Oprah writes about Mark Nepo in her “What I Know for Sure” column in the most recent issue of the O, The Oprah Magazine (November 2010). Pick one up today!
“As part of my morning ritual of mediation and prayer, I read Mark Nepo’s Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have. Today’s lesson, as is often the case, was so spot-on that I have to share it.
Nepo speaks of ‘my struggles as a teenager when my mother wanted me to be a lawyer and my father wanted me to be an architect. Somehow I knew I needed to be a poet; something in it brought me alive.’
He quotes Mechthild of Magdeburg, a medieval mystic: ‘A fish cannot drown in water. A bird does not fall in air. Each creature God made must live in its own true nature.’
And he offers these observations of his own: ‘Part of the blessing and challenge of being human is that we must discover our own true God-given nature. This is not some noble, abstract quest but an inner necessity. For only by living in our own element can we thrive without anxiety. And since human beings are the only life form that can drown and still go to work, the only species that can fall from the sky and still fold laundry, it is imperative that we find that vital element that brings us alive … the true vitality that waits beneath all occupations for us to tap into, if we can discover what we love. If you feel energy and excitement and a sense that life is happening for the first time, you are probably near your God-given nature. Joy in what we do is not an added feature; it is a sign of deep health.’
What I know for sure: There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It’s why you were born. And how you become most truly alive.