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

4.31  ·  Rating details ·  6,473 ratings  ·  338 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 ...more
Paperback, 438 pages
Published May 31st 2000 by Conari Press (first published May 31st 1999)
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 ·  6,473 ratings  ·  338 reviews

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Jan 19, 2015 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 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, ...more
Renee Amberg
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was kinda hard to get through. Overall it had really impactful messages but you have to really dig to find them. Nepo explains simple life lessons with the use of many metaphors, which I didn't really enjoy. It seemed that every single thing he experienced he had to somehow dissect, symbolically. I prefer to take in life as it is and not try to make it anything more than what it needs to be. Overall, I'm a more simple, straight to the point kinda gal as this books has a lot of fluff. ...more
Jul 31, 2012 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.
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.
Debbie "DJ"
Apr 26, 2014 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!
Aug 29, 2012 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 ...more
Kim Stalling
Jan 13, 2011 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.
John Girard
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, hard-copy
An exquisite book of daily meditations. One of my very favorites.
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book. One that has been my (almost) daily companion thru the year; one I intend to make my daily companion next year as well.
Roman Stadtler
Jul 28, 2009 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
Kenneth Ferber
Aug 14, 2012 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. ...more
Jun 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was a miss for me and is headed to the little library. While I absolutely love the format, a daily spiritual devotion with calendar dates, the musings of Marc Nepo did not resonate with me at all.

Take for example June 12. “To count by touching” where it states we need to count by touching, not by adding and subtracting. When we count with our eyes, we stall the heart.

WTF!???!!! What are we counting? Why can’t we use math? I truly do not get how this is spiritual. “To count with Hands brings
Jul 21, 2012 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.
Jan 01, 2016 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
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I’ve not completed it and though the writing was thought provoking I’ve been moving in a new direction with meditation and the writing was no longer facilitating or reflecting on my process but rather distracting from it. I may pick it up at another time as the writing was lovely, but for now, and likely for a long time to come, this is being shelved as read. I had been using it as something to reflect on for my meditation and perspective and had read a good portion of it but having experienced ...more
May 21, 2017 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.
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I read this book year after year and learn something new each time!! I’ve also purchased copies for friends who are searching for deeper meanings in life. I definitely recommend anything by Mark Nepo.
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a daily read,,, truly one of the best I’ve had
Kelly Lang
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great daily reading over the past year. Thought provoking daily passages encouraging the reader to slow down and enjoy all aspects of our lives including the good and bad.
Chris Bird
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My sister gave me this book after my divorce. It was a pretty introspective time for me - due in large part because of this book.

This book was so impactful. It helped me realize that everyone struggles. Everyone has doubts in themselves and others. And everyone can easily blame others for things but it’s just not worth it.

It’s set up to read a passage each day. Some nights I’d read the passage for that particular day and move on to other things. Other days I’d read the same passage a dozen
J. Victory
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the those books that will never get old and inspire daily throughout our lives!
Nia Ferrell
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am doing a project for my sophomore English class in which we were to find a topic that we were passionate about, and do research as well as impact the community. There were not very many guidelines for this project, what we call the passion project, however one of the things required was we were to find a book related to our topic. My topic is appreciation, and I actually had a very difficult time coming across a book that showed appreciation the way I want to display it-- in a positive ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was a bit reserved at the beginning when I first read the title of the book. It sounds like so many of „self-help“ books with pretentious titles that don't actually tell you anything and are way to repetitious. I had PDF format so I just scrolled through it, nothing to lose, eh…and I'm glad I did it. Written in form of daily meditations to coincide with the calendar, I was stunned with author's use of language and insight on everyday mundane things we often take for granted. Author is cancer ...more
Aug 12, 2014 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 ...more
Feb 02, 2012 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.
Viktor Nilsson
Aug 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing.
I grew up in a very secular environment and I've never had any interest for reading anything else than programming manuals and the like. So picking up this book was very unusual for me. In fact, I don't even know how to categorize it - Spirituality? Meditation? Philosophy? Poetry? For me it was all of the above. One chapter per day, a 3 minute read, left me deeply fulfilled in a place inside, for which I can't even find a name. Some of the chapters stayed with me for the
Lisa Brummit
Jan 18, 2011 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.
Paige P
I have listened to this book on Audio, but also own it in paperback because one cannot have too many copies of this book. It is designed to be savored slowly, day by day. Reading the daily excerpts is like opening a little gift of peaceful, mindful reflection that quietly balances your mind. I wish the whole world could have this book - it is that wonderful and special.
Apr 05, 2012 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.
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“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.” 100 likes
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