If you can’t cross over alive, how can you cross over when you’re dead?


We know these moments. Moments when right and wrong appear too small for the discussion and true knowing occurs. Moments when we feel strangely prepared and also really inadequate because we truly know the task at hand. Moments when opinions and deliberations and second thoughts are noise within a great quiet. Mark Nepo says we take crazy wisdom steps at these times. I think that he is right. I can think back on a handful of these moments in my life and I know a few things for sure.

Crazy wisdom requires:

Forward Motion

Crazy wisdom requires forward thinking, engagement, and action. No rearview mirrors or regret. We must be thoughtful about what we carry. An experiential backpack is useful only to the extent it carries lessons learned -a useful toolbox of hard won knowledge. Autopsies of failures and analyses of the past’s bloody guts must end and the results lay the groundwork for forward motion. Crazy wisdom is about building and creating. Crazy wisdom steps are about raw clay being shaped into beautiful sculpture.


Sometimes I forget that engaging with life must be joyous. In the midst of stress and the day-to-day, it is easy to ask is this all there is? It is easy to feel like going through the motions is our only path. Crazy wisdom means we find and grab and seize and hold our joy. Crazy wisdom is when we laugh so hard we cry. Crazy wisdom finds joy in cracks and crevasses and mountaintops and marigolds. We realize joy is a choice and we chose it with our entire being. Not superficial joy, but real joy that changes the very chemistry of our soul.

Absolute Trust

“Leap and the net will appear” has never really sat well with me. I am a fan of escape routes, back up plans, and safety nets. That being said, waiting for the net can leave me angry, paralyzed and frustrated. That is where crazy wisdom come in. Crazy wisdom, the knowing that comes from our heart and head intelligence working together, is the key to leaping at the right time and in the right direction. Crazy wisdom is the still small voice. Crazy wisdom is my grandmothers’ advice I still hear. Trust crazy wisdom.

Fearless Hope

Hope and fear can’t coexist. They can not carry equal weight in our lives. They can be in conversation, but ultimately hope has to be in control. Hope has to drive the bus. Hope makes the journey into our unknown possible. Crazy wisdom is informed optimism. Crazy wisdom is being truly prepared. As Emily Dickinson suggests, hope is the thing with feathers. Fearless hope has feathers. Crazy wisdom soars.

Fierce Love

Perhaps the most important element of crazy wisdom is fierce love. Because crazy wisdom will not always make sense to those around us. Because crazy wisdom steps may need to be taken at a time when you had not put them on your calendar. Because crazy wisdom is not born of hate and cruelty and sadness but of light and kindness and compassion. Crazy wisdom is an act out of fierce love.