Growing in Place with Mark Nepo — Our Many Selves

How Are Your Growing? Is it time to repot yourself?

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For today’s Growing in Place I explore how we keep growing and changing and how, often through great love and suffering, we usher in another form of self. As we grow, we sometimes need to repot ourselves. Just like a plant may need a new pot, sometimes we open to a new self and become a new being and we find we need a new form, a new pot, so we can continue to grow. Today’s poem, “Crossing Some Ocean in Myself” is from The Way Under the Way. I hope you are opening and listening to your heart. Many blessings!

Crossing Some Ocean in Myself

Half a century, and finally,

what I feel is what I say and

what I say is what I mean.

What I mean is that others, so used

to my gargantuan efforts to be good,

don’t understand my efforts to be real.

They find me coming up short.

I’m simply burning old masks.

And the next step takes me—

I don’t know where—

as it should be—

I don’t know—

just that I love who I love.

I listen with my heart.

I struggle with the reflexes of my mind.

I mean, the pains of life are sharper now

but disappear more clearly the way

knives are swallowed by the sea.

And the subtleties of being come on

like waves that cleanse but which,

when dry, I can’t seem to find.

So much like a gentle animal now,

unsure what I was fighting for,

except to breathe and sing, except

to call out the human names for God

that others have uttered when

hurt and confused.

So much like a love animal now

until the end of any day’s work

is the soft moment

when loving and being loved

are the same.

And all year round,

the birds and trees instruct,

make visible the wind

the way reaching without shame

makes visible the love.

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    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


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