mountain sea

50 for 50 #30

From The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo.

I drove 500 miles down the California coast with the mountains on my left and the ocean on the right. For days they spoke to me of standing up and wearing down. Of course, I was driving a road we have made down the middle. During the fourth day, the road became a ribbon. It was here it was most beautiful.

I found the world out there all in here, and now I know: The current of life requires us to stand up, again and again, and we are not defeated when we are worn down, just exposed anew at a deeper level. We are meant to live between the two.

In this way, life keeps getting more and more precious. It is a natural law like gravity or osmosis: Stand up to be worn bare. It is how everything in the way is thinned, so we can feel just how thoroughly alive we are.


Can you feel this truth in your heart? Being worn down time and again to stand back up. If we don't understand life’s rhythm we might resist, dig in our heels, strain or rail against. Or even give up, as opposed to release. Vulnerable is how Mark’s description of being exposed makes me feel. Being worn down akin for me to Brené Brown's descriptions of setting down our armor to rise undefended and let our true selves be seen. Exposing our tender hearts can be a gamble, and doesn't always turn out the way we'd like it to. But each time we sand down our coarse exterior, jettison a brick from our parapet, demolish a layer from our façade, we step toward authentic living. In this way practicing vulnerability is also an act of self-care. To feel thoroughly alive, we must know our preciousness.  

Thank you to a fellow writing retreat member who introduced me to Mark's work, another treasured gift of attending a workshop. 

More on Mark Nepo HERE


  1. Life has its ups and downs, as we all know. Life is inherently bipolar. At lower points I remind myself that things will get better. And during the good times, I cherish the moment as much as possible.

    I think the difficulties we overcome make us stronger and more empathetic. I can't say I'm happy that I've often been worn down, yet I believe the effort I've put into dealing with those obstacles has made me stand taller than I ever would have otherwise. And doing the work to rise from the ashes helps when yet another difficulty must be faced. That work sets you up to start from a stronger place than where you before the last crisis.

    Often the hard times we face happen to us, as opposed to something we brought on ourselves. We had no control over whether or not that event or situation happened. But of course we have a lot of control over how we deal with that event or situation. The process of working through painful events can take a lot of time, years even. Maybe even a lifetime. Yet, I truly believe that being vulnerable – facing your feelings, expressing them, working through them – can make our lives richer and happier.

  2. Beautifully said, Sue, and spot on. Thank you for this kind and vulnerable. You are so right. We usually don't have control over what happens to us only how we react to events, circumstances, and people. XO

  3. Love this!! So we’ll said and the sentiment resonates so thoroughly throughout my being! Thank you for putting it to words!!

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