Just before the end of December, P, a writer friend, gathered a few people for a day of meditation and writing to say goodbye to the old year and kick off the new. We each brought a couple of writing prompts and something to share for lunch.
P lives in a little house next to the Russian River that has become more and more comfortable and welcoming over the 15+ years that she as lived there.
We started off with a walk along the river, each of us in a different direction, meditating on our own thoughts, focusing on the rocks, the light on the water, the muted colors of winter. Then we went back to the house for lunch, tea and writing.
P brought the exercise that has stuck with me as this first month of 2012 has worn on. She read the Irish poet John O'Donohue's poem "Beannacht" to us. (The title is Gaelic for Blessing -- see the poem here at my friend Elizabeth's blog, where she serendipitously posted it a week ago.) Then we each read it to another person who was sitting in for someone we wanted/needed to forgive -- an exercise which might sound esoteric, but was strangely affecting and has already reverberated into this month, and I suspect may continue to have echoes in the rest of the year.
We did a timed writing after the forgiveness exercise. This poem is what came out for me.
After “Beannacht” (Blessing)
by John O’Donohue
May you know that you are loved for just who you are.
May a witness of your strong heart come into your life.
May the paths that you walk be soft on your feet.
May the people that you meet take joy in your laughter.
May the fruits of your labor support you all the days of your life.
May your family honor their sharing of your blood.
May your journey be filled with wonder and take you to places
where you find knowledge and wisdom.
May the rain quench your thirst and warm winds dry the sweat from your neck.
May the stars spill diamonds into your dreams.
May the moon shine you a path across dark water.
May the gardens you plant give back to you tenfold
for the labor you spend in their tending.
May you die in the arms of someone who loves you or after a night
in the company of good friends.
May your next life take you to the time and place of your fondest reveries.
May you be remembered for being a truthful and giving soul.
May a blessing of kisses rain down on you this year.