The Inner Landscape of Beauty.

June 28, 2020

The Inner Landscape of Beauty.

May 29, 2023

Krista Tippett’s podcast “On Being” is one of my top three listening pleasures when I shuffle down our three-mile beach here in El Pescadero with my AirPods on and Jamie frolicking in the waves beside me.

She says this conversation with poet John O’Donohue is the most beloved podcast she’s ever published as it occurred just before his premature death in his early fifties a dozen years ago. As many of you know, I end my book Wisdom@Work with O’Donohue’s poem “For a New Beginning” and introduced it to Wisdom Well back in November.

Here are some of my favorite gems from this conversation of Krista and John on befriending reality through our life transitions:

  • We ought to measure a wise life based upon the impact we have on those around us.
  • As we get older, we start overhearing ourselves say things we never knew we knew. Cultivating and harvesting wisdom is an archeological dig.
  • Rituals are essential in life to help cross thresholds to a refreshed life, but we lack them in midlife just when we need them most which almost makes midlife feel both unworthy and a period in which one feels awkward about ending something and starting something else anew.
  • For someone who loves long walks in the Irish landscape, it’s exquisite that John was most enchanted by the beauty inside: “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.”
  • Our soul choreographs our biography and biology. Sometimes, we have to be in trouble to come face-to-face with what’s truly essential. This is when we need to assure we don’t evacuate our interiority or mistake glamour for beauty.
  • God is beauty. The human and spiritual are intertwined even when we don’t notice. John’s sojourn from priest to poet was his journey of learning just how intertwined our inner landscape is with the divine.
  • Be careful distracting yourself with the outer world when there is so much beauty to be found within. Life’s greatest skill might be building a relationship with one’s inner beauty so it can be transmitting externally.

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