Traveling in an Awakened Way

Though most of us have not travelled very far in a physical way this year, we have traveled. Our experiences, insights, and emotions have taken us places we could not have imagined. Painful places. Lonely places. Joyful places. Confusing places.

How I have been traveling.

One of my companions along the way this year has been John O’Donohue, the Irish teacher and poet. I’ve especially enjoyed his book of blessings called, To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

From the book jacket.

As I end this tumultuous year and look to 2021, I find great wisdom is his words to those moving through time and space in his blessing called “For The Traveler.” Perhaps you will find encouragement in it as well. We will need all the help we can on the journey ahead.

Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.

New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.
Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.

When you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:

How you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice,
Opening in conversation
You want to take in
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark,
To create a crystal of insight
You could not have known
You needed
To illuminate
Your way.

When you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.

A journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time

To bless your going forth,
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.

May you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;
That you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.

May you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.

In this coming year, may we all travel in an awakened way.

Blessing from “For the Traveler” by John O’Donohue. Text as published in To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings (Doubleday, 2008).

UPDATE: I just realized I posted this whole blessing before, back in March in this blog. It is worth reading again.

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