Presents Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Presents. Here they are! All 200 of them:

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Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.
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Bil Keane
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Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
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George Orwell (1984)
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Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia. (...) You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you'll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.
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John Green (Looking for Alaska)
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If you want to be happy, do not dwell in the past, do not worry about the future, focus on living fully in the present.
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Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)
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Mr. Moony presents his compliments to Professor Snape, and begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other people's business. Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Moony, and would like to add that Professor Snape is an ugly git. Mr. Padfoot would like to register his astonishment that an idiot like that ever became a professor. Mr. Wormtail bids Professor Snape good day, and advises him to wash his hair, the slimeball.
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J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3))
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The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, nor to worry about the future, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.
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Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (The Teaching of Buddha)
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Live in the present, remember the past, and fear not the future, for it doesn't exist and never shall. There is only now.
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Christopher Paolini (Eldest (Inheritance, #2))
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The past has no power over the present moment.
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Eckhart Tolle
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And I asked myself about the present: how wide it was, how deep it was, how much was mine to keep.
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Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
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Sometimes, I feel the past and the future pressing so hard on either side that there's no room for the present at all.
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Evelyn Waugh (Brideshead Revisited)
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Our lives are not our own. We are bound to others, past and present, and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future.
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David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas)
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I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.
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Virginia Woolf
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Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.
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Albert Camus (Notebooks 1935-1942)
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The present changes the past. Looking back you do not find what you left behind.
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Kiran Desai (The Inheritance of Loss)
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Ghosts don't haunt us. That's not how it works. They're present among us because we won't let go of them.
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Sue Grafton (M is for Malice (Kinsey Millhone, #13))
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No amount of regretting can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future.
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Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)
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We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.
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AnaΓ―s Nin
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Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.
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Mother Teresa
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If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.
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Lao Tzu
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You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.
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Henry David Thoreau
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Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.
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C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
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One only dies once, and if one does not die well, a good opportunity is lost and will not present itself again.
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JosΓ© Rizal
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The future depends on what you do today.
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Mahatma Gandhi
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There were always in me, two women at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions because they were weaknesses, helplessness, despair, and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest.
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AnaΓ―s Nin
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It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream.
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Edgar Allan Poe
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I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now.
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Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)
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Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.
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Marcus Aurelius (Meditations)
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You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you'll escape one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.
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John Green (Looking for Alaska)
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Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.
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Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
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Pick the day. Enjoy it - to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come... The past, I think, has helped me appreciate the present, and I don't want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future.
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Audrey Hepburn
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It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence.
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C.S. Lewis
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The older one becomes the quicker the present fades into sepia and the past looms up in glorious technicolour
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Beryl Bainbridge
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Be present in all things and thankful for all things.
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Maya Angelou
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Reflect upon your present blessings -- of which every man has many -- not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
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Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings)
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No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.
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Gautama Buddha (Sayings Of Buddha)
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All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist.
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Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
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True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.
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Seneca
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It's easy to look at people and make quick judgments about them, their present and their past, but you'd be amazed at the pain and tears a single smile hides. What a person shows to the world is only one tiny facet of the iceberg hidden from sight. And more often then not, it's lined with cracks and scars that go all the way to the foundation of their soul.
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Sherrilyn Kenyon (Acheron (Dark-Hunter, #14))
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Memory is a snare, pure and simple; it alters, it subtly rearranges the past to fit the present.
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Mario Vargas Llosa
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The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it.
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Thomas S. Monson
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Almost every time somebody gives me a present, it ends up making me sad.
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J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)
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You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.
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Thomas Merton
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The decisions of our past are the architects of our present.
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Dan Brown (Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4))
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Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it.
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Eckhart Tolle
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Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.
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BrenΓ© Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
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I have realized that the past and future are real illusions, that they exist in the present, which is what there is and all there is.
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Alan W. Watts
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Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.
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Thich Nhat Hanh (Being Peace (Being Peace, #1))
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It's being here now that's important. There's no past and there's no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can't relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don't know if there is one.
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George Harrison
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The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine.
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Nikola Tesla
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She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me, and I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.
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Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice)
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Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.
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Thich Nhat Hanh (Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life)
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You never know what kind of setup market will present to you, your objective should be to find opportunity where risk reward ratio is best.
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Jaymin Shah
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Women like a man with a past, but they prefer a man with a present.
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Mae West
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The pure present is an ungraspable advance of the past devouring the future. In truth, all sensation is already memory.
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Henri Bergson (Matter and Memory)
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Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.
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Pema ChΓΆdrΓΆn (The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times)
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The past did affect the present and the future, in ways you could see and a million ones you couldn't. Time wasn't a thing you could divide easily; there was no defined middle or beginning or end. I could pretend to leave the past behind, but it would not leave me.
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Sarah Dessen (Just Listen)
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There is a reason they call God a presence - because God is right here, right now. In the present is the only place to find Him, and now is the only time.
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Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)
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Laws alone can not secure freedom of expression; in order that every man present his views without penalty there must be spirit of tolerance in the entire population.
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Albert Einstein
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I love you present tense.
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John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
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Sam,' the girl said. 'Sam.' She was the past present and future. I wanted to answer , but I was broken.
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Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1))
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Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief.
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Frantz Fanon (Black Skin, White Masks)
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We are not held back by the love we didn't receive in the past, but by the love we're not extending in the present.
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Marianne Williamson
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In one thing you have not changed, dear friend," said Aragorn: "you still speak in riddles." "What? In riddles?" said Gandalf. "No! For I was talking aloud to myself. A habit of the old: they choose the wisest person present to speak to; the long explanations needed by the young are wearying.
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J.R.R. Tolkien (The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2))
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Presents are made for the pleasure of who gives them, not the merits of who receives them.
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Carlos Ruiz ZafΓ³n (The Shadow of the Wind (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #1))
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If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.
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Amit Ray (Om Chanting and Meditation)
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We all use the future to escape the present.
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John Green
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The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. (21)
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Thich Nhat Hanh (Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life)
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Accept - then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.
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Eckhart Tolle
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And presently I was driving through the drizzle of the dying day, with the windshield wipers in full action but unable to cope with my tears.
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Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
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Have I told you how hideous you look tonight?” Cardan asks, leaning back in the elaborately carved chair, the warmth of his words turning the question into something like a compliment. β€œNo” I say, glad to be annoyed back into the present. β€œTell me.” "I can't.
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Holly Black (The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1))
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Gratitude looks to the Past and love to the Present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead.
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C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
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And never have I felt so deeply at one and the same time so detached from myself and so present in the world.
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Albert Camus
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All my life, I thought of love as some kind of voluntary enslavement. Well, that's a lie: freedom only exists when love is present. The person who gives him or herself wholly, the person who feels freest, is the person who loves most wholeheartedly.
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Paulo Coelho (Eleven Minutes)
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Life is available only in the present moment.
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Thich Nhat Hanh (Taming the Tiger Within: Meditations on Transforming Difficult Emotions)
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If a girl says not to get her a birthday present that means get me a birthday present and make sure it's jewelry.
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Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1))
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If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.
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Dorothy Parker
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I don't imagine you will dispute the fact that at present the stupid people are in an absolutely overwhelming majority all the world over.
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Henrik Ibsen
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Male fantasies, male fantasies, is everything run by male fantasies? Up on a pedestal or down on your knees, it's all a male fantasy: that you're strong enough to take what they dish out, or else too weak to do anything about it. Even pretending you aren't catering to male fantasies is a male fantasy: pretending you're unseen, pretending you have a life of your own, that you can wash your feet and comb your hair unconscious of the ever-present watcher peering through the keyhole, peering through the keyhole in your own head, if nowhere else. You are a woman with a man inside watching a woman. You are your own voyeur.
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Margaret Atwood (The Robber Bride)
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I haven’t been avoiding you,” β€œYou’re lying. The last time we were both at dinner, you got up in the middle of Mom’s fajita presentation and said you forgot to feed your cat.” Uh-oh. β€œSo?” β€œYou don’t have a cat.
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Kristen Ashley (Rock Chick (Rock Chick, #1))
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I'm very good at the past. It's the present I can't understand.
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Nick Hornby (High Fidelity)
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If Peeta and I were both to die, or they thought we were....My fingers fumble with the pouch on my belt, freeing it. Peeta sees it and his hand clamps on my wrist. "No, I won't let you." "Trust me," I whisper. He holds my gaze for a long moment then lets go. I loosen the top of the pouch and pour a few spoonfuls of berries into his palm. Then I fill my own. "On the count of three?" Peeta leans down and kisses me once, very gently. "The count of three," he says. We stand, our backs pressed together, our empty hands locked tight. "Hold them out. I want everyone to see," he says. I spread out my fingers, and the dark berries glisten in the sun. I give Peeta's hand one last squeeze as a signal, as a good-bye, and we begin counting. "One." Maybe I'm wrong. "Two." Maybe they don't care if we both die. "Three!" It's too late to change my mind. I lift my hand to my mouth taking one last look at the world. The berries have just passed my lips when the trumpets begin to blare. The frantic voice of Claudius Templesmith shouts above them. "Stop! Stop! Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to present the victors of the 74th Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark! I give you - the tributes of District 12!
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Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1))
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I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.
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Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)
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People give flowers as present because flowers contain true meaning of love. Anyone who tries to posses a flower will have to watch its beauty fading. But if you simply look at a flower in the field, you'll keep it forever. That is what the forest taught me. That you will never be mine, and that is why i will never lose you.
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Paulo Coelho (Brida)
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TO BE HOPEFUL in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and placesβ€”and there are so manyβ€”where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.
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Howard Zinn
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In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don't try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.
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Lao Tzu
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We all get lost once in a while, sometimes by choice, sometimes due to forces beyond our control. When we learn what it is our soul needs to learn, the path presents itself. Sometimes we see the way out but wander further and deeper despite ourselves; the fear, the anger or the sadness preventing us returning. Sometimes we prefer to be lost and wandering, sometimes it's easier. Sometimes we find our own way out. But regardless, always, we are found.
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Cecelia Ahern (Thanks for the Memories)
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How dismal it is to see present day Americans yearning for the very orthodoxy that their country was founded to escape.
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Christopher Hitchens
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It is impossible to live in the past, difficult to live in the present and a waste to live in the future.
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Frank Herbert (Dune (Dune Chronicles, #1))
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For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity.
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C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
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It is difficult to live in and enjoy the moment when you are thinking about the past or worrying about the future. You cannot change your past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about your future. Learn from the past, plan for the future. The more you live in and enjoy the present moment, the happier you will be.
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Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)
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Whenever two people meet, there are really six people present. There is each man as he sees himself, each man as the other person sees him, and each man as he really is.
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William James
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I was talking aloud to myself. A habit of the old: they choose the wisest person present to speak to
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J.R.R. Tolkien (The Two Towers (The Lord of the Rings, #2))
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Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
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Rainer Maria Rilke (Letters to a Young Poet)
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Realize deeply that the present moment is all you will ever have.
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Eckhart Tolle
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Friendship was witnessing another’s slow drip of miseries, and long bouts of boredom, and occasional triumphs. It was feeling honored by the privilege of getting to be present for another person’s most dismal moments, and knowing that you could be dismal around him in return.
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Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
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The future starts today, not tomorrow.
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Pope John Paul II
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When two people meet and fall in love, there's a sudden rush of magic. Magic is just naturally present then. We tend to feed on that gratuitous magic without striving to make any more. One day we wake up and find that the magic is gone. We hustle to get it back, but by then it's usually too late, we've used it up. What we have to do is work like hell at making additional magic right from the start. It's hard work, but if we can remember to do it, we greatly improve our chances of making love stay.
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Tom Robbins (Still Life with Woodpecker)
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Don't let a mad world tell you that success is anything other than a successful present moment.
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Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose)
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I can forgive a man’s past faults, his present shortcomings, and his future failures if every minute of every day he loves me like it’s his religion.
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Nicole Williams (Clash (Crash, #2))
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All right," Clara said. "We have our swordsman, so let's get moving. Brigan, could you attempt, at least, to make yourself presentable? I know this is a war, but the rest of us are trying to pretend it's a party.
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Kristin Cashore (Fire (Graceling Realm, #2))
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I steeled myself to focus only on the present yet remain alert to what might come next.
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Nicholas Sparks (Dear John)
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He taught me there's a place on a man's back where, if you sink a blade in, you can pierce his heart and sever his spine, all at once,' Sebastian had said. 'I guess we got the same birthday present that year, big brother,' Jace thought. 'Didn't we?
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Cassandra Clare (City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments, #3))
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Quit worrying about how everything is going to turn out. Live one day at a time; better yet, make the most of this moment. It’s good to have a big – picture outlook, to set goals, to establish budgets and make plans, but if you’re always living in the future, you’re never really enjoying the present in the way God wants you to.
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Joel Osteen (Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential)
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When you do the things in the present that you can see, you are shaping the future that you are yet to see.
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Idowu Koyenikan (Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability)
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If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will protect upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else.
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Elizabeth Gilbert
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Don't you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you're not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you've lived nearly half the time you have to live already?
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Ernest Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises)
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If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present.
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Ludwig Wittgenstein
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The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future less resolved than it will be.
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Marcel Pagnol
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Do not waste time bothering whether you β€˜love’ your neighbor; act as if you did. As soon as we do this we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him.
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C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
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People may flatter themselves just as much by thinking that their faults are always present to other people's minds, as if they believe that the world is always contemplating their individual charms and virtues.
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Elizabeth Gaskell
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Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine
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Nikola Tesla
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The past is already gone, the future is not yet here. There's only one moment for you to live, and that is the present moment
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Gautama Buddha
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When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy, peace and love.
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Thich Nhat Hanh
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Instead of being presented with stereotypes by age, sex, color, class, or religion, children must have the opportunity to learn that within each range, some people are loathsome and some are delightful.
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Margaret Mead
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If you want the present to be different from the past, study the past.
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Baruch Spinoza
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Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It finds its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance.
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Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
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I am who I am and that's who I am
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Nikolai Gogol
β€œ
Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.
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George Orwell (1984)
β€œ
Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on timeβ€”past and futureβ€”the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.
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Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
β€œ
Life is like music for its own sake. We are living in an eternal now, and when we listen to music we are not listening to the past, we are not listening to the future, we are listening to an expanded present.
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Alan W. Watts
β€œ
Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.
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George Orwell (1984)
β€œ
Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.
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Thich Nhat Hanh
β€œ
It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for a bird to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.
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C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
β€œ
I live on Earth at present, and I don’t know what I am. I know that I am not a category. I am not a thing β€” a noun. I seem to be a verb, an evolutionary process – an integral function of the universe.
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R. Buckminster Fuller
β€œ
All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry - all forms of fear - are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of nonforgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.
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Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
β€œ
Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.
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Richard Shaull (Pedagogy of the Oppressed)
β€œ
Q: You'er presented with a smooth-faced, eight-foot-high wooden wall. Your objective? Get over it. To, like, save comrades or something. How to accomplish this? A: Take a running start, brace one foot against the wall, throw one hand to the top, try to hang on long enough for a comrade to either grab your hand at the top or for another comrade to push your butt up from below. It takes team work! BKA (bird kid answer): Or you could just, like, fly over it.
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James Patterson (Max (Maximum Ride, #5))
β€œ
Always say β€œyes” to the present moment. What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is? what could be more insane than to oppose life itself, which is now and always now? Surrender to what is. Say β€œyes” to life β€” and see how life suddenly starts working for you rather than against you.
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Eckhart Tolle
β€œ
The past is a ghost, the future a dream and all we ever have is now.
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Bill Cosby
β€œ
Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghost of yesterday. Holding a grudge & harboring anger/resentment is poison to the soul. Get even with people...but not those who have hurt us, forget them, instead get even with those who have helped us.
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Steve Maraboli (Life, the Truth, and Being Free)
β€œ
Dance. Smile. Giggle. Marvel. TRUST. HOPE. LOVE. WISH. BELIEVE. Most of all, enjoy every moment of the journey, and appreciate where you are at this moment instead of always focusing on how far you have to go.
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Mandy Hale (The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass)
β€œ
I compare myself with my former self, not with others. Not only that, I tend to compare my current self with the best I have been, which is when I have been midly manic. When I am my present "normal" self, I am far removed from when I have been my liveliest, most productive, most intense, most outgoing and effervescent. In short, for myself, I am a hard act to follow.
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Kay Redfield Jamison (An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness)
β€œ
At present I absolutely want to paint a starry sky. It often seems to me that night is still more richly coloured than the day; having hues of the most intense violets, blues and greens. If only you pay attention to it you will see that certain stars are lemon-yellow, others pink or a green, blue and forget-me-not brilliance. And without my expatiating on this theme it is obvious that putting little white dots on the blue-black is not enough to paint a starry sky.
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Vincent van Gogh
β€œ
Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me danger is very real but fear is a choice.
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Will Smith
β€œ
How could she feel nostalgia when he was right in front of her? How can you suffer from the absence of a person who is present? You can suffer nostalgia in the presence of the beloved if you glimpse a future where the beloved is no more
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Milan Kundera (Identity)
β€œ
The tragedy of this world is that no one is happy, whether stuck in a time of pain or of joy. The tragedy of this world is that everyone is alone. For a life in the past cannot be shared with the present. Each person who gets stuck in time gets stuck alone.
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Alan Lightman (Einstein's Dreams)
β€œ
I love you present tense,” I whispered, and then put my hand on the middle of his chest and said, β€œIt’s okay, Gus. It’s okay. It is. It’s okay, you hear me?” I hadβ€”and haveβ€”absolutely no confidence that he could hear me. I leaned forward and kissed his cheek. β€œOkay,” I said. β€œOkay.
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John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
β€œ
I will have nothing to do with a God who cares only occasionally. I need a God who is with us always, everywhere, in the deepest depths as well as the highest heights. It is when things go wrong, when good things do not happen, when our prayers seem to have been lost, that God is most present. We do not need the sheltering wings when things go smoothly. We are closest to God in the darkness, stumbling along blindly.
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Madeleine L'Engle
β€œ
All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.
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Martha Graham
β€œ
God is life. God is life in action. The best way to say, "I love you, God," is to live your life doing your best. The best way to say, "Thank you, God," is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment, right here and now. Whatever life takes away from you, let it go. When you surrender and let go of the past, you allow yourself to be fully alive in the moment. Letting go of the past means you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now.
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Miguel Ruiz (The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom)
β€œ
Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, "Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody." ... [My dark side says,] I am no good... I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the "Beloved." Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.
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Henri J.M. Nouwen
β€œ
There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass! Who's been pinching my beer? And at the other end of the bar the world is full of the other type of person, who has a broken glass, or a glass that has been carelessly knocked over (usually by one of the people calling for a larger glass) or who had no glass at all, because he was at the back of the crowd and had failed to catch the barman's eye.
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Terry Pratchett (The Truth (Discworld, #25; Industrial Revolution, #2))
β€œ
In the present case it is a little inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible to any public office of trust or profit in the Republic. But I do not repine, for I am a subject of it only by force of arms.
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H.L. Mencken
β€œ
Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in the way in which our visual field has no limits.
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Ludwig Wittgenstein (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus)
β€œ
Have you also learned that secret from the river; that there is no such thing as time?" That the river is everywhere at the same time, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the current, in the ocean and in the mountains, everywhere and that the present only exists for it, not the shadow of the past nor the shadow of the future.
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Hermann Hesse (Siddhartha)
β€œ
A person who has not been completely alienated, who has remained sensitive and able to feel, who has not lost the sense of dignity, who is not yet "for sale", who can still suffer over the suffering of others, who has not acquired fully the having mode of existence - briefly, a person who has remained a person and not become a thing - cannot help feeling lonely, powerless, isolated in present-day society. He cannot help doubting himself and his own convictions, if not his sanity. He cannot help suffering, even though he can experience moments of joy and clarity that are absent in the life of his "normal" contemporaries. Not rarely will he suffer from neurosis that results from the situation of a sane man living in an insane society, rather than that of the more conventional neurosis of a sick man trying to adapt himself to a sick society. In the process of going further in his analysis, i.e. of growing to greater independence and productivity,his neurotic symptoms will cure themselves.
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Erich Fromm (The Art of Being)
β€œ
It's not my story anymore: whenever I speak about the past now, I feel as if I were talking about something that has nothing to do with me. All that remains in the present are the voice, the presence, and the importance of fulfilling my mission. I don't regret difficulties I experienced; I think they helped me to become the person I am today, I feel the way a warrior must feel after years of training; he doesn't remember the details of everything he learned, but he knows how to strike when the time is right.
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Paulo Coelho (The Zahir)
β€œ
Every time I go back to Rome, I go back to that one spot. It is still alive for me, still resounds with something totally present, as though a heart stolen from a tale by Poe still throbbed under the ancient slate pavement to remind me that, here, I had finally encountered the life that was right for me but had failed to have.
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AndrΓ© Aciman (Call Me by Your Name)
β€œ
My scars remind me that I did indeed survive my deepest wounds. That in itself is an accomplishment. And they bring to mind something else, too. They remind me that the damage life has inflicted on me has, in many places, left me stronger and more resilient. What hurt me in the past has actually made me better equipped to face the present.
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Steve Goodier
β€œ
Tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live. There is no other reality than present reality, so that, even if one were to live for endless ages, to live for the future would be to miss the point everlastingly.
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Alan W. Watts (The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety)
β€œ
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door β€” Only this, and nothing more." Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow; β€” vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow β€” sorrow for the lost Lenore β€” For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore β€” Nameless here for evermore. And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me β€” filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating, Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door β€” Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; β€” This it is, and nothing more." Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you"β€” here I opened wide the door; β€” Darkness there, and nothing more. Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?" This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!" β€” Merely this, and nothing more. Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice: Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore β€” Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; β€” 'Tis the wind and nothing more." Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore; Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door β€” Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door β€” Perched, and sat, and nothing more. Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore. Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore β€” Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaningβ€” little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door β€” Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as "Nevermore.
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Edgar Allan Poe (The Raven)
β€œ
I am a drifter, and as lonely as that can be, it is also remarkably freeing. I will never define myself in terms of anyone else. I will never feel the pressure of peers or the burden of parental expectation. I can view everyone as pieces of a whole, and focus on the whole, not the pieces. I have learned to observe, far better than most people observe. I am not blinded by the past or motivated by the future. I focus on the present because that is where I am destined to live.
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David Levithan (Every Day (Every Day, #1))
β€œ
Pleasure to me is wonderβ€”the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.
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H.P. Lovecraft
β€œ
Depression presents itself as a realism regarding the rottenness of the world in general and the rottenness of your life in particular. But the realism is merely a mask for depression's actual essence, which is an overwhelming estrangement from humanity. The more persuaded you are of your unique access to the rottenness, the more afraid you become of engaging with the world; and the less you engage with the world, the more perfidiously happy-faced the rest of humanity seems for continuing to engage with it.
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Jonathan Franzen (How to Be Alone)
β€œ
Do not ruin today with mourning tomorrow.
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Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1))
β€œ
My religious convictions and scientific views cannot at present be more specifically defined than as those of a believer in creative evolution. I desire that no public monument or work of art or inscription or sermon or ritual service commemorating me shall suggest that I accepted the tenets peculiar to any established church or denomination nor take the form of a cross or any other instrument of torture or symbol of blood sacrifice. [From the will of GBS]
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George Bernard Shaw
β€œ
Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray's case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backwardβ€”reversing cause and effect. I call these the "wet streets cause rain" stories. Paper's full of them. In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
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Michael Crichton
β€œ
I cannot exist without you - I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again - my Life seems to stop there - I see no further. You have absorb'd me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I were dissolving... I have been astonished that Men could die Martyrs for religion - I have shudder'd at it - I shudder no more - I could be martyr'd for my Religion - Love is my religion - I could die for that - I could die for you. My creed is Love and you are its only tenet - You have ravish'd me away by a Power I cannot resist.
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John Keats
β€œ
Although I have felt compelled to write things down since I was five years old, I doubt that my daughter ever will, for she is a singularly blessed and accepting child, delighted with life exactly as life presents itself to her, unafraid to go to sleep and unafraid to wake up. Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.
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Joan Didion
β€œ
Silver nitrate and water in a super soaker," he told her. "My own invention. Ought to be good at twenty feet, kind of like wasp spray." Oh. "You get me the nicest things." "Anybody can get jewelry. Posers
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Rachel Caine (Fade Out (The Morganville Vampires, #7))
β€œ
When people are suicidal, their thinking is paralyzed, their options appear spare or nonexistent, their mood is despairing, and hopelessness permeates their entire mental domain. The future cannot be separated from the present, and the present is painful beyond solace. β€˜This is my last experiment,’ wrote a young chemist in his suicide note. β€˜If there is any eternal torment worse than mine I’ll have to be shown.
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Kay Redfield Jamison (Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide)
β€œ
We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infintesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.
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Alan W. Watts
β€œ
I worry that there are people who are put in positions of authority because they're good talkers, but they don't have good ideas. It's so easy to confuse schmoozing ability with talent. Someone seems like a good presenter, easy to get along with, and those traits are rewarded. Well, why is that? They're valuable traits, but we put too much of a premium on presenting and not enough on substance and critical thinking.
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Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking)
β€œ
Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.
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Audre Lorde (Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches)
β€œ
Only the Jew knew that by an able and persistent use of propaganda heaven itself can be presented to the people as if it were hell and, vice versa, the most miserable kind of life can be presented as if it were paradise. The Jew knew this and acted accordingly. But the German, or rather his Government, did not have the slightest suspicion of it. During the War the heaviest of penalties had to be paid for that ignorance. -- Mein Kampf, Chapter 10
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Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)
β€œ
I feel like I owe him something, and I hate owing people. Maybe if I had thanked him at some point, I'd be feeling less conflicted now. I thought about it a couple of times, but the opportunity never seemed to present itself. And now it never will. Because we're going to be thrown into an arena to fight to the death. Exactly how am I supposed to work in a thank-you in there? Somehow it just won't seem sincere if I'm trying to slit his throat.
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Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1))
β€œ
Intelligence is one of the greatest human gifts. But all too often a search for knowledge drives out the search for love. This is something else I've discovered for myself very recently. I present it to you as a hypothesis: Intelligence without the ability to give and receive affection leads to mental and moral breakdown, to neurosis, and possibly even psychosis. And I say that the mind absorbed in and involved in itself as a self-centered end, to the exclusion of human relationships, can only lead to violence and pain.
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Daniel Keyes (Flowers for Algernon)
β€œ
I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time -- when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness... The dumbing down of American is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance
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Carl Sagan (The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark)
β€œ
In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to ever expect it. I am anxious to afford some alleviation of your present distress. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You can not now realize that you will ever feel better. Is not this so? And yet it is a mistake. You are sure to be happy again. To know this, which is certainly true, will make you some less miserable now. I have had experience enough to know what I say; and you need only to believe it, to feel better at once.
”
”
Abraham Lincoln
β€œ
When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern. The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.
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Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Gift from the Sea)
β€œ
He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion... Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them...he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
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”
John Stuart Mill (On Liberty)
β€œ
Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language.
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Karl Marx (The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte)
β€œ
We all need someone to look at us. we can be divided into four categories according to the kind of look we wish to live under. the first category longs for the look of an infinite number of anonymous eyes, in other words, for the look of the public. the second category is made up of people who have a vital need to be looked at by many known eyes. they are the tireless hosts of cocktail parties and dinners. they are happier than the people in the first category, who, when they lose their public, have the feeling that the lights have gone out in the room of their lives. this happens to nearly all of them sooner or later. people in the second category, on the other hand, can always come up with the eyes they need. then there is the third category, the category of people who need to be constantly before the eyes of the person they love. their situation is as dangerous as the situation of people in the first category. one day the eyes of their beloved will close, and the room will go dark. and finally there is the fourth category, the rarest, the category of people who live in the imaginary eyes of those who are not present. they are the dreamers.
”
”
Milan Kundera
β€œ
To a parent, your child wasn't just a person: your child was a place, a kind of Narnia, a vast eternal place where the present you were living and the past you remembered and the future you longed for all at the same time. You could see it every time you looked at her: layered in her face was the baby she'd been and the child she'd become and the adult she would grow up to be, and you saw them all simultaneously, like a 3-D image. It made your head spin. It was a place you could take refuge, if you knew how to get in. And each time you left it, each time your child passed out of your sight, you feared you might never be able to return to that place again.
”
”
Celeste Ng (Little Fires Everywhere)
β€œ
Often men who have been emotionally neglected and abused as children by dominating mothers bond with assertive women, only to have their childhood feelings of being engulfed surface. While they could not 'smash their mommy' and still receive love, they find that they can engage in intimate violence with partners who respond to their acting out by trying harder to connect with them emotionally, hoping that the love offered in the present will heal the wounds of the past. If only one party in the relationship is working to create love, to create the space of emotional connection, the dominator model remains in place and the relationship just becomes a site for continuous power struggle.
”
”
bell hooks
β€œ
Meghan,” whispered a voice, heart wrenchingly familiar, drawing me out of the void. I recognized it immediately, just as I realized it was a figment of my desperate imagination, because the real owner of that voice would never be here, talking to me. Ash? β€œWake up,” he murmured, his deep voice cutting through the layers of the darkness. β€œDon’t do this. If you don’t come out of this soon, you’ll fade away and drift forever. Fight it. Come back to us.” I didn’t want to wake up. There was nothing but pain waiting for me in the real world. If I was asleep, I couldn’t feel anything. If I was asleep, I didn’t have to face Ash and the cold contempt on his face when he looked at me. Darkness was my retreat, my sanctuary. I drew back from Ash’s voice, deeper into the comforting blackness. And, through the layer of dreams and delirium, I heard a quiet sob. β€œPlease.” A hand gripped mine, real and solid, anchoring me to the present. β€œI know what you must think of me, but…” The voice broke off, took a ragged breath. β€œDon’t leave,” it whispered. β€œMeghan, don’t go. Come back to me.
”
”
Julie Kagawa (The Iron Daughter (The Iron Fey, #2))
β€œ
Why Not You? Today, many will awaken with a fresh sense of inspiration. Why not you? Today, many will open their eyes to the beauty that surrounds them. Why not you? Today, many will choose to leave the ghost of yesterday behind and seize the immeasurable power of today. Why not you? Today, many will break through the barriers of the past by looking at the blessings of the present. Why not you? Today, for many the burden of self doubt and insecurity will be lifted by the security and confidence of empowerment. Why not you? Today, many will rise above their believed limitations and make contact with their powerful innate strength. Why not you? Today, many will choose to live in such a manner that they will be a positive role model for their children. Why not you? Today, many will choose to free themselves from the personal imprisonment of their bad habits. Why not you? Today, many will choose to live free of conditions and rules governing their own happiness. Why not you? Today, many will find abundance in simplicity. Why not you? Today, many will be confronted by difficult moral choices and they will choose to do what is right instead of what is beneficial. Why not you? Today, many will decide to no longer sit back with a victim mentality, but to take charge of their lives and make positive changes. Why not you? Today, many will take the action necessary to make a difference. Why not you? Today, many will make the commitment to be a better mother, father, son, daughter, student, teacher, worker, boss, brother, sister, & so much more. Why not you? Today is a new day! Many will seize this day. Many will live it to the fullest. Why not you?
”
”
Steve Maraboli (Life, the Truth, and Being Free)
β€œ
It was all unknown to me then, as I sat on that white bench on the day I finished my hike. Everything except the fact that I didn't have to know. That is was enough to trust that what I'd done was true. To understand its meaning without yet being able to say precisely what it was, like all those lines from The Dream of a Common Language that had run through my nights and days. To believe that I didn't need to reach with my bare hands anymore. To know that seeing the fish beneath the surface of the water was enough. That it was everything. It was my life - like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was, to let it be.
”
”
Cheryl Strayed (Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail)
β€œ
Love is a wonderful gift. It's a present so precious words can barely begin to describe it. Love is a feeling, the deepest and sweetest of all. It's incredibly strong and amazingly gentle at the very same time. It is a blessing that should be counted every day. It is nourishment for the soul. It is devotion, constantly letting each person know how supportive it's certainty can be. Love is a heart filled with affection for the most important person in your life. Love is looking at the special someone who makes your world go around and absolutely loving what you see. Love gives meaning to one's world and magic to a million hopes and dreams. It makes the morning shine more brightly and each season seem like it's the nicest one anyone ever had. Love is an invaluable bond that enriches every good thing in life. It gives each hug a tenderness, each heart a happiness, each spirit a steady lift. Love is an invisible connection that is exquisitely felt by those who know the joy, feel the warmth, share the sweetness, and celebrate the gift!
”
”
Douglas Pagels
β€œ
Now there is one thing I can tell you: you will enjoy certain pleasures you would not fathom now. When you still had your mother you often thought of the days when you would have her no longer. Now you will often think of days past when you had her. When you are used to this horrible thing that they will forever be cast into the past, then you will gently feel her revive, returning to take her place, her entire place, beside you. At the present time, this is not yet possible. Let yourself be inert, wait till the incomprehensible power ... that has broken you restores you a little, I say a little, for henceforth you will always keep something broken about you. Tell yourself this, too, for it is a kind of pleasure to know that you will never love less, that you will never be consoled, that you will constantly remember more and more.
”
”
Marcel Proust
β€œ
The complexity of our present trouble suggests as never before that we need to change our present concept of education. Education is not properly an industry, and its proper use is not to serve industries, either by job-training or by industry-subsidized research. It's proper use is to enable citizens to live lives that are economically, politically, socially, and culturally responsible. This cannot be done by gathering or "accessing" what we now call "information" - which is to say facts without context and therefore without priority. A proper education enables young people to put their lives in order, which means knowing what things are more important than other things; it means putting first things first.
”
”
Wendell Berry
β€œ
We do not get to choose how we start out in life. We do not get to choose the day we are born or the family we are born into, what we are named at birth, what country we are born in, and we do not get to choose our ancestry. All these things are predetermined by a higher power. By the time you are old enough to start making decisions for yourself, a lot of things in your life are already in place. It’s important, therefore, that you focus on the future, the only thing that you can change.
”
”
Idowu Koyenikan (Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability)
β€œ
Another way that you love your enemy is this: When the opportunity presents itself for you to defeat your enemy, that is the time which you must not do it. There will come a time, in many instances, when the person who hates you most, the person who has misused you most, the person who has gossiped about you most, the person who has spread false rumors about you most, there will come a time when you will have an opportunity to defeat that person. It might be in terms of a recommendation for a job; it might be in terms of helping that person to make some move in life. That’s the time you must do it. That is the meaning of love. In the final analysis, love is not this sentimental something that we talk about. It’s not merely an emotional something. Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system.
”
”
Martin Luther King Jr.
β€œ
And I want to play hide-and-seek and give you my clothes and tell you I like your shoes and sit on the steps while you take a bath and massage your neck and kiss your feet and hold your hand and go for a meal and not mind when you eat my food and meet you at Rudy's and talk about the day and type up your letters and carry your boxes and laugh at your paranoia and give you tapes you don't listen to and watch great films and watch terrible films and complain about the radio and take pictures of you when you're sleeping and get up to fetch you coffee and bagels and Danish and go to Florent and drink coffee at midnight and have you steal my cigarettes and never be able to find a match and tell you about the tv programme I saw the night before and take you to the eye hospital and not laugh at your jokes and want you in the morning but let you sleep for a while and kiss your back and stroke your skin and tell you how much I love your hair your eyes your lips your neck your breasts your arse your and sit on the steps smoking till your neighbour comes home and sit on the steps smoking till you come home and worry when you're late and be amazed when you're early and give you sunflowers and go to your party and dance till I'm black and be sorry when I'm wrong and happy when you forgive me and look at your photos and wish I'd known you forever and hear your voice in my ear and feel your skin on my skin and get scared when you're angry and your eye has gone red and the other eye blue and your hair to the left and your face oriental and tell you you're gorgeous and hug you when you're anxious and hold you when you hurt and want you when I smell you and offend you when I touch you and whimper when I'm next to you and whimper when I'm not and dribble on your breast and smother you in the night and get cold when you take the blanket and hot when you don't and melt when you smile and dissolve when you laugh and not understand why you think I'm rejecting you when I'm not rejecting you and wonder how you could think I'd ever reject you and wonder who you are but accept you anyway and tell you about the tree angel enchanted forest boy who flew across the ocean because he loved you and write poems for you and wonder why you don't believe me and have a feeling so deep I can't find words for it and want to buy you a kitten I'd get jealous of because it would get more attention than me and keep you in bed when you have to go and cry like a baby when you finally do and get rid of the roaches and buy you presents you don't want and take them away again and ask you to marry me and you say no again but keep on asking because though you think I don't mean it I do always have from the first time I asked you and wander the city thinking it's empty without you and want what you want and think I'm losing myself but know I'm safe with you and tell you the worst of me and try to give you the best of me because you don't deserve any less and answer your questions when I'd rather not and tell you the truth when I really don't want to and try to be honest because I know you prefer it and think it's all over but hang on in for just ten more minutes before you throw me out of your life and forget who I am and try to get closer to you because it's beautiful learning to know you and well worth the effort and speak German to you badly and Hebrew to you worse and make love with you at three in the morning and somehow somehow somehow communicate some of the overwhelming undying overpowering unconditional all-encompassing heart-enriching mind-expanding on-going never-ending love I have for you.
”
”
Sarah Kane (Crave)
β€œ
I examined the poets, and I look on them as people whose talent overawes both themselves and others, people who present themselves as wise men and are taken as such, when they are nothing of the sort. From poets, I moved to artists. No one was more ignorant about the arts than I; no one was more convinced that artists possessed really beautiful secrets. However, I noticed that their condition was no better than that of the poets and that both of them have the same misconceptions. Because the most skillful among them excel in their specialty, they look upon themselves as the wisest of men. In my eyes, this presumption completely tarnished their knowledge. As a result, putting myself in the place of the oracle and asking myself what I would prefer to be β€” what I was or what they were, to know what they have learned or to know that I know nothing β€” I replied to myself and to the god: I wish to remain who I am. We do not know β€” neither the sophists, nor the orators, nor the artists, nor Iβ€” what the True, the Good, and the Beautiful are. But there is this difference between us: although these people know nothing, they all believe they know something; whereas, I, if I know nothing, at least have no doubts about it. As a result, all this superiority in wisdom which the oracle has attributed to me reduces itself to the single point that I am strongly convinced that I am ignorant of what I do not know.
”
”
Socrates
β€œ
But today’s society is characterized by achievement orientation, and consequently it adores people who are successful and happy and, in particular, it adores the young. It virtually ignores the value of all those who are otherwise, and in so doing blurs the decisive difference between being valuable in the sense of dignity and being valuable in the sense of usefulness. If one is not cognizant of this difference and holds that an individual’s value stems only from his present usefulness, then, believe me, one owes it only to personal inconsistency not to plead for euthanasia along the lines of Hitler’s program, that is to say, β€˜mercy’ killing of all those who have lost their social usefulness, be it because of old age, incurable illness, mental deterioration, or whatever handicap they may suffer. Confounding the dignity of man with mere usefulness arises from conceptual confusion that in turn may be traced back to the contemporary nihilism transmitted on many an academic campus and many an analytical couch.
”
”
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
β€œ
When she opened her eyes, she was both in her body and watching it, nowhere near the cavity of the tree. The Blue that was before her stood inches from a boy in an Aglionby sweater. There was a slight stoop to his posture, and his shoulders were spattered darkly with rain. It was his fingers that Blue felt on her face. He touched her cheek with the backs of his fingers. Tears coursed down the other Blue's face. Though some strange magic, Blue could feel them on her face as well. She could feel, too, sick, rising misery she'd felt in the churchyard, the grief that felt bigger than her. The other Blue's tears seemed endless. One drop slid after another, each following an identical path down her cheeks. The boy in the Aglionby sweater leaned his forehead against Blue's. She felt the pressure of his skin against hers, and suddenly she could smell mint. It'll be okay. Gansey told the other Blue. She could tell that he was afraid. It'll be okay. Impossibly, Blue realized that this other Blue was crying because she loved Gansey. And that the reason Gansey touched her like that, his fingers so careful with her, was because he knew that her kiss could kill him. She could feel how badly the other Blue wanted to kiss him, even as she dreaded it. Though she couldn't understand why, her real, present day memories in the tree cavity were clouded with other false memories of their lips nearly touching, a life this other Blue had already lived. Okay, I'm ready- Gansey's voice caught, just a little. Blue, kiss me.
”
”
Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1))
β€œ
According to Buddhism, the root of suffering is neither the feeling of pain nor of sadness nor even of meaninglessness. Rather, the real root of suffering is this never-ending and pointless pursuit of ephemeral feelings, which causes us to be in a constant state of tension, restlessness and dissatisfaction. Due to this pursuit, the mind is never satisfied. Even when experiencing pleasure, it is not content, because it fears this feeling might soon disappear, and craves that this feeling should stay and intensify. People are liberated from suffering not when they experience this or that fleeting pleasure, but rather when they understand the impermanent nature of all their feelings, and stop craving them. This is the aim of Buddhist meditation practices. In meditation, you are supposed to closely observe your mind and body, witness the ceaseless arising and passing of all your feelings, and realise how pointless it is to pursue them. When the pursuit stops, the mind becomes very relaxed, clear and satisfied. All kinds of feelings go on arising and passing – joy, anger, boredom, lust – but once you stop craving particular feelings, you can just accept them for what they are. You live in the present moment instead of fantasising about what might have been. The resulting serenity is so profound that those who spend their lives in the frenzied pursuit of pleasant feelings can hardly imagine it. It is like a man standing for decades on the seashore, embracing certain β€˜good’ waves and trying to prevent them from disintegrating, while simultaneously pushing back β€˜bad’ waves to prevent them from getting near him. Day in, day out, the man stands on the beach, driving himself crazy with this fruitless exercise. Eventually, he sits down on the sand and just allows the waves to come and go as they please. How peaceful!
”
”
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
β€œ
You know, I do believe in magic. I was born and raised in a magic time, in a magic town, among magicians. Oh, most everybody else didn’t realize we lived in that web of magic, connected by silver filaments of chance and circumstance. But I knew it all along. When I was twelve years old, the world was my magic lantern, and by its green spirit glow I saw the past, the present and into the future. You probably did too; you just don’t recall it. See, this is my opinion: we all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves. After you go so far away from it, though, you can’t really get it back. You can have seconds of it. Just seconds of knowing and remembering. When people get weepy at movies, it’s because in that dark theater the golden pool of magic is touched, just briefly. Then they come out into the hard sun of logic and reason again and it dries up, and they’re left feeling a little heartsad and not knowing why. When a song stirs a memory, when motes of dust turning in a shaft of light takes your attention from the world, when you listen to a train passing on a track at night in the distance and wonder where it might be going, you step beyond who you are and where you are. For the briefest of instants, you have stepped into the magic realm. That’s what I believe. The truth of life is that every year we get farther away from the essence that is born within us. We get shouldered with burdens, some of them good, some of them not so good. Things happen to us. Loved ones die. People get in wrecks and get crippled. People lose their way, for one reason or another. It’s not hard to do, in this world of crazy mazes. Life itself does its best to take that memory of magic away from us. You don’t know it’s happening until one day you feel you’ve lost something but you’re not sure what it is. It’s like smiling at a pretty girl and she calls you β€œsir.” It just happens. These memories of who I was and where I lived are important to me. They make up a large part of who I’m going to be when my journey winds down. I need the memory of magic if I am ever going to conjure magic again. I need to know and remember, and I want to tell you.
”
”
Robert R. McCammon (Boy's Life)
β€œ
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him; The evil that men do lives after them, The good is oft interred with their bones, So let it be with Caesar ... The noble Brutus Hath told you Caesar was ambitious: If it were so, it was a grievous fault, And grievously hath Caesar answered it ... Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest, (For Brutus is an honourable man; So are they all; all honourable men) Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral ... He was my friend, faithful and just to me: But Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man…. He hath brought many captives home to Rome, Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill: Did this in Caesar seem ambitious? When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept: Ambition should be made of sterner stuff: Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honourable man. You all did see that on the Lupercal I thrice presented him a kingly crown, Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition? Yet Brutus says he was ambitious; And, sure, he is an honourable man. I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke, But here I am to speak what I do know. You all did love him once, not without cause: What cause withholds you then to mourn for him? O judgement! thou art fled to brutish beasts, And men have lost their reason…. Bear with me; My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, And I must pause till it come back to me
”
”
William Shakespeare (Julius Caesar)
β€œ
Life has a way of going in circles. Ideally, it would be a straight path forward––we'd always know where we were going, we'd always be able to move on and leave everything else behind. There would be nothing but the present and the future. Instead, we always find ourselves where we started. When we try to move ahead, we end up taking a step back. We carry everything with us, the weight exhausting us until we want to collapse and give up. We forget things we try to remember. We remember things we'd rather forget. The most frightening thing about memory is that it leaves no choice. It has mastered an incomprehensible art of forgetting. It erases, it smudges, it fills in blank spaces with details that don't exist. But however we remember it––or choose to remember it––the past is the foundation that holds our lives in place. Without its support, we'd have nothing for guidance. We spend so much time focused on what lies ahead, when what has fallen behind is just as important. What defines us isn't where we're going, but where we've been. Although there are places and people we will never see again, and although we move on and let them go, they remain a part of who we are. There are things that will never change, things we will carry along with us always. But as we venture into the murky future, we must find our strength by learning to leave things behind.
”
”
Brigid Gorry-Hines
β€œ
... so this is for us. This is for us who sing, write, dance, act, study, run and love and this is for doing it even if no one will ever know because the beauty is in the act of doing it. Not what it can lead to. This is for the times I lose myself while writing, singing, playing and no one is around and they will never know but I will forever remember and that shines brighter than any praise or fame or glory I will ever have, and this is for you who write or play or read or sing by yourself with the light off and door closed when the world is asleep and the stars are aligned and maybe no one will ever hear it or read your words or know your thoughts but it doesn’t make it less glorious. It makes it ethereal. Mysterious. Infinite. For it belongs to you and whatever God or spirit you believe in and only you can decide how much it meant and means and will forever mean and other people will experience it too through you. Through your spirit. Through the way you talk. Through the way you walk and love and laugh and care and I never meant to write this long but what I want to say is: Don’t try to present your art by making other people read or hear or see or touch it; make them feel it. Wear your art like your heart on your sleeve and keep it alive by making people feel a little better. Feel a little lighter. Create art in order for yourself to become yourself and let your very existence be your song, your poem, your story. Let your very identity be your book. Let the way people say your name sound like the sweetest melody. So go create. Take photographs in the wood, run alone in the rain and sing your heart out high up on a mountain where no one will ever hear and your very existence will be the most hypnotising scar. Make your life be your art and you will never be forgotten.
”
”
Charlotte Eriksson (Another Vagabond Lost To Love: Berlin Stories on Leaving & Arriving)
β€œ
In case you haven't noticed, as the result of a shamelessly rigged election in Florida, in which thousands of African Americans were arbitrarily disenfranchised, we now present ourselves to the rest of the world as proud, grinning, jut-jawed, pitiless war-lovers with appalling powerful weaponry - who stand unopposed. In case you haven't noticed, we are now as feared and hated all over the world as the Nazi's once were. And with good reason. In case you haven't noticed, our unelected leaders have dehumanized millions and millions of human beings simply because of their religion and race. We wound 'em and kill 'em and torture 'em and imprison 'em all we want. Piece of cake. In case you haven't noticed, we also dehumanize our own soldiers, not because of their religion or race, but because of their low social class. Send 'em anywhere. Make 'em do anything. Piece of cake. The O'Reilly Factor. So I am a man without a country, except for the librarians and a Chicago paper called "In These Times." Before we attacked Iraq, the majestic "New York Times" guaranteed there were weapons of destruction there. Albert Einstein and Mark Twain gave up on the human race at the end of their lives, even though Twain hadn't even seen the First World War. War is now a form of TV entertainment, and what made the First World War so particularly entertaining were two American inventions, barbed wire and the machine gun. Shrapnel was invented by an Englishman of the same name. Don't you wish you could have something named after you? Like my distinct betters Einstein and Twain, I now give up on people too. I am a veteran of the Second World War and I have to say this is the not the first time I surrendered to a pitiless war machine. My last words? "Life is no way to treat an animal, not even a mouse." Napalm came from Harvard. Veritas! Our president is a Christian? So was Adolf Hitler. What can be said to our young people, now that psychopathic personalities, which is to say persons without consciences, without senses of pity or shame, have taken all the money in the treasuries of our government and corporations and made it all their own?
”
”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (A Man Without a Country)
β€œ
I therefore hate the corrupt, slaveholding, women-whipping, cradle-plundering, partial and hypocritical Christianity of the land... I look upon it as the climax of all misnomers, the boldest of all frauds, and the grossest of all libels. Never was there a clearer case of 'stealing the livery of the court of heaven to serve the devil in.' I am filled with unutterable loathing when I contemplate the religious pomp and show, together with the horrible inconsistencies, which every where surround me. We have men-stealers for ministers, women-whippers for missionaries, and cradle-plunderers for church members. The man who wields the blood-clotted cowskin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday, and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus. . . . The slave auctioneer’s bell and the church-going bell chime in with each other, and the bitter cries of the heart-broken slave are drowned in the religious shouts of his pious master. Revivals of religion and revivals in the slave-trade go hand in hand together. The slave prison and the church stand near each other. The clanking of fetters and the rattling of chains in the prison, and the pious psalm and solemn prayer in the church, may be heard at the same time. The dealers in the bodies of men erect their stand in the presence of the pulpit, and they mutually help each other. The dealer gives his blood-stained gold to support the pulpit, and the pulpit, in return, covers his infernal business with the garb of Christianity. Here we have religion and robbery the allies of each otherβ€”devils dressed in angels’ robes, and hell presenting the semblance of paradise.
”
”
Frederick Douglass (Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass)
β€œ
The letter said that they were two feet high, and green, and shaped like plumber's friends. Their suction cups were on the ground, and their shafts, which were extremely flexible, usually pointed to the sky. At the top of each shaft was a little hand with a green eye in its palm. The creatures were friendly, and they could see in four dimensions. They pitied Earthlings for being able to see only three. They had many wonderful things to teach Earthlings, especially about time. Billy promised to tell what some of those wonderful things were in his next letter. Billy was working on his second letter when the first letter was published. The second letter started out like this: The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever. When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in a bad condition in that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is "so it goes.
”
”
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Slaughterhouse-Five)
β€œ
That is the idea -- that we should all be wicked if we did not hold to the Christian religion. It seems to me that the people who have held to it have been for the most part extremely wicked. You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the so-called ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches; and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion. You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world. You may think that I am going too far when I say that that is still so. I do not think that I am. Take one fact. You will bear with me if I mention it. It is not a pleasant fact, but the churches compel one to mention facts that are not pleasant. Supposing that in this world that we live in today an inexperienced girl is married to a syphilitic man; in that case the Catholic Church says, 'This is an indissoluble sacrament. You must endure celibacy or stay together. And if you stay together, you must not use birth control to prevent the birth of syphilitic children.' Nobody whose natural sympathies have not been warped by dogma, or whose moral nature was not absolutely dead to all sense of suffering, could maintain that it is right and proper that that state of things should continue. That is only an example. There are a great many ways in which, at the present moment, the church, by its insistence upon what it chooses to call morality, inflicts upon all sorts of people undeserved and unnecessary suffering. And of course, as we know, it is in its major part an opponent still of progress and improvement in all the ways that diminish suffering in the world, because it has chosen to label as morality a certain narrow set of rules of conduct which have nothing to do with human happiness; and when you say that this or that ought to be done because it would make for human happiness, they think that has nothing to do with the matter at all. 'What has human happiness to do with morals? The object of morals is not to make people happy.
”
”
Bertrand Russell (Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects)
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When they bombed Hiroshima, the explosion formed a mini-supernova, so every living animal, human or plant that received direct contact with the rays from that sun was instantly turned to ash. And what was left of the city soon followed. The long-lasting damage of nuclear radiation caused an entire city and its population to turn into powder. When I was born, my mom says I looked around the whole hospital room with a stare that said, "This? I've done this before." She says I have old eyes. When my Grandpa Genji died, I was only five years old, but I took my mom by the hand and told her, "Don't worry, he'll come back as a baby." And yet, for someone who's apparently done this already, I still haven't figured anything out yet. My knees still buckle every time I get on a stage. My self-confidence can be measured out in teaspoons mixed into my poetry, and it still always tastes funny in my mouth. But in Hiroshima, some people were wiped clean away, leaving only a wristwatch or a diary page. So no matter that I have inhibitions to fill all my pockets, I keep trying, hoping that one day I'll write a poem I can be proud to let sit in a museum exhibit as the only proof I existed. My parents named me Sarah, which is a biblical name. In the original story God told Sarah she could do something impossible and she laughed, because the first Sarah, she didn't know what to do with impossible. And me? Well, neither do I, but I see the impossible every day. Impossible is trying to connect in this world, trying to hold onto others while things are blowing up around you, knowing that while you're speaking, they aren't just waiting for their turn to talk -- they hear you. They feel exactly what you feel at the same time that you feel it. It's what I strive for every time I open my mouth -- that impossible connection. There's this piece of wall in Hiroshima that was completely burnt black by the radiation. But on the front step, a person who was sitting there blocked the rays from hitting the stone. The only thing left now is a permanent shadow of positive light. After the A bomb, specialists said it would take 75 years for the radiation damaged soil of Hiroshima City to ever grow anything again. But that spring, there were new buds popping up from the earth. When I meet you, in that moment, I'm no longer a part of your future. I start quickly becoming part of your past. But in that instant, I get to share your present. And you, you get to share mine. And that is the greatest present of all. So if you tell me I can do the impossible, I'll probably laugh at you. I don't know if I can change the world yet, because I don't know that much about it -- and I don't know that much about reincarnation either, but if you make me laugh hard enough, sometimes I forget what century I'm in. This isn't my first time here. This isn't my last time here. These aren't the last words I'll share. But just in case, I'm trying my hardest to get it right this time around.
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Sarah Kay
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You think man can destroy the planet? What intoxicating vanity. Let me tell you about our planet. Earth is four-and-a-half-billion-years-old. There's been life on it for nearly that long, 3.8 billion years. Bacteria first; later the first multicellular life, then the first complex creatures in the sea, on the land. Then finally the great sweeping ages of animals, the amphibians, the dinosaurs, at last the mammals, each one enduring millions on millions of years, great dynasties of creatures rising, flourishing, dying away -- all this against a background of continuous and violent upheaval. Mountain ranges thrust up, eroded away, cometary impacts, volcano eruptions, oceans rising and falling, whole continents moving, an endless, constant, violent change, colliding, buckling to make mountains over millions of years. Earth has survived everything in its time. It will certainly survive us. If all the nuclear weapons in the world went off at once and all the plants, all the animals died and the earth was sizzling hot for a hundred thousand years, life would survive, somewhere: under the soil, frozen in Arctic ice. Sooner or later, when the planet was no longer inhospitable, life would spread again. The evolutionary process would begin again. It might take a few billion years for life to regain its present variety. Of course, it would be very different from what it is now, but the earth would survive our folly, only we would not. If the ozone layer gets thinner, ultraviolet radiation sears the earth, so what? Ultraviolet radiation is good for life. It's powerful energy. It promotes mutation, change. Many forms of life will thrive with more UV radiation. Many others will die out. Do you think this is the first time that's happened? Think about oxygen. Necessary for life now, but oxygen is actually a metabolic poison, a corrosive glass, like fluorine. When oxygen was first produced as a waste product by certain plant cells some three billion years ago, it created a crisis for all other life on earth. Those plants were polluting the environment, exhaling a lethal gas. Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself. In the thinking of the human being a hundred years is a long time. A hundred years ago we didn't have cars, airplanes, computers or vaccines. It was a whole different world, but to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can't imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven't got the humility to try. We've been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we're gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.
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Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park / Congo)
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Closing The Cycle One always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished. Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden? You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill. None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back. Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place. Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else. Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the "ideal moment." Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important. Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.
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Paulo Coelho
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believe that this way of living, this focus on the present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration not on the news headlines but on the flowers growing in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. This way of living and noticing and building and crafting can crack through the movie sets and soundtracks that keep us waiting for our own life stories to begin, and set us free to observe the lives we have been creating all along without ever realizing it. I don’t want to wait anymore. I choose to believe that there is nothing more sacred or profound than this day. I choose to believe that there may be a thousand big moments embedded in this day, waiting to be discovered like tiny shards of gold. The big moments are the daily, tiny moments of courage and forgiveness and hope that we grab on to and extend to one another. That’s the drama of life, swirling all around us, and generally I don’t even see it, because I’m too busy waiting to become whatever it is I think I am about to become. The big moments are in every hour, every conversation, every meal, every meeting. The Heisman Trophy winner knows this. He knows that his big moment was not when they gave him the trophy. It was the thousand times he went to practice instead of going back to bed. It was the miles run on rainy days, the healthy meals when a burger sounded like heaven. That big moment represented and rested on a foundation of moments that had come before it. I believe that if we cultivate a true attention, a deep ability to see what has been there all along, we will find worlds within us and between us, dreams and stories and memories spilling over. The nuances and shades and secrets and intimations of love and friendship and marriage an parenting are action-packed and multicolored, if you know where to look. Today is your big moment. Moments, really. The life you’ve been waiting for is happening all around you. The scene unfolding right outside your window is worth more than the most beautiful painting, and the crackers and peanut butter that you’re having for lunch on the coffee table are as profound, in their own way, as the Last Supper. This is it. This is life in all its glory, swirling and unfolding around us, disguised as pedantic, pedestrian non-events. But pull of the mask and you will find your life, waiting to be made, chosen, woven, crafted. Your life, right now, today, is exploding with energy and power and detail and dimension, better than the best movie you have ever seen. You and your family and your friends and your house and your dinner table and your garage have all the makings of a life of epic proportions, a story for the ages. Because they all are. Every life is. You have stories worth telling, memories worth remembering, dreams worth working toward, a body worth feeding, a soul worth tending, and beyond that, the God of the universe dwells within you, the true culmination of super and natural. You are more than dust and bones. You are spirit and power and image of God. And you have been given Today.
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Shauna Niequist (Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life)