Beyond Illness with Mark Nepo

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Mark Nepo is a poet and philosopher who had the experience of dealing with his wife's diagnosis of cervical cancer at the same time doctors found a lymphoma growing between his brain and skull. Nepo's story of their journey through illness is a testament to the courage and creativity of the human spirit. In Nepo's words: "Anything that has a crack in it also has an opening. We cannot avoid being cracked by life, just as the mountains cannot stop being eroded by time. Our task as human beings is to withstand the pain of breaking enough to find our inner beauty." Nepo remembers the pain, the powerlessness and the desperation of cancer. He also speaks of the wonder, the wisdom and the love for life that cancer gave him. (hosted by Michael Toms)


Mark Nepo is a poet and philosopher who, for over three decades, has been teaching in the fields of poetry and spirituality. As a cancer survivor, Mark remains committed to the usefulness of daily inner life. He devotes his writing and teaching to the journey of inner transformation and the life of relationship.

He is the author of many books including:

His many audio learning courses include:

To find out more about the work of Mark Nepo go to &

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How relationships change with the onset of illness
  • What happens to independence and control in the face of cancer
  • How to deal with the fear
  • The importance of being open to different possibilities for a cure
  • The mysteries of healing
  • Accepting the joy amid the suffering
  • The gift of Grace
  • Embracing the will to live
  • The role of authenticity in effecting a cure
Host: Mark Walstrom         Interview Date: 4/8/1996         Program Number: 2649