I’ve been traveling and exploring, writing a piece I’ve titled “The History of Yesterday” which is, exactly what it sounds like. I’ll share it someday maybe, but not today. I wrote it by hand, I never do that, but something about the importance of it made me want no electronic distraction. I wanted an assurance from myself that I wouldn’t edit or correct it. I wanted the raw truth as it came.
I wrote it on park benches and New Orleans porch swings with the sounds of Mardi Gras all around me. It’s written in six parts, a reflection of a significant period of my life that’s complete now.
The six parts:
Out of integrities
I’ve been thinking about the value of this, the value of exploration, completion and forward looking. After three days of this beautiful work, I learned more about me and a body of time and the relationships within it than I ever would have if I’d simply kept moving. We talk of the value of a pause, but I rarely adhere to my own advise.
These six parts, they seem to me to be crucial questions we could ask ourselves of any chapter we are completing.. a new year, a trauma, a lovely relationship. A document of progress and growth, a history of yesterday.
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
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.
~ John O’Donohue ~