Tasks

There’s the limb that came down in the last storm. And the peach tree we want to transplant. And the furnace needs to be cleaned. And I promised to water the plants while you’re gone. And I want to buy you that necklace I saw you linger with when I was waiting on the sidewalk. You held it like it reminded you of the strong part of your heart. I don’t know where to begin. I keep staring at the… Read more

Grace Notes

In learning to play piano at the age of forty-one, I worked my fingers far enough into that uncanny dimension that all pianists know, regardless of their level of skill, where the hands, briefly, beyond all logic, start to behave more quickly than the mind that tries to read the notes or position the fingers. I had practiced enough weeks that I was ready to tackle my first piece of Bach, a minuet taken from a collection he created for… Read more

The Slowing of the Land

There is a day when the road neither comes or goes, and the way is not a way but a place. —Wendell Berry We drive to Bangor, take a right at the blinking yellow light, another right on Hastings Court and then down a dirt road to Blue Dog Greens. Twenty-eight acres of agreeable land tucked between the railroad tracks and Black River. Dennis and Genevieve live there, very simply, in order to tend this organic farm. It’s a sunny,… Read more

Get a taste of Robert’s class

Your Heroic Journey started yesterday and it was an inspiring and thought-provoking class. Here’s a little sampling of Robert talking about how the experience of poetry mirrors the classic hero’s journey. We’ll be posting small excerpts from the class from week to week. Read more

Lifting the Net

I’m a bird who’s found his way to the forest. –Po Chü-I Sitting alone in the place of practice, the cranes rise beyond the mirror I avoid and I put down the great perfection and dream of a path that shimmers in the mountains that have always called, the ones that float beyond the village I keep alive in my mind, the village of counters and complainers. The problem in living is that the soul, like a horse dragging a… Read more

Water Doesn’t Lie

A thousand years ago, a colorful bird flew out of an ancient tree in Persia, just as a thoughtful boy opened his eyes. He never saw it lift, only sweep over him in flight. This is how he came to speak of God: as something lifting out of view, as something sweeping over us once we’re awake. Five hundred years ago, a young woman saw her father beheaded in one stroke by a desperate man leaning off a horse. She… Read more

Pilot Light

Sorry. As soon as I talk about it, it moves out of view. Let me try again. There is a teacher, a teaching, a moment that keeps working me. I became aware of it four years ago when I met several burn survivors; heroic individuals whose faces have been removed, whose limbs have been disfigured. They have nowhere to hide. Inside is outside for them. I could see their beauty, each like a lantern broken by the storm; their flicker… Read more

Losing Yourself

We’re having lunch at the harbor, salads and tea, and Bob starts talking about losing himself in certain pieces of music. Not losing track of time. Or forgetting to meet me in half an hour. More that who he is pools, for the mo- ment, in a larger sea. He says it’s scary, ’cause he’s not sure he will come back as himself. But being drawn out this way makes him feel alive. Now Susan talks about the small woodpecker… Read more

Oprah interviews Mark Nepo—6/28 and 7/4—don’t miss it!

Huge news! Mark recently sat down for an interview with Oprah Winfrey at Harpo Studios in Chicago for Oprah’s Soul Series on SIRIUS XM Radio, Channel 156. You can listen by tuning into SIRIUS on Monday, 6/28/10 @ 11am and 4pm ET and again on Sunday, 7/4/10 at NOON ET. HERE’S THE LINK. Consider signing up for a free trial so you can hear the show. SIRIUS offers a month trial period: www.xmradio.com/oprahradio Clips from the interview will also be… Read more

A Steadfast Teacher

—If we want to be held, we have to behold. I admit that well into my thirties, I felt this natural yearning to be seen and heard which in time became urgent and draining. But over the years, I slowly came to realize that being held is more important than being understood. When held, I don’t care so much about being seen or heard; because being held is being seen and heard in a way that affirms our very existence,… Read more

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