Weekly Quotes 2017

5-15-17 Weekly Quotes – Mother’s Day – Mothering

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

What are Raphael’s Madonnas but the shadow of a mother’s love fixed in permanent outline forever?
– Thomas Wentworth Higginson

* * * * *

One generation plants the trees; another gets the shade.
– Chinese Proverb

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

The women whom I love
And admire for their strength and grace
Did not get that way because shit worked out.
They got that way because shit went wrong,
And they handled it.
They handled it in a thousand different ways
On a thousand different days,
But they handled it.
Those women are my superheroes.
– Elizabeth Gilbert

5-8-17 Weekly Quotes – Take a Break – Relax and Play

Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, not solutions searched for. Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.
– Maya Angelou

* * * * *

There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.
– Alan Cohen

* * * * *

A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.
– Roald Dahl

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well.
– Louisa May Alcott

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

All that is important comes in quietness and waiting.
– Patrick Lindsay

4-24-17 Weekly Quotes – Judy Collins treated her depression

Even in the busiest of lives, a few precious moments of meditation can have a profound and lasting effect. Take some time for yourself today, and ponder the wisdom of the ages about meditation.]

You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes a day, unless you are too busy – then you should sit for an hour.
– Author unknown

* * * * *

Meditation allows us to directly participate in our lives instead of living life as an afterthought.
– Stephen Levine

* * * * *

Quiet the mind, and the soul will speak.
– Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati

* * * * *

When we pay attention, whatever we are doing is transformed and becomes a part of our spiritual path. We begin to notice details and textures that we never noticed before. Everyday life becomes clearer, sharper, and at the same time more spacious.
– Rick Fields

* * * * *

Enjoy simple things with total intensity. Just a cup of tea can be a deep meditation.
– Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

* * * * *

Mindfulness meditation doesn’t change life. Life remains as fragile and unpredictable as ever. Meditation changes the hearts’ capacity to accept life as it is.
– Sylvia Boorstein

* * * * *

If I had not been already been meditating, I would certainly have had to start. I’ve treated my own depression for many years with exercise and meditation, and I’ve found that to be a tremendous help.
– Judy Collins

4-17-17 Exercise – Good for the Heart, Good for the Brain

[In collecting these quotes about exercise, to resonate with last week’s post about Exercise Makes You Smarter, I was struck by how much this wisdom is ancient wisdom, neuroscience validating what people have known for centuries.]

The truth is, that the craving for exercise is part of healthy human nature.
– E. Warre, 1884

* * * * *

Reflect first upon that great law of our nature, that exercise is the chief source of improvement in all our faculties.
– Edward Brooks, 1882

* * * * *

It is exercise alone that supports the spirits, and keeps the mind in vigor.
– Marcus Tullius Cicero

* * * * *

Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.
– Plato

* * * * *

There is no doubt that physical activity is the basis of efficient functioning of the human mechanism, both physical and mental.
– Uttar Pradesh, 1885

* * * * *

Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional, and mental states.
– Carol Welch

* * * * *

Moderate exercise is indispensable; exercise till the mind feels delight in reposing from the fatigue.
– Socrates

* * * * *

Every leap and spring aids in renewing the body, and therefor in giving greater hilarity to the spirit, and superior vigor to the intellect.
– Horace Mann, 1865

* * * * *

The benefit of daily exercise will not only be accompanied by daily health, but for preventing the intrusion of those maladies which abridge life, or cut off from it all that constitutes the value of life.
– D. Unwins, 1884

* * * * *

There are really only two requirements when it comes to exercise. One is that you do it. The other is that you continue to do it.
– Jennie Brand-Miller

* * * * *

Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.
– Edward Stanley

* * * * *

A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time – pills or stairs.
– Joan Welsh

* * * * *

A man may take as much exercise in walking a mile up and down stairs, as in ten on level ground.
– Benjamin Franklin

* * * * *

If it weren’t for the fact that the TV set and the refrigerator are so far apart, some of us wouldn’t get any exercise at all.
– Joey Adams

* * * * *

The only exercise some people get is jumping to conclusions, running down their friends, side-stepping responsibility, and pushing their luck.
– Author Unknown

* * * * *

He that in his studies wholly applies himself to labor and exercise, and neglects meditation, loses his time; and he that only applies himself to meditation, and neglects labor and exercise, only wanders and loses himself.
– Confucius

4-10-17 Weekly Quotes – Novelty, Curiosity, Experimentation, Learning

[In the spirit of last week’s post on “New and Novel Experiences Promote Brain Health,” these quotes honoring novelty, curiosity, experimentation, as pathways to learning.]

I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

* * * * *

Millions saw the apply fall, but Newton asked why.
– Bernard Baruch

* * * * *

Curiosity has its own reason for existing. The important thing is not to stop questioning. I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.
– Albert Einstein

* * * * *

When you raise a child, you don’t sit down and take all the rules of life, write them into a big catalog, and start reading the child all these individual rules from A to Z. When we raise a child, a lot of what we do is let the child experiment and guide the experimentation. The child basically has to process his own data and learn from experience.
– Sebastian Thrun

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind.
– Samuel Johnson

* * * * *

Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.
– Voltaire

* * * * *

I keep six honest serving-men,
They taught me all I knew;
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
– Rudyard Kipling

* * * * *

Curiosity is the wick in the candle of learning.
– William Arthur Ward

* * * * *

I find that a great part of the information I have was acquired by looking up something and finding something else on the way.
– Franklin P. Adams

* * * * *

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.
– Dorothy Parker

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

Part of the elasticity that you need in order to continue to try to create is the foregone conclusion that not all of it is going to be fabulously successful. But it’s all going to be part of a long lifetime body of experimentation.
– Elizabeth Gilbert

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

It is only through failure and through experiment that we learn and grow.
– Isaac Stern

* * * * *

There is no such thing as a failed experiment, only experiments with unexpected outcomes.
– Buckminster Fuller

* * * * *

There are no failures – just experiences and your reactions to them.
– Tom Krause

* * * * *

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

4-3-17 Weekly Quotes – Adversity and Resilience

[A timely follow-up to the March 2017 Resources for Recovering Resilience series on Resilience and Post-Traumatic Growth.]

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

* * * * *

There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.
– Michel de Montaigne

* * * * *

Defeat may serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out.
– Edwin Markham

* * * * *

Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.
– Garth Brooks

* * * * *

Sometimes in tragedy we find our life’s purpose – the eye sheds a tear to find its focus.
– Robert Brault

* * * * *

A bend in the road is not the end of the road…unless you fail to make the turn.
– Author Unknown

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

There are more things to alarm us than to harm us, and we suffer more often in apprehension than in reality.
– Seneca

* * * * *

Worry gives a small thing a big shadow.
– Swedish proverb

* * * * *

That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change; but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.
– Chinese proverb

* * * * *

That some good can be derived from every event is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best, which it assuredly does not.
– James K. Feibleman

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

Adversity is the first path to truth.
– Lord Byron

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

The difficulties of life are intended to makes us better, not bitter.
– Author Unknown

* * * * *

Turn your wounds into wisdom.
– Oprah Winfrey

* * * * *

We find comfort among those who agree with us – growth among those who don’t.
– Frank A. Clark

* * * * *

The healthy and strong individual is the one who askes for help when he needs it.  Whether he’s got an abscess on his knee or in his soul.
– Rona Barrett

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.
– Erich Fromm

* * * * *

Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight/in whatever remains to them?
– Rose F. Kennedy

* * * * *

I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.
– Agatha Christie

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

Diseases can be our spiritual flat tires – disruptions in our lives that seem to be disasters at the time but end by redirecting our lives in a meaningful way.
– Bernie S. Siegel

* * * * *

Adversity is like a strong wind.  It tears away from us all the things that cannot be torn, so that we see ourselves as we really are.
– Arthur Golden

* * * * *

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them.  Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but the heart to conquer it.
– Rabindranath Tagore

* * * * *

We turn to God for help when our foundations are shaking, only to learn that it is God who is shaking them.
– Charles C. West

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.
– African Proverb

* * * * *

I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.
– Jewish proverb

* * * * *

I know God will not give my anything I can’t handle.  I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.
– Mother Teresa

3-20-17 Weekly Quotes – Re-framing toward Positive Meaning for Post-Traumatic Growth

Today is the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, the earth exquisitely poised between equal hours of darkness and light.  The season will tip into longer days and warmer days, bringing the benevolent re-leafing of trees and the sweet blossoming of flowers.  And the re-awakening of hope, renewal, and optimism in the human spirit – for growth, abundance, and renewal.

I’ve been posting a five-part series this March about resilience and post-traumatic growth; hope springing eternal is part of that process, too.  May these quotes inspire your own sense of hope and renewal as we collectively move from the dark to the light.

As long as the earth can make a Spring every year, I can.
And as long as the Earth can flower and produce nurturing fruit, I can.
– Alice Walker

* * * * *

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 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.
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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

God puts rainbows in the clouds so that each of us – in the dreariest and most dreaded moments – can see a possibility of hope.
– Maya Angelou

* * * * *

A pessimist sees only the dark side of the clouds, and mopes.  A philosopher sees both sides, and shrugs.  An optimist doesn’t see the clouds at all – he’s walking on them
– Leonard Louis Levinson

* * * * *

Hope is much like a cat in the dark.  You only know it’s there by the reflection of its eyes – which means there is light nearby.
– Terri Guillemets

* * * * *

It is the first purpose of hope to make hopelessness bearable.
– Robert Brault

* * * * *

When you say a situation or a person is hopeless, you’re slamming the door in the face of God.
– Charles L. Allen

* * * * *

Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier.
– author unknown

* * * * *

Hope is warmth against the cold winter of adversity.
– Terri Guillemets

* * * * *

“Hope” is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops – at all…
– Emily Dickinson

* * * * *

Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence.
– Lin Yutang

* * * * *

All it takes is one bloom of hope to make a spiritual garden.
– Terri Guillemets

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

3-13-17 Weekly Quotes – Ah, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort

[These words of wisdom from 19th century British novelist Dinah Craik express the compassionate companionship explored in last week’s post on resourcing with people as a key factor supporting post-traumatic growth.  May you experience such support in any of your own recovering resilience.]

Ah, the comfort,
The inexpressible comfort
Of feeling safe with a person.
Having neither to weigh out thoughts
Nor words,
But pouring them all right out, just as they are,
Chaff and grain together;
Certain that a faithful hand
Will take them and sift them;
Keeping what is worth keeping and,
With the breath of kindness,
Blow the rest away.
– Dinah Craik
A Life for a Life, 1859

3-6-17 Weekly Quotes – Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

[If we’ve ever had a paragon of a phoenix rising from the ashes into post-traumatic growth, it was the beloved African-American poet Maya Angelou.  If you have a chance to watch the PBS special Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, please do, it’s a magnificent portrayal of Dr. Angelou’s courage, strength, and deep humanity, with interviews of many who knew her well.
Here is her poem Still I Rise, full of grit and growth.  Be inspired.]
Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise” from And Still I Rise: A Book of Poems.  Copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou.  Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (1994)

2-27-17 Weekly Quotes – Morning Report On My Immigrant Clothing

[Doug von Koss is a wonderful San Francisco Bay Area poet, and a more than awesome human being. I met him years ago at a poetry workshop where I learned to read a poem every morning along with eating my breakfast cereal – nourishing soul and body. Here’s his latest commentary on the state of our world – may the wisdom and the laughter be nourishing to your soul, too.]
Morning Report On My Immigrant Clothing

Awakened wearing old and faded
Calvin Klein sleepwear Made in Kenya
After the shower dried my made in the USA body
with a Martha Stewart towel Made in India, where else
Warmed by my East Coast L.L. Bean bathrobe from El Salvador
I made my coffee with beans gathered from God knows where

Pulling on clothes, still curious and not surprised,
my striped Perry Ellis boxers were Made in China
and jeez my iconic American Carhardt Jeans started in Nicaragua

And what’s more American than a T-shirt?
Not my Made in Peru pepper green “T” from Territory Ahead
And who knows where my socks started, maybe Bangalore
My shabby running shoes let into the country by Adidas,
probably began jogging in Northern India

So I’m almost ready and grab my hat.
Now wait for it
My trouble making, eye catching, brilliant red,
Human Rights Campaign hat emblazoned “Make America Gay Again”
was made in the USA

If they send my clothes back with the immigrants
at least I won’t be totally naked

– Doug von Koss

2-13-17 Weekly Quotes: A Mature View of Love for Valentine’s Day

This beautiful poem by Mark Nepo expresses much of what we can long for, stretch our hearts for, aspire to bring into the world, however and with whomever you celebrate the heights and depths of loving.

Accepting This
By Mark Nepo

Yes, it is true. I confess,
I have thought great thoughts,
and sung great songs-all of it
rehearsal for the majesty
of being held.
The dream is awakened
when thinking I love you
and life begins
when saying I love you
and joy moves like blood
when embracing others with love.
My efforts now turn
from trying to outrun suffering
to accepting love wherever
I can find it.
Stripped of causes and plans
and things to strive for,
I have discovered everything
I could need or ask for
is right here-
in flawed abundance.
We cannot eliminate hunger,
but we can feed each other.
We cannot eliminate loneliness,
but we can hold each other.
We cannot eliminate pain,
but we can live a life
of compassion.
Ultimately,
we are small living things
awakened in the stream,
not gods who carve out rivers.
Like human fish,
we are asked to experience
meaning in the life that moves
through the gill of our heart.
There is nothing to do
and nowhere to go.
Accepting this,
we can do everything
and go anywhere.

2-6-17 Weekly Quotes: Uncertainty in Changing Times

I’m currently reading Michael Lewis’s new book, The Undoing Project: A Friendship that Changed Our Minds, a fascinating exploration of the collaboration between two Israeli psychologists, Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, and their revolutionary discoveries that the human mind systematically makes errors when forced to make judgements in uncertain conditions. This undoing of everyone’s assumptions about the rationality of our decision-making processes won Kahneman the Nobel Prize in behavioral economics in 2002, based on their decades of research together.

It’s never easy or comfortable to be living in times of uncertainty; some days it doesn’t even seem doable. Below are quotes from eons of human experience about how to live with uncertainly wisely, if not always easily.

*****

If we knew what we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
– Albert Einstein

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

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.
– George Bernard Shaw

Knowledge is based not upon truth alone but upon error also.
– Carl G. Jung

The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.
– Oscar Wilde

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on th4e solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.
– Albert Einstein

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

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

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

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

1-30-17 Weekly Quotes: The Cats Are Up in the Chimney Again

I adopted two new adorable cats from the Humane Society two weeks ago – cuddly, sweet, adjusting well. Except, inexplicably, they could disappear for hours, hiding somewhere in the house, and I could not ever find them. Until one morning I saw one of them come down the chimney back into the living room. In almost 20 years of sharing my home with cats, I had never seen that, heard of that, thought of that – resting on a ledge in the flue, their ear tips barely sticking up over the ledge.

After coaxing them back out with smoked salmon, it took me about 30 minutes to move paintings and pillows and the piano bench around enough to satisfactorily block the open fireplace until I could get a screen later that day that would do the trick more satisfactorily, more aesthetically. Then I spent 30 minutes watching them, resilient creatures that cats are, looking for any possible way they could get back up the chimney.

So the quotes below are my ode to the adorableness, and rambunctiousness, of our cat companions.

And just before the quotes, this link to the most amazing YouTube video of a mother cat adopting three newly hatched ducklings – also totally adorable.

* * * * *

A cat determined not to be found can fold itself up like a pocket handkerchief if it wants to.
– Louise J. Camuti

* * * * *

Your cat will never threaten your popularity by barking at three in the morning. He won’t attack the mailman or eat the drapes, although he may climb the drapes to see how the room looks from the ceiling.
– Helen Powers

* * * * *

In order to keep a true perspective of one’s importance, everyone should have a dog that will worship him and a cat that will ignore him.
– Dereke Bruce

* * * * *

Dogs come when they’re called; cats take a message and get back to you later.
– Mary Bly

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A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem.
– Jean Burden

* * * * *

Dogs have owners, cats have staff.
– author unknown

* * * * *

The cat could very well be man’s best friend but would never stoop to admitting it.
– Doug Larson

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In ancient times cats were worshipped as god; they have not forgotten this.
– Terry Pratchett

* * * * *

A cat isn’t fussy – just so long as you remember he likes his milk in the shallow, rose-patterned saucer and his fish on the blue plate. From which he will take it, and eat it off the floor.
– Arthur Bridges

* * * * *

A cat is the only domestic animal I know who toilet trains itself and does a damned impressive job of it.
– Joseph Epstein

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If I called her she would pretend not to hear, but would come a few moments later when it could appear that she had thought of doing so first.
– Arthur Weigall

* * * * *

He liked companionship, but he wouldn’t be petted, or fussed over, or sit in anyone’s lap a moment; he always extricated himself from such familiarity with dignity and with no show of temper. If there was any petting to be done, however, he chose to do it. Often he would sit looking at me, and then, moved by a delicate affection, come and pull at my coat and sleeve until he could touch my face with his nose, and then go away contented.
– Charles Dudley Warner

* * * * *

When I play with my cat, who knows if I am not a pastime to her more than she is to me?
– Michel de Montaigne

* * * * *

Of all the toys available, none is better designed that the owner himself. A large multi-purpose plaything, its parts can be made to move in almost any directions. It comes completely assembled, and it makes a sound when you jump on it.
– Stephen Baker

* * * * *

Cats have intercepted my footsteps at the ankle for so long that my gait both at home and on tour, has been compared to that of a man wading through low surf.
– Roy Blount, Jr.

* * * * *

Although all cat games have their rules and rituals, these vary with the individual player. The cat, of course, never break a rule. If it does not follow precedent, that simply means it has created a new rule and it is up to you to learn it quickly if you want the game to continue.
– Sidney Denham

* * * * *

Another cat? Perhaps. For love there is also a season; its seeds must be re-sown. But a family cat is not replaceable like a worn out coat or a set of tires. Each new kitten becomes its own cat, and none is repeated. I am four cats old, measuring out my life in friends that have succeeded but not replaced one another.
– Irving Townsend

* * * * *

Cats come and go without ever leaving.
– Martha Curtis

* * * * *

No amount of time can erase the memory of a good cat, and no amount of masking tape can ever totally remove his fur from your couch.
– Leo Dworken

* * * * *

The cat is the only animal with accepts the comforts but rejects the bondage of domesticity.
– Georges Louis Leclerc de Buffon

* * * * *

The cat in the only animal without visible means of support who still manages to find a living in the city.
– Carl van Vechten

* * * * *

The city of cats and the city of men exist inside the other, but they are not the same city.
– Italo Calvino

* * * * *

Way down deep, we’re all motivated by the same urges. Cats have the courage to live by them.
– Jim Davis

* * * * *

Prowling his own quiet backyard or asleep by the fire, he is still only a whisker away from the wilds.
– Jean Burden

* * * * *

A cat is a tiger that is fed by hand.
– proverb

* * * * *

A cat is a lion in a jungle of small bushes.
– Indian proverb

* * * * *

God made the cat in order that man might have the pleasure of caressing the lion.
– Fernand Mery

* * * * *

I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.
– Jules Verne

* * * * *

I love cats because I love my home and after a while they become its visible soul.
– Jean Cocteau

* * * * *

My cat speaks sign language with her tail.
– Robert A. Stern

* * * * *

A kitten is the most irresistible comedian in the world. Its wide-open eyes gleam with wonder and mirth. It darts madly at nothing at all, and then, as though suddenly checked in the pursuit, prances sideways on its hind legs with ridiculous agility and zeal.
– Agnes Repplier

* * * * *

Like a graceful vase, a cat, even when motionless, seems to flow.
– George F. Will

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A cat pours his body on the floor like water.
– William Lyon Phelps

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You cannot look at a sleeping cat and feel tense.
– Jane Pauley

* * * * *

I put down my book The Meaning of Zen, and see the cat smiling into her fur as she delicately combs it with her rough pink tongue. “Cat, I would lend you thin book to study but is appears you have already read it.” She looks up and gives me her full gaze. “Don’t be ridiculous,” she purrs, “I wrote it.”
– Dilys Laing

* * * * *

Authors like cats because they are such quiet lovable, wise creatures, and cats like author for the same reasons.
– Robertson Davies

* * * * *

I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.
– Edgar Allen Poe

* * * * *

Cats are dangerous companions for writers because cat watching is a near-perfect method of writing avoidance.
– Dan Greenburg

* * * * *

If by chance I seated myself to write, she very slyly, very tenderly, seeking protection and caresses, would softly take her place on my knee and follow the comings and goings of my pen – sometimes effacing, with an unintentional stroke of her paw, lines of who tenor she disapproved.
– Pierre Loti

* * * * *

A catless writer is almost inconceivable; even Ernest Hemingway, manly follower of the hunting trophy and the bullfight, live waist-deep in cats. It’s a perverse taste, really, since it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo in the room than even one cat; they makes nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the typewriter keys.
– Barbara Holland

* * * * *

To err is human, to purr is feline.
– Robert Byrne

* * * * *

If we treated everyone with the same affection we bestow upon our favorite cat, they, too, would purr.
– Martin Buxbaum

* * * * *

Are we really sure the purring is coming from the kitty and not from our very own hearts?
– Terri Guillemets

* * * * *

If purring could be encapsulated, it would be the most powerful anti-depressant on the market.
– Terri Guillemets

1-23-17 Weekly Quotes: The Moment We Cease to Hold Each Other…

I’ve posted inspiring quotes from Martin Luther King, Jr. and other leaders of conscience many times in these weekly quotes. Right now there are many excellent films coming out about the struggles against racism and discrimination, and the poverty and violence they can lead to:

Fences, Denzel Washington’s adaptation of August Wilson’s brilliant play about the effects of Jim Crow on one particular family;

Loving, the legal case that led the U.S. Supreme Court to outlaw any ban on inter-racial marriages;

Hidden Figures, the inspiring story of three African-American women pioneers in NASA’s space program, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson;

Moonlight, a searing depiction of the struggle to grow up black and gay; and

I Am Not Your Negro, using writer and social critic James Baldwin’s eloquent words to recount black history from the civil rights movement to Black Lives Matter.

I’ve quoted James Baldwin in Bouncing Back and in all my trainings on resilience:

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

Many more quotes from James Baldwin, below. Read on; and keep on keepin’ on.

* * * * *

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. Most of us are about as eager to change as we were to be born, and go through our changes in a similar state of shock.

If you can examine and face your life, you can discover the terms with which are you are connected to other lives, and they can discover, too, the terms with which they are connected to other people.

This has happened to everyone of us, I’m sure. You read something which you thought only happened to you, and you discovered it happened 100 years ago to Dostoyevsky. This is a very great liberation for the suffering, struggling person, who always thinks that he is alone. This is why art is important. Art would not be important if life were not important, and life is important.

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was Dostoyevsky and Dickens who taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive. Only if we face these open wounds in ourselves can we understand them in other people. An artist is a sort of emotional or spiritual historian. His role is to make you realize the doom and glory of knowing who you are and what you are. He has to tell, because nobody else can tell, what it is like to be alive.

Most of us, no matter what we say, are walking in the dark, whistling in the dark. Nobody knows what is going to happen to him from one moment to the next, or how one will bear it. This is irreducible. And it’s true for everybody. Now, it is true that the nature of society is to create, among its citizens, an illusion of safety, but it is also absolutely true that the safety is always necessarily an illusion. Artists are here to disturb the peace.

The precise role of the artists, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.

You write in order to change the world, knowing perfectly well that you probably can’t, but also knowing that literature is indispensable to the world. The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even but a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.

The paradox of education is precisely this — that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.

American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.

I love American more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.

Any honest examination of the national life proves how far we are from the standard of human freedom with which we began. The recovery of this standard demands of everyone who loves this country a hard look at himself, for the greatest achievements must begin somewhere, and they always begin with the person. If we are not capable of this examination, we may yet become one of the most distinguished and monumental failures in the history of nations.

Words like freedom, justice, democracy are not common concepts; on the contrary, they are rare. People are not born knowing what these are. It takes enormous and, above all, individual effort to arrive at the respect for other people that these words imply.

Precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience you must find yourself at war with your society.

It is very nearly impossible…to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.

Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety. And at such a moment, unable to see and not daring to imagine what the future will now bring forth, one clings to what one knew, or dreamed that one possessed. Yet, it is only when a man is able, without bitterness or self-pity, to surrender a dream he has long cherished or a privilege he has long possessed that he is set free – he has set himself free – for higher dreams, for greater privileges.

The American idea of racial progress is measured by how fast I become white.

I do not know many Negroes who are eager to be “accepted” by white people, still less to be loved by them. They, the blacks, simply don’t wish to be beaten over the head by the whites every instant of our brief passage on this planet. White people will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this – which will not be tomorrow and may very well be never – the Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed

To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.

An identity is questioned only when it is menaced, as when the mighty begin to fall, or when the wretched begin to rise, or when the stranger enters the gates, never, thereafter, to be a stranger. Identity would seem, to be the garment with which one covers the nakedness of the self: in which case, it is best that the garment be loose, a little like the robes of the desert, through which one’s nakedness can always be felt, and sometimes, discerned. This trust in one’s nakedness is all that gives one the power to change one’s robes.

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.

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

1-9-17 Weekly Quotes: The Great Turning Our World Needs

[A poetic rendition of the waking up and showing up needed to create the changes we need to make in the coming challenging year.]

The Great Turning, by Christine Fry:

You’ve asked me to tell you of the Great Turning
Of how we saved the world from disaster.
The answer is both simple and complex.
We turned.
For hundreds of years we had turned away as life on earth grew more precarious
We turned away from the homeless men on the streets, the stench from the river,
The children orphaned in Iraq, the mothers dying of AIDS in Africa
We turned away because that was what we had been taught.
To turn away, from our pain, from the hurt in another’s eyes,
From the drunken father, from the friend betrayed.
Always we were told, in actions louder than words, to turn away, turn away.
And so we became a lonely people caught up in a world
Moving too quickly, too mindlessly toward its own demise.
Until it seemed as if there was no safe space to turn.
No place, inside or out, that did not remind us of fear or terror, despair and loss, anger and grief.
Yet, on one of those days, someone did turn.
Turned to face the pain.
Turned to face the stranger.
Turned to look at the smouldering world and the hatred seething in too many eyes.
Turned to face himself, herself.
And then another turned.
And another. And another.
And as they wept, they took each other’s hands.
Until whole groups of people were turning.
Young and old, gay and straight.
People of all colours, all nations, all religions.
Turning not only to the pain and hurt but to beauty, gratitude and love.
Turning to one another with forgiveness and a longing for peace in their hearts.
At first, the turning made people dizzy, even silly.
There were people standing to the side, gawking, criticizing, trying to knock the turners down.
But the people turning kept getting up, kept helping one another to their feet.
Their laughter and kindness brought others into the turning circle
Until even the nay-sayers began to smile and sway.
As the people turned, they began to spin
Reweaving the web of life, mending the shocking tears,
Knitting it back together with the colours of the earth,
Sewing on tiny mirrors so the beauty of each person, each creature, each plant, each life
Might be seen and respected.
And as the people turned, as they spun like the earth through the universe,
The web wrapped around them like a soft baby blanket
Making it clear all were loved, nothing separate.
As this love reached into every crack and crevice, the people began to wake and wonder,
To breath and give thanks,
To celebrate together.
And so the world was saved, but only as long as you, too, sweet one, remember to turn.

1-2-17 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.