For once, I’m speechless.
OK, not really. But I was for awhile.
To call what I experienced in Ireland a “vacation” would be a serious misnomer. It was instead, a profound encounter with my soul through poetry, nature, storytelling and music.
My Mom and I had the privilege of meeting Ireland through the eyes, words and connections of David Whyte, poet, teacher and author of Riverflow and The Three Marriages. We opened each morning with live music from Eoin and Michael O’Sullivan, also known as Size2Shoes, an up and coming (and supremely talented) pop duo in Ireland. Then David broke open our minds, hearts and souls with exquisite poetry.
We then took our wide open selves out onto the land, where we were fed by the beauty of limestone, wildflowers, and an ever changing sky. We played hide and seek with the sea as we hiked through the peaks and valleys of The Burren, a unique landscape of limestone rock left by ice age glaciers and sprinkled with the one of the most diverse flora populations on the planet.
Each night we feasted on fresh caught seafood from Galway Bay and fresh vegetables, dairy and brown bread. We stayed in thatch cottages with peat fires and a view of the bay from the front door. We visited pubs and homes and listened to “savage” playing by traditional musicians.
I learned to play the bodhran, I sang, I wrote poetry. I built beautiful memories and new bonds with my Mom. I stood in the ancestral home of John O’Donohue’s family (John O’Donohue, who died last year, was the author of Anam Cara and another one of my beloved teachers). I met Norin Ni Riain, whose singing was one of my earliest introductions to ancient Irish music. I danced on top of Dun Aengus in the Aran Islands arm in arm with David Whyte. I understood why I have felt such a deep connection to a place my ancestors left so long ago. It is still, in some cellular way, my home.
We experienced miracle after miracle. I laughed and cried more in one week than I typically do in a month (and believe me, I’ve never been stingy with either activity!)
My pledge to myself returning to the States, and my invitation to you, is this:
Stay Awake. Go to the Edge. Be Ready to Be Astonished.
Here I am in my first Bodhran lesson with Michael (“Moley”) O’Sullivan of Size2Shoes