Learned The Hard Way Quotes

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I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.
Gilda Radner
I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
Gilda Radner
It's not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What's hard, she said, is figuring out what you're willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn't pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.
Lucille Ball
When life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
One swing set, well worn but structurally sound, seeks new home. Make memories with your kid or kids so that someday he or she or they will look into the backyard and feel the ache of sentimentality as desperately as I did this afternoon. It's all fragile and fleeting, dear reader, but with this swing set, your child(ren) will be introduced to the ups and downs of human life gently and safely, and may also learn the most important lesson of all: No matter how hard you kick, no matter how high you get, you can't go all the way around.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
I've spent most of my life and most of my friendships holding my breath and hoping that when people get close enough they won't leave, and fearing that it's a matter of time before they figure me out and go.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
Izz, I've learned the hard way that to have any kind of a future you've got to give up hope of ever changing your past.
M.L. Stedman (The Light Between Oceans)
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before. He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Cat's Cradle)
There are times when the actual experience of leaving something makes you wish desperately that you could stay, and then there are times when the leaving reminds you a hundred times over why exactly you had to leave in the first place.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
Mistakes are a part of being human. Precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it's a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.
Al Franken
We sometimes choose the most locked up, dark versions of the story, but what a good friend does is turn on the lights, open the window, and remind us that there are a whole lot of ways to tell the same story.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
Every faction conditions its members to think and act a certain way. And most people do it. For most people, it's not hard to learn, to find a pattern of thought that works and stay that way. But our minds move in a dozen different directions. We can't be confined to one way of thinking, and that terrifies our leaders. It means we can't be controlled. And it means that no matter what they do, we will always cause trouble for them.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
If I should have a daughter…“Instead of “Mom”, she’s gonna call me “Point B.” Because that way, she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. And I’m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.” She’s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder-woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried. And “Baby,” I’ll tell her “don’t keep your nose up in the air like that, I know that trick, you’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place to see if you can change him.” But I know that she will anyway, so instead I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boats nearby, ‘cause there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix. Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks chocolate can’t fix. But that’s what the rain boots are for, because rain will wash away everything if you let it. I want her to see the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat, to look through a magnifying glass at the galaxies that exist on the pin point of a human mind. Because that’s how my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this, “There’ll be days like this my momma said” when you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say “thank you,” ‘cause there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away. You will put the “wind” in win some lose some, you will put the “star” in starting over and over, and no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life. And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting I am pretty damn naive but I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it. “Baby,” I’ll tell her “remember your mama is a worrier but your papa is a warrior and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more.” Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things and always apologize when you’ve done something wrong but don’t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining. Your voice is small but don’t ever stop singing and when they finally hand you heartbreak, slip hatred and war under your doorstep and hand you hand-outs on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.
Sarah Kay
...sometimes the happiest ending isn't the one you keep longing for, but something you absolutely cannot see from where you are.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don't lose yourself at happy hour, but don't lose yourself on the corporate ladder, either.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
When things fall apart, the broken pieces allow all sorts of things to enter, and one of them is the presence of God.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
Question: I am interested in so many things, and I have a terrible fear because my mother keeps telling me that I'm just going to be exploring the rest of my life and never get anything done. But I find it really hard to set my ways and say, "Well, do I want to do this, or should I try to exploit that, or should I escape and completely do one thing?" Anaïs Nin: One word I would banish from the dictionary is 'escape.' Just banish that and you'll be fine. Because that word has been misused regarding anybody who wanted to move away from a certain spot and wanted to grow. He was an escapist. You know if you forget that word you will have a much easier time. Also you're in the prime, the beginning of your life; you should experiment with everything, try everything.... We are taught all these dichotomies, and I only learned later that they could work in harmony. We have created false dichotomies; we create false ambivalences, and very painful one's sometimes -the feeling that we have to choose. But I think at one point we finally realize, sometimes subconsciously, whether or not we are really fitted for what we try and if it's what we want to do. You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too. No, I think there was too rigid a pattern. You came out of an education and are supposed to know your vocation. Your vocation is fixed, and maybe ten years later you find you are not a teacher anymore or you're not a painter anymore. It may happen. It has happened. I mean Gauguin decided at a certain point he wasn't a banker anymore; he was a painter. And so he walked away from banking. I think we have a right to change course. But society is the one that keeps demanding that we fit in and not disturb things. They would like you to fit in right away so that things work now.
Anaïs Nin
Jason always tried to build a good relationship with his team. He'd learned the hard way that if somebody was going to have your back in a fight, it was better if you found some common ground and trusted each other. But Nico wasn't easy to figure out.
Rick Riordan (The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus, #4))
I believe that suffering is part of the narrative, and that nothing really good gets built when everything's easy. I believe that loss and emptiness and confusion often give way to new fullness and wisdom.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
My life is a story about who God is and what He does in a human heart.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
because I have learned the hard way how deadly these beauties can be.
Suzanne Collins
Just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want him to, doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you with everything he has. | Learned that the hard way.
Ika Natassa
She didn’t want to believe the pretty gentleman capable of such violence, but she had learned the hard way that pretty gentlemen were often the worst of the lot.
Kady Cross (The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1))
Usually the hard stuff you’re forced to do makes you learn a lot.
Lauren Barnholdt (Two-Way Street)
The keys to life are running and reading. When you're running, there's a little person that talks to you and says, "Oh I'm tired. My lung's about to pop. I'm so hurt. There's no way I can possibly continue." You want to quit. If you learn how to defeat that person when you're running. You will how to not quit when things get hard in your life. For reading: there have been gazillions of people that have lived before all of us. There's no new problem you could have--with your parents, with school, with a bully. There's no new problem that someone hasn't already had and written about it in a book.
Will Smith
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
I think preparing food and feeding people brings nourishment not only to our bodies but to our spirits. Feeding people is a way of loving them, in the same way that feeding ourselves is a way of honoring our own createdness and fragility.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
Live steady. Don't fuck around. Give anything weird a wide berth -- including people. It's not worth it. I learned this the hard way, through brutal overindulgence. ...Back to Chicago; it's never dull out there. You never know exactly what kind of terrible shit is going to come down on you in that town, but you can always count on *something*. Every time I go to Chicago I come away with scars.
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72)
The young always think they’re invincible, right until the moment they learn otherwise. Usually, the hard way
Melissa Grey (The Girl at Midnight (The Girl at Midnight, #1))
I promised to spend my life with you. I still want to spend my life with you. Izz, I've learned the hard way that to have any kind of a future you've got to give up hope of ever changing your past.
M.L. Stedman (The Light Between Oceans)
When I was a kid, I learned the hard way how expensive the truth was. Sometimes it cost you people in your life. Sometimes it cost you things in your life. And in this life, most people were too cheap to pay the price for something as valuable as honesty.
Mariana Zapata (The Wall of Winnipeg and Me)
Some lessons you learned by the book. Others you learned from cold hard experience. The latter may not be the best way to learn, but it damn well stuck.
Maya Banks (No Place to Run (KGI, #2))
But this is what I’ve learned the hard way: what people think about you means nothing in comparison to what you believe about yourself.
Shauna Niequist (Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living)
I've learned the hard way that the best thing to do is say nothing about what you're really thinking. If you say nothing, they'll assume you're thinking nothing, only what you let them see.
Jennifer Niven (All the Bright Places)
The grandest seduction of all is the myth that DOING EVERYTHING BETTER gets us where we want to be. It gets us somewhere, certainly, but not anywhere worth being.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
Use what you have, use what the world gives you. Use the first day of fall: bright flame before winter's deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself. The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world's oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white silence of winter.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
I am a free soul, singing my heart out by myself no matter where I go and I call strangers my friends because I learn things and find ways to fit them into my own world. I hear what people say, rearrange it, take away and tear apart until it finds value in my reality and there I make it work. I find spaces in between the cracks and cuts where it feels empty and there I make it work.
Charlotte Eriksson
Grace isn’t about having a second chance; grace is having so many chances that you could use them through all eternity and never come up empty. It’s when you finally realize that the other shoe isn’t going to drop, ever.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
A freedom fighter learns the hard way that it is the oppressor who defines the nature of the struggle,and the oppressed is often left no recourse but to use methods that mirror those of the oppressor.At a point, one can only fight fire with fire
Nelson Mandela (Long Walk to Freedom)
I never wanted him to feel the way I had as a child," said Baghra. "So I taught him that he had no equal, that he was destined to bow to no man. I wanted him to be hard, to be strong. I taught him the lesson my mother and father taught me: to rely on no one. That love - fragile and fickle and raw - was nothing compared to power. He was a brilliant boy. He learned too well.
Leigh Bardugo (Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #3))
Many of the most deeply spiritual moments of my life haven't happened just in my mind or in my soul. They happened while holding my son in the middle of the night, or watching the water break along the shore, or around my table, watching the people I love feel nourished in all sorts of ways.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
Getting over it so soon? But the words are ambiguous. To say the patient is getting over it after an operation for appendicitis is one thing; after he’s had his leg off is quite another. After that operation either the wounded stump heals or the man dies. If it heals, the fierce, continuous pain will stop. Presently he’ll get back his strength and be able to stump about on his wooden leg. He has ‘got over it.’ But he will probably have recurrent pains in the stump all his life, and perhaps pretty bad ones; and he will always be a one-legged man. There will be hardly any moment when he forgets it. Bathing, dressing, sitting down and getting up again, even lying in bed, will all be different. His whole way of life will be changed. All sorts of pleasures and activities that he once took for granted will have to be simply written off. Duties too. At present I am learning to get about on crutches. Perhaps I shall presently be given a wooden leg. But I shall never be a biped again.
C.S. Lewis (A Grief Observed)
He knows me better than anyone ever has. Than anyone ever will again. I would have stopped it if I could have. But I've learned the hard way, we can't choose who we love. Love chooses us. Love doesn't care about what's convenient or easy or planned. Love has its own agenda and all we can do is get out of its way.
Amy Engel (The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy, #1))
Live steady. Don't fuck around. Give anything weird a wide berth--including people. It's not worth it. I learned this the hard way, through brutal overindulgence.
Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72)
One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn't pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimisim a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.
Lucille Ball
I know now that I can make it through more than I thought, with less than I thought. I know better than to believe that the changes are over, and I know better than to believe the next ones will be easier, but I've learned the hard way that change is one of God's greatest gifts and one of his most useful tools.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
The more I learned the less I felt I knew you and I got lost counting stars, I fell dreaming. Sometimes I’d wander away. Maybe I wasn’t ready or maybe it was just a hard time to love. You always reminded me of home and I could never fathom the reasoning behind your smile. Perhaps one day, if we believe enough, we’ll find our way.
Robert M. Drake
He'd learned the hard way that there was no future when all he could see was revenge. The only thing revenge had ever given him was a brief moment of satisfaction, followed by an empty abyss. He was through with revenge. He wanted to feel full instead of empty, loved, instead of feared.
C.J. Roberts (Seduced in the Dark (The Dark Duet, #2))
Beware of the man who works hard to learn something, learns it, and finds himself no wiser than before," Bokonon tells us. "He is full of murderous resentment of people who are ignorant without having come by their ignorance the hard way.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Cat's Cradle)
Respect toward others can't be imposed. It's a blessing...or learning the hard way.
Toba Beta (Master of Stupidity)
I learned the hard way that if you heard you were one thing enough times, eventually you had no option but to start believing it.
Jay Crownover (Jet (Marked Men, #2))
I've been living with Mor for five hundred years. I've learned the hard way not to question shoe choices.However stupid they may be.
Sarah J. Maas
Shut up!" Henry says, "You're going to wake up Jerry Rice." "Jerry Rice?" Carter says, covering his mouth with a hand. I don't think I've ever seen Carter laugh so hard. "Carter, would you like to be the godfather?" Henry asks. "You know, in case anything happens to me and Woods this week?" "Charming," Carter says. "I''d be honored. Does JJ get to be godmother?" "Obviously," I say. "Can I hold Jerry Rice?" JJ asks. "He''s so cute." "No way, man," I reply. "I don't want to wake that thing up before practice. We'll be late if we have to feed it." "What does it eat?" Carter asks. "I have to breast-feed, cause I'm the mom," Henry says, continuing to push the stroller toward the locker room. "Actually," I say, "It eats a metal rod, made out of, like, lead. So basically, we're learning how to poison babies." "Radical," JJ says as we approach the gym,
Miranda Kenneally (Catching Jordan)
Parents, she thought, learned to survive touching their children less and less. As a baby Pearl had clung to her; she’d worn Pearl in a sling because whenever she’d set her down, Pearl would cry. There’d scarcely been a moment in the day when they had not been pressed together. As she got older, Pearl would still cling to her mother’s leg, then her waist, then her hand, as if there was something in her mother she needed to absorb through the skin. Even when she had her own bed, she would often crawl into Mia’s in the middle of the night and burrow under the old patchwork quilt, and in the morning they would wake up tangled, Mia’s arm pinned beneath Pearl’s head, or Pearl’s legs thrown across Mia’s belly. Now, as a teenager, Pearl’s caresses had become rare—a peck on the cheek, a one-armed, half-hearted hug—and all the more precious because of that. It was the way of things, Mia thought to herself, but how hard it was. The occasional embrace, a head leaned for just a moment on your shoulder, when what you really wanted more than anything was to press them to you and hold them so tight you fused together and could never be taken apart. It was like training yourself to live on the smell of an apple alone, when what you really wanted was to devour it, to sink your teeth into it and consume it, seeds, core, and all.
Celeste Ng (Little Fires Everywhere)
What does it feel like to be alive? Living, you stand under a waterfall. You leave the sleeping shore deliberately; you shed your dusty clothes, pick your barefoot way over the high, slippery rocks, hold your breath, choose your footing, and step into the waterfall. The hard water pelts your skull, bangs in bits on your shoulders and arms. The strong water dashes down beside you and you feel it along your calves and thighs rising roughly backup, up to the roiling surface, full of bubbles that slide up your skin or break on you at full speed. Can you breathe here? Here where the force is the greatest and only the strength of your neck holds the river out of your face. Yes, you can breathe even here. You could learn to live like this. And you can, if you concentrate, even look out at the peaceful far bank where you try to raise your arms. What a racket in your ears, what a scattershot pummeling! It is time pounding at you, time. Knowing you are alive is watching on every side your generation's short time falling away as fast as rivers drop through air, and feeling it hit.
Annie Dillard (An American Childhood)
But our hearts are more elastic than we think, and the work of forgiveness and transformation and growth can do things you can't even imagine from where you're standing now.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
Mothering, she learned the hard way, was about loss as well as love.
Attica Locke (The Cutting Season)
I’d learned the hard way that when hiring executives, one should follow Colin Powell’s instructions and hire for strength rather than lack of weakness.
Ben Horowitz (The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers)
When we meet somebody whose separate tunnel-reality is obviously far different from ours, we are a bit frightened and always disoriented. We tend to think they are mad, or that they are crooks trying to con us in some way, or that they are hoaxers playing a joke. Yet it is neurologically obvious that no two brains have the same genetically-programmed hard wiring, the same imprints, the same conditioning, the same learning experiences. We are all living in separate realities. That is why communication fails so often, and misunderstandings and resentments are so common. I say "meow" and you say "Bow-wow," and each of us is convinced the other is a bit dumb.
Robert Anton Wilson (Prometheus Rising)
I learn things late–and only the hard way.
James Ellroy (The Hilliker Curse: My Pursuit of Women)
Sometimes the man who looks happiest in town, with the biggest smile, is the one carrying the biggest load of sin. There are smiles & smiles; learn to tell the dark variety from the light. The seal-barker, the laugh-shouter, half the time he's covering up. He's had his fun & he's guilty. And all men do love sin, Will, oh how they love it, never doubt, in all shapes, sizes, colors & smells. Times come when troughs, not tables, suit appetites. Hear a man too loudly praising others & look to wonder if he didn't just get up from the sty. On the other hand, that unhappy, pale, put-upon man walking by, who looks all guilt & sin, why, often that's your good man with a capital G, Will. For being good is a fearful occupation; men strain at it & sometimes break in two. I've known a few. You work twice as hard to be a farmer as to be his hog. I suppose it's thinking about trying to be good makes the crack run up the wall one night. A man with high standards, too, the least hair falls on him sometimes wilts his spine. He can't let himself alone, won't let himself off the hook if he falls just a breath from grace.
Ray Bradbury (Something Wicked This Way Comes (Green Town, #2))
I’ve learned the hard way that to have any kind of a future you’ve got to give up hope of ever changing your past.
M.L. Stedman (The Light Between Oceans)
Some of the most life-shaping decisions you make in this season will be about walking away from good-enough, in search of can’t-live-without.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
Life hands us opportunities at every turn to get over ourselves, to get outside ourselves, to wake up from our own bad dreams and realize that really lovely things are happening all the time.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
It has always been simple, but making it hard was always your way of avoiding pain. If you want to change your life, you have to change what you are doing. It wasn't his fault, her fault, their fault or the circumstances. It was your inability to choose. So, life chose for you. Somewhere in that crazy mind of yours time stopped. You thought someone would rescue you, but they didn't. You have to rescue yourself. This is not a fire you can put out; you have to walk through it, in order to reach life. Getting burned is apart of growth, didn't you know?
Shannon L. Alder
I was learning the hard way what happens when you take the people who love you for granted.
Renee Carlino (Sweet Thing (Sweet Thing, #1))
One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn't pay to get discouraged. Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore you faith in yourself.
Lucille Ball
Every year, you will trade a little of your perfect skin and your ability to look great without exercising for wisdom and peace and groundedness, and every year the trade will be worth it. I promise.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
there is no need to justify what we are. there is no need to work hard to become what we are not. we just need to return to our intergrity, to the way we were before we learned to speak. perfect. as little children, we are authentic. only the present time is real for us; wo don't care about the past, and we aren't worried about the future. we enjoy life; we want to explore and have fun. nobody teaches us to be that way; we are born that way.
Miguel Ruiz
I liked looking on at other people in crucial situations. If there was a road accident or a street fight or a baby pickled in a laboratory jar for me to look at, I'd stop and look so hard I never forgot it. I certainly learned a lot of things I never would have learned otherwise this way, and even when they surprised me or made me sick I never let on, but pretended that's the way I knew things were all the time.
Sylvia Plath (The Bell Jar)
It took me years to learn to sit at my desk for more than two minutes at a time, to put up with the solitude and the terror of failure, and the godawful silence and the white paper. And now that I can take it . . . now that I can finally do it . . . I'm really raring to go. I was in my study writing. I was learning how to go down into myself and salvage bits and pieces of the past. I was learning how to sneak up on the unconscious and how to catch my seemingly random thoughts and fantasies. By closing me out of his world, Bennett had opened all sorts of worlds inside my own head. Gradually I began to realize that none of the subjects I wrote poems about engaged my deepest feelings, that there was a great chasm between what I cared about and what I wrote about. Why? What was I afraid of? Myself, most of all, it seemed. "Freedom is an illusion," Bennett would have said and, in a way, I too would have agreed. Sanity, moderation, hard work, stability . . . I believed in them too. But what was that other voice inside of me which kept urging me on toward zipless fucks, and speeding cars and endless wet kisses and guts full of danger? What was that other voice which kept calling me coward! and egging me on to burn my bridges, to swallow the poison in one gulp instead of drop by drop, to go down into the bottom of my fear and see if I could pull myself up? Was it a voice? Or was it a thump? Something even more primitive than speech. A kind of pounding in my gut which I had nicknamed my "hunger-thump." It was as if my stomach thought of itself as a heart. And no matter how I filled it—with men, with books, with food—it refused to be still. Unfillable—that's what I was. Nymphomania of the brain. Starvation of the heart.
Erica Jong (Fear of Flying)
..The stuff you learn beforehand will never be one-tenth as useful as the stuff you learn the hard way, on the job.
Hugh MacLeod (Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination)
I've learned two things the hard way: You can't fix stupid and you shouldn't use up your patience to fix stupid.
Karen A. Baquiran
One thing I'd learned the hard way: people loved you in the way they knew how - and often it was not the way you knew. Or needed.
Josh Lanyon (The Dark Tide (The Adrien English Mysteries, #5))
Well, I would turn into a dragon and fly you home, but something tells me you would protest. (Sebastian) No doubt. I imagine the scales would also chafe my skin. (Channon) True. Not to mention, I once learned the hard way that they really do call the military out on you. You know, fighter jets are hard to dodge when you have a forty-foot wingspan. (Sebastian)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Dragonswan (Were-Hunter #0.5))
Parents think they can hand children permanent confidence—like a gift—by praising their brains and talent. It doesn’t work, and in fact has the opposite effect. It makes children doubt themselves as soon as anything is hard or anything goes wrong. If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence.
Carol S. Dweck (Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential)
And I'd learned, the hard way, that sometimes, even with the purest intentions, we make things worse when we do our best to make things better.
Gregory David Roberts (Shantaram)
At last, the answer why. The lesson that had been so hard to find, so difficult to learn, came quick and clear and simple. The reason for problems is to overcome them. Why, that’s the very nature of man, I thought, to press past limits, to prove his freedom. It isn’t the challenge that faces us, that determines who we are and what we are becoming, but the way we meet the challenge, whether we toss a match at the wreck or work our way through it, step by step, to freedom.
Richard Bach (Nothing by Chance)
Along the way, I’ve tried not to make the same mistake twice, to learn, to adapt, and to pray for the wisdom to make better choices in the future.
Hillary Rodham Clinton (Hard Choices)
Sometimes we have to leave home in order to find out what we left there, and why it matters so much.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
I don't always change my clothes just because I'm leaving the house. I wear yoga pants 99 percent of the time, and I pretend that other people don't notice that I'm wearing my pajamas in public.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
<…>Tate fell silent. Ty didn't. "Since the day I was released, you knocked yourself out. You had my back, you took care of Lexie when we had our thing then you did what you could to help me sort that. It's important to me that you know I'm grateful. I've been tryin' to figure out how I can show how much but, keep thinkin' on it, nothin' comes to mind and I know why. I get it. You're a man who has everything so there is nothing I can hand you that you want or need. And I get that because I am now that same man. So the only thing I can give you are words and, my guess is, that'll be enough. If it isn't, you name it and it's yours." "Friends do what I did for friends," Tate returned. "No they don't, Tate. You did what you did for me because you're you. That's what I'm talkin' about." Tate ws silent a moment then he said, "Well then, you guessed right. Words are enough." Ty nodded. Tate tipped his head to the side and asked jokingly, "We done with the near-midnight in the middle of fuckin' nowhere heart-to-heart?" Ty didn't feel like joking and answered, "No." "Then what -?" "Love you, man," Ty interrupted quietly. "Learned the hard way not to delay in expressing that sentiment so I'm not gonna delay. You call me brother and I got one who's blood who don't mean shit to me and today, all this shit done, rejoicing and reflecting, it hit me that I got two who aren't blood but who do mean something. And you're one of those two." "Ty-" Tate murmured. "I will never forget, until I die, what you did for me and my wife and until that day I will never stop bein' grateful." "Fuck man," Tate whispered. "Now, do those words work so you get what you did mean to me?" Silence then, "Yeah, they work." "Good, then now we're done with our near-midnight, middle of fuckin' nowhere heart-to-heart," Ty declared, turned, opened the door to the Viper and started folding in. He stopped with his ass nearly to the seat and looked up over the door when Tate called his name. "I don't have a blood brother," Tate said. "But you should know there's a reason I call you that."<…>
Kristen Ashley (Lady Luck (Colorado Mountain, #3))
The hard way is my favorite way to learn.
Sarah McCarry (All Our Pretty Songs (Metamorphoses, #1))
...now that I am a mother, I understand what Mother's Day is about: it's about looking through our lives and recognizing the act of mothering everywhere we see it, and more than that, recognizing that when any of us mother-- when we listen, nuture, nourish, protect--we're doing sacred work.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
You work so hard, just to end up at home crying yourself to sleep; remember you’re trying, you are moving mountains that have plagued you since you were young, and you’re trying so hard. Keep fighting, fight until you have won. Fight until you have found your way home, until the sun comes back and your heart learns to love the mornings again.
T.B. LaBerge
Jo's face was a study next day, for the secret rather weighed upon her, and she found it hard not to look mysterious and important. Meg observed it, but did not troubled herself to make inquiries, for she had learned that the best way to manage Jo was by the law of contraries, so she felt sure of being told everything if she did not ask.
Louisa May Alcott (Little Women)
I believe that God is making all things new. I believe that Christ overcame death and that pattern is apparent all through life and history: life from death, water from a stone, redemption from failure, connection from alienation. I believe that suffering is part of the narrative, and that nothing really good gets built when everything's easy.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
You learn to write the same way you learn to play golf... You do it, and keep doing it until you get it right. A lot of people think something mystical happens to you, that maybe the muse kisses you on the ear. But writing isn’t divinely inspired – it’s hard work.
Tom Clancy
But I'll tell you something else, too. Something I've learned, the hard way. I guess"—Gram laughed a little—"I'm the kind of person who has to learn things the hard way. You've got to hold on. Hold on to people. They can get away from you. It's not always going to be fun, but if you don't—hold on—then you lose them.
Cynthia Voigt
She had learned, in her life, that time lived inside you. You are time, you breathe time. When she'd been young, she'd had an insatiable hunger for more of it, though she hadn't understood why. Now she held inside her a cacophony of times and lately it drowned out the world. The apple tree was still nice to lie near. They peony, for its scent, also fine. When she walked through the woods (infrequently now) she picked her way along the path, making way for the boy inside to run along before her. It could be hard to choose the time outside over the time within.
David Wroblewski (The Story of Edgar Sawtelle)
Thus did my siblings and I learn one of the hard lessons of life: the best way to strip the allure and dreaminess from a lifelong dream is, very often, simply to have it come true.
David James Duncan (The Brothers K)
...when I've practiced acceptance, when I've floated instead of fought, when I've rested, even for a moment, on the surface instead of wrestling the water itself. And those moments are like heaven.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
one of the few things I’ve learned is that humans hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn—when they do, which isn’t often—on their own, the hard way.
Robert A. Heinlein (Time Enough for Love)
Seven Ways To Get Ahead in Business: 1. Be forward thinking 2. Be inventive, and daring 3. Do the right thing 4. Be honest and straight forward 5. Be willing to change, to learn, to grow 6. Work hard and be yourself 7. Lead by example
Germany Kent
I believe deeply that God does his best work in our lives during times of great heartbreak and loss, and I believe that much of that rich work is done by the hands of people who love us, who dive into the wreckage with us and show us who God is, over and over and over. There are years when the Christmas spirit is hard to come by, and it’s in those seasons when I’m so thankful for Advent. Consider it a less flashy but still very beautiful way of being present to this season. Give up for a while your false and failing attempts at merriment, and thank God for thin places, and for Advent, for a season that understands longing and loneliness and long nights. Let yourself fall open to Advent, to anticipation, to the belief that what is empty will be filled, what is broken will be repaired, and what is lost can always be found, no matter how many times it’s been lost.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
Like everyone else, you want to learn the way to win, but never to accept the way to lose, to accept defeat, to learn to die is to be liberated from it. So when tomorrow comes, you must free your ambitious mind, and learn the art of dying.
Bruce Lee
When Life is Well say THANK YOU & CELEBRATE, and when life is Bitter say THANK YOU & GROW.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot. It makes a difference where and when we grew up. The culture we belong to and the legacies passed down by our forebears shape the patterns of our achievements in ways we cannot begin to imagine. It's not enough to ask what successful people are like, in other words. It is only by asking where they are from that we can unravel the logic behind who succeeds and who doesn't.
Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers: The Story of Success)
I've always been a very restless person. I work hard, spend too much time looking after my son, I dance like a mad thing, I learned calligraphy. I go to courses on selling, I read one book after another. But that's all a way of avoiding those moments when nothing is happening, because those blank spaces give me a feeling of absolute emptiness, in which not a single crumb of love exists.
Paulo Coelho (The Witch of Portobello)
'Everything is temporary. Nothing lasts. We're born. We die. Life's all about loss and change. Things happen, we learn to adapt or we don't, but we move on in some way or another. Sometimes that's hard and takes longer than we'd like.'
Barbara Elsborg (Every Move He Makes)
Throw everything away, forget about it all! You are learning too much, remembering too much, trying too hard . . . relax a little bit, give life a chance to flow its own way, unassisted by your mind and effort. Stop directing the river’s flow.
Mooji
What people do isn't determined by where they live. It happens to be their damned fault. They decided to watch TV instead of thinking when they were in high school. They decided to blow-off courses and drink beer instead of reading and trying to learn something. They decided to chicken out and be intolerant bastards instead of being openminded, and finally they decided to go along with their buddies and do things that were terribly wrong when there was no reason they had to. Anyone who hurts someone else decides to hurt them, goes out of their way to do it. . . . The fact that it's hard to be a good person doesn't excuse going along and being an asshole. If they can't overcome their own fear of being unusual, it's not my fault, because any idiot ought to be able to see that if he just acts reasonably and makes a point of not hurting others, he'll be happier.
Neal Stephenson (The Big U)
Mocking precedes learning the hard way.
Toba Beta (Master of Stupidity)
The people who stand before kings may look like they did it all by themselves. But in fact they are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the world in ways others cannot. It makes a difference where and when we grew up.
Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers: The Story of Success)
If, however, I understand racism as a system into which I was socialized, I can receive feedback on my problematic racial patterns as a helpful way to support my learning and growth. One of the greatest social fears for a white person is being told that something that we have said or done is racially problematic. Yet when someone lets us know that we have just done such a thing, rather than respond with gratitude and relief (after all, now that we are informed, we won’t do it again), we often respond with anger and denial.
Robin DiAngelo (White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism)
The rewrites are a struggle right now. Sometimes I wish writing a book could just be easy for me at last. But when I think about it practically, I am glad it's a struggle. I am (as usual) attempting to write a book that's too hard for me. I'm telling a story I'm not smart enough to tell. The risk of failure is huge. But I prefer it this way. I'm forced to learn, forced to smarten myself up, forced to wrestle. And if it works, then I'll have written something that is better than I am.
Shannon Hale
When you’re in between dreams, you get to lean back and relax and stop trying so hard. Trying to be somebody, I mean. It’s not as exciting as being a television star, but it’s not that bad, either. You just have to learn to be satisfied with the way you are for a while. Not Forever. Just until you’re finished resting.
Barbara Park
The division is based on knowledge, based on qualifications - but as I learned from the factionless, a system that relies on a group of uneducated people to do its dirty work without giving them a way to rise is hardly fair.
Veronica Roth (Allegiant (Divergent, #3))
Do you know about the spoons? Because you should. The Spoon Theory was created by a friend of mine, Christine Miserandino, to explain the limits you have when you live with chronic illness. Most healthy people have a seemingly infinite number of spoons at their disposal, each one representing the energy needed to do a task. You get up in the morning. That’s a spoon. You take a shower. That’s a spoon. You work, and play, and clean, and love, and hate, and that’s lots of damn spoons … but if you are young and healthy you still have spoons left over as you fall asleep and wait for the new supply of spoons to be delivered in the morning. But if you are sick or in pain, your exhaustion changes you and the number of spoons you have. Autoimmune disease or chronic pain like I have with my arthritis cuts down on your spoons. Depression or anxiety takes away even more. Maybe you only have six spoons to use that day. Sometimes you have even fewer. And you look at the things you need to do and realize that you don’t have enough spoons to do them all. If you clean the house you won’t have any spoons left to exercise. You can visit a friend but you won’t have enough spoons to drive yourself back home. You can accomplish everything a normal person does for hours but then you hit a wall and fall into bed thinking, “I wish I could stop breathing for an hour because it’s exhausting, all this inhaling and exhaling.” And then your husband sees you lying on the bed and raises his eyebrow seductively and you say, “No. I can’t have sex with you today because there aren’t enough spoons,” and he looks at you strangely because that sounds kinky, and not in a good way. And you know you should explain the Spoon Theory so he won’t get mad but you don’t have the energy to explain properly because you used your last spoon of the morning picking up his dry cleaning so instead you just defensively yell: “I SPENT ALL MY SPOONS ON YOUR LAUNDRY,” and he says, “What the … You can’t pay for dry cleaning with spoons. What is wrong with you?” Now you’re mad because this is his fault too but you’re too tired to fight out loud and so you have the argument in your mind, but it doesn’t go well because you’re too tired to defend yourself even in your head, and the critical internal voices take over and you’re too tired not to believe them. Then you get more depressed and the next day you wake up with even fewer spoons and so you try to make spoons out of caffeine and willpower but that never really works. The only thing that does work is realizing that your lack of spoons is not your fault, and to remind yourself of that fact over and over as you compare your fucked-up life to everyone else’s just-as-fucked-up-but-not-as-noticeably-to-outsiders lives. Really, the only people you should be comparing yourself to would be people who make you feel better by comparison. For instance, people who are in comas, because those people have no spoons at all and you don’t see anyone judging them. Personally, I always compare myself to Galileo because everyone knows he’s fantastic, but he has no spoons at all because he’s dead. So technically I’m better than Galileo because all I’ve done is take a shower and already I’ve accomplished more than him today. If we were having a competition I’d have beaten him in daily accomplishments every damn day of my life. But I’m not gloating because Galileo can’t control his current spoon supply any more than I can, and if Galileo couldn’t figure out how to keep his dwindling spoon supply I think it’s pretty unfair of me to judge myself for mine. I’ve learned to use my spoons wisely. To say no. To push myself, but not too hard. To try to enjoy the amazingness of life while teetering at the edge of terror and fatigue.
Jenny Lawson (Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things)
Wherever it left us, we were barely learning to live with it when here came Flannery O'Connor and Hank Williams to tell us that no one has ever been loved the way everybody wants to be loved, and that's hard. That's hard. --last stanza of How Step by Step We Have Come to Understand
Miller Williams (Time and the Tilting Earth)
Left to our own devices, we sometimes choose the most locked up, dark versions of the story, but what a good friend does is turn on the lights, open the window, and remind us that there are a whole lot of ways to tell the same story.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
If, by the virtue of charity or the circumstance of desperation, you ever chance to spend a little time around a Substance-recovery halfway facility like Enfield MA’s state-funded Ennet House, you will acquire many exotic new facts… That certain persons simply will not like you no matter what you do. That sleeping can be a form of emotional escape and can with sustained effort be abused. That purposeful sleep-deprivation can also be an abusable escape. That you do not have to like a person in order to learn from him/her/it. That loneliness is not a function of solitude. That logical validity is not a guarantee of truth. That it takes effort to pay attention to any one stimulus for more than a few seconds. That boring activities become, perversely, much less boring if you concentrate intently on them. That if enough people in a silent room are drinking coffee it is possible to make out the sound of steam coming off the coffee. That sometimes human beings have to just sit in one place and, like, hurt. That you will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do. That there is such a thing as raw, unalloyed, agendaless kindness. That it is possible to fall asleep during an anxiety attack. That concentrating intently on anything is very hard work. That 99% of compulsive thinkers’ thinking is about themselves; that 99% of this self-directed thinking consists of imagining and then getting ready for things that are going to happen to them; and then, weirdly, that if they stop to think about it, that 100% of the things they spend 99% of their time and energy imagining and trying to prepare for all the contingencies and consequences of are never good. In short that 99% of the head’s thinking activity consists of trying to scare the everliving shit out of itself. That it is possible to make rather tasty poached eggs in a microwave oven. That some people’s moms never taught them to cover up or turn away when they sneeze. That the people to be the most frightened of are the people who are the most frightened. That it takes great personal courage to let yourself appear weak. That no single, individual moment is in and of itself unendurable. That other people can often see things about you that you yourself cannot see, even if those people are stupid. That having a lot of money does not immunize people from suffering or fear. That trying to dance sober is a whole different kettle of fish. That different people have radically different ideas of basic personal hygiene. That, perversely, it is often more fun to want something than to have it. That if you do something nice for somebody in secret, anonymously, without letting the person you did it for know it was you or anybody else know what it was you did or in any way or form trying to get credit for it, it’s almost its own form of intoxicating buzz. That anonymous generosity, too, can be abused. That it is permissible to want. That everybody is identical in their unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else. That this isn’t necessarily perverse. That there might not be angels, but there are people who might as well be angels.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
dear reader, but with this swing set, your child(ren) will be introduced to the ups and downs of human life gently and safely, and may also learn the most important lesson of all: No matter how hard you kick, no matter how high you get, you can’t go all the way around.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
It is has been a long time since I have written one of my statuses about life. I have been very busy trying to promote my Fan page, Friends and services, and my books. However, I can tell you all one thing for certain. I am not a Quitter. I will not stop writing books. I will not stop pushing myself to succeed. I will not stop being who I am. I am a winner. Winning is an attitude. You take the good with the bad and you keep on going. It gets hard, you get tired and sometimes burnt out but you keep on going anyway, because you can. Winners have setbacks, but winners learn tighten their belts and go on. Winner look at what has gone wrong and instead of complaining they find ways of doing it better. Winners know that Rome was not built in a day and take every day as it comes. Winners do not whine, they roar.
Alexander Stone
Here's what I've learned about miracles: Sometimes they turn up quick, and sometimes they take their sweet time getting to you. It's hard to tell either way because a miracle never looks exactly the way you think it should. Some miracles are big and flashy, and others are sweet and simple. Some miracles make you want to shout, and others make you want to sing. And some miracles, the very best miracles of all, show up wearing cowboy boots.
Natalie Lloyd (A Snicker of Magic)
My dad should have listened to me when I told him that college was not my thing. Instead, he insisted on learning a $200,000 lesson the hard way. That’s the thing about college—you pay a ton of money just to realize that everyone is a fucking moron.
Babe Walker (White Girl Problems)
You cannot have your news instantly and have it done well. You cannot have your news reduced to 140 characters or less without losing large parts of it. You cannot manipulate the news but not expect it to be manipulated against you. You cannot have your news for free; you can only obscure the costs. If as a culture we can learn this lesson, and if we can learn to love the hard work, we will save ourselves much trouble and collateral damage. We must remember: There is no easy way.
Ryan Holiday (Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator)
...I have this one nasty habit. Makes me hard to live with. I write... ...writing is antisocial. It's as solitary as masturbation. Disturb a writer when he is in the throes of creation and he is likely to turn and bite right to the bone... and not even know that he's doing it. As writers' wives and husbands often learn to their horror... ...there is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized. Or even cured. In a household with more than one person, of which one is a writer, the only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where he can endure the acute stages in private, and where food can be poked in to him with a stick. Because, if you disturb the patient at such times, he may break into tears or become violent. Or he may not hear you at all... and, if you shake him at this stage, he bites...
Robert A. Heinlein
He wants to accomplish something in life, learn languages, see the world, read a thousand books, he wants to discover whether there is any core, but sometimes it's hard to think and read when one is stiff and sore after a difficult fishing voyage, wet and cold after twelve hours' working in the meadows, when his thoughts can be so heavy that he can hardly lift them, then it's a long way to the core.
Jón Kalman Stefánsson (Himnaríki og helvíti)
This is how the soul heals. it thaws out bit by bit, the way the ground warms after a hard winter. you notive the sun or hear the whippoorwill calling across the flats. You sweep your porch, go drink coffee in the shade of the trumpet vines. You have days where you want to lay down and die, but what you learn is this: As long as there's somebody left on this earth who loves you, it's reason enough to stay alive. You don't give in to your broke heart-- you just let the wide, cracked space fill up again.
Michael Lee West (American Pie)
When we learn to work with our own Inner Nature, and with the natural laws operating around us, we reach the level of Wu Wei. Then we work with the natural order of things and operate on the principle of minimal effort. Since the natural world follows that principle, it does not make mistakes. Mistakes are made–or imagined–by man, the creature with the overloaded Brain who separates himself from the supporting network of natural laws by interfering and trying too hard. When you work with Wu Wei, you put the round peg in the round hole and the square peg in the square hole. No stress, no struggle. Egotistical Desire tries to force the round peg into the square hole and the square peg into the round hole. Cleverness tries to devise craftier ways of making pegs fit where they don’t belong. Knowledge tries to figure out why round pegs fit into round holes, but not square holes. Wu Wei doesn’t try. It doesn’t think about it. It just does it. And when it does, it doesn’t appear to do much of anything. But Things Get Done. When you work with Wu Wei, you have no real accidents. Things may get a little Odd at times, but they work out. You don’t have to try very hard to make them work out; you just let them. [...] If you’re in tune with The Way Things Work, then they work the way they need to, no matter what you may think about it at the time. Later on you can look back and say, "Oh, now I understand. That had to happen so that those could happen, and those had to happen in order for this to happen…" Then you realize that even if you’d tried to make it all turn out perfectly, you couldn’t have done better, and if you’d really tried, you would have made a mess of the whole thing. Using Wu Wei, you go by circumstances and listen to your own intuition. "This isn’t the best time to do this. I’d better go that way." Like that. When you do that sort of thing, people may say you have a Sixth Sense or something. All it really is, though, is being Sensitive to Circumstances. That’s just natural. It’s only strange when you don’t listen.
Benjamin Hoff (The Tao of Pooh)
And who wouldn't wish that? Certainly everyone here- dressed up as aliens, and wizards, and zombies, and superheroes- wants desperately to be inside a story, to be part of something more logical and meaningful than real life seems to be. Because even worlds with dragons and time machines seem to be more ordered than our own. When you live for stories, when you spend so much of your time immersed in careful constructs of three and five acts, it sometimes feels like you're just stumbling through the rest of life, trying to divine meaningful narrative threads from the chaos. Which, as I learned the hard way this weekend, can be painfully fruitless. Fiction is there when real life fails you. But it's not a substitute.
Sarvenaz Tash (The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love)
We're all on our own, aren't we? That's what it boils down to. We come into this world on our own- in Hawaii, as I did, or New York, or China, or Africa or Montana- and we leave it in the same way, on our own, wherever we happen to be at the time- in a plane, in our beds, in a car, in a space shuttle, or in a field of flowers. And between those times, we try to connect along the way with others who are also on their own. If we're lucky, we have a mother who reads to us. We have a teacher or two along the way who make us feel special. We have dogs who do the stupid dog tricks we teach them and who lie on our bed when we're not looking, because it smells like us, and so we pretend not to notice the paw prints on the bedspread. We have friends who lend us their favorite books. Maybe we have children, and grandchildren, and funny mailmen and eccentric great-aunts, and uncles who can pull pennies out of their ears. All of them teach us stuff. They teach us about combustion engines and the major products of Bolivia, and what poems are not boring, and how to be kind to each other, and how to laugh, and when the vigil is in our hands, and when we have to make the best of things even though it's hard sometimes. Looking back together, telling our stories to one another, we learn how to be on our own.
Lois Lowry
Listen, I know there were days you wanted to die when the sky was so clear you’d stand obnoxious underneath it begging for stars to shoot you just so you could feel at home. I know about the ways you misplaced all the right words, stockpiled every important social cue you ever missed from the first time you learned you were wrong, waited to make it right once everyone stopped watching. I know you let them beat up your beauty in bed because redemption was still alive in you, howling relentless, gathering strength. Felt like ecstasy when they pounded it out of you in the hard dark. Those days of dead weather got all strung together and they spoke for you, wore you down to telling everyone here it was a good life so you could run back into the wails of your windfight. I know the parts of your past that haunt you the most are the days you weren’t being yourself, and I know that’s why most of your past haunts you. There were so many who found you out, and they were right. You were good. So un- numb.
Buddy Wakefield
And what we learn about ourselves in those moments, where the trigger has been squeezed, is this: the past is not dead. There are things that wait for us, patiently, in the dark corridors of our lives. We think we have moved on, put them out of mind, left them to desiccate and shrivel and blow away; but we are wrong. They have been waiting there in the darkness, working out, practicing their most vicious blows, their sharp hard thoughtless punches into the gut, killing time until we came back that way.
Neil Gaiman (Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances)
She swallowed and licked her lips. “It’s rather good.” He laughed breathlessly. Have care, part of his brain whispered. This way only leads to pain. But his c*ck was pressing hard against the placket of his breeches and he wanted to take her hand and draw her away to his rooms and keep her there until she learned to scream in pleasure. Until she screamed his name and no other.
Elizabeth Hoyt (Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane, #3))
[B]y being so long in the lowest form I gained an immense advantage over the cleverer boys. They all went on to learn Latin and Greek and splendid things like that. But I was taught English. We were considered such dunces that we could learn only English. Mr. Somervell -- a most delightful man, to whom my debt is great -- was charged with the duty of teaching the stupidest boys the most disregarded thing -- namely, to write mere English. He knew how to do it. He taught it as no one else has ever taught it. Not only did we learn English parsing thoroughly, but we also practised continually English analysis. . . Thus I got into my bones the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence -- which is a noble thing. And when in after years my schoolfellows who had won prizes and distinction for writing such beautiful Latin poetry and pithy Greek epigrams had to come down again to common English, to earn their living or make their way, I did not feel myself at any disadvantage. Naturally I am biased in favour of boys learning English. I would make them all learn English: and then I would let the clever ones learn Latin as an honour, and Greek as a treat. But the only thing I would whip them for would be not knowing English. I would whip them hard for that.
Winston S. Churchill (My Early Life, 1874-1904)
Still I made one excuse after another, and Jesus would answer, 'Go, and I will be with you'... Then Jesus said again, 'Go, and I will be with you.' I cried, 'Lord, I will go. Where shall I go?' And Jesus said, 'Go here, go there, wherever souls are perishing.' Praise the Lord for his wonderful goodness in revealing his word and will in such a wonderful way, to such a poor weak worm of the dust. I saw more in that vision than I could have learned in years of hard study. Praise His Holy Name. I saw that I must not depend on anything that I could do, but to look to Him for strength and wisdom.
Maria Woodworth-Etter
That’s why it’s hard, I think, to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. I love that line from the Bible, but it’s so incredibly difficult sometimes, because when you’ve got reason to rejoice, you forget what it’s like to mourn, even if you swear you never will. And because when you’re mourning, the fact that someone close to you is rejoicing seems like a personal affront.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
We are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past, and no amount of education gleaned from our propensity for self-destruction and misguided thinking ever teaches us anything. Not anything that we remember for more than a generation or two. I think maybe we learn a few things each time that we don't forget. A few things that stick with us. It's just hard to pass those things on to those who come after us because if they didn't live through it, they don't view it the same way we do. If you don't experience something firsthand, it's a lot harder to accept. Terry Brooks, Bearers of the Black Staff, p 89
Terry Brooks (Bearers of the Black Staff (Legends of Shannara, #1))
The dogs left with us and we walked. I sobbed the whole way home, still heartbroken. My mom had no time for my whining. “Why are you crying?!” “Because Fufi loves another boy.” “So? Why would that hurt you? It didn’t cost you anything. Fufi’s here. She still loves you. She’s still your dog. So get over it.” Fufi was my first heartbreak. No one has ever betrayed me more than Fufi. It was a valuable lesson to me. The hard thing was understanding that Fufi wasn’t cheating on me with another boy. She was merely living her life to the fullest. Until I knew that she was going out on her own during the day, her other relationship hadn’t affected me at all. Fufi had no malicious intent. I believed that Fufi was my dog, but of course that wasn’t true. Fufi was a dog. I was a boy. We got along well. She happened to live in my house. That experience shaped what I’ve felt about relationships for the rest of my life: You do not own the thing that you love. I was lucky to learn that lesson at such a young age. I have so many friends who still, as adults, wrestle with feelings of betrayal. They’ll come to me angry and crying and talking about how they’ve been cheated on and lied to, and I feel for them. I understand what they’re going through. I sit with them and buy them a drink and I say, “Friend, let me tell you the story of Fufi.
Trevor Noah (Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood)
His laugh rumbled against me. Eyes closed, the wind roaring like a wild animal, I adjusted my position, gripping him tighter. My knuckles brushed one of his wings- smooth and cool like silk, but hard as stone with it stretched taut. Fascinating. I blindly reached again... and dared to run a fingertip along some inner edge. Rhysand shuddered, a soft groan slipping past my ear. "That," he said tightly, "is very sensitive". I snatched my finger back, pulling away far enough to see his face. With the wind, I had to squint, and my braided hair ripped this way and that, but- he was entirely focused on the montains around us. "Does it tickle?" He flicked his gaze to me, then on the snow and pine that went on forever. "It feels like this," he said, and learned in so close that his lips brushed the shell of my ear as he sent a gentle breath into it. My back arched on instinct, my chin tipping up at the carees of that breath. "Oh", I managed to say. I felt him smile against my ear and pull away.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2))
Silence frees us from the need to control others. One reason we can hardly bear to remain silent is that it makes us feel so helpless. We are accustomed to relying upon words to manage and control others. A frantic stream of words flows from us in an attempt to straighten others out. We want so desperately for them to agree with us, to see things our way. We evaluate people, judge people, condemn people. We devour people with our words. Silence is one of the deepest Disciplines of the Spirit simply because it puts the stopper on that. When we become quiet enough to let go of people, we learn compassion for them.
Richard J. Foster (Freedom of Simplicity: Finding Harmony in a Complex World)
In life, the question is not if you will have problems, but how you are going to deal with your problems. If the possibility of failure were erased, what would you attempt to achieve? The essence of man is imperfection. Know that you're going to make mistakes. The fellow who never makes a mistake takes his orders from one who does. Wake up and realize this: Failure is simply a price we pay to achieve success. Achievers are given multiple reasons to believe they are failures. But in spite of that, they persevere. The average for entrepreneurs is 3.8 failures before they finally make it in business. When achievers fail, they see it as a momentary event, not a lifelong epidemic. Procrastination is too high a price to pay for fear of failure. To conquer fear, you have to feel the fear and take action anyway. Forget motivation. Just do it. Act your way into feeling, not wait for positive emotions to carry you forward. Recognize that you will spend much of your life making mistakes. If you can take action and keep making mistakes, you gain experience. Life is playing a poor hand well. The greatest battle you wage against failure occurs on the inside, not the outside. Why worry about things you can't control when you can keep yourself busy controlling the things that depend on you? Handicaps can only disable us if we let them. If you are continually experiencing trouble or facing obstacles, then you should check to make sure that you are not the problem. Be more concerned with what you can give rather than what you can get because giving truly is the highest level of living. Embrace adversity and make failure a regular part of your life. If you're not failing, you're probably not really moving forward. Everything in life brings risk. It's true that you risk failure if you try something bold because you might miss it. But you also risk failure if you stand still and don't try anything new. The less you venture out, the greater your risk of failure. Ironically the more you risk failure — and actually fail — the greater your chances of success. If you are succeeding in everything you do, then you're probably not pushing yourself hard enough. And that means you're not taking enough risks. You risk because you have something of value you want to achieve. The more you do, the more you fail. The more you fail, the more you learn. The more you learn, the better you get. Determining what went wrong in a situation has value. But taking that analysis another step and figuring out how to use it to your benefit is the real difference maker when it comes to failing forward. Don't let your learning lead to knowledge; let your learning lead to action. The last time you failed, did you stop trying because you failed, or did you fail because you stopped trying? Commitment makes you capable of failing forward until you reach your goals. Cutting corners is really a sign of impatience and poor self-discipline. Successful people have learned to do what does not come naturally. Nothing worth achieving comes easily. The only way to fail forward and achieve your dreams is to cultivate tenacity and persistence. Never say die. Never be satisfied. Be stubborn. Be persistent. Integrity is a must. Anything worth having is worth striving for with all your might. If we look long enough for what we want in life we are almost sure to find it. Success is in the journey, the continual process. And no matter how hard you work, you will not create the perfect plan or execute it without error. You will never get to the point that you no longer make mistakes, that you no longer fail. The next time you find yourself envying what successful people have achieved, recognize that they have probably gone through many negative experiences that you cannot see on the surface. Fail early, fail often, but always fail forward.
John C. Maxwell (Failing Forward)
It’s sloppy theology to think that all suffering is good for us, or that it’s a result of sin. All suffering can be used for good, over time, after mourning and healing, by God’s graciousness. But sometimes it’s just plain loss, not because you needed to grow, not because life or God or anything is teaching you any kind of lesson. The trick is knowing the difference between the two.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
We create because we were made to create, having been made in the image of God, whose first role was Creator. He was and is a million different things, but in the beginning, he was a creator. That means something for us, I think. We were made to be the things that he is: forgivers, redeemers, second chance-givers, truth-tellers, hope-bringers. And we were certainly, absolutely, made to be creators.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
And we learned, perhaps the hard way, that church isn’t static. It’s not a building, or a denomination, or a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Church is a moment in time when the kingdom of God draws near, when a meal, a story, a song, an apology, and even a failure is made holy by the presence of Jesus among us and within us.
Rachel Held Evans (Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church)
This world is a funny world indeed, And people are hard to suit. The man who plays the piccolo, Is a bore to the man with the flute. And often to myself I've thought how lovely it would be, If every person I ever met would simply agree with me. But since they won't, I think the way to make the whole world bright Is never to mind what others say, And do what I think is right.
Walter Learned
Start with this: not all pain matters. There are people whose attention is consistently drawn away from their purpose and toward their pain, like a moth to a light. Such people, who pay attention to every annoyance and obstacle in their way, are usually unsuccessful in their endeavors. In extreme cases they are mentally ill. A healthy person, a flourishing person, learns to move past a lot of annoyance and a good deal of pain.
Eric Greitens (Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life)
I believe in women uplifting other women. The only thing that makes our gender weaker, is the fact that we are the gender less likely to stand up for the other. We are the gender more likely to try and make another look bad, and when one of us is already bad, instead of being kind, we pound them into the ditches. And that's what makes us weak, nothing else. If we can change this, we can change the whole structure of our being female, I truly believe this. Personally, I grew up admiring other women and wanting to be friends with them, but unfortunately, I learned the hard way that they were the ones who would hurt me. Women hurt other women all too often, and that's a fact. I'd like to see not just us not hurting one another; but us actually making a conscious effort to be happy for another when she is happy, to hope the best for another when she has better, and to lift another up when she is down. We know that so many of us are harsh, cold and selfish, and we try to protect ourselves from one another, that's the reality. But it's also a reality that what is real can change. So that means we can change it.
C. JoyBell C.
Desperately Lonely Swing Set Needs Loving Home "One swing set, well worn but structually sound, seeks new home. Make memories with your kid or kids so that someday he or she or they will look into the backyard and feel the ache of sentimentality as desperately as I did this afternoon. It's all fragile and fleeting, dear reader, but with this swing set, your child(ren) will be introduced to the ups and downs of human life gently and safely, and may alos learn the most important lesson of all: No matter how hard how you kick, no matter how high you get, you can't go all the way around." Swing set currently resides near 83rd and Spring Mill.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
She played hard to get, because she was. And it wasn't a game to her to play. She was hard to get, and hard to get. Don't you understand? She was the one that got away. Either way, if she stayed or strayed, you were better for loving her. And if she loved you back, you learned to breathe easy. Like the air in your world was lighter with her in it. We all know that one we will always look back on and wonder "What if?"....She's hard to get, harder to keep, and hardest to forget.
J. Raymond
Now, my dear little girl, you have come to an age when the inward life develops and when some people (and on the whole those who have most of a destiny) find that all is not a bed of roses. Among other things there will be waves of terrible sadness, which last sometimes for days; irritation, insensibility, etc., etc., which taken together form a melancholy. Now, painful as it is, this is sent to us for an enlightenment. It always passes off, and we learn about life from it, and we ought to learn a great many good things if we react on it right. (For instance, you learn how good a thing your home is, and your country, and your brothers, and you may learn to be more considerate of other people, who, you now learn, may have their inner weaknesses and sufferings, too.) Many persons take a kind of sickly delight in hugging it; and some sentimental ones may even be proud of it, as showing a fine sorrowful kind of sensibility. Such persons make a regular habit of the luxury of woe. That is the worst possible reaction on it. It is usually a sort of disease, when we get it strong, arising from the organism having generated some poison in the blood; and we mustn't submit to it an hour longer than we can help, but jump at every chance to attend to anything cheerful or comic or take part in anything active that will divert us from our mean, pining inward state of feeling. When it passes off, as I said, we know more than we did before. And we must try to make it last as short as time as possible. The worst of it often is that, while we are in it, we don't want to get out of it. We hate it, and yet we prefer staying in it—that is a part of the disease. If we find ourselves like that, we must make something ourselves to some hard work, make ourselves sweat, etc.; and that is the good way of reacting that makes of us a valuable character. The disease makes you think of yourself all the time; and the way out of it is to keep as busy as we can thinking of things and of other people—no matter what's the matter with our self.
William James
I looked long and hard for the paper roses! I found the reddest red ribbon, and a little golden card! We were all there together, many of us, in the same place; but I was the only one who found the paper roses, the only one who chose the reddest red ribbon, and the only one who topped off with a golden card. And so I learned that if people are unhappy, it is only because they don't know how to look for the paper roses, they don't see the reddest red ribbon, and they don't like the little golden cards. We are all in the same wrap-shoppe in this life. But we are different. Because some of us are looking for the paper roses, choosing the reddest red ribbon, and picking up the little golden cards.
C. JoyBell C.
We believe in the wrong things. That's what frustrates me the most. Not the lack of belief, but the belief in the wrong things. You want meaning? Well, the meanings are out there. We're just so damn good at reading them wrong. I don't think meaning is something that can be explained. You have to understand it on your own. It's like when you're starting to read. First, you learn the letters. Then, once you know what sounds the letters make, you use them to sound out words. You know that c-a-t leads to cat and d-o-g leads to dog. But then you have to make that extra leap, to understand that the word, the sound, the "cat" is connected to an actual cat , and that "dog" is connected to an actual dog. It's that leap, that understanding, that leads to meaning. And a lot of the time in life, we're still just sounding things out. We know the sentences and how to say them. We know the ideas and how to present them. We know the prayers and which words to say in what order. But that's only spelling" It's much harder to lie to someone's face. But. It is also much harder to tell the truth to someone's face. The indefatigable pursuit of an unattainable perfection, even though it consist in nothing more than in the pounding of an old piano, is what alone gives a meaning to our life on this unavailing star. (Logan Pearsall Smith) Being alone has nothing to do with how many people are around. (J.R. Moehringer) You could be standing a few feet away...I could have sat next to you on the subway, or brushed beside you as we went through the turnstiles. But whether or not you are here, you are here- because these words are for you, and they wouldn't exist is you weren't here in some way. At last I had it--the Christmas present I'd wanted all along, but hadn't realized. His words. The dream was obviously a sign: he was too enticing to resist. Wow. You must have a lot of faith in me. Which I appreciate. Even if I'm not sure I share it. I could do this on my own, and not freak out that I had no idea what waited for me on the other side of this night. Hope and belief. I'd always wanted hope, but never believed that I could have such an adventure on my own. That I could own it. And love it. But it happened. Because I'm So uncool and so afraid. If there was a clue, that meant the mystery was still intact I fear you may have outmatched me, because not I find these words have nowhere to go. It's hard to answer a question you haven't been asked. It's hard to show that you tried unless you end up succeeding. This was not a haystack. We were people, and people had ways of finding eachother. It was one of those moments when you feel the future so much that is humbles the present. Don't worry. It's your embarrassment at not having the thought that counts. You think fairy tales are only for girls? Here's ahint- ask yourself who wrote them. I assure you, it wasn't just the women. It's the great male fantasy- all it takes is one dance to know that she's the one. All it takes is the sound of her song from the tower, or a look at her sleeping face. And right away you know--this is the girl in your head, sleeping or dancing or singing in front of you. Yes, girls want their princes, but boys want their princesses just as much. And they don't want a very long courtship. They want to know immediately. Be careful what you;re doing, because no one is ever who you want them to be. And the less you really know them, the more likely you are to confuse them with the girl or boy in your head You should never wish for wishful thinking
Rachel Cohn (Dash & Lily's Book of Dares (Dash & Lily, #1))
it is no wonder that it is hard for us to know, let alone admit, that we are angry. Why are angry women so threatening to others? If we are guilty, depressed, or self-doubting, we stay in place. We do not take action except against our own selves and we are unlikely to be agents of personal and social change. In contrast, angry women may change and challenge the lives of us all, as witnessed by the past decade of feminism. And change is an anxiety-arousing and difficult business for everyone, including those of us who are actively pushing for it. Thus, we too learn to fear our own anger, not only because it brings about the disapproval of others, but also because it signals the necessity for change. We may begin to ask ourselves questions that serve to block or invalidate our own experience of anger: “Is my anger legitimate?” “Do I have a right to be angry?” “What’s the use of my getting angry?” “What good will it do?” These questions can be excellent ways of silencing ourselves and shutting off our anger.
Harriet Lerner (The Dance of Anger: A Woman's Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships)
I believe in a very deep way that our past is what brings us to our future. When I pray for someone, I thank God for every day of their life, for every moment, for every heartbreak and each moment of happiness that has brought them to be this person at this time. I believe in mining through the darkest seasons in our lives and choosing to believe that we’ll find something important every time.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
Here is something I have learned the hard way, but which a lot of well-meaning people in the West have a hard time accepting: All human beings are equal, but all cultures and religions are not. A culture that celebrates femininity and considers women to be the masters of their own lives is better than a culture that mutilates girls’ genitals and confines them behind walls and veils or flogs or stones them for falling in love. A culture that protects women’s rights by law is better than a culture in which a man can lawfully have four wives at once and women are denied alimony and half their inheritance. A culture that appoints women to its supreme court is better than a culture that declares that the testimony of a woman is worth half that of a man. It is part of Muslim culture to oppress women and part of all tribal cultures to institutionalize patronage, nepotism, and corruption. The culture of the Western Enlightenment is better. In the real world, equal respect for all cultures doesn’t translate into a rich mosaic of colorful and proud peoples interacting peacefully while maintaining a delightful diversity of food and craftwork. It translates into closed pockets of oppression, ignorance, and abuse. Many people genuinely feel pain at the thought of the death of whole cultures. I see this all the time. They ask, “Is there nothing beautiful in these cultures? Is there nothing beautiful in Islam?” There is beautiful architecture, yes, and encouragement of charity, yes, but Islam is built on sexual inequality and on the surrender of individual responsibility and choice. This is not just ugly; it is monstrous.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations)
As you work to become a better student, remember that learning is far more important than the numbers on your transcript. I know it can be hard sometimes to remember what you're in school for. In some places, students go crazy over a tenth of a point - but this is an unhealthy and unsustainable way to manage your education. The real reason you're in school is to grow as a person and fulfill your potential.
Stefanie Weisman (The Secrets of Top Students: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Acing High School and College)
It doesn't matter what the manifest problem was in our childhood family. In a home where a child is emotionally deprived for one reason or another that child will take some personal emotional confusion into his or her adult life. We may spin our spiritual wheels in trying to make up for childhood's personal losses, looking for compensation in the wrong places and despairing that we can find it. But the significance of spiritual rebirth through Jesus Christ is that we can mature spiritually under His parenting and receive healing compensation for these childhood deprivations. Three emotions that often grow all out of proportion in the emotionally deprived child are fear, guilt, and anger. The fear grows out of the child's awareness of the uncontrollable nature of her fearful environment, of overwhelming negative forces around her. Her guilt, her profound feelings of inadequacy, intensify when she is unable to put right what is wrong, either in the environment or in another person, no matter how hard she tries to be good. If only she could try harder or be better, she could correct what is wrong, she thinks. She may carry this guilt all her life, not knowing where it comes from, but just always feeling guilty. She often feels too sorry for something she has done that was really not all that serious. Her anger comes from her frustration, perceived deprivation, and the resultant self-pity. She has picked up an anger habit and doesn't know how much trouble it is causing her. A fourth problem often follows in the wake of the big three: the need to control others and manipulate events in order to feel secure in her own world, to hold her world together- to make happen what she wants to happen. She thinks she has to run everything. She may enter adulthood with an illusion of power and a sense of authority to put other people right, though she has had little success with it. She thinks that all she has to do is try harder, be worthier, and then she can change, perfect, and save other people. But she is in the dark about what really needs changing."I thought I would drown in guilt and wanted to fix all the people that I had affected so negatively. But I learned that I had to focus on getting well and leave off trying to cure anyone around me." Many of those around - might indeed get better too, since we seldom see how much we are a key part of a negative relationship pattern. I have learned it is a true principle that I need to fix myself before I can begin to be truly helpful to anyone else. I used to think that if I were worthy enough and worked hard enough, and exercised enough anxiety (which is not the same thing as faith), I could change anything. My power and my control are illusions. To survive emotionally, I have to turn my life over to the care of that tender Heavenly Father who was really in charge. It is my own spiritual superficiality that makes me sick, and that only profound repentance, that real change of heart, would ultimately heal me. My Savior is much closer than I imagine and is willing to take over the direction of my life: "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me, ye can do nothing." (John 15:5). As old foundations crumble, we feel terribly vulnerable. Humility, prayer and flexibility are the keys to passing through this corridor of healthy change while we experiment with truer ways of dealing with life. Godly knowledge, lovingly imparted, begins deep healing, gives tools to live by and new ways to understand the gospel.
M. Catherine Thomas
I don’t know if I’ve learned anything yet! I did learn how to have a happy home, but I consider myself fortunate in that regard because I could’ve rolled right by it. Everybody has a superficial side and a deep side, but this culture doesn’t place much value on depth — we don’t have shamans or soothsayers, and depth isn’t encouraged or understood. Surrounded by this shallow, glossy society we develop a shallow side, too, and we become attracted to fluff. That’s reflected in the fact that this culture sets up an addiction to romance based on insecurity — the uncertainty of whether or not you’re truly united with the object of your obsession is the rush people get hooked on. I’ve seen this pattern so much in myself and my friends and some people never get off that line. But along with developing my superficial side, I always nurtured a deeper longing, so even when I was falling into the trap of that other kind of love, I was hip to what I was doing. I recently read an article in Esquire magazine called ‘The End of Sex,’ that said something that struck me as very true. It said: “If you want endless repetition, see a lot of different people. If you want infinite variety, stay with one.” What happens when you date is you run all your best moves and tell all your best stories — and in a way, that routine is a method for falling in love with yourself over and over. You can’t do that with a longtime mate because he knows all that old material. With a long relationship, things die then are rekindled, and that shared process of rebirth deepens the love. It’s hard work, though, and a lot of people run at the first sign of trouble. You’re with this person, and suddenly you look like an asshole to them or they look like an asshole to you — it’s unpleasant, but if you can get through it you get closer and you learn a way of loving that’s different from the neurotic love enshrined in movies. It’s warmer and has more padding to it.
Joni Mitchell
Mor made no comment—and I knew that if had worn nothing but my undergarments, she would have told me to own every inch of it. I turned to her. “I’d like my sisters to meet you. Maybe not today. But if you ever feel like it …” She cocked her head. I rubbed the back of my bare neck. “I want them to hear your story. And know that there is a special strength … ” As I spoke I realized I needed to hear it, know it, too. “A special strength in enduring such dark trials and hardships … And still remaining warm, and kind. Still willing to trust—and reach out.” Mor’s mouth tightened and she blinked a few times. I went for the door, but paused with my hand on the knob. “I’m sorry if I was not as welcoming to you as you were to me when I arrived at the Night Court. I was … I’m trying to learn how to adjust.” A pathetic, inarticulate way of explaining how ruined I’d become. But Mor hopped off the bed, opened the door for me, and said, “There are good days and hard days for me—even now. Don’t let the hard days win.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2))
I've come to warn you, too. It's a dangerous game you're playing. There's a reason the rest of us maintain a distance from Adair, and we've learned our lesson the hard way. But now you've shown him love and that's given him the notion that he is deserving of such devotion. Did you ever think that perhaps the only thing that holds the devil in check is that he knows how despised he his? Even the devil longs for sympathy at times, but sympathy for the devil is fuel for the flame. Your love will embolden him--likely in a way that will bring you regret.
Alma Katsu (The Taker (The Taker, #1))
Fiction has two uses. Firstly, it’s a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it’s hard, because someone’s in trouble and you have to know how it’s all going to end … that’s a very real drive. And it forces you to learn new words, to think new thoughts, to keep going. To discover that reading per se is pleasurable. Once you learn that, you’re on the road to reading everything. And reading is key. There were noises made briefly, a few years ago, about the idea that we were living in a post-literate world, in which the ability to make sense out of written words was somehow redundant, but those days are gone: words are more important than they ever were: we navigate the world with words, and as the world slips onto the web, we need to follow, to communicate and to comprehend what we are reading. People who cannot understand each other cannot exchange ideas, cannot communicate, and translation programs only go so far. The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them. I don’t think there is such a thing as a bad book for children. Every now and again it becomes fashionable among some adults to point at a subset of children’s books, a genre, perhaps, or an author, and to declare them bad books, books that children should be stopped from reading. I’ve seen it happen over and over; Enid Blyton was declared a bad author, so was RL Stine, so were dozens of others. Comics have been decried as fostering illiteracy. It’s tosh. It’s snobbery and it’s foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different. They can find the stories they need to, and they bring themselves to stories. A hackneyed, worn-out idea isn’t hackneyed and worn out to them. This is the first time the child has encountered it. Do not discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is a route to other books you may prefer. And not everyone has the same taste as you. Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian “improving” literature. You’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant. We need our children to get onto the reading ladder: anything that they enjoy reading will move them up, rung by rung, into literacy. [from, Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming]
Neil Gaiman
No easy way out. No escape. From yourself. You had to LEARN to DEAL with the cards you were dealt. Had to learn the hard way that the world doesn't OWE you a fucking thing. Not a reason, nor excuse. No apologies. Had to learn that some forms of insanity run in the family, pure genetics, polluted lifelines, full of disease. Profanity. Addiction. Co-addiction. Inability to deal with reality, what the fuck ever that's suppose to mean when you're born into an emotional ghetto of endless abuse. Where the only way out is in...deep, deep inside, so you poke holes in your skin, thinking that if you could just concentrate the pain it wouldn't remain an all-consuming surround which suffocates you from the first breath of day to your last dying day. Day in. Day out. Day in. Day out. I knew all about it.
Lydia Lunch (Paradoxia: A Predator's Diary)
The greatest gift of education, Korya, is the years of shelter provided when learning. Do not think to reduce that learning to facts and the utterances of presumed sages. Much of what one learns in that time is in the sphere of concord, the ways of society, the proprieties of behaviour and thought. Haut would tell you that this is another hard-won achievement of civilization: the time and safe environment in which to learn how to live. When this is destroyed, undermined or discounted, then that civilization is in trouble.
Steven Erikson (Forge of Darkness (The Kharkanas Trilogy #1))
Bittersweet is the idea that in all things there is both something broken and something beautiful, that there is a sliver of lightness on even the darkest of nights, a shadow of hope in every heartbreak, and that rejoicing is no less rich when it contains a splinter of sadness. Bittersweet is the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter and the sweet, and that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul. Bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through, what helps us earn the lines on our faces and the calluses on our hands.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
A certain man who was learning archery faced the target with two arrows in his hand. But his instructor said, ' A beginner ought never to have a second arrow; for as long as he relies upon the other, he will be careless with his first one. At each shot he ought to think that he is bound to settle it with this particular shaft at any cost.' Doubtless he would not intentionally act foolishly before his instructor with one arrow, when he has but a couple. But, though he may not himself realize that he is being careless, his teacher knows it. You should bear this advice in mind on every occasion. (In the same way) he who follows the path of learning thinks confidently in the evening that the morning is coming, and in the morning that the evening is coming, and that he will then have plenty of time to study more carefully ; less likely still is he to recognize the waste of a single moment. How hard indeed is it to do a thing at once-now, the instant that you think of it !
Yoshida Kenkō (Essays in Idleness: The Tsurezuregusa of Kenkō)
If what it takes for you this year to be present in this sacred, thin place, to feel the breath and presence of a Holy God, is to forgo the cookies and the cards and the rushing and the lists, then we’ll be all right with cookies from the store and a few less gifts. It would be a great loss for you to miss this season, the soul of it, because you’re too busy pushing and rushing. And it would be a great loss if the people in your life receive your perfectly wrapped gifts, but not your love or your full attention or your spirit. This is my prayer for us, that we would give and receive the most important gifts this season—the palpable presence of a Holy God, the kindness of well-chosen words, the generosity of spirit and soul. My prayer is that what you’ve lost, and what I’ve lost this year, will fade a little bit in the beauty of this season, that for a few moments at least, what is right and good and worth believing will outshine all the darkness, within us and around us. And I hope that someone who loves you gives you a really cute scarf. Merry Christmas.
Shauna Niequist (Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way)
Brené Brown writes: In a 2011 study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, researchers found that, as far as the brain is concerned, physical pain and intense experiences of social rejection hurt in the same way…Neuroscience advances confirm what we’ve known all along: emotions can hurt and cause pain. And just as we often struggle to define physical pain, describing emotional pain is difficult. Shame is particularly hard because it hates having words wrapped around it. It hates being spoken.
Amanda Palmer (The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help)
To the average man, life presents itself, not as material malleable to his hand, but as a series of problems…which he has to solve…And he is distressed to find that the more means he can dispose of—such as machine-power, rapid transport, and general civilized amenities, the more his problems grow in hardness and complexity….Perhaps the first thing he can learn form the artists is that the only way of 'mastering' one's material is to abandon the whole conception of mastery and to co-operate with it in love: whosoever will be a lord of life, let him be its servant.
Dorothy L. Sayers (The Mind of the Maker)
May be, Churchill had pointed out, I should stop trying so hard not to love Hardy, and accept the some part of me might always want him. "Some things," he said, "you just have to learn to live with." "But you can't love someone new without getting over the last one." "Why not?" "Because then the new relationship is compromised." Seeming amused, Churchill said that every relationship was compromised in one way or the other, and you were better off not picking at the edges of it. I disagreed. I felt I needed to let Hardy go completely. I just didn't know how. I hoped someday I might meet someone so compelling that I could take the risk of loving again. But I had serious doubts such a man existed.
Lisa Kleypas (Sugar Daddy (Travises, #1))
I thought Beatrice Keedsler had joined hands with other old-fashioned storytellers to make people believe that life had leading characters, minor characters, significant details, insignificant details, that it had lessons to be learned, tests to be passed, and a beginning, a middle, and an end. As I approached my fiftieth birthday, I had become more and more enraged and mystified by the idiot decisions made by my countrymen. And then I had come suddenly to pity them, for I understood how innocent and natural it was for them to behave so abominably, and with such abominable results: They were doing their best to live like people invented in story books. This was the reason Americans shot each other so often: It was a convenient literary device for ending short stories and books. Why were so many Americans treated by their government as though their lives were as disposable as paper facial tissues? Because that was the way authors customarily treated bit-part players in their madeup tales. And so on. Once I understood what was making America such a dangerous, unhappy nation of people who had nothing to do with real life, I resolved to shun storytelling. I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order, instead, which I think I have done. If all writers would do that, then perhaps citizens not in the literary trades will understand that there is no order in the world around us, that we must adapt ourselves to the requirements of chaos instead. It is hard to adapt to chaos, but it can be done. I am living proof of that: It can be done.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Breakfast of Champions)
Life is too hard to behave normal all the time. Just the other day my mom told me I should learn to behave more neurotypically because then I would make more friends. This attitude is truly not great -- insisting that I behave in a way that makes no sense to me. This illustrates the hopelessness of trying to be your own person because this means you must behave like everyone else to be accepted. Being different is not seen as a positive trait. I feel if I have to wear a different face, then I will attract people I don't care to know.
Jeremy Sicile-Kira (A Full Life with Autism: From Learning to Forming Relationships to Achieving Independence)
I’m often asked how I take the criticism directed my way. I have three answers: First, if you choose to be in public life, remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice and grow skin as thick as a rhinoceros. Second, learn to take criticism seriously but not personally. Your critics can actually teach you lessons your friends can’t or won’t. I try to sort out the motivation for criticism, whether partisan, ideological, commercial, or sexist, analyze it to see what I might learn from it, and discard the rest. Third, there is a persistent double standard applied to women in politics - regarding clothes, body types, and of course hairstyles - that you can’t let derail you. Smile and keep going.
Hillary Rodham Clinton (Hard Choices)
I, too, had set out to be remembered. I had wanted to create something permanent in my life- some proof that everything in its way mattered, that working hard mattered, that feeling things mattered, that even sadness and loss mattered, because it was all part of something that would live on. But I had also come to recognize that not everything needs to be durable. the lesson we have yet to learn from dogs, that could sustain us, is that having no apprehension of the past or future is not limiting but liberating. Rin Tin Tin did not need to be remembered in order to be happy; for him, it was always enough to have that instant when the sun was soft, when the ball was tossed and caught, when the beloved rubber doll was squeaked. Such a moment was complete in itself, pure and sufficient.
Susan Orlean
Before she leaves, my new friend tells me to look out of the big picture window at the parking lot. "See that purple Harley out there—that big gorgeous one? That's mine. I used to ride behind my husband, and never took the road on my own. Then after the kids were grown, I put my foot down. It was hard, but we finally got to be partners. Now he says he likes it better this way. He doesn't have to worry about his bike breaking down or getting a heart attach and totaling us both. I even put 'Ms.' on my license plate—and you should see my grandkids' faces when Grandma rides up on her purple Harley!" On my own again, I look out at the barren sand and tortured rocks of the Badlands, stretching for miles. I've walked there, and I know that, close up, the barren sand reveals layers of pale rose and beige and cream, and the rocks turn out to have intricate womblike openings. Even in the distant cliffs, caves of rescue appear. What seems to be one thing from a distance is very different close up. I tell you this story because it's the kind of lesson that can be learned only on the road. And also because I've come to believe that, inside, each of us has a purple motorcycle. We have only to discover it—and ride.
Gloria Steinem (My Life on the Road)
Dont act like you are walking around with a Tshirt that says "I give Up!" on the front and on the back saying "I never started trying!" People can bring you down, situations happen, YOU can feel like Life is the shittiest thing to deal with. BLAH BLAH BLAH.. If you're walking through Hell, keep going! Everyday there's a new challenge. Face it! Deal with it! Move on! To every problem there is a solution or a way around it.. Stop being a sour mongral and think life owes you something.. No one will do anything for you these days. Start fighting. Get rid of ALL the shit people in your Life. Grow some balls of steel and work progressively through everything. Step by Step or what ever mad method you have to get you back in line again. Who cares, if people don't like you, BURN that mother of a bridge down. It was never meant to be.. Build New ones! Many roads to cross and new paths on life to Explore.. It starts with YOU.. And if people want to judge you, tell them to F/O and look in the mirror. Time for a new game.. It's called "Take over the World" WHOOOP WHOOOP!!
Timothy Padayachee
Now consider the tortoise and the eagle. The tortoise is a ground-living creature. It is impossible to live nearer the ground without being under it. Its horizons are a few inches away. It has about as good a turn of speed as you need to hunt down a lettuce. It has survived while the rest of evolution flowed past it by being, on the whole, no threat to anyone and too much trouble to eat. And then there is the eagle. A creature of the air and high places, whose horizons go all the way to the edge of the world. Eyesight keen enough to spot the rustle of some small and squeaky creature half a mile away. All power, all control. Lightning death on wings. Talons and claws enough to make a meal of anything smaller than it is and at least take a hurried snack out of anything bigger. And yet the eagle will sit for hours on the crag and survey the kingdoms of the world until it spots a distant movement and then it will focus, focus, focus on the small shell wobbling among the bushes down there on the desert. And it will leap… And a minute later the tortoise finds the world dropping away from it. And it sees the world for the first time, no longer one inch from the ground but five hundred feet above it, and it thinks: what a great friend I have in the eagle. And then the eagle lets go. And almost always the tortoise plunges to its death. Everyone knows why the tortoise does this. Gravity is a habit that is hard to shake off. No one knows why the eagle does this. There’s good eating on a tortoise but, considering the effort involved, there’s much better eating on practically anything else. It’s simply the delight of eagles to torment tortoises. But of course, what the eagle does not realize is that it is participating in a very crude form of natural selection. One day a tortoise will learn how to fly.
Terry Pratchett (Small Gods (Discworld, #13))
But what is [the] quality of originality? It is very hard to define or specify. Indeed, to define originality would in itself be a contradiction, since whatever action can be defined in this way must evidently henceforth be unoriginal. Perhaps, then, it will be best to hint at it obliquely and by indirection, rather than to try to assert positively what it is. One prerequisite for originality is clearly that a person shall not be inclined to impose his preconceptions on the fact as he sees it. Rather, he must be able to learn something new, even if this means that the ideas and notions that are comfortable or dear to him may be overturned. But the ability to learn in this way is a principle common to the whole of humanity. Thus it is well known that a child learns to walk, to talk, and to know his way around the world just by trying something out and seeing what happens, then modifying what he does (or thinks) in accordance with what has actually happened. In this way, he spends his first few years in a wonderfully creative way, discovering all sorts of things that are new to him, and this leads people to look back on childhood as a kind of lost paradise. As the child grows older, however, learning takes on a narrower meaning. In school, he learns by repetition to accumulate knowledge, so as to please the teacher and pass examinations. At work, he learns in a similar way, so as to make a living, or for some other utilitarian purpose, and not mainly for the love of the action of learning itself. So his ability to see something new and original gradually dies away. And without it there is evidently no ground from which anything can grow.
David Bohm (On Creativity)
You will hold this book in your hands, and learn all the things that I learned, right along with me: There is no immortality that is not built on friendship and work done with care. All the secrets in the world worth knowing are hiding in plain sight. It takes forty-one seconds to climb a ladder three stories tall. It’s not easy to imagine the year 3012, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. We have new capabilities now—strange powers we’re still getting used to. The mountains are a message from Aldrag the Wyrm-Father. Your life must be an open city, with all sorts of ways to wander in. After that, the book will fade, the way all books fade in your mind. But I hope you will remember this: A man walking fast down a dark lonley street. Quick steps and hard breathing, all wonder and need. A bell above a door and the tinkle it makes. A clerk and a ladder and warm golden light, and then: the right book exactly, at exactly the right time.
Robin Sloan (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1))
Yesterday it was sun outside. The sky was blue and people were lying under blooming cherry trees in the park. It was Friday, so records were released, that people have been working on for years. Friends around me find success and level up, do fancy photo shoots and get featured on big, white, movie screens. There were parties and lovers, hand in hand, laughing perfectly loud, but I walked numbly through the park, round and round, 40 times for 4 hours just wanting to make it through the day. There's a weight that inhabits my chest some times. Like a lock in my throat, making it hard to breathe. A little less air got through and the sky was so blue I couldn’t look at it because it made me sad, swelling tears in my eyes and they dripped quietly on the floor as I got on with my day. I tried to keep my focus, ticked off the to-do list, did my chores. Packed orders, wrote emails, paid bills and rewrote stories, but the panic kept growing, exploding in my chest. Tears falling on the desk tick tick tick me not making a sound and some days I just don't know what to do. Where to go or who to see and I try to be gentle, soft and kind, but anxiety eats you up and I just want to be fine. This is not beautiful. This is not useful. You can not do anything with it and it tries to control you, throw you off your balance and lovely ways but you can not let it. I cleaned up. Took myself for a walk. Tried to keep my eyes on the sky. Stayed away from the alcohol, stayed away from the destructive tools we learn to use. the smoking and the starving, the running, the madness, thinking it will help but it only feeds the fire and I don't want to hurt myself anymore. I made it through and today I woke up, lighter and proud because I'm still here. There are flowers growing outside my window. The coffee is warm, the air is pure. In a few hours I'll be on a train on my way to sing for people who invited me to come, to sing, for them. My own songs, that I created. Me—little me. From nowhere at all. And I have people around that I like and can laugh with, and it's spring again. It will always be spring again. And there will always be a new day.
Charlotte Eriksson
Let us go somewhere and talk,” Kopano said to Kaidan. “We can talk here. She never uses her senses.” Whoops. I was officially eavesdropping, but I didn't feel guilty. I was too desperate for insight into Kaidan's mind. They spoke in low tones, hard to hear with the rush of rainwater. “Do not be upset, Kai. I feel only concern for her.” “I'll bet you do.” Kaidan's clipped, harsh response was in direct contrast to Kopano's tranquil words. “Even you are willing to risk yourself for her, brother.” “That's because I actually know her. What's your reason? I suppose you'd like to get to know her, too?” “You have made it very clear that she is not available in that way. Be reasonable. There is plainly more at stake here. I only wished to help.” “There's nothing you can do, Kope!” They got quiet and I could hear Kaidan's ragged breaths through his nose. “Please trust me, brother,” Kopano said. "There is no stronger weapon for Pharzuph to use than your concern for each other. If he learns that you were here to console her, you will lose all leverage with him. Do not fool yourself into thinking he will not discard you.” “Yes, some of us have to worry about such things. Thank you for the reminder.” The sounds that came next iced my blood: heavy footfalls crashing into puddles, and the metallic zing of a switchblade. I stood up with a hand to my heart. Then there was a deep, gruff chuckle. My father's. “Put it away, boy. Sorry to break up the testosterone party.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
It’s cruelty that gets to me. Still, it’s important to read about cruelty. “Why is it important?” Because when you read about it, it’s easier to recognize. That was always the hardest thing in the refugee camps—to hear the stories of the people who had been raped or mutilated or forced to watch a parent or a sister or a child be raped or killed. It’s very hard to come face-to-face with such cruelty. But people can be cruel in lots of ways, some very subtle. I think that’s why we all need to read about it. I think that’s one of the amazing things about Tennessee Williams’s plays. He was so attuned to cruelty—the way Stanley treats Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire. It starts with asides and looks and put-downs. There are so many great examples from Shakespeare—when Goneril torments King Lear or the way Iago speaks to Othello. And what I love about Dickens is the way he presents all types of cruelty. You need to learn to recognize these things right from the start. Evil almost always starts with small cruelties.
Will Schwalbe (The End of Your Life Book Club)
Ms. Terwilliger didn’t have a chance to respond to my geological ramblings because someone knocked on the door. I slipped the rocks into my pocket and tried to look studious as she called an entry. I figured Zoe had tracked me down, but surprisingly, Angeline walked in. "Did you know," she said, "that it’s a lot harder to put organs back in the body than it is to get them out?" I closed my eyes and silently counted to five before opening them again. “Please tell me you haven’t eviscerated someone.” She shook her head. “No, no. I left my biology homework in Miss Wentworth’s room, but when I went back to get it, she’d already left and locked the door. But it’s due tomorrow, and I’m already in trouble in there, so I had to get it. So, I went around outside, and her window lock wasn’t that hard to open, and I—” "Wait," I interrupted. "You broke into a classroom?" "Yeah, but that’s not the problem." Behind me, I heard a choking laugh from Ms. Terwilliger’s desk. "Go on," I said wearily. "Well, when I climbed through, I didn’t realize there was a bunch of stuff in the way, and I crashed into those plastic models of the human body she has. You know, the life size ones with all the parts inside? And bam!" Angeline held up her arms for effect. "Organs everywhere." She paused and looked at me expectantly. "So what are we going to do? I can’t get in trouble with her." "We?" I exclaimed. "Here," said Ms. Terwilliger. I turned around, and she tossed me a set of keys. From the look on her face, it was taking every ounce of self-control not to burst out laughing. "That square one’s a master. I know for a fact she has yoga and won’t be back for the rest of the day. I imagine you can repair the damage—and retrieve the homework—before anyone’s the wiser.” I knew that the “you” in “you can repair” meant me. With a sigh, I stood up and packed up my things. “Thanks,” I said. As Angeline and I walked down to the science wing, I told her, “You know, the next time you’ve got a problem, maybe come to me before it becomes an even bigger problem.” "Oh no," she said nobly. "I didn’t want to be an inconvenience." Her description of the scene was pretty accurate: organs everywhere. Miss Wentworth had two models, male and female, with carved out torsos that cleverly held removable parts of the body that could be examined in greater detail. Wisely, she had purchased models that were only waist-high. That was still more than enough of a mess for us, especially since it was hard to tell which model the various organs belonged to. I had a pretty good sense of anatomy but still opened up a textbook for reference as I began sorting. Angeline, realizing her uselessness here, perched on a far counter and swing her legs as she watched me. I’d started reassembling the male when I heard a voice behind me. "Melbourne, I always knew you’d need to learn about this kind of thing. I’d just kind of hoped you’d learn it on a real guy." I glanced back at Trey, as he leaned in the doorway with a smug expression. “Ha, ha. If you were a real friend, you’d come help me.” I pointed to the female model. “Let’s see some of your alleged expertise in action.” "Alleged?" He sounded indignant but strolled in anyways. I hadn’t really thought much about asking him for help. Mostly I was thinking this was taking much longer than it should, and I had more important things to do with my time. It was only when he came to a sudden halt that I realized my mistake. "Oh," he said, seeing Angeline. "Hi." Her swinging feet stopped, and her eyes were as wide as his. “Um, hi.” The tension ramped up from zero to sixty in a matter of seconds, and everyone seemed at a loss for words. Angeline jerked her head toward the models and blurted out. “I had an accident.” That seemed to snap Trey from his daze, and a smile curved his lips. Whereas Angeline’s antics made me want to pull out my hair sometimes, he found them endearing.
Richelle Mead (The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4))
And that’s the worst of it, the part no one ever tells you about.” “What part?” he said, his voice still clenched with grief. “How it never stops. How the pain of missing people never stops. When you burn your finger in a fire, it hurts, but it only hurts one way because you know what caused the pain and why the pain is there, and you know that it will settle, in a bit. But heart pain has facets, Silas. A thousand different sides, sharp and hard; most of them you don’t even know exist, even when you’re looking straight at them. When someone leaves, or dies, or doesn’t love you in return, well, you may think you know why your heart hurts. But wrapped in there are a hundred kinds of fear all tangled in a knot you can’t untie. Nobody wants to be alone. We all fear being left alone, being left behind. I know such things exist. But you must learn to see death as something more than loss, more than absence, more than silence. You must learn to make mourning into memory. For once a person takes leave of his life, that life becomes so much more a part of ours. In death, they come to be in our keeping. The dead find their rest within us. Thus, in remembrance, we are never alone. But people forget the power of memory. So we fear death in the deepest place of our very being, because we don’t know that memories make us immortal. We focus instead on being gone and the awful mystery behind absence. Love and death—and those two are very closely bound together—scare us because we can’t control them. We fear what we can’t control. That fear is really part of what makes us human, but mostly, we’re just afraid of the ends of stories we can’t foresee.
Ari Berk (Death Watch (The Undertaken, #1))
I wanna say something that I want you to remember for the rest of your life, OK? I want you to listen closely. I'm giving you a key to life right now, this is the key to life. The key to life, the key to life is running and reading. Oh right? Now listen very seriously, the key to life is running and reading. Right now, why running? When you're running and you are there and you're running there's a little person that talks to you and that little person says "Oh, I'm tired", "My lounge's about to pop", "I'm so hurt", "I'm so tired", "There's no way I can possibly continue". And you wanna quit. Right? That person, if you learn how to defeat that person when you're running you will learn how to not quit when things get hard in your life. Running. Oh right? That's the first key to life. Reading. The reason the reading is so important. There've been millions and billions and billions and gazillions of people that have lived before all of us. There's no new problem you can have with your parents, with school, with a bully, with anything, there's no problem you can have that someone hasn't already solved and wrote about it in a book. So they keys to life are running and reading.
Will Smith
My time in camp with Kaden had become awkward several times, or perhaps I was just more self-conscious now. I had known he cared about me. It was hardly a secret. It was the reason I was still alive, but I hadn’t quite grasped how much he cared. And in spite of myself, I knew in my own way, I cared about him too. Not Kaden the assassin, but the Kaden I had known back in Terravin, the one who had caught my attention the minute he walked through the tavern door. The one who was calm and had mysterious, but kind, eyes. I remembered dancing with him at the festival, his arms pulling me closer, and the way he struggled with his thoughts, holding them back. He didn’t hold back the night he was drunk. The fireshine had loosened his lips and he laid it all out quite blatantly. Slurred and sloshy but clear. He loved me. This from a barbarian who was sent to kill me. I lay back, staring into the cloudless sky, a shade bluer and brighter than yesterday. Did he even know what love was? For that matter, did I? Even my parents didn’t seem to know. I crossed my arms behind my head as a pillow. Maybe there was no one way to define it. Maybe there were as many shades of love as the blues of the sky. I wondered if his interest had begun when I tended his shoulder. I remembered his odd look of surprise when I touched him, as if no one had ever shown him a kindness before. If Griz, Finch, and Malich were any indication of his past, maybe no one had. They showed a certain steely devotion to one another, but it in no way resembled kindness. And then there were those scars on his chest and back. Only cruel savage could have delivered those. Yet somewhere along the way, Kaden had learned kindness. Tenderness, even. It surfaced in small actions. He seemed like he was two separate people, the intensely loyal Vendan assassin and someone else far different, someone he had locked away, a prisoner just like me.
Mary E. Pearson (The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1))
Ms. Lane.”Barrons’ voice is deep, touched with that strange Old World accent and mildly pissed off. Jericho Barrons is often mildly pissed off. I think he crawled from the swamp that way, chafed either by some condition in it, out of it, or maybe just the general mass incompetence he encountered in both places. He’s the most controlled, capable man I’ve ever known. After all we’ve been through together, he still calls me Ms. Lane, with one exception: When I’m in his bed. Or on the floor, or some other place where I’ve temporarily lost my mind and become convinced I can’t breathe without him inside me this very instant. Then the things he calls me are varied and nobody’s business but mine. I reply: “Barrons,” without inflection. I’ve learned a few things in our time together. Distance is frequently the only intimacy he’ll tolerate. Suits me. I’ve got my own demons. Besides I don’t believe good relationships come from living inside each other’s pockets. I believe divorce comes from that. I admire the animal grace with which he enters the room and moves toward me. He prefers dark colors, the better to slide in and out of the night, or a room, unnoticed except for whatever he’s left behind that you may or may not discover for some time, like, say a tattoo on the back of one’s skull. “What are you doing?” “Reading,” I say nonchalantly, rubbing the tattoo on the back of my skull. I angle the volume so he can’t see the cover. If he sees what I’m reading, he’ll know I’m looking for something. If he realizes how bad it’s gotten, and what I’m thinking about doing, he’ll try to stop me. He circles behind me, looks over my shoulder at the thick vellum of the ancient manuscript. “In the first tongue?” “Is that what it is?” I feign innocence. He knows precisely which cells in my body are innocent and which are thoroughly corrupted. He’s responsible for most of the corrupted ones. One corner of his mouth ticks up and I see the glint of beast behind his eyes, a feral crimson backlight, bloodstaining the whites. It turns me on. Barrons makes me feel violently, electrically sexual and alive. I’d march into hell beside him. But I will not let him march into hell beside me. And there’s no doubt that’s where I’m going. I thought I was strong, a heroine. I thought I was the victor. The enemy got inside my head and tried to seduce me with lies. It’s easy to walk away from lies. Power is another thing. Temptation isn’t a sin that you triumph over once, completely and then you’re free. Temptation slips into bed with you each night and helps you say your prayers. It wakes you in the morning with a friendly cup of coffee, and knows exactly how you take it. He skirts the Chesterfield sofa and stands over me. “Looking for something, Ms. Lane?” I’m eye level with his belt but that’s not where my gaze gets stuck and suddenly my mouth is so dry I can hardly swallow and I know I’m going to want to. I’m Pri-ya for this man. I hate it. I love it. I can’t escape it. I reach for his belt buckle. The manuscript slides from my lap, forgotten. Along with everything else but this moment, this man. “I just found it,” I tell him.
Karen Marie Moning (Burned (Fever, #7))
The hard things break. The soft things bend. The stubborn ones batter themselves against all that is immovable. The flexible adapt to what is before them. Of course, we are all hard and soft, stubborn and flexible, and so we all break until we learn to bend and are battered until we accept what is before us. This brings to mind the Sumerian tale of Gilgamesh, the stubborn, hard king who sought to ask the Immortal One the secret of life. He was told that there would be stones on his path to guide him. But in his urgency and pride, Gilgamesh was annoyed to find his path blocked, and so smashed the very stones that would help him. In his blindness of heart, he broke everything he needed to discover his way. With the same confusion, we too break what we need, push away those we love, and isolate ourselves when we need to be held most. There have been many times in my life when I have been too proud to ask for help or too afraid to ask to be held, and in the frenzy of my own isolation, like Gilgamesh, I have smashed the window I was trying to open, have split the bench I was trying to hammer, and have made matters worse by bruising the one I meant to be tender with. The live bough bends. The dead twig snaps. We are humbled to soften from our griefs, or else, in brittle time, become the next thing grieved.
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have)
She looked now at the drawing-room step. She saw, through William’s eyes, the shape of a woman, peaceful and silent, with downcast eyes. She sat musing, pondering (she was in grey that day, Lily thought). Her eyes were bent. She would never lift them. . . . [N]o, she thought, one could say nothing to nobody. The urgency of the moment always missed its mark. Words fluttered sideways and struck the object inches too low. Then one gave it up; then the idea sunk back again; then one became like most middle-aged people, cautious, furtive, with wrinkles between the eyes and a look of perpetual apprehension. For how could one express in words these emotions of the body? Express that emptiness there? (She was looking at the drawing-room steps; they looked extraordinarily empty.) It was one’s body feeling, not one’s mind. The physical sensations that went with the bare look of the steps had become suddenly extremely unpleasant. To want and not to have, sent all up her body a hardness, a hollowness, a strain. And then to want and not to have – to want and want – how that wrung the heart, and wrung again and again! Oh, Mrs. Ramsay! she called out silently, to that essence which sat by the boat, that abstract one made of her, that woman in grey, as if to abuse her for having gone, and then having gone, come back again. It had seemed so safe, thinking of her. Ghost, air, nothingness, a thing you could play with easily and safely at any time of day or night, she had been that, and then suddenly she put her hand out and wrung the heart thus. Suddenly, the empty drawing-room steps, the frill of the chair inside, the puppy tumbling on the terrace, the whole wave and whisper of the garden became like curves and arabesques flourishing round a centre of complete emptiness. . . . A curious notion came to her that he did after all hear the things she could not say. . . . She looked at her picture. That would have been his answer, presumably – how “you” and “I” and “she” pass and vanish; nothing stays; all changes; but not words, not paint. Yet it would be hung in the attics, she thought; it would be rolled up and flung under a sofa; yet even so, even of a picture like that, it was true. One might say, even of this scrawl, not of that actual picture, perhaps, but of what it attempted, that it “remained for ever,” she was going to say, or, for the words spoken sounded even to herself, too boastful, to hint, wordlessly; when, looking at the picture, she was surprised to find that she could not see it. Her eyes were full of a hot liquid (she did not think of tears at first) which, without disturbing the firmness of her lips, made the air thick, rolled down her cheeks. She had perfect control of herself – Oh, yes! – in every other way. Was she crying then for Mrs. Ramsay, without being aware of any unhappiness? She addressed old Mr. Carmichael again. What was it then? What did it mean? Could things thrust their hands up and grip one; could the blade cut; the fist grasp? Was there no safety? No learning by heart of the ways of the world? No guide, no shelter, but all was miracle, and leaping from the pinnacle of a tower into the air? Could it be, even for elderly people, that this was life? – startling, unexpected, unknown? For one moment she felt that if they both got up, here, now on the lawn, and demanded an explanation, why was it so short, why was it so inexplicable, said it with violence, as two fully equipped human beings from whom nothing should be hid might speak, then, beauty would roll itself up; the space would fill; those empty flourishes would form into shape; if they shouted loud enough Mrs. Ramsay would return. “Mrs. Ramsay!” she said aloud, “Mrs. Ramsay!” The tears ran down her face.
Virginia Woolf
Did you ever get fed up?" I said. "I mean did you ever get scared that everything was going to go lousy unless you did something? I mean do you like school and all that stuff?" "It's a terrific bore." "I mean do you hate it? I know it's a terrific bore, but do you hate it, is what I mean." "Well, I don't exactly hate it. You always have to--" "Well, I hate it. Boy, do I hate it," I said. "But it isn't just that. It's everything. I hate living in New York and all. Taxicabs, and Madison Avenue buses, with the drivers and all always yelling at you to get out at the rear door, and being introduced to phony guys that call the Lunts angels, and going up and down in elevators when you just want to go outside, and guys fitting your pants all the time at Brooks, and people always--" "Don't shout, please," old Sally said. Which was very funny, because I wasn't even shouting. "Take cars," I said. I said it in this very quiet voice. "Take most people, they're crazy about cars. They worry if they get a little scratch on them, and they're always talking about how many miles they get to a gallon, and if they get a brand-new car already they start thinking about trading it in for one that's even newer. I don't even like old cars. I mean they don't even interest me. I'd rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God's sake. A horse you can at least--" "I don't know what you're even talking about," old Sally said. "You jump from one--" "You know something?" I said. You're probably the only reason I'm in New York right now, or anywhere. If you weren't around, I'd probably be someplace way the hell off. In the woods or some goddam place. You're the only reason I'm around, practically." "You're sweet," she said. But you could tell she wanted me to change the damn subject. "You ought to go to a boys' school sometime. Try it sometime," I said. "It's full of phonies, and all you do is study so that you can learn enough to be smart enough to be able to buy a goddam Cadillac some day, and you have to keep making believe you give a damn if the football team loses, and all you do is talk about girls and liquor and sex all day, and everybody sticks together in these dirty little goddam cliques. The guys that are on the basketball team stuck together, the Catholics stick together, the guys that play bridge stick together. Even the guys that belong to the goddam Book-of-the-Month Club stick together. If you try to have a little intelligent--" "Now, listen," old Sally said. "Lots of boys get more out of school that that." "I agree! I agree they do, some of them! But that's all I get out of it. See? That's my point. That's exactly my goddamn point," I said. "I don't get hardly anything out of anything. I'm in bad shape. I'm in lousy shape." "You certainly are.
J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)
Everyday I rewrite her name across my ribcage so that those who wish to break my heart will know who to answer to later She has no idea that I’ve taught my tongue to make pennies, and every time our mouths are to meet I will slip coins to the back of her throat and make wishes I wish that someday my head on her belly might be like home like doubt to doubt resuscitation because time is supposed to mean more than skin She doesn’t know that I have taught my arms to close around her clocks so they can withstand the fallout from her Autumn She is so explosive, volcanoes watch her and learn terrorists want to strap her to their chests because she is a cause worth dying for Maybe someday time will teach me to pick up her pieces put her back together and remind her to click her heels but she doesn’t need a wizard to tell her that I was here all along Lady let us catch the next tornado home let us plant cantaloupe trees in our backyard then maybe together we will realize that we don’t like cantaloupe and they don’t grow on trees we can laugh about it then we can plant things we’ve never heard of I’ve never heard of a woman who can make flawed look so beautiful the way you do The word smitten is to how I feel about you what a kiss is to romance so maybe my lips to yours could be the penance to this confession because I am the only one preaching your defunct religion sitting alone at your altar, praising you out of faith I cannot do this hard-knock life alone You are all the softness a rock dreams of being the mistakes the rain makes at picnics when Mother Nature bears witness in much better places So yes I will gladly take on your ocean just to swim beneath you so I can kiss the bends of your knees in appreciation for the work they do keeping your head above water
Mike McGee
ONCE UPON A time there was a king who had three beautiful daughters. As he grew old, he began to wonder which should inherit the kingdom, since none had married and he had no heir. The king decided to ask his daughters to demonstrate their love for him. To the eldest princess he said, “Tell me how you love me.” She loved him as much as all the treasure in the kingdom. To the middle princess he said, “Tell me how you love me.” She loved him with the strength of iron. To the youngest princess he said, “Tell me how you love me.” This youngest princess thought for a long time before answering. Finally she said she loved him as meat loves salt. “Then you do not love me at all,” the king said. He threw his daughter from the castle and had the bridge drawn up behind her so that she could not return. Now, this youngest princess goes into the forest with not so much as a coat or a loaf of bread. She wanders through a hard winter, taking shelter beneath trees. She arrives at an inn and gets hired as assistant to the cook. As the days and weeks go by, the princess learns the ways of the kitchen. Eventually she surpasses her employer in skill and her food is known throughout the land. Years pass, and the eldest princess comes to be married. For the festivities, the cook from the inn makes the wedding meal. Finally a large roast pig is served. It is the king’s favorite dish, but this time it has been cooked with no salt. The king tastes it. Tastes it again. “Who would dare to serve
E. Lockhart (We Were Liars)
Young girl, don't cry I'll be right here when your world starts to fall Young girl, it's alright Your tears will dry, you'll soon be free to fly When you're safe inside your room, you tend to dream Of a place where nothing's harder than it seems No one ever wants or bothers to explain Of the heartache life can bring and what it means When there's no one else, look inside yourself Like your oldest friend, just trust the voice within Then you'll find the strength that will guide your way You'll learn to begin to trust the voice within Young girl, don't hide You'll never change if you just run away Young girl, just hold tight Soon you're gonna see your brighter day Now in a world where innocence is quickly claimed It's so hard to stand your ground when you're so afraid No one reaches out a hand for you to hold When you look outside, look inside to your soul When there's no one else, look inside yourself Like your oldest friend, just trust the voice within Then you'll find the strength that will guide your way If you will learn to begin to trust the voice within Life is a journey It can take you anywhere you choose to go As long as you're learning You'll find all you'll ever need to know Be strong You'll break it Hold on You'll make it Be strong Just don't forsake it because Hold on No one can tell you what you can't do No one can stop you, you know that I'm talking to you When there's no one else, look inside yourself Like your oldest friend, just trust the voice within Then you'll find the strength that will guide your way You'll learn to begin to trust the voice within Young girl, don't cry, I'll be right here When your world starts to fall
Christina Aguilera
Speaking truth to bullshit and practicing civility start with knowing ourselves and knowing the behaviors and issues that both push into our own BS or get in the way of being civil. If we go back to BRAVING and our trust checklist, these situations require a keen eye on: 1. Boundaries. What’s okay in a discussion and what’s not? How do you set a boundary when you realize you’re knee-deep in BS? 2. Reliability. Bullshitting is the abandonment of reliability. It’s hard to trust or be trusted when we BS too often. 3. Accountability. How do we hold ourself and others accountable for less BS and more honest debate? Less off-loading of emotion and more civility? 4. Vault. Civility honors confidentiality. BS ignores truth and opens the door to violations of confidentiality. 5. Integrity. How do we stay in our integrity when confronted with BS, and how do we stop in the midst of our own emotional moment to say, “You know what, I’m not sure this conversation is productive” or “I need to learn more about this issue”? 6. Nonjudgment. How do we stay out of judgment toward ourselves when the right thing to do is say, “I actually don’t know much about this. Tell me what you know and why it’s important to you.” How do we not go into “winner/loser” mode and instead see an opportunity for connection when someone says to us, “I don’t know anything about that issue”? 7. Generosity. What’s the most generous assumption we can make about the people around us? What boundaries have to be in place for us to be kinder and more tolerant? I know that the practice of speaking truth to bullshit while being civil feels like a paradox, but both are profoundly important parts of true belonging.
Brené Brown (Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone)
2-Make eye contact. When someone is speaking, keep your eyes on him or her at all times. If someone makes a comment, turn and face that person. 3-During discussions, respect other students’ comments, opinions, and ideas. When possible, make statements like, “I agree with John, and I also feel that…” or “I disagree with Sarah. She made a good point I feel that…” or “I think Victor made an excellent observation, and it made me realize…” 4-If you win or do well at something, do not brag. If you lose, do not show anger. Instead, say something like, “I really enjoyed the competition, and I look forward to playing you again,” or “good game,” or don’t say anything at all. To show anger or sarcasm, such as “I wasn’t playing hard anyway” or “You really aren’t that good,” shows weakness. 5-“When you cough or sneeze or burp, it is appropriate to turn your head away from others and cover your mouth with the full part of your hand. Using a fist is not acceptable. Afterward, you should say, “Excuse me.” 6- “Do not smack your lips, tsk, roll your eyes, or show disrespect with gestures.” 7-“Always say thank you when I give you something. 8-“Surprise others by performing random acts of kindness. Go our of your way to do something surprisingly kind and generous for someone at least once a month.” 9-“You will make every effort to be as organized as possible.” 10-"Quickly learn the name of other teachers in the school and greet them by saying things like, "Good morning Mrs. Graham," or "Good afternoon Ms. Ortiz. 11-"When we go on field trips, we will meet different people. When I introduce you to people, make sure that you remember their names. Then, when we are leaving, make sure to shake their hands and thank them, mentioning their names as you do so." 12-“If you approach a door and someone is following you, hold the door. If the door opens by pulling, pull it open, stand to the side, and allow the other person 13-to pass through it first, then you can walk through. If the door opens by pushing, hold the door open after you push through." "Be positive and enjoy life. Some things just aren't worth getting upset over. Keep everything in perspective and focus on the good in your life.
Ron Clark
ONCE UPON A time there was a king who had three beautiful daughters. As he grew old, he began to wonder which should inherit the kingdom, since none had married and he had no heir. The king decided to ask his daughters to demonstrate their love for him. To the eldest princess he said, “Tell me how you love me.” She loved him as much as all the treasure in the kingdom. To the middle princess he said, “Tell me how you love me.” She loved him with the strength of iron. To the youngest princess he said, “Tell me how you love me.” This youngest princess thought for a long time before answering. Finally she said she loved him as meat loves salt. “Then you do not love me at all,” the king said. He threw his daughter from the castle and had the bridge drawn up behind her so that she could not return. Now, this youngest princess goes into the forest with not so much as a coat or a loaf of bread. She wanders through a hard winter, taking shelter beneath trees. She arrives at an inn and gets hired as assistant to the cook. As the days and weeks go by, the princess learns the ways of the kitchen. Eventually she surpasses her employer in skill and her food is known throughout the land. Years pass, and the eldest princess comes to be married. For the festivities, the cook from the inn makes the wedding meal. Finally a large roast pig is served. It is the king’s favorite dish, but this time it has been cooked with no salt. The king tastes it. Tastes it again. “Who would dare to serve such an ill-cooked roast at the future queen’s wedding?” he cries. The princess-cook appears before her father, but she is so changed he does not recognize her. “I would not serve you salt, Your Majesty,” she explains. “For did you not exile your youngest daughter for saying that it was of value?” At her words, the king realizes that not only is she his daughter—she is, in fact, the daughter who loves him best. And what then? The eldest daughter and the middle sister have been living with the king all this time. One has been in favor one week, the other the next. They have been driven apart by their father’s constant comparisons. Now the youngest has returned, the king yanks the kingdom from his eldest, who has just been married. She is not to be queen after all. The elder sisters rage. At first, the youngest basks in fatherly love. Before long, however, she realizes the king is demented and power-mad. She is to be queen, but she is also stuck tending to a crazy old tyrant for the rest of her days. She will not leave him, no matter how sick he becomes. Does she stay because she loves him as meat loves salt? Or does she stay because he has now promised her the kingdom? It is hard for her to tell the difference.
E. Lockhart (We Were Liars)
We take it for granted that life moves forward. You build memories; you build momentum.You move as a rower moves: facing backwards. You can see where you've been, but not where you’re going. And your boat is steered by a younger version of you. It's hard not to wonder what life would be like facing the other way. Avenoir. You'd see your memories approaching for years, and watch as they slowly become real. You’d know which friendships will last, which days are important, and prepare for upcoming mistakes. You'd go to school, and learn to forget. One by one you'd patch things up with old friends, enjoying one last conversation before you meet and go your separate ways. And then your life would expand into epic drama. The colors would get sharper, the world would feel bigger. You'd become nothing other than yourself, reveling in your own weirdness. You'd fall out of old habits until you could picture yourself becoming almost anything. Your family would drift slowly together, finding each other again. You wouldn't have to wonder how much time you had left with people, or how their lives would turn out. You'd know from the start which week was the happiest you’ll ever be, so you could relive it again and again. You'd remember what home feels like, and decide to move there for good. You'd grow smaller as the years pass, as if trying to give away everything you had before leaving. You'd try everything one last time, until it all felt new again. And then the world would finally earn your trust, until you’d think nothing of jumping freely into things, into the arms of other people. You'd start to notice that each summer feels longer than the last. Until you reach the long coasting retirement of childhood. You'd become generous, and give everything back. Pretty soon you’d run out of things to give, things to say, things to see. By then you'll have found someone perfect; and she'll become your world. And you will have left this world just as you found it. Nothing left to remember, nothing left to regret, with your whole life laid out in front of you, and your whole life left behind.
The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
A few years ago, Ed and I were exploring the dunes on Cumberland Island, one of the barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and the mainland of south Georgia. He was looking for the fossilized teeth of long-dead sharks. I was looking for sand spurs so that I did not step on one. This meant that neither of us was looking very far past our own feet, so the huge loggerhead turtle took us both by surprise. She was still alive but just barely, her shell hot to the touch from the noonday sun. We both knew what had happened. She had come ashore during the night to lay her eggs, and when she had finished, she had looked around for the brightest horizon to lead her back to the sea. Mistaking the distant lights on the mainland for the sky reflected on the ocean, she went the wrong way. Judging by her tracks, she had dragged herself through the sand until her flippers were buried and she could go no farther. We found her where she had given up, half cooked by the sun but still able to turn one eye up to look at us when we bent over her. I buried her in cool sand while Ed ran to the ranger station. An hour later she was on her back with tire chains around her front legs, being dragged behind a park service Jeep back toward the ocean. The dunes were so deep that her mouth filled with sand as she went. Her head bent so far underneath her that I feared her neck would break. Finally the Jeep stopped at the edge of the water. Ed and I helped the ranger unchain her and flip her back over. Then all three of us watched as she lay motionless in the surf. Every wave brought her life back to her, washing the sand from her eyes and making her shell shine again. When a particularly large one broke over her, she lifted her head and tried her back legs. The next wave made her light enough to find a foothold, and she pushed off, back into the water that was her home. Watching her swim slowly away after her nightmare ride through the dunes, I noted that it is sometimes hard to tell whether you are being killed or saved by the hands that turn your life upside down.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Learning to Walk in the Dark)
...each day I sit down in purposeful concentration to write in a notebook, some sentences on a buried truth, an unnamed reality, things that happened but are denied. It is hard to describe the stillness it takes, the difficulty of this act. It requires an almost perfect concentration which I am trying to learn and there is no way to learn it that is spelled out anywhere or so I can understand it but I have a sense that it's completely simply, on the order of being able to sit still and keep your mind dead center in you without apology or fear. I squirm after some time but it ain't boredom, it's fear of what's possible, how much you can know if you can be quiet enough and simple enough. I move around, my mind wanders, I lose the ability to take words and roll them through my brain, move with them into their interiors, feel their colors, touch what's under them, where they come from long ago and way back. I get frightened seeing what's in my own mind if words get put to it. There's a light there, it's bright, it's wide, it could make you blind if you look direct into it and so I turn away, afraid; I get frightened and I run and the only way to run is to abandon the process altogether or compromise it beyond recognition. I think about Celine sitting with his shit, for instance; I don't know why he didn't run, he should've. It's a quality you have to have of being near mad and at the same time so quiet in your heart that you could pass for a spiritual warrior; you could probably break things with the power in your mind. You got to be able to stand it, because it's a powerful and disturbing light, not something easy and kind, it comes through your head to make its way onto the page and you get fucking scared so your mind runs away, it wanders, it gets distracted, it buckles, it deserts, it takes a Goddamn freight train if it can find one, it wants calming agents and sporifics, and you mask that you are betraying the brightest and the best light you will ever see, you are betraying the mind that can be host to it... ...Your mind does stupid tricks to mask that you are betraying something of grave importance. It wanders so you won't notice that you are deserting your own life, abandoning it to triviality and garbage, how you are too fucking afraid to use your own brain for what it's for, which is to be a host to the light, to use it, to focus it; let it shine and carry the burden of what is illuminated, everything buried there; the light's scarier than anything it shows, the pure, direct experience of it in you as if your mind ain't the vegetable thing it's generally conceived to be or the nightmare thing you know it to be but a capacity you barely imagined, real; overwhelming and real, pushing you out to the edge of ecstasy and knowing and then do you fall or do you jump or do you fly?
Andrea Dworkin (Mercy)
I know this may be a disappointment for some of you, but I don’t believe there is only one right person for you. I think I fell in love with my wife, Harriet, from the first moment I saw her. Nevertheless, had she decided to marry someone else, I believe I would have met and fallen in love with someone else. I am eternally grateful that this didn’t happen, but I don’t believe she was my one chance at happiness in this life, nor was I hers. Another error you might easily make in dating is expecting to find perfection in the person you are with. The truth is, the only perfect people you might know are those you don’t know very well. Everyone has imperfections. Now, I’m not suggesting you lower your standards and marry someone with whom you can’t be happy. But one of the things I’ve realized as I’ve matured in life is that if someone is willing to accept me—imperfect as I am—then I should be willing to be patient with others’ imperfections as well. Since you won’t find perfection in your partner, and your partner won’t find it in you, your only chance at perfection is in creating perfection together. There are those who do not marry because they feel a lack of “magic” in the relationship. By “magic” I assume they mean sparks of attraction. Falling in love is a wonderful feeling, and I would never counsel you to marry someone you do not love. Nevertheless—and here is another thing that is sometimes hard to accept—that magic sparkle needs continuous polishing. When the magic endures in a relationship, it’s because the couple made it happen, not because it mystically appeared due to some cosmic force. Frankly, it takes work. For any relationship to survive, both parties bring their own magic with them and use that to sustain their love. Although I have said that I do not believe in a one-and-only soul mate for anyone, I do know this: once you commit to being married, your spouse becomes your soul mate, and it is your duty and responsibility to work every day to keep it that way. Once you have committed, the search for a soul mate is over. Our thoughts and actions turn from looking to creating. . . . Now, sisters, be gentle. It’s all right if you turn down requests for dates or proposals for marriage. But please do it gently. And brethren, please start asking! There are too many of our young women who never go on dates. Don’t suppose that certain girls would never go out with you. Sometimes they are wondering why no one asks them out. Just ask, and be prepared to move on if the answer is no. One of the trends we see in some parts of the world is our young people only “hanging out” in large groups rather than dating. While there is nothing wrong with getting together often with others your own age, I don’t know if you can really get to know individuals when you’re always in a group. One of the things you need to learn is how to have a conversation with a member of the opposite sex. A great way to learn this is by being alone with someone—talking without a net, so to speak. Dates don’t have to be—and in most cases shouldn’t be—expensive and over-planned affairs. When my wife and I moved from Germany to Salt Lake City, one of the things that most surprised us was the elaborate and sometimes stressful process young people had developed of asking for and accepting dates. Relax. Find simple ways to be together. One of my favorite things to do when I was young and looking for a date was to walk a young lady home after a Church meeting. Remember, your goal should not be to have a video of your date get a million views on YouTube. The goal is to get to know one individual person and learn how to develop a meaningful relationship with the opposite sex.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf
My Dearest, I miss you, my darling, as I always do, but today is especially hard because the ocean has been singing to me, and the song is that of our life together. I can almost feel you beside me as I write this letter, and I can smell the scent of wildflowers that always reminds me of you. But at this moment, these things give me no pleasure. Your visits have been coming less often, and I feel sometimes as if the greatest part of who I am is slowly slipping away. I am trying, though. At night when I am alone, I call for you, and whenever my ache seems to be the greatest, you still seem to find a way to return to me. Last night, in my dreams, I saw you on the pier near Wrightsville Beach. The wind was blowing through your hair, and your eyes held the fading sunlight. I am struck as I see you leaning against the rail. You are beautiful, I think as I see you, a vision that I can never find in anyone else. I slowly begin to walk toward you, and when you finally turn to me, I notice that others have been watching you as well. “Do you know her?” they ask me in jealous whispers, and as you smile at me, I simply answer with the truth. “Better than my own heart.” I stop when I reach you and take you in my arms. I long for this moment more than any other. It is what I live for, and when you return my embrace, I give myself over to this moment, at peace once again. I raise my hand and gently touch your cheek and you tilt your head and close your eyes. My hands are hard and your skin is soft, and I wonder for a moment if you’ll pull back, but of course you don’t. You never have, and it is at times like this that I know what my purpose is in life. I am here to love you, to hold you in my arms, to protect you. I am here to learn from you and to receive your love in return. I am here because there is no other place to be. But then, as always, the mist starts to form as we stand close to one another. It is a distant fog that rises from the horizon, and I find that I grow fearful as it approaches. It slowly creeps in, enveloping the world around us, fencing us in as if to prevent escape. Like a rolling cloud, it blankets everything, closing, until there is nothing left but the two of us. I feel my throat begin to close and my eyes well up with tears because I know it is time for you to go. The look you give me at that moment haunts me. I feel your sadness and my own loneliness, and the ache in my heart that had been silent for only a short time grows stronger as you release me. And then you spread your arms and step back into the fog because it is your place and not mine. I long to go with you, but your only response is to shake your head because we both know that is impossible. And I watch with breaking heart as you slowly fade away. I find myself straining to remember everything about this moment, everything about you. But soon, always too soon, your image vanishes and the fog rolls back to its faraway place and I am alone on the pier and I do not care what others think as I bow my head and cry and cry and cry.
Nicholas Sparks (Message in a Bottle)
Ethan’s parents constantly told him how brainy he was. “You’re so smart! You can do anything, Ethan. We are so proud of you, they would say every time he sailed through a math test. Or a spelling test. Or any test. With the best of intentions, they consistently tethered Ethan’s accomplishment to some innate characteristic of his intellectual prowess. Researchers call this “appealing to fixed mindsets.” The parents had no idea that this form of praise was toxic.   Little Ethan quickly learned that any academic achievement that required no effort was the behavior that defined his gift. When he hit junior high school, he ran into subjects that did require effort. He could no longer sail through, and, for the first time, he started making mistakes. But he did not see these errors as opportunities for improvement. After all, he was smart because he could mysteriously grasp things quickly. And if he could no longer grasp things quickly, what did that imply? That he was no longer smart. Since he didn’t know the ingredients making him successful, he didn’t know what to do when he failed. You don’t have to hit that brick wall very often before you get discouraged, then depressed. Quite simply, Ethan quit trying. His grades collapsed. What happens when you say, ‘You’re so smart’   Research shows that Ethan’s unfortunate story is typical of kids regularly praised for some fixed characteristic. If you praise your child this way, three things are statistically likely to happen:   First, your child will begin to perceive mistakes as failures. Because you told her that success was due to some static ability over which she had no control, she will start to think of failure (such as a bad grade) as a static thing, too—now perceived as a lack of ability. Successes are thought of as gifts rather than the governable product of effort.   Second, perhaps as a reaction to the first, she will become more concerned with looking smart than with actually learning something. (Though Ethan was intelligent, he was more preoccupied with breezing through and appearing smart to the people who mattered to him. He developed little regard for learning.)   Third, she will be less willing to confront the reasons behind any deficiencies, less willing to make an effort. Such kids have a difficult time admitting errors. There is simply too much at stake for failure.       What to say instead: ‘You really worked hard’   What should Ethan’s parents have done? Research shows a simple solution. Rather than praising him for being smart, they should have praised him for working hard. On the successful completion of a test, they should not have said,“I’m so proud of you. You’re so smart. They should have said, “I’m so proud of you. You must have really studied hard”. This appeals to controllable effort rather than to unchangeable talent. It’s called “growth mindset” praise.
John Medina (Brain Rules for Baby: How to Raise a Smart and Happy Child from Zero to Five)
Many things in this period have been hard to bear, or hard to take seriously. My own profession went into a protracted swoon during the Reagan-Bush-Thatcher decade, and shows scant sign of recovering a critical faculty—or indeed any faculty whatever, unless it is one of induced enthusiasm for a plausible consensus President. (We shall see whether it counts as progress for the same parrots to learn a new word.) And my own cohort, the left, shared in the general dispiriting move towards apolitical, atonal postmodernism. Regarding something magnificent, like the long-overdue and still endangered South African revolution (a jagged fit in the supposedly smooth pattern of axiomatic progress), one could see that Ariadne’s thread had a robust reddish tinge, and that potential citizens had not all deconstructed themselves into Xhosa, Zulu, Cape Coloured or ‘Eurocentric’; had in other words resisted the sectarian lesson that the masters of apartheid tried to teach them. Elsewhere, though, it seemed all at once as if competitive solipsism was the signifier of the ‘radical’; a stress on the salience not even of the individual, but of the trait, and from that atomization into the lump of the category. Surely one thing to be learned from the lapsed totalitarian system was the unwholesome relationship between the cult of the masses and the adoration of the supreme personality. Yet introspective voyaging seemed to coexist with dull group-think wherever one peered about among the formerly ‘committed’. Traditionally then, or tediously as some will think, I saw no reason to discard the Orwellian standard in considering modern literature. While a sort of etiolation, tricked out as playfulness, had its way among the non-judgemental, much good work was still done by those who weighed words as if they meant what they said. Some authors, indeed, stood by their works as if they had composed them in solitude and out of conviction. Of these, an encouraging number spoke for the ironic against the literal mind; for the generously interpreted interest of all against the renewal of what Orwell termed the ‘smelly little orthodoxies’—tribe and Faith, monotheist and polytheist, being most conspicuous among these new/old disfigurements. In the course of making a film about the decaffeinated hedonism of modern Los Angeles, I visited the house where Thomas Mann, in another time of torment, wrote Dr Faustus. My German friends were filling the streets of Munich and Berlin to combat the recrudescence of the same old shit as I read: This old, folkish layer survives in us all, and to speak as I really think, I do. not consider religion the most adequate means of keeping it under lock and key. For that, literature alone avails, humanistic science, the ideal of the free and beautiful human being. [italics mine] The path to this concept of enlightenment is not to be found in the pursuit of self-pity, or of self-love. Of course to be merely a political animal is to miss Mann’s point; while, as ever, to be an apolitical animal is to leave fellow-citizens at the mercy of Ideolo’. For the sake of argument, then, one must never let a euphemism or a false consolation pass uncontested. The truth seldom lies, but when it does lie it lies somewhere in between.
Christopher Hitchens (For the Sake of Argument: Essays and Minority Reports)
With the best of intentions, the generation before mine worked diligently to prepare their children to make an intelligent case for Christianity. We were constantly reminded of the superiority of our own worldview and the shortcomings of all others. We learned that as Christians, we alone had access to absolute truth and could win any argument. The appropriate Bible verses were picked out for us, the opposing positions summarized for us, and the best responses articulated for us, so that we wouldn’t have to struggle through two thousand years of theological deliberations and debates but could get right to the bottom line on the important stuff: the deity of Christ, the nature of the Trinity, the role and interpretation of Scripture, and the fundamentals of Christianity. As a result, many of us entered the world with both an unparalleled level of conviction and a crippling lack of curiosity. So ready with the answers, we didn’t know what the questions were anymore. So prepared to defend the faith, we missed the thrill of discovering it for ourselves. So convinced we had God right, it never occurred to us that we might be wrong. In short, we never learned to doubt. Doubt is a difficult animal to master because it requires that we learn the difference between doubting God and doubting what we believe about God. The former has the potential to destroy faith; the latter has the power to enrich and refine it. The former is a vice; the latter a virtue. Where would we be if the apostle Peter had not doubted the necessity of food laws, or if Martin Luther had not doubted the notion that salvation can be purchased? What if Galileo had simply accepted church-instituted cosmology paradigms, or William Wilberforce the condition of slavery? We do an injustice to the intricacies and shadings of Christian history when we gloss over the struggles, when we read Paul’s epistles or Saint Augustine’s Confessions without acknowledging the difficult questions that these believers asked and the agony with which they often asked them. If I’ve learned anything over the past five years, it’s that doubt is the mechanism by which faith evolves. It helps us cast off false fundamentals so that we can recover what has been lost or embrace what is new. It is a refining fire, a hot flame that keeps our faith alive and moving and bubbling about, where certainty would only freeze it on the spot. I would argue that healthy doubt (questioning one’s beliefs) is perhaps the best defense against unhealthy doubt (questioning God). When we know how to make a distinction between our ideas about God and God himself, our faith remains safe when one of those ideas is seriously challenged. When we recognize that our theology is not the moon but rather a finger pointing at the moon, we enjoy the freedom of questioning it from time to time. We can say, as Tennyson said, Our little systems have their day; They have their day and cease to be; They are but broken lights of thee, And thou, O Lord, art more than they.15 I sometimes wonder if I might have spent fewer nights in angry, resentful prayer if only I’d known that my little systems — my theology, my presuppositions, my beliefs, even my fundamentals — were but broken lights of a holy, transcendent God. I wish I had known to question them, not him. What my generation is learning the hard way is that faith is not about defending conquered ground but about discovering new territory. Faith isn’t about being right, or settling down, or refusing to change. Faith is a journey, and every generation contributes its own sketches to the map. I’ve got miles and miles to go on this journey, but I think I can see Jesus up ahead.
Rachel Held Evans (Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions)
My years of struggling against inequality, abusive power, poverty, oppression, and injustice had finally revealed something to me about myself. Being close to suffering, death, executions, and cruel punishments didn't just illuminate the brokenness of others; in a moment of anguish and heartbreak, it also exposed my own brokenness. You can't effectively fight abusive power, poverty, inequality, illness, oppression, or injustice and not be broken by it. We are all broken by something. We have all hurt someone and have been hurt. We all share the condition of brokenness even if our brokenness is not equivalent. The ways in which I have been hurt - and have hurt others - are different from the ways Jimmy Dill suffered and caused suffering. But our shared brokenness connected us. Thomas Merton said: We are bodies of broken bones. I guess I'd always known but never fully considered that being broken is what makes us human. We all have our reasons. Sometimes we're fractured by the choices we make; sometimes we're shattered by things we would never have chosen. But our brokenness is also the source of our common humanity, the basis for our shared search for comfort, meaning, and healing. Our shared vulnerability and imperfection nurtures and sustains our capacity for compassion. We have a choice. We can embrace our humanness, which means embracing our broken natures and the compassion that remains our best hope for healing. Or we can deny our brokenness, forswear compassion, and, as a result, deny our own humanity. I thought of the guards strapping Jimmy Dill to the gurney that very hour. I thought of the people who would cheer his death and see it as some kind of victory. I realized they were broken people, too, even if they would never admit it. So many of us have become afraid and angry. We've become so fearful and vengeful that we've thrown away children, discarded the disabled, and sanctioned the imprisonment of the sick and the weak - not because they are a threat to public safety or beyond rehabilitation but because we think it makes us seem tough, less broken. I thought of the victims of violent crime and the survivors of murdered loved ones, and how we've pressured them to recycle their pain and anguish and give it back to the offenders we prosecute. I thought of the many ways we've legalized vengeful and cruel punishments, how we've allowed our victimization to justify the victimization of others. We've submitted to the harsh instinct to crush those among us whose brokenness is most visible. But simply punishing the broken - walking away from them or hiding them from sight - only ensures that they remain broken and we do, too. There is no wholeness outside of our reciprocal humanity. I frequently had difficult conversations with clients who were struggling and despairing over their situations - over the things they'd done, or had been done to them, that had led them to painful moments. Whenever things got really bad, and they were questioning the value of their lives, I would remind them that each of us is more than the worst thing we've ever done. I told them that if someone tells a lie, that person is not just a liar. If you take something that doesn't belong to you, you are not just a thief. Even if you kill someone, you're not just a killer. I told myself that evening what I had been telling my clients for years. I am more than broken. In fact, there is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy. When you experience mercy, you learn things that are hard to learn otherwise. You see things that you can't otherwise see; you hear things you can't otherwise hear. You begin to recognize the humanity that resides in each of us.
Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption)