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The Truth of Everyday Life: John O’Donohue

John O’Donohue was a priest and a poet whose life was struck short in January 2008. Shortly before his death he replied to a question about if there was anything that haunted him. He said, “It is the sense of my days running through my fingers like the finest sand and I can’t stop it.”

Whether our minds like it or not, this is the reality. We all share a common truth in this life and that is the truth of impermanence. But it is this very truth that frees us up to recognize the wonders of everyday life.

Life becomes more routine when we deny or avoid this reality.

John wished that we “experience each day as sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.”

How could we possible do this if we’re not aware of the preciousness of life? Things are precious because they don’t last. Think about a butterfly or a flower. Many of us view these as precious because of their short lifespan.

In the context of this planet, we have a very short lifespan. In the context of the universe, this planet probably has a short lifespan.

Our moments in this life, in this day, right now, are precious and may even be considered a sacred gift.

Have you ever looked at the trees outside and truly wondered how it is that they grow? Or closed your eyes and listened to the birds chirping only to open the eyes back up again and sit in wonder about how we have all these different animals on this planet?

Have you ever wondered or been amazed at the fact that you have the ability to view the words on this page, read them, comprehend and make meaning? The complexity of our biological makeup is astounding our ability for consciousness and reflection has yet to be truly understood.  

One thing that I am clear on is that behind everyone’s emotional walls sits a wise self that is there to love and receive love and it seems from the accounts of many on their deathbeds when life gets simple that this is truly what is most important. 

Time is like fine sand slipping through our fingers, why not open our eyes to come in touch with what is most important right now.

Make this a reflection for today that you come back to.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

The Truth of Everyday Life: John O’Donohue

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is creator of the six month online program A Course in Mindful Living, author of the book Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion, The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Mindfulness Meditations for the Anxious Traveler: Quick Exercises to Calm Your Mind, the premier eCourse Basics of Mindfulness Meditation: A 28 Day Program, the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations. Join The Now Effect Community for free Daily Now Moments and a Weekly Newsletter. Dr. Goldstein is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles.

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APA Reference
Goldstein, E. (2010). The Truth of Everyday Life: John O’Donohue. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 24, 2019, from


Last updated: 30 Aug 2010
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