Where the Learning Begins…

 In Reflections

“I realized that what has caused so much anxiety in my life of plans is the fear that, if thrown off course, whatever that means, life will leave town without me. How utterly silly. It’s the other way around. God is fully wherever we are, and when our plans are bent or split or reversed by the unexpected appearance of life in its many guises, this is often where the learning begins.”

— Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways To Listen

After surrendering my aisle seat for a window seat a few rows up to allow a man to sit with his family on a full flight yesterday, I tried to give as much space to my middle seat neighbor, ignore feeling crowded, and read Mark Nepo’s book, Seven Thousand Ways To Listen.

Preferring the aisle for decades and often sitting in rows where the windows are closed the entire time by travelers who’ve lost the awe of flight, I found myself pausing often to view the extraordinary cloud formations out my window. An unexpected change in plans led to a beautiful experience I had forgotten was available to me.

Whether it’s a road block, an unexpected change that moves you away from a treasured goal, or a voluntary change in plans, how might you embrace the possibility that this is “where the learning begins”?

The learning might be a remembrance of something beautiful like I found while watching the clouds from Boston to Austin or it could be finding out the goal you set years ago no longer appeals to the person you are today. Sometimes only a sudden change enables us to see or hear what the Divine has been trying to tell us for awhile.

May you trust in the learning and gifts available in unexpected changes. And may Mark Nepo’s wisdom that “God is fully wherever we are” bring you peace.

In the Stream

“I was pushed like everyone to move forward and get there, though I was never sure where there was… Now, I want only to give away all that I’m blessed to know and disappear in the stream.”
― Mark Nepo

The Detour

“I recall a story I love about Jung. One of his students came to him and asked: ‘Professor, could you please tell me the shortest distance to my life goal?’ Without hesitation Jung replied, ‘The detour.’”
― Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughte

Some Questions

In his book, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, Mark Nepo ends each section with some powerful questions. When you have a moment to pause and ponder, we invite you to consider a few of the “gems” he offers. May they lead you on a learning journey.

“Are you holding your breath anywhere in your life? What will it take for you to breathe more deeply again?”

“Who has your ear these days, the one in you who says yes or the one in you who says no?”

“Are you listening to the part of you life is trying to wake?

― Mark Nepo

May you take time to listen.

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