by John O’Donahue
(note: I transcribed this from a radio show, so I have all the phrasing and punctuation are my own interpretation, not necessarily how it’s actually written.)
When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
time takes on the strain until it breaks.
Then all of the unattended stress falls in on the mind
like an endless, increasing weight.
The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before now become laborsome events of will.
Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you, dragging down every bone.
The ride you never valued has gone out,
and you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down
and you cannot push yourself back to life.
You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest,
and patiently learn to receive the self you have forsaken for the race of days.
At first your thinking will darken,
and sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have traveled too far over false ground;
now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses.
Open up to all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain when it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
taking time to open the well of color that fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone until its silence can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Stay clear of those vexed in spirit;
learn to linger around someone of ease,
who feels they have all the time in the world.
Gradually, you will return to yourself,
having learned a new respect for your heart,
and the joy that dwells far within slow time.