John O’Donohue writes about Beauty – one of my favorite words. I heard a quote by Mr. O’Donohue one day which encouraged me to find out why his words touched my soul. The Invisible Embrace Beauty – Rediscovering The True Sources of Compassion, Serenity, and Hope. As I observe the beauty that surrounds us in the garden, hearing other perspectives on this topic interests me.

John O’Donohue is a philosophical theologian who has authored several books . Two of his books are International Best Sellers “Anam Cara” and “Eternal Echoes“. I will definitely find time to read these books as well.

At the beginning of this book “The Call of Beauty”, Chapter 1, Mr. O’Donohue writes, “When we devote some calm time to the heart and come off the treadmill of stress and distraction we can enter into the beauty within.  Each of us can prepare for that inner arrival: where ‘night holds sway” and the inner forest becomes “free of strangers”. Let this sink in a moment.

I embrace going into my garden or any garden when it is “free of strangers”. Early morning or at dusk is when I find the garden in its most beautiful state. Perhaps it is the quiet, still aura that envelopes the space. I can take my time and discover the phases of each and every bloom. There are sometimes when the finished bloom strikes me as an elegant version of the initial blossom. This word beauty has many definitions in life, just as in the garden.

Mr. O’Donohue’s words allowed me to see the garden in a different way. Observing the many phases of the artichoke’s beauty from beginning to the delicate aging process. Aging…never the ending..

Mr. O’Donohue goes on to write, “When we walk on the earth with reverence, beauty will decide to trust us. Beauty is mysterious, a slow presence who waits for the ready, expectant heart”. I have a hard time rushing through the garden – any garden. For when one pauses, the heart of the garden, the beauty of the garden will wrap its arms around and embrace you. The garden should never be rushed through. It should be savored so that an imprint sinks in and lingers in one’s soul.

I am sure that Mr. O’Donohue ha no idea of how his words can be applied to the Gardener. When words are really read for comprehension, it is amazing how they apply to our passions. I reach out to touch, smell and admire the garden, in its many stages of growth. It fills my heart and I tend to linger, to perhaps catch the ongoing evolution. Alas, it takes time…that I do not always have.

The Joy Of Shapes That Dance is the title of Chapter 5. “…the wisdom of a river has much to teach us”, Mr. O’Donohue writes. Have you ever paused beside a stream or a pond to watch how the water glides past protruding rocks? How the ripples dance throughout the pebbles in the river bed or fall over a waterfall? If you look at the path the water takes, the shapes formed in the water are a gentle act of grace….like a dance. Always different, never the same as in our life gardens.

To some, this would be a castaway. I see the beauty of an almost finished bloom, not willing to fall apart just yet. Mr. O’Donohue shares wisdom on The Beauty of The Flaw.

Chapter 8, The Beauty of the Flaw, I am sure was the reason I was led to this book. One segment in this chapter was called “To Create Beauty Out of Woundedness”. Mr. O’Donohue writes that when we explore our lives through creative expression we make discoveries.

When I lost my Dad, I was devastated. The garden reminded me that he was not on this earth to share news about the latest plant, book or tool.  Dad was no longer here pause after every gardening event to see him cling on my every word about my experience. Having that Father-Daughter relationship was gone…or so I thought. Mr. O’Donohue reminded ME  with these words, “Beauty is not all brightness”.

While this wound of loss was in the process of healing, I discovered a lot about who I am. I learned about the things I cherish and why I choose to linger when I encounter all things beautiful. Those moments are fleeting and beauty today, will be different tomorrow. Knowing my Dad is not in pain and is at rest is a different kind of beauty. It allows me to go into the garden and feel the presence of my Ancestors appreciating each and every bloom.

The perspective of Mr. O’Donohue’s thoughts should be read and interpreted on an individual basis. I recommend this book to any looking for a different perspective. The words just might creatively heal the spirit.

To find out more John O’Donohue


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