John O’Donohue

AM posted a John O’Donohue yesterday and it brought back many memories for me. The last time I read a John O’Donohue, it was at a decision point. I went on a path that would later turn out to be a milestone of a metamorphosis that I think I’m still in.


I love the first poem I read – I’m still dreamy in that way. And I’ve learnt to love that part of me 🙂

For a New Beginning

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

(c) John O’Donohue. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

This second poem made me smile, because of the wisdom it contains.

Blessings: For a Leader

May you have the grace and wisdom to act kindly,
Learning to distinguish between what is personal and what is not.

May you be hospitable to criticism.

May you never put yourself at the center of things.

May you act not from arrogance but out of service.

May you work on yourself,
Building up and refining the ways of your mind.

May those who work for you know you see and respect them.

May you learn to cultivate the art of presence,
In order to engage with those who meet you.

When someone fails or disappoints you,
May the graciousness with which you engage
Be their stairway to renewal and refinement.

May you treasure the gifts of the mind
Through reading and creative thinking,
So that you continue as a servant of the frontier,
Where the new will draw its enrichment from the old,
and never become a functionary.

May you know the wisdom of deep listening,
The healing of wholesome words,
The encouragement of the appreciative gaze,
The decorum of held dignity,
The springtime edge of that bleak question.

May you have a mind that loves frontiers
So that you evoke the bright fields
That lie beyond the view of the regular eye.

May you have good friends to mirror your blind spots.

May leadership be for you a true adventure of growth.

(c) John O’Donohue. All rights reserved. Used by permission.


About lilac butterfly

Live. Love. Learn. Laugh. Write. Draw. Colour. Blend. Play. Dream. Cry. Reflect. Pray. Sing. Worship. Bake. Cook. Rest. Give thanks.


  1. Hello,

    I’m writing you from the John O’Donohue business office. We couldn’t find an email address to contact you, so we’re reaching out via your comments section. We noticed you have posted two John O’Donohue poems in their entirety here. It’s a blessing and a comfort to see that John’s words support and inspire even five years after his passing. As the stewards of John’s legacy, we are charged with making sure all the appropriate technicalities are followed regarding reprinting his words. We are willing to grant you a limited permission to use these poems solely on your website so long as you include the following copyright attribution:

    (c) John O’Donohue. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

    Please confirm by emailing

    With love and gratitude for your understanding,

    Linda Alvarez
    John O’Donohue Business Manager

    • Hi Linda,

      Thanks for writing in. My apologies for not attributing the poems correctly. Will make immediate amendments. Thanks very much also for granting limited permission to use both poems solely on this blog. I’ll check other posts, and where there are mentions of John O’Donohue’s poems, I’ll ensure the attributions are made as well.

      Thanks very much once again!


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