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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Kuehn

For the Traveler

A poem by John O'Donohue



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 ~

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