Mark Nepo is a poet and philosopher who has taught in the fields of poetry and spirituality for 40 years. He's appeared several times with Oprah on her Super Soul Sunday program on OWN TV, as well as on Good Morning America. His 15 books include the New York Times #1 bestseller The Book of Awakening and Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, and he's authored three Sounds True audio programs, Holding Nothing Back, Staying Awake, and the forthcoming Reduced to Joy: The Journey from Our Head to Our Heart.
Monday, August 18, 7:00 pm–Wednesday, August 20, 4:30 pm
As no one can live without inhaling and exhaling, no one can live without feeling and expressing. The life of expression is how the heart breathes and how our spirit grows in the life that carries it. Writing, whatever form it takes–poetry, story, memoir, or reflection–is a personal form of expression, a necessary conversation with the Universe that helps us move through obstacles and transitions. As meditation is an ancient art that deepens our relationship to how we breathe, writing is an ancient art that deepens our relationship to all that matters. And just as the reward for practicing meditation is not that we'll become great breathers but that we'll become clear vessels of life force, the reward for practicing a personal form of expression is not that we'll become great writers but that such practice will help us be more resilient and wake closer to life.
Day one of our workshop will explore The Gift of Vision and The Art of Perception, which centers on the lifelong process of listening, reflecting, and expressing; as well as Unraveling the Self: Writing Our Way into Our Lives, which focuses on how bearing witness to the truth of living reveals the mysteries of life.
Day two will explore Effort and Grace: The Magic of the Creative Process, which centers on the paradox of will and surrender as oars that steer the soul; as well as Becoming the Poem, which centers on the artist's journey and struggle between giving attention and getting attention.
My hope for our time together is that we can touch into the miraculous depth of being that is always just below whatever we carry, and that you'll return to your life having discovered and deepened a very personal form of expression that you can walk with in your days.
The point of experience is not to escape life but to live it. Each of us carries some wisdom waiting to be discovered at the center of our experience, and everything we meet, if faced and held, reveals a part of that wisdom. We have a language of truth growing in our heart that only living can decode. Truth is a seed hidden in the days until watered by what life brings us.
All the while, time slowly exposes the story of our lives with its friction; wearing away the film that covers our eyes and the calluses that guard our heart, till we can apprehend the wonder waiting just under the skin of everything. How can we meet this process? How can we ready ourselves? Who and what do we listen to along the way? How do we listen to life and not to what life does to us, when suffering and loss meet us at every turn? How do we make sense of our experience?
In this hands-on, hearts–on session, Mark will explore more deeply the themes he will open in his keynote, offering ways to meet the challenges of life. He will open topics such as the sanctity of experience, things that hearten and dishearten, our call to endure and endear, and the arts of reverence.
All the spiritual traditions encourage us to live in the open–no easy task given the suffering and injustice that fills every age. But heart-givers and truth-seekers know it is this openness that releases our spiritual resilience. This is the work of personal growth in the realm of spirit: to fully live the one life we're given, and to deeply love whatever we meet along the way. And no one has ever been able to inhabit these alone. This is the journey before us all: to live well and love well, and to find each other.
In order to live in the open, we must open our heart. An old Sioux saying affirms that "the longest journey you will make in your life is from your head to your heart." To make this journey, we are asked to face the ever-changing teacher of experience through which the soul is revealed to the world. And so, we all must face obstacles and move through transitions. Like it or not, to live well and love well, we must work with what we're given till it wears us through to joy. Like cliffs worn to their beauty by the pounding of the sea, if we can hold each other up, all that will be left will be wonder and joy. This is both a universal and personal journey.
In this experiential session, Mark will explore the wisdom of a broken heart, the life of obstacles, and the nature of joy that waits like a jewel in the folds of all our trouble.