5 Jewels of Imagination

All images display the imaginative work of wind and rain on sandstone inside Antelope Canyon

I’m just finishing the book Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, by John O’Donohue, who was an Irish poet, author, priest, philosopher, and environmental activist.  His writings contain some of the most elegant, soul-stirring, thought-provoking prose I’ve read.  It’s hard to believe I’m just now reading him for the first time.

The human soul is hungry for beauty; we seek it everywhere – in landscape, music, art, clothes, furniture, gardening, companionship, love, religion and in ourselves.  When we experience the Beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming.  We feel most alive in the presence of the Beautiful for it meets the needs of our soul. ~John O’Donohue

For me, this book is like none other.  I struggled to get through the first few chapters because I kept thinking about what I was reading as I was reading it.  That’s a lovely way to explain it.  Ohhhh, what a beautiful line!  Hmmmm, I’ve never thought of that . . . I would catch myself time after time, lost in thought with my eyes still moving across the page, with no clue of what I just read.  It was a challenge to stick with the reading until I got to the end of a paragraph or a page.  Ahh, the power of presence!

The imagination is always loyal to the deeper unity of everything.  It has patience with contradiction because there it glimpses new possibilities.  And the imagination is the great friend of possibility. ~John O’Donohue

I’m grateful I kept plugging away.  I discovered a chapter entitled Imagination: Beauty’s Entrance, and I’ve read it several times over.  I’d like to share a few of its points. (All quotes are from the book unless otherwise noted.)

  1. The imagination awakens the wildness of the heart. This is not the vulgar intrusive wildness of social disruption. It is the wildness of human nature. Otherwise, he explains, convention could make our single adventure of life into a programme of patterned social expectation. According to Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Jungian analyst and author of Women Who Run with the Wolves, our wild nature is present at birth, providing us with passion, playfulness, inner knowing, creativity, courage, and confidence, but the process of domestication can result in this innate quality devolving into something that feels improper.
  2. The imagination keeps the heart young. When the imagination is alive, the life remains youthful. Even near the end of life everything can come alive in new and unforeseen forms. This research from the Journal of Aging Studies explains that productivity, distinction, and anti-aging are major organizing principles for elders describing themselves as creatives.
  3. The imagination has no patience with repetition. We become interested in what might be rather than what has always been. Experimentation, adventure, and innovation lure us toward new horizons. In Walking in this World: The Practical Art of Creativity, Julia Cameron writes, The soul thrives on adventure. Deprived of adventure, our optimism fails us. Adventure is a nutrient, not a frivolity. You might recall some of the reasons I am an adventure advocate from this post.
  4. The imagination offers wholesomeness: heart and head, feeling and thought come into balance. An awakened imagination brings the warmth and tenderness of affection into the life of thought; and it brings clarity and light of thought to the flow of feelings. As Mark Twain wisely stated, You can’t depend on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus.
  5. The imagination creates a pathway of reference for the visitations of beauty. It opens up diverse ways into the complex and lyrical forest of experience. To awaken the imagination is to retrieve, reclaim, and re-enter experience in fresh new ways. And in Kahlil Gibran’s masterpiece The Prophet, beauty is described as an ecstasy: a heart enflamed and a soul enchanted.

The brilliance of John O’Donohue’s writing caused me to pause and reconsider blessings I’ve taken for granted, like these jewels of the imagination. I encourage you to explore his work, as well, to bask in its powerful, heart-opening, sacred practicality.

When you regain a sense of your life as a journey of discovery, you return to rhythm with yourself. When you take the time to travel with reverence, a richer life unfolds before you. Moments of beauty begin to braid your days. ~John O’Donohue

Imaginative Blessings,


The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.

47 thoughts on “5 Jewels of Imagination

  1. This is good Lisa!! I’ve been thinking of taking a sabbatical to reinvent myself in hopes of opening up my creativity and imagination!! THIS is a great start!! 😘⭕️❌

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, Cindy, what a coincidence that you commented. I was just thinking of texting you earlier this week! I’m happy you liked this post. Your sabbatical sounds lovely, although I think the current version of Cindy is pretty amazing! How about some time in Northern AZ??? 🌞


  2. Lisa those Antelope caves are priceless to visit. They told us how flash floods formed them and come in at any time. While we were in them we felt the beauty and fear of them. A lovely combination with the writing on beauty you discovered. Lovely post. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, SRB&B, indeed, Antelope Canyon is like nothing I’ve seen. I’ve been there in sunny weather, and I’ve been there when thick, gray clouds covered the sky. Being inside with the clouds was frightening! There have been reports through the years of people drowning inside. I’m happy you enjoyed the post, my friend! 🌞


    1. Jeff! I really like your comment. I do believe that creativity can be a divine pursuit & we should all take part in it. I am blessed to be familiar with some of your creativity, namely your poetry! Hope your weekend (and your gardening) is going well! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, yes, Lisa! O’Donohue’s words can be intoxicating! In the last quote he writes about regaining our journey, returning to our natural rhythm and reverence of life; amazing! The inclusion of your stunning photos just adds to the magic. I must look out for that book. For now check this link: https://www.johnodonohue.com/
    Have a magical weekend 🤗🌹🙋‍♂️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ashley, the content of the website you sent is amazing! Of course that didn’t pop up when I searched his name here. I’m happy you shared it! When I recommended the author to you last week, I hadn’t any idea I’d be posting on him this week! I really like his work. Glad you enjoyed the post, as well! Wishing you & your bride a wonderful week ahead! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I find the best books are the ones you are able to internalize as you soak in their wisdom – sounds like this one was quite a good read. Enjoyed the notes on imagination. I’ve always felt that it is the concept of imagination that keeps society moving forward. There is always someone looking beyond the rest that breaks though barriers and brings us another step forward in technology, physics, art, conservation, Halloween props etc. you name it. A mind that can’t be free to roam from time to time is a tragedy. Great read.


  5. Lisa, these photos are unbelievably gorgeous. I thought the first one was chocolate icing, then I scrolled on. All just as delicious and breathtaking. Your comments about the book on imagination really touched me. My mother, at the end of her life, had a dream when under the influence of morphine after a heart attack. She came out of it and described the funniest experience she had during the dream, watching a performance with a cat orchestra conductor and flowers that came out of the wall and danced. She called it Room 101. I’ll never forget it because she made it so real.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Marsha, I loved reading about your mom’s dream. End of life is such a precious time. I worked with a hospice organization for 7 years & heard so many lovely stories. The book was like nothing I’ve read, and I highly recommend it. I’m please you enjoyed the photos! Have a joyful weekend! 🌞

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What beautiful imagery painted in words and your picture dear Lisa. I’m glad you persevered. I have to get there. It reminds me of being in Bali and how every reflection and minute is art and beauty. It is astounding and I’m grateful to be here. 💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mmmmmm, sounds like I need to go to Bali! Hey I wanted to mention, we are having a blogger meet-up on Sept 15 in Prescott, if you can make it out this way at that time. I’m hoping there will be 15 or 20 of us there. You’re welcome to stay at my house. Thanks for your lovely comment, my friend. 🌞


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