A friend recently sent me the link to an interview with the Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue, recorded shortly before his death in 2008. The topic of the interview was on the humanizing effect of beauty: that which calls our attention, causes our breath to catch or our hearts to open up in response to what O’Donohue called “the invisible world constantly intertwining with what we can know and see.”
It seems he was talking about the way beauty, and the things that we love, bring us into a space of possibility.
February is a perfect month to reflect on this intertwining of love—passion, even—and possibility. Of course we have Valentine’s Day, and all the love and passion celebrated mid-month. But earlier than that, February 2nd , is celebrated in the Celtic tradition (which O’Donohue seemed to draw from extensively) as Imbolc. It’s a holiday marking the arriving whispers of spring, welcoming the as-yet invisible life beginning to push its way through the to surface of the still-frozen earth.
All that effort to push through the cold times, present in each blade of grass and winter tree bud,
demonstrates what seems to be a passion for life that is woven into the cells of living things. As humans we have this, too, though it can be hard to remember in the midst of…all the things we have to do to keep the lights on, the kids fed, all the stuff. It can be challenging to remember that there was ever that whisper of life coming to the surface, guiding you toward the warmth of that which catches your heart.
But it is worthwhile to remember– to remember on purpose—the things that kindle our passion. It is worthwhile to dwell in the sense of wonder and possibility that those things open up. Maybe they are related to what you do for a living, and maybe they never will be—fine either way. Your passions aren’t validated by whether you can make a job out of them. They are validated by what they do to your heart, and by the way they allow you to see some needed corner of the world unfolding for you. So what does it? What does this for you?
At Grassroots, we love getting to see this unfolding of passion and possibility on a daily basis, for so many people. Sometimes it’s in response to a pose that catches your attention, or an experience that comes during meditation. Sometimes things push to the surface in conversations after class. We love hearing about the things that bring you joy in your practice and in your life, and the possibilities that announce themselves when you pay attention to that joy. Keep going! And thank you for sharing it all with us.
Much love and thanks for reading,