Every generation has its share of turbulence and chaos – personal storms, relational storms, life storms. And all the traditions offer practices and resources to help us be strong enough and kind enough to meet the challenges of our day. It is our turn to rediscover these practices and resources in order to repair ourselves and our world. All this is inner practice. All this is heart-work. In our journey toward Wholeness, there is a need to withstand the seeming chaos, so we might discover the larger order that is waiting beyond the edge of our knowing.

chaos poem

So much depends on our courage to face the truth and keep loving each other. In nature, birds remap their community every day by how they hear each other sing at the first sign of light. And when voices all over the world rise on behalf of each other, we begin to remap society. In the midst of all the chaos and suffering, we can collapse further or we can break the ground of a new age. If we can keep the truth in the open, we can begin to rewrite our social contract.

But being human, we often retreat to what is familiar, rationalizing that the unfamiliar is dangerous. When pressed, we tend to fall back on what we are accustomed to. And so, we lose our way, three steps from revelation, while it is often those steps that turn chaos into harmony.

The practices of radical respect, radical amazement, and radical innocence help us shed a smaller order for a larger order – until self, other, world, and God are One. Inevitably, we can’t do this alone.

The truth is there is no they. What we see across the divide is us. We have created the systems we suffer under and the walls we hide behind. Therefore, to be truly radical is to work with care and respect toward uncovering our common, human roots.

Adapted from Surviving Storms: Finding the Strength to Meet Adversity by Mark Nepo (St. Martin’s Essentials, 2022). For more information visit


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Mark Nepo
Mark Nepo is a poet and philosopher who has taught in the fields of poetry and spirituality for over 40 years. Mark has moved and inspired readers and seekers all over the world. A #1 New York Times bestselling author, his numerous award-winning books – including The Book of Awakening, More Together Than Alone, and Drinking from the River of Light – have been translated into over twenty languages. Mark devotes his writing and teaching to the journey of inner transformation and the life of relationship. He offer readings, lectures, and retreats internationally.


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