Mark Nepo Made Me Do It


Mark Nepo = One of the greatest teachers of our time!I recently got the chance to learn from one of my favorite authors, Mark Nepo, at a retreat in Santa Barbara. This past year, I’ve made a regular ritual of reading excerpts from his book, The Book of Awakening. And when I saw his ridic raw two-part interview with Oprah, I was converted to super fan. An accomplished poet and spiritual teacher, Mark draws from his own experience of having survived lymphoma twice in his 30’s. He’s in his 60’s now, so part of me kind of wanted to see him for myself just to check that he’s real, and that he lived all the years in between.

I was actually able to find a moment to talk to Mark one-on-one. First, I made a point to tell him that he looks the same size in-person as he does on TV. (You know how some celebrities are way small when you meet them in-person? It wasn’t like that.) More seriously, I shared with Mark my cancerness and asked for his advice on how I’m conflicted about whether to continue sharing my own writing. I told him I was afraid of being vulnerable. Mark looked me in the eye and said, “Your vulnerability is your strength.” He said a bunch of other much more profound stuff, but I’ve been rethinking this particular sound byte. And I must admit that I’ve been allowing fear to stifle who I am as I’ve been re-entering the world of people-who-pass-for-healthy. When readers react to my writing, I feel alive and connected to the universe. I need to get back to that.

At the end of our time together, Mark signed a book for me with the message, “For Christabel … Keep finding the courage to be who you are everywhere.”

I’m ready.

… and if it’s a bust, I now have Mark Nepo to blame.  

by Mark Nepo

If you have one hour of air
and many hours to go,
you must breathe slowly.

If you have one arm’s length
and many things to care for,
you must give freely.

If you have one chance to know God
and many doubts, you must
set your heart on fire.

We are blessed.

Every day is a chance.
We have two arms
Fear wastes air.


3 Responses to Mark Nepo Made Me Do It

  1. I am not sure where you’re getting your info, but good topic.

    I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more.
    Thanks for wonderful info I was looking for this info for my mission.

  2. judy mccarthy says:

    Hooray for Mark Nepo and Hooray for Christabel. I’d so happy to see your new post and new determination. He inspired you. You inspire me. – Judy

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