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I am back in the office after the first real extended period of rest I’ve had since we started producing SOF weekly six years ago. Esther Sternberg’s analogy of a “reboot” was completely apt. I had to shut down, in every way. My dear colleagues created the space in our collective work life for me to be able to do so. They changed my e-mail password (at my request), so I could break the habit of e-mail; it took me weeks to stop trying to log in, compulsively, practically in my sleep. I called this my e-mail sabbatical.

And I went back to a magical place, the Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat, where I had gone once before, three summers ago, when I was finishing my book. It was one of the most beautiful places I had ever experienced, but I was a crazy person on deadline.

Krista Drawing Water at the Anam Cara Writer's and Artist's RetreatThis time, I was able to soak up the beauty, to read as much as write, and write what gave me pleasure. I spent lots of time in a hammock on a little island that the locals call “fairies’ island” and that does feel utterly enchanted. I have always been drawn to islands and craggy places where you feel like you are on the edge of the world; and as you can see on this map, the Beara Peninsula qualifies.

I also enjoyed the friendship and cooking of the visionary owner/director of Anam Cara, Sue Booth-Forbes. Sue never met John O’Donohue, but [S]he named her retreat after his [John O’Donohue’s] book, Anam Cara, Gaelic for “soul friend.” I learned about him from her, and this time was able to tell her all about the wonderful conversation I had with him, back in Minnesota, before his untimely passing.

I thought of him there, felt his spirit, and was differently attuned to the meaning and working of beauty, especially in that place — recalling his observation that the Greek word for “beauty” is the same word for “calling,” for example, and that a defining quality of beauty is that we feel more alive in its presence. I have spent time since pondering a wonderful statement he made, so true for me right now, that beauty isn’t all about “nice, loveliness like” but a “kind of homecoming for the enriched memory of your unfolding life.”

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21 Comments

Glad that the beauty of Connaught gave you a soft stay Krista. And it's lovely to remember that landscape in light of John O'D. Hopefully the rest continues.

The interview with John O'D was the first SOF I heard. I visited Connaught & Connemara with my wife and our young sons. It is one of the worlds "thin places" that we can reach across and within to find rest and reflection.

I think I'll pull up the John O'D interview and have a sort sabbatical myself . . .

I spent time in Connaught and Connamara with my wife and two, then young, sons. That landscape is one the "thin places" where we can reach across & within to find rest and reflection.

The John O'D interview was the first I heard on SOF. I think I'll pull it up and and a short sabbatical myself this week.

Wonderful first discovery of SOF this morning waking up with NPR... John O'Donohue uses voice and words like dream textures. Another great reason to finally go out and acquire an MP3 player tool for enriching my life, I think. Glory!

I loved also his comment about thresholds as being the threshing place of separating the wheat from the chaff. For me it's that place where you step over to "come home". It made me think of the threshold as being a place where you separate the essential from the unessential. It is the place where you leave off at the door all that is unessential before you make that step into "homecoming" bringing all your fruit with you. Thank you for such a wonderful conversation

I have been a fan of Speaking of Faith for some time now, and can usually only visit Krista Tippett's interviews online now. John O'Donohue's work is new to me, and I treasured every word, every moment of the interview. Thank you for this, his words are timely and course correcting for me, thank you, thank you. Though today is my first introduction to Mr. O'Donahue, I mourn his passing as if I knew him. Thank you, Ms. Tippett, from my heart.

Thank you SOF for carrying this piece. I have been a HUGE fan of John O'Donohue for many years and have had the pleasure of meeting him. I miss him and am so grateful to see his work being honored and his beautiful eloquence being shared!

Just Thank You, for making all of the interview and poems etc by John O'Donohue available.
It's great to have the opportunity to hear him : ))

I have been on a spiritual journey for quite some time and until now had not succeeded in feeling nourished in any way - then I heard John O'Donahue. I will never be able to express my gratitude, Krista, for your wonderful interview with this astonishingly, beautiful, spiritual man. Having listened to the podcast and the unedited version numerous times, I can truly say that I have experienced my homecoming. I feel that I have crossed the threshold into the world I have been in search of for many years and it has truly changed the course of my life. My only sadness is that of feeling as if I've lost a dear friend. May John's blessings live on in all of us...

Be sure to listen to the beautiful CD's of his talks - Anam Cara, Beauty, To Bless the Space Between Us... Many libraries carry them, and they're also available from Sounds True.

The depth of the John O'Donohue conversation has keep me in another place for days...beauty, life, our passing, poems about asking the illness to tell us what it has for us..never have I felt so moved and connected to the heavens and the earth. Thank you Ms. Tippett for introducing me to yet another amazing person. You can be sure, that in my work as a nurse, my patients will be blessed by Mr. O'Donohue's fine work. Peace to John O'Donohue's memory whose words continue to give life and to you Ms. Tippet - rest well dear one..

I have read parts of this wonderful article and pieces on this luminous poet. I love what he wrote about the Greek word for beauty, being also "calling", and I do believe he would say beauty calls to us, and we are deeply, called to beauty. The sensitivity of perceiving beauty in nature and all things, should lead us towards awe, sensitivity, and a deepening of our connectivity to all living things. I would hope that beauty is thus connected to truth, as in Keats' most beautiful words, and also that the awe or wonder of creation will bring us all into a new consciousness of what it is to love!

Thank you for taking a corner of the veil with John O'Donohue, and pulling it back
so we may imaginatively and soulfully step into the raw and serene landscape of our
life's higher calling: gracious wonderment. Your team's appreciation of this poetic soul
and your elegant interview, reveal your own higher dimensions in the world of media.

Krista, On NPR this morning, I woke up to your show, and I will never be the same....thank you
Katie Giallanza, Twinsburg Ohio

I was able to spend the summer in West Clare and after reading this piece I realize why I felt more alive and at peace there.

Krista - thank you so much for this program, one so perfect for this Thanksgiving Day passage. John O'Donohue stirring insights and his magnificent voice always leaves me feeling grateful to be alive and blessed to live in a world that he gifted with his profound understanding of spirit, soul and the primal importance of beauty.

Krista - I've been waking up to your program now for several months and this morning's was one of my favorites. I was mesmerized listening to John O'Donoghue's thoughts on finding God in beauty. Thank you for this wonderful inspiring interview - and all of your programs.

Thank you once again for the John O'Donohue Remembrance progam.It's a joy to hear : ))

Krista- I have discovered your program while driving to work as a nurse on early Sunday mornings and it never fails to inspire me. I must thank you for yesterday's John O'Donohue Remembrance, it was beautiful. As a woman of Irish heritage I listened with great joy to John's incredible voice and gift of communicating spiritual thoughts in the beauty of Celtic tradition. I am inspired and looking forward to learning more about this exceptional man and appreciate you making his story available to anyone who wants to listen.

Thanks Krista for your wonderful programs. This one was heard while driving to work on a Sunday morning. It cast a spell of beauty over me like that cloak of John's. I first heard of John by reading a favorite author, Diane Ackerman. She wrote a short story about coping with his passing in her recent book, Dawn Light. I have been thinking about John all week and thanking you for the beautiful hour on Being. I am with you most Sundays as I make my way to work.

John is one of the greatest gifts I have had in my life - he is/was such a beauty soaked human. I love how he dug deeply into the human condition, looking for and offering his discovered beauties. His own insights are so wondrously shared and offered as blessings - his "ahhhh" moments are immediately available and so intimate. I will always thank God that I discovered the joy of his work and his writing and his philosophy. It has been as he would say "HUGE" in it's impact on me.

I love each of the Being shows but this one with John O'Donohue especially moved me. Landscape. Beauty. Threshold. They all carry in them such profound meaning. I have listened to this episode on podcast every morning since it first aired and each time I gain new insight and/or perspective on my life and what it means to be spiritual. Many thanks for this and all of the Being shows.