“For The One Who is Exhausted, A Blessing”

Donna-3
The original version of this article appeared on The Caregivers' Living Room by Donna Thomson. Donna is the co-author, along with Dr. Zachary White, of The Unexpected Journey of Caring: The Transformation of Loved One to Caregiver (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019). Used with permission.
I'm not gonna lie to you--I am exhausted. Not just tired, but a 'Covid' kind of dispirited, lethargic kind of tired. It comes not just from giving care, but from monotony and loneliness. I feel a heaviness and absence of inspiration that usually gives me energy to write, to cook, to hike, and to read.


I am betting that a lot of us feel this way. So, I have decided to find things that inspire me back to my old self--to 'snap out of it' and find beauty in life again. My last post about a walk on the Camino di Santiago was a nod to this urge. But now the urge has transformed into intention. This morning I've decided to find words or images that 'bring me back to myself' and to share them with you here in The Caregivers' Living Room. As it happens, a friend who is a priest in the Church of England and a poet himself, Mark Oakley, posted this gorgeous blessing by the late Irish Catholic poet John O'Donohue on Facebook last night. It is just the medicine that we all need. Let every reader, "return to yourself, having learned a new respect for your heart and the joy that dwells far within slow time."


 


For The One Who is Exhausted, A Blessing
by John O'Donohue






When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all 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 tide 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 in 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 fast 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 colour
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness 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.

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