For the Traveler Every time you leave home, Another road takes you Into a world you were never in.
New strangers on other paths await. New places that have never seen you Will startle a little at your entry. Old places that know you well Will pretend nothing Changed since your last visit.
When you travel, you find yourself Alone in a different way, More attentive now To the self you bring along, Your more subtle eye watching You abroad; and how what meets you Touches that part of the heart That lies low at home:
How you unexpectedly attune To the timbre in some voice, Opening in conversation You want to take in To where your longing Has pressed hard enough Inward, on some unsaid dark, To create a crystal of insight You could not have known You needed To illuminate Your way.
When you travel, A new silence Goes with you, And if you listen, You will hear What your heart would Love to say.
A journey can become a sacred thing: Make sure, before you go, To take the time To bless your going forth, To free your heart of ballast So that the compass of your soul Might direct you toward The territories of spirit Where you will discover More of your hidden life, And the urgencies That deserve to claim you.
May you travel in an awakened way, Gathered wisely into your inner ground; That you may not waste the invitations Which wait along the way to transform you.
May you travel safely, arrive refreshed, And live your time away to its fullest; Return home more enriched, and free To balance the gift of days which call you.
~ John O'Donohue ~
for the traveler
My parents keep a worn copy of the poem "For the Traveler" by John O'Donahue on the nightstand of their guest room, a blessing for all who pass through on their travels. Long ago dubbed “The Dunn Shelter” their home has served as a refuge for many a soul throughout the years, offering a warm bed and home-cooked meal for the road-weary traveler and the space to heal and "hear what the heart would love to say" for those journeying through a difficult life transition.
A few states away from "The Dunn Shelter", I sit writing this newsletter from the warmth of my humble abode in Oregon, sipping tea, autumn's breath very much present in the brisk air and changing light. As I read John O'Donahue's beautiful words, I reflect on the various journeys each of us take in this life and the home we come to find regardless of where we are.
May your journey into the fall season be guided by the "compass of your soul, directing you toward the territories of spirit and the urgencies that deserve to claim you."
I commissioned Sheila to create a painting for my father's funeral early this month. I provided her with a photograph of my parents faces, my father looking on at my mother lovingly. In addition to capturing the emotion between them, reproducing the photograph exactly, and painting it all with a freshness and inspired style, she delivered the portrait on short notice in time for the memorial. We were so impressed by her professionalism, accuracy, and artistic expression.