Integrity…”this ability to listen inside is our oldest oar.”

I so treasure my daily devotionals from Mark Nepo. Unfolding with my own life experiences, his works are some I’ve come across in recent years that have changed my worldview.

Today’s reading is a helpful reminder on integrity, and self-acceptance…

Integrity is the ability to listen to a place inside oneself that doesn’t change, even though the life that carries it may change. —RABBI JONATHAN OMER-MAN

Much of our journey throughout this book has been about discovering that place inside and cultivating the ability to listen to it, while having compassion for the life that carries it.

It moves me to share the story of a troubled man who, exhausted from his suffering and confusion, asked a sage for help. The sage looked deeply into the troubled man and with compassion offered him a choice: “You may have either a map or a boat.”

After looking at the many pilgrims about him, all of whom seemed equally troubled, the confused man said, “I’ll take the boat.”

The sage kissed him on the forehead and said, “Go then. You are the boat. Life is the sea.”

As we have discovered so many times, we have everything we need within us. This ability to listen inside is our oldest oar. You are the boat.

~ Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening

I know in the past, I would have asked for the map…wanting someone or something outside of myself to give me my answers, my Truth. With life’s experience and some sage counsel, I’ve grown to trust my own voice, my own oar… As one of my favorite musicals recounts, “the Starlight Express is within me…”

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I see life as full of possibilities and the world full of beautiful people possessing unique and often untapped talents. I’m a learner and connector, seeking ways to leverage the abundance in this world through strong community.

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