Mark Nepo on Super Soul Sunday
In November, Mark’s two-part interview with Oprah appeared on Super Soul Sunday on OWNTV. In these interviews with Oprah, Mark discussed the lifelong lessons from his cancer journey twenty-six years ago, and why he believes listening with a full heart is the key to living a vibrant and meaningful life. Mark explains how modern-day distractions can keep us from establishing deep connections with one another; he offers practical insights on how to cultivate our listening skills, deepening relationships with ourselves and others.
Check out nine of Mark’s most moving quotes from his two-part interview with Oprah—and download them and share them with friends.
WATCH THESE CLIPS!
On his way to Maui to meet Oprah, Mark wrote a poem about their meeting on an island with such an ancient and beautiful bamboo forest. Oprah and the Super Soul Sunday crew created this amazing video of the bamboo forest with Oprah reading Mark’s poem. Watch it here.
Paia, a Clearing
in the Forest
We agree to meet half way
round the world where the ocean
waited thousands of years before
opening its clear mouth to speak
this island under the sun. All to
remember we are students of the
large stillness, struggling with our
little stillness. Never knowing what
will rise between us, we meet beyond
the bamboo forest and bend in
the light, hollow as these stalks,
listening for a trace of the
beginning, as we do.
Mark’s previous Super Soul Sunday appearance was on a panel with Ed Bacon and Elizabeth Lesser. WATCH SELECTED CLIPS HERE.
Mark Nepo’s body of work explores leaning into life and holding nothing back. Mark is a poet and philosopher who has taught in the fields of poetry and spirituality for over thirty years, and taught at the State University of New York at Albany for eighteen years. Mark is currently available for speaking engagements (including giving readings, keynotes, lectures, workshops, and retreats).
In 1987, Mark was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma. The heart of that journey and its aftermath has greatly informed his work. Of his journey since then, he says, “What I have had to face are the great ordinary things that all of us have to face: the prospect of dying without having truly lived, and the prospect of living without having truly loved. And the joy of discovering this with others.” As a result, Mark is committed to the usefulness of daily inner life. Through writing and teaching, he remains devoted to the life of inner transformation and relationship.
Mark’s work is deep yet accessible because his wisdom is that of one whose close brush with death has enabled a rich understanding of the power of the human Soul. He does not discount our flaws, our failings, our human weaknesses. On the contrary, his great tenderness for our imperfections is precisely what makes his readers feel so held—both in our human capacity and in our interconnectedness with one another.
In 2010, Mark’s The Book of Awakening was chosen by Oprah for her Ultimate Favorite Things show. “Mark Nepo is a poet,” Oprah said. “He’s an author and a philosopher and has been through two different cancers. So when he writes, he writes purely from the heart.”
Oprah was given The Book of Awakening as a birthday gift and says she does one lesson from the book every morning. “If we all do it together, we can begin to open our hearts, change the world and begin to have the life you want by being present to the life you have now,” Oprah says.
A New York Times #1 bestseller, The Book of Awakening has been translated into more than twenty languages. To date, Mark has published fourteen books and recorded eight audio projects. Recent work includes: Reduced to Joy (2013), Seven Thousand Ways to Listen which won the 2012 Books for a Better Life Award, Staying Awake (2012), Holding Nothing Back (2012), As Far As the Heart Can See (2011), Finding Inner Courage (2011), and Surviving Has Made Me Crazy (2007), as well as audio books of The Book of Awakening, Finding Inner Courage, and As Far As the Heart Can See (2011).
The Exquisite Risk was cited by Spirituality & Practice as one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2005, calling it “one of the best books we’ve ever read on what it takes to live an authentic life.” Mark’s collected essays appear in Unlearning Back to God: Essays on Inwardness. Other books of poetry include Suite for the Living (2004), Inhabiting Wonder (2004), Acre of Light (1994), Fire Without Witness (1988), and God, the Maker of the Bed, and the Painter (1988).
Oprah shares a favorite passage from The Book of Awakening
Mark on The Book of Awakening