A deeply heartfelt weave of reflections and poems about what it means to live the creative, expressive life.
“I cherish the wisdom and embrace the practices offered in this luminous book.” —Mirabai Starr, author of Caravan of No Despair and Wild Mercy
“Meaningful art, enduring art—and the transformative process it awakens—keeps us alive,” writes Mark Nepo. With Drinking from the River of Light, this bestselling poet and philosopher will lead you on a journey to discover just how art and authentic expression can bring our deepest truths to bear in the world.
In this collection of interconnected essays and poetry—covering subjects ranging from the importance of staying in conversation with other forms of life to a consideration of how innovators such as Matisse, Rodin, and Beethoven saw the world—Nepo presents a lyrical ode to the creative urge that stirs in each of us. Whether it’s the search for a metaphor to reveal life’s beauty or the brushstroke that will thoroughly capture the moment, Drinking from the River of Light examines what it means to go “. . . beyond the boundaries of art, where the viewer and participant are one.”
Here you will discover:
• The importance of openly embracing the full scope of your emotions
• The need for raw honesty and self-exploration in education
• Why a new perspective always waits only a “quarter turn” away
• The importance of staying in constant conversation with other creative voices
• The crucial difference between giving and getting attention
• Concrete guidelines for respectful peer review
• What it means to channel the sound of your innermost being—and the universe
In Nepo’s words, “This book is meant to be experienced and journeyed with.” Including dozens of journaling prompts and personal exercises meant to enliven the reader’s creative instincts, Drinking from the River of Light traces the search for our most essential selves and the importance of the life of expression to bear witness to the sorrow, depth, and joy of life.
Poet and philosopher Nepo (Seven Thousand Ways of Listening) provides personal reflections and exercises in this passionate testament to the spirituality of expression particularly prose. "When we express, when we let out what is in... we are drinking from the River of Light," writes Nepo. Nepo explains his writing practice and his goal, through it, "to become one with all we encounter through our enlivened practice of expression." Confronting cancer as a young man led Nepo to reconsider his ambition as a poet and gave him his "first in-depth experience of writing as a spiritual practice," which undergirds this project. Following each brief section on such subjects as "Yearning to Be" and "The Practice before the Practice" (about figuring out one's goals and direction) are a few questions to guide readers' journaling. Guided by the principle that "the life of expression is always concerned with the internal search for meaning," this workbook and existential meditation on creativity often move away from concrete exercises to Nepo's airy musings (as when he writes that metaphor is a means to "relate to the living Oneness of things"). Those interested in bringing spirituality into their creative practice will want to take a look.