The Watering Hole Blog

The Heart Must Surface

whale surfacing

Updated Jan 5th, 2023

The Heart Must Surface – Or We Die

Pilot whale image by Fitschen on Pixabay

“Oh, the heart like a whale has no choice but to surface.”

Mark Nepo, “The Book of Awakening”

‘Tis always the season for love. 

Although a quick glance at the news or social media would indicate that Big Love – the unconditional kind we are supposed to have for one another, regardless of our differing viewpoints and opinions – is not in the air.

As such, I thought sharing some poetic wisdom about passion by Mark Nepo would be both prudent and purposeful.

“From where does our passion come?” asks author Mark Nepo in his beautiful, book, “The Book of Awakening; Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.”

“It is not taught,” he continues. “It is only allowed through. Or not. When resisted, it carves out the heart daily. When allowed through, it rises and swells and almost drowns us with its heat.”

“Despite gravity, against gravity, in counterpoint to the weight of the world,” he writes, “a glowing heat that can be blocked but not contained emanates through all beings as love, thought, longing, and peace. When letting this vibrancy through, we open the common heart that lives beneath all human longing and the fire at the core begins to rise.”

“Oh, the heart like a whale has no choice but to surface,” he continues. “Or we die. And having surfaced, we all must dive. Or we die. And more than books or flowers or thoughtful gifts that show I know you, the dearest thing I can give is to surface with the sheen of my spirit before you.

Alas, wisdom that is not put to use is…well, useless. Click To Tweet

And so, here is my challenge to you, and to myself:

Who could you choose to love unconditionally? Click To Tweet

Perhaps this might be a prickly pear of a person in your own life. Or perhaps it is an annoyingly loud group of strangers – so seemingly easy to despise – whose viewpoints differ significantly from your own?

Love can be blocked but it cannot be contained.

When we cool our anger, and hold our ego in check, long enough to tap into the common heart that lives within all of us, then and only then will we begin to see the sheen of each other’s beautiful spirits.

I suspect Mark Nepo is correct…

The fire at the core of our hearts – individual and collective – must begin to rise…not in anger, hate, and polarity but in kindness, acceptance, and collaboration.


Maryanne Pope is the author of “A Widow’s Awakening.” She also writes screenplays, playscripts and blogs. She is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and a Director with the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. To receive Maryanne’s blog, “Weekly Words of Wisdom,” please subscribe here.

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