More from and about
Dawna Markova
(biographical info at bottom of page)


What would it be like to open our hearts to our fear, to befriend it with wonder, as one would a deer in the forest?  What if you could bring it right into the hearth of your awareness instead of ignoring it and thus allowing it to become an undifferentiated mass of demons that gang up on your in the murk?  Stuffed behind walls, fear becomes a horde--the Demons of Doubt who will trample you under stories of what others think, of your endless failures, impending humiliation, and lost control.  Together and ignored, they will drive you out of your own life.  But when you invite them into the layered light of your awareness, they can't join together and rule you from the shadows.

Once you begin to acknowledge random acts of kindness - both the ones you have received and the ones you have given - you can no longer believe that what you do does not matter.
I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit.

As with any other great force of nature, there is both glory and danger in the stories we tell ourselves.  Some are toxic and keep our problems festering.  Others are tonic and bring us beyond the limitations of our previous history.  To be in a life of our own definition, we must be able to discover which stories we are following and determine which ones help us grow the most interesting possibilities.


Compassion is the skillful way to respond to pain and difficulty.
It is what makes it possible to open to what is occurring instead
of shutting it out or walling off against it.


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When we find ourselves devoid of passion and purpose,
the first thing we need to do is stop.  But that's not easy.


When cancer first came into my life, people all around me treated
it as the enemy.  I was told I had to join the medical team and we'd
fight together to defeat it.  This was the wrong thing to say to someone
who was the last one to be picked for any team.  I was much happier
sitting on the sidelines and encouraging the other players.  I was
totally unskilled at defeating anything.  So I secretly went my own
way and decided that I was free to choose the meaning of the healing
experience.  I decided I would develop a friendly relationship
with the cancer, which was something I was good at.


Twenty years of living with a life-threatening disease, cancer, brings
me into daily conversations with my soul.  My healing has depended
upon these as much or more as it has on medical expertise.  I think
cancer was my soul's desperate attempt to get me to pay attention to
its needs for intimacy, authentic expression, creativity, and replenishing
solitude.  I think of cancer as a teacher that was not invited,
but has come to my house to visit from time to time nonetheless.


Inspirational speaker and writer Dawna Markova, Ph.D is internationally known for her groundbreaking work in helping people learn with passion and live on purpose. She is the CEO of Professional Thinking Partners, a group of consultants whose expertise lies in the expansion of human capacity. Her clients include CEO's and senior leaders of several Fortune 500 companies, including Royal Dutch Shell, Xerox, Ford, EDS, Daimler-Chrysler, and Hewlett-Packard; governments including The Government of Nigeria; the Canadian health care system; and entrepreneurial businesses such as Canyon Ranch. In addition, she has worked with many non-profit organizations, including foundations and school systems around the world.

A popular keynote speaker at business and educational conferences around the globe, last year alone she spoke to over 11,000 in eight countries on a wide-range of topics including organizational learning, living with cancer, and empowering individuals, groups and nations.

A long term cancer survivor (she was told she had six months to live almost thirty years ago), Dr. Markova has appeared on Iyanla and other tv programs. She is a frequent guest on Wisconsin Public Radio and New Dimensions, as well as numerous other radio stations. Her books include I Will Not Die an Unlived Life, The Art of the Possible, The Open Mind, No Enemies Within, An Unused Intelligence, How Your Child is Smart, and Learning Unlimited. As one of the editors of the Random Acts of Kindness series, she helped launch a national movement to help counter America’s crisis of violence. A former board member of the Visions for a Better World Foundation, she is very active in making the world a better place.


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Yes, life can be mysterious and confusing--but there's much of life that's actually rather dependable and reliable.  Some principles apply to life in so many different contexts that they can truly be called universal--and learning what they are and how to approach them and use them can teach us some of the most important lessons that we've ever learned.
My doctorate is in Teaching and Learning.  I use it a lot when I teach at school, but I also do my best to apply what I've learned to the life I'm living, and to observe how others live their lives.  What makes them happy or unhappy, stressed or peaceful, selfish or generous, compassionate or arrogant?  In this book, I've done my best to pass on to you what I've learned from people in my life, writers whose works I've read, and stories that I've heard.  Perhaps these principles can be a positive part of your life, too!
Universal Principles of Living Life Fully.  Awareness of these principles can explain a lot and take much of the frustration out of the lives we lead.


Other people: 

Alan Watts
- Albert Einstein - Albert Schweitzer - Andy Rooney - Anne Frank
Anne Morrow Lindbergh - Anne Wilson Schaef - Annie Dillard - Anthony Robbins
Ari Kiev - Artur Rubenstein - Barbara Johnson - Benjamin Disraeli - Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Hoff - Bernie Siegel - Bertrand Russell - Betty Eadie - Booker T. Washington
Charlotte Davis Kasl
- Cheryl Richardson - Cristina Feldman - C.S. Lewis - the Dalai Lama
Dale Carnegie - Deepak Chopra - Don Miguel Ruiz - Earl Nightingale - Elaine St. James
Eleanor Roosevelt - Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross - Ralph Waldo Emerson - Emmet Fox
Frederick Buechner
- George Bernard Shaw - George Santayana
George Washington Carver - Gerald Jampolsky - Harold Kushner
Harry Emerson Fosdick - Helen Keller - Henry David Thoreau - Henry James
Henry Van Dyke - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Henry Ward Beecher - Hugh Prather
Immanuel Kant
- Iyanla Vanzant - Jack Canfield - James Allen - Jennifer James - Jim Rohn
Joan Borysenko
- Joan Chittister - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe - John Izzo John Ruskin
Joni Eareckson Tada
- Joseph M. Marshall III - Julia Cameron - Kent Nerburn
Khalil Gibran Leo Buscaglia - Leonard Jacobson - Leslie Levine - Lucinda Bassett
Lydia Maria Child - Lynn Grabhorn - Marcus Aurelius - Marianne Williamson
Martin Luther King, Jr. - Maya Angelou - Melody Beattie - Michael Goddart - Mitch Albom
Mohandas Gandhi
- Morrie Schwartz - Mother Teresa - M. Scott Peck - Nathaniel Branden
Nikos Kazantzakis
- Norman Cousins - Norman Vincent Peale - Og Mandino - Oprah Winfrey
- Orison Swett Marden - Pau Casals - Peace Pilgrim - Phillips Brooks
Rabindranath Tagore
- Rachel Carson - Rachel Naomi Remen - Rainer Maria Rilke
Ralph Waldo Trine - Richard Bach - Richard Carlson - Robert Frost - Robert Fulghum
Robert Louis Stevenson
- Russell Baker - Sarah Ban Breathnach - Shakti Gawain
Soren Kierkegaard - Stephen Covey - Stephen C. Paul - Sue Patton Thoele - Susan L. Taylor
Sylvia Boorstein - Thich Nhat Hanh - Thomas Carlyle - Thomas Kinkade - Thomas Merton
Tom Walsh
- Victor Cherbuliez - Wayne Dyer - Wilferd A. Peterson - Willa Cather
William James - William Wordsworth - Zig Ziglar - Rhonda Byrne - Neale Donald Walsch
Carl Jung
- Desmond Tutu - Paulo Coelho - Jon Kabat-Zinn - Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Walt Whitman