Reflect And Learn Quotes

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By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
Confucius
The beautiful journey of today can only begin when we learn to let go of yesterday.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
Don’t worry if people think you’re crazy. You are crazy. You have that kind of intoxicating insanity that lets other people dream outside of the lines and become who they’re destined to be.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
I want to be the best version of myself for anyone who is going to someday walk into my life and need someone to love them beyond reason.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
Don't just say you have read books. Show that through them you have learned to think better, to be a more discriminating and reflective person. Books are the training weights of the mind. They are very helpful, but it would be a bad mistake to suppose that one has made progress simply by having internalized their contents.
Epictetus (The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness and Effectiveness)
This life is for loving, sharing, learning, smiling, caring, forgiving, laughing, hugging, helping, dancing, wondering, healing, and even more loving. I choose to live life this way. I want to live my life in such a way that when I get out of bed in the morning, the devil says, 'aw shit, he's up!
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience.
John Dewey
Stop trying to be less of who you are. Let this time in your life cut you open and drain all of the things that are holding you back.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
I met a boy whose eyes showed me that the past, present and future were all the same thing.
Jennifer Elisabeth
There is great change to be experienced once you learn the power of letting go. Stop allowing anyone or anything to control, limit, repress, or discourage you from being your true self! Today is YOURS to shape - own it - break free from people and things that poison or dilute your spirit.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
I can do this… I can start over. I can save my own life and I’m never going to be alone as long as I have stars to wish on and people to still love.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
I am a writer of books in retrospect. I talk in order to understand; I teach in order to learn
Robert Frost
Learning without thought is labour lost; thought without learning is perilous.
Confucius (The Sayings of Confucius)
There is strange comfort in knowing that no matter what happens today, the Sun will rise again tomorrow.
Aaron Lauritsen (100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)
As all advocates of feminist politics know most people do not understand sexism or if they do they think it is not a problem. Masses of people think that feminism is always and only about women seeking to be equal to men. And a huge majority of these folks think feminism is anti-male. Their misunderstanding of feminist politics reflects the reality that most folks learn about feminism from patriarchal mass media.
bell hooks
The struggles we endure today will be the ‘good old days’ we laugh about tomorrow.
Aaron Lauritsen (100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)
She was reflecting back on a truth she had learned over the years: that people heard what they wanted to hear, saw what they wanted, believed what they wanted.
Jeffery Deaver (The Bodies Left Behind)
You have a unique gift to offer this world. Be true to yourself, be kind to yourself, read and learn about everything that interests you and keep away from people who bring you down. When you treat yourself kindly and respect the uniqueness of those around you, you will be giving this world an amazing gift... YOU!
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
Quiet people always know more than they seem. Although very normal, their inner world is by default fronted mysterious and therefore assumed weird. Never underestimate the social awareness and sense of reality in a quiet person; they are some of the most observant, absorbent persons of all.
Criss Jami (Healology)
For so many years, I couldn’t understand why every time I thought that someone finally loved me, like… for real, they would eventually turn to vapor. Every person whom I’ve ever loved is trapped inside of my chest. I’ve breathed all of them in so deeply that I’ve nearly choked and died on every soul that I’ve ever given myself to.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
But he'd learned long ago that a life lived without risks pretty much wasn't worth living. Life rewarded courage, even when that first step was taken neck-deep in fear.
Tamera Alexander (Within My Heart (Timber Ridge Reflections, #3))
Will raised both eyebrows. 'Well, you learn a new thing everyday,' he said reflectively. 'In your case, that's no exaggeration,' Halt said, completely straight-faced.
John Flanagan (The Emperor of Nihon-Ja (Ranger's Apprentice, #10))
I feel a resurgence of my 6-year-old self… that little warrior, goddess of a girl reminding me of who I was when I was little, before the world got its hands on me.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
If ever I was running, it was towards you.
Jennifer Elisabeth
Blessed are those with cracks in their broken heart because that is how the light gets in.
Shannon L. Alder
I look out into the water and up deep into the stars. I beg the sparkling lanterns of light to cure me of myself — my past and the kaleidoscope of mistakes, failures and wrong turns that have stacked unbearable regret upon my shoulders.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
I’ve always seen this in you, ever since you were a little girl — this hunger to love other people into their highest selves and it’s what has made me irreversibly and just so forever in love with you.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
The Waking I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I feel my fate in what I cannot fear. I learn by going where I have to go. We think by feeling. What is there to know? I hear my being dance from ear to ear. I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. Of those so close beside me, which are you? God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there, And learn by going where I have to go. Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how? The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair; I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. Great Nature has another thing to do To you and me, so take the lively air, And, lovely, learn by going where to go. This shaking keeps me steady. I should know. What falls away is always. And is near. I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow. I learn by going where I have to go.
Theodore Roethke (The Collected Poems)
I love him in ways that I can’t explain to other people. They don’t understand… it’s not their fault.
Jennifer Elisabeth
Let this time in your life cut you open and drain all of the things that are holding you back. I’m going to help you forgive the things that you won’t let yourself forget.
Jennifer Elisabeth
Life's trials will test you, and shape you, but don’t let them change who you are.” ~ Aaron Lauritsen, ‘100 Days Drive
Aaron Lauritsen (100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)
Does our purpose on Earth directly link to the people whom we end up meeting? Are our relationships and experiences actually the required dots that connect and then lead us to our ultimate destinies?
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
What counts, in the long run, is not what you read; it is what you sift through your own mind; it is the ideas and impressions that are aroused in you by your reading. It is the ideas stirred in your own mind, the ideas which are a reflection of your own thinking, which make you an interesting person
Eleanor Roosevelt (You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life)
I fantasize the night sky to be like a cosmic blue print of my life as I close my eyes and unbutton my heart…. just in case anyone up there is listening.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
It's in those quiet little towns, at the edge of the world, that you will find the salt of the earth people who make you feel right at home.
Aaron Lauritsen (100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)
The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve. Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people. As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don't help you climb will want you to crawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don't increase you will eventually decrease you. Consider this: Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problems with someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those who never succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone has a right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of the bargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don't follow anyone who's not going anywhere. With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it. Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights. "A mirror reflects a man's face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses." The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom you closely associate - for the good and the bad. Note: Be not mistaken. This is applicable to family as well as friends. Yes...do love, appreciate and be thankful for your family, for they will always be your family no matter what. Just know that they are human first and though they are family to you, they may be a friend to someone else and will fit somewhere in the criteria above. "In Prosperity Our Friends Know Us. In Adversity We Know Our friends." "Never make someone a priority when you are only an option for them." "If you are going to achieve excellence in big things,you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.."..
Colin Powell
I want you to tell me about every person you’ve ever been in love with. Tell me why you loved them, then tell me why they loved you. Tell me about a day in your life you didn’t think you’d live through. Tell me what the word home means to you and tell me in a way that I’ll know your mother’s name just by the way you describe your bedroom when you were eight. See, I want to know the first time you felt the weight of hate, and if that day still trembles beneath your bones. Do you prefer to play in puddles of rain or bounce in the bellies of snow? And if you were to build a snowman, would you rip two branches from a tree to build your snowman arms or would leave your snowman armless for the sake of being harmless to the tree? And if you would, would you notice how that tree weeps for you because your snowman has no arms to hug you every time you kiss him on the cheek? Do you kiss your friends on the cheek? Do you sleep beside them when they’re sad even if it makes your lover mad? Do you think that anger is a sincere emotion or just the timid motion of a fragile heart trying to beat away its pain? See, I wanna know what you think of your first name, and if you often lie awake at night and imagine your mother’s joy when she spoke it for the very first time. I want you to tell me all the ways you’ve been unkind. Tell me all the ways you’ve been cruel. Tell me, knowing I often picture Gandhi at ten years old beating up little boys at school. If you were walking by a chemical plant where smokestacks were filling the sky with dark black clouds would you holler “Poison! Poison! Poison!” really loud or would you whisper “That cloud looks like a fish, and that cloud looks like a fairy!” Do you believe that Mary was really a virgin? Do you believe that Moses really parted the sea? And if you don’t believe in miracles, tell me — how would you explain the miracle of my life to me? See, I wanna know if you believe in any god or if you believe in many gods or better yet what gods believe in you. And for all the times that you’ve knelt before the temple of yourself, have the prayers you asked come true? And if they didn’t, did you feel denied? And if you felt denied, denied by who? I wanna know what you see when you look in the mirror on a day you’re feeling good. I wanna know what you see when you look in the mirror on a day you’re feeling bad. I wanna know the first person who taught you your beauty could ever be reflected on a lousy piece of glass. If you ever reach enlightenment will you remember how to laugh? Have you ever been a song? Would you think less of me if I told you I’ve lived my entire life a little off-key? And I’m not nearly as smart as my poetry I just plagiarize the thoughts of the people around me who have learned the wisdom of silence. Do you believe that concrete perpetuates violence? And if you do — I want you to tell me of a meadow where my skateboard will soar. See, I wanna know more than what you do for a living. I wanna know how much of your life you spend just giving, and if you love yourself enough to also receive sometimes. I wanna know if you bleed sometimes from other people’s wounds, and if you dream sometimes that this life is just a balloon — that if you wanted to, you could pop, but you never would ‘cause you’d never want it to stop. If a tree fell in the forest and you were the only one there to hear — if its fall to the ground didn’t make a sound, would you panic in fear that you didn’t exist, or would you bask in the bliss of your nothingness? And lastly, let me ask you this: If you and I went for a walk and the entire walk, we didn’t talk — do you think eventually, we’d… kiss? No, wait. That’s asking too much — after all, this is only our first date.
Andrea Gibson
I really believe that there is an invisible red thread tied between him and me, and that it has stretched and tangled for years — across oceans and lifetimes. I know that it won’t break because our souls are tied.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
Something, somewhere, knows what’s best for me and promises to keep sending me people and experiences to light my way as long as I live in gratitude and keep paying attention to the signs.
Jennifer Elisabeth
I’ve grown up defined by this desperate, undeniable, ‘can’t breathe’ kind of space inside of myself and I’m afraid that the diagnosis is fatal.
Jennifer Elisabeth
Let today be the day you learn the grace of letting go and the power of moving on.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
A Litany for Survival For those of us who live at the shoreline standing upon the constant edges of decision crucial and alone for those of us who cannot indulge the passing dreams of choice who love in doorways coming and going in the hours between dawns looking inward and outward at once before and after seeking a now that can breed futures like bread in our children's mouths so their dreams will not reflect the death of ours: For those of us who were imprinted with fear like a faint line in the center of our foreheads learning to be afraid with our mother's milk for by this weapon this illusion of some safety to be found the heavy-footed hoped to silence us For all of us this instant and this triumph We were never meant to survive. And when the sun rises we are afraid it might not remain when the sun sets we are afraid it might not rise in the morning when our stomachs are full we are afraid of indigestion when our stomachs are empty we are afraid we may never eat again when we are loved we are afraid love will vanish when we are alone we are afraid love will never return and when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcomed but when we are silent we are still afraid So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive.
Audre Lorde (The Black Unicorn: Poems)
True friends don't come with conditions.
Aaron Lauritsen (100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)
I know that your soul is on life support and that you feel lost and like you’re completely spinning out of control, but you’re finding yourself — here, tonight… even in this darkness.
Jennifer Elisabeth
If at first you don’t succeed, you’re doing it wrong. Learn from the experience. Try again, but with a different approach.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
Most of us have learned to be dispassionate about evil, to look it in the face and find, as often as not, our own grinning reflections with which we do not argue, but good is another matter. Few have stared at that long enough to accept that its face too is grotesque, that in us the good is something under construction. The modes of evil usually receive worthy expression. The modes of good have to be satisfied with a cliche or a smoothing down that will soften their real look.
Flannery O'Connor
Your personal truth is your gift to the world.
Jennifer Elisabeth
From this point forward, you don’t even know how to quit in life.” ~ Aaron Lauritsen, ‘100 Days Drive
Aaron Lauritsen
He touched my cheek softly, his eyes intense as they gazed into mine."You might have to teach me a little about the human world, but I'm willing to learn if it means being close to you." He smiled again, a wry quirk of his lips. "I'm sure I can adapt to 'being human' if I must. If you want me to attend classes as a student, I can do that. If you want to move to a large city to pursue your dreams, I will follow. And if, someday, you wish to be married in a white gown and make this official in human eyes I'm willing to do that, too." He leaned in, close enough for me to see my reflection in his silver gaze." For better or worse, I'm afraid you're stuck with me now.
Julie Kagawa (The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey, #3))
Fascination with horses predated every other single thing I knew. Before I was a mother, before I was a writer, before I knew the facts of life, before I was a schoolgirl, before I learned to read, I wanted a horse.
Jane Smiley (A Year at the Races: Reflections on Horses, Humans, Love, Money, and Luck)
I write letters to you that you’ll never see.
Jennifer Elisabeth
Relax. Refresh. Renew. Play. Sing. Laugh. Enjoy. Forgive. Dance. Love. Hug. Share. Kiss. Create. Explore. Hope. Listen. Dare. Trust. Dream. Learn. TODAY!
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
My life changed the day I moved beyond just wishing for things and I started earning them. That is the day I learned that we don't get what we wish for, we get what we work for.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
Everything that is past is either a learning experience to grow on, a beautiful memory to reflect on, or a motivating factor to act upon.
Denis Waitley
I’m going to follow this invisible red thread until I find myself again… until I finally figure out… who I’m meant to be.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
Those who achieve the extraordinary are usually the most ordinary because they have nothing to prove to anybody. Be Humble.
Aaron Lauritsen (100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)
There is something profoundly cynical, my friends, in the notion of paradise after death. The lure is evasion. The promise is excusative. One need not accept responsibility for the world as it is, and by extension, one need do nothing about it. To strive for change, for true goodness in this mortal world, one must acknowledge and accept, within one's own soul, that this mortal reality has purpose in itself, that its greatest value is not for us, but for our children and their children. To view life as but a quick passage alone a foul, tortured path – made foul and tortured by our own indifference – is to excuse all manner of misery and depravity, and to exact cruel punishment upon the innocent lives to come. I defy this notion of paradise beyond the gates of bone. If the soul truly survives the passage, then it behooves us – each of us, my friends – to nurture a faith in similitude: what awaits us is a reflection of what we leave behind, and in the squandering of our mortal existence, we surrender the opportunity to learn the ways of goodness, the practice of sympathy, empathy, compassion and healing – all passed by in our rush to arrive at a place of glory and beauty, a place we did not earn, and most certainly do not deserve.
Steven Erikson (The Bonehunters (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #6))
I just want your voice aimed at me again. I want to absorb the direction of your eyes…
Jennifer Elisabeth
Please, not again what you studied, how long you spent at it, how many books you wrote, what people thought of you - but: what did you learn?
Idries Shah (Reflections)
Everything hurts right now and nothing is helping because as the pain is getting worse — so is the love.
Jennifer Elisabeth
If we learn to reflect on a paramount strategy and recognize the proper tactics, we may come to find out how we can rule the stormy waves of our lives since action and reflection have to unite in braving the tortuous windings and turnings of the paths ahead. ("Ruling the waves »)
Erik Pevernagie
From all that I saw, and everywhere I wandered, I learned that time cannot be spent, It only can be squandered.
Roman Payne (Rooftop Soliloquy)
Knowledge without application is simply knowledge. Applying the knowledge to one’s life is wisdom — and that is the ultimate virtue
Kasi Kaye Iliopoulos (Living in Light, Love & Truth: You Can Positively Change Your Life by Living in Light, Love, & Truth-Awareness + Reflection + Learning + Application)
He looked at me, that first day, like he had just found something he’d lost a thousand years ago.
Jennifer Elisabeth
The freedom of the open road is seductive, serendipitous and absolutely liberating.
Aaron Lauritsen (100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)
In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.
Eric Hoffer (Reflections on the Human Condition)
I could watch him do this until morning — never asking questions and never interrupting his work. I worship quietly — his intense focus and attention to detail and then, out of no where, I realize the inconvenient, inappropriate truth: ‘I love this man… and it has swallowed me.
Jennifer Elisabeth
What I've come to learn is that the world is never saved in grand messianic gestures, but in the simple accumulation of gentle, soft, almost invisible acts of compassion, everyday acts of compassion. In South Africa they have a phrase called ubuntu. Ubuntu comes out of a philosophy that says, the only way for me to be human is for you to reflect my humanity back at me.
Chris Abani
That's how it works: someone important believes in us, loudly and with conviction and against all substantiation, and over time, we begin to believe, too - not in our shot at perfection, mind you, but in the good enough version of us that they have reflected.
Kelly Corrigan (Tell Me More: Stories about the 12 Hardest Things I'm Learning to Say)
I know that this process of ‘me changing my life’ doesn’t just end once I set fire to this list of things I hate about myself. Tonight isn’t as much of a new beginning as it is a violent end and I know the real work hasn’t even started yet.
Jennifer Elisabeth
For years I have had no mirror; I have learned to make do. The eyes of another can be a mirror more effective than water. If you will look at me, I can see my reflection in yours
Cassandra Clare (Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1))
The one I felt and still feel most is lack of time. I used to have time to think, to reflect, my mind and I. We would sit together of an evening and listen to the inner melodies of the spirit, which one hears only in leisure moments when the words of some loved poet touch a deep, sweet chord in the soul that until then had been silent. But in college there is no time to commune with one's thoughts. One goes to college to learn, it seems, not to think. When one enters the portals of learning, one leaves the dearest pleasures--solitude, books and imagination--outside with the whispering pines. I suppose I ought to find some comfort in the thought that I am laying up treasures for future enjoyment, but I am improvident enough to prefer present joy to hoarding riches against a rainy day.
Helen Keller (The Story of My Life)
In the old days, when travelers would get lost, they would follow the stars and I love that idea. I wish that I could rely on something as simple and magnificent as a star for all of my aching questions.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
There are often great lessons to be learned at the roots of stress, drama, and heartache. Don’t let the magnitude of the circumstance blind you to the value of the lesson.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
The people around you are mirrors, I think. You see yourself reflected in their eyes. If the mirror is true, and smooth, you see your true self. That’s how you learn who you are.
Caitlin Moran (How to Be a Woman)
Given love and opportunity, every child and adult can recover. All who know this and have the capacity to help others should assist as they can.
Dallin H. Oaks (Life's Lessons Learned: Personal Reflections)
It's not always what we don't know that gets in our way; sometimes it's what we think we know that keeps us from learning.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
In all your Amours you should prefer old Women to young ones. You call this a Paradox, and demand my Reasons. They are these: 1. Because as they have more Knowledge of the World and their Minds are better stor’d with Observations, their Conversation is more improving and more lastingly agreable. 2. Because when Women cease to be handsome, they study to be good. To maintain their Influence over Men, they supply the Diminution of Beauty by an Augmentation of Utility. They learn to do a 1000 Services small and great, and are the most tender and useful of all Friends when you are sick. Thus they continue amiable. And hence there is hardly such a thing to be found as an old Woman who is not a good Woman. 3. Because there is no hazard of Children, which irregularly produc’d may be attended with much Inconvenience. 4. Because thro’ more Experience, they are more prudent and discreet in conducting an Intrigue to prevent Suspicion. The Commerce with them is therefore safer with regard to your Reputation. And with regard to theirs, if the Affair should happen to be known, considerate People might be rather inclin’d to excuse an old Woman who would kindly take care of a young Man, form his Manners by her good Counsels, and prevent his ruining his Health and Fortune among mercenary Prostitutes. 5. Because in every Animal that walks upright, the Deficiency of the Fluids that fill the Muscles appears first in the highest Part: The Face first grows lank and wrinkled; then the Neck; then the Breast and Arms; the lower Parts continuing to the last as plump as ever: So that covering all above with a Basket, and regarding only what is below the Girdle, it is impossible of two Women to know an old from a young one. And as in the dark all Cats are grey, the Pleasure of corporal Enjoyment with an old Woman is at least equal, and frequently superior, every Knack being by Practice capable of Improvement. 6. Because the Sin is less. The debauching a Virgin may be her Ruin, and make her for Life unhappy. 7. Because the Compunction is less. The having made a young Girl miserable may give you frequent bitter Reflections; none of which can attend the making an old Woman happy. 8thly and Lastly They are so grateful!!
Benjamin Franklin
Please… Whoever you are, whatever you are… I believe in you even though I don’t completely understand you. I feel you around me even though I can’t exactly describe what I’m feeling. Sometimes things happen to me and I know that you’re there and I’m humbled by the lack of coincidence that exists in the world. Whatever you want from me, it’s yours — just please help me. You know how I get when I lose control, and I find myself constantly being pulled back there these days.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
We were green: we ripened and grew golden. The Sea terrified us: we learned how to drown. Squat and earthbound, we unfolded huge wings. We started sober: are love's startled drunkards. You hide me in your cloak of nothingness Reflect my ghost in your glass of being I am nothing, yet appear: transparent dream Where your eternity briefly trembles.
Rumi
Building a relationship, foundation and confidence in our children is how they learn to love themselves, accept their flaws, and dance to the beat of their own drum. After all, they are a reflection of us – we are our children’s foundation.
Charlena E. Jackson
The whole point of life is to learn love. Life is the school, love is the lesson and we are all here to teach each other.
Kate McGahan (JACK McAFGHAN: Reflections on Life with my Master)
I want you to trust yourself, baby. Love is all that matters and you’ve always known that. You’ve known, since you were a very little girl, what your life is meant to be about…
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
You can blame it on the circumstances, the environment, but you made the choices you made, no one else. It's a lot to take in all at once, but it's essential that you make an effort to answer that question. Who are human beings? Because who we are determines the type of governing we need. Later on, I hope you can reflect and be honest with yourself about that you learned tonight.
Suzanne Collins (The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0))
But I love you and I want you and I need you. Can’t you see that? This world has nothing to offer me if it doesn’t include you.
Jennifer Elisabeth
Most often people seek in life occasions for persisting in their opinions rather than for educating themselves.
André Gide (Pretexts;: Reflections on literature and morality (Essay index reprint series))
It is more important to go slow and gain the lessons you need along the journey then to rush the process and arrive at your destination empty.
Germany Kent
Are you okay with what we ordered?” Angeline asked him. “You didn’t pipe up with any requests.” Neil shook his head, face stoic. He kept his dark hair in a painfully short and efficient haircut. It was the kind of no-nonsense thing the Alchemists would’ve loved. “I can’t waste time quibbling over trivial things like pepperoni and mushrooms. If you’d gone to my school in Devonshire, you’d understand. For one of my sophomore classes, they left us alone on the moors to fend for ourselves and learn survival skills. Spend three days eating twigs and heather, and you’ll learn not to argue about any food coming your way.” Angeline and Jill cooed as though that was the most rugged, manly thing they’d ever heard. Eddie wore an expression that reflected what I felt, puzzling over whether this guy was as serious as he seemed or just some genius with swoon-worthy lines.
Richelle Mead (The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines, #4))
I should learn patience, it's a shame there's no time for that.
Maija Haavisto (The Atlas Moth)
Though many non-Native Americans have learned very little about us, over time we have had to learn everything about them. We watch their films, read their literature, worship in their churches, and attend their schools. Every third-grade student in the United States is presented with the concept of Europeans discovering America as a "New World" with fertile soil, abundant gifts of nature, and glorious mountains and rivers. Only the most enlightened teachers will explain that this world certainly wasn't new to the millions of indigenous people who already lived here when Columbus arrived.
Wilma Mankiller (Every Day Is a Good Day: Reflections by Contemporary Indigenous Women)
No regrets" doesn't mean living with courage, it means living without reflection. To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn, no amends to make, and no opportunity to be braver with your life. (P.211)
Brené Brown (Rising Strong)
I ruin everything. I think that a bullet must have passed through my heart when I was very young, causing me to bleed out slowly, over things and people and every white surface that I’d ever come across.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
The high road of grace will get you somewhere a whole lot faster then the freeway of spite.
Aaron Lauritsen (100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)
As adults we choose our own reading material. Depending on our moods and needs we might read the newspaper, a blockbuster novel, an academic article, a women's magazine, a comic, a children's book, or the latest book that just about everyone is reading. No one chastises us for our choice. No one says, 'That's too short for you to read.' No one says, 'That's too easy for you, put it back.' No one says 'You couldn't read that if you tried -- it's much too difficult.' Yet if we take a peek into classrooms, libraries, and bookshops we will notice that children's choices are often mocked, censured, and denied as valid by idiotic, interfering teachers, librarians, and parents. Choice is a personal matter that changes with experience, changes with mood, and changes with need. We should let it be.
Mem Fox (Radical Reflections: Passionate Opinions on Teaching, Learning, and Living)
The books from which [children] learn must reflect movement and change and all of the infinite possibilities of minds at liberty.
Virginia Hamilton
We tried to make a heaven of earth, But the earth is just a stage, a school, Where we wear our masks and play our roles And teach each other how to love.
Kate McGahan (JACK McAFGHAN: Reflections on Life with my Master)
I began my studies with eagerness. Before me I saw a new world opening in beauty and light, and I felt within me the capacity to know all things. In the wonderland of Mind I should be as free as another [with sight and hearing]. Its people, scenery, manners, joys, and tragedies should be living tangible interpreters of the real world. The lecture halls seemed filled with the spirit of the great and wise, and I thought the professors were the embodiment of wisdom... But I soon discovered that college was not quite the romantic lyceum I had imagined. Many of the dreams that had delighted my young inexperience became beautifully less and "faded into the light of common day." Gradually I began to find that there were disadvantages in going to college. The one I felt and still feel most is lack of time. I used to have time to think, to reflect, my mind and I. We would sit together of an evening and listen to the inner melodies of the spirit, which one hears only in leisure moments when the words of some loved poet touch a deep, sweet chord in the soul that until then had been silent. But in college there is no time to commune with one's thoughts. One goes to college to learn, it seems, not to think. When one enters the portals of learning, one leaves the dearest pleasures – solitude, books and imagination – outside with the whispering pines. I suppose I ought to find some comfort in the thought that I am laying up treasures for future enjoyment, but I am improvident enough to prefer present joy to hoarding riches against a rainy day.
Helen Keller (The Story of My Life: With Her Letters (1887 1901) and a Supplementary Account of Her Education Including Passages from the Reports and Letters of Her Teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan by John Albert Macy)
The most valuable habit I’ve acquired is using pain to trigger quality reflections. If you can acquire this habit yourself, you will learn what causes your pain and what you can do about it, and it will have an enormous impact on your effectiveness.
Ray Dalio (Principles: Life and Work)
You haunt my days and dreams.
Jennifer Elisabeth
The Fall will always be yours and mine…
Jennifer Elisabeth
The word 'choice' is a fraud while people choose only what they have been taught to choose.
Idries Shah (Reflections)
I don’t ever want to hurt anyone, but I really wish there was something like a reset button on my life.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
We love our partners for who they are, not for who they are not.
Aaron Lauritsen (100 Days Drive: The Great North American Road Trip)
The only way to gain power in a world that is moving too fast is to learn to slow down. And the only way to spread one’s influence wide to learn how to go deep. The world we want for ourselves and our children will not emerge from electronic speed but rather from a spiritual stillness that takes root in our souls. Then, and only then, will we create a world that reflects the heart instead of shattering it.
Marianne Williamson (The Gift of Change: Spiritual Guidance for a Radically New Life)
Most people are preoccupied with survival in all its subtle forms, and so they reflect primarily fear, anger, and a desire for gain. They have not learned that the state of lovingness is the most powerful of all survival tools.
David R. Hawkins (Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender)
Learning to desire God's will is not something we can accomplish by resolve and willpower. It occurs only when we live so close to God's heart that the rhythm of our own heartbeat comes to reflect the divine pulse
David G. Benner
A stranger can see in an instant something in you that you might spend years learning about yourself. How awful we all are when we look at ourselves under a light, finally seeing our reflections. How little we know about ourselves. How much forgiveness it must take to love a person, to choose not to see their flaws, or to see those flaws and love the person anyway. If you never forgive you’ll always be alone.
Stephen Elliott (The Adderall Diaries)
The written word is all that stands between memory and oblivion. Without books as our anchors, we are cast adrift, neither teaching nor learning. They are windows on the past, mirrors on the present, and prisms reflected all possible futures. Books are lighthouses erected on the dark sea of time.
Greg Weisman
I wish that love could be broken down the way it breaks me down.
Jennifer Elisabeth
Learning is not doing; it is reflecting on doing.
Henry Mintzberg
It feels like the world is folding up around me, like origami paper, and I’m trapped inside of its breathless center.
Jennifer Elisabeth (Born Ready: Unleash Your Inner Dream Girl)
A man can’t be always defending the truth; there must be a time to feed on it.
C.S. Lewis (Reflections on the Psalms)
Time' is the most threatening four letter word.
Jennifer Elisabeth
We spend more time learning how to make a living than we do learning to make a life.
Muhammad Ali (The Soul of a Butterfly: Reflections on Life's Journey)
Being able to "go beyond the information" given to "figure things out" is one of the few untarnishable joys of life. One of the great triumphs of learning (and of teaching) is to get things organised in your head in a way that permits you to know more than you "ought" to. And this takes reflection, brooding about what it is that you know. The enemy of reflection is the breakneck pace - the thousand pictures.
Jerome Bruner (The Culture of Education)
There is no growth without real feeling. Children not loved for who they are do not learn how to love themselves. Their growth is an exercise in pleasing others, not in expanding through experience. As adults, they must learn to nurture their own lost child.
Marion Woodman (Coming Home to Myself: Reflections for Nurturing a Woman's Body and Soul)
Learn to be as analytical about things of which you are credulous as you are of those which you criticise.
Idries Shah (Reflections)
I’m tired of justifying why I love someone. I’m done with the explaining.
Jennifer Elisabeth
In order to become a reflective, autonomous and self-mentoring individual, one has to continuously learn from people, experiences and new ideas.
Prem Jagyasi
As you learn to be true to yourself, you will find that you attract people, work, and other circumstances that reflect your evolution and development.
Shakti Gawain (Living in the Light: Follow Your Inner Guidance to Create a New Life and a New World)
Trust is learning how you feel about yourself, not how others feel about you. Do you trust how you feel. If not, why.
Ron W. Rathbun
That last time you kissed me my heart slid past your teeth down into the center of your chest… trapping us both in a stainless cage.
Jennifer Elisabeth
I have learned that the kindness of a teacher, a coach, a policeman, a neighbor, the parent of a friend, is never wasted. These moments are likely to pass with neither the child nor the adult fully knowing the significance of the contribution. No ceremony attaches to the moment that a child sees his own worth reflected in the eyes of an encouraging adult. Though nothing apparent marks the occasion, inside that child a new view of self might take hold. He is not just a person deserving of neglect or violence, not just a person who is a burden to the sad adults in his life, not just a child who fails to solve his family’s problems, who fails to rescue them from pain or madness or addiction or poverty or unhappiness. No, this child might be someone else, someone whose appearance before this one adult revealed specialness or lovability, or value.
Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence)
I learned to accept that everything happened in her time. When you live in the moment, it’s easier to wait. When you trust and have faith, you just know that whatever it is will come when it will come. Your master will always bring everything to you at the perfect time.
Kate McGahan (JACK McAFGHAN: Reflections on Life with my Master)
When people learn to master their feelings, they can soon learn to master their reflections and thoughts in the degree requisite for attaining the objects they are seeking. But while they yield to a feeling or spirit that distracts their minds from a subject they wish to study and learn, so long they will never gain the mastery of their minds.
Brigham Young
Sometimes in life our master will teach us and then test us like this. He will send the same painful circumstances to us over and over again until we no longer want what isn’t good for us; until he is sure that we have learned what we need to know so that he can move us on to new kinds of lessons and experience.
Kate McGahan (JACK McAFGHAN: Reflections on Life with my Master)
So, like I said, these are a bunch of really sweet guys, but you wouldn't want to share a Galaxy with them, not if they're just gonna keep at it, not if they're not gonna learn to relax a little. I mean it's just gonna be continual nervous time, isn't it, right? Pow, pow, pow, when are they next coming at us? Peaceful coexistence is just right out, right? Get me some water somebody, thank you." He sat back and sipped reflectively. OK," he said, "hear me, hear me. It's, like, these guys, you know, are entitled to their own view of the Universe. And according to their view, which the Universe forced on them, right, they did right. Sounds crazy, but I think you'll agree. They believe in ..." He consulted a piece of paper which he found in the back pocket of his Judicial jeans. They believe in `peace, justice, morality, culture, sport, family life, and the obliteration of all other life forms'.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Tertiary Phase (Hitchhiker's Guide: Radio Play, #3))
I need not describe the feelings of those whose dearest ties are rent by that most irreparable evil, the void that presents itself to the soul, and the despair that is exhibited on the countenance. It is so long before the mind can persuade itself that she whom we saw every day and whose very existence appeared a part of our own can have departed forever—that the brightness of a beloved eye can have been extinguished and the sound of a voice so familiar and dear to the ear can be hushed, never more to be heard. These are the reflections of the first days; but when the lapse of time proves the reality of the evil, then the actual bitterness of grief commences. Yet from whom has not that rude hand rent away some dear connection? And why should I describe a sorrow which all have felt, and must feel? The time at length arrives when grief is rather an indulgence than a necessity; and the smile that plays upon the lips, although it may be deemed a sacrilege, is not banished. My mother was dead, but we had still duties which we ought to perform; we must continue our course with the rest and learn to think ourselves fortunate whilst one remains whom the spoiler has not seized.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Frankenstein)
Behavior reflects personality. The best indicator of future violence is past violence. To understand the "artist," you must study his "art." The crime must be evaluated in its totality. There is no substitute for experience, and if you want to understand the criminal mind, you must go directly to the source and learn to decipher what he tells you. And, above all: Why + How = Who.
John E. Douglas (Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit)
it will make sense the moment you come Home. I could see it all so clearly. I could see what it is that we are waiting for. I knew in one solitary moment why I had learned obedience and why I valued nothing on the earth but love. It’s all that matters. It is all there is.
Kate McGahan (JACK McAFGHAN: Reflections on Life with my Master)
His contagious conviction that our love was unique and desperate infected me with an anxious sickness; soon we would learn to treat one another with the circumspect tenderness of comrades who are amputees, for we were surrounded by the most moving images of evanesecence, fireworks, morning glories, the old, children. But the most moving of these images were the intagible relfections of ourselves we saw in one another's eyes, reflections of nothing but appearances, in a city dedicated to seeming, and, try as we might to possess the essence of each other's otherness, we would inevitably fail.
Angela Carter
..[My friend Marco said]. essentially, humans are alive for the purpose of journey, a kind of three-act structure. They are born and spend several years discovering themselves and the world, then plod through a long middle in which they are compelled to search for a mate and reproduce and also create stability out of natural instability and then they find themselves at an ending tha seems to be designed for reflection. At the end, their bodies are slower, they are not as easily distracted, they do less work, and they think and feel about a life lived rather than look forward to a life getting started. He didn't know what the point of the journey was, but he did believe we were designed to search for and find something. And he wondered out loud if the point wasn't the search but the transformation the search creates. ...[I wondered] that we were designed to live through something rather than to attain something, and the thing we were meant to live through was designed to change us. The point of a story is the character arc, the change.
Donald Miller (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life)
we can learn to trust our maternal selves and to have faith in the innate goodness and purity of our children - even when we feel overwhelmed and the kids are pushing all our buttons. we can support one another....we can be understanding of each other and easier on ourselves.
Katrina Kenison (Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry)
I cling to the Milan women's understanding of these literary heroines as mothers. I wish I had learned to read them in this way years ago--with the same complicated, ambivalent, essential freedom that a daughter feels when she looks at her mother, understanding her as a figure that she simultaneously resists and depends on; a figure that she uses, cruelly and lovingly and gratefully, as the base from which to become something more.
Jia Tolentino (Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion)
We define learning as the transformative process of taking in information that, when internalized and mixed with what we have experienced, changes what we know and builds on what we can do. It’s based on input, process, and reflection. It is what changes us.
Marcia Conner (The New Social Learning: A Guide to Transforming Organizations Through Social Media)
Am I in the wrong place here, or in the wrong life? Did I not recognize, as I sat in a train that raced past a station and did not stop, that I was on the wrong train, and did I not learn from the conductor that the train would not stop at the next station, either, a hundred kilometers away, and did he not also admit to me, whispering with his hand shielding his mouth, that the train would not stop again at all?
Werner Herzog (Conquest of the Useless: Reflections from the Making of Fitzcarraldo)
Sunsets are never simple. Twilight is refracted and reflected But never true. Eventide is a disguise Covering tracks, Covering lies. “We don’t care That dusk deceives. We see brilliant colors, And never learn The sun has dropped Beneath the earth By the time we see the burn. “Sunsets are in disguise, Covering truths, covering lies. “A.H.
Delia Owens (Where the Crawdads Sing)
We might feel that we must demonstrate explicitly when we’re upset, or not upset. This perceived need may stem from our family of origin, from how we learned to be heard when a simple “no” wasn’t enough. We may have learned to mask certain feelings, or portray feelings that weren’t ours. But as adults we each need to learn to state our personal truth without having to prove it or shout it.
Alexandra Katehakis (Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence)
<…>Tate fell silent. Ty didn't. "Since the day I was released, you knocked yourself out. You had my back, you took care of Lexie when we had our thing then you did what you could to help me sort that. It's important to me that you know I'm grateful. I've been tryin' to figure out how I can show how much but, keep thinkin' on it, nothin' comes to mind and I know why. I get it. You're a man who has everything so there is nothing I can hand you that you want or need. And I get that because I am now that same man. So the only thing I can give you are words and, my guess is, that'll be enough. If it isn't, you name it and it's yours." "Friends do what I did for friends," Tate returned. "No they don't, Tate. You did what you did for me because you're you. That's what I'm talkin' about." Tate ws silent a moment then he said, "Well then, you guessed right. Words are enough." Ty nodded. Tate tipped his head to the side and asked jokingly, "We done with the near-midnight in the middle of fuckin' nowhere heart-to-heart?" Ty didn't feel like joking and answered, "No." "Then what -?" "Love you, man," Ty interrupted quietly. "Learned the hard way not to delay in expressing that sentiment so I'm not gonna delay. You call me brother and I got one who's blood who don't mean shit to me and today, all this shit done, rejoicing and reflecting, it hit me that I got two who aren't blood but who do mean something. And you're one of those two." "Ty-" Tate murmured. "I will never forget, until I die, what you did for me and my wife and until that day I will never stop bein' grateful." "Fuck man," Tate whispered. "Now, do those words work so you get what you did mean to me?" Silence then, "Yeah, they work." "Good, then now we're done with our near-midnight, middle of fuckin' nowhere heart-to-heart," Ty declared, turned, opened the door to the Viper and started folding in. He stopped with his ass nearly to the seat and looked up over the door when Tate called his name. "I don't have a blood brother," Tate said. "But you should know there's a reason I call you that."<…>
Kristen Ashley (Lady Luck (Colorado Mountain, #3))
Why is it that the sun seems to take forever to reach the horizon and the minute it gets there it sinks so fast?” “It reflects life, don’t you think?” he asks cryptically. “How so?” “Sometimes our journeys in life seem to take forever to get to the culmination of our efforts—to achieving the goal. And once we get there, it goes so fast and then its over.” He shrugs, surprising me with this philosophical, introspective side to him. “We forget that the journey is the best part. The reason for taking the ride. What we learn the most from.
K. Bromberg (Driven (Driven, #1))
Here bhikkhus, some misguided men learn the Dhamma–discourses, stanzas, expositions, verses, exclamations, sayings, birth stories, marvels, and answers to questions–but having learned the Dhamma, they do not examine the meaning of those teachings with wisdom. Not examining the meaning of those teachings with wisdom, they do not gain a reflective acceptance of them. Instead they learn the Dhamma only for the sake of criticising others and for winning in debates, and they do not experience the good for the sake of which they learned the Dhamma.
Gautama Buddha (The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya)
You can't imagine fame. You can only ever see it from an outsider and comment on it with the rueful wisdom of a non participant. When it happens to you, it doesn't matter what age or how, it is a very steep learning curve. The imprtanot thing to realize in all of it is that life is short, to protect the ones you love, and not expose yourself to too much abuse or narcissistic reflection gazing and move on. If fame affords me the type of ability to do the kind of work I'm being offered, who am I to complain about the downsides. It's all relative. And this are obviously very high class problems. The way privacy becomes an every shrinking island is inevitable but also manageable and it doesn't necessary have to get that way...
Benedict Cumberbatch
That we are not totally transformed, that we can turn away, turn the page, switch the channel, does not impugn the ethical value of an assault by images. It is not a defect that we are not seared, that we do not suffer enough, when we see these images. Neither is the photograph supposed to repair our ignorance about the history and causes of the suffering it picks out and frames. Such images cannot be more than an invitation to pay attention, to reflect, to learn, to examine the rationalizations for mass suffering offered by established powers. Who caused what the picture shows? Who is responsible? Is it excusable? Was it inevitable? Is there some state of affairs which we have accepted up to now that ought to be challenged? All this, with the understanding that moral indignation, like compassion, cannot dictate a course of action.
Susan Sontag (Regarding the Pain of Others)
He had learned from experience that what he succeeded in putting down on paper was only ever a pale reflection of what he had imagined, and so he had come to accept that this would only be half as good as the original, half as acceptable as the flawless, unachievable novel that had acted as a guide, and which he imagined pulsating mockingly behind each book like some ghostly presence.
Félix J. Palma (The Map of Time - Street Smart)
Third-level, life-long relationships are generally few because “their existence implies that those involved have reached a stage simultaneously in which the teaching-learning balance is actually perfect.” That doesn’t mean, however, that we necessarily recognize our third-level assignments; in fact, generally we don’t. We may even feel hostility toward these particular people. Someone with whom we have a lifetime’s worth of lessons to learn is someone whose presence in our lives forces us to grow. Sometimes it represents someone with whom we participate lovingly all our lives, and sometimes it represents someone who we experience as a thorn in our side for years, or even forever. Just because someone has a lot to teach us, doesn’t mean we like them. People who have the most to teach us are often the ones who reflect back to us the limits to our own capacity to love, those who consciously or unconsciously challenge our fearful positions. They show us our walls. Our walls are our wounds—the places where we feel we can’t love any more, can’t connect any more deeply, can’t forgive past a certain point. We are in each other’s lives in order to help us see where we most need healing, and in order to help us heal.
Marianne Williamson (Return to Love)
When enforcing our boundaries, first and foremost, we are caring for ourselves, but we are also helping others to have a clear understanding of what we consider acceptable behavior. We are reflecting back to them what is not acceptable and, therefore, providing them an opportunity to consider that information and make necessary changes. If we ignore the behavior or accept the behavior, not only are we undermining ourselves, but we are denying the other person an opportunity to learn about themselves and to grow, and ultimately, we deny them the opportunity for a healthy relationship with us. -Psychotherapist Donna Wood in The Inspired Caregiver
Peggi Speers (The Inspired Caregiver: Finding Joy While Caring for Those You Love)
Somhow those Ten Men -- at the time they were called Recruiters, of course -- discovered that Constance had been at the library. Most likely one of their informants saw her come out, because it was on that very day that the brutes showed up and threatened the librarians. Who told them nothing, incidentally.' 'The same thing happened in Holland,' Kate reflected. 'You'd think these guys would learn their lesson -- librarians know how to keep quiet.' 'It helps to ask politely,' said Mr. Benedict
Trenton Lee Stewart (The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #3))
Live, share and learn the art of true deep listening. The main keys are honesty and humility. Cultivate good filters in the mind. Conquer and tame the ego. If words and actions pass from your lips, sights and tapping words in the keyboard, don't forget to ask first, "Is it true, necessary and kind?
Angelica Hopes
What we learned about love and relationships from our childhood feels normal. But just because something feels familiar doesn't mean it is healthy. Spend five minutes today quietly reflecting on one of your relationships. Does it enrich your life? If you find that it doesn't, consider what changes you need to make so the relationship feeds you.
Judith Hanson Lasater
That’s what I learned, about him and most guys: who they are when they’re giving you flowers and trying to get in your pants is not who they REALLY are when it’s no longer spring and they’ve found a new jawn to hang out with. And I know the past isn’t a mirror image of the future, but it’s a reflection of what can be; and when your first love breaks your heart, the shards of that can still draw blood for a long, long time.
Elizabeth Acevedo (With the Fire on High)
If you both agree that the relationship will be your spiritual practice, so much the better. You can then express your thoughts and feelings to each other as soon as they occur, or as soon as a reaction comes up, so that you do not create a time gap in which an unexpressed or unacknowledged emotion or grievance can fester and grow. Learn to give expression to what you feel without blaming. Learn to listen to your partner in an open, nondefensive way. Give your partner space for expressing himself or herself. Be present. Accusing, defending, attacking — all those patterns that are designed to strengthen or protect the ego or to get its needs met will then become redundant. Giving space to others — and to yourself — is vital. Love cannot flourish without it. When you have removed the two factors that are destructive to relationships — when the pain-body has been transmuted and you are no longer identified with mind and mental positions — and if your partner has done the same, you will experience the bliss of the flowering of relationship. Instead of mirroring to each other your pain and your unconsciousness, instead of satisfying your mutual addictive ego needs, you will reflect back to each other the love that you feel deep within, the love that comes with the realization of your oneness with all that is. This is the love that has no opposite.
Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
When you become vulnerable, any ideal or perfect image of yourself falls away. (...) Many people are addicted to perfection, and in their pursuit of the ideal, they have no patience with vulnerability. (...) Every poet would like to write the ideal poem. Though they never achieve this, sometimes it glimmers through their best work. Ironically, the very beyondness of the idea is often the touch of presence that renders the work luminous. The beauty of the ideal awakens a passion and urgency that brings out the best in the person and calls forth the dream of excellence. The beauty of the true ideal is its hospitality towards woundedness, weakness, failure and fall-back. Yet so many people are infected with the virus of perfection. They cannot rest; they allow themselves no ease until they come close to the cleansed domain of perfection. This false notion of perfection does damage and puts their lives under great strain. It is a wonderful day in a life when one is finally able to stand before the long, deep mirror of one's own reflection and view oneself with appreciation, acceptance, and forgiveness. On that day one breaks through the falsity of images and expectations which have blinded one's spirit. One can only learn to see who one is when one learns to view oneself with the most intimate and forgiving compassion.
John O'Donohue (Beauty: The Invisible Embrace)
I asked a professor of nanotechnology what they use to measure the unthinkable small distances of nanospace? He said it was the nanometre. This didn't help me very much. A nanometre is a billionth of a metre. I understood the idea but couldn't visualise what it meant. I said, "What is it roughly?" He thought for a moment and said, "A nanometre is roughly the distance that a man's beard grows in one second". I had never thought about what beards do in a second but they must do something. It takes them all day to grow about a milllimetre. They don't leap out of your face at eight o'clock in the morning. Beards are slow, languid things and our language reflects this. We do not say "as quick as a beard" or "as fast as a bristle". We now have a way of grasping of how slow they are - about a nanometre a second.
Ken Robinson (Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative)
When you attempt a memoir, I am told, you need to be in an orphan state. So what is missing in you, and the things you have grown cautious and hesitant about, will come almost casually towards you. "A memoir is the lost inheritance," you realize, so that during this time you must learn how and where to look. In the resulting self-portrait everything will rhyme, because everything has been reflected. If a gesture was flung away in the past, you now see it in the possession of another. So I believed something in my mother must rhyme in me. She in her small hall of mirrors and I in mine.
Michael Ondaatje (Warlight)
When I walk into [the studio] I am alone, but I am alone with my body, ambition, ideas, passions, needs, memories, goals, prejudices, distractions, fears. These ten items are at the heart of who I am. Whatever I am going to create will be a reflection of how these have shaped my life, and how I've learned to channel my experiences into them. The last two -- distractions and fears -- are the dangerous ones. They're the habitual demons that invade the launch of any project. No one starts a creative endeavor without a certain amount of fear; the key is to learn how to keep free-floating fears from paralyzing you before you've begun. When I feel that sense of dread, I try to make it as specific as possible. Let me tell you my five big fears: 1. People will laugh at me. 2. Someone has done it before. 3. I have nothing to say. 4. I will upset someone I love. 5. Once executed, the idea will never be as good as it is in my mind. "There are mighty demons, but they're hardly unique to me. You probably share some. If I let them, they'll shut down my impulses ('No, you can't do that') and perhaps turn off the spigots of creativity altogether. So I combat my fears with a staring-down ritual, like a boxer looking his opponent right in the eye before a bout. 1. People will laugh at me? Not the people I respect; they haven't yet, and they're not going to start now.... 2. Someone has done it before? Honey, it's all been done before. Nothing's original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself. 3. I have nothing to say? An irrelevant fear. We all have something to say. 4. I will upset someone I love? A serious worry that is not easily exorcised or stared down because you never know how loved ones will respond to your creation. The best you can do is remind yourself that you're a good person with good intentions. You're trying to create unity, not discord. 5. Once executed, the idea will never be as good as it is in my mind? Toughen up. Leon Battista Alberti, the 15th century architectural theorist, said, 'Errors accumulate in the sketch and compound in the model.' But better an imperfect dome in Florence than cathedrals in the clouds.
Twyla Tharp (The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life)
I don't always think I'm a good person. But telling people this only makes them want to prove me wrong, and the more they try to prove me wrong, the more I want to push them away, but the more I push them away, the guiltier I get, the nicer I become, the more they think I've changed. It never lasts. In the end I learn to hate both myself and them for things that should have lasted no longer than a few hours.' She reflected on this. 'Maybe a few nights. Inky and I could have stayed friends.' 'This is the most twisted thing you've said so far' 'What, that being kind to people makes me want to hurt them? Or that hurting them makes me want to be kind?
André Aciman (Eight White Nights)
Master Meriadoc,’ said Aragorn, ‘if you think that I have passed through the mountains and the realm of Gondor with fire and sword to bring herbs to a careless soldier who throws away his gear, you are mistaken, If your pack has not been found, then you must send for the herb-master of this House, And he will tell you that he did not know the herb you desire had any virtues, but that it is called westmansweed by the vulgar, and galenas by the noble, and other names in other tongues more learned, and after adding a few half-forgotten rhymes that he does not understand, he will regretfully inform you that there is none in the House, and he will leave you to reflect on the history of tongues.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Return of the King (The Lord of the Rings, #3))
I have always been interested in this man. My father had a set of Tom Paine's books on the shelf at home. I must have opened the covers about the time I was 13. And I can still remember the flash of enlightenment which shone from his pages. It was a revelation, indeed, to encounter his views on political and religious matters, so different from the views of many people around us. Of course I did not understand him very well, but his sincerity and ardor made an impression upon me that nothing has ever served to lessen. I have heard it said that Paine borrowed from Montesquieu and Rousseau. Maybe he had read them both and learned something from each. I do not know. But I doubt that Paine ever borrowed a line from any man... Many a person who could not comprehend Rousseau, and would be puzzled by Montesquieu, could understand Paine as an open book. He wrote with a clarity, a sharpness of outline and exactness of speech that even a schoolboy should be able to grasp. There is nothing false, little that is subtle, and an impressive lack of the negative in Paine. He literally cried to his reader for a comprehending hour, and then filled that hour with such sagacious reasoning as we find surpassed nowhere else in American letters - seldom in any school of writing. Paine would have been the last to look upon himself as a man of letters. Liberty was the dear companion of his heart; truth in all things his object. ...we, perhaps, remember him best for his declaration: 'The world is my country; to do good my religion.' Again we see the spontaneous genius at work in 'The Rights of Man', and that genius busy at his favorite task - liberty. Written hurriedly and in the heat of controversy, 'The Rights of Man' yet compares favorably with classical models, and in some places rises to vaulting heights. Its appearance outmatched events attending Burke's effort in his 'Reflections'. Instantly the English public caught hold of this new contribution. It was more than a defense of liberty; it was a world declaration of what Paine had declared before in the Colonies. His reasoning was so cogent, his command of the subject so broad, that his legion of enemies found it hard to answer him. 'Tom Paine is quite right,' said Pitt, the Prime Minister, 'but if I were to encourage his views we should have a bloody revolution.' Here we see the progressive quality of Paine's genius at its best. 'The Rights of Man' amplified and reasserted what already had been said in 'Common Sense', with now a greater force and the power of a maturing mind. Just when Paine was at the height of his renown, an indictment for treason confronted him. About the same time he was elected a member of the Revolutionary Assembly and escaped to France. So little did he know of the French tongue that addresses to his constituents had to be translated by an interpreter. But he sat in the assembly. Shrinking from the guillotine, he encountered Robespierre's enmity, and presently found himself in prison, facing that dread instrument. But his imprisonment was fertile. Already he had written the first part of 'The Age of Reason' and now turned his time to the latter part. Presently his second escape cheated Robespierre of vengeance, and in the course of events 'The Age of Reason' appeared. Instantly it became a source of contention which still endures. Paine returned to the United States a little broken, and went to live at his home in New Rochelle - a public gift. Many of his old companions in the struggle for liberty avoided him, and he was publicly condemned by the unthinking. {The Philosophy of Paine, June 7, 1925}
Thomas A. Edison (Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison)
It was my teacher's genius, her quick sympathy, her loving tact which made the first years of my education so beautiful. It was because she seized the right moment to impart knowledge that made it so pleasant and acceptable to me. She realized that a child's mind is like a shallow brook which ripples and dances merrily over the stony course of its education and reflects here a flower, there a bush, yonder a fleecy cloud; and she attempted to guide my mind on its way, knowing that like a brook it should be fed by mountain streams and hidden springs, until it broadened out into a deep river, capable of reflecting in its placid surface, billowy hills, the luminous shadows of trees and the blue heavens, as well as the sweet face of a little flower. Any teacher can take a child to the classroom, but not every teacher can make him learn. He will not work joyously unless he feels that liberty is his, whether he is busy or at rest; he must feel the flush of victory and the heart-sinking of disappointment before he takes with a will the tasks distasteful to him and resolves to dance his way bravely through a dull routine of textbooks. My teacher is so near to me that I scarcely think of myself apart from her. How much of my delight in all beautiful things is innate, and how much is due to her influence, I can never tell. I feel that her being is inseparable from my own, and that the footsteps of my life are in hers. All the best of me belongs to her--there is not a talent, or an aspiration or a joy in me that has not been awakened by her loving touch.
Helen Keller (The Story of My Life: With Her Letters (1887 1901) and a Supplementary Account of Her Education Including Passages from the Reports and Letters of Her Teacher Anne Mansfield Sullivan by John Albert Macy)
It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Wiling sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do. Yet, when you pray with real conviction, "Please let me know Thy will" and "May Thy will be done," you are in the strongest position to receive the maximum help from your Heavenly Father.
Richard G. Scott
The physical as a symbol of the spiritual world. The people who keep old rags, old useless objects, who hoard, accumulate: are they also keepers and hoarders of old ideas, useless information, lovers of the past only, even in its form of detritus?…I have the opposite obsession. In order to change skins, evolve into new cycles, I feel one has to learn to discard. If one changes internally, one should not continue to live with the same objects. They reflect one’s mind and psyche of yesterday. I throw away what has no dynamic, living use. I keep nothing to remind me of the passage of time, deterioration, loss, shriveling.
Anaïs Nin (The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947)
RAINBOW VOICES I ask people of the world and children of light to start reflecting the stories of their souls to vibrate wisdom around the earth. Pick up a paintbrush or microphone. Press the inks of your pens to paper or tap words onto your screens, and start sharing what you know and have learned with the masses. Turn your personal painting into a piece of the earth's puzzle so that our unified assemblage of thoughts, experiences and lessons reveal common truths that cannot be denied. Imagine the changes that could happen if everyone suddenly stopped acting like someone else, became true to themselves, and celebrated the beauty of their uniqueness. Only after people have willingly removed their masks and costumes, and have begun pouring light from their hearts to reveal their vulnerability, dreams and pains, will we be able to see that beneath the surface we are all the same. After all, how can the world collectively fight for truth, if soldiers in its army are void of truth? We must first all be true by putting truth in our words and actions. And to do so, everyone must learn to think and react with their conscience. Imagine what Truth could do to neutralize the clutches of evil once this black and white world suddenly became embraced by a strong rainbow of loud powerful voices. We could put color back into every home, every school, every industry, every nation, and every garden on earth where flowers have been crushed by corruption.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
In 1976, Stephen King published a short story, “I Know What You Need,” about the courting of a young woman. Her suitor was a young man who could read her mind but did not tell her so. He simply appeared with what she wanted at the moment, beginning with strawberry ice cream for a study break. Step by step he changed her life, making her dependent upon him by giving her what she thought she wanted at a certain moment, before she herself had a chance to reflect. Her best friend realized that something disconcerting was happening, investigated, and learned the truth: “That is not love,” she warned. “That’s rape.” The internet is a bit like this. It knows much about us, but interacts with us without revealing that this is so. It makes us unfree by arousing our worst tribal impulses and placing them at the service of unseen others.
Timothy Snyder (The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America)
Hold childhood in reverence, and do not be in any hurry to judge it for good or ill. Leave exceptional cases to show themselves, let their qualities be tested and confirmed, before special methods are adopted. Give nature time to work before you take over her business, lest you interfere with her dealings. You assert that you know the value of time and are afraid to waste it. You fail to perceive that it is a greater waste of time to use it ill than to do nothing, and that a child ill taught is further from virtue than a child who has learnt nothing at all. You are afraid to see him spending his early years doing nothing. What! is it nothing to be happy, nothing to run and jump all day? He will never be so busy again all his life long. Plato, in his Republic, which is considered so stern, teaches the children only through festivals, games, songs, and amusements. It seems as if he had accomplished his purpose when he had taught them to be happy; and Seneca, speaking of the Roman lads in olden days, says, "They were always on their feet, they were never taught anything which kept them sitting." Were they any the worse for it in manhood? Do not be afraid, therefore, of this so-called idleness. What would you think of a man who refused to sleep lest he should waste part of his life? You would say, "He is mad; he is not enjoying his life, he is robbing himself of part of it; to avoid sleep he is hastening his death." Remember that these two cases are alike, and that childhood is the sleep of reason. The apparent ease with which children learn is their ruin. You fail to see that this very facility proves that they are not learning. Their shining, polished brain reflects, as in a mirror, the things you show them, but nothing sinks in. The child remembers the words and the ideas are reflected back; his hearers understand them, but to him they are meaningless. Although memory and reason are wholly different faculties, the one does not really develop apart from the other. Before the age of reason the child receives images, not ideas; and there is this difference between them: images are merely the pictures of external objects, while ideas are notions about those objects determined by their relations.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Emile, or On Education)
I don’t know if I’ve learned anything yet! I did learn how to have a happy home, but I consider myself fortunate in that regard because I could’ve rolled right by it. Everybody has a superficial side and a deep side, but this culture doesn’t place much value on depth — we don’t have shamans or soothsayers, and depth isn’t encouraged or understood. Surrounded by this shallow, glossy society we develop a shallow side, too, and we become attracted to fluff. That’s reflected in the fact that this culture sets up an addiction to romance based on insecurity — the uncertainty of whether or not you’re truly united with the object of your obsession is the rush people get hooked on. I’ve seen this pattern so much in myself and my friends and some people never get off that line. But along with developing my superficial side, I always nurtured a deeper longing, so even when I was falling into the trap of that other kind of love, I was hip to what I was doing. I recently read an article in Esquire magazine called ‘The End of Sex,’ that said something that struck me as very true. It said: “If you want endless repetition, see a lot of different people. If you want infinite variety, stay with one.” What happens when you date is you run all your best moves and tell all your best stories — and in a way, that routine is a method for falling in love with yourself over and over. You can’t do that with a longtime mate because he knows all that old material. With a long relationship, things die then are rekindled, and that shared process of rebirth deepens the love. It’s hard work, though, and a lot of people run at the first sign of trouble. You’re with this person, and suddenly you look like an asshole to them or they look like an asshole to you — it’s unpleasant, but if you can get through it you get closer and you learn a way of loving that’s different from the neurotic love enshrined in movies. It’s warmer and has more padding to it.
Joni Mitchell
It is difficult to overstate the importance of understanding mirror neurons and their function. They may well be central to social learning, imitation, and the cultural transmission of skills and attitudes—perhaps even of the pressed-together sound clusters we call words. By hyperdeveloping the mirror-neuron system, evolution in effect turned culture into the new genome. Armed with culture, humans could adapt to hostile new environments and figure out how to exploit formerly inaccessible or poisonous food sources in just one or two generations—instead of the hundreds or thousands of generations such adaptations would have taken to accomplish through genetic evolution. Thus culture became a significant new source of evolutionary pressure, which helped select brains that had even better mirror-neuron systems and the imitative learning associated with them. The result was one of the many self-amplifying snowball effects that culminated in Homo sapiens, the ape that looked into its own mind and saw the whole cosmos reflected inside.
V.S. Ramachandran (The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human)
Slowly, even though I thought it would never happen, New York lost its charm for me. I remember arriving in the city for the first time, passing with my parents through the First World's Club bouncers at Immigration, getting into a massive cab that didn't have a moment to waste, and falling in love as soon as we shot onto the bridge and I saw Manhattan rise up through the looks of parental terror reflected in the window. I lost my virginity in New York, twice (the second one wanted to believe he was the first so badly). I had my mind blown open by the combination of a liberal arts education and a drug-popping international crowd. I became tough. I had fun. I learned so much. But now New York was starting to feel empty, a great party that had gone on too long and was showing no sign of ending soon. I had a headache, and I was tired. I'd danced enough. I wanted a quiet conversation with someone who knew what load-shedding was.
Mohsin Hamid (Moth Smoke)
Anger is an assertion of rights and worth. It is communication, equality, and knowledge. It is intimacy, acceptance, fearlessness, embodiment, revolt, and reconciliation. Anger is memory and rage. It is rational thought and irrational pain. Anger is freedom, independence, expansiveness, and entitlement. It is justice, passion, clarity, and motivation. Anger is instrumental, thoughtful, complicated, and resolved. In anger, whether you like it or not, there is truth. Anger is the demand of accountability, It is evaluation, judgment, and refutation. It is reflective, visionary, and participatory. It's a speech act, a social statement, an intention, and a purpose. It's a risk and a threat. A confirmation and a wish. It is both powerlessness and power, palliative and a provocation. In anger, you will find both ferocity and comfort, vulnerability and hurt. Anger is the expression of hope. How much anger is too much? Certainly not the anger that, for many of us, is a remembering of a self we learned to hide and quiet. It is willful and disobedient. It is survival, liberation, creativity, urgency, and vibrancy. It is a statement of need. An insistence of acknowledgment. Anger is a boundary. Anger is boundless. An opportunity for contemplation and self-awareness. It is commitment. Empathy. Self-love. Social responsibility. If it is poison, it is also the antidote. The anger we have as women is an act of radical imagination. Angry women burn brighter than the sun. In the coming years, we will hear, again, that anger is a destructive force, to be controlled. Watch carefully, because not everyone is asked to do this in equal measure. Women, especially, will be told to set our anger aside in favor of a kinder, gentler approach to change. This is a false juxtaposition. Reenvisioned, anger can be the most feminine of virtues: compassionate, fierce, wise, and powerful. The women I admire most—those who have looked to themselves and the limitations and adversities that come with our bodies and the expectations that come with them—have all found ways to transform their anger into meaningful change. In them, anger has moved from debilitation to liberation. Your anger is a gift you give to yourself and the world that is yours. In anger, I have lived more fully, freely, intensely, sensitively, and politically. If ever there was a time not to silence yourself, to channel your anger into healthy places and choices, this is it.
Soraya Chemaly (Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger)
As you got older, you realized that the qualities you valued in the people you slept with or dated weren’t necessarily the ones you wanted to live with, or be with, or plod through your days with. If you were smart, and if you were lucky, you learned this and accepted this. You figured out what was most important to you and you looked for it, and you learned to be realistic. They all chose differently: Roman had chosen beauty, sweetness, pliability; Malcolm, he thought, had chosen reliability, and competence (Sophie was intimidatingly efficient), and aesthetic compatibility. And he? He had chosen friendship. Conversation. Kindness. Intelligence. When he was in his thirties, he had looked at certain people’s relationships and asked the question that had (and continued to) fuel countless dinner-party conversations: What’s going on there? Now, though, as an almost-forty-eight-year-old, he saw people’s relationships as reflections of their keenest yet most inarticulable desires, their hopes and insecurities taking shape physically, in the form of another person. Now
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
My child isn’t my easel to paint on Nor my diamond to polish My child isn’t my trophy to share with the world Nor my badge of honor My child isn’t an idea, an expectation, or a fantasy Nor my reflection or legacy My child isn’t my puppet or a project Nor my striving or desire My child is here to fumble, stumble, try, and cry Learn and mess up Fail and try again Listen to the beat of a drum faint to our adult ears And dance to a song that revels in freedom My task is to step aside Stay in infinite possibility Heal my own wounds Fill my own bucket And let my child fly —Shefali Tsabary, PhD
Shefali Tsabary (Out of Control: Why Disciplining Your Child Doesn't Work... and What Will)
Japhy,' I said out loud, 'I don't know when we'll meet again or what'll happen in the future, but Desolation, Desolation, I owe so much to Desolation, thank you forever for guiding me to the place where I learned it all. Now comes the sadness of coming back to cities and I've grown two months older and there's all that humanity of bars and burlesque shows and gritty love, all upsidedown in the void God bless them, but Japhy you and me forever we know, O ever youthful, O ever weeping.' Down on the lake rosy reflections of celestial vapor appeared, and I said 'God I love you' and looked up to the sky and really meant it. 'I have fallen in love with you, God. Take care of us all, one way or the other.' To the children and the innocent it's all the same. And in keeping with Japhy's habit of always getting down on one knee and delivering a little prayer to the camp we left, to the one in the Sierra, and the others in Marin, and the little prayer of gratitude he had delivered to Sean's shack the day he sailed away, as I was hiking down the mountain with my pack I turned and knelt on the trail and said 'Thank you, shack.' Then I hadded 'Blah,' with a little grin, because I knew that shack and that mountain would understand what that meant, and turned and went on down the trail back to this world.
Jack Kerouac (The Dharma Bums)
Never having experienced inequality, therefore, the majority of straight white men will be absolutely oblivious to their own advantages – not because they must necessarily be insensitive, sexist, racist, homophobic or unaware of the principles of equality; but because they have been told, over and over again, that there is no inequality left for them – or anyone else – to experience – and everything they have experienced up to that point will only have proved them right. Let the impact of that sink in for a moment. By teaching children and teenagers that equality already exists, we are actively blinding the group that most benefits from inequality – straight white men – to the prospect that it doesn’t. Privilege to them feels indistinguishable from equality, because they’ve been raised to believe that this is how the world behaves for everyone. And because the majority of our popular culture is straight-white-male-dominated, stories that should be windows into empathy for other, less privileged experiences have instead become mirrors, reflecting back at them the one thing they already know: that their lives both are important and free from discrimination. And this hurts men. It hurts them by making them unconsciously perpetrate biases they’ve been actively taught to despise. It hurts them by making them complicit in the distress of others. It hurts them by shoehorning them into a restrictive definition masculinity from which any and all deviation is harshly punished. It hurts them by saying they will always be inferior parents and caregivers, that they must always be active and aggressive even when they long for passivity and quietude, that they must enjoy certain things like sports and beer and cars or else be deemed morally suspect. It hurts them through a process of indoctrination so subtle and pervasive that they never even knew it was happening , and when you’ve been raised to hate inequality, discovering that you’ve actually been its primary beneficiary is horrifying – like learning that the family fortune comes from blood money. Blog post 4/12/2012: Why Teaching Equality Hurts Men
Foz Meadows
Men learn to regard rape as a moment in time; a discreet episode with a beginning, middle, and end. But for women, rape is thousands of moments that we fold into ourselves over a lifetime. Its' the day that you realize you can't walk to a friend's house anymore or the time when your aunt tells you to be nice because the boy was just 'stealing a kiss.' It's the evening you stop going to the corner store because, the night before, a stranger followed you home. It's the late hour that a father or stepfather or brother or uncle climbs into your bed. It's the time it takes you to write an email explaining that you're changing your major, even though you don't really want to, in order to avoid a particular professor. It's when you're racing to catch a bus, hear a person demand a blow job, and turn to see that it's a police officer. It's the second your teacher tells you to cover your shoulders because you'll 'distract the boys, and what will your male teachers do?' It's the minute you decide not to travel to a place you've always dreamed about visiting and are accused of being 'unadventurous.' It's the sting of knowing that exactly as the world starts expanding for most boys, it begins to shrink for you. All of this goes on all day, every day, without anyone really uttering the word rape in a way that grandfathers, fathers, brothers, uncles, teachers, and friends will hear it, let alone seriously reflect on what it means.
Soraya Chemaly (Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger)
most cherished desires of present-day Westerners are shaped by romantic, nationalist, capitalist and humanist myths that have been around for centuries. Friends giving advice often tell each other, ‘Follow your heart.’ But the heart is a double agent that usually takes its instructions from the dominant myths of the day, and the very recommendation to ‘follow your heart’ was implanted in our minds by a combination of nineteenth-century Romantic myths and twentieth-century consumerist myths. The Coca-Cola Company, for example, has marketed Diet Coke around the world under the slogan ‘Diet Coke. Do what feels good.’ Even what people take to be their most personal desires are usually programmed by the imagined order. Let’s consider, for example, the popular desire to take a holiday abroad. There is nothing natural or obvious about this. A chimpanzee alpha male would never think of using his power in order to go on holiday into the territory of a neighbouring chimpanzee band. The elite of ancient Egypt spent their fortunes building pyramids and having their corpses mummified, but none of them thought of going shopping in Babylon or taking a skiing holiday in Phoenicia. People today spend a great deal of money on holidays abroad because they are true believers in the myths of romantic consumerism. Romanticism tells us that in order to make the most of our human potential we must have as many different experiences as we can. We must open ourselves to a wide spectrum of emotions; we must sample various kinds of relationships; we must try different cuisines; we must learn to appreciate different styles of music. One of the best ways to do all that is to break free from our daily routine, leave behind our familiar setting, and go travelling in distant lands, where we can ‘experience’ the culture, the smells, the tastes and the norms of other people. We hear again and again the romantic myths about ‘how a new experience opened my eyes and changed my life’. Consumerism tells us that in order to be happy we must consume as many products and services as possible. If we feel that something is missing or not quite right, then we probably need to buy a product (a car, new clothes, organic food) or a service (housekeeping, relationship therapy, yoga classes). Every television commercial is another little legend about how consuming some product or service will make life better. 18. The Great Pyramid of Giza. The kind of thing rich people in ancient Egypt did with their money. Romanticism, which encourages variety, meshes perfectly with consumerism. Their marriage has given birth to the infinite ‘market of experiences’, on which the modern tourism industry is founded. The tourism industry does not sell flight tickets and hotel bedrooms. It sells experiences. Paris is not a city, nor India a country – they are both experiences, the consumption of which is supposed to widen our horizons, fulfil our human potential, and make us happier. Consequently, when the relationship between a millionaire and his wife is going through a rocky patch, he takes her on an expensive trip to Paris. The trip is not a reflection of some independent desire, but rather of an ardent belief in the myths of romantic consumerism. A wealthy man in ancient Egypt would never have dreamed of solving a relationship crisis by taking his wife on holiday to Babylon. Instead, he might have built for her the sumptuous tomb she had always wanted. Like the elite of ancient Egypt, most people in most cultures dedicate their lives to building pyramids. Only the names, shapes and sizes of these pyramids change from one culture to the other. They may take the form, for example, of a suburban cottage with a swimming pool and an evergreen lawn, or a gleaming penthouse with an enviable view. Few question the myths that cause us to desire the pyramid in the first place.
Yuval Noah Harari (Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind)
Before the Law stands a doorkeeper on guard. To this doorkeeper there comes a man from the country who begs for admittance to the Law. But the doorkeeper says that he cannot admit the man at the moment. The man, on reflection, asks if he will be allowed, then, to enter later. 'It is possible,' answers the doorkeeper, 'but not at this moment.' Since the door leading into the Law stands open as usual and the doorkeeper steps to one side, the man bends down to peer through the entrance. When the doorkeeper sees that, he laughs and says: 'If you are so strongly tempted, try to get in without my permission. But note that I am powerful. And I am only the lowest doorkeeper. From hall to hall keepers stand at every door, one more powerful than the other. Even the third of these has an aspect that even I cannot bear to look at.' These are difficulties which the man from the country has not expected to meet, the Law, he thinks, should be accessible to every man and at all times, but when he looks more closely at the doorkeeper in his furred robe, with his huge pointed nose and long, thin, Tartar beard, he decides that he had better wait until he gets permission to enter. The doorkeeper gives him a stool and lets him sit down at the side of the door. There he sits waiting for days and years. He makes many attempts to be allowed in and wearies the doorkeeper with his importunity. The doorkeeper often engages him in brief conversation, asking him about his home and about other matters, but the questions are put quite impersonally, as great men put questions, and always conclude with the statement that the man cannot be allowed to enter yet. The man, who has equipped himself with many things for his journey, parts with all he has, however valuable, in the hope of bribing the doorkeeper. The doorkeeper accepts it all, saying, however, as he takes each gift: 'I take this only to keep you from feeling that you have left something undone.' During all these long years the man watches the doorkeeper almost incessantly. He forgets about the other doorkeepers, and this one seems to him the only barrier between himself and the Law. In the first years he curses his evil fate aloud; later, as he grows old, he only mutters to himself. He grows childish, and since in his prolonged watch he has learned to know even the fleas in the doorkeeper's fur collar, he begs the very fleas to help him and to persuade the doorkeeper to change his mind. Finally his eyes grow dim and he does not know whether the world is really darkening around him or whether his eyes are only deceiving him. But in the darkness he can now perceive a radiance that streams immortally from the door of the Law. Now his life is drawing to a close. Before he dies, all that he has experienced during the whole time of his sojourn condenses in his mind into one question, which he has never yet put to the doorkeeper. He beckons the doorkeeper, since he can no longer raise his stiffening body. The doorkeeper has to bend far down to hear him, for the difference in size between them has increased very much to the man's disadvantage. 'What do you want to know now?' asks the doorkeeper, 'you are insatiable.' 'Everyone strives to attain the Law,' answers the man, 'how does it come about, then, that in all these years no one has come seeking admittance but me?' The doorkeeper perceives that the man is at the end of his strength and that his hearing is failing, so he bellows in his ear: 'No one but you could gain admittance through this door, since this door was intended only for you. I am now going to shut it.
Franz Kafka (The Trial)
There is no rationality in the Nazi hatred: it is hate that is not in us, it is outside of man.. We cannot understand it, but we must understand from where it springs, and we must be on our guard. If understanding is impossible, knowing is imperative, because what happened could happen again. Consciences can be seduced and obscured again - even our consciences. For this reason, it is everyone duty to reflect on what happened. Everybody must know, or remember, that when Hitler and Mussolini spoke in public, they were believed, applauded, admired, adored like gods. They were "charismatic leaders" ; they possessed a secret power of seduction that did not proceed from the soundness of things they said but from the suggestive way in which they said them, from their eloquence, from their histrionic art, perhaps instinctive, perhaps patiently learned and practised. The ideas they proclaimed were not always the same and were, in general, aberrant or silly or cruel. And yet they were acclaimed with hosannas and followed to the death by millions of the faithful.
Primo Levi (If This Is a Man • The Truce)
There is no ready vocabulary to describe the ways in which artists become artists, no recognition that artists must learn to be who they are (even as they cannot help being who they are.) We have a language that reflects how we learn to paint, but not how we learn to paint our paintings. How do you describe the [reader to place words here] that changes when craft swells to art? "Artists come together with the clear knowledge that when all is said and done, they will return to their studio and practice art alone. Period. That simple truth may be the deepest bond we share. The message across time from the painted bison and the carved ivory seal speaks not of the differences between the makers of that art and ourselves, but of the similarities. Today these similarities lay hidden beneath urban complexity -- audience, critics, economics, trivia -- in a self-conscious world. Only in those moments when we are truly working on our own work do we recover the fundamental connection we share with all makers of art. The rest may be necessary, but it's not art. Your job is to draw a line from your art to your life that is straight and clear.
David Bayles (Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking)
There is something profoundly cynical, my friends, in the notion of paradise after death. The lure is evasion. The promise is excusative. One need not accept responsibility for the world as it is, and by extension, one need do nothing about it. To strive for change, for true goodness in this mortal world, one must acknowledge and accept, within one’s own soul, that this mortal reality has purpose in itself, that its greatest value is not for us, but for our children and their children. To view life as but a quick passage along a foul, tortured path – made foul and tortured by our own indifference – is to excuse all manner of misery and depravity, and to exact cruel punishment upon the innocent lives to come. I defy this notion of paradise beyond the gates of bone. If the soul truly survives the passage, then it behooves us – each of us, my friends – to nurture a faith in similitude: what awaits us is a reflection of what we leave behind, and in the squandering of our mortal existence, we surrender the opportunity to learn the ways of goodness, the practice of sympathy, empathy, compassion and healing – all passed by in our rush to arrive at a place of glory and beauty, a place we did not earn, and most certainly do not deserve.
Steven Erikson (The Bonehunters (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #6))
Likewise, civilizations have throughout history marched blindly toward disaster, because humans are wired to believe that tomorrow will be much like today — it is unnatural for us to think that this way of life, this present moment, this order of things is not stable and permanent. Across the world today, our actions testify to our belief that we can go on like this forever, burning oil, poisoning the seas, killing off other species, pumping carbon into the air, ignoring the ominous silence of our coal mine canaries in favor of the unending robotic tweets of our new digital imaginarium. Yet the reality of global climate change is going to keep intruding on our fantasies of perpetual growth, permanent innovation and endless energy, just as the reality of mortality shocks our casual faith in permanence.
Roy Scranton (Learning to Die in the Anthropocene: Reflections on the End of a Civilization)
The Rules For Being Human 1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period of this time around. 2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called Life. Each day in this school you will have the opportunity to learn lessons. You may like the lessons or think them irrelevant and stupid. 3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error: Experimentation. The “failed” experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately “works.” 4. A lesson is repeated until learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can then go on to the next lesson. 5. Learning lessons does not end. There is no part of life that does not contain its lessons. If you are alive, there are lessons to be learned. 6. “There” is no better than “here.” When your “there” has become a “here,” you will simply obtain another “there” that will again look better than “here.” 7. Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself. 8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours. 9. Your answers lie inside you. The answers to Life’s questions lie inside you. All you need to do is look, listen and trust. 10. You will forget all this. Chérie Carter-Scott
Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit)
When I reached intellectual maturity, and began to ask myself whether I was an atheist, a theist, or a pantheist; a materialist or an idealist; a Christian or a freethinker, I found that the more I learned and reflected, the less ready was the answer; until at last I came to the conclusion that I had neither art nor part with any of these denominations, except the last. The one thing in which most of these good people were agreed was the one thing in which I differed from them. They were quite sure that they had attained a certain 'gnosis'--had more or less successfully solved the problem of existence; while I was quite sure I had not, and had a pretty strong conviction that the problem was insoluble. And, with Hume and Kant on my side, I could not think myself presumptuous in holding fast by that opinion ... So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of 'agnostic'. It came into my head as suggestively antithetic to the 'gnostic' of Church history, who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant; and I took the earliest opportunity of parading it at our Society, to show that I, too, had a tail, like the other foxes.
Thomas Henry Huxley (Collected Essays, Volume 5: Science and Christian Tradition: Essays)
The idea of being forgotten is terrifying. I fear not just that I, personally, will be forgotten, but that we are all doomed to being forgotten—that the sum of life is ultimately nothing; that we experience joy and disappointment and aches and delights and loss, make our little mark on the world, and then we vanish, and the mark is erased, and it is as if we never existed. If you gaze into that bleakness even for a moment, the sum of life becomes null and void, because if nothing lasts, nothing matters. It means that everything we experience unfolds without a pattern, and life is just a wild, random, baffling occurrence, a scattering of notes with no melody. But if something you learn or observe or imagine can be set down and saved, and if you can see your life reflected in previous lives, and can imagine it reflected in subsequent ones, you can begin to discover order and harmony. You know that you are a part of a larger story that has shape and purpose—a tangible, familiar past and a constantly refreshed future. We are all whispering in a tin can on a string, but we are heard, so we whisper the message into the next tin can and the next string. Writing a book, just like building a library, is an act of sheer defiance. It is a declaration that you believe in the persistence of memory. In Senegal, the polite expression for saying someone died is to say his or her library has burned. When I first heard the phrase, I didn’t understand it, but over time I came to realize it was perfect. Our minds and souls contain volumes inscribed by our experiences and emotions; each individual’s consciousness is a collection of memories we’ve cataloged and stored inside us, a private library of a life lived. It is something that no one else can entirely share, one that burns down and disappears when we die. But if you can take something from that internal collection and share it—with one person or with the larger world, on the page or in a story recited—it takes on a life of its own.
Susan Orlean (The Library Book)
She died calmly; and her countenance expressed affection even in death. I need not describe the feelings of those who dearest ties are rent by that most irreparable evil, the void that presents itself to the soul, and the despair that is exhibited on the countenance. It is so long before the mind can persuade itself that she, whom we saw every day, and whose very existence appeared a part of our own, can have departed for ever - that the brightness of a beloved eye can have been extinguished, and the sound of a voice so familiar, and dear to the ear can be hushed, never more to be heard. These are the reflections of the first days; but when the lapse of time proves the reality of the evil then the actual bitterness of grief commences. Yet from whom has not that rude hand rent away some dear connexion; and why should I describe a sorrow which all have felt, and must feel? The time at length arrives when grief is rather an indulgence than a necessity; and the smile that plays upon the lips, although it may be deemed sacrilege, is not banished. My mother was dead, but we had still duties which we ought to preform; we must continue our course with the rest, and learn to think ourselves fortunate, whilst one remains whom the spoiler has not seized.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (Frankenstein)
The millions of vacationers who came here every year before Katrina were mostly unaware of this poverty. French Quarter tourists were rarely exposed to the reality beneath the Disneyland Gomorrah that is projected as 'N'Awlins,' a phrasing I have never heard a local use and a place, as far as I can tell, that I have never encountered despite my years in the city. The seemingly average, white, middle-class Americans whooped it up on Bourbon Street without any thought of the third-world lives of so many of the city's citizens that existed under their noses. The husband and wife, clad in khaki shorts, feather boa, and Mardi Gras beads well out of season, beheld a child tap-dancing on the street for money and clapped along to his beat without considering the obvious fact that this was an early school-day afternoon and that the child should be learning to read, not dancing for money. Somehow they did not see their own child beneath the dancer's black visage. Nor, perhaps, did they see the crumbling buildings where the city's poor live as they traveled by cab from the French Quarter to Commander's Palace. They were on vacation and this was not their problem.
Billy Sothern (Down in New Orleans: Reflections from a Drowned City)
Now in my eleven years of conventional life I had learned many things and one of them is what it means to be convicted of rape--I do not mean the man who did it, I mean the woman to whom it was done. Rape is one of the Christian mysteries, it creates a luminous and beautiful tableau in people's minds; and as I listened furtively to what nobody would allow me to hear straight out, I slowly came to understand that I was face to face with one of those feminine disasters, like pregnancy, like disease, like weakness; she was not only the victim of the act but in some strange way its perpetrator; somehow she had attracted the lightening that struck her out of a clear sky. A diabolical chance--which was not chance--had revealed her to all of us as she truly was, in her secret inadequacy, in that wretched guiltiness which she had kept hidden for seventeen years but which now finally manifested in front of everybody. Her secret guilt was this: She was Cunt. She had "lost" something. Now the other party to the incident had manifested his essential nature, too; he was Prick--but being Prick is not a bad thing. In fact, he had "gotten away with" something (possibly what she had "lost"). And there I was at eleven years of age: She was out late at night. She was in the wrong part of town. Her skirt was too short and that provoked him. She liked having her eye blacked and her head banged against the sidewalk. I understood this perfectly. (I reflected thus in my dream, in my state of being a pair of eyes in a small wooden box stuck forever on a grey, geometric plane--or so I thought.) I too had been guilty of what had been done to me, when I came home from the playground in tears because I had been beaten up by bigger children who were bullies. I was dirty. I was crying. I demanded comfort. I was being inconvenient. I did not disappear into thin air.
Joanna Russ (The Female Man)
That was a mite tacky, ma'am ... even for you." Elizabeth let her mouth fall open. "Even for me? What's that supposed to mean?" "It just means that people with" --He stared pointedly-- "your upbringing aren't usually the most polite folks around." ... "Listen Ranslett, if I've offended you I certainly didn't mean t--" "Sure you did. You just meant to do it in a way that would make yourself look bad." He turned to look at her more fully, and his eyes narrowed, though not in malice. “When you’ve got something to say that isn’t kind, Miss Westbrook, there’s no way to couch it so that it is. Or to hide from how it makes you look when you do. That’s something us good ol’ Southern boys learn real quick about women.” His accent thickened, comically so. “Your gender may say things with a smile, all soft and gentle-like, but some of you --- granted, not all --- have a dagger hidden in your skirts. Us country boys may not be as quick as some, ma’am, but it doesn’t take us too long to figure out who those woman are.” He winked at her. “We just check each other’s backs for the bloodstains.” He stood and reached behind him as though feeling for something. “Yep, feelin’ a little sticky back there.
Tamera Alexander (From a Distance (Timber Ridge Reflections, #1))
So when a little girl asks her father where the moon came from, he might tell her that the moon circles around the earth and reflects light from the sun. He might tell her that the moon likes to play hide-and-seek with the sun, so sometimes the moon looks like it’s peeking out from behind a black curtain; sometimes all you can see is the top of its head, and sometimes you can’t even see it at all! He might tell her about how the moon has invisible arms that can pull the oceans back and forth, making tides rise and fall. He might tell her that astronauts have walked on the moon and played golf on the moon and collected rocks from the moon. He might tell her that the moon has dimples and craters and basins that we can see only with a telescope and that there’s a special place on the moon called the Sea of Tranquility that isn’t really a sea. Then the father might take the little girl outside, hoist her up onto his shoulders, and let her stare at the moon for a while. He might recite a poem about a cow jumping over the moon or sing a song about a dreamy-eyed kid slow-dancing with it. Soon the little girl will become so lost in her father’s beautiful stories that she will forget she ever had a question to begin with.
Rachel Held Evans (Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions)
Tis a funny thing, reflected the Count as he stood ready to abandon his suite. From the earliest age, we must learn to say good-bye to friends and family. We see our parents and siblings off at the station; we visit cousins, attend schools, join the regiment; we marry, or travel abroad. It is part of the human experience that we are constantly gripping a good fellow by the shoulders and wishing him well, taking comfort from the notion that we will hear word of him soon enough. But experience is less likely to teach us how to bid our dearest possessions adieu. And if it were to? We wouldn’t welcome the education. For eventually, we come to hold our dearest possessions more closely than we hold our friends. We carry them from place to place, often at considerable expense and inconvenience; we dust and polish their surfaces and reprimand children for playing too roughly in their vicinity—all the while, allowing memories to invest them with greater and greater importance. This armoire, we are prone to recall, is the very one in which we hid as a boy; and it was these silver candelabra that lined our table on Christmas Eve; and it was with this handkerchief that she once dried her tears, et cetera, et cetera. Until we imagine that these carefully preserved possessions might give us genuine solace in the face of a lost companion. But, of course, a thing is just a thing.
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
Look everywhere. There are miracles and curiosities to fascinate and intrigue for many lifetimes: the intricacies of nature and everything in the world and universe around us from the miniscule to the infinite; physical, chemical and biological functionality; consciousness, intelligence and the ability to learn; evolution, and the imperative for life; beauty and other abstract interpretations; language and other forms of communication; how we make our way here and develop social patterns of culture and meaningfulness; how we organise ourselves and others; moral imperatives; the practicalities of survival and all the embellishments we pile on top; thought, beliefs, logic, intuition, ideas; inventing, creating, information, knowledge; emotions, sensations, experience, behaviour. We are each unique individuals arising from a combination of genetic, inherited, and learned information, all of which can be extremely fallible. Things taught to us when we are young are quite deeply ingrained. Obviously some of it (like don’t stick your finger in a wall socket) is very useful, but some of it is only opinion – an amalgamation of views from people you just happen to have had contact with. A bit later on we have access to lots of other information via books, media, internet etc, but it is important to remember that most of this is still just opinion, and often biased. Even subjects such as history are presented according to the presenter’s or author’s viewpoint, and science is continually changing. Newspapers and TV tend to cover news in the way that is most useful to them (and their funders/advisors), Research is also subject to the decisions of funders and can be distorted by business interests. Pretty much anyone can say what they want on the internet, so our powers of discernment need to be used to a great degree there too. Not one of us can have a completely objective view as we cannot possibly have access to, and filter, all knowledge available, so we must accept that our views are bound to be subjective. Our understanding and responses are all very personal, and our views extremely varied. We tend to make each new thing fit in with the picture we have already started in our heads, but we often have to go back and adjust the picture if we want to be honest about our view of reality as we continually expand it. We are taking in vast amounts of information from others all the time, so need to ensure we are processing that to develop our own true reflection of who we are.
Jay Woodman
The recipe for becoming a good novelist, for example is easy to give but to carry it out presupposes qualities one is accustomed to overlook when one says 'I do not have enough talent'. One has only to make a hundred or so sketches for novels, none longer than two pages but of such distinctness that every word in them is necessary; one should write down anecdotes each day until one has learned how to give them the most pregnant and effective form; one should be tireless in collecting and describing human types and characters; one should above all relate things to others and listen to others relate, keeping one's eyes and ears open for the effect produced on those present, one should travel like a landscape painter or costume designer; one should excerpt for oneself out of the individual sciences everything that will produce an artistic effect when it is well described, one should, finally, reflect on the motives of human actions, disdain no signpost to instruction about them and be a collector of these things by day and night. One should continue in this many-sided exercise some ten years: what is then created in the work­shop, however, will be fit to go out into the world. - What, however, do most people do? They begin, not with the parts, but with the whole. Per­haps they chance to strike a right note, excite attention and from then on strike worse and worse notes, for good, natural reasons.
Friedrich Nietzsche (Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits)
A critical analysis of the present global constellation-one which offers no clear solution, no “practical” advice on what to do, and provides no light at the end of the tunnel, since one is well aware that this light might belong to a train crashing towards us-usually meets with reproach: “Do you mean we should do nothing? Just sit and wait?” One should gather the courage to answer: “YES, precisely that!” There are situations when the only true “practical” thing to do is to resist the temptation to engage immediately and to “wait and see” by means of a patient, critical analysis. Engagement seems to exert its pressure on us from all directions. In a well-known passage from his ‘Existentialism and Humanism’, Sartre deployed the dilemma of a young man in France in 1942, torn between the duty to help his lone, ill mother and the duty to enter the war and fight the Germans; Sartre’s point is, of course, that there is no a priori answer to this dilemma. The young man needs to make a decision grounded only in his own abyssal freedom and assume full responsibility for it. An obscene third way out of this dilemma would have been to advise the young man to tell his mother that he will join the Resistance, and to tell his Resistance friends that he will take care of his mother, while, in reality, withdrawing to a secluded place and studying. There is more than cheap cynicism in this advice. It brings to mind a well-known Soviet joke about Lenin. Under socialism; Lenin’s advice to young people, his answer to what they should do, was “Learn, learn, and learn.” This was evoked all the time and displayed on the school walls. The joke goes: Marx, Engels, and Lenin are asked whether they would prefer to have a wife or a mistress. As expected, Marx, rather conservative in private matters, answers, “A wife!” while Engels, more of a bon vivant, opts for a mistress. To everyone’s surprise, Lenin says, “I’d like to have both!” Why? Is there a hidden stripe of decadent jouisseur behind his austere revolutionary image? No-he explains: “So that I can tell my wife that I am going to my mistress and my mistress that I am going to my wife. . .” “And then, what do you do?” “I go to a solitary place to learn, learn, and learn!” Is this not exactly what Lenin did after the catastrophe in 1914? He withdrew to a lonely place in Switzerland, where he “learned, learned, and learned,” reading Hegel’s logic. And this is what we should do today when we find ourselves bombarded with mediatic images of violence. We need to “learn, learn, and learn” what causes this violence.
Slavoj Žižek (Violence: Six Sideways Reflections)
The letter is only an aid to philosophical communication, the actual essence of which consists in arousing a particular train of thought. Someone speaking thinks and produces—someone listening reflects—and reproduces. Words are a deceptive medium for what is already though—unreliable vehicles of a particular, specific stimulus. The true teacher is a guide. If the pupil genuinely desires truth it requires only a hint to show him how to find what he is seeking. Accordingly the representation of philosophy consists purely of themes—of initial propositions—principles. It exists only for autonomous lovers of truth. The analytical exposition of the theme is only for those who are sluggish or unpracticed. The latter must learn thereby how to fly and keep themselves moving in a particular direction. Attentiveness is a centripetal force. The effective relation between that which is directed and the object of direction begins with the given direction. If we hold fast to this direction we are apodictically certain of reaching the goal that has been set. True collaboration in philosophy then is a common movement toward a beloved world—whereby we relieve each other in the most advanced outpost, a movement that demands the greatest effort against the resisting element within which we are flying.
Novalis (Philosophical Writings)
Relationships never provide you with everything. They provide you with some things. You take all the things you want from a person - sexual chemistry, let's say, or good conversation, or financial support, or intellectual compatibility, or niceness, or loyalty - and you get to pick three of those things. Three - that's it. Maybe four, if you're very lucky. The rest you have to look for elsewhere. It's only in the movies that you find someone who gives you all of those things. But this isn't the movies. In the real world, you have to identify which three qualities you want to spend the rest of your life with, and then you look for those qualities in another person. That's real life. Don't you see it's a trap? If you keep trying to find everything, you'll wind up with nothing.' ...At the time, he hadn't believed these words, because at the time, everything really did seem possible: he was twenty-three, and everyone was young and attractive and smart and glamorous. Everyone thought they would be friends for decades, forever. But for most people, of course, that hadn't happened. As you got older, you realized that the qualities you valued in the people you slept with or dated weren't necessarily the ones you wanted to live with, or be with, or plod through your days with. If you were smart, and if you were lucky, you learned this and accepted this. You figured out what was most important to you and you looked for it, and you learned to be realistic. They all chose differently: Roman had chosen beauty, sweetness, pliability; Malcolm, he thought, had chosen reliability, and competence...and aesthetic compatibility. And he? He had chosen friendship. Conversation. Kindness, Intelligence. When he was in his thirties, he had looked at certain people's relationships and asked the question that had (and continued to) fuel countless dinner-party conversations: What's going on there? Now, though, as an almost-forty-eight-year-old, he saw people's relationships as reflections of their keenest yet most inarticulable desires, their hopes and insecurities taking shape physically, in the form of another person. Now he looked at couples - in restaurants, on the street, at parties - and wondered: Why are you together? What did you identify as essential to you? What's missing in you that you want someone else to provide? He now viewed a successful relationship as one in which both people had recognized the best of what the other person had of offer and had chosen to value it as well.
Hanya Yanagihara (A Little Life)
Words evolve, perhaps more rapidly and tellingly than do their users, and the change in meanings reflects a society often more accurately than do the works of many historians. In he years preceding the first collapse of NorAm, the change in the meaning of one word predicted the failure of that society more immediately and accurately than did all the analysts, social scientists, and historians. That critical word? 'Discrimination.' We know it now as a term meaning 'unfounded bias against a person, group, or culture on the basis of racial, gender, or ethnic background.' Prejudice, if you will. The previous meaning of this word was: 'to draw a clear distinction between good and evil, to differentiate, to recognize as different.' Moreover, the connotations once associated with discrimination were favorable. A person of discrimination was one of taste and good judgment. With the change of the meaning into a negative term of bias, the English language was left without a single-word term for the act of choosing between alternatives wisely, and more importantly, left with a subterranean negative connotation for those who attempted to make such choices. In hindsight, the change in meaning clearly reflected and foreshadowed the disaster to come. Individuals and institutions abhorred making real choices. At one point more than three-quarters of the youthful population entered institutions of higher learning. Credentials, often paper ones, replaced meaning judgment and choices... Popularity replaced excellence... The number of disastrous cultural and political decisions foreshadowed by the change in meaning of one word is truly endless...
L.E. Modesitt Jr. (Archform: Beauty (Archform: Beauty, #1))
Colored like a sunset tide is a gaze sharply slicing through the reflective glass. A furrowed brow is set much too seriously, as if trying to unfold the pieces of the face that stared back at it. One eyebrow is raised skeptically, always calculating and analyzing its surroundings. I tilt my head trying to see the deeper meaning in my features, trying to imagine the connection between my looks and my character as I stare in the mirror for the required five minutes. From the dark brown hair fastened tightly in a bun, a curl as bright as woven gold comes loose. A flash of unruly hair prominent through the typical browns is like my temper; always there, but not always visible. I begin to grow frustrated with the girl in the mirror, and she cocks her hip as if mocking me. In a moment, her lips curve in a half smile, not quite detectable in sight but rather in feeling, like the sensation of something good just around the corner. A chin was set high in a stubborn fashion, symbolizing either persistence or complete adamancy. Shoulders are held stiff like ancient mountains, proud but slightly arrogant. The image watches with the misty eyes of a daydreamer, glazed over with a sort of trance as if in the middle of a reverie, or a vision. Every once and a while, her true fears surface in those eyes, terror that her life would amount to nothing, that her work would have no impact. Words written are meant to be read, and sometimes I worry that my thoughts and ideas will be lost with time. My dream is to be an author, to be immortalized in print and live forever in the minds of avid readers. I want to access the power in being able to shape the minds of the young and open, and alter the minds of the old and resolute. Imagine the power in living forever, and passing on your ideas through generations. With each new reader, a new layer of meaning is uncovered in writing, meaning that even the author may not have seen. In the mirror, I see a girl that wants to change the world, and change the way people think and reason. Reflection and image mean nothing, for the girl in the mirror is more than a one dimensional picture. She is someone who has followed my footsteps with every lesson learned, and every mistake made. She has been there to help me find a foothold in the world, and to catch me when I fall. As the lights blink out, obscuring her face, I realize that although that image is one that will puzzle me in years to come, she and I aren’t so different after all.
K.D. Enos
A few years ago, Ed and I were exploring the dunes on Cumberland Island, one of the barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and the mainland of south Georgia. He was looking for the fossilized teeth of long-dead sharks. I was looking for sand spurs so that I did not step on one. This meant that neither of us was looking very far past our own feet, so the huge loggerhead turtle took us both by surprise. She was still alive but just barely, her shell hot to the touch from the noonday sun. We both knew what had happened. She had come ashore during the night to lay her eggs, and when she had finished, she had looked around for the brightest horizon to lead her back to the sea. Mistaking the distant lights on the mainland for the sky reflected on the ocean, she went the wrong way. Judging by her tracks, she had dragged herself through the sand until her flippers were buried and she could go no farther. We found her where she had given up, half cooked by the sun but still able to turn one eye up to look at us when we bent over her. I buried her in cool sand while Ed ran to the ranger station. An hour later she was on her back with tire chains around her front legs, being dragged behind a park service Jeep back toward the ocean. The dunes were so deep that her mouth filled with sand as she went. Her head bent so far underneath her that I feared her neck would break. Finally the Jeep stopped at the edge of the water. Ed and I helped the ranger unchain her and flip her back over. Then all three of us watched as she lay motionless in the surf. Every wave brought her life back to her, washing the sand from her eyes and making her shell shine again. When a particularly large one broke over her, she lifted her head and tried her back legs. The next wave made her light enough to find a foothold, and she pushed off, back into the water that was her home. Watching her swim slowly away after her nightmare ride through the dunes, I noted that it is sometimes hard to tell whether you are being killed or saved by the hands that turn your life upside down.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Learning to Walk in the Dark)
Did he say anything to you?” “Just that I was supposed to watch you while he was gone. A hunt can take several days.” “Really? I had no idea it would take that long.” I hestitated, “So…he doesn’t mind you staying here while he’s gone.” “Oh, he minds,” he chuckled, “but he wants to make sure you’re safe. At least he trusts me that much.” “Well, I think he’s mad at both of us right now.” Kishan looked at me curiously with a raised eyebrow. “How so?” “Um…let’s just say we had a misunderstanding.” Kishan’s face turned hard. “Don’t worry, Kelsey. I’m sure that whatever he’s upset about is foolish. He’s very argumentative.” I sighed and shook my head sadly. “No, it’s really all my fault. I’m difficult, a hindrance, and I’m a pain to have around sometimes. He’s probably used to being around sophisticated, more experienced women who are much more…more…well, more than I am.” Kishan quirked an eyebrow. “Ren hasn’t been around any women as far as I know. I must confess that I’m now exceedingly curious as to what your argument was about. Whether you tell me or not, I won’t tolerate any more derogatory comments about yourself. He’s lucky to have you, and he’d better realize it.” He grinned. “Of course, if you did have a falling out, you’re always welcome to stay with me.” “Thanks for the offer, but I don’t really want to live in the jungle.” He laughed. “For you, I would even consider a change of residence. You, my lovely, are a prize worth fighting for.” I laughed and punched him lightly on the arm. “You, sir, are a major flirt. Worth fighting for? I think you two have been tigers for too long. I’m no great beauty, especially when I’m stuck out here in the jungle. I haven’t even picked a college major yet. What have I ever done that would make someone want to fight over me?” Kishan apparently took my rhetorical questions seriously. He reflected for a moment, and then answered, “For one thing, I’ve never met a woman so dedicated to helping others. You put your own life at risk for a person you met only a few weeks ago. You are confident, feisty, intelligent, and full of empathy. I find you charming and, yes, beautiful.” The golden-eyed prince fingered a strand of my hair. I blushed at his assessment, sipped my water, and then said softly, “I don’t like him being angry with me.” Kishan shrugged and dropped his hand, looking slightly annoyed that I’d steered the conversation back to Ren. “Yes. I’ve been on the receiving side of his anger, and I’ve learned not to underestimate his ability to hold a grudge.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
In 90% of cases, you can start with one of the two most effective ways to open a speech: ask a question or start with a story. Our brain doesn’t remember what we hear. It remembers only what we “see” or imagine while we listen. You can remember stories. Everything else is quickly forgotten. Smell is the most powerful sense out of 4 to immerse audience members into a scene. Every sentence either helps to drive your point home, or it detracts from clarity. There is no middle point. If you don’t have a foundational phrase in your speech, it means that your message is not clear enough to you, and if it’s not clear to you, there is no way it will be clear to your audience. Share your failures first. Show your audience members that you are not any better, smarter or more talented than they are. You are not an actor, you are a speaker. The main skill of an actor is to play a role; to be someone else. Your main skill as a speaker is to be yourself. People will forgive you for anything except for being boring. Speaking without passion is boring. If you are not excited about what you are talking about, how can you expect your audience to be excited? Never hide behind a lectern or a table. Your audience needs to see 100% of your body. Speak slowly and people will consider you to be a thoughtful and clever person. Leaders don’t talk much, but each word holds a lot of meaning and value. You always speak to only one person. Have a conversation directly with one person, look him or her in the eye. After you have logically completed one idea, which usually is 10-20 seconds, scan the audience and then stop your eyes on another person. Repeat this process again. Cover the entire room with eye contact. When you scan the audience and pick people for eye contact, pick positive people more often. When you pause, your audience thinks about your message and reflects. Pausing builds an audiences’ confidence. If you don’t pause, your audience doesn’t have time to digest what you've told them and hence, they will not remember a word of what you've said. Pause before and after you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. After you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. Speakers use filler words when they don’t know what to say, but they feel uncomfortable with silence. Have you ever seen a speaker who went on stage with a piece of paper and notes? Have you ever been one of these speakers? When people see you with paper in your hands, they instantly think, “This speaker is not sincere. He has a script and will talk according to the script.” The best speeches are not written, they are rewritten. Bad speakers create a 10 minutes speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Great speakers create a 5 minute speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Explain your ideas in a simple manner, so that the average 12-year-old child can understand the concept. Good speakers and experts can always explain the most complex ideas with very simple words. Stories evoke emotions. Factual information conveys logic. Emotions are far more important in a speech than logic. If you're considering whether to use statistics or a story, use a story. PowerPoint is for pictures not for words. Use as few words on the slide as possible. Never learn your speech word for word. Just rehearse it enough times to internalize the flow. If you watch a video of your speech, you can triple the pace of your development as a speaker. Make videos a habit. Meaningless words and clichés neither convey value nor information. Avoid them. Never apologize on stage. If people need to put in a lot of effort to understand you they simply won’t listen. On the other hand if you use very simple language you will connect with the audience and your speech will be remembered.
Andrii Sedniev (Magic of Public Speaking: A Complete System to Become a World Class Speaker)
[T]he old stories of human relationships with animals can't be discounted. They are not primitive; they are primal. They reflect insights that came from considerable and elaborate systems of knowledge, intellectual traditions and ways of living that were tried, tested, and found true over many thousands of years and on all continents. But perhaps the truest story is with the animals themselves because we have found our exemplary ways through them, both in the older world and in the present time, both physically and spiritually. According to the traditions of the Seneca animal society, there were medicine animals in ancient times that entered into relationships with people. The animals themselves taught ceremonies that were to be performed in their names, saying they would provide help for humans if this relationship was kept. We have followed them, not only in the way the early European voyagers and prenavigators did, by following the migrations of whales in order to know their location, or by releasing birds from cages on their sailing vessels and following them towards land, but in ways more subtle and even more sustaining. In a discussion of the Wolf Dance of the Northwest, artists Bill Holm and William Reid said that 'It is often done by a woman or a group of women. The dance is supposed to come from the wolves. There are different versions of its origin and different songs, but the words say something like, 'Your name is widely known among the wolves. You are honored by the wolves.' In another recent account, a Northern Cheyenne ceremonialist said that after years spent recovering from removals and genocide, indigenous peoples are learning their lost songs back from the wolves who retained them during the grief-filled times, as thought the wolves, even though threatened in their own numbers, have had compassion for the people.... It seems we have always found our way across unknown lands, physical and spiritual, with the assistance of the animals. Our cultures are shaped around them and we are judged by the ways in which we treat them. For us, the animals are understood to be our equals. They are still our teachers. They are our helpers and healers. They have been our guardians and we have been theirs. We have asked for, and sometimes been given, if we've lived well enough, carefully enough, their extraordinary powers of endurance and vision, which we have added to our own knowledge, powers and gifts when we are not strong enough for the tasks required of us. We have deep obligations to them. Without other animals, we are made less. (from her essay "First People")
Linda Hogan (Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals)
When I close my eyes to see, to hear, to smell, to touch a country I have known, I feel my body shake and fill with joy as if a beloved person had come near me. A rabbi was once asked the following question: ‘When you say that the Jews should return to Palestine, you mean, surely, the heavenly, the immaterial, the spiritual Palestine, our true homeland?’ The rabbi jabbed his staff into the ground in wrath and shouted, ‘No! I want the Palestine down here, the one you can touch with your hands, with its stones, its thorns and its mud!’ Neither am I nourished by fleshless, abstract memories. If I expected my mind to distill from a turbid host of bodily joys and bitternesses an immaterial, crystal-clear thought, I would die of hunger. When I close my eyes in order to enjoy a country again, my five senses, the five mouth-filled tentacles of my body, pounce upon it and bring it to me. Colors, fruits, women. The smells of orchards, of filthy narrow alleys, of armpits. Endless snows with blue, glittering reflections. Scorching, wavy deserts of sand shimmering under the hot sun. Tears, cries, songs, distant bells of mules, camels or troikas. The acrid, nauseating stench of some Mongolian cities will never leave my nostrils. And I will eternally hold in my hands – eternally, that is, until my hands rot – the melons of Bukhara, the watermelons of the Volga, the cool, dainty hand of a Japanese girl… For a time, in my early youth, I struggled to nourish my famished soul by feeding it with abstract concepts. I said that my body was a slave and that its duty was to gather raw material and bring it to the orchard of the mind to flower and bear fruit and become ideas. The more fleshless, odorless, soundless the world was that filtered into me, the more I felt I was ascending the highest peak of human endeavor. And I rejoiced. And Buddha came to be my greatest god, whom I loved and revered as an example. Deny your five senses. Empty your guts. Love nothing, hate nothing, desire nothing, hope for nothing. Breathe out and the world will be extinguished. But one night I had a dream. A hunger, a thirst, the influence of a barbarous race that had not yet become tired of the world had been secretly working within me. My mind pretended to be tired. You felt it had known everything, had become satiated, and was now smiling ironically at the cries of my peasant heart. But my guts – praised be God! – were full of blood and mud and craving. And one night I had a dream. I saw two lips without a face – large, scimitar-shaped woman’s lips. They moved. I heard a voice ask, ‘Who if your God?’ Unhesitatingly I answered, ‘Buddha!’ But the lips moved again and said: ‘No, Epaphus.’ I sprang up out of my sleep. Suddenly a great sense of joy and certainty flooded my heart. What I had been unable to find in the noisy, temptation-filled, confused world of wakefulness I had found now in the primeval, motherly embrace of the night. Since that night I have not strayed. I follow my own path and try to make up for the years of my youth that were lost in the worship of fleshless gods, alien to me and my race. Now I transubstantiate the abstract concepts into flesh and am nourished. I have learned that Epaphus, the god of touch, is my god. All the countries I have known since then I have known with my sense of touch. I feel my memories tingling, not in my head but in my fingertips and my whole skin. And as I bring back Japan to my mind, my hands tremble as if they were touching the breast of a beloved woman.
Nikos Kazantzakis (Travels in China & Japan)