Weekly Quotes 2015

12-28-15 Weekly Quotes: A Blessing for the New Year

[May you find inspiration and encouragement in this delightful blessing by Kayleen Asbo; may your new year unfold with much adventure and joy.]

A Blessing for the New Year

by Kayleen Asbo

As the hours of darkness begin to slowly wane from the winter sky,
So too may the fearful places of your heart unclench their grasp on your life
As the presence of light begins to grow with greater sureness with each passing day
May your own courage blossom to open more brightly to truth and love.

Let this be the year that you turn off the television and silence the talk radio chatter
in order to pick up the writing pen, the paintbrush,
and watch the candle slowly burn.

May this be the year that you delight
in seeing how much joy you can extravagantly spread.
May you discover just how much beauty you can recklessly shower
upon this thirsty world.

May this be the year that you tune both the dusty piano in the corner
and the inner listening of your care-worn heart
So that both can play in harmony with the chorus of creation.

May you break the invisible yardstick of impossible expectations
and learn that just as you are,
you are enough.
May this be the year that you cease trying to march to an imagined ideal
and instead, wrap your arms around the messy wonder your life really is,
hold it close
and do the tango.

Let this be the year you befriend your soul in its radical particularity,
not forsaking it yet again for the bland demands and cravings of the masses.
Instead, may you elope with the wildness of your own true calling,
marry your soul to its deepest longings
and invite the hungry world to the wedding feast.

12-21-15 Weekly Quotes: Winter Solstice

[I’ve always enjoyed the Winter Solstice – a very physical manifestation of the turning of the dark toward the light. I grew up in the Midwest, where the cold and grey of winter could set in by Thanksgiving and last clear through Easter. Even though the amount of daylight gained each day after the winter solstice is incremental, 2 to 3 minutes depending on your latitude, (and the increase itself increases as we pass the spring equinox) it’s measurable and visible and encouraging, just as the progress we make recovering a sense of aliveness and lightness in our own psyches after a difficult struggle can seem so small at first, but encouraging in its steady progression.

May you enjoy this season of inner reflection and renewal, and the turning of the dark toward the light, however that is true for you.]

The days are short
The sun a spark
Hung thin between
The dark and dark.
– John Updike

* * * * *

The simplicity of winter has a deep moral. The return of Nature, after such a career of splendor and prodigality, to habits so simple and austere, is not lost either upon the head or the heart. It is the philosopher coming back from the banquet and the wine to a cup of water and a crust of bread.
– John Burroughs

* * * * *

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape – the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.
– Andrew Wyeth

* * * * *

What a severe yet master artist old Winter is…no longer the canvas and the pigments but the marble and the chisel.
– John Burroughs, The Snow-Walkers, 1866

* * * * *

Storms make oaks take deeper roots.
– George Herbert

* * * * *

Nature looks dead in winter because her life is gathered into her heart. She withers the plant down to the root that she may grow it up again fairer and stronger. She calls her family together within her inmost home to prepare them for being scatted abroad upon the face of the earth.
– Hugh Macmillan, Rejuvenescence, 1871

* * * * *

Our destiny often looks like a fruit-tree in winter. Who would think from its pitiable aspect that those rigid boughs, those rough twigs could next spring again be green, bloom, and even bear fruit? Yet we hope it, we know it.
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

* * * * *

He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter….in winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity.
– John Burroughs, The Snow-Walkers, 1866

* * * * *

We feel cold, but we don’t mind it, because we will not come to harm. And if we wrapped up against the cold, we wouldn’t feel other things, like the bright tingle of the stars, or the music of the Aurora, or best of all the silky feeling of moonlight on our skin. It’s worth being cold for that.
– Philip Pullman

* * * * *

I am sure it is a great mistake always to know enough to go in when it rains. One may keep snug and dry by such knowledge, but one misses a world of loveliness
– Adeline Knapp

* * * * *

There is a privacy about winter which no other season gives you. In spring, summer and fall, people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.
– Ruth Stout

* * * * *

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.
– Edith Sitwell

* * * * *

Winter is the time of love and of taking the light within.
– Terry Lynn Taylor

* * * * *

The color of springtime is in the flowers; the color of winter is in the imagination.
– Terri Guillemets

* * * * *

One kind word can warm three months of winter.
– Japanese proverb

* * * * *

Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.
– Vista M. Kelly

* * * * *

Winter is the king of showmen,
Turning tree stumps into snowmen
And houses into birthday cakes
And spreading sugar over lakes.
Smooth and clean and frosty white,
The world looks good enough to bite.
That’s the season to be young,
Catching snowflakes on your tongue.
Snow is snowy when it’s snowing,
I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going.
– Ogden Nash

12-7-15 Weekly Quotes: Every Revolution Needs Fresh Poems

Two weeks ago I posted the poem Quiet Psalm by Silvio Machado [posted again below] in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris, France that had occurred just one and a half weeks before. Now I’m posting this poem by Alice Walker, and a brief quote from Christian Wiman, editor of Poetry magazine, to help create the larger context of how poetry, the language of our deepest heart, can hold such devastating ruptures in our common humanity.

Quoting also the African-American novelist James Baldwin:

“The moment we cease to hold each other, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.”

May poetry hold our larger hearts and consciousness and help us hold each other.

Every Revolution Needs Fresh Poems

Every revolution needs fresh poems
that is the reason
poetry cannot die.
It is the reason poets
go without sleep
and sometimes without lovers
without new cars
and without fine clothes
the reason we commit
to facing the dark
and
resign ourselves, regularly, to the possibility of being wrong.
Poetry is leading us.
It never cares how we will
be held by lovers
or drive fast
or look good
in the moment;
but about how completely
we are committed
to movement
both inner and outer;
and devoted to transformation
and to change.
– Alice Walker

* * * * *

Quiet Psalm

Let there be a quiet that falls like grace,
over all of us:
over our hands
which have slowly become guns,
our teeth, now daggers,
and over our hearts,
which explode with the suicide bombs.
Let us take ourselves back
to the first time we saw each other
on the Fertile Crescent,
where we drew water to drinkevery
from the same river,
or back to the first playground
where you asked, What’s your name?
and I responded, I am you.
Let us follow this unmentioned history
back in time so that we may see
that the suffering of one
is the suffering of all,
and furthermore,
the responsibility.
Let us gather up our missiles,
our shrapnel, our tanks,
our nuclear threats, and our hatred
and ask:
How could I have thought
to use these against you?
And let there be a quiet that falls over us like grace,
as we stand dumbed by the asking.
And then
let there be a Listening
for the deepest of answers.
– Silvio Machado

11-30-15 Weekly Quotes: Gratitude for All Things Large and Small

[Thanksgiving Day last week gave us an occasion in America to pause and recognize the many, many blessings we have to be grateful for: people we love and who love us, passions and projects that reward us richly with meaning and purpose, even gratitude for the bad things that could have happened and didn’t.

This week’s quote serve as a reminder that we can deepen our sense of blessing to the larger and wondrous mystery that anything exists or happens at all. To open to a sense of awe and wonder can expand our experience of gratitude out to the infinite; we remember that holidays are holy days, and that everything can give rise to amazement and gratitude, if we know how to perceive it.]

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
– William Butler Yeats

* * * * *

Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first time or last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.
– Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

* * * * *

One cannot but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
– Albert Einstein

* * * * *

Straight up from this road
Away from the fitted particles of frost
Coating the hull of each chick pea,
And the stiff archer bug making its way
In the morning dark, toe hair by toe hair,
Up the stem of the trillium,
Straight up through the sky above this road right now,
The galaxies of the Cygnus A cluster
Are colliding with each other in a massive swarm
Of interpenetrating and exploding catastrophes.
I try to remember that.
– Pattiann Rogers, Firekeeper

* * * * *

The secret of beginning a life of deep awareness and sensitivity lies in our willingness to pay attention. Our growth as conscious, awake human beings is marked not so much by grand gestures and visible renunciations as by extending loving attention to the minutest particulars of our lives. Every relationship, every thought, every gesture is blessed with meaning through the wholehearted attention we bring to it. In the complexities of our minds and lives we easily forget the power of attention, yet without attention we live only on the surface of existence. It is just simple attention that allows us truly to listen to the song of a bird, to see deeply the glory of an autumn leaf, to touch the heart of another and be touched. We need to be fully present in order to love a single thing wholeheartedly. We need to be fully awake in this moment if we are to receive and respond to the learning inherent in it.
– Christina Feldman and Jack Kornfield, Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart

* * * * *

Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like having a friend takes time.
– Georgia O’Keefe

* * * * *

If we study Japanese art, we see a man who is undoubtedly wise, philosophic and intelligent who spends his time doing what? He studies a single blade of grass.
– Vincent Van Gogh

* * * * *

To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
– William Blake

* * * * *

Open your eye that you may see
The beauty that around you lies,
The misty loveliness of the dawn,
The glowing colors of the skies;
The child’s bright eager eyes of blue
The gnarled and wrinkled face of age,
The bird with crimson on his wing
Whose spirit never knew a cage;
The roadsides blooming goldenrod
So brave through summer’s wind and heat,
The brook that rushes to the sea
With courage that naught may defeat.

Open your eyes that you may see
The wonder that around you lies;
It will enrich your every day
And make you glad and kind and wise.
– Emma Boge Whesanand, Open Your Eyes

* * * * *

God is the experience of looking at a tree and saying, “Ah!”
– Joseph Campbell

* * * * *

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire
With God: but only he who sees
Takes off his shoes.
– Elizabeth Barret Browning

* * * * *

Is ditchwater dull? Naturalists with microscopes have told me that it teems with quiet fun.
– G.K. Chesterton

* * * * *

It is only necessary to behold the least fact or phenomenon, however familiar, from a point a hair’s breadth aside from our habitual path or routine, to be overcome, enchanted by its beauty and significance. To perceive freshly, with fresh senses, is to be inspired.
– Henry David Thoreau, Walden

* * * * *

Where there is great love there are always miracles. Miracles rest not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming to us from far off, but on our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always.
– Willa Cather

* * * * *

We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.
– G.K. Chesterton

* * * * *

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle.
– Albert Einstein

* * * * *

The invariable mark of wisdom is to see the miraculous in the common.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

* * * * *

Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.
– Socrates

* * * * *

The finest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle.
– Albert Einstein

* * * * *

If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.
– Rachel Carson, The Sources of Our Wonder

* * * * *

The beauty of the trees,
the softness of the air,
the fragrance of the grass,
speaks to me.
The summit of the mountain,
the thunder of the sky,
speaks to me.
The faintness of the stars,
the trail of the sun,
the strength of fire,
and the life that never goes away,
they speak to me.
And my heart soars.
– Chief Dan George

11-23-15 Weekly Quotes: A Current Poem for Healing from Current Events

[The news of recent terrorist attacks in Paris, France sent shock waves around the world. This poem arrived in my inbox the next day. Currently in press to be published, Quiet Psalm is a timely and moving reminder of how we recover and heal. Prefaced by these words from Marianne Williamson: “In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it.”]

Quiet Psalm

Let there be a quiet that falls like grace,
over all of us:
over our hands
which have slowly become guns,
our teeth, now daggers,
and over our hearts,
which explode with the suicide bombs.
Let us take ourselves back
to the first time we saw each other
on the Fertile Crescent,
where we drew water to drinkevery
from the same river,
or back to the first playground
where you asked, What’s your name?
and I responded, I am you.
Let us follow this unmentioned history
back in time so that we may see
that the suffering of one
is the suffering of all,
and furthermore,
the responsibility.
Let us gather up our missiles,
our shrapnel, our tanks,
our nuclear threats, and our hatred
and ask:
How could I have thought
to use these against you?
And let there be a quiet that falls over us like grace,
as we stand dumbed by the asking.
And then
let there be a Listening

for the deepest of answers.
– Silvio Machado

11-9-15 Weekly Quotes: Generosity

[I have been blown away by the spontaneous generosity of so many kind folks in recent far-flung teaching adventures. Generosity is truly an integral part of the resilience of our common humanity. Honoring many, many people – friends, colleagues, students, strangers on the street – “You have been more than generous, and I am more than grateful.”]

In the act of giving lies the expression of my aliveness.
– Erich Fromm

* * * * *

Thousand of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.
– Buddha

* * * * *

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
– Winston Churchill

* * * * *

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.
– Nelson Henderson

* * * * *

Real generosity toward the future consists in giving all to what is present.
– Albert Camus

* * * * *

That’s what I consider true generosity: You give your all and yet you always feel as if it costs you nothing.
– Simone de Beauvoir

* * * * *

Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around encouraging young things to grow.
– Thornton Wilder

* * * * *

You cannot to a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

* * * * *

If you haven’t any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.
– Bob Hope

* * * * *

It is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving.
– Mother Teresa

* * * * *

Happiness is not made by what we own. It is what we share.
– Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

* * * * *

We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers.
– Seneca

* * * * *

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with catcher’s mitts on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.
– Maya Angelou

* * * * *

Generosity is the most natural outward expression of an inner attitude of compassion and loving-kindness.
– HH the Dalai Lama XIV

* * * * *

Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe me.”
Look what happens
With a love like that –
It lights the whole world.
– Hafiz

* * * * *

You give but little when you give of your possessions.
It is when you give of yourself that your truly give.

There are those who give little of the much which they have – and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome.

And there are those who have little and give it all. These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty.

And is there aught you would withhold?
All you have shall someday be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving
May be yours and not your inheritors’.

In truth it is life that gives unto life
While you, who deem yourself a giver,
Are but a witness.

You often say, “I would give, but only to the deserving.”
The trees in your orchard say not so, nor the flocks in your pasture.
They give that they may live, for to withhold is to perish.
Suerly he who is worthy to receive his days and his nights
Is worthy of all else from you.
And he who has deserved to drink from the ocean of life
deserves to fill his cup from your little stream.
– Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, excerpted on Giving

11-2-15 Weekly Quotes: Returning Home; Returning to One’s Self

Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it – memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.
~Tad Williams

* * * * *

Home is where the heart is, and my heart is wherever I am at the moment – Lilly Leung
I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.
~Maya Angelou

* * * * *

Wherever you go, there you are.
~Jon Kabat-Zinn

* * * * *

Home is not where you live but where they understand you.
~Christian Morgenstern

* * * * *

Home is a place not only of strong affections, but of entire unreserve; it is life’s undress rehearsal, its backroom, its dressing room.
~Harriet Beecher Stowe

* * * * *

Home is the one place in all this world where hearts are sure of each other. It is the place of confidence. It is the place where we tear off that mask of guarded and suspicious coldness which the world forces us to wear in self-defense, and where we pour out the unreserved communications of full and confiding hearts. It is the spot where expressions of tenderness gush out without any sensation of awkwardness and without any dread of ridicule.
~Frederick W. Robertson

* * * * *

Home ought to be our clearinghouse, the place from which we go forth lessoned and disciplined, and ready for life.
~Kathleen Norris

* * * * *

God is at home, it’s we who have gone out for a walk.
~Meister Eckhart

* * * * *

Home is where the heart can laugh without shyness. Home is where the heart’s tears can dry at their own pace.
~Vernon Baker

* * * * *

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
~Maya Angelou

* * * * *

You need a village, if only for the pleasure of leaving it. A village means that you are not alone, knowing that in the people, the trees, the earth, there is something that belongs to you, waiting for you when you are not there.
~Casare Paves

* * * * *

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.
~Nelson Mandela

* * * * *

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
~T.S. Eliot

10-19-15 Weekly Quotes: Play and Creativity as Resources for Recovering Resilience

[I’m still reverberating from all that I learned at the Changing Brains, Changing Lives Symposium in Aspen, CO last week, including the utter necessity of play, imagination, and creativity in helping young minds and brains develop to their fullest potential. I’ll do more research and write a Resources for Recovering Resilience post with exercises in play soon. In the meantime, enjoy the serious inspiration of these quotes about play and playfulness as resources for well-being.]

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

* * * * *

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
– Pablo Picasso

* * * * *

The man who does not play has lost forever the child who lived in him.
– Pablo Neruda

* * * * *

[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 am often accused of being childish. I prefer to interpret that as child-like. I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things. I tend to exaggerate and fantasize and embellish. I still listen to instinctual urges. I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind. I never water my garden without soaking myself. It has been after such times of joy that I have achieved my greatest creativity and produced my best work.
– Leo Buscaglia

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

There are children playing in the streets who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.
– Robert Oppenheimer

* * * * *

Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.
– Heraclitus

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

The opposite of play is not work. It’s depression.
– Brian Sutton-Smith

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

Those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humor.
– Stuart Brown

* * * * *

It is a happy talent to know how to play.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

* * * * *

My childhood may be over, but that doesn’t mean playtime is.
– Ron Olson

* * * * *

Whoever wants to understand much must play much.
– Gottfried Benn

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explore high in the air – explode softly – and send thousands, millions of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth – boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either – not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.
– Robert Fulghum

* * * * *

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

10-12-15 Weekly Quotes: Kindness – the Single Most Effective Tool to Increase Well-Being

[I came upon this research finding of Dr. Martin Seligman, founder of the positive psychology movement, in Michaela Haas’s new book Bouncing Forward: Transforming Bad Breaks into Breakthroughs:

We scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.

We may already know that; we may already practice kindness as part of our daily well-being. May the wisdom of these quotes help us sustain and expand the practice. For how to, see]

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau

* * * * *

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
– Leo Buscaglia

* * * * *

Guard well within yourself that treasure, kindness. Know how to give without hesitation, how to lose without regret, how to acquire without meanness.
– George Sand

* * * * *

Write injuries in sand; kindnesses in marble.
– French proverb

* * * * *

In about the same degree as you are helpful, you will be happy.
– Karl Reiland

* * * * *

Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.
– Samuel Johnson

* * * * *

Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.
– Robert Brault

* * * * *

As the bus slowed down at the crowded bus stop, the Pakistani bus conductor leaned from the platform and called out, “Six only!” The bus stopped. He counted on six passengers, rang the bell, and then, as the bus moved off, called to those left behind: “So sorry, plenty of room in my heart – but the bus is full.” He left behind a row of smiling faces. It’s not what you do; it’s the way that you do it.
– Francis Gay

* * * * *

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
– Mark Twain

* * * * *

The kindest word in all the world is the unkind word, unsaid.
– Author Unknown

* * * * *

If you haven’t any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.
– Bob Hope

* * * * *

To err on the side of kindness is seldom an error.
– Liz Armbruster

* * * * *

Treat everyone with politeness, even those you are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are.
– Author Unknown

* * * * *

During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through the questions until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. “Absolutely,” the professor said. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.” I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.
– Joann C. Jones

* * * * *

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
– Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

* * * * *

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.
– Og Mandino

* * * * *

Treat everyone you meet as though they were God in drag.
– Ram Dass

* * * * *

Love thy neighbor, and if it requires that you bend your understanding of the truth, the Truth will understand.
– Robert Brault

* * * * *

When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people
– Abraham Joshua Heschel

* * * * *

Being considerate of others will take your children further in life than any college degree.
– Marian Wright Edelman

* * * * *

How far you go if life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life, you will have been all of these.
– George Washington Carver

* * * * *

You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.
– John Wooden

* * * * *

Nothing in life means anything unless someone cares, and the whole trick is to keep being that someone.
– Robert Brault

* * * * *

Civilization is just a slow process of learning to be kind.
– Author unknown

* * * * *

The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.
– Charles Kuralt

* * * * *

Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.
– Franklin D. Roosevelt

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

Kind hearts are the gardens,
Kind thoughts are the roots,
Kind words are the blossoms,
Kind deeds are the fruits.
– 19th century rhyme used in primary schools

* * * * *

Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own.
– Adam Lindsay Gordon

10-5-15 Weekly Quotes: The Wonder of the Lunar Eclipse, the Wonder of It All

[Standing quietly on a hill for 90 minutes, watching the full lunar eclipse of September 27, the rare in-its-closest-to-the-earth-orbit, harvest moon, dark red total eclipse and then the astonishing brightness of the full moon emerging from the earth’s shadow – yes, many moments of deep awe and wonder.

Here’s the photo my friend Lynn Robinson took in one of those magic moments:

lunar-eclipse

Here’s the link to 46 photos from around the world:

and live coverage from the UK:

May this stunning beauty, and the wisdom below of folks who have been in awe of wonder around the world and throughout the ages, quicken your own awe and wonder at the wonder of it all.]

*****
I have long thought that anyone who does not regularly – or ever – gaze up and see the wonder and glory of a dark night sky filled with countless stars loses a sense of their fundamental connectedness to the universe.
– Brian Greene

* * * * *

The moment one gives a close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world unto itself.
– Henry Miller

* * * * *

One summer night, out on a flat headland, all but surrounded by the waters of the bay, the horizons were remote and distant rims on the edge of space. Millions of stars blazed in darkness, and on the far shore a few lights burned in cottages. Otherwise there was no reminder of human life. My companion and I were alone with the stars: the misty river of the Milky Way flowing across the sky, the patterns of the constellations standing out bright and clear, a blazing planet low on the horizon. It occurred to me that if this were a sight that could be seen only once in a century, this little headland would be thronged with spectators. But it can be seen many scores of night in any year, and so the lights burned in the cottages and the inhabitants probably gave not a thought to the beauty overhead; and because they could see it almost any night, perhaps they never will.
– Rachel Carson

* * * * *

Whether one sees the world as God’s creation or as a secular mystery that science is on the way to figuring out, there is no denying the beauty and majesty of everything from mountain ranges, deserts, and rain forests to the exquisite details in the design of an ordinary mosquito.
– Robert C. Solomon

* * * * *

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.
– Buddha

* * * * *

We must learn to acknowledge that the creation is full of mystery; we will never entirely understand it. We must abandon arrogance and stand in awe. We must recover the sense of the majesty of creation, and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For I do not doubt that it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it.
– Wendell Berry

* * * * *

The greatest wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

* * * * *

The human venture depends absolutely on this quality of awe and reverence and joy in the Earth and all that lives and grows upon the Earth. As soon as we isolate ourselves from these currents of life, and from the profound mood that these engender within us, then our basic life satisfactions are diminished. None of our machine-made products, none of our computer-based achievements, can evoke that total commitment to life.
– Thomas Berry

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

From wonder into wonder, existence opens. When men lack a sense of awe, there will be disaster.
– Lao Tzu

* * * * *

The problem with our time, perhaps, is that we have been seduced by facts and data, at the same time, become bereft of wonder. We want to know it all rather than to understand the meaning of it all for the good life here and now. The universe, however technological it may now be, is still the ultimate mystery, the essential human question, the greatest spiritual revelation. Everything else is distraction. To know all the elements, all the chemistry of life, is one thing: to know what it means to live a good life in the midst of the knowledge of what human can do with them to destroy it is entirely another.
– Joan Chittister

* * * * *

True and lasting wonder needs to be renewed regularly, even daily. Otherwise, life’s inevitable formula will be: Wonderful is followed by wonder-half-full, which is followed by wonder-quarter-full which quickly becomes wonder-less. If you want to make your capacity for awe as wide as the sky you must take preventative action. Otherwise, you’ll end up as a wonderless wanderer and life will cease to be a joyful adventure.
– Edward Hays

* * * * *

Magic is a sudden opening of the mind to the wonder of existence. It is a sense that there is much more to life than we usually recognize; that we do not have to be confined by the limited views that our family, our society, or our own habituall thoughts impost on us; that life contains many dimension, depths, textures, and meanings extending far beyond our familiar beliefs and concepts.
– John Welwood

* * * * *

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
– Albert Einstein

* * * * *

If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life as the unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength. And if that child is to keep alive an inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.
– Rachel Carson

* * * * *

The job of a teacher is to excite in the young a boundless sense of curiosity about life, so that the growing child shall come to apprehend it with an excitement tempered by awe and wonder.
– John Garrett

* * * * *

There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million.
– Walt Streightiff

* * * * *

Childhood is the world of miracle and wonder, as if creation rose, bathed in the light, out of the darkness, utterly new and fresh and astonishing. The end of childhood is when things cease to astonish us.
– Eugene Ionesco

* * * * *

It’s been said that to wonder is to begin to understand. Wonder most definitely creates possibilities! Where’s your sense of wonder? Have you gotten so bogged down in the minute-to-minute “stuff” that life has become dull? Bring forth your curious, creative, sense of wonder and dust if off — lighten up and wonder about everything! We are all amazing and awesome beings and our world is extraordinary even when days may be dark. A sense of wonder reminds us of just how vast the unknown is and how much we have to learn each day.
– Beth Burns

* * * * *

The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.
– Anais Nin

* * * * *

Those who dwell, as scientists or laymen, among the beauties and mysteries of the earth, are never alone or weary of life.
– Rachel Carson

* * * * *

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. The longer I live the more my mind dwells upon the beauty and wonder of the world. I hardly know which feeling leads, wonderment or admiration.
– John Burroughs

* * * * *

Every time I jog through the world, I am awed by what I find. On a winter morning, when it seems to cold and slipper for safe jogging or bicycling, I can still go out and experience the glory of sunlight turning icy branches into strings of sparkling diamonds.
– Bernie Siegel

* * * * *

I would sooner live in a cottage and wonder at everything than live in a castle and wonder at nothing.
– Joan Winmill Brown

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

We carry within us the wonders we seek without us.
– Thomas Browne

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.
– Rachel Carson

* * * * *

Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
– John Milton

* * * * *

The meaning I picked, the one that changed my life: overcome fear, behold wonder.
– Richard Bach

9-21-15 Weekly Quotes: Wisdom from the Talmud

[A steady moral compass can be found in every wisdom tradition. In this season of reflection for many, from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur, here are quotes from the Talmud to illuminate and guide wise and resilient living.]

A quotation at the right moment is like bread to the famished.

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

Who is a wise man? He who learns of all men.

Examine the contents, not the bottle.

A dream which is not interpreted is like a letter which is not read.

When you teach your son, you teach your son’s son.

There are stars whose light only reaches the earth long after they have fallen apart. There are people whose remembrance gives light in this world, long after they have passed away. This light shines in our darkest nights on the road we must follow.

Loving kindness is greater than laws; and the charities of life are more than all ceremonies.

He that gives should never remember; he that receives should never forget.

Who is rich? He that rejoices in his portion.

A person will be called to account on Judgment Day for every permissible thing he might have enjoyed but did not.

Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers, “Grow, grow.”

Do not decide that someone is good until you see how he or she acts at home.

A person who seeks help for a friend, while needy himself, will be answered first.

Be eager to fulfill the smallest duty and flee from transgression, for one duty includes another and one transgression induces another transgression.

The end result of wisdom is good deeds.

Man has three friends on who company he relies. First, wealth – which goes with him only while good fortune lasts. Second, his relatives – they go only as far as the grave and leave him there. The third friend, his good deeds, go with him beyond the grave.

Who can protest and does not, is an accomplice in the act.

Whoever destroys a single life is as guilty as though he had destroyed the entire world; and whoever rescues a single life earns as much merit as though he had rescued the entire world.

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.

9-14-15 Weekly Quotes: Learning Never Ends

[I’ve been teaching a lot this year; always in awe at the openness and eagerness participants bring to workshops and seminars. I’ve been recommending many other fine teachers as well, who present the tools for deepening into a good life in ways that ring true and are accessible. This week’s quotes are a tribute to the passion for learning that is lifelong, and life giving. May they inspire you to continue your own seeking.]

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

* * * * *

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.
– John Dewey

* * * * *

Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another.
– G. K. Chesterton

* * * * *

The simplest schoolboy is now familiar with truths for which Archimedes would have given his life.
– Ernest Renan

* * * * *

Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.
– Malcolm Forbes

* * * * *

If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around.
– Jim Rohn

* * * * *

It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our own time – for we are bound by that – but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time.
– T.S. Eliot

* * * * *

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.
– Robert Frost

* * * * *

Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.
– Albert Einstein

* * * * *

Why should society feel responsible only for the education of children, and not for the education of all adults of every age?
– Erich Fromm

* * * * *

You don’t need fancy highbrow traditions or money to really learn. You just need people with the desire to better themselves.
– Adam Cooper and Boll Collage

* * * * *

An educational system isn’t worth a great deal if it teaches young people how to make a living but doesn’t teach them how to make a life.
– Author Unknown

* * * * *

Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire.
– William Butler Yeats

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

The great aim of education is not knowledge but action.
– Herbert Spencer

* * * * *

If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.
– Derek Bok

* * * * *

It’ll be a great day when education gets all the money it wants and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy bombers.
– author unknown

9-7-15 Weekly Quotes: Meaningful and Purposeful Work

[for Labor Day]

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

* * * * *

Never work just for money or for power. They won’t save your soul or help you sleep at night.
– Marian Wright Edelman

* * * * *

Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. And it will leave you unfulfilled.
– Barack Obama

* * * * *

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
– Winston Churchill

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose.
– Leonardo da Vinci

* * * * *

The purpose of a life is a life of purpose.
– Robert Byrne

* * * * *

Those who have failed to work toward the truth have missed the purpose of living.
– Buddha

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.
– David Viscott

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.
– Leo Rosten

* * * * *

This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.
– George Bernard Shaw

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

That is happiness; to be dissolved into something completely great.
– Willa Cather

* * * * *

Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s needs.
– Frederick Buechner

* * * * *

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.
– Nelson Henderson

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences, that we often cannot foresee.
– Marian Wright Edelman

* * * * *

In a world where there is so much to be done, I feel strongly impressed that there must be something for me to do.
– Dorothea Dix

* * * * *

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
– Edward Everett Hale

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

Every noble work is at first impossible.
– Thomas Carlyle

* * * * *

Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose-not the one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.
– Anne Sullivan

* * * * *

It is more important to know where you are going than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement.
– Mabel Newcomber

* * * * *

Stop allowing your day-to-day life to be clouded by busy nothingness.
– Steve Maraboli

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.
– Peter Drucker

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

Live your beliefs, and you can turn the world around.
– Henry David Thoreau

* * * * *

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

8-24-15 Weekly Quotes: A Moment without Thought

[I’ve always found a vastness and spaciousness hiking in the mountains [see August 17, 2015 Weekly Quotes] and recently discovered the delights of a similar vastness and spaciousness that calls to my heart and soul by walking along a beautiful seashore. [see August 10, 2015 Weekly Quotes] This week’s offering is a poem that ushers me into the same vastness and spaciousness, simply by becoming present to the essential being-ness, always present in our lives, when we stop to notice. Enjoy.]

A Moment Without Thought
By Steve Taylor

A moment without thought
And the background noise ceases
And I can suddenly hear
The silence between sounds
The silence beneath sound
From which all sounds emerge
Like waves from the sea.

A moment without thought
And the fog disperses
And the world is filled
With translucent light
New dimensions of detail
And sharpness and colour and depth.

A moment without thought
And these suburban streets
Are a pristine new world
Like a garden glistening with dew
The morning after creation
As if a husk of familiarity
Has cracked and fallen away
Leaving naked primal isness.

A moment without thought
And I’m no longer standing separate
No longer an island but part of the sea
No longer a static centre
But part of the flowing stream.

A moment without thought
And the train has stopped between stations
And there was never any motion, never any track
A moment like a wormhole
Infinitely expanding
Like stepping through a narrow gate
To find an endless open plain
The panorama of the present.

And this new world of no-thought
Is neither alien nor unfamiliar
But a place where benevolence blows through the air
And soft shimmering energy fills every space
And the sunlight is the translucent white light of spirit
The deepest, closest, warmest place
The ground where I am rooted.

8-17-15 Weekly Quotes: Mountains Are the Cathedrals Where I Practice My Religion

[I recently experienced the power of walking along a beautiful seashore to calm the mind and nourish the soul. [See August 10, 2015 Weekly Quotes] As you read this week’s quotes, I will have the privilege of hiking in some beautiful and rugged mountains; these quotes pay homage to the power of the mountains to also invigorate, restore and renew.]

Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
– John Muir

* * * * * *

My father considered a walk among the mountains as the equivalent of churchgoing.
– Aldous Huxley

* * * * * *

Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambitions to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.
– Anatoli Bourkreev

* * * * * *

No matter how sophisticated you may be, a large granite mountain cannot be denied – it speaks in silence to the very core of your being.
– Ansel Adams

* * * * * *

Great things are done when men and mountains meet;
This is not done by jostling in the street.
– William Blake

* * * * * *

When the wind calls, you know, that somewhere in the mountains, it has found the answers that you were looking for. The pull of the horizon overcomes the inertia of reason…and you just have to go.
– Vikram Oberoi

* * * * * *

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity.
– John Muir

* * * * * *

I’m a person of the mountains and open paddocks and the big empty sky, that’s me, and I knew if I spent too long away from all that I’d die; I don’t’ know what of, I just knew I’d die.
– John Marsden

* * * * * *

This mountain, the arched back of the earth risen before us, it made me feel humble, like a beggar, just lucky to be here at all, even briefly.
– Bridget Asher

* * * * * *

These mountains, which have seen untold sunrises, long to thunder praise but stand reverent, silent, so that man’s weak praise should be given God’s attention.
– Donald Miller

* * * * * *

Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.
– Greg Child

* * * * * *

Nobody climbs mountains for scientific reasons. Science is used to raise money for the expeditions, but you really climb for the hell of it.
– Sir Edmund Hillary

* * * * * *

It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.
– Sir Edmund Hillary

* * * * * *

Mountains have a way of dealing with overconfidence.
– Nemann Buhl

* * * * * *

Chasing angels or fleeing demons, go to the mountains.
– Jeffrey Rasley

* * * * * *

By bringing myself over the edge and back, I discovered a passion to live my days fully, a conviction that will sustain me like sweet water on the periodically barren plain of our short lives.
– Jonathan Waterman

* * * * * *

He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary.
– Friedrich Nietszche

* * * * * *

Each fresh peak ascended teaches something.
– Sir Martin Convay

* * * * * *

I like geography best, he said, because your mountains and rivers know the secret. Pay no attention to boundaries.
– Brian Andreas

* * * * * *

You never climb the same mountain twice, not even in memory. Memory rebuilds the mountain, changes the weather, retells the jokes, remakes all the moves.
– Lito Tejada-Flores

* * * * * *

If you are faced with a mountain, you have several options. You can climb it and cross to the other side. You can go around it. You can dig under it. You can fly over it. You can blow it up. You can ignore it and pretend it’s not there. You can turn around and go back the way you came. Or you can stay on the mountain and make it your home.
– Vera Nazarian

* * * * * *

Marry a mountain girl, and you marry the whole mountain.
– Irish Proverb

8-10-15 Weekly Quotes: Walking the Seashore

[I taught a week-long Bouncing Back workshop at the Cape Cod Institute two weeks ago – 50 dedicated clinicians, broad-ranging discussions, enthusiastic engagement in experiential exercises that science indicates are effective in rewiring the brain, and thus our behaviors, to be more resilient. And the wisely intelligent format of classes Monday-Friday, 9am-12:15pm, the afternoon free to walk the beautiful beaches of the Cape Cod National Seashore, a time to savor and absorb and integrate the learning of the day. My rhythm came to be walking the beach at 6am, from Nauset Light Beach to Coast Guard Beach and back, about 4 miles round trip, maybe three other people on the beach besides me, a dozen gray seals keeping us company just 30 feet offshore.

I grew up in the Midwest, no oceans. I live now in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Pacific Ocean rough and wild, the coast sloping steeply 2,000 feet above sea level, 2,000 feet below. I had simply never experienced the gentle lapping of waves on long sandy beaches at sunrise and sunset. I got to witness how every wave, every part of a wave, every ripple on the sand, was so fluid, so impermanent. Experiencing a deepening serenity before teaching, again later in the day afterwards.

I haven’t yet read Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Healthier, Happier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do but these quotes pay homage to the power of walking the seashore to calm the mind and nourish the soul.]

When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.
– Rainer Maria Rilke

* * * * * *

I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.
– Helen Keller

* * * * * *

Every time I stand before a beautiful beach, its waves seem to whisper to me: If you choose the simply things and find joy in nature’s simple treasures, like and living need not be so hard.
– Psyche Roxas-Mendoza

* * * * * *

The waves of the sea help me get back to me.
– Jill Davis

* * * * * *

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), it’s always our self we find in the sea.
– e.e. cummings

* * * * * *

The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.
– Kate Chopin

* * * * * *

….there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.
– Sarah Kay

* * * * * *

After a visit to the beach, it’s hard to believe that we live in a material world.
– Pam Shaw

* * * * * *

The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.
– Jacques Cousteau

8-3-15 Weekly Quotes: Hieroglyphic Stairway

[I taught two workshops at the Institute of Noetic Sciences conference in Chicago last weekend. Amidst all of the visionary offerings about “The Science of Being; The Spirit of Community,” Drew Dellinger shared his powerful poem “Hieroglyphic Stairway” about waking up the consciousness we need to save the planet and all life/knowledge/wisdom on it. Resilience for the entire planet. Powerful, disturbing, transforming. Here’s the link to Drew sharing the first part of the poem on YouTube, “what did you do once you knew” and the full text below. A different sort of weekly quote, relevant to moving resilience beyond the personal self.]

Hieroglyphic Stairway – Drew Dellinger

It’s 3:23 in the morning, and I’m awake
because my great, great, grandchildren won’t -let -me -sleep.
My great, great, grandchildren ask me in dreams
what did you do, while the planet was plundered?
what did you do, when the earth was unravelling?
surely you did something when the seasons started failing
as the mammals, reptiles, and birds were all dying?
did you fill the streets with protest when democracy was stolen?
what did you do
once
you
knew

I’m riding home on the coma train
I’m riding home on the coma train
I’ve got the voice of the Milky Way in my dreams, I have
teams of scientists feeding me data daily and
pleading I immediately turn it into poetry

I want justice consciousness reached
by peoples in range of secret frequencies contained in my speech

I am the desirous earth equidistant to the underworld
and the flesh of the stars.

I am everything already lost
the moment the universe turns transparent and all the light
shoots through the cosmos.

I use words to instigate silence

* * * * * *

I am a hieroglyphic stairway in a buried Mayan city
suddenly exposed by a hurricane
a satellite circling earth finding
dinosaur bones in the Gobi desert.
I am telescopes that see back in time
I am the precession of the equinoxes
the magnetism of the spiralling sea
I’m riding home on the coma train
with the voice of the milky way in my dreams.
I am myths where violets blossom from blood like dying and rising gods.
I’m the boundary of time, soul encountering soul, and tongues of fire

It’s 3.23 in the morning, and I’m awake,
because my great, great, grandchildren won’t let me sleep.
My great, great, grandchildren ask me – in – dreams,
what did you do, when the earth was unravelling?

I want justice consciousness reached
by peoples in range of secret frequencies contained in my speech.

And here’s a link to Drew’s mind-opening views on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as an ecological thinker with some ahead-of-this-time views about the inter-connectedness of all of life, all of reality.

7-20-15 Weekly Quotes: Adventure Begets Resilience

[Yes, I’ve been teaching/traveling a bit more than usual this summer. Every experience teaches me – coping with the new, the unknown, the unfamiliar, near or far, deepens resilience. Whether your adventures and learning this summer be large or small (understanding and honoring that the brain learns best “little and often”) may you live them with open mind and resilient heart.]

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.
– Andre Gide

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

Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.
– Seneca

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.
– St. Augustine

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

One’s destination is never place, but a new way of seeing things.
– Henry Miller

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.
– Jawaharial Nehru

Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.
– Alan Keightley

We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.
– anonymous

When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life with rush in.
– D.H.Lawrence

Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.
– Anatole France

Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending toward the eternal or what we imagine of it.
– Cesare Pavese

Travel beings power and love back into your life.
– Rumi

It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves.
– Andre Gide

I soon realized that no journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.
– Lillian Smith

Through travel I first became aware of the outside world; it was through travel that I found my own introspective way into becoming a part of it.
– Eudora Welty

Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.
-Miriam Beard

A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
– Lao Tzu

Not all those who wander are lost.
– J.R.R. Tolkien

Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.
– Gustave Flaubert

All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.
– Martin Buber

We will not cease from our exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.
– T.S. Eliot

Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all on one’s lifetime.
– Mark Twain

He who does not travel does not know the value of men.
– Moorish proverb

People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
– Mark Twain

Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.
– Maya Angelou

Nobody can discover the world for somebody else. Only when we discover it for ourselves does it become common ground and a common bond and we cease to be alone.
– Wendell Berry

The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.
– Shirley MacLaine

A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.
– Tim Cahill

People travel to faraway places to watch in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.
– Dagobert. D. Runes

A man practices the art of adventure when he breaks the chain of routine and renews his life thought reading new books, traveling to new places, making new friends, taking up new hobbies and adopting new viewpoints.
– Wildred Peterson

Travel is not really about leaving our homes, but leaving our habits.
– Pico Iyer

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

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste it, to experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

To exist is to change; to change is to mature; to mature is to go on creating one’s self endlessly.
– Henri Bergson

Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.
– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Adventure is worthwhile in itself.
– Amelia Earhart

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

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run that outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.
– Helen Keller

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
– Neale Donald Walsch

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body; but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, “Wow! What a ride!”
– Hunter S. Thompson

The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.
– G.K. Chesterton

There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.
– Robert Louis Stevenson

When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.
– Clifton Fadiman

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

Travel does what good novelists also do to the life of everyday, placing it like a picture in a frame or a gem in its setting, so that the intrinsic qualities are made more clear. Travel does this with the very stuff that everyday life is made of, giving to it the sharp contour and meaning of art.
– Freya Stark

Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.
– Pat Conroy

Here’s to freedom, cheers to art. Here’s to having an excellent adventure and may the stopping never start.
– Jason Mraz

Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.
– Benjamin Disraeli

Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.
– Ibn Battuta

No, no! The adventures first, explanations take such a dreadful time.
– Lewis Carroll

Definition of ‘adventure’: extreme circumstance recalled in tranquility.
– Jules the Kiwi

Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.
– Mark Jenkins

7-13-15 Weekly Quotes: The Buddhist and the Neuroscientist – Compassion and the Brain

[My friend Kathryn Collier sent me the link to a wonderful article in The Atlantic, July 4, 2015, on “The Buddhist and the Neuroscientist: What Compassion Does to the Brain” about the Dalai Lama’s sincere, even intense, interest in what modern neuroscience has to say about the brains of people who “spend years cultivating qualities of the mind which promote a positive outlook.”

I missed the occasion of the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday last Monday, July 6, until a friend reminded me. May the article above and the quotes of the Dalai Lama below inspire you to cultivate those qualities of mind which promote a positive outlook, indeed, true well-being.]

If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.

One problem with our current society is that we have an attitude towards education as if it is there to simply make you more clever, make you more ingenious….Even though our society does not emphasize this, the most important use of knowledge and education is to help us understand the importance of engaging in more wholesome actions and bringing about discipline within our minds. The proper utilization of our intelligence and knowledge is to effect changes from within to develop a good heart.

An open heart is an open mind.

I feel that the essence of spiritual practice is your attitude toward others. When you have a pure, sincere motivation, then you have right attitude toward others based on kindness, compassion, love and respect. Practice brings the clear realization of the oneness of all human beings and the importance of others benefiting by your actions.

Whether you believe in god or not does not matter so much. Whether you believe in Buddha or not does not matter so much. As a Buddhist, whether you believe in reincarnation or not does not matter so much. You must lead a good life. And a good life does not mean just good food, good clothes, good shelter. These are not sufficient. A good motivation is what is needed: compassion, without dogmatism, without complicated philosophy, just understanding that others are human brothers and sisters and respecting their rights and human dignity.

We must recognize that the suffering of one person or one nation is the suffering of humanity. That the happiness of one person or nation is the happiness of humanity.

Whether one is rich or poor, educated or illiterate, religious or nonbelieving, man or woman, black, white or brown, we are all the same. Physically, emotionally, and mentally, we are all equal. We all share basic needs for food, shelter, safety, and love. We all aspire to happiness and we all shun suffering. Each of us has hopes, worries, fears, and dreams. Each of us wants the best for our family and loved ones. We all experience pain when we suffer loss and joy when we achieve what we seek. On this fundamental level, religion, ethnicity, culture and language make no difference.

Because we all share an identical need for love, it is possible to feel that anybody we meet, in whatever circumstances, is a brother or sister.

The topic of compassion is not at all religious business; it is human business. It is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.

This is one of my fundamental beliefs: that a good heart, a warm heart, a compassionate heart, is still teachable.

When I meet people in different parts of the world, I am always reminded that we are all basically alike: we are all human beings. Maybe we have different clothes, our skin is of a different colour, or we speak different languages. That is on the surface. But basically we are the same human beings. That is what binds us to each other. That is what makes it possible for us to understand each other and to develop friendship and closeness.

We discover that all human beings are just like us, so we are able to relate to them more easily. That generates a spirit of friendship in which there is less need to hide what we fell or what we are doing.

If there is love, there is hope that one may have real families, real brotherhood, real equanimity, real peace. If the love within your mind is lost and you see other beings as enemies, then no matter how much knowledge or education or material comfort you have, only suffering and confusion will ensue.

We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.

My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.

Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.

Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back and reasons to stay.

If I am only happy for myself, many fewer chances for happiness. If I am happy when good things happen to other people, billions more changes to be happy!

Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense of universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life.

Human happiness and human satisfaction must ultimately come from within oneself. It is wrong to expect some final satisfaction to come from money or from a computer.

I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction. Yet true happiness comes from a sense of inner peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion, and elimination of ignorance, selfishness, and greed.

Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace. Conquer oneself is a greater victory than to conquer thousands in a battle.

We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.

The true hero is one who conquers his own anger and hatred. Anger is the ultimate destroyer of your own peace of mind.

Although you may not always be able to avoid difficult situations, you can modify the extent to which you can suffer by how to choose to respond to the situation.

It is very rare or almost impossible that an event can be negative from all points of view.

There is a saying in Tibetan, “Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.” No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.

If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.

Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.

Blessing must arise from within your own mind. It is not something that comes from outside. When the positive qualities of your mind increase and the negativities decrease, that is what blessing means. The Tibetan word for blessing…means transforming into magnificent potential. Therefore, blessing refers to the development of virtuous qualities you did not previously have and the improvement of those good qualities you have already developed. It also means decreasing the defilements of the mind that obstruct the generation of wholesome qualities. So actual blessing is received when the mind’s virtuous attributes gain strength and its defective characteristics weaken or deteriorate.

7-6-15 Weekly Quotes: Freedom and Equality

[We’ve just celebrated Independence Day in the United States – with all of its hopes for freedom from oppression and equality of opportunity; we’ve just seen the extension of the promise of freedom and equality to those who wish to marry and share their lives with someone of the same sex. May the quotes below speak to your own longings for freedom and equality, however that may be important for you.]

Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.
– Rosa Luxemburg

It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our Constitution to everyone in America.
– Molly Ivins

Freedom is not worth having it 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

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

Freedom is the will to be responsible to ourselves.
– Friedrich Nietzsche

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

Freedom is not merely the opportunity to do as one pleases; neither is it merely the opportunity to choose between set alternatives. Freedom is, first of all, the chance to formulate the available choices, the chance to argue over them – and then, the opportunity to choose.
– C. Wright Mills

Freedom means choosing your burden.
– Hephzibah Menuhin

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

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.
– Abraham Lincoln

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

If we do not believe in freedom of speech for those we despise, we do not believe in it at all.
– Noam Chomsky

For every man who lives without freedom, the rest of us must face the guilt.
– Lillian Hellman

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

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
– Viktor Frankl

[based on a 200-year old German folk song:]

Die Gedanken Sind Frei, my thoughts freely flower,
Die Gedanken Sind Frei, my thoughts give me power
No scholar can map them
No hunter can trap them
No man can deny, Die Gedanken Sind Frei

I think as I please, and this gives me pleasure;
My conscience decrees this right I must treasure
My thoughts will not cater
To duke or dictator
No man can deny, Die Gedanken Sind Frei

And should tyrants take me and throw me in prison
My thoughts will burst free like blossoms in season
Foundations will crumble and structures will tumble
And free men will cry, Die Gedanken Sind Frei
– Pete Seeger

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, beloved poet of India
Nobel Laureate, 1913

6-29-15 Weekly Quotes: Savoring Summer Solstice

[We passed the summer solstice, marking the longest day of the year, last week. May you enjoy and savor many moments of summer, even in the midst of very busy lives.]

Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
– Henry James

Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions with one’s clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all’s right with the world.
– Ada Louise Huxtable

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time.
– John Lubbock

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability
– Sam Keen

No price is set on the lavish summer;
June may be had by the poorest comer
– James Russell Lowell

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.
– James Dent

Heat, ma’am! it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.
– Sydney Smith

I walk without flinching through the burning cathedral of the summer. My bank of wild grass is majestic and full of music. It is a fire that solitude presses against my lips.
-Violette Leduc

In summer, the song sings itself.
– Williams Carlos Williams

[and because I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and it is so woefully true….]

The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.
– Mark Twain

6-22-15 Weekly Quotes: Fathering

Jack Kornfield tells the story of when he had a chance to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, but he had already committed to attending his daughter’s high school play. He missed the Dalai Lama; he went to the play; he deepened his fathering because of the deep love of his daughter.

Enjoy these quotes of wise views about 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

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 les.
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

6-8-15 Weekly Quotes: The Loving Companionship of a Pet

[Last week’s Resources for Recovering Resilience post was about the science that is beginning to explain the deep attachment bonding that between humans and pets, especially our dogs. While a cat-owner myself, I’m a dog lover, too. This week’s quotes honor the bond that brings joy to our hearts and peace to our souls.]

The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company; pets we allow into our solitude.
– Robert Brault

Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.
– George Eliot

Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.
– Anatole France

An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.
– Martin Buber

Lots of people talk to animals…Not very many listen, though….That’s the problem.
– Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

They never talk about themselves but listen to you while you talk about yourself and keep up an appearance of being interested in the conversation.
– Jerome K. Jerome

One reason a dog can be such a comfort when you’re feeling blue is that he doesn’t try to find out why.
– Author Unknown

I talk to him when I’m lonesome like, and I’m sure he understands. When he looks at me so attentively, and gently licks my hands; then he rubs his nose on my tailored clothes, but I never say naught thereat. For the good Lord knows I can buy more clothes, but never a friend like that.
– W. Dayton Wedgefarth

The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail instead of his tongue.
– Author Unknown

A man may smile and bid you hail
Yet wish you to the devil;
But when a good dog wags his tail,
You know he’s on the level.
– Author Unknown

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
– Roger Caras

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.
– Ben Williams

Be it human or animal, touch is a life-giving thing. Has anyone ever had a stroke or a heart attack while cozied up with a pet? I doubt it.
– Robert Brault

The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too.
– Samuel Butler, Note books, 1912

Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills.
– Voltaire, letter to Count Schomberg, August 31, 1769

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.
– Milan Kundera

6-1-15 Weekly Quotes: Leadership

[Apropos of preparing to present next week at the Authentic Leadership in Action conference on Resilient Leadership in Tacoma, WA, I found these quotes inspiring enough to pass them along. Enjoy.]

Leadership is action, not position.
– Donald H. McGannon

A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.
– Author Unknown

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.
– Albert Schweitzer

Remember the difference between a boss and a leader: A boss says, “Go!” and a leader says. “Let’s go!”
– E.M. Kelly

Nothing so conclusively proves a man’s ability to lead others as what he does from day to day to lead himself.
– Thomas J. Watson

The good leader takes care of those in their charge. A bad leader takes charge of those in their care.
– Simon Sinek

You do not lead by hitting people over the head. That’s assault, not leadership.
– Dwight D. Eisenhower

Management is the art of making problems so interesting that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.
– Paul Hawken

Leadership: the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.
– Dwight D. Eisenhower

I suppose that leadership at one time meant muscle; but today it means getting along with people.
– Indira Gandhi

The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.
– Theodore Roosevelt

A good leader is a person who takes a little more than his share of the blame and a little less than his share of the credit.
– John C. Maxwell

Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them.
– Robert Jarvik

The leadership instinct you are born with is the backbone. You develop the funny bone and the wishbone that go with it.
– Elaine Agather

Leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders.
– Tom Peters

5-18-15 Weekly Quotes: The Power of Forgiveness

[See also the May 14, 2015 Resources for Recovering Resilience posts: Why Forgiving Yourself Is the Best Thing You Can Do – For Yourself and Forgiveness: The Ultimate Repair]

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 forgive 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

5-11-15 Weekly Quotes: Mothering

[Mother’s Day was yesterday; the tribute is lifelong.]

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

5-4-15 Weekly Quotes: Gardening as Refuge and Renewal

[When I arrived to visit my brother Barry and sister-in-law Mary in Michigan last weekend, the temperature was 29 degrees and the daffodils were bent over with frost. But the daffodils revived and our spirits rose as the temperature rose to a balmy 59 degrees, so we made our traditional excursion to the local nursery and planted geraniums and coleus that afternoon. Even though we had some serious health, financial, and family issues to talk through, we found a mutual rejoicing in gardening as refuge…and renewal. In these times…in all times.]

When the world wearies and society fails to satisfy, there is always the garden.
– Minnie Aumonier

How fair is a garden amid the trials and passions of existence.
– Benjamin Disraeli

Cares melts when you kneel in your garden.
– Author Unknown

All my hurts my garden space can heal.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The garden is the poor man’s apothecary.
– German proverb

You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt.
– Author Unknown

If I were to name the three most precious resources of life, I should say books, friends and nature, and the greatest of these, at least the most constant and always at hand, is nature.
– John Burroughs

No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden.
– Hugh Johnson

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.
– Iris Murdoch

Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity.
– Lindley Karstens

I sit in my garden, gazing upon a beauty that cannot gaze upon itself. And I find sufficient purpose for my day.
– Robert Brault

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.
– Rachel Carson

It is good to be alone in a garden at dawn or dark so that all its shy presences may haunt you and possess you in a reverie of suspended thought.
– James Douglas

To me the lowliest flower that blows can give thoughts that often lie too deep for tears.
– William Wordsworth

In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.
– Abram. L. Urban

I have never had so many good ideas day after day as when I worked in a garden.
– John Erskine

Gardening simply does not allow one to be mentally old, because too many hopes and dreams are yet to be realized.
– Allan Armitage

If you’ve never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden.
– Robert Brault

Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.
– Mrs. C.W. Earle

Gardeners, I think, dream bigger dreams than emperors.
– Mary Cantwell

To see things in the seed, that is genius.
– Lao Tzu

When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.
– Georgia O’Keefe

If you could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, your whole life would change.
– Buddha

She who plants a seed beneath the sod and waits to see a plant, believes in God.
– Author Unknown

Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden?
– Robert Brault

Just tickle earth with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest.
– Douglas William Jerrold

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth,
One is nearer God’s heart in a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
– Dorothy Frances Gurney

Gardening is civil and social, but it wants the vigor and freedom of the forest and the outlaw.
– Henry David Thoreau

Let no one think that real gardening is a bucolic and meditative occupation. It is an insatiable passion, like everything else to which a man gives his heart.
– Karel Capek

My green thumb came only as a result of the mistakes I made while learning to see things from the plant’s point of view.
– H. Fred Dale

Gardening requires lots of water – most of it in the form of perspiration.
– Lou Erickson

Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing: – “Oh, how beautiful!” and sitting in the shade,
While better men than we go out, and start their working lives
By grubbing weeds from garden paths with broken dinner knives.
– Rudyard Kipling

Gardening is a matter of your enthusiasm holding up until your back gets used to it.
– Author Unknown

And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden, you will find yourself a partner in the glory of the garden.
– Rudyard Kipling

It is utterly forbidden to be half-hearted about gardening. You have got to love your garden whether you like it or not.
– W.C. Sellar

Nature does have manure and she does have roots as well as blossoms, and you can’t hate the manure and blame the roots for not being blossoms.
– Buckminster Fuller

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
– Abraham Lincoln

If you really want to draw close to your garden, you must remember first of all that you are dealing with a being that lives and dies, like the human body, with its poor flesh, its illnesses at times repugnant. One must not always see it dressed up for a ball, manicured and immaculate.
-Fernand Lequenne

A garden is always of series of losses set against a few triumphs, like life itself.
– May Sarton

I want death to find me planting my cabbages.
– Montaigne

[And I remember once, after a storm blew through, a little girl from my neighborhood was picking Santa Barbara daisies from my front yard and floating them down the run-off on the street like little sailboats.
– Linda G.]

4-27-15 Weekly Quotes: Homage to the Earth and Nature II – The Wisdom of John Muir

The poem below by John Muir arrived in my inbox last Monday, April 20, 2015 even as my Weekly Quotes – Homage to the Earth and Nature was arriving in your inbox that morning, including the link to the fabulous film “Love Thy Nature” which also included many words of wisdom from John Muir.

April 21 was John Muir’s birthday (177th); April 22 was Earth Day (45th). John Muir’s passion for wilderness (he founded the Sierra Club in 1892) inspired others to create Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, and many other wilderness areas. I learned in reading about him that when pilgrims made pilgrimage to the Holy Land, they called it “A la Saint Terre,” from which we get the word saunter. Let yourself find your way home again by sauntering through the nature that we are, guided by the devotion to nature of this most amazing pioneer of wilderness preservation. “Going to the mountains is going home.”

Song by John Muir

Here is calm so deep, grasses cease waving.
Everything in wild nature fits into us,
as if truly part and parent of us.
The sun shines not on us but in us.
The rivers flow not past, but through us,
thrilling, tingling, vibrating every fiber and cell
of the substance of our bodies,
Making them glide and sing.
The trees wave and the flowers bloom
in our bodies as well as our souls,
and every bird song, wind song,
and; tremendous storm song of the rocks
in the heart of the mountains is our song,
our very own, and sings our love.

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, once source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature’s sources never fail.

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.

Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.

Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.

All the wild world is beautiful, and it matters but little where we go, to highlands or lowlands, woods or plains, on the sea or land or down among the crystals of waves or high in a balloon in the sky; through all the climates, hot or cold, storms and calms, everywhere and always we are in God’s eternal beauty and love. So universally true is this, the spot where we chance to be always seems the best.

In God’s wildness lies the hope of the world – the great fresh unblighted, unredeemed wilderness. The galling harness of civilization drops off, and wounds heal ere we are aware.

Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, inciting at once to work and rest! Days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God. Nevermore, however weary, should one faint by the way who gains the blessings of one mountain day; whatever his fate, long life, short life, stormy or calm, he is rich forever.

I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.

Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.

When one is alone at night in the depths of these woods, the stillness is at once awful and sublime. Every leaf seems to speak.

If one pine were placed in a town square, what admiration it would excite! Yet who is conscious of the pine-tree multitude in the free woods, though open to everybody?

Between every two pine trees there is a door leading to a new way of life.

Few are altogether deaf to the preaching of pine trees. Their sermons on the mountains go to our hearts; and if people in general could be got into the woods, even for once, to hear the trees speak for themselves, all difficulties in the way of forest preservation would vanish.

Another glorious Sierra day in which one seems to be dissolved and absorbed and sent pulsing onward we know not where. Life seems neither long nor short, and we take no more heed to save time or make haste than do the trees and stars. This is true freedom, a good practical sort of immortality.

Wander here a whole summer, if you can. Thousands of God’s wild blessings will search you and soak you as if you were a sponge, and the big days will go by uncounted. If you are business-tangled, and so burdened by duty that only weeks can be got out of the heavy-laden year, give a month at least to this precious reserve. The time will not be taken from the sum of your life. Instead of shortening, it will indefinitely lengthen it and make your truly immortal.

The mountains are fountains of men as well as of rivers of glaciers, of fertile soil. The great poets, philosophers, prophets, able men whose thoughts and deeds have moved the world, have come down from the mountains – mountain dwellers who have grown strong there with the forest trees in Nature’s workshops.

How many hearts with warm red blood in them are beating under cover of the woods, and how many teeth and eyes are shining! A multitude of animal people, intimately related to us, but of whose lives we know almost nothing, are as busy about their own affairs as we are about ours.

One touch of nature makes all the world kin.

Why should man value himself as more than a small part of the one great unit of creation? And what creature of all that the Lord has taken the pains to make is not essential to the completeness of that unity – the cosmos? The universe would be incomplete without man; but it would also be incomplete without the smallest transmicroscopic creature that dwells beyond our conceitful eyes and knowledge.

From the dust of the earth, from the common elementary fund, the Creator has made Homo sapiens. From the same material he has made every other creature, however noxious and insignificant to us. They are earth-born companions and our fellow mortals….This star, our own good earth, made many a successful journey around the heavens ere man was made, and whole kingdoms of creatures enjoyed existence and returned to dust ere man appeared to claim them. After human beings have also played their part in Creation’s plan, they too may disappear without any general burning or extraordinary commotion whatever.

4-20-15 Weekly Quotes: Homage to the Earth and Nature

[Earth Day is Wednesday, April 22; this year the 45th anniversary of environmentally aware people raising the awareness of all of us of this urgent importance of protecting the Earth from our own lack of consciousness about the preciousness of the blue jewel of a planet we live on. Last week’s post “The Human Age – the World Shaped by Us” looked at Diane Ackerman’s poetic and broad-ranging report on the impact we human beings have had on our planetary home. This week’s quotes pay homage to the nature of Earth, the nature that sustains all life, all of our hopes and dreams. And please check out the new film Love Thy Nature premiering this week around the country – a spectacular homage to earth and nature.]

Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the earth are never alone or weary of life.
– Rachel Carson

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature’s sources never fail.
– John Muir

Climb up on some hill at sunrise. Everybody needs perspective once in a while, and you’ll find it there.
– Robb Sagendorph

I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.
– John Burroughs

I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.
– Elwyn Brooks Whyte

The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.
– Galileo Galilei

Great things are done when men and mountains meet. This is not done by jostling in the street.
– William Blake

In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.
– Charles A. Lindbergh

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.
– Eleonora Duse

The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.
– Author Unknown

As you sit on the hillside, or lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged by a mountain stream, the great door, that does not look like a door, opens.
– Stephan Graham

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
– Albert Einstein

If you wish to know the divine, feel the wind on your face and the warm sun on your hand.
– Buddha

One impulse from a vernal wood may teach you more of man, of moral evil and of good, than all the sages can.
– William Wordsworth

Man must feel the earth to know himself and recognize his values….God made life simple. It is man who complicates it.
– Charles A. Lindbergh

Truly it may be said that the outside of a mountain is good for the inside of a man.
– George Wherry

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
– John Muir

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

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
– William Shakespeare

There is hope if people will begin to awaken that spiritual part of themselves, that heartfelt knowledge that we are caretakers of this planet.
– Brooke Medicine Eagle.

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church,
I keep it staying at Home –
With a bobolink for a Choirister,
And an Orchard for a Dome.
– Emily Dickinson

I believe in God, only I spell it Nature.
– Frank Lloyd Wright

Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike. This natural beauty-hunger is made manifest in the little window-sill gardens of the poor though perhaps only a geranium slip in a broken cup, as well as in the carefully tended rose and lily gardens of the rich.
– John Muir

I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it….People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it is always trying to please us back.
– Alice Walker

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
– Khalil Gibran

I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.
– e.e. cummings

4-6-15 Weekly Quotes: Musings on Music

[Last month’s e-newsletter, “Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory” evoked as much commentary as any newsletter ever. Music helps us come ALIVE, as we witness so dramatically in the film. May these quotes on music help you appreciate your own aliveness and you celebrate your resilience.]

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

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

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

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

3-23-15 Weekly Quotes: Nourishing the Soul in Spring

[Many parts of the country are just coming out of the deep freeze of winter. May the blossoming of the land quicken blossoming in your soul.]

I am sick of four walls and a ceiling! I have need of the sky; I have business with the grass.
– Richard Hovey

Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world.
– Virgil Kraft

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.
– Doug Larson

Listen, can you hear it? Spring’s sweet cantata. The strains of grass pushing through the snow. The song of buds swelling on the vine. The tender timpani of a baby robin’s heart. Spring
– Diane Frolov

The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.
– E.E. Cummings

Springtime is the land awakening.
– Lewis Grizzard

Every spring is the only spring – a perpetual astonishment.
– Ellis Peters

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes –
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning

If you’ve never been thrilled to the very edges of your soul by a flower in spring bloom, maybe your soul has never been in bloom.
– Terri Guillemets

Who would have thought it possible that a tiny little flower could preoccupy a person so completely that there simply wasn’t room for any other thought?
– Sophie Scholl

In the hope of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.
– Albert Schweitzer

A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books.
– Walt Whitman

Can we conceive what humanity would be if it did not know the flowers?
– Maurice Maeterlinck

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.
– Iris Murdoch

Little flower, but if I could understand what you are, root and all in all, I should know what God and man is.
– Alfred Lord Tennyson

If seeds in the black earth can turn into such beautiful roses, what might not the heart of man become in its long journey toward the stars?
– G.K. Chesterton

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.
– Chinese proverb

Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed also the soul.
– The Koran

If of thy mortal goods thou are bereft,
And of thy meager store
Two loaves alone to thee are left,
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.
– Sheikh Mushli-uddin Saadi, Shirazi

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

I ask for a moment’s indulgence to sit by thy side. The works that I have in hand I will finish afterwards.
Away from the sight of thy face my heart knows no rest nor respite, and my work becomes an endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil.
Today the spring 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

3-16-15 Weekly Quotes: Possibilities

[I teach frequently about the power of heart-opening practices – gratitude, kindness, compassion, love, joy – to shift the state of our mind by shifting the functioning of our brain. Practices that put the brakes on the negativity bias of the brain and re-open the perception and processing of the brain to the bigger picture again, new perspectives, new possibilities. A direct cause and effect of greater resilience. Enjoy the wisdom of the ages about pursuing possibilities.]

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

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

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

It’s not only moving that creates new starting points. Sometimes all it takes is a subtle shift in perspective, an opening of the mind, an intentional pause and reset, or a new route to start to see new options and new possibilities.
– Kristin Armstrong

The only limits to the possibilities in your life tomorrow are the buts you use today.
– Les Brown

The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.
– George Bernard Shaw

Man is so made that when anything fires his soul, impossibilities vanish.
– Jean de La Fontaine

You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.
– Ralph Marston

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

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

Opportunity is often difficult to recognize; we usually expect it to beckon us with beepers and billboards.
– William A. Ward

The reason most people do not recognize an opportunity when they meet it is because it usually goes around wearing overalls and looking like Hard Work.
– Author Unknown

Problems are only opportunities with thorns on them
– Hugh Miller

Everybody has fallen down or been disappointed in love. Where you truly shine is when you get back up. Use it as a learning experience and believe in all of the possibilities.
– Sherry Argov

I’m grateful that I didn’t let fear get the best of me. It only holds you back from possibilities and greatness.
– Mariska Hargitay

Panic causes tunnel vision. Calm acceptance of danger allows us to more easily assess the situation and see the options.
– Simon Sinek

Jumping at several small opportunities may get us there more quickly than waiting for one big one to come along
– Hugh Allen

What we find is that if you have a goal that is very, very far out, and you approach it in little steps, you start to get there faster. Your mind opens up to the possibilities.
– Mae Jemison

To be hopeful means to be uncertain about the future, to be tender toward possibilities, to be dedicated to change all the way down to the bottom of your heart.
– Rebecca Solnit

My favorite words are possibilities, opportunities, and curiosity. I think if you are curious, you create opportunities, and then if you open the doors, you create possibilities.
– Mario Testino

The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.
– John Sculley

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
– Milton Berle

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

Dream on it. Let you mind take you to places you would like to go, and then think about it and plan it and celebrate the possibilities. And don’t listen to anyone who doesn’t know how to dream.
– Liza Minelli

To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.
– Albert Einstein

If you mind is empty, it is ready for anything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few.
– Shunryu Suzuki

Concern yourself more with accepting responsibility than with assigning blame. Let the possibilities inspire you more than the obstacles discourage you.
– Ralph Marston

The vast possibilities of our great future will become realities only if we make ourselves responsible for that future.
– Gifford Pinchot

Both the winter and the summer solstices are expressions of love. They show us the opposition of light and dark, expansion and contraction, that characterize our experiences on the earth so that we can recognize our options as we move through our lives.
– Gary Zukav

3-9-15 Weekly Quotes: Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

[I belatedly learned that last Monday, March 2, was the 111th birthday of Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel), commemorated by the National Education Association’s Read Across America Day. I grew up on Dr. Seuss, many of us did. Below I’ve included the text for his book Oh, the Places You’ll Go! which a good friend gave me when I got my master’s degree in clinical psychology 25 years ago, the year Oh, The Places You’ll Go! was first published. A rejoiceful celebration of recovering resilience if there ever was one. Enjoy!]

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look ’em over with care.
About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.”
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.

It’s opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.

OH!
THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’ t
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump,
you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place you could sprain both you elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right…
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a sting of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

NO!
That’s not for you!

Somehow you’ll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You’ll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you’ll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. there are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t.
Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times
you’ll play lonely games too.
Games you can’t win
’cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike
and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3 / 4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

So…
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

3-2-15 Weekly Quotes: Growth from Adversity

[I began the article “How A Challenging Past Can Lead to a Happier Present” that posted February 23, 2015 in the Greater Good Science Center newsletter with the famous quote from Friedrich Nietzsche, “That which does not kill us outright makes us stronger.” I’ve posted many quotes over the years about adversity and resilience, what psychologists now call post-traumatic growth. Here are quotes, some old, some new, that remind us that “the difficulties of life are intended to make us better, not bitter.” – Author unknown]

The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them.
– Bernard M. Baruch

The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise, and thinking that having problems is a problem.
– Theodore Rubin

Man performs and engenders so much more than he can or should have to bear. That’s how he finds that he can bear anything.
– William Faulkner

The world is full of suffering; it is also full of overcoming.
– Helen Keller

To have become a deeper man is the privilege of those who have suffered.
– Oscar Wilde

The turning point in the process of growing up is when you discover the core of strength within you that survives all hurt.
– Max Lerner

If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I would not pass it round. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it. I don’t embrace trouble; that’s as bad as treating it as an enemy. But I do say meet it as a friend, for you’ll see a lot of it and had better be on speaking terms with it.
– Oliver Wendell Holmes

Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.
– Horace

Adversity introduces a man to himself.
– Author Unknown

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.
– Helen Keller

Every flower must grow through dirt.
– Proverb

The brook would lose its song if you removed the rocks.
– Fred Beck

Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.
– African Proverb

When life takes the wind out of your sails, it is to test you at the oars.
– Robert Brault

The gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man without trials.
– Confucius

Even when life isn’t good on the outside, you have an option to make it good from the inside out.
– Terri Guillemets

Mishaps are like knives, that either serve us or cut us, as we grasp them by the blade or the handle.
– James Russell Lowell

Turn your wounds into wisdom.
– Oprah Winfrey

Don’t allow your wounds to turn you into a person you are not.
– Author Unknown

Pain is sometimes the cost of a meaningful existence. I can handle that.
– Jeb Dickerson

I have woven a parachute out of everything broken.
– William Stafford

If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.
– Frank A. Clark

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

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

2-16-15 Weekly Quotes: Wisdom of the Presidents

[The uber-swamp continues; quotes I posted three years ago, that still stand the test of time:]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2-9-15 Weekly Quotes: Rilke on Love

[If ever I have to repeat an offering of quotes because I find myself uber-swamped, these would be my first and best choice. In honor of love, “the supreme emotion that affects everything we feel, think do and become” as Barbara Fredrickson posits in Love 2.0, from the deeply soulful poet Ranier Maria Rilke, 1875-1926]

To love is good, too: love being difficult. For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation. For this reason young people, who are beginners in everything, cannot yet know love: they have to learn it. With their whole being, with all their forces gathered close about their lonely, timid, upward-beating heart, they must learn to love.

Pathways

Understand, I’ll slip quietly
away from the noisy crowd
when I see the pale stars rising,
blooming, over the oaks.

I’ll pursue solitary pathways
through the pale twilit meadows,
with only this one dream:

You come too

Love is at first not anything that means merging, giving over and uniting with another…Love is a high inducement to the individual to ripen, to become world, to become world for himself for another’s sake. It is a great exacting claim upon him, something that chooses him out and calls him to vast things….Love is the ultimate, is perhaps that for which human lives as yet scarcely suffice.

Love Song

How can I keep my soul in me, so that
it doesn’t touch your soul? How can I raise
it high enough, past you, to other things?
I would like to shelter it, among remote
lost objects, in some dark and silent place
that doesn’t resonate when your depths resound.
Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
takes us together like a violin’s bow,
which draws one voice out of two separate strings.
Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
And what musician holds us in his hand?
Oh sweetest song!

The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. …Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which makes it possible to see each other whole against the sky.

Again and Again

Again and again however we know the landscape of love
and the little churchyard there, with its sorrowing names,
and the frighteningly silent abyss into which the others
fall: again and again the two of us walk out together
under the ancient trees,
lie down again and again among the flowers,
face to face with the sky.

The demands which the difficult work of love makes upon our development are more than life-size, and as beginners we are not up to them. But if we nevertheless hold out and take this love upon us as a burden and apprenticeship, instead of losing ourselves in all the light and frivolous play, behind which people have hidden from the most earnest earnestness of their existence – then a little progress and alleviation will perhaps be perceptible to those who come long after us; that would be much.

Physical pleasure is a sensual experience no different from pure seeing or the pure sensation with which a fine fruit fills the tongue; it is a great unending experience, which is given us, a knowing of the world, the fullness and the glory of all knowing. The bad thing is that most people misuse and squander this experience and apply it as a stimulant at the tired spots of their lives and as distraction instead of a rallying toward exalted moments.

Only one that is on the lookout for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatic, will live the relationship to another as something alive, will himself sound the depths of his own being, will speak to the whole potential of his existence.

Only one that is on the lookout for everything, who excludes nothing, not even the most enigmatic, will live the relationship to another as something alive, will himself sound the depths of his own being, will speak to the whole potential of his existence.

You are not too old
and it is not too late
to dive into your increasing depths
where life calmly gives out its own secret.

Avoid providing material for the drama that is always stretched tight between parents and children; it uses up much of the children’s strength and wastes the love of the elders, which acts and warms even if it doesn’t comprehend. Don’t ask for advice from them and don’t expect any understanding. But believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.

…and other mysteries of life:

Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find these words.

No great art has ever been made without the artist having known danger. Surely all art is the result of one’s having been in danger, of having gone through an experience all the way to the end, where no one can go further.

We have no reason to mistrust our world, for it is not against us. Has it terrors, they are our terrors; has it abysses, those abysses belong to us. Are dangers at hand, we must try to love them….Perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love…..So you must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than any you have ever seen; if a restiveness, like light and cloud shadows, passes over your hands and over all you do. You must think that something is happening with you, that life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand; it will not let you fall.

Were it possible for us to see further than our knowledge reaches, perhaps we would endure our sadnesses with greater confidence than our joys. For they are moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown.

The future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens.

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, as if they were locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. 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 your questions now. Perhaps then, some day far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.

Let everything happen to you,
beauty and terror,
just keep going,
no feeling is final.

Let life happen to you. Believe me: life is in the right, always
Be of good courage; all is before you, and time passed in the difficult is never lost.

No experience has been too unimportant, and the smallest event unfolds like a fate, and fate itself is like a wonderful, wide fabric in which every thread is guided by an infinitely tender hand and laid alongside another thread and is held and supported by a hundred others.

I feel it now: there’s a power in me to grasp and give shape to my world. I know that nothing has ever been real without my beholding it. All becoming has need of me.

I want to unfold.
I don’t want to stay folded anywhere,
because where I am folded,
there I am a lie.

A billion stars go spinning through the night,
blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that will be,
when all the stars are dead.

Everyone once, once only. Just once and no more. And we also once. Never again. But this having been once, although only once, to have been of the earth, seems irrevocable.

It is obvious that most people come to know only one corner of their room, one spot near the window, one narrow strip on which they keep walking back and forth. Whoever you are: some evening take a step out of your house, which you know so well…. Enormous space is near.

Sometimes a man stands up during supper
and walks outdoors, and keeps on walking,
because of a church that stands somewhere in the East.

And his children say blessings on him as if he were dead.

And another man, who remains inside his own house,
stays there, inside the dishes and in the glasses,
so that his children have to go far out into the world
toward that same church, which he forgot.

2-2-15 Weekly Quotes: Optimism

[My friend Lynn sent me this quote last week in the midst of some turbulence from technology upgrade (admittedly a first world problem);

Optimist: someone who figures that taking a step backward after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a cha-cha.
– Robert Brault

A good lesson in learning to embrace the challenges of the moment as a dance. Here are a few more views of optimism. May they be useful to you and yours.]

A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.
– Harry S. Truman

Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.
– Gil Stern

The realist sees reality as concrete. The optimist sees reality as clay.
– Robert Brault

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

A pessimist’s blood type is always B-negative.
– Author Unknown

It’s still possible to be a cockeyed optimist these days – you just have to be a little more cockeyed.
– Robert Brault

Of course I look at the glass half full. The only time I would look at it half empty is when I think about how good the first half tasted.
– Drew DeYoung

The average pencil is seven inches long, with just a half-inch eraser – in case you thought optimism was dead.
– Robert Brault

An optimist is the human personification of spring.
– Susan J. Bissonette

After 5,000 years of recorded human history, you wonder, what part of 2,000,000 sunrises doesn’t a pessimist understand?
– Robert Brault

1-19-15 Weekly Quotes: Solar – poem by Thomas Centolella

[Resilience has many facets. Here’s a beautiful expression of a fierce intention to make a difference in our world.]

Solar by Thomas Centolella

On a gray day, when the sun

has been abducted, and it’s chill

end-of-the-world weather,

I must be the sun.

I must be the one

to encourage the young

sidetracked physicist

working his father’s cash register

to come up with a law of nature

that says brain waves can change

the dismal sky. I must be the one

to remind the ginger plant

not to rest on the reputation

of its pungent roots, but to unveil

those buttery tendrils from the other world.

When the sky is an iron lid

I must be the one to simmer

in the piquant juices of possibility,

though the ingredients are unknown

and the day begins with a yawn.

I must issue forth a warmth

without discrimination, and any guarantee

it will come back to me.

On a dark day I must be willing

to keep my disposition light,

I have to be at the very least

on stray intact ray

of local energy, one small

but critical fraction

of illumination. Even on a day

that doesn’t look gray

but still lacks comfort or sense,

I have to be the sun,

I have to shine as if

sorry life itself depended on it.

I have to make all the difference.

1-12-15 Weekly Quotes: Heartbreak

[Deep wisdom from a master poet; the truths we navigate as we pursue happiness and fulfillment in an emerging new year.]

From Consolations: the Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words by David Whyte.

Heartbreak is unpreventable, the natural outcome of caring for people and things over which we have no control, of holding in our affections those who inevitably move beyond our line of sight.

Heartbreak begins the moment we are asked to let go but cannot. In other words, it colors and inhabits and magnifies each and every day. Heartbreak is not a visitation, but a path that human beings follow through even the most average life. Heartbreak is an indication of our sincerity: in a love relationship, in a life’s work, in trying to learn a musical instrument, in the attempt to shape a better more generous self. Heartbreak is the beautifully helpless side of love and affection and is just as much an essence and emblem of care as the spiritual athlete’s quick but abstract ability to let go. Heartbreak has its own way of inhabiting time and its own beautiful and trying patience in coming and going.

Heartbreak is how we mature; yet we use the word heartbreak as if it only occurs when things have gone wrong: an unrequited love, a shattered dream, a child lost before their time. ; Heartbreak, we hope, is something we hope we can avoid; something to guard against, a chasm to be carefully looked for and then walked around; the hope is to find a way to place our feet where the elemental forces of life will keep us in the manner to which we want to be accustomed and which will keep us from the losses that all other human beings have experienced without exception since the beginning of conscious time. But heartbreak may be the very essence of being human, of being on the journey from here to there, and of coming to care deeply for what we find along the way.

Our hope to circumvent heartbreak in adulthood is beautifully and ironically child-like; heartbreak is as inescapable and inevitable as breathing, a part and a parcel of every path, asking for its due in every sincere course an individual takes. It may be that there may be not only no real life without the raw revelation of heartbreak, but no single path we can take within a life that will allows us to escape without having that imaginative organ we call the heart broken by what it holds and then has to let go.

In a sobering physical sense, every heart does eventually break, as the precipitating reason for death or because the rest of the body has given up before it and can no longer sustain its steady beat> But hearts also break in an imaginative and psychological sense. There is almost no path a human being can follow that does not lead to heartbreak. A marriage, a committed vow to another, even in the most settled, loving relationships, will always break our hearts at one time or another; a successful marriage has often had its heart broken many times just in order for the couple to stay together. Parenthood, no matter the sincerity of our love for a child, will always break the model of our motherly or fatherly hopes. A good work, seriously taken, will often take everything we have and still leave us wanting. And finally even the most self compassionate, self examination should, if we are sincere, lead eventually to existential disappointment.

Realizing its inescapable nature, we can see heartbreak not as the end of the road or the cessation of hope but as the close embrace of the essence of what we have wanted or are about to lose. It is the hidden DNA of our relationships with life, outlining outer forms even when we do not feel it by the intimate physical experience generated by its absence. It can also ground us truly in whatever grief we are experiencing, set us to planting a seed with what we have left or appreciate what we have built even as we stand in its ruins.

If heartbreak is inevitable and inescapable, it might be asking us to look for it and make friends with it, to see it as our constant and instructive companion, and perhaps, in the depth of its impact as well as in its hindsight, its own reward. Heartbreak asks us not to look for an alternative path because there is no alternative path. It is an introduction to what we love and have loved, an inescapable and often beautiful question, something and someone that has been with us all along, asking us to be ready for the ultimate letting go.

1-5-15 Weekly Quotes: This Year, Live Your Life Fully

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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