In 1999, Dawna Markova wrote I Will Not Die an Unlived Life, which we saluted as a very ardent personal work on the spiritual practice of zeal. An educator in the groundbreaking work of helping people live with passion and purpose, she has put together another inspirational resource now. It taps into the spirit of her 1999 book and adds probing questions and thought-provoking quotations. She states in the introduction:
"Purpose is the activating intelligence that guides our life. It is distilled from the stories and ideas that emerge from these big wide conversations we have with ourselves. It emerges from the yearning in each of us to create meaning and wholeness. May the conversations that are born from this book inspire you, dear reader, to open your heart and mind to all that you can make possible in this world."
This primer on the inner work that leads to passion and purpose contains 30 chapters in which Markova examines attention, self-care, solitude, "mental metabolism," mystery, the stories we tell ourselves, opening our hearts, sheltering fear, letting wounds be our teachers, cultivating trust, wonder, risking your significance, service, and more. Here is a sample chapter on "Questing Inward":
"Questions can be dangerous. They can take us right to the edge of what is known and comfortable. They can require tremendous courage to ask, because we know that new questions can lead to new ways of perceiving, and new perceptions can lead to new explorations and actions. Pick any 'dangerous' question you have been avoiding asking yourself and you'll see what I mean. A question such as, 'How do I make my work too small for me?' or 'Is my spirit dying in my relationship?' or poet Mary Oliver's magnificently disturbing, 'What is it that you want to do with the one, wild, precious thing called your life?' The asking of such questions often leads to the perilous, growing edge of our minds. All new thought begins with a dangerous question that pries our hearts and minds open and rescues us from the numbness of fear and cynicism. It can return us to a second innocence where we can listen to the truth about what we really feel and wake up."