Sunday, February 12, 2012

Courage, again, with a favorite poem

Thank you to all my readers who responded with their own words that provide courage. I had read only a few of those inspirational words before, so there was much there to take to heart and use when opportunity rises in the future, as it surely will.

I read a quote today that made me ponder the source of courage:

"It's what you read when you don't have to 
that determines what you will be when you can't help it."

~~ Oscar Wilde

I am currently reading the book Earth Pilgrim by Satish Kumar (2009). It is hard for me to exactly reconstruct how I found this title and what led me to knowing I wanted to read this book (and my own public library did not have thus I needed to request it through our State's inter-library loan system), but I know that occasionally I find myself on the website for Resurgence magazine, for which the author has served as Editor for the past 30+ years. Resurgence is described as "the spiritual and artistic flagship of the green movement" in The Guardian and serves to bring together and be the heart of 'earth, art, and spirit'.

I told one of my sons I was starting to read this book, which is a series of conversations the author has with an interviewer about life's journeys, both outward and inward, and that just reading the first chapter gave me a comfortable sense of being 'home' plus words to articulate a lot of feelings that have been flowing under the surface for some time.

Under the surface, under the surface of what? For me, my first 'home' is water, as I was born during the sign of Aquarius - the water bearer. I have always loved being close to marshes, ponds, lakes, and rivers, thus I am guessing that my use of that phrase 'under the surface' refers to my identity with any type of body of water.

The book is short but filled with beautiful words and images from those words, along with many words by other writers. Here is a poem that made me place a bookmark on that page:

I would like to live 
like a river flows
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.

~ John O'Donohue

In fact, I like this poem so much that I added it to my Welcome section at the side of my blog. I wish I could do that, live like a river flows, live without 'baggage', without expectations, without judgements, and with only pleasant surprises. It teaches me so much about the trust needed for both the inner journey of life and also the outer journey of life, each a pilgrimage in its own way, with its own meaning, and its own beauty, even when there are unpleasant surprises. 

I have read a few books written by John O'Donohue. I first heard the term Anam Cara, 'soul friend', at the memorial service for close friend, and without even knowing what the term meant when I first heard it, I knew that I knew. I read a poem/prayer by John O'Donohue at my older son's rehearsal dinner that another close friend had introduced me to at her daughter's wedding. So John O'Donohue was not new to me, even though the words in this particular poem were. 

In contrast, while this book Earth Pilgrim itself and its author are both new to me, the depth of and connections felt from the actual words and spirit in this book are not new. I am musing here, going back to the quotation by Oscar Wilde at the top of my post, wondering if something I read in Earth Pilgrim will be a source of courage for me at some point in the future, if some words I remember consciously or subconsciously will help me act or speak out when "I can't help it", or even help me learn and accept the lessons from challenges that will surely come in the future. 

Meanwhile, I will continue to ponder all the ways I can think and feel about this short poem by John O'Donohue, some new words that today made me try to stop the flow of the river, at least get into a quiet, still and shallow pool for a short time where I could have a moment to look around, feel safe, write about and enjoy the view. 

Thank you again for sharing your own sources of courage. I hope you know that I will be with you in spirit when you have you own need of courage and will think of all of you with gratitude when I have my own moments of need for future courage. :)

Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row,

Diana Dyer, MS, RD 

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