The Inner Landscape of Beauty: John O’Donohue

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“Beauty isn’t all about just nice, loveliness. Beauty is about more rounded substantial becoming. So I think beauty in that sense is about an emerging fullness, a greater sense of grace and elegance, a deeper sense of depth, and also a kind of homecoming for the enriched memory of your unfolding life.”- John O’Donohue

Sunrise over Charleston Harbor December 2015
Sunrise over Charleston Harbor December 2015

Dear Laura,

I wanted to remind you about this excellent podcast as we end the year together.  It is what inspired our work on BEAUTY with our installation and exhibition last year, and there is still so much here in this brief hour of talking that inspires me.

A little about John from the podcast On Being….

John O’Donohue entered seminary at a young age and was a Catholic priest for 19 years. But in the 1980s, he went to Germany to study the philosophy of Hegel. He eventually left the priesthood and devoted himself full-time to meditating and writing on beauty, friendship, and how the visible and the invisible — the material and the spiritual — intertwine in human experience.

For this letter I wanted to focus in on what he says about friendship.  I want to thank YOU for always being a good friend to me over the years.  You listen while ramble on about what I am thinking, encourage me when I feel defeated, make me laugh at how ridiculous things get sometimes, and help me see and celebrate all the good times and people I have the good fortune to walk with me during this life.

Here is what John says about friendship….

“When is the last time that you had a great conversation, a conversation which wasn’t just two intersecting monologues, which is what passes for conversation a lot in this culture. But when had you last a great conversation, in which you overheard yourself saying things that you never knew you knew? That you heard yourself receiving from somebody words that absolutely found places within you that you thought you had lost and a sense of an event of a conversation that brought the two of you on to a different plane. And then fourthly, a conversation that continued to sing in your mind for weeks afterwards.”

“If you realize how vital to your whole spirit — and being and character and mind and health — friendship actually is, you will take time for it, you know?”

Thank you for being my friend Laura!

Cheers to another great year creating, traveling, and endless phone conversations :)


p.s.- In the next letter Laura and I will be sharing our new mailART project (that piggybacks on our long standing Vision/ReVision project), new opportunities that have come our way, and shortly after that our WORD that will guide us through 2016.


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