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Mark Nepo
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MARK NEPO has taught in the fields of poetry and spirituality for more than thirty-five years. His #1 New York Times bestseller "The Book of Awakening," was selected as one of “Oprah’s Ultimate Favorite Things” in 2010. In his book, "Seven Thousand Ways to Listen," Mark offers ancient and contemporary practices to help us stay close to what is sacred. His most recent book, Reduced to Joy, contains 73 poems, retrieved and shaped over the last 13 years, about the nature of working with what we’re given till it wears us through to joy. As a cancer survivor, Mark devotes his writing and teaching to the journey of inner transformation and the life of relationship. To learn more, please visit www.MarkNepo.com and www.threeintentions.com.

Entries by Mark Nepo

In the Interior

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 1:27 PM

This poem speaks to a lifelong journey with my oldest friend Robert. We have known each other for close to thirty years.

In the Interior

When you let me in your life,
all the way in, we took this walk
that turned into a hike that I didn't

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For My Brother

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2014 | 4:47 PM

During my father's slow avalanche to death, my brother was a tireless advocate on his behalf, a bodhisattva in the way he cleared debris and made things easier for everyone around him. I was in a plane over the Pacific Ocean when I finally wrote this poem for him.

For...

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The Murmur of Life

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2014 | 2:41 PM

That our heart can receive and hold anything and that we feel that the intensity of living is too much to bear is a paradox we can only live into. Under what is both unbearable and endlessly uplifting is the murmur of life.

The Murmur of Life

I hear this...

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Out of the Way

(0) Comments | Posted March 17, 2014 | 6:54 PM

Kindness and suffering are wordless teachers, ready to bend us and soften us until we accept that we are here; that, try as we will, we can't build our way out of existence or dream our way out of being human. Once opened in this way, we come to realize...

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The Dilation of What Seems Ordinary

(0) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 3:33 PM

To dilate means to widen or open more fully and the purpose of experience, both through ease and pain, is to widen and open us more fully. The normal way we meet the world is full of bumps and bruises and noise that scratches up the heart. And yet, if...

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Heartwood

(0) Comments | Posted February 26, 2014 | 3:45 PM

An old friend died several years ago. At the time, I wrote this poem. I don't know why but I still can't delete his phone number from my contact list. Oh, to do so would seem so final, but I also still feel in contact with him.

Heartwood

...
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To Cultivate Wonder

(0) Comments | Posted February 20, 2014 | 9:48 AM

Wonder is one of the arts of reverence. It is always very close to the surface, just behind the eye, below the tongue, in between the beats of a waiting heart. It's a subtle resource that requires our welcome to show its full strength.

To Cultivate Wonder

As a teacher,...

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Legacy

(0) Comments | Posted February 11, 2014 | 5:48 PM

In the days after my father died, there were many quiet moments and many stories told. It was a small thing my mother said while crying over tea that allowed me to connect these small stories of my great-grandfather, my grandfather and my father. I never realized that they form...

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The Moon Hears My Confession

(0) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 12:32 PM

I'm always humbled by the way life appears when I think I'm in control. It's then I always feel less than, as if I'm falling short, as if I've let things slip out of my hands. When I remember that I'm one small part in a very complex and numinous...

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Midway in Our Journey

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2014 | 3:38 PM

Part of everyone's journey in life is to arrive at precipice or fork in the road or at the end of a path and to realize we no longer know our way. Hard as this is, this is where the inner journey begins, when all we've carried has served its...

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Aging

(0) Comments | Posted January 13, 2014 | 1:43 PM

My father used to quip that old is always 10 years out from wherever you are. I'm 62 and to think of how old I once thought this was! What I'm learning is that age is not the distance from the beginning of our lives but the distance at any...

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Somewhere

(0) Comments | Posted January 7, 2014 | 12:51 PM

No matter what we're going through, the opposite is happening somewhere else at the same time. This awareness doesn't minimize our own experience but adds context and medicine to the truth of any given moment, the way a rip in the curtains we have drawn seems like a violation of...

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Next to a Gull

(0) Comments | Posted December 30, 2013 | 1:47 PM

When in the crucible of a difficult life change, I went to be by the sea, to clear my head, to open my heart, to imagine next steps. What I found was the beauty and resilience of life waiting under my trouble and all trouble. It helped me look beneath...

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Where the Snow Begins

(0) Comments | Posted December 23, 2013 | 1:29 PM

During his last year, my father suffered four strokes and a heart attack. We watched him be yanked back and forth between life and death. This piece was written during this time.

Where the Snow Begins

Snapped in the slack of a crisis that sleeps and roars but doesn't seem...

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Things Dark and Light

(1) Comments | Posted December 16, 2013 | 3:56 PM

It seems the purpose of story is to lead us back to what matters and to show us how everything is a part of something larger. And it seems the story of our individual lives keeps showing us how we all go together and come together, once we put down...

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I Bow to All

(1) Comments | Posted December 9, 2013 | 5:46 PM

Sooner or later, just by living, we are reduced to what matters, as so many things we thought were important and irreplaceable are broken or snapped like small branches in a storm. And somehow, we stand taller with less coverings. It is then we begin to feel gratitude, even though...

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Leaving

(0) Comments | Posted December 5, 2013 | 1:49 PM

Leaving and being left is such a painful part of life that it's hard to make sense of its place in a living Universe. This poem is one attempt.

Leaving

How hard it is to leave or be
left. Sending someone away
because violence is near. Or
...

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On My Way

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2013 | 4:13 PM

I was en route to see my father one more time, deplaning in Detroit, about to make my connection to LaGuardia, when my sister-in-law called me to tell me that he was gone. I stumbled about on the jetway, finding the next gate. I wrote this poem on the way...

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Freefall

(1) Comments | Posted November 19, 2013 | 1:26 PM

I'd like to share this poem for all of those viewers of Super Soul Sunday who were moved enough by it to ask me where they could find it. Unfortunately, this poem is in a book that's now out of print, but here it is for you to share and...

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Approaching Integrity

(1) Comments | Posted November 12, 2013 | 9:26 AM

We work so hard to get somewhere, to realize a dream, to arrive at some destination, that we often forget that though some satisfaction may be waiting at the end of our endurance and effort, there is great and irreplaceable aliveness in the steps along the way.

Approaching Integrity

We...

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