Weekly Quotes 2009

1-5-09 Weekly Quotes: New Year Reflections

Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

Live your life and forget your age.
– Norman Vincent Peale

If I had my life to live over, I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax; I’d limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I’m one of those people who lived sensibly and sanely hour after hours, day after day. Oh, I had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after the other, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat, and a parachute. If I had it to do over again, I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over again, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances; I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.
– attributed to Nadine Stair

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
– Mark Twain

A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.
– proverb

One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.
– Robert Louis Stevenson

Do all that you can, with all that you have, in the time that you have, in the place where you are.
– Nkosi Johnson

1-12-09 Weekly Quotes: Patience

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answers.
– Rainer Marie Rilke

Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?
– Tao Te Ching

If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent.
– Sir Isaac Newton

The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
– Arnold Glasgow

I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable.
– Joseph Addison

Patience is the companion of wisdom.
– Saint Augustine

Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.
– Victor Hugo

1-19-09 Weekly Quotes [from E-Newsletter] The Universality of Suffering

The Buddhist teachings are fabulous at simply working with what’s happening as your path of awakening, rather than treating your life experiences as some kind of deviation from what is supposed to be happening. The more difficulties you have, in fact, the grater opportunity there is to let them transform you. The difficult things provoke all your irritations and bring your habitual patterns to the surface. And that becomes the moment of truth. You have the choice to launch into the lousy habitual patterns you already have, or to stay with the rawness and discomfort of the situation and let it transform you, on the spot.
– Pema Chodron

May I meet this moment fully; may I meet it as a friend.
– Sylvia Boorstein

To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.
– Mary Oliver

The Well of Grief

Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief

turning downward through it s black water
to the place we cannot breathe

will never know the source from which we drink,
the secret water, cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering
the small round coins
thrown by those who wished for something else.
– David Whyte, Where Many Rivers Meet

Kindness

Before you know what kindness really is
You must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes any sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head from the crowd of that world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.
– Naomi Shahib Nye

1-25-09 Weekly Quotes: Courage for New Beginnings

[two poems by John O’Donahue, as we celebrate a new year,
inaugurate a new era, move into new beginnings,
personally and collectively]

For A New Beginning

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground
Your eyes young again with energy and dream
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Thought your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of the opening
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

For Courage

When the light around you lessens
And your thoughts darken until
Your body feels fear turn
Cold as a stone inside,

When you find yourself bereft
Of any belief in yourself
And all you unknowingly
Leaned on has fallen,

When one voice commands
Your whole heart
And it is raven dark,

Steady yourself and see
That it is your own thinking
That darkens your world,

Search and you will find
A diamond-thought of light,

Know that you are not alone
And that this darkness has purpose;
Gradually it will school your eyes
To find the one gift your life requires
Hidden within this night corner.

Invoke the learning
Of every suffering
You have suffered.

Close your eyes.
Gather all the kindling
About your heart
To create one spark.

That is all you need
To nourish the flame
That will cleanse the dark
Of its weight of festered fear.

A new confidence will come alive
To urge you toward higher ground
Where your imagination
Will learn to engage difficulty
As its most rewarding threshold!

2-2-09 Weekly Quotes: Working Together

[two weeks into the inauguration of a new era]

WORKING TOGETHER

We shape our self
To fit this world

And by the world
Are shaped again.

The visible
And the invisible

Working together
In common cause,

To produce the miraculous.

I am thinking of the way
The intangible air

Passed at speed
Round a shaped wing

Easily
Holds our weight.

So may we, in this life
Trust

To those elements
We have yet to see

Or imagine,
And look for the true

Shape of our own self,
By forming it well

To the great
Intangibles about us.
– David Whyte, The House of Belonging

2-9-09 Weekly Quotes: Working for Change

[As we all seek ways to work for change]

Mother to Son

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor –
Bare.
But all the time
I’s been a -climbin’ on,
And reaching landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So, boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps ’cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now –
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’s still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
– Langston Hughes

I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to
accomplish humble tasks as thought there were great and noble.
The world is moved along, not only by the might shoves of its heroes,
but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.
– Helen Keller

Nothing on earth is more gladdening than knowing we must roll up
our sleeves and move back the boundaries of humanly possible once more.
– Annie Dillard

Every noble work is at first impossible.
– Thomas Carlyle

If you want to lift a hundred pounds, you don’t expect to succeed
the first time. You start with a lighter weight and work up little by little.
You actually fail to life a hundred pounds, every day, until the day
you succeed. But it is in the days when you are exerting yourself
that the growth is occurring.
– Norman Doidge, The Brain That Changes Itself

Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work
before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s
duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how
the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have
done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives
valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows
the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a
worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst
if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be
with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
– Theodore Roosevelt

I thought the my voyage had come to its end at the last limit of my power –
that the path before me was closed, that provisions were exhausted and
the time come to take shelter in a silent obscurity.

But I find that thy will knows no end in me. And when old words die out
on the tongue, new melodies break forth from the heart; and where
the old tracks are lost, new country is revealed with its wonders.
– Rabindranath Tagore

May your new work excite your heart,
Kindle in your mind a creativity
To journey beyond the old limits
Of all that has become wearisome.

May this work challenge you toward
New frontiers that will emerge
As you begin to approach them,
Calling forth from you the full force
And depth of your undiscovered gifts.

May the work fit the rhythms of your soul,
Enabling you to draw from the invisible
New ideas and a vision that will inspire.

Remember to be kind
To those you work with you,
Endeavor to remain aware
Of the quiet world
That lives behind each face.

Be fair in your expectations,
Compassionate in your criticism.
May you have the grace of encouragement
To awaken the gift in the other’s heart,
Building in them the confidence
To follow the call of the gift.

May you come to know that work
Which emerges from the mind of love
Will have beauty and form.

May this new work be worthy
Of the energy of your heart
And the light of your thought.

May your work assume a proper space in your life;
Instead of owning or using you,
May it challenge and refine you,
Bringing you every day further
Into the wonder of your heart.
– John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us

2-16-09 Weekly Quotes:President’s Day

[President’s Day 2009]

Let your heart feel for the affliction and distress of everyone.
– George Washington

In matters of style, swim with the current;
in matters of principle, stand like a rock.
-Thomas Jefferson

With the fearful strain that is on me night and day,
if I did not laugh I should die.
– Abraham Lincoln

A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car;
but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.
– Theodore Roosevelt

When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
– Franklin D. Roosevelt

Modern cynics and skeptics see no harm in paying those
to whom they entrust the minds of their children
a smaller wage than is paid to those to whom they entrust
the care of their plumbing.
– John F. Kennedy

What Washington needs is adult supervision.
– Barack Obama

2-23-09 Weekly Quotes [from E-Newsletter] The Neurobiology of Feeling Unlovable

Saint Francis and the Sow

The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don’t flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary to
to re-teach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on the brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within; of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of the earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and blowing beneath them:
the long, perfect loveliness of sow.
– Galway Kinnell
Ten Poems to Open Your Heart, Roger Housden

The Guest House

This being human is a guest-house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness come
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you
out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
– Rumi, The Essential Rumi p.109

Last Night As I Was Sleeping

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt – marvelous error! –
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Excerpt: Antonio Machado, version by Robert Bly
Ten Poems to Change Your Life, Roger Housden

Compassion is the antitoxin of the soul: where there is compassion even the most poisonous impulses remain relatively harmless.
– Eric Hoffer

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. ; Our own brain, our own heart is our temple. The philosophy is kindness.
– HH the 14th Dalai Lama

Constant kindness can accomplish much. As the sun makes ice melt, kindness causes misunderstanding, mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.
– Albert Schweitzer

Kindness is more important that wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom.
– Theodore Rubin

When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it’s bottomless, that it doesn’t have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness I there, as well as how much space.
– Pema Chodron

3-3-09 Weekly Quotes: Selections of Great Poetry

The Lightest Touch
Good poetry begins with
the lightest touch,
a breeze arriving from nowhere,
a whispered healing arrival,
a word in your ear,
a settling into things,
then, like a hand in the dark,
it arrests the whole body,
steeling you for revelation.

In the silence that follows
a great line,
you can feel Lazarus,
deep inside
even the laziest, most deathly afraid
part of you,
lift up his hands and walk toward the light.
– David WhyteEverything is Waiting for You

For One Who Is Exhausted
When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight.
The light in your mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.
Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.
The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.
You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken in the race of days.
At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.
Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.
– John O’DonohueTo Bless The Space Between Us

Sweet Darkness
When your eyes are tired
The world is tired also.
When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.
Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.
There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.
The dark will be your womb
tonight.
The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.
You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn
anything or anyone that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.
– David WhyteThe House of Belonging

The Journey

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice-
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,determined to do
the only thing you could do-
determined to save
the only life you could save.
– Mary OliverNew and Selected Poems

You see, I want a lot.
Perhaps I want everything
The darkness that comes with every infinite fall
And the shivering blaze of every step up.
So many live and want nothing
And are raised to the rank of prince
By the slippery ease of their light judgments.
But what you love to see are faces
That do work and feel thirst.
You love most of all those who need you
As they need a crowbar or a hoe.
You have not grown old, and it is not too late
To dive into your increasing depths
Where life calmly gives out its own secret.
– Rainer Maria RilkeDas Stundenbuch

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
-T.S. Eliotfrom Little Gidding in Four Quartets

3-10-09 Weekly Quotes: Environmental Protection

Discovered on last weekend’s visit to the new California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park: quotes on the inside of each bathroom stall:

When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.
– Benjamin Franklin

In the long term, the economy and the environment are the same thing.
– Mollie Beattie

Man shapes himself through decisions that shape his environment.
– Rene Dubos

There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.
– Marshall McLuhan

And others:

I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend?
– Robert Redford

The packaging for a microwavable “microwave” dinner is programmed for a shelf life of maybe six months, a cook time of two minutes and a landfill dead-time of centuries.
– David Wann, Buzzworm, November 1990

When the soil disappears, the soul disappears.
– Ymber Delecto

Oh Beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticided grain,
For strip-mined mountain’s majesty above the asphalt plain.
America, America, man sheds his waste on thee,
And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea.
– George Carlin

You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your
children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our
mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.
– Native American Wisdom

3-17-09 Weekly Quotes: Forgiveness

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Forgo your anger for a moment and save yourself a hundred days of trouble.
– Chinese proverb

Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Never does the human soul appear so strong as when it foregoes revenge, and dares forgive an injury.
– E. H. Chapin

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.
– Catherine Ponder

You will know that forgiveness has begun when you recall those who hurt you and feel the power to wish them well.
– Lewis B. Smedes

Resentment is like a glass of poison that a man drinks; then he sits down and waits for his enemy to die.
– Fred Luskin

It is very easy to forgive others their mistakes; it takes more grit and gumption to forgive them for having witnessed our own.
– Jessamyn West

Forgiveness is a funny thing. It warms the heart and cools the sting.
– William A. Ward

When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.
– Bernard Meltzer

Forgiveness and reconciliation are not just ethereal, spiritual, other– worldly activities. They have to do with the real world. They are realpolitik, because in a very real sense, without forgiveness, there is no future.
– Desmond Tutu

The day the child realizes that all adults are imperfect, he becomes an adolescent; the day he forgives them, he becomes an adult; the day he forgives himself, he becomes wise.
– Alden Nowlan

3-23-09 Weekly Quotes: Weekly Quotes [from E- Newsletter] Stress and Trauma

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
and I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
– Wendell Berry, Collected Poems

* * * * * *

Out of a Great Need

We are all holding hands
And climbing.
Not loving is a letting go.
Listen,
The terrain around here
Is far too dangerous
For that.
– Hafiz, The Gift, translated by Daniel Ladinsky

* * * * * *
If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your estimate of it, and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
– Marcus Aurelius

3-30-09 Weekly Quotes: Love

The mind creates the abyss. The heart crosses over it. Love is the bridge.
– Stephen Levine

Love guards the heart from the abyss.
– Mozart

Life is fragile; love is the glue.
– bumper sticker seen at Spirit Rock Meditation Center

We are not the survival of the fittest. We are the survival of the nurtured.
– Louis Cozolino

Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.
– James Baldwin

One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life. That word is love.
– Sophocles

Earth’s the right place for love. I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
– Robert Frost

That loves is all there is, is all we know of love.
– Emily Dickinson

We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.
– Zora Neale Hurston

4-6-09 Weekly Quotes: Community, and Service

In every community there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart there is the power to do it.
– Marianne Williamson

Community is essential, for alone our vision is too narrow to see all that must be seen. Together, our vision widens and strength is renewed.
– Mark Morrison-Reed

Keep in mind that our community is not composed of those who are already saints, but of those who are trying to become saints. Therefore let us be extremely patient with each other’s faults and failures.
– Mother Teresa

We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been – a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of from time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free.
– Starhawk

Consider the following. We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.
– HH The Dalai Lama

We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.
– Herman Melville

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.
– Albert Einstein

Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.
– Holocaust Museum, Washington, D.C.

The moment we cease to hold each other, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.
– James Baldwin

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.
– Anne Frank

Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.
– John Wesley

Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

If I have been of service, if I have glimpsed more of the nature and essence of ultimate good, if I am inspired to reach wider horizons of thought and action, if I am at peace with myself, it has been a successful day.
-Alex Noble

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
– Annie Dillard

4-13-09 Weekly Quotes: Daring to Change

It must be admitted that there is a degree of instability which is inconsistent with civilization. But, on the whole, the great ages have been unstable ones.
– Alfred North Whitehead

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible — and achieve it, generation after generation.
– Pearl Buck

The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. Success is moving from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm.
– Winston Churchill

As long as we wish for safety, we will have difficulty pursuing what matters.
– Peter Block

It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear . . . . It’s like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to.
– Marilyn Ferguson

If we listened to our intellect, we’d never have a love affair. We’d never have a friendship. We’d never go into business, because we’d be too cynical. Well, that’s nonsense. You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.
– Annie Dillard

It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.
– Alan Cohen

4-20-09 Weekly Quotes: Weekly Quotes [from E-Newsletter] Community Offers True Security

In every community there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart there is the power to do it.
– Marianne Williamson

Keep in mind that our community is not composed of those who are already saints, but of those who are trying to become saints. Therefore let us be extremely patient with each other’s faults and failures.
– Mother Theresa

We are all longing to go home to some place we have never been – a place half-remembered and half-envisioned we can only catch glimpses of form time to time. Community. Somewhere, there are people to whom we can speak with passion without having the words catch in our throats. Somewhere a circle of hands will open to receive us, eyes will light up as we enter, voices will celebrate with us whenever we come into our own power. Community means strength that joins our strength to do the work that needs to be done. Arms to hold us when we falter. A circle of healing. A circle of friends. Someplace where we can be free.
– Starhawk

If I have been of service, If I have glimpsed more of the nature and essence of ultimate good, if I am inspired to reach wider horizons of thought and action, if I am at peace with myself, it has been a successful day.
– Alex Noble

A Great Need

Out of a great need
We are all holding hands
And climbing.
Not loving is a letting go.
Listen,
The terrain around here
Is far too dangerous
For that.
– Hafiz, The Gift

Optimal sculpting of the pre-frontal cortex through healthy early relationships allows us to think well of ourselves, trust others, regulate our emotions, maintain positive expectations, and utilize our intellectual and emotional intelligence in moment-to-moment problem solving. We can now add a corollary to Darwin’s survival of the fittest: “Those who are nurtured best, survive best.”
– Louis Cozolino, The Neuroscience of Human Relationships

4-27-09 Weekly Quotes: Busy-ness

The tragedy with velocity as the answer to complexity is that, after awhile, you cannot see or comprehend anything that is not traveling at the same speed you are. And you actually start to feel disturbed by people who have a sense of restfulness to their existence.
– David Whyte

There is more to life than merely increasing its speed.
– Gandhi

Are you stressed? Are you so busy getting to the future that the present is reduced to a means of getting there? Stress is caused by being “here” but wanting to be “there” or being in the present but wanting to be in the future. It’s a split that tears you apart inside. To create and live with such an inner split is insane. The fact that everybody else is doing it doesn’t make it any less insane.
– Eckart Tolle

Even though in principle we may “know better”, we routinely succumb all the same to the incessant, often frantic and unexamined busyness of thinking we have to get somewhere else first before we can rest; thinking we need to get certain things done to feel we have accomplished something before we can be happy.
– Jon Kabat-Zinn

To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activism neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.
– Thomas Merton

In the relentless busyness of modern life, we have lost the rhythm between work and rest. Our culture invariably supposes that action and accomplishment are better than rest, that doing something – anything – is better than doing nothing. Because of our desire to succeed, to meet these ever-growing expectations, we do not rest. Because we do not rest, we lose our way. We miss the compass points that would show us where to go, we bypass the nourishment that would give us succor. We miss the quiet that would give us wisdom. We miss the joy and love born of effortless delight. Even when our intentions are noble and our efforts sincere – even when we dedicate our lives to the service of others – the corrosive pressure of frantic over-activity can nonetheless cause suffering in ourselves and others. A “successful” life can become a violent enterprise.
– Wayne Muller

It is not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is: what are we busy about?
– Henry David Thoreau

The answer to exhaustion is not necessarily rest. The answer to exhaustion is whole-heartedness.
– Brother David Stendl-Rast

Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself.
– Thomas Merton

One needs something to believe in, something for which one can have whole-hearted enthusiasm. One needs to feel that one’s life has meaning, that one is needed in this world.
– Hannah Senesh

Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.
– Helen Keller

Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love. In the depths there is a spring with all the water your heart is thirsty for.
– Rumi

I ask for a moment’s indulgence to sit by thy side. The works that I have in hand I will finish afterwards.
Away from the sight of thy face my heart knows no rest nor respite, and my work becomes an endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil.
Today the summer has come at my window with its sighs and murmurs; and the bees are plying their minstrelsy at the court of the flowering grove.
Now it is time to sit quiet, face to face with thee, and to sing dedication of life in this silent and overflowing leisure.
– Rabindranath Tagore

5-4-09 Weekly Quotes: Failure and Success

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.
– Alexander Graham Bell

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
– Winston Churchill

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little course, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yes, risk-taking is inherently failure-prone. Otherwise, it would be called sure-thing -taking.
-Tim McMahon

If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.
– Mary Pickford

Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. It’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.
– Barack Obama

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
– Harriet Beecher Stowe

There is suffering in life, and there are defeats. No one can avoid them. But it’s better to lose some of the battles in the struggles for your dreams than to be defeated without ever knowing what you’re fighting for.
– Paulo Coelho

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
– Helen Keller

We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and probably he who never made a mistake never made a discovery.
– Samuel Smiles

Thomas Alva Edison was asked by a reporter how he felt about failing 2,000 times before he invented the light bulb. Edison is reported to have replied, “My dear young man. I did not fail. I did invent the light bulb. It was simply a 2,000 step process.”

5-11-09 Weekly Quotes: Friendship

We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.
– His Holiness the Dalai Lama

How does one keep from “growing old inside”? Surely only in community. The only way to make friends with time is to stay friends with people.
– Robert McAfee Brown

A friends is what the heart needs all the time.
– Henry Van Dyke

It is not so much our friends’ help that helps us as the confident knowledge that they will help us.
– Epicurus, 3rd century BCE

To know of someone here and there with whom we accord, who is living on with us even in silence, this makes our earthly ball a peopled garden.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?
– George Eliot

You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.
– Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
– Albert Schweitzer

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom
– Marcel Proust

A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes.
– Anonymous

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.
– Henri Nouwen

The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.
– Rachel Naomi Remen

Friendship needs no words – it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.
– Dag Hammarskjold

The language of friendship is not words but meanings.
– Henry David Thoreau

Ah, the comfort,
The inexpressible comfort
Of feeling safe with a person.
Having neither to weigh out thoughts
Nor words,
But pouring them all right out, just as they are,
Chaff and grain together;
Certain that a faithful hand
Will take them and sift them;
Keeping what is worth keeping and,
With the breath of kindness,
Blow the rest away.
– Anonymous

There is nothing we like to see so much as the gleam of pleasure in a person’s eye when he feels that we have sympathized with him, understood him. At these moments something fine and spiritual passes between two friends. These are the moments worth living.
– Don Marquis

5-18-09 Weekly Quotes [from e-Newsletter] Thinking Outside the Box

In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned find themselves equipped to live in a world which no longer exists.
– Eric Hoffer

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.
– Anais Nin

The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. – Marcel Proust
Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimension.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

You’re closer to your glory leaping an abyss than re-upholstering a rut.
– James Broughton

5-25-09 Weekly Quotes: War and Peace

One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.
– Agatha Christie

Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know
about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.
– Omar N. Bradley

The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by
small children and large nations.
– David Friedman

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those
who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its
scientists, the hopes of its children.
– Dwight D. Eisenhower

I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen the dead in
the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.
– Franklin Delano Roosevelt

War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
– Bertrand Russell

We tend to think the problem is human beings have this natural tendency to kill, and yet in the middle
of World War II, “good war,” as it were, the US army was astonished to learn that at least three
out of every four riflemen who were trained to kill and commanded to kill, could not bring themselves
to pull the trigger when they could see the person they were ordered to kill. And that inner resistance to violence is a well kept secret.
– William Ury

Sometime they’ll give a war and nobody will come.
– Carl Sandburg

War is only a cowardly escape from the problems of peace.
– Thomas Mann

There never was a good war or a bad peace.
– Benjamin Franklin

I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to
promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so
much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.
– Dwight David Eisenhower

True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.
– Martin Luther King., Jr.

Peace is not the absence of war; it is a virtue; a state of mind; a disposition for benevolence; confidence; and justice.
– Spinoza

Peace, in the sense of the absence of war, is of little value to someone
who is dying of hunger or cold. It will not remove the pain of torture inflicted on a prisoner of conscience. It
does not comfort those who have lost their loved ones in floods caused by senseless deforestation in a
neighboring country. Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed,
and where individuals and nations are free.
– HH the Dalai Lama

Peace is not only better than war, but infinitely more arduous.
– George Bernard Shaw

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to
each other.
– Mother Teresa

If there is light in the soul,
There will be beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person,
There will be harmony in the house.
If there is harmony in the house,
There will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world.
– Chinese proverb

6-01-09 Weekly Quotes: Play

Laughter is the closest distance between two people.
– Victor Borge

A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs — jolted by every pebble in the road.
– Henry Ward Beecher

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.
– Plato

Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.
– Joseph Chilton Pearce

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father.
– Roger von Oech

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity.
– Carl Jung

Play, in short, prepares the brain to handle the unexpected.
– Lee Alan Dugatkin.

Our brain comes hard-wired with an urge to play, one that hurls us into sociability. A child’s play both demands and creates its own safe space, one in which she can confront threats, fears, and dangers, but always come through whole. Play offers a child a natural way to manage feared separations or abandonment, rendering them instead opportunities for mastery and self-discovery.
– Daniel Goleman

It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play
without seeing the vital connection between them.
– Leo Buscaglia

The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play. He simply pursues his vision
of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both.
– James Michener

In childhood we invent ourselves through play. In adulthood, play becomes a safe form of learning, an opportunity to re-invent ourselves. At
Urban Recess (a fitness group for women emphasizing team play) I could see my adult life from a new perspective and find parts of
myself that had been sitting unused in the attic of my brain. I could try on identities like a new pair of shin guards and
write a new story for myself.
– Karen Solomon

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
– George Bernard Shaw

He who laughs, lasts.
– Mary Pettibone Poole

We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing.
– Charles Schaefer

Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.
– H. G. Wells

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
– Kahlil Gibran

6-08-09 Weekly Quotes: Listening

When we shift our attention toward listening, our whole world changes. Learning to listen is equal to learning to love.
– Ruth Cox

Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people don’t know the difference.
– David Augsburger

Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker. When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand.
– Sue Patton Thoele

The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.
– Rachel Naomi Remen

The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention.
– Richard Moss

The first duty of love is to listen.
– Paul Tillich

The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.
– Henry David Thoreau

It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.
– Francois de la Rouchefoucauld

Everybody needs a good listening to.
(refrigerator magnet given to me by a client)

We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that something deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch.
– e.e. cummings

Listening grows our brains and feeds our hearts. Being listened to enlivens us and provides opportunities to explore what we think, how we feel, what we want, who we are, and who we’re becoming. The transformation into a skilled listener is an emotionally and spiritually challenging endeavor. Many feelings and new realizations arise as we attempt to learn about others and ourselves. It is a challenge well worth turning toward. The ongoing practice of listening transforms not only the speaker with it healing attention and compassionate focus, but it transforms the listener as well. With practice listeners grow bigger hearts, have more compassion, wisdom and solutions for successfully navigating life.
– Mark Brady and Jennifer Leigh

Since true listening involves a setting aside of the self, it also temporarily involves a total acceptance of the others. Sensing this acceptance, the speaker will feel less and less vulnerable, and more and more inclined to open up the inner recesses of his or her mind to the listener. As this happens, speaker and listener begin to appreciate each other more and more, and the dance of love is begun again.
– M. Scott Peck

Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. When we listen to people there is an alternating current, and this recharges us so that we never get tired of each other. It is this little creative fountain inside us that begins to spring and cast up new thoughts and unexpected laughter and wisdom. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. Ideas actually begin to grow within us and come to life.
– Brenda Ueland

Ah, the comfort,
The inexpressible comfort
Of feeling safe with a person.
Having neither to weigh out thoughts
Nor words,
But pouring them all right out, just as they are,
Chaff and grain together;
Certain that a faithful hand
Will take them and sift them;
Keeping what is worth keeping and,
With the breath of kindness,
Blow the rest away.
– Anonymous

When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you’ve had since childhood
and watching it fill up with cold, fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.

When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind’s eye.
It is as if gold has been discovered!

When someone deeply listens to you
your bare feet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you.
– John Fox

6-15-09 Weekly Quotes [from E-Newsletter]: Listening

Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker. When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand.
– Sue Patton Thoele

We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that something deep inside us is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch.
– e.e. cummings

Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people don’t know the difference.
– David Augsburger

Ah, the comfort,
The inexpressible comfort
Of feeling safe with a person.
Having neither to weigh out thoughts
Nor words,
But pouring them all right out, just as they are,
Chaff and grain together;
Certain that a faithful hand
Will take them and sift them;
Keeping what is worth keeping and,
With the breath of kindness,
Blow the rest away.
– Anonymous

When we shift our attention toward listening, our whole world changes. Learning to listen is equal to learning to love.
– Ruth Cox

The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought, and attended to my answer.
– Henry David Thoreau

The first duty of love is to listen.
– Paul Tillich

The transformation into a skilled listener is an emotionally and spiritually challenging endeavor. Many feelings and new realizations arise as we attempt to learn about others and ourselves. It is a challenge well worth turning toward. The ongoing practice of listening transforms not only the speaker with it healing attention and compassionate focus, but it transforms the listener as well. With practice listeners grow bigger hearts, have more compassion, wisdom and solutions for successfully navigating life.
– Mark Brady and Jennifer Leigh

The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.
– Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.

It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation.
– Francois de la Rouchefoucauld

Listening grows our brains and feeds our hearts. Being listened to enlivens us and provides opportunities to explore what we think, how we feel, what we want, who we are, and who we’re becoming.
– Mark Brady and Jennifer Leigh

Everybody needs a good listening to.
(refrigerator magnet given to me by a client)

Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. When we listen to people there is an alternating current, and this recharges us so that we never get tired of each other. It is this little creative fountain inside us that begins to spring and cast up new thoughts and unexpected laughter and wisdom. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. Ideas actually begin to grow within us and come to life.
– Brenda Ueland

6-22-09 Weekly Quotes: Poetry

Great poetry calls into question not less than everything. It dares us to break free from the safe strategies of the cautious mind. It amazes, startles, pierces, and transforms us. Great poetry happens when the mind is looking the other way; the heart opens, we forget ourselves, and the world pours in.

In today’s world it is deceptively easy to lose sight of our direction and the things that matter and give us joy. How quickly the days can slip by, the years all gone, and we, at the end of our lives, mourning the life we dreamed of but never lived. Poetry urges us to stand once and for all, and now, in the heart of our own life.
– Roger Housden

Forget what you learned about poetry in school. (That it’s complex, opaque, a problem to be solved in 1500 words by tomorrow.) Poetry is the last preserve of honest speech and the outspoken heart. It holds the cadence of common life. It has a passion for truth and justice and liberty; it is a buoy to people in ordinary trouble: to a friend whose life has gone skidding into the meridian, who has been struck by bad news, who is frying eggs and hash browns and has whiny child clinging to his pant leg.
– Garrison Keillor

A poet’s work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep.
– Salman Rushdie

And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see –
it is, rather, a light by which we may see –
and what we see is life.
– Robert Penn Warren.

The Lightest Touch

Good poetry begins with
the lightest touch,
a breeze arriving from nowhere,
a whispered healing arrival,
a word in your ear,
a settling into things,
then, like a hand in the dark,
it arrests the whole body,
steeling you for revelation.

In the silence that follows
a great line,
you can feel Lazarus,
deep inside
even the laziest, most deathly afraid
part of you,
lift up his hands and walk toward the light.
– David Whyte
Everything is Waiting for You

Poetry is ordinary language raised to the nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words.
– Paul Engle

Poetry is the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits.
– Carl Sandburg

Poetry is the art of creating imaginary gardens with real toads.
– Marianne Moore

Poetry may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate, for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves.
– T.S. Eliot

Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable.
-Carl Sandburg

Poetry is the language in which man explores his own amazement.
-Christopher Fry

Poetry is life distilled.
-Gwendolyn Brooks

A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Browsing the dim back corner
Of a musty antique shop
Opened an old book of poetry
Angels flew out from the pages
I caught the whiff of a soul
The ink seemed fresh as today
Was that voices whispering?
The tree of the paper still grows.
-Pixie Foudre

Poetry is finer and more philosophical than history; for poetry expresses the universal, and history only the particular.
– Aristotle

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.
– Dead Poet’s Society

Poetry is about the grief. Politics is about the grievance.
– Robert Frost

Poets are masters of us ordinary men, in knowledge of the mind, because they drink at streams which we have not yet made accessible to science.
– Sigmund Freud

Science is for those who learn; poetry, for those who know.
– Joseph Roux

The only problem
with Haiku is that you just
get started and then
-Roger McGough

Out of the quarrel with others we make rhetoric; out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.
– W.B. Yeats

A poet is an unhappy being whose heart is torn by secret sufferings, but whose lips are so strangely formed that when the sighs and the cries escape them, they sound like beautiful music. And then people crowd about the poet and say to him: “Sing for us soon again;” that is as much as to say, “May new sufferings torment your soul.”
– Soren Kierkegaard

Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.
-T.S. Eliot

Poetry should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance.
-John Keats

Poetry is the revelation of a feeling that the poet believes to be interior and personal which the reader recognizes as his own.
– Salvatore Quasimodo

What the poet says has never been said before, but, once he has said it, his readers recognize its validity for themselves.
– W.H. Auden.

Poets are like magicians, searching for magical phrases to pull rabbits out of people’s souls.
– Glade Byron Addams

It is a sad fact about our culture that a poet can earn much more money writing or talking about his art than he can by practicing it.
– W.H. Auden

There’s no money in poetry, but then there’s no poetry in money, either.
– Robert Graves

Poets are like baseball pitchers. Both have their moments. The intervals are the tough things.
– Robert Frost

Publishing a volume of verse is like dropping a rose-petal down the Grand Canyon and waiting for the echo.
– Don Marquis

He who draws noble delights from sentiments of poetry is a true poet, though he has never written a line in all his life.
– George Sand

Breathe-in experience,
breathe-out poetry.
-Muriel Rukeyser

Love the earth and sun and the animals,
despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks,
stand up for the stupid and crazy,
devote your income and labor to others,
hate tyrants, argue not concerning God,
have patience and indulgence toward the people,
take off your hat to nothing known or unknown,
or to any man or number of men,
go freely with powerful uneducated persons,
and with the young, and with the mothers or families,
re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book,
and dismiss whatever insults your own soul;
and your very flesh shall be a great poem.
– Walt Whitman

6-29-09 Weekly Quotes: Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
– William Shakespeare, Sonnet 29

7-06-09 Weekly Quotes: Disappointment

When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us.
– Alexander Graham Bell

If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.
– Henry David Thoreau

There will be little rubs and disappointments everywhere, and we are all apt to expect too much; but then, if one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better; we find comfort somewhere.
– Jane Austen

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Trials, temptations, disappointments – all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fiber of character but strengthen it. Every conquering temptation or disappointment represents a new fund of moral energy.
– James Buckham

The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something if there were no limitations to overcome. The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if there were no dark valleys to traverse.
– Helen Keller

Disappointment is the nurse of wisdom.
– Bayle Roche

One’s first step in wisdom is to question everything – and one’s last is to come to terms with everything.
– Georg C. Lichtenberg

Life’s disappointments are harder to take when you don’t’ know any swear words.
– Calvin and Hobbes

Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself.
– Thomas Merton

You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.
– Beverly Sills

The size of your success is measure by the strength of your desire, the size of your dream, and how you handle disappointment along the way.
– Robert Kiyosaki

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning
shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
– Michael Jordan

We must learn our limits. We are all something, but none of us are everything.
– Blaise Pascal

7-13-09 Weekly Quotes: Perseverance

Making your mark on the world is hard. If it were easy, everybody would do it. But it’s not. It takes patience, it takes commitment, and it comes with plenty of failure along the way. The real test is not whether you avoid this failure, because you won’t. it’s whether you let it harden or shame you into inaction, or whether you learn from it; whether you choose to persevere.
– Barack Obama

Even after a bad harvest there must be sowing.
– Seneca

You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable
and transform even the biggest nation.
– Marian Wright Edelman

Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and left one unexpended effort that might have saved the world.
– Jane Addams

When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer,
never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
– Harriet Beecher Stowe

Nearly every man who develops an idea works at it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then gets discouraged. That’s not
the place to become discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.
– Thomas A. Edison

It always seems impossible until it’s done.
– Nelson Mandela

How long should you try? Until.
– Jim Rohn

When the story of these times gets written, we want it to say that we did all we could, and it was more than anyone could have imagined.
– Bono

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.
– Louis Pasteur

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.
– Confucius

Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second.
– William James

Nobody trips over mountains. It is the small pebble that causes you to stumble. Pass all the pebbles in your path
and you will find you have crossed the mountain.
– Author Unknown

Look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack
showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow
that did it, but all that had gone before.
– Jacob A. Riis

The drops of rain make a hole in the stone not by violence but by oft falling.
– Lucretius

The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground.
– Author Unknown

By perseverance the snail reached the ark.
– Charles Spurgeon

Consider the postage stamp: its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.
– Josh Billings

My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.
– Hank Aaron

Big shots are only little shots who keep shooting.
– Christopher Morley

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.
– Albert Einstein

If you are tired, keep going; if you are scared, keep going; if you are hungry; keep going; if you want to taste freedom, keep going.
– Harriet Tubman

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.
– A.A. Milne

7-20-09 Weekly Quotes [from E-Newsletter] Recovering Competencies

A single conversation with a wise man is better than ten years of study.
– Chinese proverb

You learn more quickly under the guidance of experienced teachers. You waste a lot of time going down blind alleys if you have no one to lead you.
– W. Somerset Maugham

When the student is ready, the teacher appears.
– Buddhist proverb

It’s not the tasks that are hard. It’s the emotions that are hard.
– Terry Trotter, MFT

Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.
– Benjamin Franklin

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn form.
– Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.
– Chinese proverb

The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.
– Mortimer Adler

No matter how one may think himself accomplished, when he sets out to learn a new language, science or the bicycle, he has entered a new realm as truly as if he were a child newly born in into the world.
– Frances Willard

I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t’ teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.
– Neil Gaiman

All the world is a laboratory to the inquiring mind.
– Martin H. Fischer

Learning is not attained by chance; it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.
– Abigail Adams

Learning is not child’s play; we cannot learn without pain.
– Aristotle

When a man is pushed, tormented, defeated, he has a chance to learn something.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
– Douglas Adams

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.
– Willa Cather

Whenever you are asked I f you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.
– Theodore Roosevelt

For One Who is Exhausted

When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight.

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken in the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

– John O’Donohue
To Bless the Space Between Us

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Until one is committed there is always hesitancy,
The chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness,
Concerning all acts of initiative and creation,
There is one elementary truth,
The ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help that would never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision,
Raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen accidents and meetings
And material assistance which no man could have dreamed
Would come his way.

W.H.Murray

7-27-09 Weekly Quotes

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.
– Albert Einstein

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.
– Carl Sagan

The mere formulation of a problem is far more essential that its solution, which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skills. To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advances in science.
– Albert Einstein

Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of the imagination.
– John Dewey

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.\
– Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death.
– Erich Fromm

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.
– Gloria Steinem

Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal, which takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligent plan for carrying that ideal into practice.
– Arnold Toynbee

Perhaps imagination is only intelligence having fun.
– George Scialabba

You see things and you say, “Why?” But I dream things that never were and I say, “Why not?”
– George Bernard Shaw

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
– Henry David Thoreau

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
– Michelangelo

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within the image of a cathedral.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

By believing passionately in something that does not yet exist, we create it.
– Nikos Kazantzakis

I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.
– Pablo Picasso

When you are describing,
A shade, or sound, or tint
Don’t state the matter plainly,
But put it in a hint;
And learn to look at all things
With a sort of mental squint.
– Lewis Carroll

It is the eye of ignorance that assigns a fixed and unchangeable color to every object; beware of this stumbling block.
– Paul Gauguin

They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.
– Francis Bacon

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee,
And reverie.
The reverie alone will do,
If bees are few.
– Emily Dickinson

The man who has no imagination has no wings.
– Muhammad Ali

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.
– Albert Einstein

Imagination and fiction make up more than three quarters of our real life.
– Simone Weil

A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Live out of your imagination, not your history.
– Stephen Covey

It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards.
– Lewis Carroll

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
– George S. Patton

People who lean on logic and philosophy and rational exposition end by starving the best part of the mind.
– William Butler Yeats

To imagine is everything; to know is nothing at all.
– Anatole France

Personally, I would sooner have written Alice in Wonderland than the whole Encyclopedia Britannica.
– Stephen Leacock

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
– Mark Twain

When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.
– Tuli Kupferberg

Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
– Lewis Carroll

Creative minds have always been know to survive any kind of bad training.
– Anna Freud

I doubt that the imagination can be suppressed. If you truly eradicated it in a child, he would grow up to be an eggplant.
– Ursula K. LeGuin

8-3-09 Weekly Quotes

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.
– Arthur Koestler

Creativity represents a miraculous coming together of the uninhibited energy of the child with its apparent opposite and enemy, the sense of order imposed on the disciplined adult intelligence.
– Norman Podhoretz

Creativity can solve almost any problem. The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality, overcomes everything.
– George Lois

I think that only daring speculation can lead us further and not acculmulation of facts.
– Albert Einstein

It is better to create than to be learned; creating is the true essence of life.
– Barthold Niebuhr

The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.
– Albert Einstein

The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.
– Alan Alda

How odd that creative power at once brings the whole universe to order.
– Virginia Woolf

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
– Scott Adams

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.
– Edward de Bono

The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out. Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.
– Dee Hock

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity.
– Carl Jung

Creative minds are rarely tidy.
– source unknown

The things we fear most in organizations – fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances – are the primary sources of creativity.
– Margaret Wheatley

Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.
– Rita Mae Brown

Creativity is seeing something that doesn’t exist already. You need to find out how you can bring it into being and that way be a playmate with God.
– Michele Shea

Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.
– Martin Luther King, Jr

The moment when you first wake up in the morning is the most wonderful of the twenty-four hours. No matter how weary or dreary you may feel, you possess the certainty that, during the day that lies before you, absolutely anything may happen. And the fact that it practically always doesn’t, matters not a jot.
– Monica Baldwin

8-10-09 Weekly Quotes: Certainty

Certainty undermines one’s power, and turns happiness
into a long shot. Certainty confines.

Dears, there is nothing in your life that will
not change – especially your ideas of God.

Look what the insanity of righteous knowledge can do:
crusade and maim thousands
in wanting to convert that which
is already gold
into gold.

Certainty can become an illness
that creates hate and greed.

God once said to Tuka,

“Even I am ever changing –
I am ever beyond Myself.

What I may have once put my seal upon,
may no longer be
the greatest
Truth.”
– Tukaram

If we insist on being as sure as is conceivable…we must be content to creep along the ground, and can never soar.
– John Henry Newman

Uncertainty and mystery are energies of life. Don’t let them scare you unduly, for they keep boredom at bay and spark creativity.
– R. I. Fitzhenry

Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties. The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.
– Erich Fromm

The new always happens against the overwhelming odds of statistical laws and their probability, which for all practical, everyday purposes amounts to certainty; the new therefore always appears in the guise of a miracle.
– Hannah Arendt

The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand.
– Frank Herbert

Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever or whatever abysses nature leads, or you will learn nothing.
– Thomas Huxley

Doubt is the beginning, not the end of wisdom.
– Proverb

Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.
– Paul Tillich

Believe those who are seeking the truth; doubt those who find it.
– Andre Gide

Unthinking faith is a curious offering to be made to the creator of the human mind.
– John A. Hutchinson

The relationship between commitment and doubt is by no means an antagonistic one. Commitment is healthiest not when it is without doubt but is in spite of doubt.
– Rollo May

No great deed is done by falterers who ask for certainty.
– George Eliot

When in doubt, don’t
– Benjamin Franklin

When in doubt, risk it.
– Holbrook Jackson

When in doubt, do it.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

In these matters the only certainty is that nothing is certain.
– Pliny the Elder

The areas of consensus shift unbelievably fast; the bubbles of certainty are constantly exploding.
– Rem Koolhaas

Doubt is uncomfortable, certainty is ridiculous.
– Voltaire

Uncertainty is the only certainty there is, and knowing how to live with insecurity is the only security.
– John Allen Paulos

There is no certainty; there is only adventure.
– Robert Assagioli

A bird in hand is a certainty. But a bird in the bush may sing.
– Bret Harte

8-17-09 Weekly Quotes [from E-Newsletter] Laughter

In the human condition, you cannot experience distress and emotional uplift at the same time. When you’re experiencing mirth, you’re not experiencing depression, anxiety or anger. If you increase your humor quotient, it will change your life.
– Steven Sultanoff, professor of psychology at Pepperdine University

To laugh in a painful or distressing situation isn’t to avoid emotional reckoning but to gain the perspective needed to make the experience productive, to see the dilemma as part of the somewhat absurd human drama, and to seek fellowship in the society of the living.
– Blaine Greteman

It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.
-Leo Buscaglia

Play, in short, prepares the brain to handle the unexpected.
– Lee Alan Dugatkin

Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.
– Joseph Chilton Pearce

Laughter is the sensation of feeling good all over and showing it prinicipally in one place.
– Josh Billings

Laughter connects people with their humanity. Through laughter, people acknowledge together that they are not alone.
– Jos Houben

Laughter is the closest distance between two people.
– Victor Borge

A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs — jolted by every pebble in the road.
– Henry Ward Beecher

Humor offers a revolutionary yet simple spiritual paradigm. If you can laugh at yourself, you can forgive yourself. And if you can forgive yourself, you can forgive others. Laughter heals us and grounds us in a place of hope. It fosters intimacy and honesty in our relationships with each other and with God. And isn’t that what grace is all about?
– Susan Sparks

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
– Proverbs

He who laughs, lasts.
– Mary Pettibone Poole

Sometimes just changing your face and body language can create more space in your mind. Laughter is a real aid to bring about that spaciousness.
– James Baraz

Humor triggers wit, and wit shifts belief systems and thinking patterns and prompts changes in attitude.
– Steven Sultanoff

8-24-09 Weekly Quotes: Wonder

[after being thrilled with the annual Perseid meteor shower]

Two things fill the heart with renewed and increasing awe and reverence the more often and the more steadily they are meditated on: the starry heavens above and the immortal soul within.
– Immanual Kant

People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.
– St. Augustine

The world will never starve for want of wonders, but for want of wonder.
– G. K. Chesterton

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child – our own two eyes. All is a miracle.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle. The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt is awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.
– Albert Einstein

If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life.
– Rachel Carson

8-31-09 Weekly Quotes: Contradiction

[from a women’s silent meditation camping retreat on Mt. Tamalpais last weekend:]

One of the most interesting forms of complexity is contradiction. We need to rediscover contradiction as a creative force within the soul. Beginning with Aristotle, Western thought outlawed contradiction as the presence of the impossible, and consequently, as an index of the false and the illogical. Hegel, alone, had the vision, subtlety and hospitality of reflection to acknowledge contradiction as the complex force of growth that disavows mere linear progress in order to awaken all the aggregate energies of an experience. It is the turbulence and conflict of their inner conversation that brings an integrity of transfiguration and not the mere replacement of one image, surface, or system by another, which so often passes for change. This perspective makes for a more complex notion of truth. It demands an ethic of authenticity that incorporates and goes beyond the simplistic intentions of mere sincerity.

We need to have greater patience with our sense of inner contradiction in order to allow its different dimensions to come into conversation within us. There is a secret light and vital energy in contradiction. Where is energy, there is life and growth. Your contemplative solitude will allow your contradictions to emerge with clarity and force. If you remain faithful to this energy, you will gradually come to participate in a harmony that lies deeper than any contradiction. This will give you new courage to engage the depth, danger, and darkness of your life.
– John O’Donohue, Anam Cara

[and:]

The irony is, if you don’t go in, you can’t find out.
– Richard Stine

You carry in yourself all the obstacles necessary to make your realization perfect. If you discover a very black hole, a thick shadow, be sure there is somewhere in you a great light. It is up to you to know how to use the one to realize the other.
– Sri Auribindo

My darkest moments, my most fearful times, when faced, became my bravest. At your weakest, you end up showing more strength, at your lowest you are suddenly lifted higher than you’ve ever been. They all border one another, these opposites, and show how quickly we can be altered.
– Cecelia Ahern

Self-transformation is the most difficult and dangerous challenge to the imagination, and it is the most rewarding. Meeting it is only possible for the person whose mind is open to contradictions and well-practiced in free conjecture.
– Robert Grudin

In formal logic, a contradiction is the signal of defeat, but in the evolution of real knowledge it marks the first step in progress toward a victory.
– Alfred North Whitehead

Contradiction is not a sign of falsity, not the lack of contradiction a sign of truth.
– Blaise Pascal

The world of science lives fairly comfortably with paradox. We know that light is a wave, and also that light is a particle. The discoveries made in the infinitely small world of particle physics indicate randomness and change, and I do not find it any more difficult to live with the paradox of a universe of randomness and chance and a universe of patterns and purpose than I do with light as a wave and light as a particle. Living with contradiction is nothing new to the human being.
– Madeleine L’Engle

Wisdom tells me I am nothing.
Love tells me I am everything.
Between the two my life flows.
– Sri Nisargadatta

9-7-09 Weekly Quotes: Meaningful Work

[Please forgive the overflow of these offerings. My friend Lorrie has cautioned me that, while many of these quotes are gold, we can’t wear all the gold we own at once. Thank you for your tolerance of my exuberance. May each gem find its usefulness in time.]

I long to accomplish great and noble tasks, but it is my chief duty to accomplish humble tasks as though they were great and noble. The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of the tiny pushes of each honest worker.
– Helen Keller

It’s more important to know that words don’t move mountains. Work, exacting work, moves mountains.
– Danilo Dolci

Opportunity is missed by most because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
– Thomas Alva Edison

Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing: –“Oh, how beautiful!” and sitting in the shade.
– Rudyard Kipling

The society which scorns excellence in plumbing because plumbing is a humble activity, and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because philosophy is an exalted activity, will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy. Neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.
– John W. Gardner

The Roots of Violence:

Wealth without work,
Pleasure without conscience,
Knowledge without character,
Commerce without morality,
Science without humanity,
Worship without sacrifice,
Politics without principles.
– Mohandas K Gandhi

I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.
– Stephen Jay Gould

A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.
– Albert Einstein

Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.
– Saint Augustine

The difference between try and triumph is a little umph.
– author unknown

Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.
– Thomas Alva Edison

Without work, all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.
– Albert Camus

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
– Oriah Mountain Dream, The Invitation

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium. It will be lost. The world will never have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how it compares to other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.
– Martha Graham

Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes; work never begun.
– Christina Rossetti

Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.
– Theodore Roosevelt

To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.
– Pearl S. Buck

You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth. For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons, and to step out of life’s procession that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.

In keeping yourself with labor you are in truth loving life and to love life through labour is to be intimate with life’s inmost secret.

Work is love made visible.
– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

9-14-09 Weekly Quotes: Controversy and Compromise

Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.
– Walter Lippman

Change means movement. Movement means friction. Only in the frictionless vacuum of a nonexistent abstract world can movement or change occur without that abrasive friction of conflict.
– Saul Alinsky

Great ideas often receive violent opposition from mediocre minds.
– Albert Einstein

Don’t be afraid of opposition. Remember – a kite rises against, not with, the wind.
– Hamilton Mabie

The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly. It is dearness only that gives everything its value.
– Thomas Paine

Abraham Lincoln did not go to Gettysburg having commissioned a poll to find out what would sell in Gettysburg. There were no people with percentages for him, cautioning him about this group or that group or what they found in exit polls a year earlier. When will we have the courage of Lincoln?
– Robert Coles

The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of great moral crises maintain their neutrality.
– Dante

Moral cowardice that keeps us from speaking our minds is as dangerous to this country as irresponsible talk.
– Margaret Chase Smith

The greatest menace to our civilization today is the conflict between giant organized systems of self-righteousness – each system only too delighted to find that the other is wicked – each only too glad that the sins give it the pretext for still deeper hatred and animosity.
– Herbert Butterfield

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only is such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.
– M. Scott Peck

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

The man who fights for his fellow man is a better man than the one who fights for himself.
– Clarence Darrow

A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.
– David Brinkley

What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fights. It’s the size of the fight in the dog.
– Dwight David Eisenhower

9-21-09 Weekly Quotes: Weekly Quotes [from E-Newsletter] Healthy Aging

“To understand the harvest of your soul against the background of seasonal rhythm should give you a sense of quiet delight at the arrival of this time in your life. It should give you strength and a sense of how the deeper belonging of your soul-world will be revealed to you.”
– John O’Donohue, Anam Cara

For the unlearned, old age is winter; for the learned, it is the season of harvest.
– The Talmud

The old should be explorers, be curious, risk transgression, explore oldness itself.
-T.S. Eliot

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?
– Satchel Paige.

“Caring supportive others create a state of body and mind that primes our internal biology for new learning – a pro-plasticity state of mind. If social interactions and neural plasticity are synergistic, it is clear why elders who become isolated are more likely to lose cognitive functions. On the other hand, those that remain connected and needed are far more likely to remain vital and alive. Isolation, and lack of challenge and stimulation, are the enemies of neuroplastic processes and brain health.”

How does one keep from “growing old inside”? In community. The only way to make friends with time is to stay friends with people.
– Robert McAfee Brown

It’s not how old you are but how you are old.
– Jules Renard

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
– Abraham Lincoln

Whether we live to a vigorous old age lies not so much in our stars or in our genes but in ourselves.
– George Vaillant

People like you and I, though mortal of course like everyone else, do not grow old no matter how long we live. We never cease to stand like curious children before the great mystery into which we were born.
– Albert Einstein

Those who live deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.
– Sir Arthur Pinero

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.
– Samuel Ullman

None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.
– Henry David Thoreau

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80.
– Henry Ford

You can judge your age by the amount of pain you feel when you come in contact with a new idea.
– Pearl S. Buck

Often old people have a touching mellowness about them. Age is not dependent on chronological time. Age is more related to a person’s temperament. I know some young people who are about eighteen or twenty that are so serious, grave, and gloomy that they sound like ninety-year-olds. Conversely, I know some very old people who have hearts full of roguery, devilment and fun; there is a sparkle in their presence. When you meet them, you have a sense of light, lightness and gaiety. Sometimes in very old bodies there are incredibly young, wild souls looking out at you. It is invigorating to meet a wild old person who has remained faithful to their wild life force. The passionate heart never ages.
– John O’Donahue, Anam Cara

First you are young; then you are middle-aged; then you are old; then you are wonderful.
– Lady Diana Cooper

You don’t stop laughing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop laughing.
– Michael Pritchard

To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent, that is to triumph over old age.
– Amos Bronson Alcott

Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.
– Mark Twain

Weathering

My face catches the wind
from the snow line
and flushes with a flush
that will never wholly settle.
Well, that was a metropolitan vanity,
wanting to look young forever, to pass.
I was never a pre-Raphaelite beauty
and only pretty enough to be seen
with a man who wanted to be seen
with a passable woman.

But now that I am in love
with a place that doesn’t care
how I look and if I am happy,
happy is how I look and that’s all.
My hair will grow grey in any case,
my nails chip and flake,
my waist thicken, and the years
work all their usual changes.

If my face is to be weather beaten as well,
it’s little enough lost
for the years among the trees and trails
where simply to look out over the hills
at the high pass
makes me indifferent to mirrors
and to what my soul may wear
over its new complexion.

– Fleur Adcock

In Buddhism, what is known as beginner’s mind is a way to look at the world as if for the first time: with interest, enthusiasm, and engagement. This may be the optimal state of mind for a healthy brain.
– Louis Cozolino

9-28-09 Weekly Quotes: Trust

You must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible.
– Anton Chekhov

You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough.
– Frank Crane

No soul is desolate as long as there is a human being for whom it can feel trust and reverence.
– T.S. Eliot

It is impossible to go through life without trust; that is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself.
– Graham Greene

A person who trusts no one can’t be trusted.
– Jerome Blattner

One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life.
– E. M. Forster

It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.
– Samuel Johnson

To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved.
– George MacDonald

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand nor the kindly smile, or the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

We’re never so vulnerable as when we trust someone, but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.
– Walter Anderson

A man who doesn’t trust himself can never really trust anyone else.
– Cardinal De Retz

Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.
– Benjamin Spock

Trust you own instinct. Your mistakes might as well be your own, instead of someone else’s.
– Billy Wilder

No matter how deep a study you make, what you really have to rely on is your own intuition and when it comes down to it, you really don’t know what’s going to happen until you do it.
– Konosuke Matsushita

Trust that little voice in our head that says, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if…” and then do it.
– Duane Michals

Self-trust is the essence of heroism.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

10-5-09 Weekly Quotes: Acceptance

Acceptance of one’s life has nothing to do with resignation; it does not mean running away from the struggle. On the contrary, it means accepting it as it comes, with all the handicaps of heredity, of suffering, of psychological complexes and injustices.
– Paul Tournier

One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to the total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying.
– Morris West.

There is only one world, the world pressing against you at this minute. There is only one minute in which you are alive, this minute here and now. The only way to live is by accepting each minute as an unrepeatable miracle.
– Storm Jameson

Be willing to have it so. Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.
– William James

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
– Reinhold Niebuhr

The Buddhist teachings are fabulous at simply working with what’s happening as your path of awakening, rather than treating your life experiences as some kind of deviation from what is supposed to be happening. The more difficulties you have, in fact, the grater opportunity there is to let them transform you. The difficult things provoke all your irritations and bring your habitual patterns to the surface. And that becomes the moment of truth. You have the choice to launch into the lousy habitual patterns you already have, or to stay with the rawness and discomfort of the situation and let it transform you, on the spot.
– Pema Chodron

When My Mind is Still

When my mind is still and alone with the beating of my heart,
I remember things too easily forgotten:
The purity of early love,
The maturity of unselfish love that asks —
desires — nothing but another’s good,
The idealism that has persisted through all the tempest of life.

When my mind is still and alone with the beating of my heart,
I can find a quiet assurance, an inner peace, in the core of my being.
It can face the doubt, the loneliness, the anxiety,
Can accept these harsh realities and can even grow
Because of these challenges to my essential being.

When my mind is still and alone with the beating of my heart,
I can sense my basic humanity,
And then I know that all men and women are my brothers and sisters.
Nothing but my own fear and distrust can separate me from the love of friends.
If I can trust others, accept them, enjoy them,
Then my life shall surely be richer and more full.
If I can accept others, this will help them to be more truly themselves,
And they will be more able to accept me.

When my mind is still and alone with the beating of my heart,
I know how much life has given me:
The history of the race, friends and family,
The opportunity to work, the chance to build myself.
Then wells within me the urge to live more abundantly,
With greater trust and joy,
With more profound seriousness and earnest service,
And yet more calmly at the heart of life.
– Paul Beattie

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial in acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It turns problems into gifts; failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events.

– Melodie Beattie

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
We have refused
Again and again
Until now.

Until now
– David Whyte, Where Many Rivers Meet

10-12-09 Weekly Quotes: Gaiety and Glee

[shared at a festive celebration of life, love and laughter: all poems by James Broughton]

Glee

Explain nothing
Drink the wine
don’t dissect it
Mysteries never
answer questionnaires
Welcome those who
occupy their wonder
and embody their delight
Welcome them to
your soul’s ballpark
Exchange homeruns
of mutual glee

* * * * *

Take the whole kit with the caboodle

Take the whole kit
With the caboodle
Experience life
Don’t deplore it
Shake hands with time
Don’t kill it
Open a lookout
Dance on a brink
Run with your wildfire
You are closer to glory
Leaping an abyss
Than upholstering a rut.

* * * * *

Ode To Gaiety

Go gloom
Begone glum and grim
Off with the drab drear and grumble
It’s time
its pastime
to come undone and come out laughing
time to wrap killjoys in wet blankets
and feed them to the sourpusses

Come frisky pals
Come forth wily wags
Loosen your screws and get off your rocker
Untie the strait lacer
Tie up the smarty pants
Tickle the crosspatch with josh and guffaw
Share quips and pranks with every victim
of grouch pomposity or blah

Woe to the bozo who says No to
tee hee ho ho and ha ha
Boo to the cleancut klutz who
wipes the smile off his face
Without gaiety
freedom is a chastity belt
Without gaiety
life is a wooden kimono

Come cheerful chums
Cut up and carry on
Crack your pots and split your sides
Boggle the bellyacher
Convulse the worrywart
Pratfall the prissy poos and the fuddy duds
Take drollery to heart or end up a deadhead
at the guillotine of the mindless

Be wise and go merry round
whatever you cherish
what you love to enjoy what you live to exert
And when the high spirits
call your number up
count on merriment all the way to the countdown
Long live hilarity euphoria and flumadiddle
Long live gaiety
for all the laity

10-19-09 Weekly Quotes: Conscience

[After seeing the new documentary “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” at the Mill Valley Film Festival. The movie is sure to come out soon in national distribution; see description from MVFF catalog below.]

Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all thou shalt not be a bystander.
– Holocaust Museum, Washington, D.C.

When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?
– Eleanor Roosevelt

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.
– Abraham Lincoln

The inability of those in power to still the voices of their own consciences is the great force leading to change.
– Kenneth Kaunda

Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity. Those who clearly recognize the voice of their own conscience usually recognize also the voice of justice.
– Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” Vanity asks the question, “Is it popular?” But, conscience asks the question, “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Every human being has a work to carry on within, duties to perform abroad, influence to exert, which are peculiarly his, and which no conscience but his own can teach.
– William Ellery Channing

Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, “Something is out of tune.”
– Carl Jung

Then, without realizing it, you try to improve yourself at the start of each new day. Of course, you achieve quite a lot in the course of time. Anyone can do this; it costs nothing and is certainly very helpful. Whoever doesn’t know it must learn and find by experience that a quiet conscience makes one strong.
– Anne Frank

[from MVFF catalog: If it weren’t true, Daniel Ellsberg’s journey from U.S. Marine to upper-echelon Defense Department and Rand Corporation analyst to Vietnam war whistleblower would be the stuff of heroic fiction. His defining act- leaking the government’s classified history of the conflict in Southeast Asia, popularly known as the Pentagon Papers, to the press – remains a landmark in the annals of personal conscience, national security and press freedom. Masterfully weaving new interviews with Ellsberg and other key figures with fascinating, sometimes shocking archival material, veteran documentarians Judith Ehrlich and Rick Goldsmith create a political thriller on a par with All the President’s Men, while implicitly contrasting the principled stand taken by Ellsberg and newspapers in 1971 with the media’s shameful performance in the run-up to 2003 Iraq invasion. Reclaiming Ellsberg’s story for our own day, this inspiring film reminds us how democracy relies on our potentially “dangerous” men and women both in and out of government.]

10-26-09 Weekly Quotes [from E-Newsletter] Resonance – Separateness and Oneness

Once it is accepted that even between the closest human beings, infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side-by-side can grow up if they succeed in loving the distance between them which enables each to see the other whole against the sky.
– Rainer Marie Rilke

* * * * * * *

Empathy means entering in to the private perceptual world of the other, and becoming thoroughly at home in it. It means temporarily living in her life and moving about it delicately without judgments. It includes communicating your sensing of her world as you look with fresh and unfrightened eyes. It means frequently checking with her as to the accuracy of your sensing and being guided by the responses you receive.

To be with another in this way means that you have to lay aside the views and values that you hold of yourself in order to enter the world of another without prejudice. In some sense, this means that you lay aside yourself. And this can only be done by a person secure enough in himself that he knows he will not get lost in what may turn out to be the strange and bizarre world of the other. Because he knows that he can comfortably return to his own world when he wants.
– Carl Rogers, psychologist and founder of Client-Centered Therapy

* * * * * * *

Listening… is all about giving. It heals through the power of generosity. It’s an open handed gift that asks nothing in return. Listening asks that we become empty. Willing to receive without agendas or judgment. To be surprised. Good listening requires both attention directed toward the other person, and also toward our own inner life. We need to pay careful attention to our own sensations, feelings, and intuitions. This is what allows us to resonate with another person.
– Frank Osteseski, Founding Director of the San Francisco Zen Hospice Project

* * * * * * *

Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. When we listen to people there is an alternating current, and this recharges us so that we never get tired of each other. It is this little creative fountain inside us that begins to spring up and cast up new thoughts and unexpected laughter and wisdom. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. Ideas actually begin to grow within us and come to life.
– Brenda Ueland

* * * * * * *

Since true listening involves a setting aside of the self, it also temporarily involves a total acceptance of the others. Sensing this acceptance, the speaker will feel less and less vulnerable, and more and more inclined to open up the inner recesses of his or her mind to the listener. As this happens, speaker and listener begin to appreciate each other more and more, and the dance of love is begun again.
– M. Scott Peck

A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
– Albert Einstein

I honor the place within you where
The entire universe resides.

I honor the place within you of love and light,
Of peace and truth.

I honor the place within you where,
when you are in that place in you
and I am in that place in me,
there is only one of us.
– Mahatma Gandhi

11-2-09 Weekly Quotes: Truth Force

Granted, this week’s offering of e-quotes is a bit different. A re-print of the article written on Truth Force by Patricia Ellsberg in this month’s Yoga Journal; in sync with the release of the documentary The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniels Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, last week’s e-newsletter on Resonance: Separateness and Oneness, and the previous week’s e-quotes on Conscience. May you be inspired to deepen your own connection to the truth force that connects us all.

Truth Force by Patricia Ellsberg, Yoga Journal November 2009

(re-printed with permission of the author)

Find the power that comes from honoring your own personal truth and the universal truth of our oneness.

During the first year of marriage, in 1971, my husband, Daniel Ellsberg, was indicted on 12 felony counts for espionage, theft, and conspiracy, which carried a possible sentence of 115 years in prison. His release of the Pentagon Papers (a 7,000 page set of top-secret documents that revealed how the U.S. Congress and the American public had been lied to about the Vietnam War) to the New York Times and 18 other newspapers resulted in a trial that lasted more than two years – and fortified our own deep commitment to the power of truth telling.

This period was one of the most intense, frightening, and meaningful times of my life. I was terrified that my husband would be physically harmed or sent to prison for the rest of his life. At the same time, he and I were gratified that we could use our access to the press to help stop what we felt was an unnecessary, immoral, and disastrous war. What is little known is that Daniel was inspired to release the truths in the Pentagon Papers in part by the example of Mahatma Gandhi and his concept of satyagraha. The literal translation of satyagraha is “holding to the truth” and Gandhi spoke of it as “truth force” or “soul force” or “love force.”

The truth Gandhi referred to was the universal truth that we are all one. Through this recognition we can find a deep commitment to non-harming and non-violence, and a willingness to sacrifice ourselves for the benefit of others. Gandhi inspired people to be willing to endure suffering as they participated in acts of non-violent resistance, and to withdraw cooperation from people and institutions that deny the truth of our oneness by oppressing or harming others.

After spending two years in Vietnam while working in the State Department, Daniel was asked to write one of the volumes of the Pentagon Papers and then was given access to the whole 47-volume study. It documented how four presidents in a row, from Truman to Johnson, deceived the public and Congress about our country’s involvement in Vietnam, their aims, their strategies, and the costs and prospects for success or stalemate. After Daniel read the whole study, he felt that Americans needed to know the truth. Despite being aware that he risked spending the rest of his life in prison, he decided to reveal the top-secret study to the public.

The impact of this revelation was profound. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and two other newspapers were enjoined from publishing the documents – the first injunction of the press in American history. Immediately after the Nixon administration enjoined the New York Times, Daniel and I went underground for 16 days.

With the support of a small group of friends, some of whom were Gandhian non-violent activists, we managed to distribute portions of the documents to 18 other newspapers and elude an FBI manhunt. In our pursuit of the truth, we had a support group and felt connected to oneness. Luckily, the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld the newspapers’ right to publish.

Charges against Daniel and his co-defendant, Tony Russo, were eventually dismissed due to gross governmental misconduct. White House crimes against Daniel, including the burglary of his former psychoanalyst’s office, illegal wiretapping, an abortive effort to physically “incapacitate him totally,” and subsequent attempts by the White House to cover up these actions contributed to the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon, his resignation, and the ending of the Vietnam War.

I vividly remember the moment we came out of hiding to attend Daniel’s arraignment. The press and a crowd of people surrounded us. Standing in front of a sea of shouting reporters, Daniel showed his commitment to the truth by taking full responsibility for the release of the Pentagon Papers. While we were standing together in the middle of utter chaos, I was holding Daniel’s hand. I had the feeling that an electrical current was pulsing through the two of us and we were grounded in the truth.

We stood in a field of power much greater than we were, a truth force that guided and protected us. I felt a profound sense of peace, of oneness with all beings, and of strength to face whatever consequences would come our way. I believe all of us can tap into the power of the truth force when we stand up for the truth and act with integrity and compassion.

* * * * * *

In the years since the trial, in addition to continuing my work as a social-change activist, I have practiced Buddhist meditation in the Theravadan tradition and am leading meditations and teaching reflection as a spiritual practice and as a means to knowing our personal truth and the universal truth of our oneness.

If you’d like to dedicate some time to exploring the power of truth, simply take a few moments to tune in to yourself. Get comfortable. Become aware of your breath, breathing deeply and slowly.

On the inhalation, breathe in a sense of calm and relaxation. With the exhalation, send this energy to any part of your body that is tense or holding uncomfortable emotions. With each breath, become more and more relaxed, finding your own way to the still, quiet center of your being, to a place of wholeness, completeness, and integrity.

Now imagine that you are breathing in and out through your heart and, with each breath, filling your heart with warmth and light. Imagine that you are immersed in a field of love. Let this loving energy fill your whole being, until you feel you are being breathed by it.

Open to the truth of our oneness and inter-connectedness. How we all breathe the same air and are sustained by the same Earth. Let a sense of the sacredness of all life come into you and fill you.

Remember a time when you acted from this sense of interconnectedness and oneness, when you listened to the voice of your own conscience and experienced the power of holding to your truth. What does that feel like in your body? What does that feel like in your being?

Now open to any ways you are not acting with integrity at this point of your life. When is your behavior clouded by desire or by aversion or wishful thinking? How does that feel in your body? How does it feel emotionally? From the perspective of your wisest self, ask yourself: How can I live with greater integrity in my own life now? What truths do I need to recognize? What patterns of behavior do I want to change? What resources or guidance can I call on to give myself the strength to behave more in alignment with my values? Imagine what it feels like to live from a place of greater integrity and wholeness. What does it feel like to be more fully connected to the truth force or soul force of your being? What do you need and intend to do to realize this aspiration?

Now take a moment to make a commitment to yourself to take a brave step in the direction of greater integrity and truthfulness. When you feel that you are ready; slowly and gently bring this truth meditation to a close. Take a few deep breaths, return to the present moment, feeling your connection to your own truth and to all of life.

11-9-09 Weekly Quotes: Loneliness and Love

The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.
– Thomas Wolfe

The experience of separateness arouses anxiety; it is, indeed, the source of all anxiety.
– Erich Fromm

Loneliness is about the scariest thing out there.
– Josh Whedon

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty. The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.
– Mother Teresa

The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration.
– Pearl S. Buck

When friendship disappears then there is a space left open to that awful loneliness of the outside world which is like the cold space between the planets. It is an air in which men perish utterly.
– Hilaire Belloc

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.
– Maya Angelou

Loneliness is proof that your innate search for connection is intact.
– Martha Beck

The mind creates the abyss. The heart crosses over it. Love is the bridge.
– Stephen Levine

Life is fragile; love is the glue.
– bumper sticker seen at Spirit Rock Meditation Center

We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.
– His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Love guards the heart from the abyss.
– Mozart

Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.
– James Baldwin

Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place.
– Zora Neale Hurston

For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of our tasks; the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

We re not the survival of the fittest. We are the survival of the nurtured.
– Louis Cozolino

One of the attributes of love, like art, is to bring harmony and order out of chaos, to introduce meaning and affect where before there was none, to give rhythmic variations, highs and lows, to a landscape that was previously flat.
– Molly Haskell

Love brings ecstasy and relieves loneliness.
In the union of love I have seen
In a mystic miniature the prefiguring vision
Of the heavens that saints and poets have imagined.
– Bertrand Russell

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
– Lao Tzu

11-16-09 Weekly Quotes [from E- Newsletter] Touch

Touch is a vital element, if not the element, in bringing people into presence, awareness and interconnection with life.”
– Eve Siegel

Studies have shown touch to be the primary language of compassion, love and gratitude – emotions at the heart of trust and cooperation – even more than facial expressions and voice. Touch is the central medium in which the goodness of one individual can spread to another. Touch is the original contact high.
– Dacher Keltner, Greater Good Science Center

The quality of the touch we receive and are encouraged to give from earliest infancy on is the basis of our feeling of connection or disconnection with others.
– Eve Siegel

In the absence of touching and being touched, people of all ages can sicken and grow touched starved. Touch seems to be as essential as sunlight.
– Diane Ackerman, The Natural History of the Senses

Touch can alienate or profoundly integrate the connection between people depending on its nature and intent. It also can lead a person deeper into his or her own being, opening space for change and possibilities to arise.

Clearly, when one person touches another with mindfulness and compassion, there is no limit to the possibilities for transformation. The energetic focusing of this contact ignites the deep inner awareness inherent in the human consciousness, which is so often dulled through neglect or injury in a person’s development.

To be guided by touch, one needs to learn to be aware of its immense power to change or refocus stagnant ways of being and relating with the slightest pressure of contact. Then it is possible to take advantage of its life-healing properties, its ability to help us connect, transform, to ‘come alive and aware.
– Eve Siegel

I teach infant massage classes to parents with the help of my co-teacher – the baby. Some parents know how to do this dance easily, some are unsure and some are told by the System that they do not know how to do it. I have found that all parents can learn this basic dance if they have the desire to connect with their baby. Whatever age we reach in our life time, the need to be touched, rocked , and cooed, held close and know that we are precious in the eyes and heart and hands of another human being never goes away. – Cherry Jones

In the first year of your child’s life, your body, much more than your mind or your words, is your primary communication tool. You receive almost all the incoming information you need from your baby through your body and its sensations (as opposed to the communication we tend to focus on as adults – the exchange of ideas). And all the outgoing information you deliver to your baby goes through your body as well. You connect with your baby through your facial expressions, your warmth, your touch, your tone of voice, and your tension or relaxation in each moment. In fact, everything your baby knows about you and is learning from you during this time of ultimate brain plasticity, when neural pathways are being laid down for life, is happening through the communication between your body and you baby’s body. Your body is likely the primary source of nutrition, and even if you are bottle feeding, your body during feeding times nourishes the baby with important skin-to-skin contact.
– Cassi Vietan, Mindful Motherhood

To touch is to give life.
– Michelangelo

Touch is the alpha and omega of affection.
– William James

In the person whose childhood has known caresses and kindness, there is always a fibre of memory that can be touched to gentle issues.
– George Eliot

Some of the dictionary’s uses of touch identified by Jon Kabat-Zinn: we can be out of touch, lose touch, be touched (as in the head) and feel touched (as when our hearts are moved). We cannot touch our food, put the touch on someone for money, feel a touch of envy or sadness, add a touch of paprika, have a touch of the flu, let the candlelight provide just the right touch, but told not to touch anything, touch off an uproar, touch upon something in conversation, touch up the scratches on our car, add finishing touches to the flower arrangements, and touch base with someone.

We cannot touch something without being touched by it in the very same instant. We cannot be touched without touching. Walking barefoot, our feet kiss the earth with every step, and the earth kisses right back and we feel it.

For all that, we tend to be specialists at being out of touch a great deal of the time, and out of touch with just how out of touch we can be. It is easy to eat without tasting, miss the fragrance of the moist earth after a rain even touch others without knowing the feelings we are transmitting. How many times have you unwittingly and improbably walked into the door you were opening, or inadvertently banged your hand or elbow on something, or dropped something you didn’t know you were carrying because in that moment, you weren’t actually all there, and so were momentarily out of touch even with the spatial and temporal orientation of the body, which normally we have covered without too much specific attention. And is it not the case that we are sometimes equally and grossly out of touch with what we call the “outside” world, with our effects on other people, with what they care about and may be going through and feeling, even when it is written on their faces or apparent in their body language, if only we were available to ourselves to take notice.
– Jon Kabat-Zinn, Coming to our Senses.

The Lightest Touch

Good poetry begins with
the lightest touch,
a breeze arriving from nowhere,
a whispered healing arrival,
a word in your ear,
a settling into things,
then, like a hand in the dark,
it arrests the whole body,
steeling you for revelation.

In the silence that follows
a great line,
you can feel Lazarus,
deep inside
even the laziest, most deathly afraid
part of you,
lift up his hands and walk toward the light.

– David Whyte
Everything is Waiting for You

11-23-09 Weekly Quotes: Gratitude

I am, therefore I thank.
– Cindy Lubar Bishop

From experience we know that whenever we are truly awake and alive, we are also truly grateful.
– David Steindl-Rast

There are many things to be grateful “for” but, as I ripen with the seasons of life, the many reasons blend into a sacred mystery. And, most deeply, I realize that living gratefully is its own blessing.
– Michael Mahoney

For all that has been, thanks; to all that will be, yes.
– Dag Hammarskjold

A thankful person is thankful under all circumstances. A complaining soul complains even in paradise.
– Baha’u’llah

Every time you express gratitude or compassion for any aspect of yourself or someone else, you breathe life in.
– Mariah Fenton Gladis

Gratitude is not only the greatest of all virtues; it is the parent of all others.
– Marcus Tullius Cicero

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. Gratitude can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
– Melodie Beattie

The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.
– Robert Louis Stevenson

The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.
– Jon Kabat-Zinn

You simply will not be the same person two months form now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life.
– Sarah Ban Breathnach

The greatest gift one can give is thanksgiving. In giving gifts, we give what we can spare, but in giving thanks, we give ourselves.
– David Stendl-Rast

When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.
– Maya Angelou

If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will suffice.
– Meister Eckhart

[The above quotes gratefully received each day from a daily e-mail offering from www.gratefulness.org.]

11-30-09 Weekly Quotes: Abundant Enough-ness

It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.
– Laura Ingalls Wilder

To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter; to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring – these are some of the rewards of the simple life.
– John Burroughs

The best things in life are nearest: Breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of right just before you. Then do not grasp at the stars, but do life’s plain, common work as it comes, certain that daily duties and daily bread are the sweetest things in life.
– Robert Louis Stevenson

A day so happy.
Fog lifted early, I walked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over
honeysuckle flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no one worth envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that once I was the same man
did not embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.
– Czeslaw Milosz

Not what we have, but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance
– Epicurus

Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.
– Edwin Way Teale

I make myself rich by making my wants few.
– Henry David Thoreau

Who is rich? He who rejoices in his portion.
– The Talmud

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
we have refused again and again
until now.

Until now.
– David Whyte

Frugality is one of the most beautiful and joyful words in the English language, and yet one that we are culturally cut off from understanding and enjoying. The consumption society has made us feel that happiness lies in having things, and has failed to teach us the happiness of not having things.
– Elise Boulding

Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.
– Wayne Dyer

You have succeeded in life when all you really want is only what you really need.
– Vernon Howard

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumbnail. We are happy in proportion to the things we can do without.
– Henry David Thoreau

A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.
– Charles Mingus

Simplicity, clarity, singleness: these are the attributes that give our lives power and vividness and joy.

– Richard Halloway

We join spokes together in a wheel,
but it is the center hole
that makes the wagon move.

We shape clay into a pot,
but it is the emptiness inside
that holds whatever we want.

We hammer wood for a house,
but it is the inner space
that makes it livable.

We work with being,
but non-being is what we use.
– Tao Te Ching,
trans. Stephen Mitchell

Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.
– Lao Tzu

Just to be is a blessing.
Just to live is holy.
– Rabbi Abraham Heschel

[Thank you, Adam Baraz, for the phrase abundant enough-ness.]

12-7-09 Weekly Quotes: Stillness and Serenity

It is not enough to be busy. So are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about?
– Henry David Thoreau

There is more to life than merely increasing its speed.
-Mohandis K. Gandhi

In the relentless busyness of modern life,
we have lost the rhythm between work and rest.
Our culture invariably supposes
that action and accomplishment are better than rest,
that doing something – anything – is better than doing nothing.
Because of our desire to succeed,
to meet these ever-growing expectations,
we do not rest.

Because we do not rest, we lose our way.
We miss the compass points that would show us where to go.
We bypass the nourishment that would give us succor.
We miss the quiet that would give us wisdom.
We miss the joy and love born of effortless delight.

Even when our intentions are noble and our efforts sincere,
even when we dedicate our lives to the service of others,
the corrosive pressure of frantic over-activity
can nonetheless cause suffering in ourselves and others.
A “successful” life can become a violent enterprise.
– Wayne Muller

Non-doing has nothing to do with being indolent or passive. Quite the contrary. It takes great courage and energy to cultivate non-doing, both in stillness and in activity. Nor is it easy to make a special time for non-doing and to keep at it in the face of everything in our lives which needs to be done.

– Jon Kabat-Zinn

A quiet mind is all you need. All else will happen rightly, once your mind is quiet. As the sun on rising makes the world active, so does self-awareness affect changes in the mind. In the light of calm and steady self-awareness, inner energies wake up and work miracles without any effort on your part.
– Nisargadatta Maharaj

When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself. When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world. Your innermost sense of self, of who you are, is inseparable from stillness. This is the I AM that is deeper than name and form. You are the knowing, not the condition that is known.
– Eckhart Tolle

Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen – that stillness becomes a radiance.
– Morgan Freeman

Do you have the patience to wait
Till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
Till the right action arises by itself?
– Tao Te Ching

Just become quiet, still, and solitary, and the world will offer itself to you to be unmasked; it has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
– Dana Hawksister

There are moments when all anxiety and stated toil are becalmed in the infinite leisure and repose of nature.
– Henry David Thoreau

Still Point

Leaving home
for work
each day

I hear the trees
say “What’s your hurry?”
Rooted, they
don’t understand

how in my world
we have to rush
to keep in step.

I haven’t even time
to stop and tell them
how on weekends, too,
schedules wait
like nets.

It’s only on a sick day
when I have to venture out
to pick up medicine

that I understand the trees,
there in all their fullness
in a world unpatterned

full of moments,
full of spaces,
every space
a choice.

This day
has not
been turned yet
on the lathe

this day
lies open, light
and shadow. Breath
fills the body easily.
I step

into a world
waiting like
a quiet lover.
– Max Reif
(thanks to Jody Bol)

12-14-09 Weekly Quotes: Light in the Darkness

You carry in yourself all the obstacles necessary to make your realization perfect. If you discover a very black hole, a thick shadow, be sure there is somewhere in you a great light. It is up to you to know how to use the one to realize the other.
– Sri Auribindo

When the light around you lessens
And your thoughts darken until
Your body feels fear turn
Cold as a stone inside,

When you find yourself bereft
Of any belief in yourself
And all you unknowingly
Leaned on has fallen,

When one voice commands
Your whole heart
And it is raven dark,

Steady yourself and see
That it is your own thinking
That darkens your world,

Search and you will find
A diamond-thought of light,

Know that you are not alone
And that this darkness has purpose;
Gradually it will school your eyes
To find the one gift your life requires
Hidden within this night corner.

Invoke the learning
Of every suffering
You have suffered.

Close your eyes.
Gather all the kindling
About your heart
To create one spark.

That is all you need
To nourish the flame
That will cleanse the dark
Of its weight of festered fear.

A new confidence will come alive
To urge you toward higher ground
Where your imagination
Will learn to engage difficulty
As its most rewarding threshold!
– John O’Donohue
To Bless the Space Between Us

Those who would give light must endure burning.
– Viktor Frankl

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we consciously give other people
permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
– Marianne Williamson
(quoted in Nelson Mandela’s inaugural speech)

There are stars whose radiance is visible on earth though they have long been extinct.
There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world
though they are no longer among the living.
These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark.
They light the way for human kind.
– Hannah Senesch

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
– Albert Schweitzer

The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.
– James Baldwin

Friends are the light in the darkness.
– Eric Jonsson

Begin today. No matter how feeble the light, let it shine as but it may. The world may need just that quality of light which you have.
– Henry C. Blinn

It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.
– Desiderius Erasmus

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But, ah, my foes, and, oh, my friends-
It gives a lovely light.
– Edna St. Vincent Millay

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects.
– Edith Wharton

May you celebrate and share with others:

Candles for Solstice

Candles of light in the darkness,
Candles of grace in the suffering,
Candles of joy despite all sadness,
Candles of hope were despair keeps watch,
Candles of courage for fears ever present,
Candles of peace for tumultuous days,
Candles of forgiveness for all the difficulties
Candles of love to embrace all that is Life,
Candles that will burn all the year long.
-Linda Graham

12-21-09 Weekly Quotes: Regret and Renewal

[For this season of the dark turning toward the light:]

Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.
– Henry David Thoreau

Deep, unspeakable suffering may well be called a baptism, a regeneration, an initiation through the passing over the threshold of pain and grief and anguish into a new state of being.
– George Elliot

There is a brokenness out of which comes the unbroken,
A shatteredness out of which blooms the unshatterable.
There is sorrow beyond all grief which leads to joy,
And a fragility out of whose depths emerges strength.
There is a hollow space too vast for words
Through which we pass with each loss,
Out of whose darkness we are sanctioned into being.
There is a cry deeper than all sound
Whose serrated edges cut the heart as we break open
To the place inside which is unbreakable and whole,
While learning to sing.
– Rashani

Maybe we have to break everything to make something better of ourselves.
– Chuck Palaniuk

Temporary feelings of regret are a normal part of the mourning process. This helps us retrieve our lost dreams. But if we hold on to regret, we risk trapping ourselves in a prison of unrealized dreams from which it is difficult to escape.
– Barbara De Angelis

Regret, which is guilt without the neurosis, enable us to move forward instead of back.
– Jane Adams

Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.
– Alexander Graham Bell

It’s funny, I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox, full of shiny tools; the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty, bent old tools – friendships, prayer, conscience, honesty – and said, ‘Do the best you can with these, they will have to do.’ And mostly, against all odds, they’re enough.
– Annie Lamott
Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith

One of the greatest spiritual acts of love is to walk away from recrimination and remorse and to accept, in its place, love and your own self-worth.
– Meredith Young-Sowers

12-28-09 Weekly Quotes: Blessing at the end of the year

The particular mind of the ocean
Filling the coastline’s longing
With such brief harvest
Of elegant, vanishing waves
Is like the mind of time
Opening us shapes of days.

As this year draws to its end,
We give thanks for the gifts it brought
And how they became inlaid within
Where neither time nor tide can touch them.

The days when the veil lifted
And the soul could see delight;
When a quiver caressed the heart
In the sheer exuberance of being here.

Surprises that came awake
In forgotten corners of old fields
Where expectation seemed to have quenched.

The slow, brooding times
When all was awkward
And the wave in the mind
Pierced every sore with salt.

The darkened days that stopped
The confidence of the dawn.
Days when beloved faces shone brighter
With light from beyond themselves;
And from the granite of some secret sorrow
A stream of buried tears loosened.

We bless this year for all we learned,
For all we loved and lost
And for the quiet way it brought us
Nearer to our invisible destination.
– John O’Donohue
To Bless the Space Between Us