To Sip or Devour?

The late Irish poet, writer, and philosopher, John O'Donohue, has been on my mind this month as I deep-dive into Embodiment and Free-Flow Writing. I seriously feel an electric current flow through my body when I listen to his voice and words. (You can listen to him read his poem, "Beannacht" here and his poem, "A Blessing for a Friend on the Arrival of Illness" here).

His blessing, "May your senses be windows of wonder," is the theme for tomorrow's WTG Circle. We'll explore how writing into the body, through your senses, WAKES YOU UP and enlivens you.

Did you also know that writing through your senses CALMS YOU DOWN and quiets your nervous system?" I find that tuning into my senses when I free-flow write is powerful anti-anxiety medicine. "May your senses be shrinkers of worry," says me, less poetically. 

I'm also thinking about John O'Donohue because I recently stumbled on a poem I wrote several years ago called "Sip My Books." When I wrote the poem, I was heavily feeding my love of language and ideas, books and talks, thinkers and poets. His poetry and books on Celtic wisdom were among the books on my nightstand, alongside Marion Woodman, The Upanishads, The Alchemist. You get the idea.

In the poem, I wrestle with the nature of my hungry mind. 

“Sip My Books”

I devour my delicious books.
Hungrily, I turn the pages.

Like a glutton who sits with his
protruding belly,
my mind is bloated with
too many ideas
that don't digest easily
in my crowded being.

But sometimes,
I sip my books.
I savor the sweetness,
the richness,
the juiciness of the words. 

I allow this heart food to trickle
Into me.



into my bloodstream.
Entering and exiting my heart,

             and around,

                              and around

circulating alongside nutrients from my morning
cup of miso and stewed apple with turmeric,
my lunchtime hummus wrap,
my biryani dinner and dark chocolate dessert --
wisdom nuggets nourishing my every cell.

Though now and again,
I will consume a book
as I would a Thanksgiving feast --
with complete abandon!

I will steep myself in the author,
until I am bleary-eyed
and drunk with thought.

Reading the poem many years later, I'm amused that I ultimately give myself permission to sip my beautiful books when it feels good to sip -- and devour them when it feels good to devour. 

Rediscovering this poem also led me back to John O'Donohue's book, Beauty, where he shares beauty's many sources: silence and stillness, thoughts and language, art and music, nature and color, human spirit and human flaws -- as well as how we experience beauty:

"Indeed, beauty itself can enter us as thought." 
"The mind and the senses unite in the experience of beauty." 
"Beauty envelops the heart and mind. In beauty's presence there is no longer any separation between thought and senses, between heart and soul."

In the spirit of John O'Donohue's encouragement that we offer blessings to one another with regularity and ease, may you, too, follow your reading bliss, and may gorgeous language and intriguing thoughts be a source of beauty that feeds and ignites your body, mind, heart, and soul.

Currently, I find myself on a diet of comedians. I'm reading Judd Apatow's Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy, and I'm listening to David Sedaris's Calypso.

Happy summer feasting!

With Love,

Want to write?
Take a pen & prompt journey:

writing prompt

how a favorite author or poet makes you feel

Grab a pen & notebook. Write the prompt at the top of the page. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Or 5. Or 2!

Keep your pen moving as you write the thoughts, feelings, and images that arise in the moment. What senses and sensations do you notice? Don’t stop to think or edit.

Accept ALL that you write - the pretty & ugly; absurd & boring. Discover what wants to be felt, known, expressed, released...