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Book Review: The Book of Awakening

As the holidays are here once again, I am thinking of gratitude and of the many people who inspire me and, through their love and their work in the world, encourage me to live my life from a place of deep appreciation and thankfulness. One of these people is Mark Nepo, poet, philosopher, author and speaker. He is also a man who has been through two cancers in his lifetime and is dedicated to writing from the heart. He has written many books yet the one that has been my daily companion since the late 90’s is The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present for the Life You Have.

This book is truly a gift. It is a book of daily offerings, containing beautiful poetry, inspirational quotes and essays that a reader can reflect upon one day at a time. These writings invite the reader to pause and reflect in a loving and compassionate way. At the end of each daily reading, Mark suggests points to ponder, short meditations and sometimes breathing guidance to help integrate the “lesson” of the day.

As an example of what a day in this book might invite us to explore, Mark talks about being true to the person he is and the difficulty that can come from showing ourselves authentically.  He writes: “The center I once glimpsed is all around me, a landscape I now live in, and I will not pretend anymore. If those I love can’t recognize me with my soul out in the open, I will no longer retreat and show what is familiar.”

I have learned from these daily readings and from life’s experiences that I don’t have to do good things to be loved – though doing good things may continue to draw me. Rather, I am being asked, I believe, to give up achieving and performing to gain the love and respect of others and instead, be who I am – trusting that doing so does not let others down. Instead, being truthful allows an old pattern to weaken and be replaced with something much more honest and wholesome, allowing others know me more deeply.

I am grateful for Mark’s many offerings and I encourage you to become familiar with this person. He shares from his heart, on every page of The Book of Awakening. And may you have a blessed holiday season.

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