to break the dead shell of yesterdays

Posted by on November 7, 2012


A Morning Offering

by John O’Donohue

I bless the night that nourished my heart
To set the ghosts of longing free
Into the flow and figure of dream
That went to harvest from the dark
Bread for the hunger no one sees.

All that is eternal in me
Welcomes the wonder of this day,
The field of brightness it creates
Offering time for each thing
To arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:
The quiet loyalty of breath,
The tent of thought where I shelter,
Waves of desire I am shore to
And all beauty drawn to the eye.

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

Taken from: To Bless the Space Between us: A Book of Blessings, by John O’Donohue.

* * *
I was late posting a poem today but plan to do better next week. That is where I am at right now– still adjusting to a new schedule and the complexity of a life in which the four people in our family have to be at four different places each morning. And each respective place generates its own details and demands, all while our country is deciding on things like which president. We stayed up to watch the PBS coverage, as I have since childhood, and I realized that I still do not entirely understand that moment when things shift, and, although the total is nowhere near counted, the winner is called. I remember feeling the same sense of anticlimax and bemusement when I would play Monopoly with my older sisters, and there was a sense of excitement that we were beginning a game, and everyone would organize their houses and cash and property cards, until my sister would land on Boardwalk and suddenly own a monopoly and be putting up four hotels. The game would continue on and on but, for all practical purposes, it was totally over, as everyone would be mortgaging their properties in order to pay the exorbitant rent on the dreaded Park Place with a hotel. And I would think: “Weren’t we just having a fun contest?” That’s the way the news coverage of the presidential election feels every single time to me. The contest is over so abruptly, before all the little straggling states out west have a chance to collect rent on Marvin Gardens and land on chance. It always feels a little disappointing to me–the abrupt ending I mean– regardless of who wins. It is not my style to be elated over politics but I will confess that I was not among the depressed and disappointed this morning either.

Life is a lot to deal with– ordinary old life. I feel that I’ve been making a lot of mistakes lately– just ordinary ones, but they have a way of adding up and rattling around inside of me, making me feel badly about myself. I needed something comforting today, so I reached for John O’Donohue. And I would say more but I need to go fill out my tax forms for this new part-time job or, my fellow countrypersons, I will not get paid. I will do this and go to bed trusting in the surety of each day as a fresh start, that sleep will provide the bread for the hunger that no one sees, and heal over the embarrassment caused by mistakes, if not the mistakes themselves. And tomorrow there will be time for each thing.

  1. annajouj
    November 8, 2012

    Needy for this comforting post tonight . . . thanks for sharing your own comfort-bringer, Julia: I am grateful to you. And I especially love the title 🙂

  2. Manuela
    November 8, 2012

    Beautiful poem. Thank you.
    "And waste my heart on fear no more."

  3. Veronika
    November 10, 2012

    As I watch Romney's concession speech I felt so sad… (Yes, just seconds prior to that I did feel satisfied with the fact that Obama won). And then I felt sadness and emptiness (probably the kind a looser might feel? I couldn't help it but feel sad and sorry for him.)