Mark Nepo—How does a poet pray?

Real Conversation

In this intimate conversation, Mark invites us to feel what he felt singing the Torah and experience his grandmother’s living presence in a dream. He explains “indigenous perception” and invites us to hear the apple trees tell him he will survive cancer. Then, Mark welcomes Albert Schweitzer, Mechthild, Ghiberti, and Martin Buber into the room. He even gives us an unpublished poem on the truth about prayer. There is wonder in every moment of this sacred conversation.

Real Person

We shared Mark Nepo’s cancer journey in The Book of Awakening, and followed him through nineteen more, each a treasure of insight into the human experience. This is a man who has answered the call to live a life of creative expression no matter where it takes him. As he writes in his newest book, Drinking from the River of Light, “The role of the poet and the artist is to keep the world together.” Mark Nepo helps us keep the world together.

Real Prayer Action

Mark Nepo takes us into a deep dive of several ordinary things and leaves us with much to explore:

  • Mark Nepo does three things at the beginning of every day: let light in, take care of something living, and cherish someone he loves. What do you do to begin your day in a prayerful way?
  • Mark shared an unpublished prayer (see transcript) on when he’s praying. Are you surprised by some of the times you are praying?
  • Albert Schweitzer heard a call to build a hospital in Africa and went to medical school at forty. Gilberti spent twenty-five years working on doors in a cathedral in Florence. Are you following a call to give up what you know or to go even deeper where you are?
  • In the story of the apple tree, Mark says when we are fully present, everything is miraculous. Slow down. Invite an animal or tree to open your eyes and ears to indigenous perception.
  • Did Mark dream of his grandmother because he missed her—or, did she visit him because he missed her. So much to ponder here….

Open your gift bag and receive an excerpt, “What it Means to Perceive,” from Drinking from the River of Light. Then, come to our Praying at the Speed of Love Facebook community and share your reactions to this conversation. And be sure to subscribe to Janet’s Notes from the Field for first news on upcoming intensives, events, and podcasts.

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