Blessings for the New Year


Last year I found a beautiful blessing that I shared with a friend who had lost her mother. It was such a simple, but deeply heartfelt thought to give someone at a time of loss. It was something I read by Naomi Shahib Nye, one of my favorite poets, and it touched my heart:

“Blessings on your mom’s memory and her spirit in you.”

Since then, I have been paying attention to all kinds of blessings and things written about them. I am not a religious person, but I believe in the power of words and poetry, and blessings are some of the most beautiful and powerful phrases to be found.

I recently read To Bless the Space  Between Us: A Book of Blessings, by John O’Donohue, and found some very nice ideas, poems and blessings. About blessings, he says:

In the parched deserts of postmodernity a blessing can be like the discovery of a fresh well. It would be lovely if we could rediscover our power to bless one another. I believe each of us can bless. When a blessing is invoked, it changes the atmosphere. Some of the plenitude flows into our hearts from the invisible neighborhood of loving kindness.

The publisher said this about the collection:

…his compelling blend of elegant, poetic language and spiritual insight offers readers comfort and encouragement on their journeys through life. O’Donohue looks at life’s thresholds—marriage, having children, starting a new job—and offers invaluable guidelines for making the transition from a known, familiar world into a new, unmapped territory.

As we enter the new year, we are all transitioning into new, unmapped territory with new goals and with many challenges to meet. So I share with you, as a New Year’s gift, one of his poems/blessings about new beginnings. And may your New Year be blessed with health and happiness!

FOR A NEW BEGINNING

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

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