Friday, October 14, 2011

tree girl
"When you think of who you are this morning, you are who you are at this time in your life because of certain choices that you made. Say, when you were twelve, you stood in front of maybe five possibilities, and you chose the first one. Then things went on until you were eighteen, and suddenly it opened up and became ten again.This time, you chose number seven. Then it went on again and then when you were 28, maybe you were down to three; this time you took two. When you were 40, it was up to five; this time you took four. And so you chose, always, one choice. But the interesting question to ask is, what has happened to the lives that you didn’t choose. Where are they? Where do your unlived lives dwell?"
- John O’Donohue (an excerpt from one of his talks on Divine Beauty: The Invisible Embrace”)

I took this photo last weekend and have been coming back to it each day. It stirred something deep in my core. The solitary beauty of this frozen moment as she gazes through the branches into the depths of the blue sky- it mesmerizes me each time I look at it.Yesterday, I heard the words under it in the author's lilting Irish accent, and I couldn't breathe for a minute. That sounds odd... like his voice just appeared over my shoulder and whispered in my ear. Not exactly. I was practicing my new cleaning technique (which is only different from my old one in that I listen to podcasts as I do the never-ending tasks of keeping my home together: laundry, dishes, etc. I highly recommend it.). I was listening to John O' Donohue, the late Irish poet and philosopher. itunes has this talk available in the audiobook section for only a couple of dollars and it is well worth it, as he's lovely to listen to. (Thanks to Lis for pointing the way) It's a beautiful talk, but that last sentence stuck with me the most.
Where do your unlived lives dwell? 
 He went on to say that he suspects that our unchosen and unlived lives continue to live themselves out "secretly and in accompaniment with us". This has given me so much to ponder within my own story, and even more so to think about as I parent my children.
Have a beautiful and thoughtful weekend!
p.s. the gratitude bucket winner has been announced in the post below.
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  1. Wow, something to ponder this weekend! I read it to my husband and he thinks the lives are still inside us...?! I'm not sure, some days I don't feel anything like the person I was in the past?!
    ps. love that photo!

  2. Sometimes I can envision that Other Amy. I'm glad I chose the way I did. I think it's useful to recognize we have choices in any given moment, as long as we don't get hung up on where we *could* be, what *might* have been if we'd chosen differently.

    I also like to think I have many lives, in succession. I won't always be doing what I'm doing now (knee-deep in other people's laundry, schedules, needs). I'm happy I'm here now. I'm happy I'll move through it and into something else, too: enjoying the current bit, open to the next one.

  3. Oh oh me again!
    I just thought that she looks like one of Cicely Mary Barker's flower fairies!!

  4. Joey- Maybe you're both quite right.

  5. Amy- I think about the power of choice all of the time. My grandmother taught me quite young that everything (including a grumpy mood I might have been in) was a choice. I love your thoughts on being happy in each current "life".

  6. Lovely post as always. Always a wonder to ponder the story and wander. xox Corrine

  7. I love this post, thank you so much for reminding me of this author, it has been a long time since I read his works, I think it is time I returned to them.
    I first learned of him here on this lovely program:

  8. Wonderful post. I've heard this phenomenon referred to "galaxies left undiscovered" in Jon Kabat-Zinn's Everyday Blessings. What a rabbit hole to ponder...

  9. what a lovely thought to ponder....have a wonderful weekend....

  10. very lovely picture. its cute and inspiring at the same time.

  11. well what can I say there are are a lot of roads to walk on but the one we are on is ours

  12. What an inspiring way to get your cleaning done. I want to look this up...btw, I didn't comment earlier on this but I loved your vintage series this summer with your nieces. They must have had fun! I remember dressing in my grandmother's outfits from the 40's and 50's...such fun.