The Art of Bringing Your Mind Home

Photography & Conceptualizing Beauty

In his Greenbelt lecture – Divine Beauty: The Invisible Embrace – John O’Donohue hinted at the fragmentation of Life and Lives and that work is involved in making sense of one’s Life; he also hinted at the incredible beauty to be found in those who engage in Life-work, understanding and maintaining the integrity of their Life toward identity.

The mind is an old crow
Who knows only to gather dead twigs,
Then take them back to the vacancy
Between the branches of the parent tree
And entwine them around the emptiness
With silence and unfailing patience
Until what was fallen, withered and lost
Is now set to fill with dreams a nest.

(Excerpt  from  ‘Thought Work,’ a poem by John O’Donohue from his book Conamara Blues)

“This is the art of bringing your mind home, that if your mind was able to retrieve and re-weave all that is withered and forlorn and lost in your life then the integrity of your memory and identity of your life would be incredible [if not beautiful] (Divine Beauty – The Invisible Embrace, John O’Donohue, Greenbelt).

Cathedral Grove - Vancouver Island, British Columbia

20 thoughts on “The Art of Bringing Your Mind Home

  1. Usually, I have time to take a quick look at the daily post on any blogger’s site, notice something strong about the shot or the writing, make a quick comment and then move on. This morning, I stopped by here for a lingering visit, reading, absorbing, and appreciating your talent and skill, both in photography and writing. I have learned a lot from your blog. Thank you.

    1. Hello Angeline:

      Thank you for stopping by and checking out John O’Donohue’s poem and quote; he used it to highlight a section of his talk, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace. He’s got a book with the same title and there’s much in it about Life and living it well. It’s not spiritual fast food – the content has levels that you mine (as in mining for gold) and are nourished by. There’s good thoughtwork that can translate into action within.

      Definitely check his works out.

      Take care, …:)

  2. You’ve just been given the Heart on Fire award. (There’s no picture of it that I know of). I did it because I feel you have such a passion for photography and your images and descriptions so often speak to the heart of life … at least for me. See my post for today for what you need to do. Don’t feel bad if you choose not to follow through. These awards can get overwhelming 🙂 Be well and stay blessed.

  3. Beautiful greenness and inspiring picture. i cannot thank you enough for having introduced me to John O’Donohue’s writings. I am reading “Anam Cara” and “The Invisible Embrace”. His thoughts and words are so nurturing and deeply touching. He really left too soon but I am grateful for all he shared with us. Grateful to you also.

    1. Hello Isa:

      I am very glad to read of your making headway with John O’Donohue’s writings. There’s enough there to anchor you and to keep you coming back for second and third reads for clarification, insights and broadening of what he’s said (is saying). As I’ve listened to his lectures and delved into his other works I become conscious of the fact that he is one person who has seen all sacred parts of Life and in his work he’s gentling us toward better, more productive pursuits/endeavors in our Lives. It’s honest stuff that causes inward glimpses at our integrity and spiritual condition.

      His words on threshold have caught me in this past week – that in one place there can be a before and after in spiritual state and understanding; a threshold is a place where a transformation occurs and we move on from there.

      Thank you for sharing your progress with John O’Donohue and your kind words.

      Take care …:)

  4. I do love the image of the lush forest and fallen tree. At Corkscrew Swamp here in Florida, they leave the standing dead trees as they become homes to various life forms. The fallen tree of your forest is too and returns back to the earth. Can almost smell the forest in the image.

    Love all the quotes too of O’Donohue and makes me want to read more. I like the idea of integrity in your life..wholeness that is…life can make one feel so fragmented!

    Thanks for coming round my neck of the woods!! Enjoy your work and words and your visit is appreciated!!

    1. Hey there, Judy:

      It’s from a friend in Florida that the idea of ‘In My Back Pocket,’ was inspiration; one day when I make it to Florida, I’ll have to have a go at the Corkscrew Swamp. The tree you’re looking at in my photo is a redwood on the Vancouver Island at Cathedral Grove – midpoint on the island travelling East to West and about a third of the way up the island travelling South to North.

      John O’Donohue does a great job at looking at all that is Life, no doubt seeing much more of its entirety as priest. There are quotes and poems a good stern looks at what any of us are doing with our lives. Integrity does have to do with walking the moral line; but, as he points out, it also has to do with integration of many parts of Life. ‘Yes,’ Life can feel fragmented; perhaps the integrity and integration that’s needed is that within the group. Or, perhaps fragmentation is one of those moratorium experiences we encounter with new phases of Life when we are less-sure of ourselves and less identity-achieved as Chicago’s Havighurst would assert.

      Thanks for stopping in.

      Take good care of your good self! 🙂

  5. I had never heard of John O’ Donohue.
    I will have to search find the rest of his “Thought Work.”
    It’s beautiful.
    Love the green of the photo.
    It looks like moss is growing over a dead tree?
    Nature takes care of itself, always.

    1. Hello Mary:

      For me, I may have heard John in discussion with Mary Hynes, a podcast of a radio interview from CBC Radio’s Tapestry. Then, where I really dug in was in looking through Greenbelt lecture archives … there are four lectures he provides that, when you think about it, comprise most of human life in content. The photo is taken at Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island, one of those tranquil places in the world. Moss is growing over the tree … and nature is indeed taking care of its own.

      Thank you for looking in … I hope you’ll investigate John O’Donohue’s work and dig-in to Anam Cara and Con a Mara.

      Take care … 😉

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