Posts Tagged ‘John O’Donohue’


I wrote this blessing as part of an assignment from an on-line course with Janet Conner, author of Writing Down Your Soul and the Lily and the Lotus, and numerous other books and on-line courses.

This is a prayer I am encouraged to come to each day before I begin my writing. I must confess, I may not accomplish that, but I always do come to my writing time with a sense of gratitude, wonder and awe for the partnership that is about to begin between my muse and me.

As I look upon these words today, it occurs to me that I have prayed it often enough for the blessing to take root within me and I can say in all truth that this is who I am and how I live my life today and it has been coming forth since the original day of this writing.

I like it just this way.

My Writing Blessing

by Susan Heffron Hajec
Truth Seeker, Peace Maker, Love Giver
written on September 1, 2011

May I wake to each new dawn, alive and alert, with gratitude that this is the Day that the Lord has made.

May I rejoice in the Presence of the Divine. May the angels be leaders of light and joy today on my writer’s path.

May my writing flow from my loving heart. And may these writings increase love and inspiration in the world through countless readers who are led to them.

May the light of my soul infuse my writings with the power of truth, Peace and Love.

May this light reflect the beauty of my own soul to attract and reflect the light of others.

May this light become an impassioned and unquenchable flame within me. May it attract like a magnet all good and prosperity in my personal life.

May this writer know that she is daily provided for in the grand plan of life and that she doesn’t control that plan.

May this writer sense the possibility and potential that surround her and engulf her this very day. May she serve her world through careful writing and reflection.

May I go into the night humble, gracious and fulfilled.

May my writer’s soul always renew and companion me in grace to the next word to be written.

(some inspiration of the pattern of this blessing, provided by John O’Donohue’s A Blessing in Anam Cara, page 160.

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Disney -dream

This is how Matthew Fox, author of Creativity refers to the Imagination. He calls it a fierce power!

Imagination is a fierce power. It is a playful power. It is a dramatic power. People pay a lot of money to visit Disney’s Theme Parks, awash in imagination.

Imagination lets us step into a space within ourselves that we too often ignore in the daily routines of life. We, even though we are adults and have gone to Disneyland “for the children”,absorb the magic of imagination just for this special time of our visit.


I remember being highly influenced by the word “imagination” during one of our visits to Disney World.  When we visited the cartoon exhibit, they explained that the scholarships they gave to creative apprentices, were aimed at heightening the appreciation of this quality of imagination within others….to raise the value of it….and to increase the potential of the student to learn from their  creative and imaginative powers.

Einstein, himself, has stated that his most profound discoveries have not come from rational thought, but from imagination.  Dreaming was an important activity to him. In fact, Thomas Edison, found it absolutely necessary to take a nap in the afternoon. That was part of his work pattern.

Disney - dream pillow

In Creativity, Fox writes: “In the Kabbalah, the medieval Jewish mystical work, we are instructed that “the firece power of imagination is a gift from God.” To call imagination a “fierce power” is to warn us that we are wrestling with the wild forces when we enter into the arena of creativity. A wresting match not unlike Jacob struggling with an angel can be anticipated.”

Author John O’Donohue points out that in the Celtic way of seeing the world, the soul is the place where the imaginatin lives.

Imagination takes us to the space of “elsewhere.”

I love that phrase – “the space of elsewhere.” O’Donohue continues to describe it as taking us to nothingness, to emptiness, to what is not yet and therefore to what might still be. The space of “elsewhere” invites us to have a living imagination.

We can choose today to be a “space of elsewhere”, where we are busy feeding and nourishing our imagination. We can dance with the rhythms of creativity and not simply sit on the sidelines of life.

Today, I am creating a day with my grandson, celebrating his 14th birthday. We are still in “fluid design” of exactly what the day will bring. But it will bring spontaneity, laughter and fun, I know.

We will view the day as a river of creativity running through all things. We’re going to get wet, jump in, and ride the rapids, wild and sacred as they may be…..even if we only go to a movie and eat chocolate cake together!


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Buzz Lightyear had it right in Toy Story, the original movie. With total enthusiasm for life, he shot forward into any challenge, shouting the phrase that became a catchword, “To Infinity and Beyond”. 

I don’t know if Irish writer and poet, John O’Donohue, would have seen that movie or not, but I had to chuckle when I read the blog of Suzanne Murray, creator, writer, creativity and inspiration coach, and EFT practitioner, and she revealed what she saw on his gravestone.  Check out her work and her writing on www.creativitygoeswild.com.

I have received personal help from her and always await her next blog topic. As well, I have come to love John O’Donohue’s writings and I’m only in his first book, “Anam Cara”. This is the Gaelic word for soul-friend. That is my current aspiration in life. To be among soul friends. Suzanne is one and O’Donohue’s words touch me as soul-friend.

Here are some sharings from www.creativitygoeswild.com

Irish Burren

“On a recent visit to Ireland, I was staying in Doolin, County Clare when I had the inspiration to catch a ride up to Fanore a village in the extraordinary limestone region known as the Burren where Irish poet, philosopher, former priest had been born and raised. John did much to awaken an modern interest in Celtic Spirituality and I was lucky enough to attend a workshop with him on the Celtic Imagination some years before.

I had seen on the website devoted to his work www.johnodonohue.com that John was buried in Creggagh graveyard, about two miles south of the village along the coast road, just beyond O’Donohue’s pub. I got out in front of the pub and walked down the road warmed by the rare February sunshine. Stepping into the graveyard I scanned the headstones and caught sight of a handmade wooden slab at the head of what looked like a small garden.

It was the only site like that in the cemetery and sensed it must be John’s. On the front of the wooden headstone was a small handmade stone cross and a picture frame with a photo of John and an inscription that read:

John O’Donohue 1954 to 2008. . .and beyond.

I burst out laughing because it so much caught the spirit of John and my sense that his big presence lives on still in his work and in the heart of all those who he touched…Others had obviously visited the leaving letters in plastic bags, rosaries and flowers that had been placed amid the bed of living plants including primroses and a small shrub of camillia I left my gratitude for all the ways John has influenced my life and then walked back to village where I was staying across the gray limestone of the Burren that John loved and worked so hard to preserve”.

Wisdom from Suzanne Murray – Writer, Creator, Creativity Coach, EFT Practitioner, InspirationalIrelandTravel Guide

From Suzanne’s blog at www.creativitygoeswild.com

Writing or Creating in the Middle of Things  – April 4

“In order to show up for our creativity or the work of our life I think it helps to lower our standards on what we can accomplish on a daily basis while still keeping our focus on what we ultimately desire or want to achieve. Develop the practice of showing up everyday and taking some action, however small, toward your goal. If you are a writer be happy that you have drafted a poem or a page. You can start by showing up for 15 minutes rather than thinking you have to find two hours of free time before you begin. If you are moving toward a new career or expanding your work be happy that you have made one phone call to connect with someone you might be able to help you. By taking one small step a day you can cover a lot of ground and it has the added advantage of allowing you to sneak in under the radar of the part of you that is resistant to change. Carve moments out of your day for doing what brings you heart and meaning or gives you a sense of momentum.”

Accessing Creative Inspiration  – May 7

“Matthew Fox, the former Catholic Priest who was censured for espousing the doctrine of original sin, has written a beautiful book titled, Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet, where he suggests that when we are creative we become co-creators with creation. I clearly remember the first time in my writing when I got on a roll and knew I was writing something good. I paused and looked around the room, wondering “where is this coming from” because I knew it wasn’t coming from “me”. After a while I began to understand that I was tapping into an expanded state that I could access on a regular basis when I stopped thinking and let what wanted to come through me flow into the work.”

Living Your Creative Potential  – September 4th, 2011    

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. – Mark Twain
What if your life where a blank piece of paper or a bare canvas? What new story would you write for yourself, what picture would you paint? What if each small step you take toward what you really desire is like a brush stroke on the canvas where you are creating that life? What life do you want to create for your self? What creation do you want to live into?”

Embracing Your Inner Weirdo – October 2nd, 2011    

“Normal is not something to aspire to, it’s something to get away from. – Jody Foster

It is never too late to be who you might have been. – George Eliot

Being creative shakes up the norm. It adds spice, color and joy to the world. I’ve come to feel that that is the job of the artist or those who express their creativity in any way. If each of us is going to bring these unique gifts to the world, we have to be willing to be a little weird. We need to accept and embrace the ways we are different even as we know we are part of the whole. We need to claim our own callings that come as the still small voice within us that may suggest a course of action that our mind and the people around us will think is weird but our spirit knows is the right thing to do.

What if a willingness to be seen as little weird is what is required to be on your destined path. What if weird could be the new normal?”

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sculpture (not title) by Mary Southard CSJ

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

                                       …..from A Morning Offering
                                                by John O’Donohue
                                      (Irish poet and philosopher)

 Two inspirations for me today; one a sculpturist, found through Jan Phillips’ latest Museletter, and a second from a line in a poem I keep on my writing table. I just love the whole notion of dawn as an altar. So I put it in a visual with Mary Southard CSJ’ creation.

So, Jan Phillips tells us in her Museletter she has discovered in her cross-country travels to her speaking and artistic engagements this summer, the formula for how to stay inspired. Ready? Drumroll….

Here it is:

I discovered a formula for staying inspired. It takes 3 equal parts of the following: immerse yourself in creation, share your creative gifts, and spend time with people who are dedicated to their creative work”

                                     Mary Southard CSJ

Jan says, “Being in communion with people who are actively creating and giving expression to the great mysteries of life is an important part of sustaining your own inspiration. We need that infusion of vital energy, passionate questioning, shared awe. It’s the soul sharing part that matters–the conversations of consequence that lead to deeper, more vivid and robust imaginings.”

These words from Jan’s poetry cannot fail to inspire anyone in love with creating:

“We who are alive today are creating tomorrow
with our thoughts and words.
We are shaping ourselves and our cultures 
by what we do and fail to do.
Justice and mercy are the works of our hands.” 

               The Unfurling Self by Paula Matthew Brown, CSJ

And the next time you’re feeling a bit on the low side, take these words to heart from

Jan Phillips’ poem, “We Who Are Alive Today”  2011

 “We are made of starlight and clay, minerals and meteor dust.
We are the Infinite Wave concentrated into finite particles,
light years compressed into the speck of a lifetime”

We are who we are, photo by Jan Phillips.

Besides becoming inspired, Jan Phillips had another reason for travelling across the country this summer, coast to coast. People wanted her to share what she has revealed in her latest book, “No Ordinary Time, The Rise of Spiritual Intelligence and Evolutionary Creataivity”.

For informative, fascinating and inspiring reading, buy a copy of the book at her website   http://www.janphillips.com/workshopdates.htm .

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Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.”
                                   Proverbs 4:23

I’ve been living my heart’s desire for quite a while now. For me, that means there has been more than the usual amount of time I allow myself for quiet reflection, for prayer, and for writing both in my journal and on projects and to other writers.

Service to others seems to flow naturally from this but there is not a lot of volunteering or championing a cause. There is just a pretty small circle of friends and family members I touch where I am grateful to play a part of some facet of enrichment in their lives.

Other times it is as simple as completing a fresh load of laundry and a general light house-keeping sweep to make our surroundings comfortable to Tom and me. So by world-standards, this is not Nobel Peace Prize winning performance.

But to me — I have joy in my heart and peace in my soul. Pretty good stuff. In “One World, One Home, One Heart,” Christine Whitelaw talks about Oneness being a true and wonderful message for World Heart Day, recently celebrated on September 29. She explains the heart is recognized in Traditional Chinese Medicine as the Empress of the body, the whole health of the body being dependent on the heart.

Further the heart rules peaceably our body of One with its many intricate systems, organs and cells. Ancient traditions believed the heart was the center of intelligence and personality. More recent studies in science have discovered neurones in the heart gives the heart intelligence to guide what happens harmoniously throughout the body.

John O’Donohue, in “Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom” draws attention to the importance of the heart in both the Christian and Jewish tradition. The holy sacrament of Baptism of the infant includes a special anointing of the baby’s heart. Baptism comes from the Jewish tradition which believes the heart is the center of all emotions. The blessing in Baptism intends that the infant may flow freely in the world and gather from the world peace and joy.

Then O’Donohue talks about another part of our humanity — two parts actually — one you see, one you don’t. The outer face, he says, is our “icon of intimacy”. This is what we present to the world as ourselves. But he says everyone has an inner face also, unseen by all.

The heart, he says, is the inner face of your life. We strive to make this face beautiful in our journey of life. It is here, in the inner face, that love gathers within you. Love is absolutely vital for human life. 

“Love begins with paying attention to others, with an act of gracious self-forgetting. This is the condition in which we grow. Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back,” says O’Donohue.  And we must, he warns, remain attentive to be able to receive love, for it is not only self-forgetting but learning to take care of oneself and be given to, wherein love is truly learned.

It turns out, I feel pretty harmonious when I follow my heart in my thoughts and actions. When I follow my heart, I cannot most of the time explain either scientifically or logically, why I am doing what I do. But then I realize, in many cases, I don’t have to. I trust the set of intentions I have laid down for how I live my life and now I’ve begun the adventure of stepping out more and more often into following my heart.

And it is an adventure. On the outside looking in, things look pretty normal. But this inner face of mine increasingly seems to have an agenda I need to listen in on, attend to its still, small voice, and discern how I am going to get on with my day without disregarding its guidance. This sounds pretty general but it sometimes makes for pretty specific changes in how I thought my day was going to go.  Another word of disguise for this is I am living by my intuition.

Anyway, I agree on the love part. It is of the utmost importance. In fact, I think if there ever is a judgment day where questions will be asked by the Divine, there may be only one question:

“Did you learn to love and be loved.”


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