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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

As Rachel Wakes

(0) Comments | Posted February 1, 2016 | 3:59 PM

Sounds True recently published a new, expanded edition of Inside the Miracle: Enduring Suffering, Approaching Wholeness, which gathers twenty-eight years of my writing and teaching about suffering, healing, and wholeness, including thirty-nine new poems and prose pieces not yet published. One of the great transforming passages in my...

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Thinking Like a Butterfly

(1) Comments | Posted January 27, 2016 | 1:31 PM

It's a difficult balance to welcome relationship without giving ourselves away. For each of us is subject to the influence of others. This poem explores this balance.

Thinking Like a Butterfly

Monday I was told I was good.
I felt relieved.
Tuesday I was ignored.
I felt...

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The Early Sky Is Degas Yellow

(0) Comments | Posted January 5, 2016 | 1:15 PM

As I get older, I'm humbled to realize how our limitations define us and what that means to those who love us.

The Early Sky is Degas Yellow

I love this time of year. The only leaves left are
small silhouettes against the sky. They will go

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The Better Way to Go

(0) Comments | Posted December 31, 2015 | 12:32 PM

Life is an endless series of comings and goings. This poem showed itself while I was waiting to board a plane.

The Better Way to Go

One at a time, they come off the plane:
looking for someone, or arriving alone,
returning, or beginning. As they get off,

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Just Keep Working

(0) Comments | Posted December 21, 2015 | 2:25 PM

Though we grow, we never really arrive. Life is a journey in which we just keep working. And if blessed, we are awakened and transformed by the work.

Just Keep Working

The leaves are inside out.
A storm is coming. Who first
noticed this? And what is a...

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I Promise You

(0) Comments | Posted December 15, 2015 | 5:26 PM

While our heart wants to promise everything, we often make promises that no one can keep.

I Promise You

I was in a circle of those
who climbed from the sea
onto the shore of a day like today.
We were tired, aglow, broken.

Out...

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Her Name Meant Light

(0) Comments | Posted December 8, 2015 | 2:45 PM

No one can escape the experience of grief and loss. This poem speaks to the loss of a dear friend during my journey with cancer.

Her Name Meant Light

--Forgive me.
I loved a woman who loved the Earth.

I met a man who was going there,
where...

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Least Complicated

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2015 | 2:02 PM

Often, what we're looking for is very near at hand.

Least Complicated

Sometimes I go about pitying myself,
and all the time I am being carried
on great winds across the sky.
-- Ojibway saying

Sometimes I lose it like the keys
to the...

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Pebble in the Stream

(0) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 2:05 PM

The gems of learning we quote from the past all had a real, live beginning. Each crystallized out of a human story. If we could only know those stories.

Pebble in the Stream

Each storm has, like a navel, a hole in its middle
through which a gull can...

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Breaking Bread

(0) Comments | Posted November 2, 2015 | 1:02 PM

We often think we're doing good when being helpful. And often we are. But at the same time, we are being remade by our giving.

Breaking Bread

The giver is used up in the giving
as rain evaporates in what it helps
to grow. It's human to...

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The Way We Practice

(0) Comments | Posted October 27, 2015 | 4:36 PM

We learn by doing and by introspection, the way we lift, first with one hand and then the other. Often, though, I'm brought back into the living of life by those I love.

The Way We Practice

The Earth spins on its axis drifting through the dark, seeming to go...

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To Be and Belong

(0) Comments | Posted October 20, 2015 | 1:36 PM

After my father died, I leafed through his notebooks as a schoolboy as he was learning his trade. This poem comes from feeling him as a young learner.

To Be and Belong

Let go your want for greatness
and feel the tool that's in your hand.

Let go your...

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Not According to Plan

(0) Comments | Posted October 14, 2015 | 2:47 PM

Always when impatient, I'm forced to wait, and the world shows its beauty.

Not According to Plan

When I drop my glasses
in the airport and they're
crushed in the walkway
between terminals, I get to
meet the three kind souls
who...

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Chant

(0) Comments | Posted September 22, 2015 | 5:19 PM

It seems the threshold to our spiritual journey waits beyond our struggle to work with what we're given.

Chant

What we want and
what we're given often
serve two different Gods.

How we respond
to their meeting
determines our
path.

A Question to Walk With:...

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Transformation

(0) Comments | Posted September 16, 2015 | 1:37 PM

Often, unexpected details are the gateway to larger transformations. This poems explores these quiet messengers.

Transformation

It could be the letter never answered,
the one in which you declared your love
in such a tender way, admitting to every-
thing. Or when the shell you...

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Love Is as Love Does

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2015 | 3:24 PM

This was a mythic moment of my youth, where I began to feel the world beyond my family.

Love is as Love Does

This is the world of Grandma Minnie, the Brooklyn of my youth, full of wonders and windows as far as I could see, out of which countless...

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Things Carried Through the Fire

(0) Comments | Posted September 2, 2015 | 2:09 PM

We have a sacred history with those we remain bonded to. We know what each scar and crease in their life means.

Things Carried Through the Fire

My grandfather's Talmud.
Your picture of Uncle Billy.
The innocence of our dog.
The things I never show the
...

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Lost Speech

(0) Comments | Posted August 18, 2015 | 4:03 PM

The truth of things waits out of view ready to surprise us when we least expect it. I learned the truth of this while out in the marsh one day at twilight.

Lost Speech

The more that falls away,
the more knit I am to things
before they...

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Inside Out

(0) Comments | Posted August 4, 2015 | 6:02 PM

Everything in nature is bruised and worn. This is how each tree and hill gets its beauty. We are no different.

Inside Out

I was taken aback, when
joining a fitness club, at
the history of my body: a
rib removed, torn ligaments
in an ankle,...

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What Matters Is Unsayable

(0) Comments | Posted July 27, 2015 | 1:28 PM

The challenge of poetry is that the only things worth saying are those things that are unsayable. The joy of such work is that whatever we come up with is more than enough.

What Matters Is Unsayable

As a boy, my father introduced me to the sea. Something in it...

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