John O’Donohue

John
O’Donohue
1956
2008

Irish Poet, Author, Priest and Hegelian Philosopher

Author Quotes

Your soul is the priestess of memory, selecting, sifting, and ultimately gathering your vanishing days toward presence.

Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey.

You lose the balance of your soul if you not learn to take care of yourself.

Your beloved and your friends were once strangers. Somehow at a particular time, they came from the distance toward your life. Their arrival seemed so accidental and contingent. Now your life is unimaginable without them. Similarly, your identity and vision are composed of a certain constellation of ideas and feelings that surfaced from the depths of the distance within you. To lose these now would be to lose yourself.

Your body is as ancient as the clay of the universe from which it is made; and your feet on the ground are a constant connection with the earth. Your feet bring your private clay in touch with the ancient, mother clay from which you first emerged.

Your identity is not equivalent to your biography. There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where there is a confidence and tranquility.

Your life becomes the shape of the days you inhabit.

Your noble friend will not accept pretension but will gently and very firmly confront you with your own blindness. Such friendship is creative and critical; it is willing to negotiate awkward and uneven territories of contradiction and woundedness.

When you become vulnerable, any ideal or perfect image of yourself falls away? Many people are addicted to perfection, and in their pursuit of the ideal, they have no patience with vulnerability? Every poet would like to write the ideal poem. Though they never achieve this, sometimes it glimmers through their best work. Ironically, the very beyondness of the idea is often the touch of presence that renders the work luminous. The beauty of the ideal awakens a passion and urgency that brings out the best in the person and calls forth the dream of excellence.

All through your life your soul takes care of you...your soul is alive and awakened, gathering, sheltering and guiding your ways and days in the world. In effect, your soul is your secret shelter.

Belonging is a circle that embraces everything; if we reject it, we damage our nature.The word 'belonging' holds together the two fundamental aspects of life: Being and Longing, the longing of our Being and the being of our Longing.

Even though life may have moved wearily and painfully through such a person, they have still managed not to let it corrode their soul. In such a face a lovely luminosity shines out into the world. It casts a tender light that radiates a sense of wholeness and wholesomeness.

Good friends won?t let you off the hook when you shouldn?t be let off the hook. You can let fall the masks we seem to need to survive in a cutthroat world. There is a value of truth that we typically don?t find in other parts of life.

If the earth has the most ancient networks of selfhood, then the memory of the earth is the ultimate harvester and preserver of all happening and experience. In modern life, experience enjoys privileged status as the force which awakens, enables and stabilizes human growth. The significance of experience is intimately bound up with the urgency of modern individuality. This sense of individuality achieved its classical contour through the metaphysical scalpel of Descartes? Cogito which cut the individual free from the cosmic webbing of scholasticism.

In contrast to how a child belongs in the world, adult belonging is never as natural, innocent, or playful. Adult belonging has to be chosen, received, and renewed. It is a lifetime's work.

It is strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone. Behind your image, below your words, above your thoughts, the silence of another world waits. A world lives within you. No one else can bring you news of this inner world. Through the opening of the mouth, we bring out sounds from the mountain beneath the soul. These sounds are words. The world is full of words. There are so many talking all the time, loudly, in rooms, on streets, on television, on radio, in the paper, in books. The noise of words keeps what we call the world there for us. We take each other?s sounds and make patterns, predictions, benedictions, and blasphemies. Each day, our tribe of language holds what we call the world together. Yet the uttering of the word reveals how each of us relentlessly creates. Everyone is an artist. Each person brings sound out of silence and coaxes the invisible to become visible.

May you be blessed with good friends. May you learn to be a good friend to yourself. May you be able to journey to that place in your soul where there is great love, warmth, feeling, and forgiveness. May this change you. May it transfigure that which is negative, distant, or cold in you. May you be brought in to the real passion, kinship. And affinity of belonging. May you treasure your friends. May you be good to them and may you be there for them; may they bring you all the blessings, challenges, truth, and light that you need for your journey. May you never be isolated. May you always be in the gentle nest of belonging with your anam cara. A friendship blessing.

One of the deepest longings of the human soul is to be seen.

Respectability and security are subtle traps on life's journey. Those who are drawn to extremes are often nearer to renewal and self-discovery. Those trapped in the bland middle region of respectability are lost without ever realizing it.

The best decision I ever made was to become a priest and I think the second best was to resign.

The human face is the icon of creation. Each person also has an inner face, which is always sensed but never seen. The heart is the inner face of your life. The human journey strives to make this inner face beautiful. It is here that love gathers within you.

The only difference between a young person at the height of their exuberance and a very old person who is frail and physically wasted is time.

There is great beauty in the notion of desire. Each of us is a child of the desire of our parents for each other. We are creatures of desire because we are creations of desire. The human heart discovers its most touching music when desire and love inform each other. When we love, we leave our separate solitudes and come toward union, where we complement each other. It is this ancient desire in every heart to discover and come home to its lost other half that awakens and activates its capacity for love and belonging. There are certain things that can happen to us only in solitude, and every life needs a rhythm of solitude in order to experience this. However, the experience of self-discovery, psychological integration, and spiritual growth can happen to us only when our desire draws us out of our shells and toward the precarious and life-giving sanctuary of another heart.

To create a space for all our words, drawing us to listen inward and outward. We seldom notice how each day is a holy place Where the Eucharist of the ordinary happens, transforming our broken fragments Into an eternal continuity that keeps us. Somewhere in us a dignity presides that is more gracious than the smallness That fuels us with fear and force, A dignity that trusts the form a day takes. So at the end of this day, we give thanks for being betrothed to the unknown And for the secret work through which the mind of the day And wisdom of the soul become one.

We cannot fill up our emptiness with objects, possessions or people. We have to go deeper into that emptiness, then we will find beneath nothingness the flame of love to warm us.

First Name
John
Last Name
O’Donohue
Birth Date
1956
Death Date
2008
Bio

Irish Poet, Author, Priest and Hegelian Philosopher