Learn More about Mark Nepo and His Work and Teaching

More details and registration for all three journeys HERE.

Welcome. I hope this finds you well. As we move from summer to fall, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be offering three spiritual journeys in 2020 for small groups. I love these journeys because they are intimate and spacious. Please see the above video and link for details on how to register. I’m also excited to share that my new book, Drinking from the River of Light: The Life of Expression, will be out in September 2019 form Sounds True. This book gathers what I’ve learned through the years by being a student of the deeper creative process that is available to everyone, artist or not. 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. And while there are many outstanding books that focus on craft and language, this book focuses on the irrepressible aspects of expression, how the forces of life enter us and leave us, and what they do to us on their way through. During the coming year, I will begin to give readings, talks, and workshops from the book, as I travel around the country teaching and speaking. I hope to see you somewhere along the way. In the meantime, many blessings to you in whatever you’re facing and whatever you’re called to.


“A passionate testament to the spirituality of expression.”
—Publishers Weekly

“I cherish the wisdom and embrace the practices offered in this luminous book.”
―Mirabai Starr, author of Caravan of No Despair and Wild Mercy

In his 21st book, Mark Nepo, the acclaimed poet-teacher, and NY Times #1 best-selling author of The Book of Awakening, presents the art and practice of expression as a means to unfold our spiritual growth. Whether we consider ourselves artists or not, he explores how the deeper we go into the creative process, the more attuned we become, and the more we join with everything around us. Whether your writing is published or not, whether your music is recorded or not, whether your art is in a gallery or not, your garden is given a prize or not, or your cooking is or isn’t featured in the local paper—inhabiting a personal life of expression is its own reward, by which we strengthen our connections and find our way. Filled with stories and exercises intended to introduce readers to the skills of vision, perception, feeling, and articulation, Drinking from the River of Light is a culmination of all Nepo’s years of writing and teaching regarding the deeper creative process.

Praise for Drinking from the River of Light

“This beautiful book is a gift on the journey of awakening.”
—Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge

“I love all of Mark Nepo’s books, but this one is especially beautiful, luminous, wise, and helpful.”
—Elizabeth Lesser, cofounder, Omega Institute and author of The Seeker’s Guide, Broken Open, and Marrow

“This new offering by a spiritual virtuoso of our era will help you find the way.”
—Parker J. Palmer, author of On the Brink of Everything, Healing the Heart of Democracy, and Let Your Life Speak

“This wonderful book is a deep dive into the universal art of self-expression, exploring how to give voice to our deepest, most original self. Candid, rich, and consistently profound. I loved it.”
—Mark Matousek, author of Sex Death Enlightenment and When You’re Falling, Dive

“This is a book of refined wisdom, insight, and great reminding. Crack the spine of this gem, drink fully, and as Whitman advised, go forth to ‘Sing the body electric!’”
—Albert Flynn DeSilver, author of Writing as a Path to Awakening

“In Drinking from the River of Light, Mark Nepo’s words land like dew on a thirsty leaf. I couldn’t put it down and drank every word in it.”
—Zainab Salbi, author of Freedom Is an Inside Job

“Mark Nepo commands language with a fierce truth that is difficult, if not impossible, to turn away from.”
—Richard Frankel, Indiana University School of Medicine




“Every word in this book has been tested in the fire and can be trusted.”
—Parker Palmer, author of On the Brink of Everything and Let Your Life Speak

“A masterwork on community animated by visionary vigor, philosophical rigor, a cross-cultural purview, and a poetic sensibility.”
—Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality & Practice (Read the full review here.)

Read more about More Together Than Alone and PREORDER today.



Mark will be in San Rafael CA, Rhinebeck NY, Asheville NC, Santa Cruz, CA, Hartford CT, Seattle WA, Lake Elsinore CA, Daytona FL, and NYC, during the late Summer and Fall of 2019.

I will be offering workshops and retreats around the country and abroad, focusing on my latest books, Drinking from the River of Light, More Together Than Alone, and Things That Join the Sea and the Sky. I hope you can join me.
Many blessings, Mark



AUG 7-11: Santa Sabina, San Rafael, CA, Five-Day Retreat, , The One Life We’re Given: Finding the Wisdom that Waits in Your Heart. Details here.

AUG 8: Interview with Phil Cousineau at Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA, Travel Writers & Photographers Conference, 7:30-9:30PM. Details here.

AUG 23-25: Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY, Weekend Retreat, Drinking from the River of Light: The Life of Expression, register at OMEGA INSTITUTE. Details here.
SEPT 13-14: Friday Night & Saturday, Reading and Daylong Retreat, Drinking from the River of Light: The Life of Expression, The Sophia Institute, Asheville, NC, or call 843-720-8528. Details here.

SEPT 26-29: Sounds True Foundation Event, 1440 Multiversity, Scotts Valley, CA, Keynote and Workshop. Details here.

OCT 18-20: Copper Beech Institute for Mindfulness and Contemplative Practice, Hartford, CT, Drinking from the River of Light: The Life of Expression, Weekend Retreat. Details here.

OCT 25-27: Harmony Hill Retreat Center, Drinking from the River of Light: The Life of Expression, Weekend Retreat, open to all, Union, WA. Details here.

NOV 1-3: Pine Manor Retreat Center, Drinking from the River of Light: The Life of Expression, Weekend Retreat 2, register at Pine Manor, or contact Gail Warner at catchgw45@gmail.com, 949-552-1633.

NOV 20: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Honors Program Keynote, 7:30pm, 600 South Clyde Morris Blvd., Daytona Beach FL. Details here.

DEC 13: Premayoga, Brooklyn, NYC, Drinking from the River of Light: The Life of Expression, publication reading and conversation, Fri 7-9:30PM, 498 Court St, Brooklyn, NY, 11231, 718-237-2372. Details to come.


Things That Join the Sea and the Sky was a 2017 Nautilus Book Award Winner



In Things That Join the Sea and the Sky, Mark shares bare and honest reflections drawn from over fifty years of journals. This thematic non-fiction reader is comprised of 145 entries gathered and shaped over the last fifteen years. The book takes the reader through seventeen sections organized around archetypal thresholds we all face, including “Stopping the Noise,” “Unraveling Our Fear,” “The Gift of Deepening,” The Practice of Relationship, The Reach of Kindness, and “The Radiance in All Things.”

Of the book, Mark says, “These pages are field notes on living, a travelogue of my conversation with the Universe, a mix of inner reflections, questions, and stories that have come to teach me how to be here. They contain raw moments of sinking and being lifted, intimate accounts of being thrust into feeling and depth, my stretching and wondering about my life and the lives of others in this ongoing push and pull with a Universe that holds us, then tosses us about, only to hold us again. Under every piece, I hope you feel the common song we’re born to sing in our unique and very human way.”

At the end of the book, Mark shares an essay about the nature and gift of journaling, followed by journaling guidelines, and 100 journal questions to work with. All to encourage the reader to engage in their own conversation with the Universe through the art of journaling.

“A rich source of comfort and courage for anyone who opens it.”
Publishers Weekly

“Written with the simplicity of a Koan, Nepo’s short writings say everything there is to say about recording the hidden wonders of the world around us.”
—Retailing Insight

“Open this book. Read the table of contents. And let the magic and promise of this offering invite you into the depths of your own humanity. Allow the poetic soul of Mark Nepo to guide you. And then keep this guide on your nightstand as an oracle and a roadmap for living well. This book is pure gold.”
—Christiane Northrup, New York Times best-selling author

“This book offers itself to you like an intimate conversation with a dear friend. Enjoy the beauty and the deep dives into life’s varied meanings and mysteries.”
—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Love

“Mark Nepo’s vulnerable and generous-hearted sharing from the depths of his inner explorations is irresistibly readable, reminding us of the importance of staying with ourselves unconditionally, trusting the moment-by-moment experiences that lead us to our awakening.”
—Michael Bernard Beckwith, author of Life Visioning


In celebration of Things That Join the Sea and the Sky: Field Notes on Living, Mark reads “Stopping the Noise”:




Over the last year, I’ve been working with Sounds True to create a video course called Flames That Light the Heart: Ten Lessons on Living with Meaning, Truth, and Kindness. I’m excited to have gathered many stories, metaphors, and paradoxes from my years of teaching into this in-depth exploration of the life of transformation and the heartwork that is required to be a spirit in the world.  My intention, here, is to help you live with meaning, truth, and kindness in your own personal way.  The course is now offered through Udemy, the online learning center.  You can preview the introduction to the course here, as well as the first session.  The sessions offer a long and intimate conversation on the growing pains of transformation and the art of living as an awakened part in an awakened whole.  I hope you’ll take a look.  Many blessings,
— Mark

Flames That Light the Heart is an invitation to ten video sessions where Mark explore’s the passages that open us, as well as the skills and ways of being that help us meet the difficulties that life brings us. Using ancient and contemporary stories, poetry, journaling, and dialogue, Mark explores what it means to be transformed by what we go through and how to access the skills and inner resources for learning, growing, and healing.

“Meaning, truth, and kindness are our constant teachers,” Mark explains. “They are flames that light the heart with a burning quality we must endure in order to receive that light.” Join him in this intimate conversation on our shared “growing pains of transformation” and the art of living “as an awakened part in an awakened whole.”

Who is the target audience?
  • Those wanting to be more awake & more open-hearted
  • Those wanting to cultivate gratitude, compassion, and spiritual freedom
  • Those seeking comfort and truth in vulnerability

The Way Under The Way was a 2016 Nautilus Book Award Winner

The One Life We’re Given was a Finalist for 2017 Books for a Better Life Award

I’m humbled and excited that The One Life We’re Given was a finalist for the 2017 Books for a Better Life Award. This is the fourth time I’ve been blessed to be a finalist: with The Book of Awakening in 2001, Inside the Miracle in 2016, and winning with Seven Thousand Ways to Listen in 2013. BBLA is such a fine group of giving people that this means all the more. Also, my good friend Elizabeth Lesser won with her moving memoir, Marrow.

The One Life We’re Given and The Way Under The Way are cited by Spirituality & Practice as two of the best spiritual books of 2016

The wisdom presented on the shining pages of this holy book (The One Life We’re Given) is another luminous gift from a gallant, grateful and imaginative spiritual master.
—Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality & Practice (see full review)

“A spiritual teacher’s conversation with the Universe through tough and tender poems, The Way Under The Way is the first large collection of Mark Nepo’s poetry. It is a robust and spiritually revelatory volume of 217 poems. What touches us most about these poems is the way they testify simply and humbly to Nepo’s experience of the Divine.”
—Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality & Practice (see full review)



This new book affirms how precious this one life is and opens the chance we have to be fully alive and to be of use to each other and the world. Through personal stories of joy and grief, friendships and challenges, I try to illuminate how the life of the soul is shaped and crafted every day. I offer reflective questions and meditations to help make sense of our own experience and appreciate each moment. In truth, we learn to shape our perspective as a woodworker might carefully shave a piece of wood to reveal its inner grain. And throwing ourselves wholeheartedly into what we’re given brings us alive—whether we must deal with suffering, pain, fear, and loss, or surprise, beauty, love, and wonder. Each becomes an opportunity to listen more deeply to our feelings, to deepen our connection with others, and to sense the sacred nature of ordinary things.

As we discover for ourselves the lessons of our journey, we are led to the wisdom that waits in our heart, the inner knowing of what truly sustains us—feeling, loving, and connecting—which allows us to fully live the one life we’re given.

I confess that working with you as readers and students is a path I am devoted to. This path is a continuous inquiry into what it means to be human, to be here, and to care for each other. My hope is that you will deepen your conversation with life. That through your own path of obstacle and surprise, you will be opened to your gifts and become somewhat freed of all you carry. My hope is that this book will support you in becoming skilled at living with both effort and grace.

“Mark Nepo is someone who walks through this confusing and sometimes dark world holding up a lantern and lighting the way. I can say with all certainty that I would follow this man anywhere his words want to take us.”
—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic

“Mark Nepo is one of our national treasures.”
—Rev. Ed Bacon

“This book is a powerful guide to being in the world.”
—Arianna Huffington


This collection contains three separate books of poetry, gathering 217 poems retrieved and shaped over the past twenty years. The first two books in this collection, Suite for the Living and Inhabiting Wonder, bear witness to the messy and magnificent journey of being human. First published in 2004, they were wonderfully received and sold out of their first editions. Evolving these books further, Nepo has integrated fifty-eight new poems. The third book in this collection, The Way Under the Way, gathers eighty-three of his most recent poems. It centers on the place of true meeting that is always near, where we chance to discover our shared humanity and common thread of Spirit.

About poetry, Mark says, “The poems are the teachers. They arrive with their wisdom and become my guides. What they surface becomes my inner curriculum and by staying in conversation with them, I grow. We’re all drawn to what we need to learn, which if engaged with honesty reveals insights common to us all.” Of the books, he says, “My hope is that the arc of these poems will be aids in living, listening, and beholding each other. I offer them as small wonders found and cared for through the years.”

“Mark Nepo’s poems are like rare wine that directly nourish the soul. These are stories of the heart,
of brokenness that heals, of grief that awakens us to joy.”
—Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Ph.D., Sufi teacher and author

“When I read Mark Nepo’s luminous, meditative poems, one word stands tall in the mind and silence that follows—BEFRIEND.
He does not avert his eyes from the difficult moment or the lost hour. He stays steady to feel the magnificence again.”
—Naomi Shihab Nye, author of Words Under the Words

“In this magical book, Mark Nepo ushers us to the depth of who we are and where we truly live.
His words, like pearls for the Human soul, awaken us and transform the ordinary into the mystery of our being.”
—Agapi Stassinopoulos, Author of Unbinding The Heart

In November 2013, 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 26 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! And many more here on SuperSoul.TV

CLIP: Why Mark believes listening with an open heart is the key to living a vibrant and meaningful life.

CLIP: “The Inspiration For 7,000 Ways to Listen”

CLIP: “Mark Nepo on poetry”


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

—for Oprah

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 moved and inspired readers and seekers all over the world with his #1 New York Times bestseller The Book of Awakening. Beloved as a poet, teacher, and storyteller, Mark has been called “one of the finest spiritual guides of our time,” “a consummate storyteller,” and “an eloquent spiritual teacher.” His work is widely accessible and used by many and his books have been translated into more than twenty languages. A bestselling author, he has published twenty books and recorded fourteen audio projects. In 2015, he was given a Life-Achievement Award by AgeNation. And in 2016, he was named by Watkins: Mind Body Spirit as one of the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People, and was also chosen as one of OWN’s SuperSoul 100, a group of inspired leaders using their gifts and voices to elevate humanity. In 2017 Mark became a regular columnist for Spirituality & Health Magazine.

Recent work includes More Together Than Alone (Atria, 2018), Things That Join the Sea and the Sky (Sounds True, 2017), a Nautilus Book Award Winner and cited by Spirituality & Practice as one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2017, The Way Under the Way: The Place of True Meeting (Sounds True, 2016), a Nautilus Book Award Winner, The One Life We’re Given (Atria) cited by Spirituality & Practice as one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2016, Inside the Miracle (Sounds True), selected by Spirituality & Health Magazine as one of the top ten best books of 2015, The Endless Practice (Atria), cited by Spirituality & Practice as one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2014, his book of poems, Reduced to Joy (Viva Editions), named by Spirituality & Practice as one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2013, a 6CD box set of teaching conversations based on the poems in Reduced to Joy (Sounds True, 2014), and Seven Thousand Ways to Listen (Atria), which won the 2012 Books for a Better Life Award.

Mark was part of Oprah Winfrey’s The Life You Want Tour in 2014 and has appeared several times with Oprah on her Super Soul Sunday program on OWN TV. He has also been interviewed by Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. The Exquisite Risk was listed 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 devotes his writing and teaching to the journey of inner transformation and the life of relationship. He continues to offer readings, lectures, and retreats. Please visit Mark as well at: www.marknepo.com and wmespeakers.com/speaker/mark-nepo.


Oprah shares a favorite passage from The Book of Awakening


Mark on The Book of Awakening