I’ve been reading a great book by Mark Nepo called The Endless Practice. In Mark’s view, we never stop having challenges and opportunities to move into more alignment with life. Life keeps nudging us along, asking us to be more attuned to our “center of aliveness.” The place within that is connected to all life. He suggests it’s a tricky balance between being and doing, striving and surrendering, giving and receiving, over and over.
Mark explores many questions from his life as a writer, philosopher and cancer survivor. His perspectives really resonate for me. His core teaching is “what is in the way, is the way. Each of us carries wisdom waiting to be discovered at the center of our experience, and everything we meet, if faced and held, reveals a part of that wisdom.”
Another chapter that really hit home is about embracing all of our messy feelings. I think I’ve fallen into the camp that wants to be happy all the time. Interestingly, as I reread my own post on Chasing Happiness, I already know, agree, and have written about the same material as Mark. I’ve written about this topic several times, yet don’t seem to be finding the lesson and release from its grasp!
This paragraph from Mark really struck a chord with me. “The pursuit of happiness has become a cultural obsession, a right we feel entitled to and a refuge that we run to avoid the rest of the journey. Happiness is one of a thousand feelings, and under all the human feelings is the depth of being alive.” Being willing to embrace all our feelings is the way to keep close to our aliveness and spiritual center.
I’m certainly getting many opportunities for growth the last few years. I don’t talk about my challenges much. Not because I’m unwilling to be honest or vulnerable, but I thought I was helping myself by trying to focus on the good and what I want in life. It seems as though I might need to go the opposite direction, embracing my feelings and challenges more fully. Though the trick is to acknowledge my feelings without becoming lost in them.
I’ve only touched on a few of the many gems from Mark’s book. I highly encourage you to read and savor this treasure-filled book.