Tag Archives: John O’Donohue

The F words

Trekkers may be familiar with the word pfaffing (and I know that technically it is not an F word but it is acoustically an F word and I would know. And it can be spelt faffing.). You pfaff when you fiddle around with a task rather than actually DO it. Barry gives us a great definition here!  In the trekking context, the pfaffer may well be the person in the tent next to yours who is noisily carrying out an activity that seems to be relocating all the items from one lot of plastic bags into another lot of plastic bags in his/ her back pack. This is often done just as you are trying to sleep. One who is annoyed by a pfaffer may well someone whose back pack is less organised.

The are periods of time, sometimes long periods, where I feel like I am permanently pfaffing. Sometimes I can get out of this phase and sometimes I just have to go with the flow (another F word). It is in these often frustrating periods of pfaffing that I try to be grateful for furthering. The poet/ philosopher John O’Donohue refers to furthering in his Blessing on Waking.  He talks about giving thanks each morning for the furthering that the new day will bring. Some days, when my activities don’t seem to have resulted in much finishing, I try to be grateful for furtherings!!

I am still faffing around with / furthering my textured discs that I wrote about here.  Again I began with BTC 111 but this time systematically changed  the amount of Magenta. I was reminded as I looked nervously at the raw discs, of Tory Hughes’ wise advice not to judge an outcome too soon. I was relieved that after the boot polish treatment, the discs hung together more. Well, to me they did. I mustn’t have been a sweet gelati mood!  More of a distressed gelati frame of mind.

Here’s to pfaffing that furthers and even better, leads to flow!

A blessing for the artist at the start of the day…

…and a photo. I usually don’t like photos of me but this photo by my darling imagefriend Cathy includes a few things I love. Here we are again at the James Turrell Within, Without Stupa. (Still not over it!) A place of calm reflection. We need it now.

And what’s not to love about that coat and bag? Thanks for the bag Bek.

And the bloke is the background is pretty great.

Not too much art stuff happening right now but this blessing reminded me that it could.  The blessing is by John O’Donohue and is from his beautiful book To Bless This Space between Us:

May morning be astir with the harvest of night;
Your mind quickening to the eros of a new question,
Your eyes seduced by some unintended glimpse
That cut right through the surface to a source.

May this be a morning of innocent beginning,
When the gift within you slips clear
Of the sticky web of the personal
With its hurt and its hauntings,
And fixed fortress corners,

A morning when you become a pure vessel
For what wants to ascend from silence,

May your imagination know
The grace of perfect danger,

To reach beyond imitation,
And the wheel of repetition,

Deep into the call of all
The unfinished and unsolved.

Until the veil of the unknown yields
And something original begins

To stir toward your senses
And grow stronger in your heart

In order to come to birth
In a clean line of form,
That claims from time
A rhythm not yet heard,
That calls space to
A different shape.

May it be its own force field
And dwell uniquely
Between the heart and the light

To surprise the hungry eye
By how deftly it fits
About its secret loss.

PS Check out those silver roots!

As long as it is art propelled…

photoRobyn Gordon’s blog is like sitting down in a quiet and beautiful place, taking three deep mindful breaths, releasing tension with the out breath and really looking at what surrounds you. It is manna for my soul. It nourishes, inspires, heals.

Robyn is an artist from KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Her work is just beautiful.  She carves wooden totems, poles, doors, and other wondrous pieces which incorporate wire, beads and found objects.  It is obvious that, as she says, her art is meditative work which brings her a great sense of peace.  She describes her blog as a place where I gather things that inspire me. It’s a bit like a glorified notebook where I store information so that i don’t forget it. Favourite artists and artwork, books, quotations, internet links, ideas, themes…you name it, as long as it is art propelled.

As a chronic journaller and keeper of quotes, I love posts like this.  I love thephoto beautiful photographs she posts of her beloved home.  And on this pinterest page she quotes John O’Donahue whose writing seems to be calling out for my repeated attention! She reminds artists of ten things to be thankful for!  It was in one of her posts that I first read about Stillness for Jugglers. Look at the beautiful images she collated to go with it!

She brings so many wonderful artists to my awareness! Like Anna Gillespie who created the figure photoTasting the Rain. Or Sophie Munns whose seed  inspired art is magic.

Robyn’s pinterest site is unbelievable. I have to be very careful when I go there…..

May the nourishment of the earth be yours


imageIf you are in Australia, I am a bit late. Elsewhere, not so late so I won’t beat myself up about it….
Every thing seemed a bit delayed. Even getting a daunting and complicated task I wanted to finish before the old year was out was delayed…
And it is just a date observed the wise and patient one who put up with the whingeing.
And he was right.
Lots of thinkin’ going down. More of that later…if you are lucky?

But for you dear, lovely After the Monsoon readers, here is a blessing that I received today via the thoughtful and wise Marianne Elliot.
And photos from a dream that came true this year in Upper Mustangimage

A Blessing for the New Year by John O’Donohue

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas fraysimage
in the currach* of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

To 2014.

(and, in case you were wondering, a currach is a coracle. I love that word.)