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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Anne Wilson Schaef
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Emmet Fox
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Harold Kushner
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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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James Allen
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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
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Mohandas Gandhi
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Rabindranath Tagore
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Richard Carlson
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Shakti Gawain
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Sylvia Boorstein
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Wayne Dyer
- Wilferd A. Peterson - Willa Cather - William James - William Wordsworth - Zig Ziglar