Saturday Share – Mark Nepo

This Saturday Share will be a little different, as I feel compelled to share a poem this time rather than a blog. This poem has haunted me since I heard it read by Liz Gilbert last weekend during our workshop on creative living, when it sent chills down my spine.

It is entitled Breaking Surface, and I linked to it and copied the text below with attribution and tremendous respect for Mark Nepo. The bold type is mine.

Breaking Surface

Let no one keep you from your journey,
no rabbi or priest, no mother
who wants you to dig for treasures
she misplaced, no father
who won’t let one life be enough,
no lover who measures their worth
by what you might give up,
no voice that tells you in the night
it can’t be done.

Let nothing dissuade you
from seeing what you see
or feeling the winds that make you
want to dance alone
or go where no one
has yet to go.

You are the only explorer.
Your heart, the unreadable compass.
Your soul, the shore of a promise
too great to be ignored.


Graphic from Mark Nepo’s website


6 thoughts on “Saturday Share – Mark Nepo

    1. The image of the mother, father, the lover, the voice in the night keeping me from my soul’s journey… wow. I know these have all been factors that have kept me from following those internal compasses that, when heeded, lead me to where I am meant to go. I am questioning my “inner martyr” (I nicknamed her Mary) when she appears, knowing that is not my true self. I am beginning to see that my “fear voice” is mostly my ego trying to confine me to the safe territory that I know, rather than taking risks. But it is not my real self, that deep part of my soul that sends me signals through my core and my body. My soul is what is present when those chattering voices quiet down, when I fully tune in to my yearnings, rather than tune them out.

      This poem calls to that place in myself that I know I’ve hidden from most people, what feels too vulnerable sometimes to share. But yet it is that tender and simultaneously strong place that I keep wishing to return, because it has wisdom beyond those chattering voices that lead me more toward fulfilling others’ expectations rather than my soul’s yearning.

      When Martha Beck asked us last weekend to imagine not what we want, but instead what we yearn for, it helped me see through those “material” wants, to the real dreams I have for my life. While those are still emerging for me, this helps me see beyond those short-term concerns to something bigger, and more lasting.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I really relate to what you’re saying, which is probably why I had such a reaction to it too. I love the line “let nothing dissuade you from seeing what you see”. I had never read the poem before so am grateful that you shared it today (and your thoughts on it), thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

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