Mark Nepo, in I Awake chapter of The One Life We’re Given
“The point is not to deify the events that break us down or open. But to lift up the mysterious fact that what we think we want, what we think we strive for, is often not the goal at all – just what we hold on to in order to discover what is truly calling us. Often, when we think we’re building one thing, we’re building another, or we’re the ones being built. When we think we’re giving one thing, we’re often giving another, or we’re the ones being given to. When we think we’re enduring one thing, we’re often being undone by life into the birth of a gift we’ve been carrying for just this opening. The point is, we’re challenged to follow our heart beyond our intentions in order to find our quiet destiny, the way a tulip or peony follows its urge to break ground, hardly imagining its life in blossom.”
This really spoke to me, as do so many of Mark Nepo’s words. I remember, when I was working at IBM supporting leaders in being their best, how I would have these moments when I could see and sense that what I thought I was up to was not really the point at all, that there was something deeper happening, something richer being created. Once I was leading a resilience initiative, facilitating learning circles with small groups of executives and exploring ways to support ourselves and others in self-care. On the surface the work looked like education, however, at a deeper level it was about our being relationship and our connection and what was possible because of it.
You must give birth to your images. They are the future waiting to be born. Fear not the strangeness you feel. The future must enter you long before it happens. Just wait for the birth, for the hour of new clarity. ~Rainer Maria Rilke
…the future waiting to be born…hmmm…something about that…
Rilke invites me to see that the future is here with us, right now, that we actually are carrying it through our days, giving it shape with each breath, each opening, each little invitation for a better world.
Some other inspiring Rilke quotes to invite perspective and possibility:
“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”
“Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.”
This poem came to me as I read Mark Nepo’s inspirational reading, the Ocean of Spirit, with this inspiring quote:
“Everywhere we are given examples of how the life giving elements move through us and bring us to life…Consider how the tree has no control over the movement of the wind…like the tree, we as human beings have no control over the movement of grace.” ~Mark Nepo
This lovely meditation by Mark Nepo accompanies the reading:
Watch the wind move through a familiar tree.
Watch until the wind has left, and notice how even when still the branches sway slightly.
Notice how even what seems like a still air is just a subtle wind.
Meditate on how similar the life of spirit is as it moves through us.
Feel the force of life like a subtle wind move through you as you breathe.