The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have
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Philosopher-poet and cancer survivor, Mark Nepo opens a new season of freedom and joy--an escape from deadening, asleep-at-the wheel sameness--that is both profound and clarifying. His spiritual daybook is a summons to reclaim aliveness, liberate the self, take each day one at a time, and to savor the beauty offered by life's unfolding. Reading his poetic prose is like being given second sight, exposing the reader to life's multiple dimensions, each one drawn with awe and affection. The Book of Awakening is the result of his journey of the soul and will inspire others to embark on their own. Nepo speaks of spirit and friendship, urging readers to stay vital and in love with this life, no matter the hardships. Encompassing many traditions and voices, Nepo's words offer insight on pain, wonder, and love. Each entry is accompanied by an exercise that will surprise and delight the reader in its mind-waking ability.
place to start: Do one thing and do it well. Though I would offer it as: Do one thing at a time and do it entirely, and it will lead you to the next moment of love. Center yourself and think of the many kindnesses that you feel called to do. As you breathe, let your heart glow around one. Without thinking, pray for the others, but devote yourself today to the one. NOVEMBER 2 The Hunt for Truth I take a wolf's rib and whittle it sharp at both ends and freeze it in blubber and place it out on
skins like snakes and crabs and came out with youth renewed. But after a time, a woman, growing old, went to a stream to change her skin; according to some, she was Ul-ta-marama, Change-skin of the world. She threw her old skin in the water and observed that as it floated it caught on a stick. Then she went home, where she had left her child. But the child refused to recognize her, crying that its mother was an old woman, not this young stranger. So to pacify the child she went after her old skin
of the street. Until I noticed Roy, I was lost in the joy of walking home, free of school, not yet enmeshed in the anger that waited inside my house. But once seeing Roy, I began, without a word, to walk faster, to try to outwalk him. He, of course, sensed this immediately and picked up his gait. As he strode ahead of me, I felt lacking and so stepped up my gait. Before I knew it, we were both racing to the corner, and I felt that if I didn't get there first, I would be a terrible failure. I
the ego burn. And jumping through. We will more than survive—we will be carried to an unimagined shore. Center yourself and mediate on one way of being, thinking, or loving that stands between you and the fullness of life. It might be a hiddenness you bear. Or a critical/blaming nature you suffer. Or a fear of your own feelings. Breathe deeply and imagine what moving through this old way might ask of you. It might be as simple as giving yourself permission to be spontaneous. Or giving yourself
into the world, to express who I am, must always come first. Since wanting to be thought well of never goes away, I always have to keep the reactions of others at bay long enough for my voice to make it to the light. I must tell you of an old man I know who came here from Italy. He's spent his life working as a plumber. He is a good, sweet man, and when he laughs, which is often, he cries, no matter who's around or whether or not anyone understands. He keeps his pipes clean. He lives out loud.