Practicing Gratitude

Practicing Gratitude May 20, 2024

Gratitude releases power because, like a flower opening, giving thanks brings us into the light and, as a fish rides the current of a stream, we through our gratitude ride the current of life. While curiosity makes us aware of the animating thresholds of life, gratitude gives us the quiet courage to cross those thresholds and enter life. After years of practicing gratitude, I have come to see that alignment reveals miracle, that is, when we can align who we are with what we do, when we can say what we mean and mean what we say, when we can allow our heart to be touched by all that is unknown—we become integral and congruent. And this alignment of heart and soul, as we step in the world, reveals the miraculous that breathes under everything. This is why, when out of breath on a winter walk, the creak of those ancient pines moves us more than usual. This is why, when falling down, from pain or joy, the view from our knees reveals the curve of the Earth that we had taken for granted. This is why, I suppose, that seventy-thousand-years ago, a prehistoric one, grateful for the life of his early form of dog, draped a necklace of elk teeth around his dead companion’s neck before burying him. And hard as it is to accept, grief always leads us, eventually, to gratitude. In just seeking alignment—in seeking wholeness when partial, in seeking safety when afraid, in seeking the comfort of light when spinning in the dark—our efforts bring us close to the miraculous. Like a blind man atremble in his reach, we have no idea that our hand is about to be immersed in the clear waters of life.


A Question to Walk With: Describe your relationship with gratitude and how if affects you.

This excerpt is from my book in progress, The Signature of Being.

Mark will be offering retreats and a few special journeys in 2024. Below are some of his offerings: 

May 6: Drinking from the River of Light, Talk on the Creative Process, The Gilmore Festival, Kalamazoo Public Library Central Branch, VanDeusen Room | 2 pm

May 31 – June 2: Saying Yes to Life: From Brokenness to Tenderness, reading and weekend retreat, The Sophia Institute, Charleston, SC, or call 843-720-8528 

June 28-30: Falling Down and Getting Up: Discovering Your Inner Resilience and Strength, weekend retreat, Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY

July 31 6pm ET:  You Don’t Have to Do It Alone: The Net of Friendship, reading and conversation followed by 45 minute river walk. Kalamazoo Nature Center 

Aug 16-18: You Don’t Have to Do It Alone: The Net of Friendship, weekend retreat, Mercy By the Sea, 167 Neck Rd, Madison

Sept 16–21: You Don’t Have to Do It Alone: The Power of Friendship, a Mastery Week Retreat at the Modern Elder Academy in Santa Fe, Mexico, .

Sept 29 1pm PT/4pm ET: Mark Nepo in Conversation with Brooke Warner – You Don’t Have to Do It Alone, ticketed event hosted by Book Passage

Nov 1-3: Harmony Hill Retreat Center, You Don’t Have to Do It Alone: The Net of Friendship weekend retreat, Union WA, Contact Harmony Hill for info:

Dec 8–14: This retreat is being rescheduled for 2025. Date to be determined, Saying Yes to Life: The One Life We’re Given, a weeklong retreat in Costa Rica, hosted by Global Journeys

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