Reduced to Joy

by Susyn on April 21, 2014

Are you ready for more joy in your life?
What if fear, doubt, past wounds, and every obstacle on your path
were your teachers, would you allow their message to be your guide?


This soulful and inspiring On Purpose interview is with Mark Nepo, poet and philosopher who has been called “one of the finest spiritual guides of our time.”

He has published 14 books and 8 audio projects including, Reduced to Joy (voted best Spiritual Book of 2013 by Spirituality and Practice), Seven Thousand Ways to Listen and the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Book of Awakening.  In November 2013 he was a guest on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday.

In 1987, Mark was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma.  The heart of that journey and its aftermath has greatly informed his work.  Ever since, he has been a student of all paths and his work has explored the common unity of all spiritual traditions, focusing on how we can experience that unity when we lean into life and hold nothing back.  

You can hear the full interview replay or download the mp3 file using the audio player at the top of this post. You can also listen to this interview, as well as past and future interviews, by subscribing to our free iTunes podcast => HERE.

Gem of Wisdom:

One of the greatest allies and resources in my life, and the most difficult, is to wait. In my cancer journey… Only waiting revealed what was the right next step.

Time and again I’ve been humbled to discover that the things that matter most take time – to reveal a path, a way, a light. Even for me to understand the language of the next step…

So the most difficult thing, and the thing I’d offer anyone who has any kind of question about who they are and what they’re called to do, is to open our heart. And lean in. And wait. So that a kind of conversation can begin.

Favorite Quotes from this Interview:

“As I keep learning and understanding, one of the deepest blocks to joy is the assumption that plagues us, often unspoken, that life is other than where we are.  There’s no ‘there’, there is only ‘here’.”

“I think it’s so important to dream and have goals, but I think we make too much of them.  The dreaming and the dreams are not the endpoint.  Dreams are all designed to help us stay close to aliveness.  And so they are kindling.  When one dream gets used up we have to reach for another.”

“I began writing out of a broken heart to heal.  I didn’t know it at the time, I wasn’t just talking to myself, I had started a conversation with the Universe and that was incredibly healing.”

“In my mid-thirties my cancer was a huge turning point.  For me it was cancer, but it’s not to deify the obstacle or the suffering.  What opens us is never as important as what is opened.”

“My cancer journey really forced me to live out of my heart.  And from that point forward my mind served my heart and not the other way around.”

“I’ve observed that hawks can’t open their wings all the way unless they lead with their chest – their heart. And so too with us.”

“I think at the heart of all traditions is the unspoken truth that we are all connected at heart, we are all the same at heart.  By whatever you name what is greater than us life by design is just hard enough that we need each other, no one can do it alone. And so the purpose of Love; the purpose of Love it to keep everything and everyone connected.”

“Every tradition tells us that obstacles are teachers.  There’s a chapter in my new book, The Endless Practice:  Becoming Who You Were Born to Be, titled What’s In the Way Is the Way.”  (to be published Fall 2014)

“I believe the spiritual journey involves developing a ‘practice of return’ – so I can restore my trust in life when I loss it.”

“There’s a deep correlation between the Soul’s Calling and the Call of the Soul.  The Soul’s Calling is our work in the world – what are we called to do, how do we contribute. The Call of the Soul is that depth of being that doesn’t care what we do, where we live – it just wants us to be as alive as possible.  And of course the two inform each other, when we can stay close to our aliveness we discover what our work is.”

Reduced to Joy

I was sipping coffee on the way to work,

the back road under a canopy of maples

turning orange.  In the dip of woods, a small

doe gently leaping.  I pulled over, for there

was no where else to go.  She paused as if

she knew I was watching.  A few orange

leaves fell around her like blessings no

one can seem to find.  I sipped some

coffee, completely at peace, knowing

it wouldn’t last.  But that’s alright.

We never know when we will blossom

into what we’re supposed to be.  It might

be early.  It might be late.  If might be after

thirty years of failing at a misguided way.

Or the very first time we dare to shed

our mental skin and touch the world.

They say, if real enough, some see God

 at the moment of their death.  But isn’t

every fall and letting go a death?  Isn’t God

waiting right now in the chill between the

small doe’s hoof and those fallen leaves?

~ Mark Nepo
from Reduced to Joy


  • Click Here for all of Mark’s audio projects, books and to watch the videos of Mark and Oprah on Super Soul Sunday

Insider Circle Winner

Members of our free  On Purpose Insider’s Circle are automatically eligible to win a free book or gift from guests we interview. At the end of each episode we do a drawing, exclusively for our Insider Circle members

This week’s Insider Circle Winner of Mark Nepo’s book, Reduced to Joy is, Mary Ann P. from London

Congratulations Mary Ann!

Click HERE to learn more about being part of our Insider Circle.


Project Your Best Self

by Susyn on April 10, 2014

Is your personal style reflected in what you wear?  What if you could express yourself more fully with the clothes that are in your closet right now, would you?


This energized On Purpose interview is with Carmen Adriana, founder of the FabInjection Wardrobe Salon and the author of, The Fab7:  How to Love Getting Dresses.  She is known for her supportive and honest approach to personal style.

Carmen has worked with multiple celebrities and has been a stylist for The Today Show, CNN, ESPN, AMC TV and for Fashion Week in New York City.  Clients remark on her “excellent eye” when it comes to know what will look great on them as she seamlessly weaves individuality with the latest trends.

Click Here to Listen to/Download Carmen’s On Purpose Conversation

Gem of Wisdom:  Get clear and make sure you love it.

One Small Step:  Who is Your Best Self?
Consider what it is you want to express and then be mindful of what you want to wear.  Consider what it is you’d like to look like and then execute that.  It all starts in your mind.  If you’re not sure about the style you really like, then start with someone you like.  I like a combination of Jennifer Aniston, Jackie O, and Jessica Rabbit.

Favorite Quotes from this Interview:

“I have always wanted to work with people and make them look better, since I was about 6 years old.  I graduated college with a degree in music therapy.  One day my boyfriend said to me, “You’re really, really good at helping people make themselves look better, and maybe music therapy might not be for you.  You should get a career in fashion.”  I thought about it and it sounded like a great idea.”

“Around September 11, 2001, like many people in the garment district, I was laid off and I didn’t know what I was going to do.  I didn’t think that sitting at a desk from 9 – 5 was what my purpose was.  I thought I would really love to do styling.  I could really make an impact with that. 

“I called around, and my first job as a stylist, working for a well-known designer, was zipping Halle Berry into her Oscar dress!”

“The first time I saw someone I had made-over, it just clicked – I have made an impact on this person’s life.  I have truly improved this person’s life.  Look how confident she is.”

“This can be simple – it’s a matter of considering what you want to look like and then going after that look.”

“What my clients get is confidence through our work together.  What it comes down to is they get more focused, they are attracting more positive attention because they are projecting their best self.”

“Once you start taking care of yourself, you start putting more intention to how you’re dressing.  It’s truly amazing what happens when you know that you could not look any better than you look at this moment.”

“A lot of my clients are busy professionals.  They want to make more money, cultivate more opportunities and they want their image to reflect that. I also work with a lot of people who have had a life change, whether they’ve had a baby recently, have gradated from college, changed jobs, or maybe they are just completely overwhelmed by their closet.”

“The Fab7 is seven elements that have been distilled from all of my knowledge from almost 34 years. 

The Fab7 are:

  1. 1.    Dress with Intent
  2. 2.    Order in the Closet
  3. 3.    Tailor it Swiftly
  4. 4.    Perfectly Imperfect
  5. 5.    Keep it Simple
  6. 6.    Good Underwear
  7. 7.    The Loehmann’s Syndrome”

(Note:  Carmen’s e-book, The Fab 7:  How to Love Getting Dressed will be available mid-June, 2014)

“I like to say, I’m a holistic wardrobe stylist.”


  Tanya S. from Australia
You are this seeks Insider Circle Winner.  Tanya won a 40-minute Ignite Your Calling tele-session with Rikk (valued at $167.00)

Each week, we do a drawing to send a book or gift from our guest to a lucky member of our Insider Circle.  Find out more about how to join the free Insider Circle on the On Purpose Show website:



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