Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have” as Want to Read:
The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have

4.31  ·  Rating Details ·  4,016 Ratings  ·  270 Reviews
Philosopher-poet and cancer survivor, Mark Nepo opens a new season of freedom and joy--an escape from deadening, asleep-at-the wheel sameness--that is both profound and clarifying. His spiritual daybook is a summons to reclaim aliveness, liberate the self, take each day one at a time, and to savor the beauty offered by life's unfolding. Reading his poetic prose is like bei ...more
Paperback, 438 pages
Published May 31st 2000 by Conari Press (first published May 31st 1999)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Book of Awakening, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Book of Awakening

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 19, 2015 Linda rated it it was amazing
When was the last time that you were totally awed by a particular book? Well, I'd like to hand off a copy of Mark Nepo's The Book of Awakening because "awakened" you will be. Your search for daily meditations is over. This is truly the one! I own stacks of books that I page through to speak to me of matters that touch my spirit. I no longer need the stack. Each day Mark provides you with something to ponder indepth. He has a profound gift for leaving loveprints upon your soul with language that ...more
Mary Schumann
Jul 30, 2012 Mary Schumann rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone looking for higher awareness, more satisfaction with where they actually are in life
Recommended to Mary by: friend
I really like this book. I am reviewing a copy from the library, but will make a purchase. It's a daily meditation, the author gives a short quote or thought, then a deeper exploration of the meaning of that quote, and follows it with an exercise to do on your own, if you wish. My perception of it so far is that it simply changes the angle at which you see things and opens your eyes to a new way of approaching your life or your thoughts. It doesn't INSTRUCT you to think in any particular way, bu ...more
Jul 31, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing
I found each daily entry thought provoking and inspiring. Mark Nepo's book is balanced and creatively written with great reflective questions. He gently nudges you to become more aware, awake and present. His book touched me deeply by his simple storytelling "awakening" a sense of longing for better living and connection within me.

Daily reads take 2-3 minutes, are filled with great quotes, subtle humor and a touch of mysticism. Wholesome soul food at its best.
Debbie "DJ"
Apr 26, 2014 Debbie "DJ" rated it it was amazing
This is by far the best daily reader I have ever read. I no longer have a stack of meditation books, as this surpasses them all. So far each daily read has left me with a sense of "WOW!" His writing is deeply profound and the messages go straight to my heart. He also includes a short meditation after each read which carry the message even further. You will be amazed...I love this book!
Kim Stalling
Jan 13, 2011 Kim Stalling rated it really liked it
Some days, the message is exactly what I need. Earlier this week, I was feeling very insecure about some career issues and wishing I were a bit like others. There was a story about a man (Akiba - I believe) who was sorry he wasn't living his life like Moses. The message reminded us, God wants us to live our lives as ourselves, not as someone else. It was exactly what I needed to remember at that moment.
Aug 29, 2012 Amy added it
Note added on 2/22/13: I want to add a word of caution to my previous remarks. The entry for February 20 in this book, titled, "Nicodemus and the Truth" is not what I would consider anti-Semitic writing, but as a Jew it really bothers me to read it in a book that seemed to be more openminded about different cultures and religious faiths. In the story Nicodemus is a Pharisee who secretly visits and believes in Jesus, but doesn't acknowledge it in public. So it says Nicodemus was "traumatically th ...more
Roman Stadtler
Jul 28, 2009 Roman Stadtler rated it it was amazing
Nepo is a wonderful poet and storyteller, so don't let the "self-help" title turn you off. These short vignettes of his experiences of loss, of his own cancer, and lighter moments, contain all sorts of wisdom and surprising little moments of self recognition. I've given this book as a gift many times, and keep returning to it myself. One of those books I'd want on the proverbial deserted isle.

Merged review:

Nepo is a wonderful poet and storyteller, so don't let the "self-help" title turn you off
This book was giving to me upon my release from the hospital, was bedridden for months, the book really came in handy going through that and the chemo phases, definitely helped me through some trying times and just coping with what was going on.
And still read it from time to time.
John Girard
Nov 19, 2012 John Girard rated it it was amazing
An exquisite book of daily meditations. One of my very favorites.
Jul 21, 2012 Effie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this daily. Each reading gives such a window to a deeper, richer, examined life. Nepo is a gifted writer who has really taken this journey. Grateful for his insight which helps
Improve mine.
Kate  Powell
Jan 01, 2016 Kate Powell rated it it was ok
The book is formatted into a daily meditation guide whose purpose is to awaken you, using quotes, and many spiritual precepts as the jumping off points. Day-books have been the rage in the last decade, and frankly, most are a bit like FaceBook, allowing you to feel like you are having a brief respite when in fact, like the thousand friends you've collected, real friends need to be cultivated and spent time with, listening and understanding and celebrating. I postulate that while they may be nice ...more
May 21, 2017 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
This harks back to 1999 but the call to slow down, pay attention, and get past ego I feel is more important than ever. I listened to the author read this and I am ordering a copy for myself to have at hand for always. It contains a parable and a meditation presented for each day of the year. There is so much meaty wisdom here, I cannot wait to delve into it over and over again.
Yelania Nightwalker
A mí me gusta, de vez en cuando, leer algún libro de meditación o temas parecidos. Cuando vi que la editorial anunciaba éste, decidí darle una oportunidad, aunque no había leído a Mark Nepo antes. Un libro para renacer cada día es una especie de diario, hay una entrada para cada día de año, donde el autor nos da una reflexión o un pensamiento sobre ese día y entonces nos pide que hagamos algún ejercicio, algo sencillo, que tenga que ver con lo que estamos leyendo en ese pensamiento.

No es un lib
Kenneth Ferber
Aug 14, 2012 Kenneth Ferber rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a kind of daily reflection 'Bible' for me and almost always 'primes the pump' when it comes to personal reflection as well as an incentive for my own writing. Mark Nepo is a cancer survivor which was his 'hitting bottom' so to speak and part of his transformational experience. Nepo is also able to effectively combine the spirituality of the world, embracing so many branches, from Christianity to Buddhism, Hinduism and much more in his personal and thoughtful year of daily reflections. Th ...more
Aug 12, 2014 Robin rated it really liked it
For someone like me who struggles with acknowledging and exploring my feelings, I appreciate how Nepo concentrates on mindfulness and self-awareness. I was curious about him and looked into his life. It's nice to know a bit more about someone if you are considering taking their advice...maybe it's the librarian in me? Nepo and his former wife were diagnosed with cancer around the same time in midlife. It seems this was a catalyst for them to diverge from one another eventually. Nepo is now marri ...more
Feb 02, 2012 Rita rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-again
a beautifully written book of daily meditations. Set up to coincide with the calendar. thought-provoking, calming, insightful

Finished thos on Dec. 31st and had a little yearning to start it all over again this year. I think I will move on to something else this year and come back to it next year. Really liked this one. Neop pulls quotes from wellj-known and not so wellj-known authors as well as his own thoughts and expands on one each day to help the reader gain a better knowledge of themselves.
Lisa Brummit
Jan 18, 2011 Lisa Brummit rated it really liked it
I start every morning with an inspiration from this book. I take the time I need to reflect on the daily passage and have found it to be a way of learning about the real person I am. I have been searching for inner peace for so long , this book has helped me to meditate on the important things to make my life and my inner self more complete and at peace. I love this book and want to give everyone I know a copy.
Apr 05, 2012 Janet rated it it was amazing
This is a master piece of living life insights--not so much of a self help book, but one of just think about this concept or ponder on this way of looking at a particular aspect of life. You will especiallt like this if you are a lover of the natural wold and see and experice in the natural order of things.
Apr 15, 2011 Bradley rated it really liked it
I need to make a shelf for the books that I want to own one day. I might start with this book. I borrowed it from the library but three weeks isn't nearly enough time to delve into all this book could teach me. It's laid out as a daily journal thing with little short stories to help guide you on your journey. If I owned it I'd use it as a daily meditation tool.
Elizabeth Olson
Jan 29, 2012 Elizabeth Olson rated it really liked it
Shelves: spiritual, read-2012
Poet Nepo's book of daily readings has definite Buddhist leanings, but doesn't exclusively follow that or any other tradition. Its inspiration is a mix of faith writings from various times and traditions, plus poetry from Nepo and others, and his own introspintrospections on life, love, loss and growth. There is much beauty here, and plenty of wisdom.
Jenny Benn
Jan 14, 2012 Jenny Benn rated it it was amazing
I'm loving this book. The daily inspirations are simple and profound, and totally accessible to the average person. I find myself remembering the reading thoughout the day. It's the best book of daily inspirations I've ever had.
Aug 09, 2016 Karen111 rated it it was amazing
Although I have not read this fully (there's a piece for every day of the year), I love what I've read so far. Each day has a short poem, guidance for the day and finally an exercise you can do during the day. Each section is short and sweet, therefore easy to slot into already busy lives.
Feb 22, 2012 Frankie rated it it was amazing
This is the best daily meditation book I have ever read. Love it!
Marc Byerley
Jan 26, 2012 Marc Byerley rated it it was amazing
Saw the author on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah. Had to buy the book. Such great wisdom & insight in what I've read so far. It's a daily devotional.
Robin Tierney
Mar 12, 2016 Robin Tierney rated it liked it
Uplifting and illuminating. Some notes (not a review):

The Book of Awakening
Mark Nepo

If get something you don't want, or not get something you want, see it not as a failure but as an opening.
The same wind touches many leaves.
Be comfortable in any position.
You don't need all the cherries to taste one.
Barrier - breathe patiently and look for another way in.
Splinters in life
What aspect of your personality gets in the way? Envy? Distrust? Fear?
For what are we saving?
Express affection
Notice the resurg
Jun 09, 2017 Shelby rated it it was amazing
I have finally spent exactly one year with this book – a meditational guide on spirituality, gentleness, and love for daily life. It brought peace to my evenings when I read the day's passage, and I am already excited to read it again for the next year. A great gift for anyone who is looking to open their heart.
Carrie Browder
Jun 21, 2017 Carrie Browder rated it it was amazing
I was first introduced to Nepo by a dear friend, who would send me voice recordings of the daily excerpts and meditations contained in Nepo's "The Book of Awakening." I found the recordings so moving, so profoundly healing to my soul, that my friend surprised me with a copy of my own.

Nepo's words of wisdom, courage, and inspiration have become my favorite way to start my days.
Aisling Van Dam LaBauve
May 07, 2017 Aisling Van Dam LaBauve rated it it was amazing
Shelves: devotionals
I'm reading this book as part of a group of my daily devotionals that I read in the morning and I love it. No matter one's spiritual path, everyone could get something wonderful from this book. I find that it helps me gets centered as my day begins.
Margaret Pinard
Didn't actually finish because it's a book of days, but liked most of the entires as I skimmed--had to sit with some for a day or two, deep stuff and profound reflections for self and happiness.
Theresa Honeycheck
Jun 26, 2017 Theresa Honeycheck rated it it was ok
hmmmm. This is a daily devotional type of read. It was not for me.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Seeker's Guide: Making Your Life a Spiritual Adventure
  • Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life
  • Oneness With All Life: Inspirational Selections from A New Earth
  • Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion
  • Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening
  • The Wizard of Us: Transformational Lessons from Oz
  • Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation
  • Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead
  • Messages From Spirit: The Extraordinary Power of Oracles, Omens, and Signs
  • Entering the Castle: An Inner Path to God and Your Soul
  • Everyday Sacred: A Woman's Journey Home
  • A Life Worth Breathing: A Yoga Master's Handbook of Strength, Grace, and Healing
  • Quantum Wellness: A Transformative Guide to Health, Happiness and a Better World
  • Wild Feminine: Finding Power, Spirit, & Joy in the Root of the Female Body
  • Earth Prayers: From Around the World: 365 Prayers, Poems, and Invocations for Honoring the Earth
  • To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings
  • Polishing the Mirror: How to Live from Your Spiritual Heart
  • Finding Your Way in a Wild New World: Reclaim Your True Nature to Create the Life You Want

Share This Book

“We waste so much energy trying to cover up who we are when beneath every attitude is the want to be loved, and beneath every anger is a wound to be healed and beneath every sadness is the fear that there will not be enough time.

When we hesitate in being direct, we unknowingly slip something on, some added layer of protection that keeps us from feeling the world, and often that thin covering is the beginning of a loneliness which, if not put down, diminishes our chances of joy.

It’s like wearing gloves every time we touch something, and then, forgetting we chose to put them on, we complain that nothing feels quite real. Our challenge each day is not to get dressed to face the world but to unglove ourselves so that the doorknob feels cold and the car handle feels wet and the kiss goodbye feels like the lips of another being, soft and unrepeatable.”
“…there are no wrong turns, only unexpected paths.” 87 likes
More quotes…