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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

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  1,547 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
Focuses on bringing God s blessings into our lives in times of transition, grieving, change, or preparation for theunknown. Some of the blessings are for specific situations such as benedictionsover births, weddings, new jobs or new homes. Others are unexpected, including a prayer for the loved ones left behind after asuicide or for a parent after the death of a child. The ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2008)
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Brandy Walker
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"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.
Casey Pick
Aug 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Laurie Buchanan
Apr 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
May 14, 2015 rated it liked it
May I live this day
Compassionate of heart,
Clear in word,
Gracious in awareness,
Courageous in thought,
Generous in love.

After a Destructive Encounter (!!!)
Now that you have entered with an open heart
Into a complex and fragile situation,
Hoping with patience and respect
To tread softly over sore ground in order
That somewhere beneath the raw estrangement
Some fresh spring of healing might be coaxed
To release the grace for a new journey
Beyond repetition and judgment,
And have achieved nothing of that,
Pierced Librarian
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone!
John O'Donahue's last book, published after his untimely death, is one of the most profoundly touching books I have ever encountered.

I am not sure I can say I merely read this book, I more inhabited it. I reach for it when I need a moment of grace, a moment of support, or a moment of remembrance that we are all ephemeral.

John O'Donahue writes: has been one of the deepest longings of the human heart to strain against the erosion of one's life, to find a way of living and being that manages
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book of blessings for every situation. Would to love to have this one on my bookshelf as the blessings are great to share.
Apr 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book of blessings from John O'Donohue.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beautiful book of blessings for significant occasions, inspired by Celtic Christian thought.
Sarah Clarke-Smith
Feb 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Julie Vandlen
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Pat Loughery
Feb 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
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.
Jenny Benson
Sep 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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."
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most beautifully crafted books that I have ever read.
It is a book that I will always cherish, take notes on and in, memorize and love.
This is a must read.
Sep 20, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm conflicted about this. I was hoping to love it. It seemed right up my alley — O'Donohue even described the act of blessing as "like the discovery of a fresh well" in the "parched deserts of postmodernity," which is exactly the sort of metaphor I find tantalizing.

And I did like a lot of the book. Each blessing is written a loose poetic form and addresses one topic, life event, or challenge. There were a few — "For Eros", "For Love in the Time of Conflict", and "For Belonging" — that I loved.

Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another brilliant book by John O'Donohue. I am a huge fan of John's writing and this book of course was another fantastic read. What struck me the most was how much it hit home that there are so many occurrences in our lives that we take for granted, yet really they are opportunities for opening up to seeing the blessings in our lives or providing blessings to others. Ritual around crossing thresholds is almost non-existent so reading this book reminded me of how much magic there really is in th ...more
Robert Steelquist
O'Donohue, a poet, brings us meditations on life's events that deepen our experience of them and call forth their possibilities—their blessings—that we might otherwise miss—in grief, in celebration, in uncertainty. God, he says, is too big a word, but the power of compassion, of love, self-kindness that lies beneath these meditations suggests that some universal force is not far away.

Keep this book close. Life events will certainly unfold that make its words comforting, again and again.
Joshua Coolman
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
I felt inspired by John O'Donohue's book of blessings. He has an amazing way of finding and making meaning in all of life's passages. I was struck by his images of what it means to be spiritual, and I was moved when he writes about blessings for loved ones who suffers a sudden death - because John himself died suddenly and unexpectedly.
Cheryl Crotty
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beautiful, lyrical book for any nightstand. John O'Donohue. Writes about blessings and what they really mean. Then proceeds to write beautiful and honest blessings for any occasion or situation. They read like poems. A beautiful book.
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
There are a finite number of blessings in this book, yet I've found that there is a blessing included for any and every occasion I've needed. I simply love John O'Donohue!
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lent-book-club
This is beautiful, thought-provoking and soul-comforting.
Val Sanford
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Read this. Really. Read this. Over and over again. You will find inspiration and hope and comfort.
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I adore this book and keep it at hand for ongoing inspiration and celebration.
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
I love this book. He has a thoughtful poem for every occasion and situation. My meditation instructor often reads from this book. I might need to buy my ownn copy.
Liz Lapis
Dec 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: daily-blessings
This book has become my literary sanctuary. For every family gathering and intimate solitary ritual, I return to the O'Donohue's blessings to bring spirit into a space. It is by my bed for morning and evening prayers; and it takes a prized place in my purse for traveling.

In O'Donohue's introduction to this collection, he asserts that each blessing, although poetic, is not an oblique reference to the imperceptible beauty in life, but rather an intimate act of friendship to anyone needing a remin
Barbara P
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 03, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Jul 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religious
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
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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...
“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.” 73 likes
More quotes…