My BEST Survive and Thrive Mantras

I spent the weekend with a tribe of 80+ like-minded, conscious souls that I hadn’t seen in two years.

Upon arrival we were all tested for Covid before receiving our color-coded name badges in an effort to keep all of us feeling safe.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Never Lost, Always Found

On the darkest night of the year,
Susan asks about Grandma Minnie
yet again. And again, I soften and speak
of being a child in your Brooklyn kitchen,
sitting next to your stove as you made
latkes, patting the excess oil and giving
them to me while they were warm.
And Susan jumps up, as she does every
year, as if for the first time, and starts
grating potatoes. I put on klezmer music
and we make latkes and eat standing
in the kitchen.
Our dog jumps to the music or to
the presence of something unseen.
I grab her paws and we dance briefly
to the music of the old world.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Anthem

Yes, you fell down.
I feel for you, for I have
fallen many times.
Now, you must get up.
I know it isn’t easy.
I know it will take time.
Remember, the seed
can’t imagine breaking
ground. And the fledgling
can’t imagine flying.
And so, your broken heart
can’t imagine finding its way.
But life is this repeating journey
from sleep to wakefulness,
from blindness to sight,
from fear to love.
No matter how many times
we fall, we are just beginning.

A Question to Walk With: Describe your latest journey from sleep to wakefulness or from blindness to sight, or from fear to love.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Traveling Again

After almost two years at home, I was overwhelmed just ordering the Uber to the airport. I needed to reclaim that in-between space while traveling as home. Once Christopher dropped me off, I was back in the stream. But as soon as I got to the counter, I was delayed and would miss my connection. My mind began to spin with logistics. Could I still get to Denver tonight? Would I have to go tomorrow? Should I just rebook now? The delay threw me off.

I was rebooked through Minneapolis. It all worked out, though I didn’t arrive in Denver till after midnight. In texting my wife, Susan, I almost wrote, “Something went wrong.” But I stopped myself, caught by an earlier flight deplaning. Dozens of passengers scurried out of the arrival gate, like bees scattering from a hive, buzzing about, intently focused on the countless choices suddenly before them.

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Painting For Peace

There once was a king who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried. The King looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he thought really captured peace, and so he had to choose between them.

One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy, white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of peace.

The other picture had mountains, too. But, they were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which rain fell, in which lightning played. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all.

But upon closer inspection, you could see behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. And nestled in the bush sat a mother bird on a nest. There, in the midst of a storm and the rush of angry water, a mother bird had built her nest and sat upon it.. in perfect peace.

This was the picture that won the prize because the King realized that . . .Peace is not the absence of conflict, not the absence of storms, not the absence of rough waters, but calm and serenity right in the midst of it.

Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: For Your Birthday

I wanted to reach for you, to say with urgency—
Don’t go. Don’t ever go. But it was only after
lunch, early on. So I watched you go. I’ve come
to understand that in that simple moment, I felt
the whole of our life together. On that corner,
it felt like a thumb pressing on the center of my
heart. It stopped my breathing for a second and
in that pause, I knew I had to see you again.

Through the years, I’ve felt my heart indent
that way a handful of times: carrying popcorn
into a theatre and hearing you laugh, seeing
you work wet clay in the yard as yellow leaves
fall, watching you watch the moon above the
winter trees, coming home to see you drip
water from your finger into the mouth a
broken bird. What kind of story is this?
I know you better than anyone and yet
something in you makes me want to
hold you and ask, who are you now?

A Question to Walk With: In conversation with a friend or trusted loved one, sit with them and ask them, “Who are you now?”

This is from my book of poems in progress, Elsewhere.

Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Under the Quest

Can you drink from the Lake of Being
you came from before you were named?

For peace lives there.
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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Staying Awake

I don’t support the notion that some people are awake and others are not. Everyone is capable of great love, kindness, and insight. Everyone has eyelids. Some of us open our eyes and some of us, for various reasons, live with our eyes shut. Likewise, some of us live with an open mind and an open heart and some of us, for various reasons, live with our mind and heart shut.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Resilience

Given that I almost died from cancer, I have had several attribute my survival to some deep wherewithal within me that crisis awakened. But humbly, I must clarify the resilience that helped save my life was not just some reservoir within me. It did not come from me alone. But through facing what was mine to face, I was given access to much more than me. I think this is the paradox about resilience.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: The Instrument that is You

We discover metaphors by surrendering our attention, by staying in honest conversation, and by listening to the quiet movements of life as they appear before us. Let me share a recent example.

I was visiting Pine Manor in Lake Elsinore, CA, where I teach every year. My good friend Gail Warner founded and directs Pine Manor. She is an old, wise soul. I like to come a day early so that Gail and I can re-enter our lifelong conversation about the mystery of being here.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Where to Now?

Now that I’ve come out of hiding,
my fears are forgetting to be afraid.

Now that I’ve dropped my opinions
in the rain, my story is too small
to cover my heart.

Now that I’ve put down what I thought
was important, I’m surprised by angels
lost along the way.

How we got here doesn’t matter
and where we’re going is just
something for the mind to chew.

I’ll meet you here, in the palace
that difficulty opens—the magical
doorway, the shape of who we are.

A Question to Walk With: Describe a door that difficulty has opened for you.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Under the Temple

The temple hanging over the water is

anchored on pillars that nameless workers

placed in the mud long ago. So never forget

that the mud and the hands of those workers

are part of the temple, too. What frames the

sacred is just as sacred. The dirt that packs

the plant is the beginning of beauty. And

those who haul the piano on stage are the

beginning of music. And those who are

stuck, though they dream of soaring,

are the ancestors of our wings.

A Question to Walk With: Thank someone who struggles with what comes to you easily, for they have steadied the ground for you.

This excerpt is from my book of poems in progress, The Gods Visit.

The Truth About Mother

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other:

“Do you believe in life after delivery?

”The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.”

“Nonsense,” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”

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Conversations of Light

We are intrinsically light encoded in our DNA and every cell. Each moment there is a transmission and emission of that light and information in a streaming conversation exchange.

Kennedy takes us into a direct experience of the physics of light, photonic transmission and emission. Relax into this “conversation of light.”
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The World Is a Garden

For many years I had a garden filled with a variety of flowers in our yard in Massachusetts. After we moved to Florida, I created a smaller “garden” of potted flowers on our lanai. Now, back home in the Boston area, the backyard we share with our downstairs neighbors really has no room for a garden like my previous one. Instead, I have begun taking long walks through the neighborhoods of our town to delight in other people’s gardens. I have found this to be an unexpected gift of my return to New England. I loved having my own garden, but now I am enjoying the entire town’s gardens, as well as those at nearby Mt. Auburn Cemetery. Suddenly, the whole world has become a garden—or I am realizing it always was.

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The Surprising Otherworldly Secrets I discovered When Visiting A Jesuit Mission in Mexico

I could almost feel Mother Earth wanting to open up and receive tenderness and care, to wipe away the pain and suffering that had occurred for so many years. 

Places of worship like temples, churches and missions might hold some of the best indicators of the mindset and growth of a culture. Think about all the weddings, funerals and other practices that bring us together on a regular basis. They carry so much emotion, joy, grief and everything in between. Does the rich intensity fill up the cavernous rooms and seep into the foundation? I think so. Keep reading and discover the otherworldly secrets I discovered at a Jesuit Mission in Mexico.

Recently I enjoyed a family vacation in Loreto, Mexico. The beaches, water and people were amazing. However, I had one day that offered me something completely unexpected.

We signed up for a Christmas Eve tour of a Jesuit Mission located in the Sierra de la Giganta Mountains. My mindset prepared me for a peaceful experience that would allow casual exploration of the sacred mission and settings.

The night before the tour set the tone for my adventure. I had a dream where I was asked to help the dead see the light. When people died but could not, or would not go to the light, my role was to show them the doorway to Source or the other side. When I woke up, I tried to shake the dream off.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: The Mute Sage

When the jar fell off the counter
and broke, our dog went to lick up
the honey but we were afraid she’d
cut herself on the broken glass.

You kept her back while I swept
up the slivers. Later that night,
it occurred to me that this is
what it is to be human: always
going for the honey while
tiptoeing around the glass.

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Living a Making

When finding my way, 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 tending the assignments that come from “without” while living a making is tending the assignments that come from “within.” Making a living is how we survive, but living a making is how we thrive. We need the strength and resilience to do both.

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Vision Boards: How to Create One & Reach Your Dreams

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You get what you see?” 

It means that your thoughts create your reality, so whatever you see in your mind’s eye – in terms of how you view yourself, other people, and the world around you, as well as the vision you have for your life – is what you will experience. 

This gives you incredible power! It means that you can change your reality simply by changing the thoughts and vision you hold in your head. 

And vision boards are a valuable tool for this.

Also known as “dream boards,” or “inspiration boards,” these simple visual tools make it easy for you to clarify your vision for the life you truly want to live – and keep it top of mind so you can make persistent progress toward it no matter what is happening in the world around you.  

I personally have used vision boards for decades to bring my biggest dreams to life. Back when I was first starting out as a success trainer, I set myself the ambitious goal of making $100,000 in a year. 

To keep my goal top of mind, I created a gigantic picture of a $100,000 bill and taped it to my bedroom ceiling so it would be the first thing I saw when I opened my eyes every morning. 

And you know what? By the end of the year, I had made $97,000. I was three thousand dollars shy of my goal but I didn’t feel like I had failed at all because that was so much more money than I had ever made before and it made me understand that my vision was absolutely within my reach. 

So now I want to teach you how to make a vision board that will allow you to make your most ambitious dreams come true! 

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Mark Nepo's Weekly Reflection: Being Vulnerable

Even if it takes years, it is important to heal the wounded places, so we can recover the full use of our heart. For the parts of our heart that are left wounded and unresolved remain preoccupied and not available for us to use in living. If unprocessed, the wounded places become dark and hard. Being vulnerable allows us to recover our heart, because being vulnerable and tender allows our wounds to soften and heal.

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Weekday Personal Support

Join Panache Desai each weekday morning for support in reconnecting to the wellspring of calm and peace that lives within you and that has the power to counterbalance all of the fear, panic, and uncertainty that currently engulfs the world.

Designed To Move You From Survival and Fear to Safety and Peace. Available Monday - Friday. Meditation begins at 9 AM.  Access early to hear Panache's monologue -  around 8:30 AM. 

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