The Dancing Mind From Anam Cara ~ Celtic Wisdom by John O'Donohue

The Dancing Mind, From Anam Cara, or 'Soul Friend'

Today's post is inspired by the writing of John O'Donohue, a prolific author of Celtic wisdom.

This is Day 3 of my reigniting The Strong Spirit Path blog, sharing my adventures with reading the Bible for the first time, along with other inspiring texts, and leaning on God to illuminate our path  through our current financial and familial challenges.

Read Day 1 announcing reading the One Year Bible, here.  Inspiration for Day 2 ~ Be Willing To Go Out On A Limb For Me came from Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young ~ a beautiful, soft covered, widely read, heartwarming daily devotional book.

Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom, by John O'Donohue is among the most poetic, insightful books I've had the pleasure of reading. I borrowed some of his wisdom to add to my own book, The Strong Spirit 10-Step Plan. Specifically, the section where he asks, with what type of vision do you view the world?  The styles of vision include fearful, judgemental, resentful, indifferent, superior/Inferior, greedy and loving. You can read about what they each mean in my or his book.

'The Dancing Mind'

O'Donohue also talks about there being many kinds of solitude, including a solitude of suffering, "when you go through darkness that is lonely, intense, and terrible." We all have had our 'bleak' moments, when as he writes, 'words are powerless to express your pain.'

He then goes on to share some beautiful images found in nature that to him represent a mind in rhythm with itself. A field of corn bending with the wind, rather than standing stiff against it. A wolf-spider who weaves her web between two blades of grass, also bowing with rather than standing against the winds that do come.

Yielding rather than stiffening up to 'fight against' is also a key lesson in Tai Chi, or other forms of martial arts. "Be like water, my friend..." ~ as Bruce Lee often repeated.

O'Donohue continues, 

We put terrible pressure on our minds. When we tighten them or harden our views or beliefs, we lose all the softness and flexibility that makes for real shelter, belonging, and protection. Sometimes the best way of caring for your soul is to make flexible again some of the views that harden and crystalize your mind; for these alienate you from your own depth and beauty.

I read the first half of this book in flight to visit my mom in April, or perhaps it was even earlier. I've intended to get back to finishing it for some time.  Just today, despite running late, on a whim I grabbed the book to take with me to our clinic. Now, at the end of our day, I am finally opening it. There was a cocktail napkin inside that opened to the above passage. I immediately knew it would be perfect for today's post.

When we crystalize our thoughts into beliefs, we can become a slave to those beliefs.  It isn't wrong to have various beliefs, however, wise men of yore often taught to stay open, and fluid. Be like water. Stay soft and flexible. The more beliefs we hold, the more space that gets occupied, shutting out room for anything counter to our beliefs.

When faced with something that legitimately challenges our beliefs, we experience cognitive dissonance. We may reject new information out of hand, not wanting to face the fact that our long-held belief(s) about a particular matter may not be as true or appropriate as we had previously believed.

It takes courage to face this. That is the path of The Strong Spirit!

I hope you enjoyed this post. Stay tuned, more to come!

Join me! Let's create a Strong Spirit Tribe!  Here's some cool Strong Spirit Path & Strong Spirit Woman Merch ~ Made in USA cotton shirts, hoodies, mugs, bumper stickers, kitchen magnets, and more!

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