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To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings
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To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings

4.52 of 5 stars 4.52  ·  rating details  ·  720 ratings  ·  80 reviews
From the author of the bestselling Anam Cara comes a beautiful collection of blessings to help readers through both the everyday and the extraordinary events of their lives.

John O’Donohue, Irish teacher and poet, has been widely praised for his gift of drawing on Celtic spiritual traditions to create words of inspiration and wisdom for today. In To Bless the Space Between...more
Hardcover, 222 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by Doubleday Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Mar 13, 2008 Beth rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: poetry
This is a beautiful collection of blessings by John O'Donohue, that has come out just month's after his untimely death. His celtic poems and voice are eloquent. His blessings are absolutely beautiful. Listening to him read them, with his Irish dialect, is captivating. At the end of the book, he writes about retrieving the lost art of blessings. "Something deep in the human soul seems to depend on the presence of kindness; something instinctive in us expects it, and once we sense it we are able t...more
Casey Pick
This is a book of blessing-poems, and I suppose the simplest way to express its impact on me is to say that I was blessed when my friend put this book into my hands. Over the course of a summer away from home, I read it cover to cover, and the experience was like being a stone that fell into a creek - gradually, gently, each page worked to wear away some rough edges, leaving a new smoothness of spirit behind. I can't really point to a particular piece that sticks out in my mind - it isn't that k...more
Brandy Walker
"Blessed" is a grossly overused word. But, this. This is different! There is something so pure about a blessing: words woven together with a delicate pen so that someone else might experience joy and love and happiness. I use this to bless people weekly, if not daily. Amazing.
Laurie Buchanan
This is the last book from Irish poet and spiritual teacher John O'Donohue, one of the most lyrical writers of our times, who died suddenly and unexpectedly in January 2008.

A blessing breaks down the barriers between people and is the ultimate form of intimacy. It changes the environment around us and opens new possibilities of connection, healing, and transformation. O'Donohue laments that in the West we have "no rituals to protect, encourage, and guide us as we cross over into the unknown." Th...more
This is one of the richest books I've ever had the pleasure of reading.
Incredible source for family, ministry, prayers, toasts and even times of remembrance.
Mr. O'Donohue uses the most beautiful and poetic language to bless our modern day with life, hope + restoration for the soul.
A beautiful book of blessings from John O'Donohue.
Julie Vandlen
This book of blessings by the Irish poet John O'Donohue is essential for those going through transitions in life or anyone in need of insight. I am eternally reading this book because it sits next to my bed and i pick it up and read an installment as i need one. O'Donohue has included blessings for many stages of life; a new job, for the new mother, new beginning, or simply for emotions being experienced. It is beautifully written and I feel that everyone should own this book because you never k...more
Jenny Benson
Do yourself a favor and get this in hard copy. You'll return to it again and again. It's a great way to stop and take in the moment when you're starting something new, at a life threshold, or just experiencing loss or love.
"A blessing evokes a privileged intimacy. It touches that tender membrane where the human heart cries out to its divine ground."
I was working on a sermon on "covenant" for this past Sunday, and found this book very helpful for why we human beings need ritual, blessing, ceremony, verbal acknowledgment of transition and "crossings" in our lives. It's a beautiful collection of Blessings for almost every occasion you can imagine.
Barbara P
A friend offered O'Donohue's book to me to read. I am grateful he did. The author places blessings in a more contemporary way than the traditional way of offering blessings. There are a number of chapters with numerous blessings under each title/section. I have not bought this book as yet but probably will. My husband and I read a blessing a number of mornings in our shared devotional time after breakfast. I used a blessing at a wedding I officiated at and read a blessing in a reflection offered...more
Sarah Clarke-Smith
I recently heard John O'Donohue on one of my favorite podcasts, "On Being.” I fell in love with his Irish accent and his message of beauty, souls and sense of the meaning of life. I loved his sharing and perspective on ancient Celtic wisdom, German philosophers and even bits of his Christian message about what God is. “The word blessing evokes a sense of warmth and protection; it suggests that no life is alone or unreachable. Each life is clothed in rainment of spirit that secretly links it to e...more
I wanted to love this book. It had such promise--a book of blessings for all occasions, written by an Irish author who had a Celtic theological bent. Despite the author's claim that these are blessings (and that he prays in Jesus' name), the "open-endedness" of their language dilutes any power they have as Celtic Christian blessings and makes them feel more like random lines of words (the author takes great pains to say it's not who am I to argue? :) ) Other parts were just not bless...more
O'Donohue's non-fiction books, while containing gleaming nuggets of insight and wisdom, tend to reflect a playful poetic imagination that often loops in on itself -- thus making it a little difficult for the reader to stay engaged. This delicious book, though, allows his poetic nature to flow freely into an assortment of beautifully phrased blessings for people and for situations. Though I copied a couple into my journal for further meditation, I think this would be a good "reference" book to ha...more
I want to give every one I know a copy of this book. A series of blessings for seasons of life, states of being, and so much more. John O'Donohue has captured the beauty and power of invocation and the ritual of blessing one another. An incredibly powerful way to mark changes, rituals, and the advent of important events in life...this book can be devoured from cover-to-cover or simply picked through for portions that are appropriate for the moment you find yourself in.

O'Donohue is a very talent...more
I wanted this book to be a place where I could find blessings to include with cards that would help me express deep-felt sentiments without sounding sappy. It didn't. Basically it had a blessing specifically for all kinds of moments...passing a graveyard, losing a loved one, etc.

However, this book did have some really shining moments likening a blessing to a prayer and saying that people have the power to bless and really change others lives. That I believe. Some of it sounded like fortune cooki...more
Pat Loughery
Absolutely gorgeous poetic words of blessing for everyday events in life: birth, illness, breaking up, entering adulthood, meeting a stranger, so many others.

John o'Donohue's voice is sacred and whimsical and wise and dearly missed,

I would rate this book 7 stars on a scale from 1 to 5. It is that beautiful.

For a fantastic interview of O'Donohue, see Krista Tippett's podcast On Being, at, completed just prior yonhis untimely death. It helps so much to hear...more
Pam I.
Jul 21, 2012 Pam I. added it
This beautiful gift of words reflects the essence of Celtic spirituality, especially reminding us that life itself, in all its joys and sorrows, is blessing. We are reminded to look for and recognize blessings in day to day living. We are reminded to offer and to be a blessing in our world, because blessing as a way of life is how the world is transformed. When my heart is too full or too empty for words to come easily, I find encouragement , comfort, insight, and healing in these pages. The pow...more
Connie Ferrell
Rare and beautiful Irish poetry
I keep this on my bookstand.
Jeanne Grossetti
this book of blessings, written by the late john o'donohue in his lyrical poetic style, is full of kindness, grace, and beauty. the blessings are arranged by purpose, and the reader can easily turn to what might be most deeply needed, or open to any page and encounter words that touch the sacred. this book is dear to my heart.
This is a lovely book of Celtic blessings. Some of the readings are quite arresting in their simplicity and ability to capture a moment or an experience. However- yes there is a however here for me: I was disappointed with the almost New Agey feeling of such broad brush sentimentality that ran throughout the book. It will not grace my bookshelf for long, because it is not able to take me where I need and want to go in times of reflection and need.
T Crockett
I first learned about O'Donahue through an interview he did with Krista Tippet on On Being, a show on NPR. This book of blessings/poems is organized by purpose and time. It's the sort of book you dip into to find what you need. In that way it reminds me of the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer.

O'Donahue has a gift for words. He paints images and feelings without becoming overly wordy. These are sown to earth, approachable gems.
I met John O'Donohue on a recent weekly "Speaking of Faith" email - such a lovely Irish guy (no longer living). Why I love this book: the text is in blue, titles in gold. And who doesn't need a book of blessings for all occasions - blessings 'For Light', 'For the Artist at the Start of the Day','For a New Home', 'For a Prisoner', 'For Solitude', 'For Loneliness', 'For Wildness'. Medicine for my heart this week.....
Jul 01, 2008 Colleen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes Annie Lamott
I heard this author interviewed on NPR's "Speaking of Faith." The interview had been taped, but the author died just before it aired--that fact, his lilting Irish accent, and his positive, compassionate attitude propelled me to read this small book. The blessings and prayers are written with descriptive analogies between nature and grace. Sweet, simple--I prefer more Pema Chodron's phrases to instill gratitude and reverence.
Feb 21, 2010 Suzanne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Suzanne by: Ana
Shelves: faith, poetry
Simply gorgeous. His writing, profound understanding, and articulation of the human experience took my breath away, page after page. I would highly recommend it for anyone hoping to be more fully present to their lives, and to find beauty and meaning in both ordinary moments and life transitions alike. After reading some of these blessings, all I could do was hold the book to my chest and say thank you.
Maura Caffrey
Given to me by my beyond-wonderful sister on my 50th, a few months after my beloved husband died, O'Donohue's blessings are poems evoking a spiritual insight and strength in the reader that cannot be appreciated, or credited, without reading them often, listening to recordings of John read them himself, and allowing them to enter the essence of one's being, however shriveled it may have become.
O'Donohue's writing is incredibly inspiring and wise. I first heard of him through an interview in the Sun Magazine and David and I used one of his concepts of each person needing to tend to their own wilderness in our marriage ceremony. If I had known this book was published two months before our wedding, we probably would have used one of his beautiful blessings in our ceremony as well.
A lovely book of "blessings" for different's inspired me to write my own for our own special occasions. In particular, to give you an example of its contents, I love A Blessing for the New Year, For a New Beginning, For a New Home, For a New Position, For Love in Tine of Conflict, For Longing, For Courage, For Solitude. So many more too.
Willa Grant
The poet John O'Donohue has written a book of blessings, they are (as he says) NOT poems but blessings & they are some of the most amazing ones I have ever read. I recommend this book to anyone with a soul. I got this book from the library & I will be buying one to own very soon. It is worth having & using forever.
Feb 07, 2013 Alicia rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Alicia by: gift from my oldest daughter
A beautifully written book of Blessings and the understanding of how blessings are our link to the divine being and everyday life. Although Celtic, O'Donohue writes regardless of the differences in languages or religions but with emphasis we are all capable of accepting and giving blessings. Beautiful book!!
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A book of bleesings 2 14 Jun 13, 2012 09:15AM  
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John O'Donohue, Ph.D., was born in County Clare in 1956. He spoke Irish as his native language and lived in a remote cottage in the west of Ireland until his untimely death in January 2008. A highly respected poet and philosopher, he lectured throughout Europe and America and wrote a number of popular books, including Anam Cara and To Bless the Space Between Us.
More about John O'Donohue...
Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom Eternal Echoes: Celtic Reflections on Our Yearning to Belong Beauty: The Invisible Embrace Conamara Blues: Poems Divine Beauty: The Invisible Embrace

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“For Equilibrium, a Blessing:
Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.

As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity by lightened by grace.

Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what's said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of god.”
“Each of us is an artist of our days; the greater our integrity and awareness, the more original and creative our time will become.” 32 likes
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