Weekly Quotes 2010

1-11-10 Weekly Quotes: For A New Beginning

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 plentitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this 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.
– John O’Donohue
To Bless the Space Between Us

I am running into a new year
And the old years blow back
Like a wind
That I catch in my hair
Like strong fingers like
All my old promises and
It will be hard to let go
Of what I said to myself
About myself
When I was sixteen and
Twenty-six and thirty-six
Even thirty-six but
I am running into a new year
And I beg what I love and
I leave to forgive me.
– Lucille Clifton
INVITATION
Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
melodiously
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude-
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.
– Mary Oliver
Earth, isn’t this what you want? To arise in us, invisible?
Is it not your dream, to enter us so wholly
there’s nothing left outside us to see?
What, if not transformation, is your deepest purpose?
– Rainer Maria Rilke

1-18-10 Weekly Quotes [from e-Newsletter] Be The Change You Seek

We inhabit a world poised on the edge of a sword. Across the planet, slowly but surely, we’re seeing increasing democratization, a growing number of grassroots organizations, and more understanding of our fragile inter-connectedness. On the other hand, the world is getting hotter, military techonologies are increasingly lethal, and a billion people go to sleep hungry every night.
– Rick Hanson, Buddha’s Brain

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.
– H.G. Wells

Sooner or later, everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.
– Robert Louis Stevenson

When you throw something away, where’s “away?” There’s no such thing.
– Julia Butterfly Hill

Human kind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.
– Chief Seattle

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, we find it hitched to everything in the universe.
-John Muir

Every few hundred years in Western history there occurs a sharp transformation. Within a few short decades, society – its world views, its basic values, its social and political structures, its arts, its key institutions – rearranges itself. We are currently living through such a transformation.
– Peter Drucker, Post-Capitalist Society

What we need is what the ancient Israelites called hochma – the science of the heart…the capacity to see, to feel, and then to act as if the future depended on you. Believe me, it does.
– Bill Moyers

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.
– Mohandis K. Gandhi

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 is I Who Must Begin

It is I who must begin.
Once I begin, once I try –
here and now,
right where I am,
not excusing myself
by saying things
would be easier elsewhere,
without grand speeches and
ostentatious gestures,
but all the more persistently
–to live in harmony
with the “voice of Being,” as I
understand it within myself
–as soon as I begin that,
I suddenly discover,
to my surprise, that
I am neither the only one,
nor the first,
not the most important one
to have set out upon that road.

Whether all is really lost
or not depends entirely on
whether or not I am lost.
– Vaclav Havel

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, deputy leader of 1951 Scottish Expedition to climb Mt. Everest

In Memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Psalm 15 translated by Stephen Mitchell

Lord, who can be trusted with power,
And who may act in your place?
Those with a passion for justice,
Who speak the truth from their hearts;
Who have let go of selfish interests
And grown beyond their lives;
Who see the wretched as their family
And the poor as their flesh and blood.
They alone are impartial
And worthy of the people’s trust.
Their compassion lights up the earth,
And their kindness endures forever.

The cure for exhaustion isn’t rest, it’s wholeheartedness.
– David Stendl-Rast

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….

Anything or anyone
that does not bring you fully alive

Is too small for you.
– David Whyte

Do all that you can, with all that you have, in the time that you have, in the place where you are.
– Nkosi Johnson, who died of AIDS at age 12

Every single one of us can do something, however small, to make a difference.
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu

He who saves one life saves the world entire.
– The Talmud

Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.
– Vaclav Havel

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

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
– Albert Camus

If we work together, we will come to know exactly what we need to create a sustainable life for all life.
– Lynn Twist, co-founder of Pachamama Alliance, sponsor of the Symposium

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.
– Margaret Mead

1-25-10 Weekly Quotes: Saved by a Poem

Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry. Yes indeed.
– Mary Oliver

It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there.
– William Carlos Williams

A poem written three thousand years ago
about a man who walks among horses
grazing on a hill under the small stars
comes to life on a page in a book
and the woman reading the poem
in her kitchen filled with a gold metallic light
finds the experience of living in that moment
so vividly described as to make her feel known
to another, until the woman and the poet share
not only their souls but the exact silence
between each word. And every time the poem is read,
no matter her situation or her age,
this is more or less what happens.
– Jason Shinder

A word is dead
When it is said
Some say.
I say it just
Begins to live
That day.
– Emily Dickinson

Poetry is the language of our time. It is a verbal excavation, digging us into and under that which is inarticulate, that which cannot be said but can be felt, that which cannot be stated but can be conjured. Poetry is a form of revolution. It rearranges our thinking, our perception, our dialogue. It takes us out of the literal so that we can see what is real.
– Eve Ensler

And it was at that age…Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.

I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
with names,
my eyes were blind,
and mouthing started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
deciphering
that fire,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
nonsense,
pure wisdom
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
unfastened
and open,
planets,
palpitating plantations,
shadow perforated,
riddled
with arrows, fire and flowers
the winding night, the universe.

And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
void,
likeness, image of
mystery,
felt myself a pure part of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.
– Pablo Neruda, Nobel Prize Laureate

The above quotes are all from a beautiful new book by Kim Rosen – Saved by a Poem: the Transformative Power of Words. The book is a rich exploration of poetry as a life-line when times are rough and uncertain, re-connecting us to our deepest truths and yearnings. The book includes a CD on many wonderful poets and authors reading an inspiring selection of poetry. Treat yourself; this book is a life-cherishing gem.

2-1-10 Weekly Quotes: Grief and Growth

It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave very well’ in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer…and everything collapses.
– Colette
The Well of Grief

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

Turning downward through its 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

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
– Kahlil Gibran

Man, when he does not grieve, hardly exists.
– Antonio Porchia

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.
– Anatole France

In Impossible Darkness

Do you know how
the caterpillar
turns?

Do you remember
what happens
inside a cocoon?

You liquefy.

There in the thick black
of your self-spun womb
void as the moon before waxing,

You melt
(as Christ did
for three days
in the tomb)

Conceiving
in impossible darkness
the sheer
inevitability
of wings.
– Kim Rosen
Saved by a Poem

Allow

There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream, and it will create a new
channel. Resist and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild with the weak: fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.
-Danna Faulds
Go In and In

For Grief

When you lose someone you love,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you gets fragile,
Your thoughts make your eyes unsure;
And some dead echo drags your voice down
Where words have no confidence.

Your heart has grown heavy with loss;
And though this loss has wounded others too,
No one knows what has been taken from you
When the silence of absence deepens.

Flickers of guilt kindle regret
For all that was left unsaid or undone.

There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.

Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.

It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.

Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And, when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time.
– John O’Donohue
To Bless the Space Between Us

The Way of Transformation

Only to the extent that you expose yourself over and over again to annihilation, can that which is indestructible arise within you. In this lies the dignity of daring. Thus the aim of practice is not to develop an attitude which allows you to acquire a state of harmony and peace wherein nothing can bother you. On the contrary, practice should teach you to let yourself be assaulted, perturbed, moved, insulted, broken and battered – that is to say, it should enable you to dare to let go of your futile hankering for harmony, surcease from pain, and a comfortable life in order that you may discover, in doing battle with the forces that oppose you, that which awaits you beyond the world of opposites. Only if we venture repeatedly through zones of annihilation, can our contact with Divine Being, which is beyond annihilation, become firm and stable. The more you learn wholeheartedly to confront the world that threatens you with isolation, the more are the depths of the Ground of Being revealed and the possibilities of new life and Becoming opened.
– Karlfried von Durkheim
The Way of Transformation

One cannot be deeply responsive to the world without being saddened very often,
– Erich Fromm
Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, love mercy, walk humbly. now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.
– The Talmud

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.
– Albert Camus

2-8-10 Weekly Quotes: “It doesn’t interest me…”

It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
abandoned.
If you know despair or can see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eyes
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living
falling toward
the center of your longing.
I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
The gods speak of God.
– David Whyte, Self Portrait
Fire in the Earth

[written in a poetry workshop given by David Whyte:]

THE INVITATION

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.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love,
for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring in your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow.
If you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have you become shriveled
and closed from fear of further pain
I want to know if you can sit with pain; mine or your own,
without moving to hide it, fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy; mine or your own,
If you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy
fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic,
or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself;
if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul;
if you can be faithless and therefore be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty,
even when it’s not pretty, every day,
and if your can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine,
and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“YES!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair,
weary and bruised to the bone,
and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you are, or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself,
and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
-Oriah Mountain Dreamer

If you followed your own “It doesn’t interest me,” where would it lead you?

2-15-10 Weekly Quotes [from e-Newsletter] Poetry as Transformation

It is difficult
To get the news from poems
Yet men die miserably every day
For lack
Of what is found there.
– William Carlos Williams

Poetry is a life-cherishing force. For poems are not words, after all, but fires for the cold, ropes let down to the lost, something as necessary as bread in the pockets of the hungry. Yes, indeed.
– Mary Oliver

Poetry is the language of our time. It is a verbal excavation, digging us into and under that which is inarticulate, that which cannot be said but can be felt, that which cannot be stated but can be conjured. Poetry is a form of revolution. It re-arranges our thinking, our perception, our dialogue. It takes us out of the literal so that we can see what is real.
– Eve Ensler

We come to poetry for moments of truth. We share it with others for moments of communion.
– Kim Rosen

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

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

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

The real thing about poetry is, no matter what lonely street you’re on, someone has been there before you, and survived.
– Guy Johnson

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

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

Poetry is a place to go back to when there is no way forward.
– Eve Ensler

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

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

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

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

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

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

I have no doubt that our highly distressed society could be saved by poetry.
– Thomas Moore

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

When could be a better time for poetry than now? Poets can be truly courageous people, who are willing to stand up for what they believe. Who else to say what needs to be said but a poet? In times of pain, you need to know that other human beings have felt as you feel. And that feeling is not confined to race or class or issue or country or nation. It is the heart of the human being.
– Guy Johnson

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

Something different happens when soulful language is spoken out loud. Poetry gives voice to our deepest longing and is meant to be heard and shared.
– Kim Rosen

2-22-10 Weekly Quotes: Emergence

I want to unfold.
I do not want to remain folded up anywhere,
because wherever I am still folded,
I am untrue.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

There is in the psyche a process that seeks its own goal no matter what the external factors may be….the almost irresistible compulsion and urge to become what one is.
– Carl Jung

People have a fundamental need for transformation. We are wired for growth and healing, and we’re wired for self-righting and resuming impeded growth. We have a need for the expansion and liberation of the self, the letting down of defensive barriers, and the dismantling of the false self. Transformance strives toward maximal vitality, authenticity, and genuine contact. In the process of radical change we become more ourselves than ever before, and recognize ourselves to be so.
– Diana Fosha

There is a natural and inviolable tendency in things to bloom into whatever they truly are in the core of their being. All we have to do is align ourselves with what wants to happen naturally and put in the effort that is our part in helping it happen.
– David Richo
There is in us an innate given, a thrust toward individuation, which seems to continue during the entire life cycle.
– Margaret Mahler
An inner wholeness presses its still unfulfilled claims upon us.
– Emma Jung

I am larger and better than I thought.
I did not think I held so much goodness.
– Walt Whitman

[My own unfolding became a bit over-swamped this weekend; hence the brevity of the offering this week, which I know will be deeply appreciated by some.- L.G.]

3-01-10 Weekly Quotes: A Fondness For Each Other

A Fondness For Each Other

I maintain that we are born and grow up
With a fondness for each other,
And that we have genes for that.
We can be talked out of that fondness,
For the genetic message is like a distant music,
And some of us are hard of hearing.
Societies are noisy affairs,
Drowning out the sound of ourselves and our connection.
Hard of hearing, we go to war.
Stone-deaf, we make thermonuclear missiles.
Nonetheless, the music is there,
Waiting for more listeners.
– Lewis Thomas

[The over-swamp continues, but then, so does the fondness. Be well.]

3-08-10 Weekly Quotes: Truth

Both The Cove, which won the 2010 Academy Award for best documentary feature, and my personally favorite nominee, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, focus our attention once again on the powerful impact that revealing the truth can have on the course of human events. This week’s e-quotes bows to the integrity and courage of people who risk imprisonment to let the rest of us know what’s really going on, so we can find our own integrity and courage to face reality and act conscientiously.

Truth is not only violated by falsehood; it may be equally outraged by silence.
– Henri-Frederic Amiel

It takes two to speak truth – one to speak and another to hear.
– Henry David Thoreau

God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please – you can never have both.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.
– Gloria Steinem

We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable.
– Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Men stumble over truth from time to time but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.
– Winston Churchill

Reformers, who are always compromising, have not yet grasped the idea that truth is the only safe ground to stand upon.
– Elizabeth Cady Stanton

As long as people believe absurdities, they will continue to commit atrocities.
– Voltaire

What you need is sustained outrage…there’s far too much unthinking respect given to authority.
– Molly Ivins

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.
– George Orwell

The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love.
– William Sloane Coffin

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

3-22-10 Weekly Quotes: Moments of Meeting

A “moment of meeting” is a moment when two people traverse a feeling-landscape together as it unfolds in real time. They achieve a “felt sense” of each other; they share a sufficiently similar mental landscape so that a recognition of specific fittedness is achieved – they each know what the other is experiencing.

The authentic, mutual responses of this shared feeling voyage create a shared private world that re-organizes the relationship and [initiates] an irreversible shift into a new state. The two people sense an opening up. There is a newly expanded intersubjective field that allows for different possibilities of ways-of-being-with-one-another.

These shared feeling voyages are so simple and natural, yet very hard to explain or even talk about (outside of poetry). Moments of meeting are one of life’s most startling yet normal events, capable of altering our world step by step or in one leap. People are changed, and they are linked differently for having changed one another.
– Daniel Stern, The Present Moment

Notice what happens when you’re at a party with friends. If you approach a group that is laughing, you’ll probably find yourself smiling or chuckling even before you’ve heard the joke. Or perhaps you’ve gone to dinner with people who’ve suffered a recent loss. Without their saying anything, you may begin to sense a feeling of heaviness in your chest, a welling up in your throat, tears in your eyes. Scientists call this emotional contagion. The internal states of others – from joy and play to sadness and fear – directly affect our own state of mind.

Relationships are woven into the fabric of our interior world. We come to know our own minds through our interactions with others. At best, our resonance circuits enable us to feel the internal world within others, while they in turn weave us into their inner world and carry us with them even when we are not together…. As we welcome the neural reality of our interconnected lives, we can gain new clarity about who we are, what shapes us, and how we in turn can shape our lives.
– Daniel J. Siegel, Mindsight

There is an energy field between humans. And, when we reach out in passion, it is met with an answering passion and changes the relationship forever.
– Rollo May

The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed.
– Carl G. Jung
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.
– Tenzi Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama
Only through our connectedness to others can we really know and enhance the self. And only through working on the self can we begin to enhance our connectedness to others.
– Harriet Goldhor Lerner

The unique personality which is the real life in me, I can not gain unless I search for the real life in others. I am myself spiritually dead unless I reach out to the fine quality dormant in others. For it is only with the god enthroned in the innermost shrine of the other that the god, hidden within me, will consent to appear.
– Felix Adler

3-15-10 Weekly Quotes [from e-Newsletter] Applied Mindfulness

We can harness what scientists call neural plasticity – our brain’s capacity to grow new neurons, new neural circuits, even new neural structures lifelong – to deliberately re-wire those circuits toward more skillful patterns of neural firing. “We can train our minds to change our brains to benefit all beings.”
– Rick Hanson

“When we are truly mindful, we are never stuck.”
– James Baraz

“There is nothing passive about awareness. Our state of mind and everything that flows from it affect the world. When our doing comes out of being, out of awareness, it is likely to be a wiser, freer, more creative and caring doing, a doing that can promote greater wisdom and compassion and healing in the world. The intentional engagement in mindfulness within various strata of society, and within the body politic, even in the tiniest of ways, has the potential, because we are all cells of the body of the world, to lead to a true flowering, a veritable renaissance of human creativity and potential, and expression of our profound health as a species, and as a world.”
– Jon Kabat-Zinn, Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness

There is no enlightenment outside of daily life.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Mental activity shapes neural structure. Mindfulness practice turbo-charges that process of change.
– Rick Hanson

When we put down our ideas of what life should be like, we are free to -wholeheartedly say “yes” to our life as it is.
– Tara Brach

INVITATION

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
melodiously
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude—
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.
– Mary Oliver

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 greater 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

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

This refuge from our fears – the present moment – is always available to us. And with practice we learn to more easily return to it, even in the midst of confusion. As we do this over and over, we begin to understand how the mind works and what choices incline it toward well-being and joy. In time our experience shows us that mindfulness can indeed, as the Buddha said, help us “overcome grief and sorrow, end pain and anxiety, and realize the highest happiness.”
– James Baraz

3-29-10 Weekly Quotes: Seeing Whole

Indeed, to some extent, it has always been necessary and proper for man, in his thinking, to divide things up. If we tried to deal with the whole of reality at once, we would be swamped.

However, when this mode of thought is applied more broadly to man’s notion of himself and the whole world in which he lives, then man ceases to regard the resultant division as merely useful or convenient. He begins to see and experience himself and this world as actually constituted of separately existing fragments.

What is needed is a relativistic theory, to give up altogether the notion that the world is constituted of basic objects or building blocks. Rather, one has to view the world in terms of universal flux of events and processes.

– David Bohm

Today the network of relationships linking the human race to itself and to the rest of the biosphere is so complex that all aspects affect all others to an extraordinary degree. Someone should be studying the whole system, however crudely that has to be done, because no gluing together of partial studies of a complex non-linear system can give a good idea of the behavior of the whole.
– Murray Gell-Mann

Systems thinking is a discipline for seeing wholes. It is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing patterns of change rather than static “snapshots.” It is a set of general principles – distilled over the course of the 20th century, spanning fields as diverse as the physical and social sciences, engineering, and management. During the last thirty years, these tools have been applied to understand a wide range of corporate, urban, regional, economic, political, ecological, and even psychological systems. And systems thinking is a sensibility – for the subtle inter-connectedness that gives living systems their unique character.
– Peter Senge

The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.
– Blaise Pascal

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

We are all connected to everyone and everything in the universe. Therefore, everything one does as an individual affects the whole. All thoughts, words, images, prayers, blessings, and deeds are listened to by all that is.
– Serge Kahili King

We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone…and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.
– Sandra Day O’Connor

Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone.
– Margaret Wheatley

Live in fragments no longer. Only connect…
– E. M. Forster

The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.
– Frederick Buechner

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day runs through the worlds and dances in rhythmic measures. It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth in numberless blades of grass and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers. It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth and of death, in ebb and in flow. I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life. And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.
– Rabindranath Tagore

4-5-10 Weekly Quotes: Spiritual Fitness

[Quite the contrast to “If” by Rudyard Kipling quoted in 11-05-08 e-quotes. Many thanks to Tara Brach:]

SPIRITUAL FITNESS

If you can start the day without caffeine or pep pills,
If you can be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,
If you can understand when loved ones are too busy to
Give you time,
If you can overlook when people take things out on you
When, through no fault of yours, something goes wrong,
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,
If you can face the world without lies and deceit,
If you can conquer tension without medical help,
If you can relax without liquor,
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,
Then    you    are    probably    a    dog.

4-12-10 Weekly Quotes: Time

An unhurried sense of time is in itself a form of wealth.
– Bonnie Friedman

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

Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.
– Max Frisch

But what minutes! Count them by sensation, and not by calendars, and each moment is a day.
– Benjamin Disraeli

A single day is enough to make us a little larger.
– Paul Klee

Events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order: the continuous thread of revelation.
– Eudora Welty

And when is there time to remember, to sift, to weigh, to estimate, to total?
– Tillie Olsen

To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.
– Emily Dickinson

Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.
– Thomas Hardy

4-19-10 Weekly Quotes: Dance as Resilience

[Different. Still…resilience]

I Dance

Heart
Beat
Sound
Move
Make
Shake
Body
Want

Girl
Hips
Girl
Feet
Girl
Ground
Girl moving now

I dance to disappear
I dance to know I’m here
I dance ’cause I’m horny
‘Cause it’s holy
‘Cause I want to forget

I dance ’cause I’m pissed off
I dance’ ’cause I can’t
study anymore
I dance ’cause it’s better
than sexting
R u naked?
What r u doing with ur hands?

I dance because everything is possible
I dance ’cause it gets me high
‘Cause it’s the one thing
you can’t take away
I dance ’cause it keeps me
separate
from everyone else’s
opinions and ideas
I dance ’cause I’m
bleeding
bleeding
becoming

I dance ’cause I can touch
the music
in the discos of Reykjavik
Mumbai, Manhattan, Barcelona
I dance till my mascara
runs down my chin

I dance to the drums of the forest and rivers
I dance to the beat of the cicadas
I dance to the traffic
to the crowds
to the silence
I dance to the end of unkindness
I dance past the killing fields
I dance past Wounded Knee
I dance past the skeletons and bones
I dance past slave branding
and Holocaust tattoos
I dance past inflicted identities
and demeaning looks
I dance past the limited determinations of my
abilities and worth
I dance past your lustful eyes
Your dirty interpretations of my teenage body
I shake off the burqas and bindings
and corsets and diets
I shake off restrictions and illegitimate rules
I shake off your suffocating warnings
I dance to the heartbeat of life
I dance because girls are the ultimate survivors
– Eve Ensler
I Am an Emotional Creature:
The Secret Life of Girls Around the World

4-26-10 Weekly Quotes [from E-Newsletter] Oxytocin: The Neurochemical of Everything Good

Oxytocin can evoke an inner sense of well-being that facilitates flexibility and openness to change.
– Louise Cozolino, The Neuroscience of Human Relationships

People under the influence of oxytocin don’t have the same stress response that others do; bad news rolls off them more easily.
– Sue Carter, Chicago Psychiatric Institute

Close, positive, long-term relationships may offer us a relatively steady source of oxytocin release; every hug, friendly touch, and affectionate moment may prime this neurochemical balm a bit. Small wonder that cubicles in even the most soulless of offices are papered with photos of loved ones.
– Dan Goleman

A single exposure of oxytocin can create a lifelong change in the brain.
– Sue Carter, Chicago Psychiatric Institute, nation’s pioneer researcher in oxytocin

When oxytocin releases again and again – as happens when we spend a good deal of time with people who love us – we seem to reap the long-term health benefits of human affection. Repeated exposures to the people with whom we feel the closest social bonds can condition the release of oxytocin, so that merely being in their presence, or even just thinking about them, may trigger in us a pleasant dose.
– Dan Goleman

The happiest hours of my life have been spent in the flow of affection among friends.
– Thomas Jefferson

At the Corner Store (excerpt)

It was a new old man behind the counter,
skinny, brown and eager.
He greeted me like a long lost daughter,
as if we both came from the same world,
someplace warmer and more gracious than this cold city.

I was thirsty and alone. Sick at heart, grief-soiled
and his face lit up as if I were his prodigal daughter

returning,
coming back to the freezer bins in front of the register
which were still and always filled
with the same old Cable Car ice-cream sandwiches and
cheap frozen greens.
Back to the knobs of beef and package of hotdogs,
these familiar shelves strung with potato chips and corn chips,
stacked- up beer boxes and immortal Jim Beam.

I lumbered to the case and bought my precious bottled water
and he returned my change, beaming
as if I were the bright new buds on the just-bursting-open cherry trees,
as if I were everything beautiful struggling to grow,
and he was blessing me as he handed me my dime

over the dirty counter and the plastic tub of red licorice whips.

This old man who didn’t speak English
beamed out love to me in the iron week after my mother’s death
so that when I emerged from his store

My whole cockeyed life –
What a beautiful failure! –
Glowed gold like a sunset after rain.
– Alison Luterman

5-3-10 Weekly Quotes: Risking Joy

A Brief for the Defense
-Jack Gilbert, from Refusing Heaven
[emphasis mine – L.G.]

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without
pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment.
We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.

5-10-10 Weekly Quotes: Mothering

God could not be everywhere, so he created mothers.
– Jewish proverb

When one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet…Indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.
– Virginia Woolf

And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see – or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.
– Alice Walker

What are Raphael’s Madonnas but the shadow of a mother’s love fixed in permanent outline forever?
– Thomas Wentworth Higginson
One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade.
– Chinese Proverb

Mother – that was the bank where we deposited all our hurts and worries.
– T. DeWitt Talmage

I cannot forget my mother. She was my bridge. When I needed to get across, she steadied herself long enough for me to run across safely.
– Renita Weems

If I was damned of body and soul,
I know whose prayers would make me whole,
Mother o’ mine, O mother o’ mine.
– Rudyard Kipling

An ounce of mother is worth a ton of priest.
– Spanish proverb

One good mother is worth a hundred schoolmasters.
– George Herbert

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.
– Washington Irving

But the mother’s yearning, which is the essence of real human love, feels the presence of the cherished child even in the debased, degraded man.
– George Eliot

Mother’s love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved.
– Erich Fromm

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.
– Honore de Balzac

A mom forgives us all our faults, not to mention one or two we don’t even have.
– Robert Brault

The best conversations with mothers always take place in silence, when only the heart speaks.
– Carrie Latet

The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men – from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms. Youth fades; love droops; the leaves of friendship fall. A mother’s secret hope outlives them all.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.
– Marion Garretty

Every beetle is a gazelle in the eyes of its mother.
– Moorish proverb

My mother is a poem
I’ll never be able to write,
Though everything I write
Is a poem to my mother
– Sharon Doubiago

5-17-10 Weekly Quotes: Suffering and Overcoming

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened. All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.
– Helen Keller

If you’re going through hell, keep going..
– Winston Churchill

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obliged to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.
– Talmud

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Finally, finally, on my way to yes, I bump into all the places where I have said no to my life. All the unintended wounds, the red and purple scars, those hieroglyphs of pain etched into my skin and bones; those coded messages that sent me down the wrong street again and again — where I meet them and life them up one by one, the old wounds, the old mis-directions; I lift them one by one close to my heart and I say: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY.
– Peshe Gertler

Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt.
– Jane Addams

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.

What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost, but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him.
– Viktor Frankl

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

The marvelous richness of human experience would lose something of rewarding joy 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

5-24-10 Weekly Quotes [from E-Newsletter] Forgiveness

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 and injury.
– E. H. Chapin

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

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

Let the pain be pain, not in the hope that it will vanish but in the faith that it will fit in, find its place in the shape of things, and be then not any less pain but true to form….That’s what we’re looking for: not the end of a thing but the shape of it.
– Albert Huffstickler

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

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

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

Life without forgiveness is unbearable.
– Jack Kornfield

Between a stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. The last of human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.
– Viktor Frankl

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.
– James Baldwin

The person who betrayed you is sunning themselves on a beach in Hawaii and you’re knotted up in hatred. Who is suffering?
– Jack Kornfield

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

For Someone Who Did You Wrong

Though its way is to strike
In a dumb rhythm,
Stroke upon stroke,
As though the heart
Were an anvil,
The hurt you sent
Had a mind of its own.

Something in you knew
Exactly how to shape it,
To hit the target,
Slipping into the heart
Through some wound-window
Left open since childhood.

While it struck outside,
It burrowed inside,
Made tunnels through
Every ground of confidence.
For days, it would lie still
Until a thought would start it.

Meanwhile, you forgot,
Went on with things
And never even knew
How that perfect
Shape of hurt
Still continued to work.

Now a new kindness
Seems to have entered time
And I can see how that hurt
Has schooled my heart
In a compassion I would
Otherwise have never learned.

Somehow now
I have begun to glimpse
The unexpected fruit
Your dark gift had planted
And I thank you
For your unknown work.
– John O’Donohue
To Bless the Space Between Us

5-31-10 Weekly Quotes: Questions and Answers

Perhaps real wisdom lies in not seeking answers at all. Any answer we find will not be true for long. An answer is a place where we can fall asleep as life moves past us to its next question. After all these years I have begun to wonder if the secret of living well is not in having all the answers, but in pursuing unanswerable questions in good company.
– Rachel Naomi Remen

It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question.
– Decouvertes

The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a very creative mind to spot wrong questions.
– Anthony Jay

A prudent question is one-half of wisdom.
– Francis Bacon
The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.
– Thomas Berger

If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.
– Albert Einstein

Reason can answer questions but imagination has to ask them.
– Ralph Gerard

Questions show the mind’s range, and answers its subtlety.
– Joseph Joubert

You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.
– Naguib Mahfouz

Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens.
– Jimi Hendrix

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.
– Ranier Maria Rilke

6-7-10 Weekly Quotes: Learning

We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.
– Lloyd Alexander

It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known but to question it.
– Jacob Bronowski

Learning is always rebellion. Every bit of new truth discovered is revolutionary to what we believed before.
– Margaret Lee Runbeck

It is not hard to learn more. What is hard is to unlearn when you discover yourself wrong.
– Martin H. Fischer

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 into the world.
– Frances Willard

Only the curious will learn and only the resolute will overcome the obstacles to learning. The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient.
– Eugene S. Wilson

It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.
– Harry S. Truman

Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.
– Daniel J. Boorstin

What is important is to keep learning, to enjoy challenge, and to tolerate ambiguity. In the end there are no certain answers.
– Martina Horner, president, Radcliffe College

6-14-10 Weekly Quotes: Fathering

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, “You’re tearing up the grass.” We’re not raising grass,” Dad would reply. “We’re raising boys.”
– Harmon Killebrew

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.
– Elizabeth Stone
To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while.
– Josh Billings

He didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.
– Clarence Budington Kelland

Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.
– Robert Fulghum

It is one thing to show your child the way, and a harder thing to then stand out of it.
– Robert Brault

Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.
– Roger Lewin

The guys who fear becoming fathers don’t understand that fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man. The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent.
– Frank Pittman

It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.
– Anne Sexton

When you have brought up kids, there are memories you store directly in your tear ducts.
– Robert Brault

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.
– Diane Loomans

6-21-10 Weekly Quotes [from e-Newsletter] The Neuroscience of Resilience

It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.
– Irish blessing, thanks to Mary Pipher

The roots of resilience are to be found in the felt sense of existing in the heart and mind of an empathic, attuned, self-possessed other.
– Diana Fosha

Between a stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. The last of human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.
– Viktor Frankl

There are no mistakes when there is learning.
– Julia Butterfly Hill, environmental activist

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

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

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

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.
– Charles Darwin

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 greater 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

Mastering the art of resilience does much more than restore you to who you once thought you were. Rather, you emerge from the experience transformed into a truer expression of who you were really meant to be.
– Carol Osborn

We all accept that no one controls the weather. Good sailors learn to read it carefully and respect its power. They will avoid storms if possible, but then caught in one, they know when to take down the sails, batten down the hatches, drop anchor and ride things out, controlling what is controllable and letting go of the rest. Training, practice, and a lot of firsthand experience in all sorts of weather are required to develop such skills so that they work for you when you need them. Developing skill in facing and effectively handling the various “weather conditions” in your life is what we mean by the art of conscious living.
– Jon Kabat-Zinn

I’m no longer afraid of storms, for I’ve learned to sail my ship.
– Louise May Alcott

Suffering alone cannot break the human spirit. Human sorrow is not a pathology; it is a poignant inheritance we share with all the family of the earth. In the face of whatever loss, illness, or harm we are given, we remain people of great courage, wisdom and healing.
– Wayne Muller

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

6-28-10 Weekly Quotes: Vision

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

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

Some people see more in a walk around the block than others see in a trip around the world.
– Author Unknown

The real voyage of discovery lies not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
– Marcel Proust

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

When we’re in a contracted mind, it’s like looking at the sky through a pipe.
– Zen teaching, thanks for Cariadne MacKenzie Hooson

We think too small, like the frog at the bottom of the well. He thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view.
– Mao Tse Tung

Everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world.
– Arthur Schopenhauer

If you go as far as you can see, you will then see enough to go even farther.
– John Wooden

It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.
– Helen Keller

Where there is no vision, the people perish.
– Proverbs

Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.
– Alexander Hamilton

Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.
– Japanese proverb

A vision without a task is a dream.
A task without a vision is a drudgery.
A vision and a task is the hope of the world.
– Aldous Huxley

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.
– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.
– Carl G. Jung

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
– Steven Covey

7-5-10 Weekly Quotes: Freedom

My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.
– Adlai Stevenson

Freedom is not worth having if does not connote the freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be they ever so experienced and able, can delight in depriving other human beings of that precious right.
– Mahatma Gandhi

Liberty is the possibility of doubting, of making a mistake, of searching and experimenting, of saying No to any authority – literary, artistic, philosophical, religious, social, and even political.
– Ignazio Silone

There are two freedoms – the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought.
– Charles Kingsley
Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.
– Jean Paul Sartre

Freedom means choosing your burden.
– Hephzibah Menuhin

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.
– George Bernard Shaw

The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.
– William Hazlitt

No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.
– Frederick Douglass
Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.
– Abraham Lincoln

If to be free is the most important goal of all, then to help someone else to be or to become free, must be the most sublime and rewarding of human endeavors.
– Elie Wiesel

The pillars of truth and the pillars of freedom – they are the pillars of society.
– Henrik Ibsen

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches it arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action;
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
– Rabindranath Tagore

7-12-10 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

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

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

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

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

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 Alva Edison

I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot…and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that’s precisely why I succeed.
– Michael Jordan

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

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

Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.
– Malcolm Forbes

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

By perseverance the snail reached the ark.
– Charles Spurgeon

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

How long should you try? Until.
– Jim Rohn

Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they’ve got a second. Give your dreams all you’ve got and you’ll be amazed as that energy that comes out of you.
– William James

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.
– Walter Elliot

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

If the wind will not serve, take to the oars.
– Latin Proverb

A pound of pluck is worth a ton of luck.
– James Garfield

The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
– Abraham Lincoln

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

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

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

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

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

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

7-19-10 Weekly Quotes [from e-Newsletter] The Benefits of Blowing Your Top…Really?

The longing for President Obama to vent some fury at oil executives or bankers may run far deeper than politics. Millions of people live or work with exasperatingly cool customers, who seem to be missing an emotional battery, or perhaps saving their feelings for a special occasion. People who – unlike the mining operators in the gulf – have a blowout preventer that works all too well.
– Benedict Carey

One reason we’re so attuned to others’ emotions is that, when it’s a real emotion, it tells us something important about what matters to that person. When it’s suppressed or toned down, people think damn it, you’re not like us, you don’t care about the same things we do.
– James J. Gross, psychologist at Stanford University.

If staying calm and patient and confident is what has worked for you in crisis situations in the past, then subconsciously it may become automatic. And the more automatic it becomes, the less of the actual anger, or panic, you feel.
– Maya Tamir, psychologist, Hebrew University and Boston College

If there is love, there is hope to have real families, real brotherhood, real equanimity, real peace. If the love within your mind is lost, if you continue to see other beings as enemies, then no matter how much knowledge or education you have, no matter how much material progress is made, only suffering and confusion will ensue.
– HH the Dalai Lama

Happy the man who can endure the highest and the lowest fortune. He, who has endured such vicissitudes with equanimity, has deprived misfortune of its power.
– Seneca

I’m no longer afraid of storms, for I’ve learned to sail my ship.
– Louisa May Alcott

There often seems to be a playfulness to wise people, as if either their equanimity has as its source this playfulness or the playfulness flows from the equanimity; and they can persuade other people who are in a state of agitation to calm down and manage a smile.
– Edward Hoagland

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!
– Rudyard Kipling

7-26-10 Weekly Quotes: Leisure and Sweet Fun

Each day, and the living of it, has to be a conscious creation in which discipline and order are relieved with some play and pure foolishness.
– Mary Satton

The word “silly” derives from the Greek ‘selig’ meaning blessed. There is something sacred in being able to be silly.
– Paul Pearsall

If you are losing your leisure, look out; you may be losing your soul.
– Logan P. Smith

In rare moments of deep play, we can lay aside our sense of self, shed time’s continuum, ignore pain, and sit quietly in the absolute present, watching the world’s ordinary miracles. No mind or heart hobbles. No analyzing or explaining. No questing for logic. No promises. No goals. No relationships. No worry. One is completely open to whatever drama may unfold.
– Diane Ackerman

If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.
– Herodotus

The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.
– G.K. Chesterton

Unless each day can be looked back upon as one in which an individual has had some fun, some joy, some real satisfaction, that day is a loss.
– Anon.

He who does not get fun and enjoyment out of every day…needs to re-organize his life.
– George Matthew Adams

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
– e.e.cummings

There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is in having lots to do and not doing it.
– Mary W. Little

Time you enjoyed wasting is not wasted time.
– T.S. Eliot

No man is a failure who is enjoying life.
– William Feather

We don’t stop playing because we turn old, but turn old because we stop playing.
– George Bernard Shaw

There can be no high civilization where there is not ample leisure.
– Henry Ward Beecher

Leisure is the mother of philosophy.
– Thomas Hobbes

All intellectual improvement arises from leisure.
– Samuel Johnson

Do you know that conversation is one of the greatest pleasures in life? But it wants leisure.
– William Somerset Maugham

The happiest hours of my life have been spent in the flow of affection among friends.
– Thomas Jefferson

He enjoys true leisure who has time to improve his soul’s estate.
– Henry David Thoreau

The soul is dyed by the color of its leisure hours.
-W. R. Inge

Leisure is a form of silence, not noiselessness. It is the silence of contemplation such as occurs when we let our minds rest on a rosebud, a child at play, a Divine mystery, or a waterfall.
– Fulton J. Sheen

For lack of attention a thousand forms of loveliness elude us every day.
– Evelyn Underhill

And let your best be for your friend. If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also. For what is your friend that you should seek with him hours to kill? Seek with him always hours to live. For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness. And in the sweetness of friendship, let there be laughter, and the sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
– Kahlil Gibran

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.

To-day 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, Gitanjali

8-2-10 Weekly Quotes: Play and Creativity

Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.
– Abraham Maslow

Deep play precedes deep work.
– Jeremy Rifkin

For a small child there is no division between playing and learning; between the things he or she does ‘just for fun’ and things that are ‘educational.’ The child learns while living and any part of living that is enjoyable is also play.
– Penelope Leach

Play is by its very nature educational. And it should be pleasurable. When the fun goes out of play, most often so does the learning.
– Joanne E. Oppenheim

[Talking about his first computer] Like all kids we not only fooled around with our toys, we changed them. If you’ve ever watch a child with a cardboard carton and a box of crayons create a spaceship with cool control panels, or listened to their improvised rules, such as “Red cars can jump all others,” then you know that this impulse to make a toy do more is at the heart of innovative childhood play. It is also the essence of creativity.
– Bill Gates

Blaise Pascal used to mark with charcoal the walls of his playroom, seeking a means of making a circle perfectly round and a triangle whose sides and angle were all equal. He discovered these things for himself and then began to seek the relationship which existed between them. He did not know any mathematical terms and so he made up his own. Using these names he made axioms and finally developed perfect demonstrations, until he had come to the thirty-second proposition of Euclid.
– C. M. Cox

I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
– Isaac Newton

The Paleolithic hunters who painted the unsurpassed animal murals on the ceiling of the cave at Altamira had only rudimentary tools. Art is older than production for use, and play older than work. Man was shaped less by what he had to do than by what he did in playful moments. It is the child in man that is the source of his uniqueness and creativeness, and the playground is the optimal milieu for the unfolding of his capacities.
– Eric Hoffer

In every man there is a hidden child which is called the urge to create and he prefers as play things and serious things not the miniature ships, recreated in the minutest detail, but the walnut shall with a bird feather as a mast and sail and a pebble as a captain. He also wants to be able to participate and to co-create in art, rather than being simply an admiring viewer. For this “child in man” is the immortal creator within him.
– Christian Morgenstern

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

If you like to make things out of wood, or sew, or dance or style people’s hair, or dream up stories and act them out, or play the trumpet or jump rope, or whatever you really love to do, and you love that in front of your children, that’s going to be a far more important gift than anything you could ever give them wrapped up in a box with ribbons.
– Fred M. Rogers

The dynamic principle of fantasy is play, which belongs also to the child, and as such it appears to be inconsistent with the principle of serious work. But without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable. Without playing with fantasy, no creative work has yet come into being.
– Carl G. Jung

When we play, we also celebrate holy uselessness. Like the calf frolicking in the meadow, we need no pretense or excuses. Work is productive; play, in its disinterestedness and self-forgetting, can be fruitful.
– Margaret Guenther

The path that is best for you is the path that keeps the best of you in play.
– Bernie DeKoven

8-9-10 Weekly Quotes: Appreciation

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
– William James

Flattery is from the teeth out. Sincere appreciation is from the heart out.
– Dale Carnegie

There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.
– Mother Teresa

There are realities we all share, regardless of our nationality, language, or individual tastes. As we need food, so do we need emotional nourishment: love, kindness, appreciation and support from others.
– J. Donald Walters

The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation for goodness.
– HH the Dalai Lama

Correction does much, but encouragement does more. Encouragement after censure is as the sun after a shower.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Appreciation is like looking through a wide-angle lens that lets you see the entire forest, not just the one tree limb you walked into.
– Doc Childre

We have no right to ask when a sorrow comes, “Why did this happen to me?” unless we ask the same question for every joy that comes our way.
– Author Unknown

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
– Thornton Wilder

Hem your blessings with thankfulness so they don’t unravel.
– Author Unknown

Praise the bridge that carried you over.
– George Colman

When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?
-George Canning

Truly appreciate life and you’ll find that you have more of it.
– Ralph Marston

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one today to say “thank you?”
– William A. Ward

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder. I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.
– G. K. Chesterton

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.
– W.T. Purkiser

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
– John Fitzgerald Kennedy
I try to live what I consider a “poetic existence.” That means I take responsibility for the air I breathe and the space I take up. I try to be immediate, to be totally present for all my work.
– Maya Angelou

Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.
– Seneca

Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.
– Voltaire

What we all have in common is an appreciation of kindness and compassion; all the religions have this. We all lean towards love.
– Richard Gere
I would like to thank you in a way that we Sufi Muslims do. I lock my thumb onto yours, I look you in the eye, I kiss your hand, and say: “I kiss the God in you that allows you to give us what you did.”
– Nafez Assailey

8-16-10 Weekly Quotes: Nourishing and Loving Ourselves

Awakening Now

Why wait for your awakening?
The moment your eyes are open, seize the day.
Would you hold back when the Beloved beckons?

Would you deliver your litany of sins like a child’s collection of sea shells, prized and labeled?

“No, I can’t step across the threshold,” you say, eyes downcast. “I’m not worthy. I’m afraid, and my motives aren’t pure. I’m not perfect, and surely I haven’t practiced nearly enough. My meditation isn’t deep, and my prayers are sometimes insincere. I still chew my fingernails, and the refrigerator isn’t clean.”

Do you value your reasons for staying small more than the light shining through the open door?

Forgive yourself.
Now is the only time you have to be whole.
Now is the sole moment that exists to live in the light of your true Self.
Perfection is not a prerequisite for anything but pain.
Please, oh please, don’t continue to believe in your disbelief. This is the day of your awakening.
– Danna Faulds, Go In and In

The belief that we are deficient and unworthy makes it difficult to trust that we are truly loved. Many of us live with an undercurrent of depression or hopelessness about ever feeling close to other people. We fear that if they realize we are boring or stupid, selfish or insecure, they’ll reject us. If we’re not attractive enough, we may never be loved in an intimate, romantic way. We yearn for an unquestioned experience of belonging, to feel at home with ourselves and others, at ease and fully accepted. But the trance of unworthiness keeps the sweetness of belonging out of reach.
– Tara Brach, PhD

Of all our infirmities, the most savage is to despise our being.
– Michel de Montaigne

The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.
– Mark Twain

We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us there is something valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
– e.e. cummings
It is the chiefest point of happiness that a man is willing to be what he is.
– Erasmus

Learn what you are and be such.
– Pindar
There is always a certain peace in being what one is, in being that completely.
– Ugo Betti

Contentment, and indeed usefulness, comes as the infallible result of great acceptance, great humilities, of not trying to conform to some dramatized version of ourselves.
– David Grayson
The ABC’s of self-love: Awareness, Being with, Compassion
– Marci Shimoff

I’ve learned to take time for myself and to treat myself with a great deal of love and respect ’cause I like me…I think I’m kind of cool.
– Whoopi Goldberg

I exist as I am, that is enough. If no other in the world be aware, I sit content. And if each and all be aware. I sit content.
– Walt Whitman

It is not easy to be sure that being yourself is worth the trouble, but we do know it is our sacred duty.
– Florida Scott-Maxwell

Keep your heart open for as long as you can, as wide as you can, for others and especially for yourself.
– Morrie Schwartz

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

The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.
– Carl Gustav Jung

Unless I accept my faults, I will most certainly doubt my virtues.
– Hugh Prather

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.
– Carl Rogers.

One must have the adventurous daring to accept oneself as a bundle of possibilities and undertake the most interesting game in the world, making the most of one’s best.
– Harry Emerson Fosdick

The fruit of self-understanding is self acceptance. The fruit of self acceptance is self-love. The fruit of self-love is love for the world. The fruit of love for the world is service to the world. The fruit of service to the world is peace.
– Russell Rowe

8-23-10 Weekly Quotes [from e-newsletter] Aha! Moments Re-Wire the Brain

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

Learning is always rebellion. Every bit of new truth discovered is revolutionary to what we believed before.
– Margaret Lee Runbeck

Man’s mind stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

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

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

It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known but to question it.
– Jacob Bronowski

The difference between what the most and the least learned people know is inexpressibly trivial in relation to that which is unknown.
– Albert Einstein

Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.
– Daniel J. Boorstin

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

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 her were a child newly born into the world.
– Frances Willard

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

I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.
– Albert Einstein

The least of the work of learning is done in the classroom.
– Thomas Merton

Painful as it may be, a significant emotional event can be the catalyst for choosing a direction that serves us – and those around – more effectively. Look for the learning.
– Louise May Alcott

Learning is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies; you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins; you may miss your only love; you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of based minds. There is only one thing for it then – to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting.
– Theodore H. White

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.
– Clay P. Bedford

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.
– Ranier Maria Rilke

To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.
– Author unknown

We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.
– Malcolm Gladwell

8-30-10 Weekly Quotes: Inner Peace

As these e-quotes post, I am on a meditation retreat. May you find inner peace this week as well. Many thanks to my friend Marilynne Chophel for this posting.

SYMPTOMS OF INNER PEACE

Be on the lookout for symptoms of inner peace. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to inner peace and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some Signs and Symptoms of Inner Peace

  • A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
  • An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
  • A lost of interest in judging other people.
  • A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
  • A loss of interest in conflict
  • A loss of the ability to worry – this is a very serious symptom!
  • Frequent overwhelming episodes of appreciation
  • Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
  • Frequent attacks of smiling.
  • An increased tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.

9-6-10 Weekly Quotes: Work as Blessing

May your 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 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

9-13-10 Weekly Quotes: Equanimity

[LOTS of computer glitches lately. This week’s quotes posted on my (very gracious) neighbor’s computer. A good time to practice equanimity.]

True freedom lies in the realization and calm acceptance of the fact that there may very well be no perfect answer.
– Allen Reid McGinnis

Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amid the storm.
– Author unknown

In positive terms, we can state that psychological maturity entails having a freedom from anxiety with a resulting true serenity, not a pseudo absence of tension, and accepting and making the most of unchangeable reality when it confronts us.
– William Menninger

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows; it empties today of its strength.
– Corrie Ten Boom

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

Calmness comes from within. It is the peace and restfulness of the depths of our nature. The fury of storm and of wind agitate only the surface of the sea; they penetrate only two or three hundred feet; below that is the calm, unruffled deep. To be ready for the great crises of life we must learn serenity in our daily living.
– William Jordan

If one is to come through difficult experiences unembittered, unspoiled, still a real person, one needs deep resources. For example, some serenity in the soul to come home to at night and to go out from in the morning. Peace is a consciousness of springs too deep for earthly droughts to dry up. Peace is an awareness of reserves from beyond ourselves, so that our power is not so much in us as through us.
– Harry Emerson Fosdick

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

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

The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.
– Arnold Glasgow
Anger blows out the lamp of the mind. In the examination of a great and important question, everyone should be serene, slow-pulsed, and calm.
– Charles J. Ingersoll

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
– Reinhold Neibuhr

9-20-10 Weekly Quotes: Musings on Music

Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.
– Berthold Auerbach

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
– Victor Hugo

It is incontestable that music induces in us a sense of the infinite and the contemplation of the invisible.
– Victor de LaPrade

Music is the vernacular of the human soul.
– Geoffrey Latham

There is no truer truth obtainable by man than comes of music. He who hears music, feels his solitude peopled at once.
– Robert Browning

Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence.
– Robert Fripp

Music expresses feeling and thought, without language; it was below and before speech, and it is above and beyond all words.
– Robert G. Ingersoll
Music is the medicine of the mind.
– John A. Logan

Music is the medicine of the breaking heart.
– Leigh Hung

He who sings scares away his woes.
– Cervantes

Music seems to infuse strength into my limbs and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music. And there is no feeling, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music.
– George Eliot

Like everything else in nature, music is a becoming, and it becomes its full self when its sounds and laws are used by intelligent men and women for the production of harmony; it is made the vehicle of emotion and thought.
– Theodore Mungers

Music is the shorthand of emotion.
– Leo Tolstoy

I have my own particular sorrows, loves, delights; and you have yours. But sorrow, gladness, yearning, hope, love belong to all of us, in all times and in all places. Music is the means whereby we feel these emotions in their universality.
– H.A. Overstreet

It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness and of pain; of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love.
– Benjamin Britten

Why waste money on psychotherapy when you can listen to the B Minor Mass?
– Michael Torke

The discovery of song and the creation of musical instruments both owed their origin to a human impulse which lies much deeper than conscious intention: the need for rhythm in life….the need is a deep one, transcending thought, and disregarded at our peril.
– Richard Baker

Without music, life would be an error.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

The truest expression of a people is in its dance and music.
– Agnes B. de Mille

The history of a people is found in its songs.
– George Jellinek

Music is an explosive expression of humanity.
– Billy Joel

What we provide is an atmosphere…of orchestrated pulse which works on people in a subliminal way. Under its influence I’ve seen shy debs and severe dowagers kick off their shoes and raise some wholesome hell.
– Meyer Davis

If you can walk you can dance. If you can talk you can sing.
– Zimbabwe proverb

Alas for those that never sing, but die with all their music in them!
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

9-27-10 Weekly Quotes [from E-Newsletter] Ripples Make Waves

Every single one of us can do something, however small, to make a difference.
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Every moment brings a choice; every choice has an impact.
– Julia Butterfly Hill

One cannot live with sighted eyes and feeling heart and not know the miseries which afflict the world.
– Lorraine Hansberry

It hurts to care; the courage to care is the profoundest courage there is.
– Julia Butterfly Hill

What we need is what the ancient Israelites called hochma – the science of the heart…the capacity to see, to feel, and then to act as if the future depended on you. Believe me, it does.
– Bill Moyers

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

We are all connected to everyone and everything in the universe. Therefore, everything one does as an individual affects the whole. All thoughts, words, images, prayers, blessings, and deeds are listened to by all that is.
– Serge Kahili King

Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone.
– Margaret Wheatley

The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s hunger meet.
– Reverend Frederick Buechner

You don’t need to do everything. Do what calls your heart; effective action comes from love. It is unstoppable, and it is enough.
– Joanna Macy

The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt.
– Frederick Buechner

The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.
– Blaise Pascal

We don’t accomplish anything in this world alone…and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something.
– Sandra Day O’Connor

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

Inaction in the face of injustice is as impactful as the actions of others.
– Julia Butterfly Hill

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, deputy leader of 1951 Scottish Expedition to climb Mt. Everest

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

It is I Who Must Begin

It is I who must begin.
Once I begin, once I try –
here and now,
right where I am,
not excusing myself
by saying things
would be easier elsewhere,
without grand speeches and
ostentatious gestures,
but all the more persistently
–to live in harmony
with the “voice of Being,” as I
understand it within myself
–as soon as I begin that,
I suddenly discover,
to my surprise, that
I am neither the only one,
nor the first,
not the most important one
to have set out upon that road.

Whether all is really lost
or not depends entirely on
whether or not I am lost.
– Vaclav Havel

Behind every human being who cries out for help there may be a million or more equally entitled to attention. How to determine which of one millions sounds surrounding you is more deserving that the rest? Do not concern yourself in such speculations. You will never know, you will never need to know. Reach out and take hold of the one who happens to be nearest.
– Norman Cousins

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
Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.
– Vaclav Havel

Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.
– David Orr

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.
– The Talmud

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
– Reinhold Niebuhr

The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.
– Mohandis K. Gandhi

10-4-10 Weekly Quotes: Competition v. Cooperation

We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.
– Buckminster Fuller

The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.
– Bertrand Russell

In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.
– Charles Darwin

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
– Helen Keller

Individually we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.
– Ryunosuke Satoro

The secret is to gang up on the problem rather than each other.
– Thomas Stallkamp

If you want to be incrementally better: be competitive. If you want to be exponentially better: be cooperative.

We are so bound together than no man can labor for himself alone. Each blow he strikes in his own behalf helps to mold the universe.
– Jerome K. Jerome
We are not put on this earth to see through one another, but to see one another through.
– Author Unknown

We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, while others are bright, some have weird names, but we have to learn to live in the same box.
– Author Unknown

Non-cooperative approaches almost always involve duplication of effort, since someone working independently must spend time and skills on problems that already have been encountered and overcome by someone else. A technical hitch, for example, is more likely to be solved quickly and imaginatively if scientists, including scientists from different countries, pool their talents rather than compete against one another.
– Alfie Kohn, No Contest: The Case Against Competition

Across the country communities have begun to transform themselves. They encounter the same kinds of problems that trip everyone up, but they find solutions, too. Often a farmer’s market is the catalyst – not just because people find that they like local produce, but because they actually meet each other again. This is not sentiment talking; this is data. A team of sociologists recently followed shoppers around supermarkets and then farmers’ markets. You know the drill at the Stop’n’Shop: you come in the automatic door, fall into a light fluorescent trance, visit the stations of the cross around the perimeter of the store, exist after a discussion of credit or debit, paper or plastic. But that’s not what happens at farmer’s markets. On average, the sociologists found, people were having ten times as many conversations per visit. They were starting to rebuild the withered network that we call a community. So it shouldn’t surprise us that farmers’ markets are the fastest-growing part of our food economy; they are simply the way that humans have always shopped, acquiring gossip and good cheer along with calories.
– Bill McKibben, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

Now join your hands, and with your hands your hearts.
– William Shakespeare

10-11-10 Weekly Quotes: Deepening Joy…No Matter What

[This posting is late this morning. I’m in the midst of a joyful birthday season, celebrating life in gatherings with family and friends, in offerings of music, film, poetry. And…this season also brings news, among those nearest and dearest to me, of lost jobs and mortgage foreclosures, deaths of neighbors’ relatives in Iraq, and failed cancer treatments. This week’s quotes a tribute to how the heart holds its deep longings for joy, peace, and well-being, no matter what.]

We must risk delight. We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.
– Jack Gilbert (see E-Quotes 5-03-10 for the entire A Brief for the Defense)
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet (excerpt)

We could never learn to be brave and patient, if there were only joy in the world.
– Helen Keller

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglement; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.
– C.S. Lewis

I salute you. I am your friend, and my love for you goes deep. There is nothing I can give you which you have not. But there is much, very much, that, while I cannot give it, you can take. No heaven can come to us unless our hearts find rest in it today. Take heaven! No peace lies in the future which is not hidden in this present little instant.

Take peace! The gloom of the world is but a shadow. Behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. There is radiance and glory in darkness, could we but see. And to see, we have only to look. I beseech you to look!

Life is so generous a giver. But we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering, and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you.

Everything we call a trial, a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there. The gift is there and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Your joys, too, be not content with them as joys. They, too, conceal diviner gifts.

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it; that is all! But courage you have, and the knowledge that we are pilgrims together, wending through unknown country home.
– Fra Giovanni

So much sadness exists in the world that we are all under obligation to contribute as much joy as lies within our powers.
– John Sutheralnd Bonnell

For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.
– Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Give not over thy soul to sorrow; and afflict not thyself in thy own counsel. Gladness of heart is the life of man and the joyfulness of man is his length of days.
Ecclesiastes

There is an alchemy in sorrow. It can be transmuted into wisdom, which, if it does not bring joy, can yet bring happiness.
– Pearl S. Buck

Never miss a joy in this world of trouble. Happiness, like mercy, is twice blest; it blesses those most intimately associated with it, and it blesses all those who see it, hear it, touch it, or breathe the same atmosphere.
– Kate Douglas Wiggin

Joy is prayer – Joy is strength – Joy is love – Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls.
– Mother Teresa

We cannot know who we are except in joy. Not knowing joy, we do not know ourselves. When we are centered in joy, we attain our wisdom.
– Marianne Williamson

Always remember, joy is not incidental to the spiritual quest. It is vital.
– Rebbe Nachman

The soul is here for it’s own joy.
– Robert Bly

If you are not living in joy, you are out of integrity with your soul.
– Michael Bernard Beckwith

Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow.
– Helen Keller

We can do nothing well without joy, and a good conscience which is the ground of joy.
– Sibbes

The joy of a spirit is the measure of its power.
– Ninon de Lenclos

Without joy in your life you are powerless.
– Joyce Myers

What I know for sure is that you feel real joy in direct proportion to how connected you are to living your truth. Joy is a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace – a connection to what matters.
– Oprah Winfrey
Joy is a quality of the soul and is realized in the mind when personality and soul are in alignment.
– Djwhal Khul
The closer you come to your core, the greater is your joy.
– Torkom Saraydarian
Joy is not in things; it is in us.
– Richard Wagner
Joy springs from within; no one makes you joyous; you choose joyfulness.
– Author Unknown
A sense of humor…is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.
– Hugh Sidley
We need joy as we need air.
We need love as we need water.
We need each other as we need the earth we share.
– Maya Angelou

True joy results when we become aware of our connectedness to everything.
– Paul Pearsall

Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.
– Mark Twain

A joy shared is a joy doubled, and a sorrow shared is a sorrow halved.
– Swedish proverb

Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy and the dividing of our griefs.
– Marcus Tullius Cicero

Release the joy that is inside of another, and you release the joy that is inside of you.
– Neal Donald Walch

We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherisihing our friends, and living our lives.
– Maya Angelou

Now and then it is good to pause in our pursuit of joy and just be joyful.
– Anon

No matter what looms ahead, if you can eat today and mix good cheer with friends today, enjoy and bless God for it.
– Henry Ward Beecher.
Joy is the echo of God’s life in us.
– Abbot Coumba Marmion

May all beings learn how to nourish themselves with joy each day.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

10-18-10 Weekly Quotes: Pema Chodron

[A tribute to the beloved Buddhist teacher, Pema Chodron, who, last weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area, taught her probably last public meditation retreat.]

If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.

If your everyday practice is open to all your emotions, to all the people you meet, to all the situations you encounter, without closing down, trusting that you can do that – then that will take you as far as you can go. And then you’ll understand all the teachings that anyone has ever taught.

There’s a reason you can learn from everything: you have basic wisdom, basic intelligence, and basic goodness.

The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we can look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we can feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes.

What’s encouraging about meditation is that even if we shut down we can no longer shut down in ignorance. We see very clearly that we’re closing off. That in itself begins to illuminate the darkness.

Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck.

A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it’s time to stop struggling and look directly at what’s threatening us.

Learning how to be kind to ourselves, learning how to respect ourselves, is important. The reason it’s important is that, fundamentally, when we look into our own hearts and begin to discover what is confused and what is brilliant, what is bitter and what is sweet, it isn’t just ourselves that we’re discovering. We’re discovering the universe.

Life is glorious, but life is also wretched. It is both. Appreciating the gloriousness inspires us, encourages us, cheers us up, gives us a bigger perspective, energizes us. We feel connected. But if that’s all that’s happening, we get arrogant and start to look down on others, and there is a sense of making ourselves a big deal and being really serious about it, wanting it to be like that forever. The gloriousness becomes tinged by craving and addiction.

On the other hand, wretchedness-life’s painful aspect—softens us up considerably. Knowing pain is a very important ingredient of being there for another person. When you are feeling a lot of grief, you can look right into somebody’s eyes because you feel you haven’t got anything to lose-you’re just there. The wretchedness humbles us and softens us, but if we were only wretched, we would all just go down the tubes. We’d be so depressed, discourage, and hopeless that we wouldn’t have enough energy to eat an apple.

Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.

To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.

If you follow your heart, you’re going to find that it is often extremely inconvenient.

Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.

The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.

How are we ever going to change anything? How is there going to be less aggression in the universe rather than more? We can then bring it down to a more personal level: how do I learn to communicate with somebody who is hurting me or someone who is hurting a lot of people? How do I speak to someone so that come change actually occurs. How do I communicate so that the space opens up and both of us begin to touch in to some kind of basic intelligence that we all share? In a potentially violent encounter, how do I communicate so that neither of us becomes increasingly furious and aggressive? How do I communicate to the heart so that a stuck situation can ventilate? How do I communicate so that things that seem frozen, unworkable, and eternally aggressive begin to soften up, and some kind of compassionate exchange begins to happen?

Well, it starts with being willing to feel what we are going through. It starts with being willing to have a compassionate relationship with the parts of ourselves that we feel are not worthy of existing on the planet. If we are willing through meditation to be mindful not only of what feels comfortable but also of what pain feels like, if we even aspire to stay awake and open to what we’re feeling, to recognize and acknowledge it as best we can in each moment, then something begins to change.

We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.

10-25-10 Weekly Quotes [from E-Newsletter] Gratitude

I am, therefore I thank.
– Cindy Lubar Bishop

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

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

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

Our stream of thought has been working to create an impression of an isolated “self,” set apart from all others, which appears real, substantial, and thereby seemingly safe. Although we have all believed such thoughts of “self” as something isolated from and over against others, we have never existed in that way. Therefore, we can never become happy or fulfilled by pretending to exist in that way. Rather, we have always existed in much deeper relationship to all others, who in their innate nature of goodness and their self-centered habits of thought are like alternative versions of ourselves. That is the reality of our existence.
– John Makransky

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

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

The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy. I mean that if your are happy, you will be good.
– Bertrand Russell

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

Gratitude in our darkest times is more than a matter of remembering our blessings so we can hold the hard stuff in a bigger perspective. With understanding, we see that often it is the suffering itself that deepens us, maturing our perspective on life, making us more compassionate and wise than we would have been without it. How many times have we been inspired by those who embody a wisdom that could only come from dealing with adversity? And how many valuable lessons have we ourselves learned because life has given us unwanted challenges? With a grateful heart, we’re not only willing to face our difficulties, we can realize while we’re going through them that they are a part of our ripening into wisdom and nobility.
– James Baraz

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. 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

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

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

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

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

If you look to others for fulfillment,
You will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money,
You will never by happy with yourself.

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

Last week I had a toothache. Today I have no toothache. How wonderful!
– Thich Nhat Hanh

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

11-1-10 Weekly Quotes: Honoring the Ancestors

[However you have celebrated the sacredness of honoring those whose lives gave us life on Halloween, Hallow’s Eve, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), All Saints’ Day]

Every man is an omnibus in which his ancestors ride.
– Oliver Wendell Homes

There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his.
– Helen Keller

Every king springs from a race of slaves, and every slave had kings among his ancestors.
– Plato

Confound these ancestors…they’ve stolen our best ideas!
– Ben Jonson

Some people are your relatives, but others are your ancestors, and you choose the ones you want to have as ancestors. You create yourself out of those values.
– Ralph Ellison

I realized that Eastern thought had somewhat more compassion for all living things. Man was a form of life that in another reincarnation might possibly be a horsefly or a bird of paradise or a deer. So a man of such faith, looking at animals, might be looking at old friends or ancestors.
– William O. Douglas

If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors.
– Jonas Salk

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

Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning, and under every deep a lower deep opens.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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

Death ends a life, not a relationship.
– Morrie Schwartz

On the death of the Beloved
Though we need to weep your loss,
You dwell in that safe place in our hearts,
Where no storm or night or pain can reach you.

Your love was like the dawn
Brightening over our lives
Awakening beneath the dark
A further adventure of colour.

The sound of your voice
Found for us
A new music
That brightened everything

Whatever you enfolded in your gaze
Quickened in the joy of its being;
You placed smiles like flowers
On the altar of the heart.
Your mind always sparkled
With wonder at things.
Though your days here were brief,
Your spirit was live, awake, complete.

We look towards each other no longer
From the old distance of our names;
Now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath,
As close to us as we are to ourselves.

Though we cannot see you with outward eyes,
We know our soul’s gaze is upon your face,
Smiling back at us from within everything
To which we bring our best refinement.

Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we would grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence,
Beside us when beauty brightens,
When kindness glows
And music echoes eternal tones.

When orchids brighten the earth,
Darkest winter has turned to spring;
May this dark grief flower with hope
In every heart that loves you.

May you continue to inspire us:

To enter each day with a generous heart.
To serve the call of courage and love
Until we see your beautiful face again
In that land where there is no more separation,
Where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
And where we will never lose you again.
– John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us

May there be some beautiful surprise
Waiting for you inside death
Something you never knew or felt,
Which with one simple touch
Absolves you of all loneliness and loss,
As you quicken within the embrace
For which your soul was eternally made.

May your heart be speechless
At the sight of the truth
Of all your belief had hoped,
Your heart breathless
In the light and lightness
Where each and every thing
Is at last its true self
Within that serene belonging
That dwells beside us
On the other side
Of what we see.
– John O’Donahue
From Benedictus

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world
The master calls a butterfly.
– Richard Bach

DEEPENING THE WONDER

Death is a favor to us,
But our scales have lost their balance.

The impermanence of the body
Should give us great clarity,
Deepening the wonder in our senses and eyes

Of this mysterious existence we share
And are surely just traveling through.

If I were in the Tavern tonight,
Hafiz would call for drinks

And as the Master pours, I would be reminded
That all I know of life and myself is that

We are just a mid-air flight of golden wine
Between His Pitcher and His Cup.

If I were in the Tavern tonight,
I would buy freely for everyone in this world

Because our marriage with the cruel beauty
Of time and space does not endure very long.

Death is a favor to us,
But our minds have lost their balance.

The miraculous existence and impermanence of Form
Always makes the Illumined Ones
Laugh and sing.
– Hafiz

11-8-10 Weekly Quotes: Thoughts about Truth

All great truths begin as blasphemies.
– George Bernard Shaw

Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once heretical.
– Bertrand Russell

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.
– Arthur Schopenhauer

Truth, in its struggles for recognition, passes through four distinct stages. First, we say it is damnable, dangerous, disorderly, and will surely disrupt society. Second, we declare it is heretical, infidelic, and contrary to the bible. Third, we say it is really a matter of no importance either one way or the other. Fourth, we aver that we have always upheld it and believed it.
– Elbert Hubbard

Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.
– Winston Churchill
Facts are facts and will not disappear on account of your likes.
– Jawaharlal Nehru

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
– Aldous Huxley

We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable.
– Alexander Solzhenitsyn
The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.
– Oscar Wilde

God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please – you can never have both.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.
– Aldous Huxley

The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.
– Herbert Agar

The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.
– James A. Garfield

Never, “for the sake of peace and quiet,” deny your own experience or convictions.
– Dag Hammarskjold

Whatever games are played with us, we must play no games with ourselves, but deal in our privacy with the last honesty and truth.
– RalphWaldo Emerson
If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else to do you expect to find it?
– Dogen

Truth only reveals itself when one gives up all preconceived ideas.
– Shoseki

Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now – always and indeed then most truly when it seems unsuitable to actual circumstances.
– Albert Schweitzer

What is laid down, ordered, factual is never enough to embrace the whole truth; life always spills over the rim of every cup.
– Blaise Pascal
The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.
– Neils Bohr
Truth is the cry of all, but the game of few.
– Bishop Berkeley

Truth is so rare it’s delightful to tell it.
– Emily Dickinson

Truth is more of a stranger than fiction.
– Mark Twain

As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand.
– Josh Billings

Love truth, and pardon error.
– Voltaire

Between whom there is hearty truth, there is love.
– Henry David Thoreau

11-15-10 Weekly Quotes: Learning and Living

As long as you live, keep learning how to live.
– Seneca

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning of life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.
– Joseph Campbell

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 your glory
leaping an abyss
than upholstering a rut.
– James Broughton

Life is not lost by dying; life is lost minute by minute, day by dragging day, in all the thousand small uncaring ways.
– Stephen Vincent Benet

Life was meant to be lived and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never for whatever reason, turn their back on life.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Life is playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.
– Samuel Butler

I awake in the morning, torn between a desire to save the world, and a desire to savor the world. That makes it hard to plan the day.
– E. H. White
Evaluate every act by whether it brings you greater life, or deadens you.
– Alan Cohen

…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 fully alive
is too small for you.
– David Whyte
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather an opportunity to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up and totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow, What a Ride!”
– Author unknown, contributed by Marti Elvebak

11-22-10 Weekly Quotes [from e-Newsletter] Gratitude: Even For The Hard Stuff

The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.
– Carl Rogers

Gratitude in our darkest times is more than a matter of remembering our blessings so we can hold the hard stuff in a bigger perspective. With understanding, we see that often it is the suffering itself that deepens us, maturing our perspective on life, making us more compassionate and wise than we would have been without it. How many times have we been inspired by those who embody a wisdom that could only come from dealing with adversity? And how many valuable lessons have we ourselves learned because life has given us unwanted challenges? With a grateful heart, we’re not only willing to face our difficulties, we can realize while we’re going through them that they are a part of our ripening into wisdom and nobility.
– James Baraz

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 greater 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

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. 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 Guest House (the gold standard of gratitude practice)

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

If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.
– Pema Chodron

For Someone Who Did You Wrong

Though its way is to strike
In a dumb rhythm,
Stroke upon stroke,
As though the heart
Were an anvil,
The hurt you sent
Had a mind of its own.

Something in you knew
Exactly how to shape it,
To hit the target,
Slipping into the heart
Through some wound-window
Left open since childhood.

While it struck outside,
It burrowed inside,
Made tunnels through
Every ground of confidence.
For days, it would lie still
Until a thought would start it.

Meanwhile, you forgot,
Went on with things
And never even knew
How that perfect
Shape of hurt
Still continued to work.

Now a new kindness
Seems to have entered time
And I can see how that hurt
Has schooled my heart
In a compassion I would
Otherwise have never learned.

Somehow now
I have begun to glimpse
The unexpected fruit
Your dark gift had planted
And I thank you
For your unknown work.
– John O’Donohue

Blessing the Space Between Us

[especially when love and hurt are simultaneous; written by my friend Bette; title adapted from John O’Donohue To Bless the Space Between Us]

May the presence and power of spirit surround, support and guide us and keep us safe.
May we remember the deep love we have for each other.
May we greet our emerging differences with tenderness and tolerance.
May we call on our courage to speak our truth, and reveal our vulnerabilities.
May we reflect back to others without blaming or shaming.
May we hear the truth others speak with compassion.
May we have patience with their process and emergence.
May we pause, breathe, and let ourselves settle.
May we stand in love and strength together.
May our rough edges be doorways to healing.
– Bette Acuff

Finally, finally, on my way to yes, I bump into all the places where I have said no to my life. All the unintended wounds, the red and purple scars, those hieroglyphs of pain etched into my skin and bones; those coded messages that sent me down the wrong street again and again – where I meet them and lift them up one by one, the old wounds, the old mis-directions; I lift them one by one close to my heart and I say: HOLY, HOLY, HOLY.
– Peshe Gertler

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

11-29-10 Weekly Quotes: Ethics

[after seeing the film Inside Job, Charles Ferguson’s sobering documentary about the 2008 financial collapse. The lack of ethics, the lack of integrity, are mind boggling. Matt Damon narrates; what an eye opener.]

Feeling that morality has nothing to do with the way you use the resources of this world is an idea that can’t persist any longer. If it does, then we won’t.
– Barbara Kingsolver
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.
– Mohandis K. Gandhi
When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.
– Shirley Chisholm
Instead of a bottom-line based on money and power, we need a new bottom-line that defines productivity and creativity as where corporations, governments, schools, public institutions, and social practices are judged as efficient, rational and productive not only to the extent they maximize money and power, but to the extent they maximize love and caring, ethical and ecological sensitivity, and our capacities to respond with awe and wonder at the grandeur of creation.
– Michael Lerner
Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be the first in love. I want you to be the first in moral excellence. I want you to be the first in generosity.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
In these times when anger
Is turned into anxiety
And someone has stolen the horizons and mountains,

Our small emperors on parade
Never expect our indifference
To disturb their nakedness.

They keep their heads down
And their eyes gleam with reflection
From aluminum economic ground,

The media wraps everything
In a cellophane of sound,
And the ghost surface of the virtual
Overlays the breathing earth.

The industry of distraction
Makes us forget
That we live in a universe.

We have become converts
To the religion of stress
And its deity of progress;

That we may have courage
To turn aside from it all
And come to kneel down before the poor,
To discover what we must do,
How to turn anxiety
Back into anger,
How to find our way home.
– John O’Donohue

12-6-10 Weekly Quotes: Risk

What we see as risk and foolhardiness on the outside, can seem more like constant cohesive drive on the inside that holds to priorities that cannot be discerned by others, because they reside in far too private a chamber of personal experience to be shared easily. To dare everything is not necessarily trouble, but often the opposite. To have faith in a foundation you have discovered in life and which, though it is difficult to describe even to yourself, you refuse to relinquish.
– David Whyte

A lot of people approach risk as if it is the enemy, when it is really fortune’s accomplice.
– Sting

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

If one is forever cautious, can one remain a human being?
– Aleksander Solzhenitsyn

To dare – is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare – is to lose oneself.
– Soren Kierkegaard

A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what ships are for.
– John Shedd

He who risks and fails can be forgiven. He who never risks and never fails is a failure in his whole being.
– Paul Tillich

It is only by risking our person from one hour to another that we live at all.
– William James

You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen.
– Paulo Coelho

I am always doing that which I cannot to, in order that I may learn how to do it.
– Pablo Picasso

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

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 coarse, 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

Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing.
– Helen Keller

The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet.
– Lord Philip Dormer Stanhope Chesterfield

One cannot discover new oceans unless one has the courage to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.
– Andre Gide

In each of us are places where we have never gone. Only by pressing the limits do you ever find them.
– Dr. Joyce Brothers

Only those who go where few have gone can see what few have seen.
– Buddha

Only those who dare to go too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
– T. S. Eliot

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
– Anais Nin

12-13-10 Weekly Quotes: Hanging in There

I thought that 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
For the Interim Time

When near the end of day, life has drained
Out of light, and it is too soon
For the mind of night to have darkened things,

No place looks like itself, loss of outline
Makes everything look strangely in-between,
Unsure of what has been, or what might come.

In this wan light, even trees seem groundless.
In a while it will be night, but nothing
Here seems to believe the relief of dark.

You are in this time of the interim
Where everything seems withheld.

The path you took to get here has washed out;
The way forward is still concealed from you.

The old is not old enough to have died away;
The new is still too young to be born.

You cannot lay claim to anything;
In this place of dusk,
Your eyes are blurred,
And there is no mirror.

Everyone else has lost sight of your heart
And you can see nowhere to put your trust;
You know you have to make your own way through.

As far as you can, hold your confidence.
Do not allow your confusion to squander
This call which is loosening
Your roots in false ground,
That you might come free
From all you have outgrown.

What is being transfigured here is your mind,
And it is difficult and slow to become new.
The more faithfully you can endure here,
The more refined your heart will become
For your arrival in the new dawn.
– John O’Donohue
The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
– William Stafford

12-20-10 Weekly Quotes [from e-Newsletter] Roots of Empathy

I believe that the future of world doesn’t lie in the hands of the children; it lies in the hearts of the children. Roots of Empathy brings together the education of the heart and the mind; it is the foundation of a compassionate and peaceful society.
– Mary Gordon

Resilience in the face of difficulty requires a particular form of intelligence. Traditional smarts – book smarts or even street savvy – won’t necessarily bring happiness, but social and emotional intelligence will. Social and emotional intelligence are nothing less than the foundation of lasting happiness.
– Christine Carter

I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilization.
– Roger Ebert

Empathy is full presence to what’s alive in the other person at this moment.
– John Cunningham

When you start to develop your powers of empathy and imagination, the whole world opens up to you.
– Susan Sarandon

If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors. With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists, we much see not just their faces but the life behind and within their faces. Here it is love that is the frame we see them in.
– Frederick Buechner

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand.
– Henri Nouwen

The core of our humanity is the ability to feel what the other person feels…to be able to take the other’s perspective. We think we’re islands of emotional pain unless we hear others discuss their feelings.
– Mary Gordon

You know, there’s a lot of talk in this country about the federal deficit. But I think we should talk more about our empathy deficit – the ability to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes; to see the world through the eyes of those who are different from us – the child who’s hungry, the steelworker who’s been laid-off, the family who lost the entire life they built together when the storm came to town. When you think like this – when you choose to broaden your ambit of concern and empathize with the plight of others, whether they are close friends or distant strangers – it becomes hard not to act; hard not to help.
– Barack Obama

The act of compassion begins with full attention. You have to really see the person. If you see the person, then naturally, empathy arises. If you tune into the other person, you feel with them. If empathy arises, and if that person is in dire need, then empathic concern can come. You want to help them, and then that begins a compassionate act.
– Daniel Goleman

Suffering and joy teach us, if we allow them, how to make the leap of empathy, which transports us into the soul and heart of another person. In those transparent moments we know other people’s joys and sorrows, and we care about their concerns as if they were our own.
– Fritz Williams

To embrace suffering culminates in greater empathy, the capacity to feel what it is like for the other to suffer, which is the ground for unsentimental compassion and love.
– Stephen Batchelor

Self- absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts and our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection – or compassionate action.
– Dan Goleman

12-27-10 Weekly Quotes: Poems-Prayers for Winter Solstice – New Year

[The total lunar eclipse on Tuesday, December 22, 2010, was the first time a total lunar eclipse has coincided with the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere since 1638. There will be a partial total solar eclipse on January 4, 2011. This time of turning from the darkness toward the light all around our hemisphere is a time of transition and transformation potent with possibilities for new consciousness, new commitment to healing and awakening into aliveness and wholeness. May these poems and prayers be comforting and inspiring to you and yours.]

As you deepen in reflection on this longest night of the year, may you open to the inner light that illumines your way in the lengthening days ahead. Stay cozy…Marilynne Chophel

Winter Solstice

Perhaps for a moment
the typewriters will stop clicking,
the wheels stop rolling,
the computers desist from computing,
and a hush will fall
over the city.

For an instant, in the stillness,
the chiming of the celestial spheres
will be heard as earth hangs
in the crystalline darkness,
and then gracefully tilts.

Let there be a season
when holiness is heard,
and the splendor of living is revealed.

Stunned to stillness by beauty
we remember who we are
and why we are here.

There are inexplicable mysteries.
We are not alone.

In the universe there moves
a Wild One whose gestures
alter earth’s axis toward love.

In the immense darkness
everything spins with joy.
The cosmos enfolds us.
We are caught in a web of stars,
cradled in a swaying embrace,
rocked by the holy night,
babes of the universe.

Let this be the time
we wake to life,
like spring wakes in the moment
of winter solstice.
– Rebecca Parker
You Darkness

You, darkness, that I come from,
I love you more than all the fires
That fence in the world;
For the fire makes a circle of light for everyone
And then no one outside learns of you.

But the darkness pulls in everything –
Shapes and fires, animals and myself,
How easily it gathers them! –
Powers and people –

And it is possible a great presence is moving near me.

I have faith in nights.
– Ranier Maria Rilke
Candles for Solstice

May you celebrate and share with others…

Candles of light in the darkness,
Candles of grace in the suffering,
Candles of joy despite all sadness,
Candles of hope where 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
Prayer for a New Year

May you awaken to new beginnings
With an openness of heart
And a quickening of soul.

May you step wholeheartedly into this new year,
To appreciate its abundant sweetness and
To embrace in faith its certain sadness.
May you re-awaken hopes and dreams which
Stretch your creative spirit to give them
Life and substance.

May you be for others:
A herald of change,
A respecter of fears;
A softener of hard edges;
A co-creator of yet-to-be-known meanings;
A midwife to healing;

May you discover for your Self:
The deepest truth of your deepest nature;
A resting in goodness;
An abiding with a peaceful heart;
A living into wholeness.
-Linda Graham