It's easy to forget that we are all perfect in our own design. Sometimes we muck it up with habits and choices that do not serve us. 

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: I Promise You

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

Out of a sudden silence
a young woman stood and sang
You’ve Got a Friend. When I heard,
You just call out my name and
I’ll be there…” I saw you all.

No vow has meant more to me.
Yet there was the time I couldn’t
get there. And the time I was afraid
to come for some dark reason too
familiar for me to understand.

I am sorry for the wounds my
absence has caused.

We try like birds awakened by
a tone of light to fly into each
other’s need. And always
wind throws us off.
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5 Ways How Mindfulness Journaling Will Improve Your Life

Journaling is a way to reflect on the day and to find out more about yourselves.

It takes your ideas bouncing all over the place and a place to sort and organize how you think.

Some studies show that mindfulness can improve your wellbeing as well as the ability to control your emotions.

Let’s learn together how mindful journaling will improve your life.

1. You Learn More About Yourself

When you first put your thoughts on paper… you are forced to pause about what you want to write.

Then you start to go through the day in your head and you figure out what exactly you want to write about today.

Maybe you want to:

  • Talk about how you felt in the morning
  • The delicious lunch you ate today
  • How you’re grateful for the little things in life…

And we condense all of this information and only highlight the moments we want to share with ourselves.

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One Light, Many Reflections – Willing to Be Worthy

I write one page at a time, with only one to five words per line. The structure can look like poetry but has more to do with the physical limitations of a handwritten page and my desire to emphasize multiple meanings. My Page poems are a combination of sketch pad and journal.

The history and method of my writing process can be found in my article How I Wrote Three Thousand Pages Without Trying

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        "The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply." Kahlil Gibran

I like to limit my writings to one page with one idea, but my favorite achievement is to distill short meaningful sayings. I have selected a few quotes from my 2014 volumes for you to savor here. Try having three or four breaths between reading each quote to contemplate and expand the meaning to yourself.

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One Light, Many Reflections – The Sun Does Not Apologize

I write one page at a time, with only one to five words per line. The structure can look like poetry but has more to do with the physical limitations of a handwritten page and my desire to emphasize multiple meanings. My Page poems are a combination of sketch pad and journal.

The history and method of my writing process can be found in my article How I Wrote Three Thousand Pages Without Trying

'

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." Albert Einstein

    "The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply." Kahlil Gibran

    “Simplicity, carried to an extreme, becomes elegance.” Jon Franklin

I like to limit my writings to one page with one idea, but my favorite achievement is to distill short meaningful sayings. I have selected a few quotes from my 2014 volumes for you to savor here. Try having three or four breaths between reading each quote to contemplate and expand the meaning to yourself.

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One Light, Many Reflections – Tree Collection 

I write one page at a time, with only one to five words per line. The structure can look like poetry but has more to do with the physical limitations of a handwritten page and my desire to emphasize multiple meanings. My Page poems are a combination of sketch pad and journal.

The history and method of my writing process can be found in my article How I Wrote Three Thousand Pages Without Trying

It can feel unsettling to let go of concerns for punctuation, sentence structure and the rules of grammar but it is a natural part of my writing style to allow ideas to flow. The samples shared here are the original raw versions.

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One Light, Many Reflections – River Highlights

I began a private daily writing exercise in 1996 and never stopped. I have written over three thousand pages.

I write one page at a time, with only one to five words per line. The structure can look like poetry but has more to do with the physical limitations of a handwritten page and my desire to emphasize multiple meanings. My Page poems are a combination of sketch pad and journal.

The history and method of my writing process can be found in my article How I Wrote Three Thousand Pages Without Trying 

It can feel unsettling to let go of concerns for punctuation, sentence structure and the rules of grammar but it is a natural part of my writing style to allow ideas to flow. The samples shared here are the original raw versions.

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How To Be Unabashedly Alive

The ego, or the self you imagine yourself to be, has a thousand goals. But are they really yours? And are they your sweetest goals?

A whirlwind Western world worships productivity, as defined by how much we “get done.” But I’d love to see you become “undone” with joy. Because let me assure you of this: Learning how to be unabashedly alive is a very productive goal.

I want you to be free. Freedom doesn’t mean you’ll run away to Istanbul or forget to pay the rent. It’s a remembrance, not a forgetting. It’s remembering who you really are. It’s too easy to lose sight of your nimble, guided self in the everyday tasks and habits, not to mention the self-talk that cripples you, makes you feel behind, even before you’ve sipped your morning coffee.

It’s preconceived ideas about what we “should” be doing that prevent us from listening to our hearts in any given moment. But you can stop this “virtue” in its tracks. Set down the laundry or report, even for a minute. Your deep self wants to talk to you. Do you want to listen?

We don’t always realize what we’re not getting done by “getting things done.”

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Conversations with your Soul

For many years, I’ve kept my own journals to capture my own spiritual progress and record the patterns weaving in and around my life. When I look back, I can see how I’ve grown, and I appreciate the important lessons I needed to encounter along the way. During these unprecedented times, I find myself needing to record my thoughts and feelings more, as though I am drawn to the need to record them. My mind goes round and round trying to make sense of what is happening right now, not just in the USA, but all over the world.

The spiritual discipline of journaling is meant to be so much more than just a record of events. It’s a way to relish time with your self in quiet contemplation and reflection, and it will help you connect with your soul on a deeper level.  It’s a bit like a meditative conversation with your inner-self. It can also be a cathartic time, where you're able to work out your response to what's going on, and hopefully find comfort from within. If you've never made time to keep a journal before, maybe this is the ideal time to start. I like to call my journal, a Soul Journal.

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How I Wrote Three Thousand Pages Without Trying

I wasn’t trying to be a writer. It surprised me when I looked through the stack of handwritten notebooks stored in plastic tubs under my bed and realized, I have written over three thousand pages. It started as writing one page songwriting idea snap shots. I don’t write books, I write pages or at my best, distilled wisdom condensed into a single quote. I call my writing process WISDOM PAGES.  

Two simple exercises set the foundation for my unique technique in writing.

• THE MORNING PAGES daily practice in Julia Cameron’s classic, THE ARTIST’S WAY – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. I followed her suggestion and wrote three pages every day for over a year. This simple practice allowed unfiltered observation of my internal thought processes. Over time, the inner critic was silenced. I relaxed into a fluid intuitive style of free writing. The blessing of deeper self awareness is unmeasurable.

• THE WISDOM CAN is an exercise I learned in a prosperity class.

I decorated a large coffee can and named it my Wisdom Can. The idea is to observe one simple thing you learn each day, write a small note of affirmation and put it in the can. After the class we were directed to start taking out one wisdom message each day as a reminder of what we learned. My curiosity was ignited. I continued to put wisdom messages in my can every day for several years. Without knowing it, my habit of direct observation of personal experience fueled my understanding of how, focus amplifies experience.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: The Practice of Reading

In our modern age, the noble art of reading has been truncated and compromised. Today, a skilled reader is judged as someone who reads rapidly, who can scan the skeleton of any piece of writing and abstract its silhouette of meaning. Yet this is like taking an x-ray of a person and thinking you now have met the whole person.

The word “read” comes from the German raten which originally meant “to guess.” So reading is always a guess at what matters, a leaning in to all that is beyond words, a bow to all that gives rise to words.

I have always been a slow reader, not because I struggle with comprehending what I read, but because when challenged or moved by what I read, I slow down in an attempt to absorb what I’m taking in. Inherent in immersing ourselves in books is the call to enter time and not just move through it. Understanding reading in this way, books become thresholds to moments of living beyond our own.

There is a story in the Talmud in which students notice that their rabbi has been quietly reading the same passage over and over for several days. Concerned, one of the students approaches his teacher to see if he is alright. The rabbit smiles and says, “When I have come upon this small window into Eternity, why should I go anywhere else?”

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: The Energy of Hope

I believe that teaching, reading, and writing all have to do with searching. Each involves searching for Wholeness through dialogue and experience. When that search involves other living things, we find ourselves in the province of learning and teaching. When that search involves other living things that are not present or of our time, the dialogue takes the form of reading. And when that search involves things that are present and living but not yet visible or known, we have entered the creative realm, which includes writing.

These forms of search are really inseparable. They constantly impact each other. In truth, a teacher is someone who is actively involved in all three forms of search—whether they have a classroom or not, whether they are reading the wind instead of a book, or whether they ever write it down or not. At the heart of it, learning is really seeing, while writing is really internalizing what is seen through the life of our expression. And teaching is asking questions about what is seen and taken to heart—in an effort that if honestly entered usually leads to seeing further and taking in more.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Refection: Not Great But True

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.

Rumi

Because all young people are taught to be ambitious, I began as all young artists do—working toward some imagined greatness that might reveal itself in time if I could stay devoted enough to my craft. But along the way, I was humbled to be more uplifted by what was true rather than what was great, by what was heartfelt rather than what was intricate. It kept me close to my own experience, which when entered honestly began to reveal the common ground of all experience and all time.

From there, I risked more by entering the poems than by writing them, not sure where they might go, and found myself touched and changed by showing up in my life so completely. Well, that’s not very different than being changed by loving another, is it? Now in the second half of life, I am devoted to being in that holy space where the conversation of aliveness exists. It’s not about the words but the poetry of life that is revealed and enlivened by our honest engagement.

The process of writing and expressing—whether you become a writer or not—offers many valuable tools for living. If you concentrate on learning what those tools are and are diligent in using them, this concentration of wakefulness will help you live, and chances are that you’ll surface good writing.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Becoming a Poet

I started writing in high school after my first love dumped me. I was devastated. Though I wasn’t a loner, I didn’t yet have any close friends. So, I started talking to myself as a way to heal. Once on the mend, I realized I wasn’t just talking to myself. I had begun a conversation with the Universe.

In college, I wasn’t allowed to write creatively in the English department. This was before the burgeoning of creative writing programs. But a kind theater professor, Doc Palmer, took me under his wing, and told me that if I became a theatre major, he would take care of me. So I begin by writing plays, that was part of our deal. I’d sign up for his courses, though he’d give me different assignments. Instead of a paper on Oedipus or Hedda Gabbler, he’d invite me to write specific scenes modeled after the great playwrights. I also had to partake in every aspect of theater from set design to acting. This unexpected apprenticeship has stayed with me.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Bearing Witness

Bearing witness is one of the primary ways that human beings hold each other up and help each other grow. Bearing witness is also one of the primary functions of art. No matter what we long for in our imagination, we are just as obliged to affirm the truth of how we mistreat each other and how we lift each other up.

Social media is becoming a modern form of bearing witness that is adding to our communal sense of art. In 2010, it was the viral use of Facebook that helped ignite the Arab Spring, a revolutionary wave of democratic demonstrations and protests leading to civil wars in oppressive societies in North Africa and the Middle East. The ability of citizens to film events in real time has led to an irrefutable bearing witness of excessive force by police throughout America.

This all speaks to the timeless power of naming things for what they are in the open. In 1981, the luminous poet Czeslaw Milosz was invited to give a series of talks at Harvard as part of the ongoing Charles Eliot Norton Lectures. The talks were published a few years later as his remarkable book, The Witness of Poetry. In these deep and sweeping talks, Milosz articulates his belief that poetry should be “a passionate pursuit of the real.” He challenges us to reclaim the power of art to mirror both the failings and blessings of the world. He offers that art, in particular poetry, is our enduring crucible in which to face the moral challenges of our time.

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The Aperture of Intuition

The opposite of rational is not irrational but intuitive. And while the mind and heart work together, my experience is that the heart absorbs and integrates more deeply than the mind. One way to think of intuition is as an aperture that opens and closes the heart like the lens of a camera, letting in life until it colors our soul.

Reason is often an intermediary for a quicker, deeper, more elusive facility. Reason allows us to think like a ladder, while intuition allows us to think like a constellation. Weaving both, I write about what I need to know, not what I already know. If I had only written about what I know all these years, I would have written very little.

The truth is that I feel things more quickly and more deeply than I understand them. I understand things more quickly and deeply than I can speak them. And I speak things more quickly and deeply than I can write them. One of the reasons I am so prolific is that, years ago, I gave up the notion that I had to understand what I was feeling, thinking, speaking, or writing before I could put it down. Since that time, my writing has become an ongoing curriculum, because I no longer record what I understand but explore what I feel.

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Transformation

Entering the fenced area that holds our fruit trees; I saw a red colored coyote running. This vision was in my mind’s eye. Moments later, for the first time here, I heard a coyote call from one of the peaks near our new Arizona home. This is one of the pieces that needed to fall into place before I could settle down and write. We have been living in our home almost a week, and I have not done much contact with social media, or writing. The ideas for my blog were simmering. I needed to get settled enough to feel the pull of the words and peace. So taking in a deep breath, with a candle lit, I am diving into my place of wellness.

I have been thinking of my clients that struggle with staying aware of their ability to enjoy life; simply by monitoring their own reactions. From an outside perspective this is an easy observation to make. From the perspective of a person experiencing pain, frustration, or other emotions; it is not so easy.

Other clients are committed to making a deeper connection to their guides, God, Angels, or the Universe. They desire a strong connection to a higher power. This group wants to experience the inspiration, peace and feeling of confidence that comes with this connection. In our world people are seeking proof or hard evidence that God, or a lost loved one is able to be experienced in this realm.

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Is it time to Scare Yourself?

I am in the midst of a new project, something I’ve never attempted before, and I’ve been keeping a journal of the process. I promise to share all about it at that right time but for today here’s what I want you to know.

Over the weekend I read my journal and I had forgotten how absolutely terrified I was when I began it.

My first journal entry revealed that I was sick with nerves and severe anxiety as I began this project. I was filled with self-doubt and fear of failing. At one point I felt like I would pass out just thinking about the enormity of what I was committing to while having thoughts such as:

“Who am I to attempt this?”

‘”I don’t know how to do this.”

“I’m not smart enough to do this.”

“No one will ever be interested in this project.”

“I’ll end up looking like such as loser for attempting this.”

These and many other negative thoughts consumed my monkey mind, initially.

But, I didn’t let it stop me.

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5 Tips on How to Journal While Travelling

Documenting a trip makes for a great keepsake, but it can also be a powerful tool for self-reflection, turning any journey into a spiritual one. In this article, we share 5 tips on how to journal while travelling.

As best-selling author, filmmaker, and tour leader Phil Cousineau reminds us in his book to the Art of Pilgrimage, The Art of Travel: Journal, “by honoring our travel experiences through writing stories, poems, songs or creating sketches or other artwork, we can transform virtually all our travels, whether around the world or around our backyard, and make them more meaningful.”

How will you remember your travels? As a blur or as a vision?


In this blog, we share 5 tips to make a meaningful travel journal.

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A Moment of Decision

“The unending paradox is that we do learn through pain.” — Madeleine L’Engle


There I was last Sunday, sitting on my porch reading, when I came across a fascinating and inspiring article in the newspaper. (My porch is my favorite spot to sit, think, read, reflect, dream and write.)

The article, which appeared in the LA Times, was about Madeleine L’Engle, author of the wildly successful children’s book “A Wrinkle in Time.”

As a married mother of three, L’Engle spent years pursuing her passion for writing on the side. But, as the article states, she felt “spasms of guilt” for trying to write and never having much success. At age 40, L’Engle reportedly almost gave up writing altogether. But then, she had what she called her “moment of decision.”

That moment, according to the article, was when L’Engle realized that she had to keep writing for herself, even if she never successfully published another book again. And so, she began anew.

L’Engle got the idea for “A Wrinkle in Time” while on a family camping trip. She wrote the book, submitted to her editor, and then the rejections started to pour in. “A Wrinkle in Time” received “forty-odd rejections,” according to the article. L’Engle called each one “a wound.”

Nevertheless, she persisted, and “A Wrinkle in Time” went on to become the bestselling phenomenon that it is today.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: The Mystic Spinning of Threads


I wonder where you are tonight.

Each of you. You who I lived with

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30 Simple Ways to Create Balance and Connection

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