the impulse to love ~mark nepo

If somebody were to cut me into a thousand pieces,
every piece of me would say that it loves…

The man who said this is a deeply spiritual person who is a native of South Africa. He like many others grew up under apartheid. He told me that he was taught by his ancestors not to stay bitter or vengeful, for hate eats up the heart, and with a damaged heart, life is not possible.

In a way, we are each confronted with the same dilemma that Chris faces: how to feel the pain of living without denying it and without letting that pain define us. Ultimately, no matter the burden we are given—apartheid, cancer, abuse, depression, addiction—once whittled to the bone, we are faced with a never-ending choice: to become the wound or to heal.

Terrible things are hard enough to experience the first time. Beyond their second and third and fourth experience as trauma, their impact can easily make us become terrible if we do not keep our want to love alive. Perhaps the most difficult challenge of being wounded is not turning our deepest loving nature over to the life and way of the wound.

This touching statement by this South African man affirms that the nature of the human spirit is irrepressible. Just as a vine or shrub—no matter how often it is cut back—will keep growing to the light, the human heart—no matter how often it is cut—can reassert its impulse to love.

~Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

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ubuntu ~mark nepo

Ubuntu—I am because you are,
you are because I am…

In the winter, I met a man in South Africa. After several days together, I asked him about Ubuntu. He said, “It is a deep African custom.” He did not explain, but rather repeated its meaning, more slowly and with deeper reverence, “It means…I am because you are; you are because I am…Ubuntu.”

It is something I have always believed in, that in the ignited space of our deepest suffering, in the release of our deepest fears, in the familiar peace of our deepest joys, we are each other. Continue reading

slovenia! how cool is that?

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment. ~Rumi

I guess I’m still a little kid in some ways. Lately, I’ve become pretty fascinated by the new feature on the WordPress stats page that tells you how many people from what country viewed your blog and even shows the countries on a map.

Since I live in the United States, I’m not surprised to see that most of my viewers are usually from America. The United Kingdom isn’t such a stretch, either, it being an English-speaking country and all. (Don’t get me wrong, I love that folks in the British Isles are reading my stuff.)

But I find it really amazing that I’ve had readers from all over the world. I seem to have a fair number of readers in India, for example. (Who knew?) Just in the last week, in addition to the U.S. and the U.K. and India, there have been readers from South Africa, Indonesia, France, Singapore, the Philippines, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Sweden, Portugal, Croatia, and, of course, Slovenia.

I didn’t grow up in the information age, so all of this instant connecting with people on the other side of the world is still a little like magic to me. (Heck, I thought email was magic when I first got it.) It kind of makes me giddy, actually.

So, to all of you who have stopped by from wherever you are, I think it’s really cool that you did. Come back anytime. Really. :)