Thursday, January 1, 2015

Two blessings for the new mother {31 Days of Postpartum Health & Healing}



One of my very favorite spiritual teachers/authors/poets is John O'Donohue. His work is profoundly magical and spiritual and lovely. I've listened to his unedited OnBeing interview "The Inner Landscape of Beauty" with Krista Tippett multiple times and whenever I need to feel encouraged and seen, I turn it on. You can listen to it here. If you like to read rather than listen - although with his irish lilt you'll get more of the nuance and lyricism through listening - you can scroll down the page and read the transcript.


One of his books, To Bless the Space Between Us, (affiliate link) is a work full of beautiful blessings for each "threshold" of life. O'Donahue sees blessing as a way of life, as the lens through which your world, and thus the entire world, is transformed. How powerful that we can bless with our words - ourselves, our children, our families, communities, and world.

The first blessing below is his Blessing for a Mother-To-Be, and the second blessing was one he wrote while thinking of his mother and subsequently dedicating it to her. He read Beannacht, meaning Blessing, during his OnBeing interview (the unedited) and immediately thought of those earthy days of motherhood where it feels simultaneously dark and light, mundane and transcendent; beautiful and tragic.

So for you, new mother, two Blessing poems from John O'Donahue: 

For a Mother-To-Be


Nothing could have prepared 
Your heart to open like this.

From beyond the skies and the stars
This echo arrived inside of you 
And started to pulse with life
Each beat a tiny act of growth,
Traversing all our ancient shapes,
On its way home to itself.

Once it began, you were no longer your own.
A new, more courageous you, offering itself
In a new way to a presence you can sense
But you have not seen or known.

It has made you feel alone
In a way you never knew before;
Everyone else sees only from the outside
What you feel and feed 
With every fiber of your being.

Never have you traveled farther inward
Where words and thoughts become half-light
unable to reach the fund of brightness
Strengthening inside the night of your womb.

Like some primeval moon,
Your soul brightens
The tides of essence
That flow to your child.

You know your life has changed forever,
For in all the days and years to come,
Distance will never be able to cut you off
From the one you now carry
For nine months under your heart.

May you be blessed with quiet confidence
That destiny will guide you and mind you.

May the emerging spirit of your child
Imbibe encouragement and joy
From the continuous music of your heart,
So that it can grow with ease,
Expectant of wonder and welcome 
When its form is fully filled

And it makes it journey out
To see you and settle at last
Relieved and glad in your arms.

Beannacht (Blessing)


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 into you,
May a flock of colours,
Indigo, red, green
And azure blue,
Come to awaken in you
A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
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.


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