holds many people trapped for years and years, and ironically, it never allows them to change. It is wise to allow the soul to carry on its secret work in the night side of your life. You might not see anything stirring for a long time. You might only have the slightest intimations of the secret growth that is happening within you, but these intimations are sufficient. We should be fulfilled and satisfied with them. You cannot dredge the depths of the soul with the meager light of self analysis. The inner world never reveals itself cheaply. Perhaps analysis is the wrong way to approach our inner dark.
We all have wounds; we need to attend to them and allow them to heal… “The wounds of the spirit heal and leave no scars.” There is a healing for each of our wounds, but the healing is waiting in the indirect, oblique, and non-analytic side of our nature. We need to be mindful of where we are damaged, then invite our deeper soul in its night world to heal this wound and tissue, renew us, and bring us back into unity. If we approach our hurt indirectly and kindly, it will heal. Creative expectation brings you healing and renewal. If you could trust your soul, you would receive every blessing you require. Life itself is the great sacrament through which we are wounded and healed. If we live everything, life will be faithful to us.
In the western tradition, we were taught many things about the nature of negativity and the nature of sin, but we were never told that one of the greatest sins is the unlived life. We are sent into this world to live to the full everything that awakens within us and everything that comes toward us. It is a lonely experience to be at the deathbed of someone who is full of regret; to hear him say how he would’ve loved another year to do the things his heart always dreamed of but believed he could never do until he retired. He’s always postponed the dream of his heart. There are many people who do not live the lives they desire. Many of the things that hold them back from inhabiting their destiny are false. These are only images in their minds. They are not real barriers at all. We should never allow our fears or the expectations of others to set the frontiers of our destiny.
We are so privileged to still have time. We have but one life, and it is a shame to limited by fear and false barriers...
...It is lovely to imagine that real divinity is the presence in which all beauty, unity, creativity, darkness, and negativity or harmonize. The Divine has such a passion and creativity and instinct for the fully inhabited life. If you allow yourself to be the person that you are, then everything will come into rhythm if you live the life you love. You will receive shelter and blessings. Sometimes the great famine of blessing in and around us derives from the fact that we are not living the life we live, rather we are living the life that is expected of us. We have fallen out of rhythm with the secret signature and light of our own nature.
The shape of each soul is different. There is a secret destiny for each person. When you endeavor to repeat what others have done or force yourself into a preset mold, you betray your individuality. We need to return to the solitude within to find again the dream that lies at the hearth of the soul. We need to feel the dream with the wonder of a child approaching a threshold of discovery. When we rediscover our child-like nature we enter into a world of gentle possibility. Consequently, we will find ourselves more frequently at that place, at the place of ease, delight, and celebration. The false burdens fall away. We come into rhythm with ourselves. Our clay shape gradually learns to walk beautifully on this magnificent earth.”