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Wisdom for Life

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Unfurling Into Your Life’s Desire

Unfurl yourself

into the grace of beginning

That is at one with your life’s desire.

This quote, by poet, priest, & philosopher John O’Donohue, has become magic to me. The more I read it, again and again, the more it speaks to my heart.

The first word, unfurl, summons up for me images of sails being unfurled on a great masted ship beginning a journey of adventure and discovery. I can almost hear the snap of the sails and the splash of the waves, feel the ship riding the sea and the wind on my face, smell the salt air coursing through my nostrils. I can imagine myself standing on the ship’s bow, gazing out, my heart swelled with anticipation that something grand and glorious awaits me.

And yet it is no sail that is being unfurled to begin this adventure, but myself. What a strange but wonderful thing, that to experience adventure, to experience a new life, we have to open ourselves to it, in ways we may never have had the courage to do before. Physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually– we will need to unfurl every aspect of ourselves in order to journey to this new life.

But a sailing ship cannot move an inch under its own power. No, it needs something invisible yet powerful: it needs the wind. Likewise, we unfurl ourselves not expecting to reach our destination simply by our own efforts— no, our unfurling is only to open ourselves up to something far more powerful— the wind of grace. For if we but have the courage to unfurl ourselves, then the mystery of grace will start to move us. It will honor our beginning, and then work its magic beyond all that we can imagine.

Yet there is a secret to this supernatural grace, and it is this: it is at one with our life’s desire. I’m not speaking of the immature small desires for baubles and pride and pleasures, but our life’s desire— our deepest truest desire that has been growing in the center of our soul since we came into this world, the desire at the center of our true life purpose.

So, are you ready for an adventure, literally the adventure of your life? It all begins with unfurling yourself into the grace to let your life’s purpose guide you into your destiny.


If this talk of unfurling into grace and desire left you wondering more about the process of discovering and living your life desire,  I heartily recommend reading Stephen Covey’s masterwork The 8th Habit, John Eldredge’s excellent book The Journey of Desire ,  and the book that this unfurl quote came from, The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. For those interested, I will be teaching a seminar on using the goal-setting framework found in The Desire Map in January. More information will be posted on my website soon.



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