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: One More Time

Wilfried-Santer Fragrance of peace

Every day, we are challenged to love what we’re given as much as what we want. We don’t have to like the things we’re given, but we need to find a way to accept them. And love is the surest way to deepen our acceptance. And so, we must stay devoted to getting up one more time than we fall down. To waking up one more time than we fall asleep. To being sensitive one more time than we are blunt and cumbersome. To listen one more time than we speak. To hold one more time than we drop what we’re holding. To aspire to be clear one more time than we are confused. To open one more than we close. And to lean into life one more time than we are pushed away. We may not always land in the open, but when we do, the tenderness we find is the earned fragrance of peace.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Living a Making

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When finding my way as a young man, I came home from college to have a classic argument with my father. Over dinner the first night, I declared to him with excitement that I was a poet. I hadn’t yet written anything but knew it was true. He was incredulous and frustrated and loudly asked, “How are you going to make a living?” I’m not sure where it came from in me, but I looked at him and said, “I’m going to live a making.” I confess that I’ve spent much of my life learning what that means. And it is living a making for so many years that has led me to the place of true meeting that waits under all our struggles.

I have learned that making a living is how we survive, but living a making is how we thrive. We need the strength and resilience to do both.

There is always a tension between surviving and thriving, and between making a living and living a making. Part of the journey of individuation is withstanding the tension of both until they work hand in hand.

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You And Your Brain: Upgrading The Relationship

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" When your mind and heart are truly open abundance will flow to you effortlessly and easily.

Although the marvels of the brain as an organ have been wondered at for decades, there’s a risk that science will make us feel like brain puppets. Neuroscience runs this risk by assuming, without any proof, that our brains think, feel, perceive the world, and make choices. In reality the brain is an instrument at the service of the mind. We cannot live without it, just as we cannot live without a heart, but by promoting the brain into a thinking machine (an M.I.T. professor who championed Artificial Intelligence dubbed the brain “a computer made of meat”), we demote ourselves.

You are much more in charge of your biology than you think. Your experiences constantly change your brain. Much of the time we fail to pay attention to how we relate to the brain, but no relationship is more important. One thing the human brain does, in fact, share with computers: It is programmable. We primarily use this fact the wrong way around. Instead of programming our brains to be open, creative, alert, and quiet, we program it to carry out a hundred short cuts.

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Your Are Enough – Enter The Heart

iStock-1198297154 Your Are Enough – Enter The Heart

“Your heart is also what allows you to embrace the deepest, darkest parts of your created self and bring them into resolution.”

The result of acceptance and vibrational transformation is not that you become a doormat. It is not an excuse to do nothing about your situation, whether it is an abusive relationship, a job that is unsupportive, or a dear family member who is taking advantage of your good heart and pocket book. Quite the opposite, vibrational transformation sets the stage for empowered, inspired, dynamic action.

These deepest, darkest parts of yourself are usually found cloaked in the guises of your sub-personalities. Sub-personalities are egoic adaptations that help you navigate the world—­coping mechanisms that protect you from feeling your perceived lack of worth and lovability.

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End the Pain of Getting in Your Own Way

perfect-paintbrush-with-pink-heart-on-white-picture-id1156702512 End the Pain of Getting in Your Own Way

You know what it means to get in your own way, don't you? It is a true phenomenon.

Try to picture this: I'm walking down the street and then I run into myself… how can I run into myself unless I'm divided in such a way that in any given moment I’m on my way to do what something in me says is going to make the moment right, then I run into what the moment says will make it right… and I have a crash?


Here’s a little story to illustrate this idea of getting in our own way:

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Coronavirus – The Heart of the Matter

heart-shape-on-the-beach-picture-id1161657351 Coronavirus – The Heart of the Matter

All my life I have gone to the heart of the matter. When I graduated from college, I volunteered to fly fighters because I felt that was the heart of the Air Force. My eye sight prevented me, so I joined the Infantry because I felt that was the heart of the Army. Then I became a Green Beret officer because I felt that was the heart of the heart of the Army. When I wrote about quantum physics, I reached for the heart of this new discipline so I could write a book about it without scientific jargon and give non-scientists like me a clear and understandable explanation of it. That book won The American Book Award for Science, I believe, because it did exactly that.

I have come to see the heart of everything that we do and experience, individually and as a species, as consciousness. Our consciousness. My consciousness. Changing anything in the world, including myself, requires changing consciousness. The only place I can change consciousness is in myself.

Now I come to the coronavirus. Like everything I see around me, I see the coronavirus as symbolic. It has a lesson to teach me, and in my opinion, it has a lesson to teach us. The coronavirus is real in that it kills, the world economy is crippled, hundreds of millions have no work or shelter or comforting hand to hold theirs when they are ill. The most difficult is yet to come in economically undeveloped countries and collectives.

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Peace from Gratitude

IMG_2198-1200x900small Peace from Gratitude

Charles Dickens described the French Revolution as “the best of times” and the “worst of times.” We could use similar words to describe our world now. There is chaos, conflict, death, and destruction on the one hand, and love, compassion, and the birth of a new more aware consciousness on the other. We who are alive at this time are bridges between the old and the new, Heaven and Earth, humanity and divinity. To hold all that within us requires great courage as well as deep inner peace. How do we achieve that?

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From an adrenaline-based system to a heart-based system: Anchoring the Deep Heart

meditating-guru-boy-picture-id1015300864 From an adrenaline-based system to a heart-based system: Anchoring the Deep Heart

As I now awake to the melodious sound of happy birds instead of rushing people, to the Earth taking a deep breath, the Sun rising up on a new changing planet, I am in gratitude. We have all known that the pace and the impact of humanity without connection consciousness, without care to all beings or one another had to cease somehow. Little did we envision it would come in the form of a tiny particle. Yes there is tremendous hardship and for that my heart goes out. As we deepen together and awaken to the always connected universe, we are transitioning in force and unprecedented collective from normal to natural, from adrenaline-based stress-based living to a true sense of the underlying connection, love and universality based in the heart, our portal of oneness, of love at its highest singularity. We have the opportunity now more than ever to step out of normal which was devastating the planet into a more natural connected, radically inclusive, resonant relationship with our world, all of Creation and the Cosmos.

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The Heart of Peace

IMG_1973-1200x900 The Heart of Peace

During challenging times, such as the one we are currently experiencing, it is often quite difficult to remain calm and centered. Fear and anxiety dominate the collective consciousness, and we start to slide into negative thinking and feelings of overwhelm. We forget that at our core is unshakable calm and peace.

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How To Deal With A Breakup and Heal Your Heart

breakingup How To Deal With A Breakup and Heal Your Heart

Breakups are never easy.

Often difficult, painful, and sometimes messy.

Know this: Your heart can never be truly broken, even though it might seem that way in the moment. Your heart is beyond physical, it’s capacity to love is infinite.

In any breakup your heart gets broken open beyond its current capacity to love. Prior to the breakup you were able to love to a certain degree. The breakup shatters the edges of your heart’s limits. Yes, it can be painful in the moment, but like a deep yoga pose it stretches you beyond who and what you were. Breathe into it, and allow your heart to open wider.

Every breakup is a potential breakthrough. Every breakup is a graduation to your next level, so long as you learn the lessons of the relationship.

The end of a relationship with someone you love can be extremely painful, but it is not a failure. The real success of a relationship is not in how long you stay together, but in how much you became the most authentic version of yourself and how much you loved.

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Limitless Love on an Evolving Planet

IMG_0567-1200x900 Limitless Love on an Evolving Planet

Is love on a global scale, for oneself and others, possible? I believe it is, despite evidence to the contrary. Let’s face it. The current planetary paradigm that we inhabit is based in limitation. From a very early age, we are taught to curtail our heart’s desires for fear they will be crushed within a skewed social matrix that does not allow universal self-fulfillment and growth. Most social constructs in our world are organized on a top/bottom basis. Whether you are at the bottom or top, your life is limited by the very fact of inhabiting a limited paradigm. What would it take to shift that paradigm, to make it inclusive instead of exclusive? How about a complete transformation in global consciousness? Because until the collective consciousness changes, we are all caught in a web of limitation.

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Spiritual Liberation

spiritual_liberation Spiritual Liberation

Social activism and making a constructive difference in the world were focal points in the Los Angeles household of my childhood. My parents’ generosity of heart and community values were strong influences on me and my two brothers. Their example contributed to my involvement in anti-Vietnam protests during high school, boycotting businesses that paid unfair wages to people of color, and my membership in the Black Worker’s Congress and the establishment of the Harriet Tubman Prison Committee in college. I enthusiastically participated in these and other socially acceptable activities of the ’60s and ’70s. I was known to be an agnostic, so my unorthodox spiritual opening came as much of a surprise to my family and friends as it did to me.

In the early 1970s I was a student at the University of Southern California, majoring in psychobiology, a time when smoking marijuana was, well, the norm. What I was learning in classes about mental illness caused me to wonder if echoes of some childhood experiences wherein I experienced visions were pathological. I cut back on the marijuana, hoping the visions and voices would stop. Instead, they only intensified.

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Feeling Blessed

IamBlessed Feeling Blessed

“To be awake is to be alive.” — Henry David Thoreau

There are some days when thinking gives way to feeling. This is one of those days for me.

Today, I am getting out of my head and into my heart. Why? Because my heart feels full. I feel grateful. I feel hopeful. I feel blessed.

This morning, I wanted to share with you a poem I recently wrote called “Blessed.” It’s called that because it’s how I’ve been feeling.

Now, I haven’t always felt this way. Even when people told me I was blessed, I didn’t always feel it, even though I knew intellectually that I was lucky and fortunate in my life. I’ve had to feel my way into feeling blessed. It’s taken time. It’s taken practice. I had to get there on my own.

So, if you woke up this morning feeling down — or feeling anything but blessed — trust me, I get it. I know it can be hard to feel blessed if you’re working paycheck to paycheck, if you’re fighting to put food on the table, if you’re getting over a break-up, if you’re battling a sickness, etc. Life can throw a lot of things our way that make us feel anything but blessed. I know some people in the Midwest may not be feeling blessed after the tornadoes and floods, but I hope they have had moments where a total stranger’s generosity has made them feel blessed in recent days.

I’ve learned along the way that feelings come and go. One thing that’s always helped me when I’ve woken up feeling down about life is to put my hand over my heart, take several deep breaths, and honor the feeling. Then, I ask it to leave.

So today, my wish for you is that you can take a step away from thinking and step into feeling. Ease your way into it. Feel your way into feeling blessed. I share my poem in hopes that it will help you get there.

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Take Heart

hand-holding-red-knit-heart-picture-id1147909478 Take Heart

What do you do when the bottom falls out?

The Practice:
Take heart.

Why?

It takes heart to live in even ordinary times.

By “taking heart,” I mean several related things:

  • Sensing your heart and chest
  • Finding encouragement in what is good both around you and inside you
  • Resting in your own warmth, compassion, and kindness; resting in the caring for you from others; love flowing in and love flowing out
  • Being courageous, whole-hearted and strong-hearted – going forward wisely even when anxious, knowing your own truth and as you speak it

When you take heart, you’re more able to deal with challenges like aging, illness, trauma, or conflicts with others. You’re also more able to take advantage of opportunities with confidence and grit.

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The Universal Heart

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The heart of the universe extends outward energetically through every dimension of Being in the cosmos. That heartbeat is the vibrational source of the manifest world. Every star, every birdsong, every blade of grass, every human emotion vibrates with a universal pulse of life energy, the expression of absolute love many call God. Our own human heartbeat mirrors this divine process. With every rhythmic beat, our hearts pulse the love at our core into the world around us. That pulse connects human hearts around the globe, whether we recognize it or not. The time has come to recognize it.

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766 Hits

Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: All This has Yet to Happen

friends by Helena Lopes All This has Yet to Happen

When my twentieth book was published, we had a party in our backyard. It was such a milestone. My wife, Susan, surprised me that day by having the incomparable folk singer, May Erlewine, play with her quartet. I was dumbfounded to see her in our driveway. As May played, her voice threaded through our histories and I could feel the weave of stories that have brought us all together. After her first set, I offered a reading, one piece from each of my books. I have read all over the world and, honestly, I’m never nervous, but reading in our backyard to our dearest friends, I was. As I took in all those loving faces, my heart swelled and I realized that what so touches me about May and her music, beneath all her gifts, is that when I first saw her play, she reminded me that I am alive and that the moment we are in has yet to happen. And standing before my friends, I said as much, adding, “I feel this with each of you. Every time we’re together, no matter the distance or time in between, I am reminded that I am alive and that all this has yet to happen. In this way, each of you holds up my heart. In this way, each of you opens my heart. In truth, anyone or anything that reminds us that we are alive and that this has yet to happen is a friend.” I could feel all these beautiful beings with their gifts and burdens, mirrored and softened by each other’s company. Insight often appears in the loving presence of others. It had happened again. Standing with friends on this raft of an afternoon after years of rowing downstream together, I could see that friendship is my religion, the constant practice of love in the world.

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How can we cultivate a compassionate heart to find freedom?

compassionateheart How can we cultivate a compassionate heart to find freedom?

We all know our humanity too well.

That is why we put the focus on recognizing the part of us that isn’t stuck in the human-ness. Not to deny our humanity, but rather to bring it into balance through a compassionate heart.

That’s what you offer another person. When I look at some of you, I know you have problems with addiction and sexual obsessions, problems with loneliness and problems with anger, diseases and frigidity. I see the whole sea of stuff and you tell me about it, and I see curriculum after curriculum.

I see a group of beautiful souls on earth, each having its own karmic work to do.

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Your Compassionate Heart

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You have one. We all do. It just gets covered over with a protective shell of fear about your own survival. Or it is buried and forgotten in a busy and sometimes frantic daily life. We get lost in our own worries and concerns and forget about the others we share the world with. We lose sight of the fact that everyone else around us is living lives very similar to our own at the most basic level, beginning with birth and ending with death. Yet isn’t life about more than that really? Aren’t we greater than the events of our lives? Isn’t there a thread that ties us together, in spite of our differences?

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Take Heart

Take Heart Take Heart

When you take heart, you're more able to deal with all types of challenges. 

What do you do when the bottom falls out?

The Practice:
Take Heart.

Why?

It takes heart to live in even ordinary times.

By "taking heart," I mean several related things:

  • Sensing your heart and chest
  • Finding encouragement in what is good both around you and inside you
  • Resting in your own warmth, compassion, and kindness; resting in the caring for you from others; love flowing in and love flowing out
  • Being courageous, whole-hearted and strong-hearted—going forward wisely even when anxious, knowing your own truth and as you speak it


When you take heart, you're more able to deal with challenges like aging, illness, trauma, or conflicts with others. You're also more able to take advantage of opportunities with confidence and grit.

Additionally, it takes heart to live in, live with, and live beyond times that are really hard. Your personal hard time might be bad news about your health, the death of a parent, or betrayal by others. Or it could be related to changes in your country and world, and your concerns about their effects on others and yourself; I've written about the importance of finding and facing facts at the level of society (feel free to skip it if you don't want my take on politics).

There are so many examples of honorable people facing great difficulty with dignity, principle, and courage. They did it. We can, too.

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If you had an open heart, what would you do with it?

If you had an open heart, what would you do with it?

When I talk about opening the heart, what exactly do we do? Well, one thing you do is acknowledge that you feel closed. That’s the first thing. You don’t make believe you’re open hearted, which most people do much of the time, when they are actually a little more aloof than they’re feeling themselves to be. They always feel a little hypocritical.

First thing is to acknowledge what you’re feeling. I’ll tell you there are numerous practices for doing this, and you have to find one that’s comfortable for you. For example, I work a lot with my breath, and I breathe in and out of my heart, and when I’m breathing out in my heart, I allow whatever love I can muster for anything to be offered to people, to beings around me, and when I’m breathing in, I’m taking the existence of the universe into myself. I keep feeling this breath going back and forth and the breathing out is, ‘may all beings be free of suffering, may all beings be peaceful, may all beings be happy.’

I’m just saying to myself that no matter how hard-hearted or closed hearted I am, I am going to use my energies to the extent that my mind and my heart can do it for the benefit of others. I’m gonna wish them well, and I start out very uptight, you know, so I start out and then I watch.

 

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