As I travel, work with, and coach so many different people from different countries and cultures, a common theme keeps showing up. People tell me that they are feeling called to take another big step forward, to make a shift, to follow their hearts to a new level of making a difference. There’s something that won’t let go of them, and they can’t ignore it any longer.
A couple of days ago, I came across John O’Donohue’s beautiful poem, “For a New Beginning.” I’ve known this poem for several years, yet as I read it again now, it speaks to me even more powerfully than before.
For a New Beginning
by John O’Donohue
(from To Bless the Space Between Us)
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 the soul senses the world that awaits you.
O’Donohue’s words so beautifully describe how the heart knows our next steps, yet patiently waits until we are finally ready – or until it can’t wait any longer. It’s as if the heart has a time-release mechanism that is designed to nudge us gently at first. And if we immediately notice and begin to take steps, the heart will continue to nurture us and gently guide us forward. However, if too much time passes and we don’t respond to our heart’s calling, the heart will steadily become more insistent. This is the experience that so many people are describing to me now.
There’s something powerful that happens when you finally say “Yes” to your heart – when you summon all of your courage and step out onto new ground. Even if you don’t yet know where you’re going, you go anyway. Those out-of-the-way places in your heart rise up. You step up your pace, Awaken your spirit to adventure, hold nothing back, and learn to find ease in risk.
Ease in risk. For most of us, that takes practice. Yet if we just go for it, in time, we find a new rhythm. The key is to step beyond “what I want” into the bigger energy of “what wants to happen.” When we align with something bigger than ourselves, where we are going will carry us forward.
What’s happening in the out-of-the-way places of your heart – those places that you can no longer avoid? Something has been forming there for a long time, just waiting until you are ready. Is now the time?
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