Reflect Back Quotes

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It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being.
John Joseph Powell (The Secret of Staying in Love)
Renew, release, let go. Yesterday’s gone. There’s nothing you can do to bring it back. You can’t “should’ve” done something. You can only DO something. Renew yourself. Release that attachment. Today is a new day!
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
Plant seeds of happiness, hope, success, and love; it will all come back to you in abundance. This is the law of nature.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.
Yvonne Woon (Dead Beautiful (Dead Beautiful, #1))
People will walk in and walk out of your life, but the one whose footstep made a long lasting impression is the one you should never allow to walk out.
Michael Bassey Johnson
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 am so grateful for my troubles. As I reflect back on my life, I have come to realize that my greatest triumphs have been born of my greatest troubles.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
Sometimes it's the same moments that take your breath away that breathe purpose and love back into your life.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
When they don’t love you the way you want to, you mourn that for however long you need to. But then you get back up and you remind yourself. You are not a reflection of the people who can’t love you. You will love again. You will be loved again.
Caitlyn Siehl
Meditate, Visualize and Create your own reality and the universe will simply reflect back to you.
Amit Ray (Yoga and Vipassana: An Integrated Life Style)
Love is not selective, just as the light of the sun is not selective. It does not make one person special. It is not exclusive. Exclusivity is not the love of God but the "love" of ego. However, the intensity with which true love is felt can vary. There may be one person who reflects your love back to you more clearly and more intensely than others, and if that person feels the same toward you, it can be said that you are in a love relationship with him or her. The bond that connects you with that person is the same bond that connects you with the person sitting next to you on a bus, or with a bird, a tree, a flower. Only the degree of intensity with which it is felt differs.
Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment)
Don't give up! It's not over. The universe is balanced. Every set-back bears with it the seeds of a come-back.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
Become the leader of your life. Lead yourself to where you want to be. Breathe life back into your ambitions, your desires, your goals, your relationships.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
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)
I mean, if you were to find a shattered mirror, find all the pieces, all the shards and all the tiny chips, and have whatever skill and patience it took to put all that broken glass back together so that it was complete once again, the restored mirror would still be spiderwebbed with cracks, it would still be a useless glued version of its former self, which could show only fragmented reflections of anyone looking into it. Some things are beyond repair. And that was me.
Elizabeth Wurtzel (Prozac Nation)
He who does not reflect his life back to God in gratitude does not know himself.
Albert Schweitzer (Reverence for Life: The Words of Albert Schweitzer)
The best time to reflect is when you like the person looking back.
pleasefindthis (I Wrote This For You (I Wrote This For You #4))
No one asks how or what I am doing. They could not care less. We’re all looking glasses, we girls, existing only to reflect their images back to them as they’d like to be seen. Hollow vessels of girls to be rinsed of our own ambitions, wants, and opinions, just waiting to be filled with the cool, tepid water of gracious compliance. A fissure forms in the vessel. I’m cracking open.
Libba Bray (A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1))
His kisses were gifts. He kissed with everything he had, with power and passion and hunger and love. He held nothing back, giving everything, exposing everything.
Sylvia Day (Reflected in You (Crossfire, #2))
I considered myself a Christian. But looking back on it, I guess I was more of a Kluggist. I was klugging my own spirituality. It was years before I would find out how dangerous that was.
Randy Loubier (Slow Brewing Tea)
As the water pounded on my back, I reflected that I must be pretty simple. It didn't take much to make me happy. A long night with a dead guy had done the trick.
Charlaine Harris (Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse, #4))
The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion; and so let all young persons take their choice.
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
We should have taken our chances back then, when we were young and beautiful and didn't even know it.
Lois McMaster Bujold (Diplomatic Immunity (Vorkosigan Saga, #13))
The pessimist resembles a man who observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he daily tears a sheet, grows thinner with each passing day. On the other hand, the person who attacks the problems of life actively is like a man who removes each successive leaf from his calendar and files it neatly and carefully away with its predecessors, after first having jotted down a few diary notes on the back. He can reflect with pride and joy on all the richness set down in these notes, on all the life he has already lived to the fullest. What will it matter to him if he notices that he is growing old? Has he any reason to envy the young people whom he sees, or wax nostalgic over his own lost youth? What reasons has he to envy a young person? For the possibilities that a young person has, the future which is in store for him? No, thank you,' he will think. 'Instead of possibilities, I have realities in my past, not only the reality of work done and of love loved, but of sufferings bravely suffered. These sufferings are even the things of which I am most proud, although these are things which cannot inspire envy.
Viktor E. Frankl (Man's Search for Meaning)
I flipped the good doctor the bird. Snorting, Gideon caught my hand and pulled me back down the hall. "What is it with you and giving people the finger?" "What? It's a classic.
Sylvia Day (Reflected in You (Crossfire, #2))
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
Will seemed about to lunge off toward the whisperers to administer rough justice, but Jem had a firm grip on the back of his parabatai’s coat. Being Jem, Tessa reflected, must be a great deal like being the owner of a thoroughbred dog that liked to bite your guests. You had to have a hand on his collar constantly.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2))
Live Today! Do not allow your spirit to be softened of your happiness to be limited by a day you cannot have back or a day that does not yet exist.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
The thing about light is that it really isn’t yours; it’s what you gather and shine back. And it gets more power from reflectiveness; if you sit still and take it in, it fills your cup, and then you can give it off yourself.
Anne Lamott (Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith)
You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist?" And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.
Junot Díaz
Life is a mirror and will reflect back to the thinker what he thinks into it
Ernest Shurtleff Holmes
He thought back on his family with deep emotion and love. His conviction that he would have to disappear was, if possible, even firmer than his sister's. He remained in this state of empty and peaceful reflection until the tower clock struck three in the morning. He still saw that outside the window everything was beginning to grow light. Then, without his consent, his head sank down to the floor, and from his nostrils streamed his last weak breath.
Franz Kafka (The Metamorphosis)
When loneliness is a constant state of being, it harkens back to a childhood wherein neglect and abandonment were the landscape of life.
Alexandra Katehakis (Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence)
No reflection was to be allowed now, not one glance was to be cast back; not even one forward. Not one thought was to be given either to the past or the future. The first was a page so heavenly sweet, so deadly sad, that to read one line of it would dissolve my courage and break down my energy. The last was an awful blank, something like then world when the deluge was gone by.
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
He glanced back at the wall. How like a mirror, too, her face. Impossible; for how many people did you know who reflected your own light to you? People were more often--he searched for a simile, found one in his work--torches, blazing away until they whiffed out. How rarely did other people's faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought?
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
what i miss most is how you loved me. but what i didn't know was how you loved me had so much to do with the person i was. it was a reflection of everything i gave you. coming back to me. how did i not see that. how. did i sit here soaking in the idea that no one else would love me that way. when it was i that taught you. when it was i that showed you how to fill. the way i needed to be filled. how cruel i was to myself. giving you credit for my warmth simply because you had felt it. thinking it was you who gave me strength. wit. beauty. simply because you recognized it. as if i was already not these things before i met you. as if i did not remain all these things after you left.
Rupi Kaur (Milk and Honey)
My mom beat me up," I informed my reflection. It looked back sympathetically.
Richelle Mead
That's what Jamie didn't understand: it was never just sex. Even the fastest, dirtiest, most impersonal screw was about more than sex. It was about connection. It was about looking at another human being and seeing your own loneliness and neediness reflected back. It was recognising that together you had the power to temporarily banish that sense of isolation. It was about experiencing what it was to be human at the basest, most instinctive level. How could that be described as just anything?
Emily Maguire (Taming the Beast)
She’s not stupid! Don’t try to play her like she is. You’re insulting her intelligence. If you’re not careful, you’ll one day find yourself on the outside wishing you could get back in.
Amari Soul (Reflections Of A Man)
She was a very pretty woman. She had dark red hair and her eyes -- her eyes are just like mine, Harry thought, edging a little closer to the glass. Bright green -- exactly the same shape, but then he noticed that she was crying; smiling, but crying at the same time. The tall, thin, black-haired man standing next to her put his arm around her. He wore glasses, and his hair was very untidy. It stuck up at the back, just like Harry's did. Harry was so close to the mirror now that his nose was nearly touching that of his reflection. "Mum?" he whispered. "Dad?" They just looked at him, smiling. And slowly, Harry looked into the faces of the other people in the mirror and saw other pairs of green eyes like his, other noses like his, even a little old man who looked as though he had Harry's knobbly knees -- Harry was looking at his family, for the first time in his life. The Potters smiled and waved at Harry and he stared hungrily back at them, his hands pressed flat against the glass as though he was hoping to fall right through it and reach them. He had a powerful kind of ache inside of him, half joy, half terrible sadness.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1))
Not that I’ve ever feared a fight or backed down from one –(Wren) That’s the truth. I swear he’s half beta fish. He’d fight his own reflection to prove a point. (Maggie)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Unleash the Night (Dark Hunter, #8; Were-Hunter, #2))
THE FOUR HEAVENLY FOUNTAINS Laugh, I tell you And you will turn back The hands of time. Smile, I tell you And you will reflect The face of the divine. Sing, I tell you And all the angels will sing with you! Cry, I tell you And the reflections found in your pool of tears - Will remind you of the lessons of today and yesterday To guide you through the fears of tomorrow.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Even a stone, and more easily a flower or a bird, could show you the way back to God, to the Source, to yourself. When you look at it or hold it & let it be without imposing a word of mental label on it, a sense of awe, of wonder, arises within you. Its essence silently communicates itself to you and reflects your own essence back to you.
Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose)
I want to look back. To look over my shoulder and see the Stop sign with huge reflective letters, pleading with Hannah. Stop!
Jay Asher (Thirteen Reasons Why)
The Martians were there—in the canal—reflected in the water.... The Martians stared back up at them for a long, long silent time from the rippling water....
Ray Bradbury (The Martian Chronicles)
What does one person give to another? He gives of himself, of the most precious he has, he gives of his life. This does not necessarily mean that he sacrifices his life for the other—but that he gives him of that which is alive in him; he gives him of his joy, of his interest, of his understanding, of his knowledge, of his humor, of his sadness—of all expressions and manifestations of that which is alive in him. In thus giving of his life, he enriches the other person, he enhances the other's sense of aliveness by enhancing his own sense of aliveness. He does not give in order to receive; giving is in itself exquisite joy. But in giving he cannot help bringing something to life in the other person, and this which is brought to life reflects back to him.
Erich Fromm (The Art of Loving)
A poet once said, 'The whole universe is in a glass of wine.' We will probably never know in what sense he meant it, for poets do not write to be understood. But it is true that if we look at a glass of wine closely enough we see the entire universe. There are the things of physics: the twisting liquid which evaporates depending on the wind and weather, the reflection in the glass; and our imagination adds atoms. The glass is a distillation of the earth's rocks, and in its composition we see the secrets of the universe's age, and the evolution of stars. What strange array of chemicals are in the wine? How did they come to be? There are the ferments, the enzymes, the substrates, and the products. There in wine is found the great generalization; all life is fermentation. Nobody can discover the chemistry of wine without discovering, as did Louis Pasteur, the cause of much disease. How vivid is the claret, pressing its existence into the consciousness that watches it! If our small minds, for some convenience, divide this glass of wine, this universe, into parts -- physics, biology, geology, astronomy, psychology, and so on -- remember that nature does not know it! So let us put it all back together, not forgetting ultimately what it is for. Let it give us one more final pleasure; drink it and forget it all!
Richard P. Feynman
You put your hand on Corinne's back like this again and I'm breaking your fingers.
Sylvia Day (Reflected in You (Crossfire, #2))
Some people live disconnected, in a world of their own. Their wishful thinking represents their sole veracity. But when the mirror smashes the reflection of their delusion, it will not falter to talk back. ( "The day the mirror was talking back" )
Erik Pevernagie
Mirror I am silver and exact. I have no preconceptions. Whatever I see I swallow immediately Just as it is, unmisted by love or dislike. I am not cruel, only truthful- The eye of the little god, four cornered. Most of the time I meditate on the opposite wall. It is pink, with speckles. I have looked at it so long I think it is a part of my heart. But it flickers. Faces and darkness separate us over and over. Now I am a lake. A woman bends over me, Searching my reaches for what she really is. Then she turns to those liars, the candles or the moon. I see her back, and reflect it faithfully. She rewards me with tears and an agitation of hands. I am important to her. She comes and goes. Each morning it is her face that replaces the darkness. In me she has drowned a young girl, and in me an old woman Rises toward her day after day, like a terrible fish. --written 1960
Sylvia Plath (The Collected Poems)
Who was this women?' asked Harry. 'I dunno, some Ministry hag.' Mundungus considered for a moment, brow wrinkled. 'Little women. Bow on top of er' head.' He frowned and then added, 'Looked like a toad.' Harry dropped his wand. Harry looked up and saw his own shock reflected in Ron and Hermione's faces. The scars on the back of right hand seemed to be tingling again.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7))
Tohrment spoke. "Bella's brother called. He's tabled the sehelusion request and asked that she stay here for a couple of days." Z jacked his head up. "Why?" "He didn't give a reason-" Tohr's eye's narrowed on Z's face. "Oh... my God." "What the fuck are you looking at?" Phury pointed to the antique mirror hanging on the wall next to the double doors. "See for yourself." Zsadist marched across the room, ready to give them all hell. Bella was what mattered- His mouth went lax at his reflection. With a shaky hand he reached out to the eyes in the old-fashioned leaded glass. His irises were no longer black. They were yellow. Just like his twin's. "Phury?" he said softly. "Phury... what happened to me?" As the male came up behind him, his brother's face appeared right beside Z's. And then Wrath's dark reflection showed up in the mirror, all long hair and sunglasses. Then Rhage's star-fallen beauty. And Vishous's Sox cap. And Tohrment's brush cut. And Butch's busted nose. One by one they reached out and touched him, their big hands gently on his shoulders. "Welcome back, my brother," Phury whispered. Zsadist stared at the males who were behind him. And the oddest thought that if he were to let himself go limp and fall backward... they would catch him.
J.R. Ward (Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #3))
Hamas is regularly described as 'Iranian-backed Hamas, which is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.' One will be hard put to find something like 'democratically elected Hamas, which has long been calling for a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus'—blocked for over 30 years by the US and Israel. All true, but not a useful contribution to the Party Line, hence dispensable.
Noam Chomsky (Gaza in Crisis: Reflections on Israel's War Against the Palestinians)
You always think that a bolt of lightning is going to strike and your parents will magically change into the people you wish they were, or back into the people they used to be.
Nora Ephron (I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections)
Chick Lit uses humor to reflect life back to us. It's a very comforting genre, and it's the first time our generation has had a voice. It's a very important genre for all of those reasons.
Marian Keyes
He was looking at me, jsut as I'd thought he would be, but like Bert's, his light was not what I expected. No pity, no sadness: nothing had changed. I realized all the times I'd felt people stare at me, their faces had been pictures, abstracts. None of them were mirrors, able to reflect back the expression I thought one I wore, the feelings only I felt.
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
Upon reflection, I decided I had three main weaknesses: I was confused (evidenced by a lack of facts, an inability to coordinate my thoughts, and an inability to verbalize my ideas); I had a lack of confidence, which cause me to back down from forcefully stated positions; and I was overly emotional at the expense of careful, 'scientific' though. I was thirty-seven years old and still discovering who I was.
Julia Child (My Life in France)
We look back on our life as a thing of broken pieces, because our mistakes and failures are always the first to strike us, and outweigh in our imagination what we have accomplished and attained.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (Maxims and Reflections)
There is nothing wrong with standing back and thinking. To paraphrase several sages: 'Nobody can think and hit someone at the same time.
Susan Sontag (Regarding the Pain of Others)
We're all looking glasses, we girls, existing only to reflect their images back to them as they'd like to be seen. Hollow vessels of girls to be rinsed of our own ambitions, wants, and opinions, just waiting to be filled with the cool, tepid water of gracious compliance.
Libba Bray (A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1))
Stop living within the confines of how others define you! You weren't created to live their life; you were created to live yours - so LIVE it! You can reignite that fire within and bring the passion back into your goals, dreams, ambitions, careers, and relationships by reclaiming control of your own life. Be unapologetically YOU!
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
For a great many people, the evening is the most enjoyable part of the day. Perhaps, then, there is something to his advice that I should cease looking back so much, that I should adopt a more positive outlook and try to make the best of what remains of my day. After all, what can we ever gain in forever looking back and blaming ourselves if our lives have not turned out quite as we might have wished?
Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day)
They walked back into the world together, wearing the gift that had been given them: just life. Pity was not love, Barbie reflected...but if you were a child, giving clothes to someone who was naked had to be a step in the right direction.
Stephen King (Under the Dome)
I'm afraid I'll lose myself in you, Gideon. I'm scared I'll lose the part of me I worked so hard to get back." "I'd never let that happen." he promised fiercely. Chapter 8, pg 140
Sylvia Day (Reflected in You (Crossfire, #2))
Since I was Shy’s old lady and my behaviour reflected on him, I backed down. But, since I was Tabby and he was Hound, I didn’t do it gracefully. “You’re off my Christmas card list,” I announced.
Kristen Ashley (Own the Wind (Chaos, #1))
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
Side Note: As a rule, people who are terrified of what others think about them are actually terrified of all the shitty things they think about themselves being reflected back at them.
Mark Manson
the abyss you stare into and that stares back at you is your reflection in the mirror - we all have it - that shadow self - that dark heart...
John Geddes (A Familiar Rain)
wisdom is like a bottomless pond. You throw stones in and they sink into darkness and dissolve. Her eyes looking back do not reflect anything. I think this to myself even though I love my daughter. She and I have shared the same body. There is a part of her mind that is a part of mine. But when she was born she sprang from me like a slippery fish, and has been swimming away ever since. All her life, I have watched her as though from another shore.
Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club)
Puck and Ironhorse each grabbed a rope and began drawing the platform up the side of the building. The dark, mirrored walls reflected a strange party back at us: a cat, two elf-boys, a girl in a slightly tattered gown, and a monstrous black man with glowing red eyes. I contemplated how strange my life had become, but was interrupted by a soft hiss overhead.
Julie Kagawa (The Iron Daughter (The Iron Fey, #2))
Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to internal conversations than a moving plane, ship or train. There is an almost quaint correlation between what is in front of our eyes and the thoughts we are able to have in our heads: large thoughts at times requiring large views, new thoughts new places. Introspective reflections which are liable to stall are helped along by the flow of the landscape. The mind may be reluctant to think properly when thinking is all it is supposed to do. At the end of hours of train-dreaming, we may feel we have been returned to ourselves - that is, brought back into contact with emotions and ideas of importance to us. It is not necessarily at home that we best encounter our true selves. The furniture insists that we cannot change because it does not; the domestice setting keeps us tethered to the person we are in ordinary life, but who may not be who we essentially are. If we find poetry in the service station and motel, if we are drawn to the airport or train carriage, it is perhaps because, in spite of their architectural compromises and discomforts, in spite of their garish colours and harsh lighting, we implicitly feel that these isolated places offer us a material setting for an alternative to the selfish ease, the habits and confinement of the ordinary, rooted world.
Alain de Botton (The Art of Travel)
When life becomes too complicated and we feel overwhelmed, it’s often useful just to stand back and remind ourselves of our overall purpose, our overall goal. When faced with a feeling of stagnation and confusion, it may be helpful to take an hour, an afternoon, or even several days to simply reflect on what it is that will truly bring us happiness, and then reset our priorities on the basis of that. This can put our life back in proper context, allow a fresh perspective, and enable us to see which direction to take.
Dalai Lama XIV (The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living)
Doctor." Gideon set one ankle on the opposite knee and settled back, creating a picture of unyielding decisiveness. "The only way I'm keeping my hands off her is if I'm dead. Find another way to fix us." Chapter 3 pg 50
Sylvia Day (Reflected in You (Crossfire, #2))
They seemed no closer to the tops of the peaks that rose before them. It was only by looking back, to the forest far below, that she knew they'd climbed.
Kristin Cashore (Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1))
In the modern industrialized Western world, where I come from, the person whom you choose to marry is perhaps the single most vivid representation of your own personality. Your spouse becomes the most gleaming possible mirror through which your emotional individualism is reflected back to the world. There is no choice more intensely personal after all, than whom you choose to marry; that choice tells us, to a large extent, who you are.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage)
I smiled at the stacks, inhaling again. Hundreds of thousands of pages that had never been turned, waiting for me. The shelves were a warm, blond wood, piled with spines of every color. Staff picks were arranged on tables, glossy covers reflecting the light back at me. Behind the little cubby where the cashier sat, ignoring us, stairs covered with rich burgundy carpet led up to the worlds unknown. 'I could just live here,' I said.
Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1))
Upon meeting Julian Morrow, one has the impression that he is a man of extraordinary sympathy and warmth. But what you call his 'Asiatic serenity' is, I think, a mask for great coldness. The face one shows him he invariably reflects back at one, creating the illusion of warmth and depth when in fact he is brittle and shallow as a mirror.
Donna Tartt
My reflection followed me mercilessly in mirrors, car doors, shop windows. I lived in a world of circus mirrors, the grotesque distortion of my body looking back at me everywhere.
Bethany Pierce (Feeling for Bones)
I was only then, when I knew I was alone, at least for the moment, that I reached under my gown into the pocket of my dress. As I pulled out my key from the yellow house, which I'd kept on my bureau since the day Nate left, I traced the shape one last time before folding my hand tightly around it. Behind me, Cora was calling again. My family was waiting. Looking down at the pond, all I could think was that it is an incredible thing, how a whole world can rise from what seems like nothing at all. I stepped closer to the edge, keeping my eyes on my reflection as I dropped the key into the water, where it landed with a splash. At first, the fish darted away, but as it began to sink they circled back, gathering around. Together, they followed it down, down until it was gone.<3
Sarah Dessen (Lock and Key)
Since childhood, I’d believed it was important to speak out against bullies while also not stooping to their level. And to be clear, we were now up against a bully, a man who among other things demeaned minorities and expressed contempt for prisoners of war, challenging the dignity of our country with practically his every utterance. I wanted Americans to understand that words matter—that the hateful language they heard coming from their TVs did not reflect the true spirit of our country and that we could vote against it. It was dignity I wanted to make an appeal for—the idea that as a nation we might hold on to the core thing that had sustained my family, going back generations. Dignity had always gotten us through. It was a choice, and not always the easy one, but the people I respected most in life made it again and again, every single day. There was a motto Barack and I tried to live by, and I offered it that night from the stage: When they go low, we go high.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
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)
Since prejudices are shallow or false judgments, infiltrating our mind in the absence of dynamic reflection, we have got to coach ourselves to prevent intense emotional discomfort or irreparable harm. ("The day the mirror was talking back")
Erik Pevernagie
Hit the bottom and get back up; or hit the bottle and stay down.
Anthony Liccione
Bulgaria, I reflected as I walked back to the hotel, isn’t a country; it’s a near-death experience.
Bill Bryson (Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe)
Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created or recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of a larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books.
Rudine Sims Bishop
Reflect your thoughts and watch others mirror them back to you.
Stephen Richards
The voice fell low, sank into her breast and stretched the tight bodice over her heart as she came up close. He felt the young lips, her body sighing in relief against the arm growing stronger to hold her. There were now no more plans than if Dick had arbitrarily made some indissoluble mixture, with atoms joined and inseparable; you could throw it all out but never again could they fit back into atomic scale. As he held her and tasted her, and as she curved in further and further toward him, with her own lips, new to herself, drowned and engulfed in love, yet solaced and triumphant, he was thankful to have an existence at all, if only as a reflection in her wet eyes.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (Tender is the Night)
I growl with frustration at my reflection in the mirror. My hair is fifty shades messed up. Why is it so kinky and out of control? I need to stop sleeping with it wet. As I brush my long brown hair, the girl in the mirror with the brown eyes too big for her head stares back at me. Wait... my eyes are blue! It dawns on me that I've been staring at a poster of Kristen Stewart for five minutes. My own hair is fine.
Fanny Merkin (Fifty Shames of Earl Grey)
What are you doing?" he breathed. "You're going around, stirring up everything." "I've got time on my hands," I shot back, just as breathless, "since I dumped my asshat boyfriend." He growled, fiercely passionate, his hand in my hair pulling so tightly it pained me. "You can't make this up with a kiss or a f*ck, Gideon. Not this time." Gideon & Eva
Sylvia Day (Reflected in You (Crossfire, #2))
Over your body the clouds go High, high and icily And a little flat, as if they Floated on a glass that was invisible. Unlike swans, Having no reflections; Unlike you, With no strings attached. All cool, all blue. Unlike you You, there on your back, Eyes to the sky.
Sylvia Plath (Ariel)
The world is a looking glass and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face.
William Makepeace Thackeray
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)
Summoning gratitude is a sure way to get our life back on track. Opening our eyes to affirm gratitude grows the garden of our inner abundance, just as standing close to a fire eventually warms our heart.
Alexandra Katehakis (Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence)
I had to bite back a laugh. "Cary Taylor. Loving you isn't a character defect." Chapter 12, pg 213
Sylvia Day (Reflected in You (Crossfire, #2))
Every moment is precious, even the ones behind me that I often reflect upon with a reserved smile. However…I seldom look back, only forward in anticipation of the next greater now.
Carl Henegan (Darkness Left Undone)
In a traditional German toilet, the hole into which shit disappears after we flush is right at the front, so that shit is first laid out for us to sniff and inspect for traces of illness. In the typical French toilet, on the contrary, the hole is at the back, i.e. shit is supposed to disappear as quickly as possible. Finally, the American (Anglo-Saxon) toilet presents a synthesis, a mediation between these opposites: the toilet basin is full of water, so that the shit floats in it, visible, but not to be inspected. [...] It is clear that none of these versions can be accounted for in purely utilitarian terms: each involves a certain ideological perception of how the subject should relate to excrement. Hegel was among the first to see in the geographical triad of Germany, France and England an expression of three different existential attitudes: reflective thoroughness (German), revolutionary hastiness (French), utilitarian pragmatism (English). In political terms, this triad can be read as German conservatism, French revolutionary radicalism and English liberalism. [...] The point about toilets is that they enable us not only to discern this triad in the most intimate domain, but also to identify its underlying mechanism in the three different attitudes towards excremental excess: an ambiguous contemplative fascination; a wish to get rid of it as fast as possible; a pragmatic decision to treat it as ordinary and dispose of it in an appropriate way. It is easy for an academic at a round table to claim that we live in a post-ideological universe, but the moment he visits the lavatory after the heated discussion, he is again knee-deep in ideology.
Slavoj Žižek (The Plague of Fantasies)
Days I enjoy are days when nothing happens, When I have no engagements written on my block, When no one comes to disturb my inward peace, When no one comes to take me away from myself And turn me into a patchwork, a jig-saw puzzle, A broken mirror that once gave a whole reflection, Being so contrived that it takes too long a time To get myself back to myself when they have gone.
Vita Sackville-West
The wolf exerts a powerful influence on the human imagination. It takes your stare and turns it back on you
Barry Lopez (Of Wolves and Men)
The world is a looking glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face.
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
Rin slept inside the oak’s thought. Its own memories of weather and growth continued to hum, and like a pond, its stillness reflected back herself.
Shannon Hale (Forest Born (The Books of Bayern, #4))
Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me. At a certain moment in his life,the idea came to him of what he called 'the love of your fate.' Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, 'This is what I need.' It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment--not discouragement--you will find the strength is there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see that this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.
Joseph Campbell (A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living)
Yet, at the same time, as the Eastern sages also knew, man is a worm and food for worms. This is the paradox: he is out of nature and hopelessly in it; he is dual, up in the stars and yet housed in a heart-pumping, breath-gasping body that once belonged to a fish and still carries the gill-marks to prove it. His body is a material fleshy casing that is alien to him in many ways—the strangest and most repugnant way being that it aches and bleeds and will decay and die. Man is literally split in two: he has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet he goes back into the ground a few feet in order to blindly and dumbly rot and disappear forever. It is a terrifying dilemma to be in and to have to live with. The lower animals are, of course, spared this painful contradiction, as they lack a symbolic identity and the self-consciousness that goes with it. They merely act and move reflexively as they are driven by their instincts. If they pause at all, it is only a physical pause; inside they are anonymous, and even their faces have no name. They live in a world without time, pulsating, as it were, in a state of dumb being. This is what has made it so simple to shoot down whole herds of buffalo or elephants. The animals don't know that death is happening and continue grazing placidly while others drop alongside them. The knowledge of death is reflective and conceptual, and animals are spared it. They live and they disappear with the same thoughtlessness: a few minutes of fear, a few seconds of anguish, and it is over. But to live a whole lifetime with the fate of death haunting one's dreams and even the most sun-filled days—that's something else.
Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)
...the first thing you do at the end is reflect on the beginning. Maybe it's some form of reverse closure, or just the basic human impulse toward sentimentality, or masochism, but as you stand there shell-shocked in the charred ruins of your life, your mind will invariably go back to the time when it all started. And even if you didn't fall in love in the eighties, in your mind it will fee like the eighties, all innocent and airbrushed, with bright colors and shoulder pads and Pat Benatar or The Cure on the soundtrack.
Jonathan Tropper (This is Where I Leave You)
The world rushes through us. We are peaceful. We are as deep and black as space. Staring up at the stars, we see only our own image reflected back at us. We are infinite and we are ravenous.
Bennett Madison (September Girls)
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)
The physical body is an agent of the spirit and its mirror. It is an engine and a reflection of the spirit. It is the spirit's ingenious memorandum to itself and the spirit sees itself in my body, just as I see my own face in a looking glass. My nerves reflect this. The earth is literally a mirror of thoughts. Objects themselves are embodied thoughts. Death is the dark backing that a mirror needs if we are to see anything.
Saul Bellow (Humboldt's Gift)
At any given point you can release your greatest self. Don’t let anyone hold you back. Don’t let anyone dilute you. Don’t be peer pressured into being less than you are. People willing to dilute themselves for the sake of others is one of the great tragedies of our time. Stop letting others define and set the pace for your life. Get out there and be your best. Do your best. Live your best. Make every day count and you’ll see how exponentially more exciting, thrilling, successful, happy and full your life will be.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
Morley joined them, and after a long, uncomfortable moment, Mrs. Grant decided to ignore his presence. The guards didn’t. Their knuckles were white on their weapons. May I assist?” he asked, and put his hands behind his back. “I promise not to eat anyone.” Very funny,” Mrs. Grant said. Morley gave her a grave look. I wasn’t joking, dear lady,” he said. “I do promise. And I never make a promise I don’t intend to keep. You should feel quite secure.” Well, I’m sorry, I don’t,” she said. “You’re just—” Too overwhelmingly dashing and attractive?” Morley grinned. “A common problem women face with me. It’ll pass. You seem like the no-nonsense sort. I like that.” Claire smiled at the look on Mrs. Grant’s face, reflected in the white LED light of the lantern she was holding. You are really—odd,” the older woman said, as if she couldn’t quite believe she was even having the conversation.
Rachel Caine (Kiss of Death (The Morganville Vampires, #8))
I take one last look at my reflection in the mirror. Ashes already flake down over my cheeks and nose, marking me. The red stain I used on my lips looks like fresh blood. Underneath, I see bits and pieces of my mother staring back at me, but twisted with hate and fury my mother never needed to know. I'm not sorry for it. I am angry. I am hungry. And I promise myself that one day I will watch them all burn.
Laura Sebastian (Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy, #1))
We start out in identical perfection: bright, reflective, full of sun. The accident of our lives bruises us into dirty individuality. We meet with grief. Our character dulls and tarnishes. We meet with guilt. We know, we know: the price of living is corruption. There isn’t as much light as there once was. In the grave we lapse back into undifferentiated sameness
Gregory Maguire (A Lion Among Men (The Wicked Years, #3))
Patch's eyes grazed me with silent heat. My reflection swirled in them, red hair and lips aflame. I was connected to him by a force I couldn't control, a tiny thread that tethered my soul to his. With the moon at his back, shadows painted the faint hollows beneath his eyes and cheekbones, making him look breathtakingly handsome and equally diabolical. His hands steadied my face, holding me still before him. The wind tangled my hair around his wrists, twining us together. His thumbs moved across my cheekbones in a slow, intimate caress. Despite the cold, a steady burn coiled up inside me, vulnerable to his touch. His fingers traced lower, lower, leaving behind a hot, delicious ache. I closed my eyes, my joints melting. He lit me up like a flame, light and heat burning at a depth I'd never fathomed. His thumb stroked my lip, a soft, seductive tease. I gave a sharp sigh of pleasure. "Kiss you now?" he asked. I couldn't speak; a wilted no was my reply. His mouth, hot and daring, met mine. All play had left him, and he kissed me with his own black fire, deep and possessive, consuming my body, my soul, and laying waste to all past notions of what it meant to be kissed.
Becca Fitzpatrick (Finale (Hush, Hush, #4))
Reed’s face inches closer to mine on the pillow as he says, “Let me try to explain something to you, Evie. All of these years that I have been here, it is as if I have been sleeping. I have to always pretend to be something that I am not—pretend to be human. When I am not pretending to be human, then I am hunting evil, vicious angels who want nothing more than to…” his voice trails off and there is hollowness in his tone that reflects the loneliness of his existence. “But now, I am awake, for the first time in my existence, and not only am I awake, but I feel flames when you are near me. You have changed things for me. There is no reason to pretend around you. If I had to live without you now…now that I know what I have been missing…” The need in his voice makes me want to promise him anything, give him anything, just to fill that void in him. “I cannot go back to sleep, Evie. You are the only thing that makes me want to live. If you leave here, if you ascend to Paradise, or even if you are cast into the abyss, or taken there by the Fallen…I will have to follow you, no matter where you go. Even if I have to pursue you into the dark…if you cease to be, then so will I. You are my sin and my redemption.
Amy A. Bartol (Inescapable (The Premonition, #1))
You can't see yourself. You know what you look like because of mirrors and photographs, but out there in the world, as you move among your fellow human beings, whether strangers or friends or the most intimate beloveds, your own face is invisible to you. You can see other parts of yourself, arms and legs, hands and feet, shoulders and torso, but only from the front, nothing of the back except the backs of your legs if you twist them into the right position, but not your face, never your face, and in the end - at least as far as others are concerned - your face is who you are, the essential fact of your identity. Passports do not contain pictures of hands and feet. Even you, who have lived inside your body for sixty-four years now, would probably be unable to recognize your foot in an isolated photograph of that foot, not to speak of your ear, or your elbow, or one of your eyes in close-up. All so familiar to you in the context of the whole, but utterly anonymous when taken piece by piece. We are all aliens to ourselves, and if we have any sense of who we are, it is only because we live inside the eyes of others.
Paul Auster (Winter Journal)
The best change you can make is to hold up a mirror so that people can look into it and change themselves. That's the only way a person can be changed." By looking into yourself," Zia said. "Even if you have to look into a mirror that's outside yourself to do it." "And you know," Maida added. "That mirror can be a story you hear, or just someone else's eyes. Anything that reflects back so you can see yourself in it.
Charles de Lint (Someplace to Be Flying (Newford, #5))
Even after the stormiest weather, a true warrior will still reflect the brilliant rays of the magnificent sun through both his or her eyes. You may get hit by sudden lighting or take severe beatings from the cruel wind, but you will always get back up and stand strong on your feet again, soak in the sunlight, and be prepared to get hit by even the most merciless hail - time and time again.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
The true test of a warrior is how your 'stance' holds up after any 'circumstance'. Meaning, even after the stormiest weather, a true warrior will still reflect the brilliant rays of the magnificent sun through both his or her eyes. You may get hit by sudden lightning or take severe beatings from the cruel wind, but you will always get back up and stand strong on your feet again, soak in the sunlight, and be prepared to get hit by even the most merciless hail - time and time again.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
I think this is one bad side of a mirror; it helps us to see the reflection of the effects of our own actions on ourselves. We smile and it smiles back to us, we frown and it frowns to us. How I wish it shows us the reflections of the effects of our actions on other people as well so that we will be conscious!
Israelmore Ayivor
All the idylls of youth: beauty manifest in lakes, mountains, people; richness in experience, conversation, friendships. Nights during a full moon, the light flooded the wilderness, so it was possible to hike without a headlamp. We would hit the trail at two A.M., summiting the nearest peak, Mount Tallac, just before sunrise, the clear, starry night reflected in the flat, still lakes spread below us. Snuggled together in sleeping bags at the peak, nearly ten thousand feet up, we weathered frigid blasts of wind with coffee someone had been thoughtful enough to bring. And then we would sit and watch as the first hint of sunlight, a light tinge of day blue, would leak out of the eastern horizon, slowly erasing the stars. The day sky would spread wide and high, until the first ray of the sun made an appearance. The morning commuters began to animate the distant South Lake Tahoe roads. But craning your head back, you could see the day’s blue darken halfway across the sky, and to the west, the night remained yet unconquered—pitch-black, stars in full glimmer, the full moon still pinned in the sky. To the east, the full light of day beamed toward you; to the west, night reigned with no hint of surrender. No philosopher can explain the sublime better than this, standing between day and night. It was as if this were the moment God said, “Let there be light!” You could not help but feel your specklike existence against the immensity of the mountain, the earth, the universe, and yet still feel your own two feet on the talus, reaffirming your presence amid the grandeur.
Paul Kalanithi (When Breath Becomes Air)
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)
You know what that reflects? Unsatisfied lives. Unfulfilled lives. Lives that haven't found meaning. Because if you've found meaning in your life, you don't want to go back. You want to go forward. You want to see more, do more. You can't wait until sixty-five.
Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie)
Looking back, it is also the smallest moments that seem to radiate the most pain. The moments when you realize you loved these people, helplessly, that you were given no choice in this matter of loving them, and that they will always be part of you no matter how you try to carve them out of your flesh. That you are tied to them with bonds you could never sever, that they will live on inside you no matter how many effigies of them you hang and burn, no matter how often their reflections appear in the eyes of other men and women, men and women who then unwittingly play the roles of father and mother, with whom you act out the drama again and again.
Evelyn Lau (Inside Out: Reflections on a Life So Far)
There are things I need to ask her. Not what happened, back then in the time I lost, because now I know that. I need to ask her why. If she remembers. Perhaps she’s forgotten the bad things, what she said to me, what she did. Or she does remember them, but in a minor way, as if remembering a game, or a single prank, a single trivial secret, of the kind girls tell and then forget. She will have her own version. I am not the centre of her story, because she herself is that. But I could give her something you can never have, except from another person: what you look like from outside. A reflection. This is part of herself I could give back to her. We are like the twins in old fables, each of whom has been given half a key.
Margaret Atwood (Cat's Eye)
Have you ever happened, reader, to feel that subtle sorrow of parting with an unloved abode? The heart does not break, as it does in parting with dear objects. The humid gaze does not wander around holding back a tear, as if it wished to carry away in it a trembling reflection of the abandoned spot; but in the best corner of our hearts we feel pity for the things which we did not bring to life with our breath, which we hardly noticed and are now leaving forever. This already dead iventory will not be resurrected in one's memory..
Vladimir Nabokov (The Gift)
Let us not, in the pride of our superior knowledge, turn with contempt from the follies of our predecessors. The study of the errors into which great minds have fallen in the pursuit of truth can never be uninstructive. As the man looks back to the days of his childhood and his youth, and recalls to his mind the strange notions and false opinions that swayed his actions at the time, that he may wonder at them; so should society, for its edification, look back to the opinions which governed ages that fled.
Charles Mackay (Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds)
Olson sat up. He put his hands against his belly and stared calmly at the poised soldiers on the deck of the squat vehicle. the soldiers stared back. 'You bastards!' McVries sobbed. 'You bloody bastards!' Olson began to get up. Another volley of bullets drove him flat again. Now there was a sound from behind Garraty. He didn't have to turn his head to know it was Stebbins. Stebbins was laughing softly. Olson sat up again. The guns were still trained on him, but the soldiers did not shoot. Their silhouettes on the halftrack seemed almost to indicate curiosity. Slowly, reflectively, Olson gained his feet, hands crossed on his belly. He seemed to sniff the air for direction, turned slowly in the direction of the Walk, and began to stagger along.
Richard Bachman
I recheck my inbox. Everything’s up to date. I check the clock. Three fifteen P.M. I check my lipstick in the reflection of the shiny wall tile near my computer monitor. I check Joshua, who is glowering at me with contempt. I stare back. Now we are playing the Staring Game. I should mention that the ultimate aim of all our games is to make the other smile, or cry. It’s something like that. I’ll know when I win.
Sally Thorne (The Hating Game)
Now, as I look back on my life, I can honestly say I wouldn't change it. The pain and suffering have brought me psychological understanding and spiritual strength. I still feel the pain when I reflect on those experiences, but while once they would throw me deeper and deeper into anxious despair, now they feed my desire to keep growing. (3)
Marie Balter (Nobody's Child)
I walked away at a good pace, thinking it was easier to go than I had supposed it would be, and reflecting that it would never have done to have an old shoe thrown after the coach, in sight of all the High Street. I whistled and made nothing of going. But the village was very peaceful and quiet, and the light mists were solemnly rising, as if to show me the world, and I had been so innocent and little there, and all beyond was so unknown and great, that in a moment with a strong heave and sob I broke into tears. We changed again, and yet again, and it was now too late and too far to go back, and I went on. And the mists had all solemnly risen now, and the world lay spread before me.
Charles Dickens (Great Expectations)
Staying on the treadmill is one thing, and I do think it’s related to staying true to our commitments even when we’re not comfortable. But getting back on the treadmill the next day, eager to try again, is in my view even more reflective of grit. Because when you don’t come back the next day—when you permanently turn your back on a commitment—your effort plummets to zero. As a consequence, your skills stop improving, and at the same time, you stop producing anything with whatever skills you have.
Angela Duckworth (Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance)
The sick in mind, and, perhaps, in body, are rendered more darkly and hopelessly so by the manifold reflection of their disease, mirrored back from all quarters in the deportment of those about them; they are compelled to inhale the poison of their own breath, in infinite repetition.
Nathaniel Hawthorne (The House of the Seven Gables)
Almost universally, when people look back on their lives while on their deathbed [...] they wish they had spent more time with the people and activities they truly loved and less time worrying about aspects of life that, upon deeper examination, really don't matter at all that much. Imagining yourself at your own funeral allows you to look back at your life while you still have the chance to make some important changes.
Richard Carlson (Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... and It's All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things From Taking Over Your Life)
Gulls wheel through spokes of sunlight over gracious roofs and dowdy thatch, snatching entrails at the marketplace and escaping over cloistered gardens, spike topped walls and treble-bolted doors. Gulls alight on whitewashed gables, creaking pagodas and dung-ripe stables; circle over towers and cavernous bells and over hidden squares where urns of urine sit by covered wells, watched by mule-drivers, mules and wolf-snouted dogs, ignored by hunch-backed makers of clogs; gather speed up the stoned-in Nakashima River and fly beneath the arches of its bridges, glimpsed form kitchen doors, watched by farmers walking high, stony ridges. Gulls fly through clouds of steam from laundries' vats; over kites unthreading corpses of cats; over scholars glimpsing truth in fragile patterns; over bath-house adulterers, heartbroken slatterns; fishwives dismembering lobsters and crabs; their husbands gutting mackerel on slabs; woodcutters' sons sharpening axes; candle-makers, rolling waxes; flint-eyed officials milking taxes; etiolated lacquerers; mottle-skinned dyers; imprecise soothsayers; unblinking liars; weavers of mats; cutters of rushes; ink-lipped calligraphers dipping brushes; booksellers ruined by unsold books; ladies-in-waiting; tasters; dressers; filching page-boys; runny-nosed cooks; sunless attic nooks where seamstresses prick calloused fingers; limping malingerers; swineherds; swindlers; lip-chewed debtors rich in excuses; heard-it-all creditors tightening nooses; prisoners haunted by happier lives and ageing rakes by other men's wives; skeletal tutors goaded to fits; firemen-turned-looters when occasion permits; tongue-tied witnesses; purchased judges; mothers-in-law nurturing briars and grudges; apothecaries grinding powders with mortars; palanquins carrying not-yet-wed daughters; silent nuns; nine-year-old whores; the once-were-beautiful gnawed by sores; statues of Jizo anointed with posies; syphilitics sneezing through rotted-off noses; potters; barbers; hawkers of oil; tanners; cutlers; carters of night-soil; gate-keepers; bee-keepers; blacksmiths and drapers; torturers; wet-nurses; perjurers; cut-purses; the newborn; the growing; the strong-willed and pliant; the ailing; the dying; the weak and defiant; over the roof of a painter withdrawn first from the world, then his family, and down into a masterpiece that has, in the end, withdrawn from its creator; and around again, where their flight began, over the balcony of the Room of Last Chrysanthemum, where a puddle from last night's rain is evaporating; a puddle in which Magistrate Shiroyama observes the blurred reflections of gulls wheeling through spokes of sunlight. This world, he thinks, contains just one masterpiece, and that is itself.
David Mitchell (The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet)
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 was forced to fall back upon the unsatisfactory conclusion, that while, beyond doubt, there are combinations of very simple natural objects which have the power of thus affecting us, still the analysis of this power lies among considerations beyond our depth. It was possible, I reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression.
Edgar Allan Poe (The Fall of the House of Usher)
The loved object is simply one that has shared an experience at the same moment of time, narcissistically; and the desire to be near the beloved object is at first not due to the idea of possessing it, but simply to let the two experiences compare themselves, like reflections in different mirrors. All this may precede the first look, kiss, or touch; precede ambition, pride, or envy; precede the first declarations which mark the turning point—for from here love degenerates into habit, possession, and back to loneliness.
Lawrence Durrell (Justine (The Alexandria Quartet #1))
Cold as winter, strong as stone; She faced the darkness all alone. A silver goddess; a reflection. A mirage; a recollection. No return; no turning back. The past is gone, the future, black. Serpents gather in their nest, And she stands above the rest. Shadows hunt; she hunts the shadow. The moon is risen; she stands below. She views her world through the eyes of others. Black and white; there are no colors, As she looks down upon a shattered youth. A shattered mirror shows a shattered truth.
Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
It all comes back. Perhaps it is difficult to see the value in having one's self back in that kind of mood, but I do see it; I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind's door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were. I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be; one of them, a seventeen-year-old, presents little threat, although it would be of some interest to me to know again what it feels like to sit on a river levee drinking vodka-and-orange-juice and listening to Les Paul and Mary Ford and their echoes sing "How High the Moon" on the car radio. (You see I still have the scenes, but I no longer perceive myself among those present, no longer could ever improvise the dialogue.) The other one, a twenty-three-year-old, bothers me more. She was always a good deal of trouble, and I suspect she will reappear when I least want to see her, skirts too long, shy to the point of aggravation, always the injured party, full of recriminations and little hurts and stories I do not want to hear again, at once saddening me and angering me with her vulnerability and ignorance, an apparition all the more insistent for being so long banished. It is a good idea, then, to keep in touch, and I suppose that keeping in touch is what notebooks are all about. And we are all on our own when it comes to keeping those lines open to ourselves: your notebook will never help me, nor mine you.
Joan Didion (Slouching Towards Bethlehem)
And sometimes, just sometimes, out of every hundred; you are shinning on the inside. Sometimes sometimes, on the same day, universe decides to reflect you on the outside, it decides to shine too ,So you put a smile on your face, take a walk and watch it sharing your happiness, sharing your light ,breath it all in, take your boost and let the world lift you up till you actually believe that it has your back ,take the gift and take your credit, even if it's not your wings, cause this universe only reflects back, it gifts back, it's fair but it isn't an initiator. And maybe, just maybe if you believe in it, it will believe in you too, maybe then when it's raining on you, when it's too dark, when rock bottom gives you a concussion, you will look up with faith, and out of all the things showering on your head, you will find your favorite one, you will be gifted with stars, ones that can reflect on your inside, ones that can light you up back
Mennah al Refaey
I hate sour cream and onion Pringles," I told the dashboard where I had my feet planted until Ruth pushed them down. "But you love Pringles," Ruth actually rattled the canister. "I hate sour cream and onion anything. All lesbians do." I blew heaps of bubbles into my milk with the tiny straw that came cellophaned to the carton. "I want you to stop using that word," Ruth jammed the lid back onto the can. "Which word? Sour or cream?" I plastic laughed with my reflection in the passenger-side window.
Emily M. Danforth (The Miseducation of Cameron Post)
It is always the first and last steps that are the hardest to take. We walk away and try not to turn back, or we stand just outside the gates, terrified to find what's waiting for us now that we've returned. In between, we stumble blindly from one place and life to the next. We try to do the best we can. There are moments like this, however, when we are neither coming nor going, and all we have to do is sit and look back on the life we have made.
Dinaw Mengestu
<…>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))
All the world used her ill, said this young misanthropist, ... and we may be pretty certain that persons whom all the world treats ill, deserve entirely the treatment they get. The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face. Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind companion; and so let all young persons take their choice.
William Makepeace Thackeray (Vanity Fair)
The books were legends and tales, stories from all over the Realm. These she had devoured voraciously – so voraciously, in fact, that she started to become fatigued by them. It was possible to have too much of a good thing, she reflected. “They’re all the same,” she complained to Fleet one night. “The soldier rescues the maiden and they fall in love. The fool outwits the wicked king. There are always three brothers or sisters, and it’s always the youngest who succeeds after the first two fail. Always be kind to beggars, for they always have a secret; never trust a unicorn. If you answer somebody’s riddle they always either kill themselves or have to do what you say. They’re all the same, and they’re all ridiculous! That isn’t what life is like!” Fleet had nodded sagely and puffed on his hookah. “Well, of course that’s not what life is like. Except the bit about unicorns – they’ll eat your guts as soon as look at you. those things in there” – he tapped the book she was carrying – “they’re simple stories. Real life is a story, too, only much more complicated. It’s still got a beginning, a middle, and an end. Everyone follows the same rules, you know. . . It’s just that there are more of them. Everyone has chapters and cliffhangers. Everyone has their journey to make. Some go far and wide and come back empty-handed; some don’t go anywhere and their journey makes them richest of all. Some tales have a moral and some don’t make any sense. Some will make you laugh, others make you cry. The world is a library, young Poison, and you’ll never get to read the same book twice.
Chris Wooding (Poison)
On the back part of the step, toward the right, I saw a small iridescent sphere of almost unbearable brilliance. At first I thought it was revolving; then I realised that this movement was an illusion created by the dizzying world it bounded. The Aleph's diameter was probably little more than an inch, but all space was there, actual and undiminished. Each thing (a mirror's face, let us say) was infinite things, since I distinctly saw it from every angle of the universe. I saw the teeming sea; I saw daybreak and nightfall; I saw the multitudes of America; I saw a silvery cobweb in the center of a black pyramid; I saw a splintered labyrinth (it was London); I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me; I saw in a backyard of Soler Street the same tiles that thirty years before I'd seen in the entrance of a house in Fray Bentos; I saw bunches of grapes, snow, tobacco, lodes of metal, steam; I saw convex equatorial deserts and each one of their grains of sand; I saw a woman in Inverness whom I shall never forget; I saw her tangled hair, her tall figure, I saw the cancer in her breast; I saw a ring of baked mud in a sidewalk, where before there had been a tree; I saw a summer house in Adrogué and a copy of the first English translation of Pliny -- Philemon Holland's -- and all at the same time saw each letter on each page (as a boy, I used to marvel that the letters in a closed book did not get scrambled and lost overnight); I saw a sunset in Querétaro that seemed to reflect the colour of a rose in Bengal; I saw my empty bedroom; I saw in a closet in Alkmaar a terrestrial globe between two mirrors that multiplied it endlessly; I saw horses with flowing manes on a shore of the Caspian Sea at dawn; I saw the delicate bone structure of a hand; I saw the survivors of a battle sending out picture postcards; I saw in a showcase in Mirzapur a pack of Spanish playing cards; I saw the slanting shadows of ferns on a greenhouse floor; I saw tigers, pistons, bison, tides, and armies; I saw all the ants on the planet; I saw a Persian astrolabe; I saw in the drawer of a writing table (and the handwriting made me tremble) unbelievable, obscene, detailed letters, which Beatriz had written to Carlos Argentino; I saw a monument I worshipped in the Chacarita cemetery; I saw the rotted dust and bones that had once deliciously been Beatriz Viterbo; I saw the circulation of my own dark blood; I saw the coupling of love and the modification of death; I saw the Aleph from every point and angle, and in the Aleph I saw the earth and in the earth the Aleph and in the Aleph the earth; I saw my own face and my own bowels; I saw your face; and I felt dizzy and wept, for my eyes had seen that secret and conjectured object whose name is common to all men but which no man has looked upon -- the unimaginable universe. I felt infinite wonder, infinite pity.
Jorge Luis Borges
He looked down at himself and laughed softly. ‘‘My dark side dresses better than I do.’’ He stood up and reached for clothes folded neatly on a table to the side as he loosened the tie on his robe. He hesitated, smiled, and raised his eyebrows. ‘‘If you don’t mind, Claire . . . ?’’ ‘‘Oh. Sorry.’’ Claire turned her back. She didn’t like turning her back on him, even with the cell door locked. He was better behaved when he knew she was watching. She focused on the faint, distorted image of his reflection on the TV screen as he shed the dressing gown and began to pull on his clothing. She couldn’t see much, except that he was very pale all over. Once she was sure his pants were up, she glanced behind her. He had his back to her, and she couldn’t help but compare him with the only other man she’d really studied half-naked. Shane was broad, strong, solid. Myrnin looked fragile, but his muscles moved like cables under that pale skin—far stronger than Shane’s, she knew. Myrnin turned as he buttoned his shirt. ‘‘It’s been a while since a pretty girl looked at me with such interest,’’ he said. She looked away, feeling the blush work its heat up through her neck and onto her cheeks. ‘‘It’s all right, Claire. I’m not offended.
Rachel Caine (Feast of Fools (The Morganville Vampires, #4))
You told me once, long ago, to look into a mirror and see your face. I refused to then. But now Mnimi has forced me to look at my own reflection. I’ve seen it through my eyes and I’ve seen it through yours. I wish to the gods that I could change what happened between us. If I could go back, I would never deny you. But I can’t. We both know that. Now I just want the chance to know you as I should have known you all those centuries ago. (Styxx)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Second Chances (Dark-Hunter #7.5))
Slowly, Finley rose from the sofa, tilted her head back and looked him dead in the eye. “I have no desire to be any more in your debt than I already am.” He looked thoughtful for a moment. “Would it make you more comfortable if I demanded something in return? Would that put you at ease?” When he put it like that, it made her sound like an awful sort of person for thinking the worst. “It would, yes. At least that would be honest.” It might have been laughter that came scoffing from his throat, but there was little humor in it. He shook his head, the light reflecting glints of russet in his hair. “I’d like to meet whomever it was who made you so distrusting and pull his teeth out one by one.” The vehemence in his tone startled her, yet was strangely warming. “’Twas more than just one.” His face darkened, like clouds overtaking the sun. Suddenly, this was no longer just some seemingly kind, bored aristocrat standing before her, but a young man capable of many dangerous things.
Kady Cross (The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles, #1))
In the rearview mirror, he caught Blue’s eyes by accident. Strangely enough, he saw his own thoughts reflected in her face: excitement and consternation. Casually, out of view of Ronan, making sure Adam was still sleeping, Gansey dangled his hand between the driver’s seat and the door. Palm up, fingers stretched back to Blue. This was not allowed. He knew it was not allowed, by rules he himself had set. He would not permit himself to play favorites between Adam and Ronan; he and Blue couldn’t play favorites in this way, either. She would not see the gesture, anyway. She would ignore it if she did. His heart hummed. Blue touched his fingertips. Just this — He pinched her fingers lightly, just for a moment, and then he withdrew his hand and put it back on the wheel. His chest felt warm. This was not allowed. Ronan had not seen; Adam was still sleeping. The only casualty was his pulse. “Your exit, dick!” Ronan snapped. Or Dick. It could have been either, really. Gansey steered in a hurry. Adam blinked awake. Ronan swore. Gansey’s heart restarted. Eyes on the road, Gansey.
Maggie Stiefvater (Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3))
You guys know about vampires? . . . You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist?” And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it.
Issa Rae (The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl)
Many people experience the travesty of regret in their end days; the realization that nothing held them back, that nothing was in their way, that there is no one to blame, only themselves. Don't just sit by waiting for your life to happen, make it happen! Don’t just hope your dreams will come alive, breathe life into them! Don't let your fear help you birth a well-nourished regret, take action today! At the end of the day, at the end of the year, at the end of your life, live in such a manner that you can hold your head up high, smile, and be proud of a life well lived.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
He handed me a bandana. "Tie that on." "Why?" I said, but I did it anyway. "Norman, you are way too into ceremony." "It's important." I could hear him moving around, adjusting things, before he came to sit beside me. "Okay," he said. "Take a look." I pulled off the blindfold. Beside me, Norman watched me see myself for the first time. And it was me. At least, it was a girl who looked like me. She was sitting on the back stoop of the restaurant, legs crossed and dangling down. She had her head slightly tilted, as if she had been asked something and was waiting for the right moment to respond, smiling slightly behind the sunglasses that were perched on her nose, barely reflecting part of a blue sky. The girl was something else, though. Something I hadn't expected. She was beautiful. Not in the cookie-cutter way of all the faces encircling Isabel's mirror. And not in the easy, almost effortless style of a girl like Caroline Dawes. This girl who stared back at me, with her lip ring and her half smile - not quite earned - knew she wasn't like the others. She knew the secret. And she'd clicked her heels three times to find her way home. "Oh, my God," I said to Norman, reaching forward to touch the painting, which still didn't seem real. My own face, bumpy and textured beneath my fingers, stared back at me. "Is this how you see me?" "Colie." He was right beside me. "That's how you are.
Sarah Dessen (Keeping the Moon)
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)
This is the man who thinks too much, who stands back from his life and never lives it. He is caught in a web of pros and cons about his decisions and lost in a labyrinth of reflective meanderings from which he cannot extricate himself. He is afraid to live, to ‘leap into battle.’ He can only sit on his rock and think. The years pass. He wonders where the time has gone. And he ends by regretting a life of sterility. He is a voyeur, an armchair adventurer. In the world of academia, he is a hairsplitter. In the fear of making the wrong decision, he makes none. In his fear of living, he also cannot participate in the joy and pleasure that other people experience in their lived lives. If he is withholding from others, and not sharing what he knows, he eventually feels isolated and lonely. To the extent that he has hurt others with his knowledge and technology—in whatever field and in whatever way—by cutting himself off from living relatedness with other human beings, he has cut off his own soul.” Refering the the dark magician energy.
Robert L. Moore (King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine)
It felt like being shot with an arrow, and Will jerked back. His wineglass crashed to the floor and shattered. He lurched to his feet, leaning both hands on the table. He was vaguely aware of stares, and the landlords anxious voice in his ear, but the pain was too great to think through, almost too great to breathe through. The tightness in his chest, the one he had thought of as one end of a cord tying him to Jem, had pulled so taut that it was strangling his heart. He stumbled away from his table, pushing through a knot of customers near the bar, and passed to the front door of the inn. All he could think of was air, getting air into his lungs to breathe. He pushed the doors open and half-tumbled out into the night. For a moment the pain in his chest eased, and he fell back against the wall of the inn. Rain was sheeting down, soaking his hair and clothes. He gasped, his heart stuttering with a misture of terror and desperation. Was this just the distance from Jem affecting him? He had never felt anything like this, even when Jem was at his worst, even when he'd been injured and Will had ached with sympathetic pain. The cord snapped. For a moment everything went white, the courtyard bleeching through as if with acid. Will jackknifed to his knees, vomiting up his supper into the mud. When the spasms had passed , he staggard to his feet and blindly away from the inn, as if trying to outpace his own pain. He fetched up against the wall of the stables, beside the horse trough. He dropped to his knees to plunge his hands into the icy water-and saw his own reflection. There was his face, as white as death, and his shirt, and a spreading stain of red across the front. With wet hands he siezed at his lapels and jerked the shirt open. In the dim light that spilled from the inn, he could see that his parabati rune, just over his heart, was bleeding. His hands were covered in blood, blood mixed with rain, the same ran that was washing the blood away from his chest, showing the rune as it began to fade from black to silver, changing all that had been sense in Will's life into nonsense. Jem was dead.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
As I paddle along, I slowly become aware that it's been fear keeping me out of this pool for so many years. I never came here before because I was afraid I'd make a fool of myself by not having the endurance to complete a lap. The swimming wasn't what scared me; failure was. My fear locked me in a state of arrested development for so many years. Fear kept me from tackling my weight, which I understand has simply been symptomatic of my greater fear, growing up. I glide down the lane on my back and reflect on how good I feel right now. It's not because I've lost more than thirty pounds. I feel incredible because I've stopped being afraid.
Jen Lancaster (Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest to Discover If Her Life Makes Her Ass Look Big, or Why Pie Is Not the Answer)
Maybe we're just falling stars, we once danced in the same skyline looking down at the world. And we've fallen like all others, from near and far, we've gathered together, but separated by time and space, keeping a part of that light that we've came with and spreading it in this dark world that we've chosen to live in, in order to shine some light and love around. Maybe we've chosen to believe one truth today, and find it to be false tomorrow. Maybe we're trying to not get attached to the idea that we now know it all. At night, we see the truth of where we've fallen from, gazing in that night sky full of distant stars, constellations, planets, the reflection of the sun on the moon, all with their own stories to tell. Sometimes we wonder why would we leave such a mysterious place, with an infinite amount of stories and wonders. Maybe it's because as stars we could've only seen each other's light from afar, but here we can listen more carefully to each other's story, embrace each other and kiss, discover more and more of what can be seen when infinite star dust potential is put into one body and given freedom to walk the Earth and wander, love and enjoy every moment until coming back. Maybe in the morning, we'll only see one star shining up there and forget the others. Maybe that is also how life and death is, and the beauty of the sunrise and sunset that come in between, our childhood years and old years, when we reflect on the stars that we once were and that we will once again be. Maybe, just maybe.
Virgil Kalyana Mittata Iordache
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 glance back in the mirror to the concrete bridge, the one I've boldly driven straight across without second thought, and I see truth reflecting back at me: Every time fear freezes and worry writhes, every time I surrender to stress, aren't I advertising the unreliability of God? That I really don't believe? But if I'm grateful to the Bridge Builder for the crossing of a million strong bridges, thankful for a million faithful moments, my life speaks my beliefs and I trust Him again.
Ann Voskamp (One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are)
Alexandra drew her shawl closer about her and stood leaning against the frame of the mill, looking at the stars which glittered so keenly through the frosty autumn air. She always loved to watch them, to think of their vastness and distance, and of their ordered march. It fortified her to reflect upon the great operations of nature, and when she thought of the law that lay behind them, she felt a sense of personal security. That night she had a new consciousness of the country, felt almost a new relation to it. Even her talk with the boys had not taken away the feeling that had overwhelmed her when she drove back to the Divide that afternoon. She had never known before how much the country meant to her. The chirping of the insects down in the long grass had been like the sweetest music. She had felt as if her heart were hiding down there, somewhere, with the quail and the plover and all the little wild things that crooned or buzzed in the sun. Under the long shaggy ridges, she felt the future stirring.
Willa Cather (O Pioneers! (Great Plains Trilogy, #1))
That's like the tenth time you've looked at your reflection in the past five minutes." Chuito narrowed dark eyes at her as he leaned forward from his seat in the back and contemplated Jules. "Do you have a crush on me?" ... Chuito got out of the car, studying Jules fussing with her outfit. "I was joking, but now you got me scared. You're not really after me, are you?" Jules rolled her eyes. "No." "Thank God. That'd be like doing it with my mother.
Kele Moon (Star Crossed (Battered Hearts, #2))
What sort of diary should I like mine to be? Something loose-knit and yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace anything, solemn, slight or beautiful, that comes into my mind. I should like it to resemble some deep old desk or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking them through. I should like to come back, after a year or two, and find that the collection had sorted itself and refined itself and coalesced, as such deposits so mysteriously do, into a mould, transparent enough to reflect the light of our life, and yet steady, tranquil compounds with the aloofness of a work of art. The main requisite, I think, on reading my old volumes, is not to play the part of a censor, but to write as the mood comes or of anything whatever; since I was curious to find how I went for things put in haphazard, and found the significance to lie where I never saw it at the time.
Virginia Woolf
If there's a feeling to home, it's this. A place where there are no secrets, where nothing stays buried; not the past and not yourself. Where you can be all the versions of you, see it all reflected back at you as you walk the same stairs, the same halls, the same rooms. Feel the ghost of your mother as you sit at the kitchen table, hear the words of your father circling round and round after dinner, and your brother stopping by, wishing you'd be a little better, a little stronger.... It's four walls echoing back everything you've ever been and everything you've ever done, and it's the people who stay despite it all. Through it all. For it all.
Megan Miranda (All the Missing Girls)
Reading all my old love letters was disorienting. You remember thinking the thoughts and writing the words but, man, you can't TOUCH those feelings. Its like they belonged to someone else. Someone you don't even know. I'm aware, in an intellectual way. That I felt all those things about him, but this emotions are far away now. What's so strange to me is that I can't even force my heart back to that place where I felt that all consuming passion. That makes me feel distant from myself. Who WAS I then? Will I ever be able to get back to that place? Reading the letters again made me wonder: Which is the real me? The one who saw the world in that emotionally saturated way, or the me who sees it the way I do now?
Bill Shapiro (Other People's Love Letters: 150 Letters You Were Never Meant to See)
You failed me. His brother’s voice, louder than ever in his head. You let him dupe you all over again. Kaz had called Jesper by his brother’s name. A bad slip. But maybe he’d wanted to punish them both. Kaz was older now than Jordie had been when he’d succumbed to the Queen’s Lady Plague. Now he could look back and see his brother’s pride, his hunger for fast success. You failed me, Jordie. You were older. You were supposed to be the smart one. He thought of Inej asking, Was there no one to protect you? He remembered Jordie seated beside him on a bridge, smiling and alive, the reflection of their feet in the water beneath them, the warmth of a cup of hot chocolate cradled in his mittened hands. We were supposed to look out for each other. They’d been two farm boys, missing their father, lost in this city. That was how Pekka got them. It wasn’t just the enticement of money. He’d given them a new home. A fake wife who made them hutspot, a fake daughter for Kaz to play with. Pekka Rollins had lured them with a warm fire and the promise of the life they’d lost. And that was what destroyed you in the end: the longing for something you could never have.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
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)
Whenever I put the headset on now," he'd continued, "I really do understand what I find there. When those kids sing about 'She loves you,' yeah well, you know, she does, she's any number of people, all over the world, back through time, different colors, sizes, ages, shapes, distances from death, but she loves. And the 'you' is everybody. And herself. Oedipa, the human voice, you know, it's a flipping miracle." His eyes brimming, reflecting the color of beer. "Baby," she said, helpless, knowing of nothing she could do for this, and afraid for him. He put a little clear plastic bottle on the table between them. She stared at the pills in it, and then understood. "That's LSD?
Thomas Pynchon (The Crying of Lot 49)
We stared at each other for a long moment. His hand smoldered against my skin. In my face, I knew there was nothing but wistful sadness―I didn't want to have to say goodbye now, no matter for how short a time. At first his face reflected mine, but then, as neither of us looked away, his expression changed. He released me, lifting his other hand to brush his fingertips along my cheek, trailing them down to my jaw. I could feel his fingers tremble―not with anger this time. He pressed his palm against my cheek, so that my face was trapped between his burning hands. "Bella," he whispered. I was frozen. No! I hadn't made this decision yet. I didn't know if I could do this, and now I was out of time to think. But I would have been a fool if I thought rejecting him now would have no consequences. I stared back at him. He was not my Jacob, but he could be. His face was familiar and beloved. in so many real ways, I did love him. He was my comfort, my safe harbor. Right now, I could choose to have him belong to me. Alice was back for the moment, but that changed nothing. True love was forever lost. The prince was never coming back to kiss me awake from my enchanted sleep. I was not a princess, after all. So what was the fairy-tale protocol for other kisses? The mundane kind that didn't break any spells? Maybe it would be easy―like holding his hand or having his arms around me. Maybe it would feel nice. Maybe it wouldn't feel like betrayal. Besides, who was I betraying, anyway? Just myself. Keeping his eyes on mine, Jacob began to bend his face toward me. And I was still absolutely undecided.
Stephenie Meyer (New Moon (Twilight, #2))
MOTHER TIME: Life goes by so very fast, my dears, and taking the time to reflect, even once a year, slows things down. We zoom past so many seconds, minutes, hours, killing them with the frantic way we live that it's important we take at least this one collective sigh and stop, take stock, and acknowledge our place in time before diving back into the melee. Midnight on New Year's Eve is a unique kind of magic where, just for a moment, the past and the future exist at once in the present. Whether we're aware of it or not, as we countdown together to it, we're sharing the burden of our history and committing to the promise of tomorrow.
Hillary DePiano (New Year's Thieve)
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)
At the age when we are all of us most apt to take our colouring, in the form of a reflection from the colouring of other people, he had been sent abroad, and had been passed on from one nation to another, before there was time for any one colouring more than another to settle itself on him firmly. As a consequence of this, he had come back with so many different sides to his character, all more or less jarring with each other, that he seemed to pass his life in a state of perpetual contradiction with himself. He could be a busy man, and a lazy man; cloudy in the head, and clear in the head; a model of determination, and a spectacle of helplessness, all together. He had his French side, and his German side, and his Italian side--the original English foundation showing through, every now and then, as much as to say, "Here I am, sorely transmogrified, as you see, but there's something of me left at the bottom of him still.
Wilkie Collins (The Moonstone)
Beauty is one of the great facts of the world, like sunlight,or springtime, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. You have only a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully. When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you...Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses. You will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull-eyed...Ah! realise your youth while you have it. Don't squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar...Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing...The world belongs to you for a season...how tragic it would be if you were wasted. For there is such a little time that your youth will last. The common hillflowers wither, but they blossom again. The laburnum will be as yellow next June as it is now. In a month there will be purple stars on the clematis, and year after year the green night of its leaves will hold its purple stars. But we never get back our youth. The pulse of joy that beats in us at twenty, becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to...Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world but youth.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Sitting in front of my fireplace, basking in it's warm glow gives me time to reflect upon the sacrifices that it has taken for me to enjoy the security of a good home, in a safe environment. I can hear the soft whisper of the snow as it caresses my window and covers the ground outside in a scintillating display of sparkling lights under the full moon. How many times have our service men and women watched this same scene from a foxhole, or camped in some remote part of the world. Thankful for the silence of that moment, knowing it won’t last long. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He/she dresses in fatigues and patrols the world restlessly, ensuring that we can have this peaceful night. Every day they give us the gift of this lifestyle that we enjoy, and every night they watch over us. They are warriors, angels, guardians, friends, brothers, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers, forming a family that stretches back to the beginning of the country. So tonight when you go to bed say a prayer that God watch over those who watch over us, and thank them for their sacrifices, on and off the battlefield. Pray that they have a peaceful night, and will be home soon with their families who also share their burden. Without them we would not have this moment.
Neil Leckman
The embroidery came later, in the retelling, as the story was told again and again by the men, taking on its own character as it passed over camp. The Prince had ridden out, with only one soldier. Deep in the mountains, he had chased down the rats responsible for these killings. Had ripped them out of their hiding holes and fought them, thirty to one, at least. Had brought them back thrashed, lashed and subdued. That was their Prince for you, a twisty, vicious fiend who you should never, ever cross, unless you wanted your gullet handed to you on a platter. Why, he once rode a horse to death just to beat Torveld of Patras to the mark. In the men's eyes the feat was reflected as the wild, impossible thing it was--their Prince vanishing for two days, then appearing out of the night with a sackful of prisoners thrown over his shoulder, tossing them at the feet of his troop and saying: You wanted them? Here they are.
C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince: Volume Two (Captive Prince, #2))
When Allah (swt) decrees that a door in your life is to be opened, no matter how hard you try to close it, no matter how far you run away from it, it will remain open until you walk through. When Allah (swt) decrees that a door is to be closed, no matter how many times you knock on that door, try to break it down, or cry on your knees in front of it, begging it to open again, it will never be opened. Grieve in front of that closed door if you must. Stand there for a time and look at it. Hold your hands over your heart and press down to calm it's quickened pained rhythm. Then know- know beyond the shadow of a doubt, know in your heart of hearts- that when you trust Allah and move forward, he will open a more beautiful door for you. You will walk through it and perhaps you will even praise him for having closed the past door you loved so much. He is Al-Fattah, the Opener. May the doors He opens for us always lead us back to him.
Asmaa Hussein (A Temporary Gift: Reflections on Love, Loss, and Healing)
We live in an age in which saving is subterfuge for spending. No doubt you sincerely believe that there is margarine in your refrigerator because it is more economical than butter. But you are wrong. Look in your bread drawer. How many boxes of cute snack crackers are there? How many packages of commercial cookies reeking of imitation vanilla badly masked with oil of coconut? How many presweetened breakfast cereals? Tell me now that you bought the margarine because you couldn't afford butter. You see - you can't. You bought the bread drawer of goodies because you were conned into them; and you omitted the butter because you were conned out of it. The world has slipped you culinary diagrams instead of food. It counts on your palate being not only wooden, but buried under ten coats of synthetic varnish as well. Therefore, the next time you go to check out of the supermarket, simply put back one box of crackers, circle round the dairy case again, swap your margarine for a pound of butter and walk up to the checker with your head held high, like the last of the big spenders. This is no time for cost-counters: It is time to be very rich or very poor - or both at once.
Robert Farrar Capon (The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection)
As sinners we are like addicts - addicted to ourselves and our own projects. The theology of glory simply seeks to give those projects eternal legitimacy. The remedy for the theology of glory, therefore, cannot be encouragement and positive thinking, but rather the end of the addictive desire. Luther says it directly: "The remedy for curing desire does not lie in satisfying it, but in extinguishing it." So we are back to the cross, the radical intervention, end of the life of the old and the beginning of the new. Since the theology of glory is like addiction and not abstract doctrine, it is a temptation over which we have no control in and of ourselves, and from which we must be saved. As with the addict, mere exhortation and optimistic encouragement will do no good. It may be intended to build up character and self-esteem, but when the addict realizes the impossibility of quitting, self-esteem degenerates all the more. The alcoholic will only take to drinking in secret, trying to put on the facade of sobriety. As theologians of glory we do much the same. We put on a facade of religious propriety and piety and try to hide or explain away or coddle our sins.... As with the addict there has to be an intervention, an act from without. In treatment of alcoholics some would speak of the necessity of 'bottoming out,' reaching the absolute bottom where one can no longer escape the need for help. Then it is finally evident that the desire can never be satisfied, but must be extinguished. In matters of faith, the preaching of the cross is analogous to that intervention. It is an act of God, entirely from without. It does not come to feed the religious desires of the Old Adam and Eve but to extinguish them. They are crucified with Christ to be made new.
Gerhard O. Forde (On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther's Heidelberg Disputation, 1518)
No, you don't feel it now. Some day, when you are old and wrinkled and ugly, when thought has seared your forehead with its lines, and passion branded your lips with itshideous fires, you will feel it, you will feel it terribly.Now, wherever you go, you charm the world. Will it always be so? . . . You have a wonderfully beautiful face, Mr. Gray. Don't frown. You have. And beauty is a form of genius-- is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation. It is of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or spring-time, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has its divine right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it.You smile? Ah! when you have lost it you won't smile. . . . People say sometimes that beauty is only superficial.That may be so, but at least it is not so superficial as thought is. To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders.It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible. . . . Yes, Mr. Gray, the gods have been good to you.But what the gods give they quickly take away. You have only a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully.When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you, or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats.Every month as it wanes brings you nearer to something dreadful. Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses. You will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull-eyed. You will suffer horribly.... Ah! realize your youth while you have it. Don't squander the gold of your days,listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure,or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals,of our age. Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing. . . . A new Hedonism-- that is what our century wants. You might be its visible symbol.With your personality there is nothing you could not do.The world belongs to you for a season. . . . The moment I met you I saw that you were quite unconscious of what you really are, of what you really might be. There was so much in you that charmed me that I felt I must tell you something about yourself.I thought how tragic it would be if you were wasted. For there is such a little time that your youth will last--such a little time.The common hill-flowers wither, but they blossom again.The laburnum will be as yellow next June as it is now.In a month there will be purple stars on the clematis, and year after year the green night of its leaves will hold its purple stars. But we never get back our youth. The pulse of joy that beats in us at twenty becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to. Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world but youth!
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
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)
I did not know people your age still read books,' Penumbra says. He raises an eyebrow. 'I was under the impression they read everything on their mobile phones.' 'Not everyone. There are plenty of people who, you know--people who still like the smell of books.' 'The smell!' Penumbra repeats. 'You know you are finished when people start talking about the smell.' He smiles at that--then something occurs to him, and he narrows his eyes. 'I do not suppose you have a...Kindle?' Uh-oh. It feels like it's the principal asking me if I have weed in my backpack. But in a friendly way, like maybe he wants to share it. As it happens, I do have my Kindle. I pull it out of my messenger bag. It's a bit battered with wide scratches across the back and stray pen marks near the bottom of the screen. Penumbra holds it aloft and frowns. It's blank. I reach up and pinch the corner and it comes to life. He sucks in a sharp breath, and the pale gray rectangle reflects in his bright blue eyes.
Robin Sloan (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1))
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
The Other Side of a Mirror I sat before my glass one day, And conjured up a vision bare, Unlike the aspects glad and gay, That erst were found reflected there - The vision of a woman, wild With more than womanly despair. Her hair stood back on either side A face bereft of loveliness. It had no envy now to hide What once no man on earth could guess. It formed the thorny aureole Of hard, unsanctified distress. Her lips were open - not a sound Came though the parted lines of red, Whate'er it was, the hideous wound In silence and secret bled. No sigh relieved her speechless woe, She had no voice to speak her dread. And in her lurid eyes there shone The dying flame of life's desire, Made mad because its hope was gone, And kindled at the leaping fire Of jealousy and fierce revenge, And strength that could not change nor tire. Shade of a shadow in the glass, O set the crystal surface free! Pass - as the fairer visions pass - Nor ever more return, to be The ghost of a distracted hour, That heard me whisper: - 'I am she!
Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
Life is like a train ride. The passengers on the train are seemingly going to the same destination as you, but based on their belief in you or their belief that the train will get them to their desired destination they will stay on the ride or they will get off somewhere during the trip. People can and will get off at any stop. Just know that where people get off is more of an reflection on them, than it is on you. There will be a few people in your life that will make the whole trip with you, who believe in you, accept that you are human and that mistakes will be made along the way, and that you will get to your desired destination - together, no matter what. Be very grateful of these people. They are rare and when you find one, don't let go of them - ever. Be blessed for the ones who get on at the worst stops when no one is there. Remember those people, they are special. Always hold them dear to your heart. Be very wary of people sneaking on at certain stops when things are going good and acting like they have been there for the whole ride. For they will be the first to depart. There will be ones who secretly try to get off the ride and there will be those that very publicly will jump off. Don't pay any heed to the defectors. Pay heed to the passengers that are still on the trip. They are the important ones. If someone tries to get back on the train - don't be angry or hold a grudge, let them. Just see where they are around the next hard turn. If they are buckled in - accept them. If they are pulling the hand rail alarm again - then let them off the train freely and waste no space in your head for them again, ever. There will be times that the train will be moving slow, at almost a crawls pace. Appreciate that you can take in the view. There will be times where the train is going so fast that everything is a blur. Enjoy the sense of speed in your life, as it is exhilarating but unsustainable. There will also be the chance that the train derails. If that does happen, it will hurt, a lot, for a long time. But there will be people who will appear out of no where who will get you back on track. Those will be the people that will matter most in your life. Love them forever. For you can never repay these people. The thing is, that even if you could repay them, they wouldn't accept it anyway. Just pay it forward. Eventually your train will get to its final stop and you will need to deboard. At that time you will realize that life is about the journey AND the destination. Know and have faith that at the end of your ride your train will have the right passengers on board and all the passengers that were on board at one time or another were there for a distinct purpose. Enjoy the ride.
JohnA Passaro
As porn has gone mainstream, ushered two decades ago into middle-class living rooms and dens with VCRs and now available on the Internet, it has devolved into an open fusion of physical abuse and sex, of extreme violence, horrible acts of degradation against women with an increasingly twisted eroticism. Porn has always primarily involved the eroticization of unlimited male power, but today it also involves the expression of male power through the physical abuse, even torture, of women. Porn reflects the endemic cruelty of our society. This is a society that does not blink when the industrial slaughter unleashed by the United States and its allies kills hundreds of civilians in Gaza or hundreds of thousands of innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Porn reflects back the cruelty of a culture that tosses its mentally ill on the street, warehouses more than 2 million people in prisons, denies health care to tens of millions of the poor, champions gun ownership over gun control, and trumpets an obnoxious and super patriotic nationalism and rapacious corporate capitalism. The violence, cruelty, and degradation of porn are expressions of a society that has lost the capacity for empathy.
Chris Hedges (Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle)
MICHAEL BERNARD BECKWITH Creation is always happening. Every time an individual has a thought, or a prolonged chronic way of thinking, they’re in the creation process. Something is going to manifest out of those thoughts. What you are thinking now is creating your future life. You create your life with your thoughts. Because you are always thinking, you are always creating. What you think about the most or focus on the most, is what will appear as your life. Like all the laws of nature, there is utter perfection in this law. You create your life. Whatever you sow, you reap! Your thoughts are seeds, and the harvest you reap will depend on the seeds you plant. If you are complaining, the law of attraction will powerfully bring into your life more situations for you to complain about. If you are listening to someone else complain and focusing on that, sympathizing with them, agreeing with them, in that moment, you are attracting more situations to yourself to complain about. The law is simply reflecting and giving back to you exactly what you are focusing on with your thoughts. With this powerful knowledge, you can completely change every circumstance and event in your entire life, by changing the way you think.
Rhonda Byrne (The Secret)
...the incarnation is the complete refutation of every human system and institution that claims to control, possess, and distribute God. Whatever any church or religious leader may claim in regard to their particular access to God or control over your experience of God, the incarnation is the last word: God loves the world. God came into the world in the form of the people he created, the human race (including you and me), who bear his image. God's creation of humanity in his image gives hints of who he is, since we all are marked by his fingerprints. But as flawed humans, we give only a vague hint of God. Our broken reflection of God's image is easily drowned out by our broken humanity. then, two thousand years ago, God came in his fullness. He came to all of us in Jesus. The incarnation is not owned, trademarked, or controlled by any church. It belongs to every human being. The incarnation is not something that requires a distributor or middleman. It is a gracious gift to every person everywhere, religious or not. God gave himself to us in Jesus.
Michael Spencer (Mere Churchianity: Finding Your Way Back to Jesus-Shaped Spirituality)
THE POEMS OF OUR CLIMATE I Clear water in a brilliant bowl, Pink and white carnations. The light In the room more like a snowy air, Reflecting snow. A newly-fallen snow At the end of winter when afternoons return. Pink and white carnations - one desires So much more than that. The day itself Is simplified: a bowl of white, Cold, a cold porcelain, low and round, With nothing more than the carnations there. II Say even that this complete simplicity Stripped one of all one's torments, concealed The evilly compounded, vital I And made it fresh in a world of white, A world of clear water, brilliant-edged, Still one would want more, one would need more, More than a world of white and snowy scents. III There would still remain the never-resting mind, So that one would want to escape, come back To what had been so long composed. The imperfect is our paradise. Note that, in this bitterness, delight, Since the imperfect is so hot in us, Lies in flawed words and stubborn sounds.
Wallace Stevens
FOR THE DYING May death come gently toward you, Leaving you time to make your way Through the cold embrace of fear To the place of inner tranquillity. May death arrive only after a long life To find you at home among your own With every comfort and care you require. May your leave-taking be gracious, Enabling you to hold dignity Through awkwardness and illness. May you see the reflection Of your life’s kindness and beauty In all the tears that fall for you. As your eyes focus on each face, May your soul take its imprint, Drawing each image within As companions for the journey. May you find for each one you love A different locket of jeweled words To be worn around the heart To warm your absence. May someone who knows and loves The complex village of your heart Be there to echo you back to yourself And create a sure word-raft To carry you to the further shore. May your spirit feel The surge of true delight When the veil of the visible Is raised, and you glimpse again The living faces Of departed family and friends. May there be some beautiful surprise Waiting for you inside death, Something you never knew or felt, Which with one simple touch, Absolves you of all loneliness and loss, As you quicken within the embrace For which your soul was eternally made. May your heart be speechless At the sight of the truth Of all belief had hoped, Your heart breathless In the light and lightness Where each and everything Is at last its true self Within that serene belonging That dwells beside us On the other side Of what we see.
John O'Donohue (To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Invocations and Blessings)
Dear Daniel, How do you break up with your boyfriend in a way that tells him, "I don't want to sleep with you on a regular basis anymore, but please be available for late night booty calls if I run out of other options"? Lily Charlotte, NC Dear Lily, The story's so old you can't tell it anymore without everyone groaning, even your oldest friends with the last of their drinks shivering around the ice in their dirty glasses. The music playing is the same album everyone has. Those shoes, everybody has the same shoes on. It looked a little like rain so on person brought an umbrella, useless now in the starstruck clouded sky, forgotten on the way home, which is how the umbrella ended up in her place anyway. Everyone gets older on nights like this. And still it's a fresh slap in the face of everything you had going, that precarious shelf in the shallow closet that will certainly, certainly fall someday. Photographs slipping into a crack to be found by the next tenant, that one squinter third from the left laughing at something your roommate said, the coaster from that place in the city you used to live in, gone now. A letter that seemed important for reasons you can't remember, throw it out, the entry in the address book you won't erase but won't keep when you get a new phone, let it pass and don't worry about it. You don't think about them; "I haven't thought about them in forever," you would say if anybody brought it up, and nobody does." You think about them all the time. Close the book but forget to turn off the light, just sit staring in bed until you blink and you're out of it, some noise on the other side of the wall reminding you you're still here. That's it, that's everything. There's no statue in the town square with an inscription with words to live by. The actor got slapped this morning by someone she loved, slapped right across the face, but there's no trace of it on any channel no matter how late you watch. How many people--really, count them up--know where you are? How many will look after you when you don't show up? The churches and train stations are creaky and the street signs, the menus, the writing on the wall, it all feels like the wrong language. Nobody, nobody knows what you're thinking of when you lean your head against the wall. Put a sweater on when you get cold. Remind yourself, this is the night, because it is. You're free to sing what you want as you walk there, the trees rustling spookily and certainly and quietly and inimitably. Whatever shoes you want, fuck it, you're comfortable. Don't trust anyone's directions. Write what you might forget on the back of your hand, and slam down the cheap stuff and never mind the bad music from the window three floors up or what the boys shouted from the car nine years ago that keeps rattling around in your head, because you're here, you are, for the warmth of someone's wrists where the sleeve stops and the glove doesn't quite begin, and the slant of the voice on the punch line of the joke and the reflection of the moon in the water on the street as you stand still for a moment and gather your courage and take a breath before stealing away through the door. Look at it there. Take a good look. It looks like rain. Love, Daniel Handler
Daniel Handler
In earlier times, one had an easier conscience about being a person than one does today. People were like cornstalks in a field, probably more violently tossed back and forth by God, hail, fire, pestilence, and war than they are today, but as a whole, as a city, a region, a field, and as to what personal movement was left to the individual stalk – all this was clearly defined and could be answered for. But today responsibility’s center of gravity is not in people but in circumstances. Have we not noticed that experiences have made themselves independent of people? They have gone on the stage, into books, into the reports of research institutes and explorers, into ideological or religious communities, which foster certain kinds of experience at the expense of others as if they are conducting a kind of social experiment, and insofar as experiences are not actually being developed, they are simply left dangling in the air. Who can say nowadays that his anger is really his own anger when so many people talk about it and claim to know more about it than he does? A world of qualities without a man has arisen, of experiences without the person who experiences them, and it almost looks as though ideally private experience is a thing of the past, and that the friendly burden of personal responsibility is to dissolve into a system of formulas of possible meanings. Probably the dissolution of the anthropocentric point of view, which for such a long time considered man to be at the center of the universe but which has been fading away for centuries, has finally arrived at the “I” itself, for the belief that the most important thing about experience is the experiencing, or of action the doing, is beginning to strike most people as naïve. There are probably people who still lead personal lives, who say “We saw the So-and-sos yesterday” or “We’ll do this or that today” and enjoy it without its needing to have any content of significance. They like everything that comes in contact with their fingers, and are purely private persons insofar as this is at all possible. In contact with such people, the world becomes a private world and shines like a rainbow. They may be very happy, but this kind of people usually seems absurd to the others, although it is still not at all clear why. And suddenly, in view of these reflections, Ulrich had to smile and admit to himself that he was, after all, a character, even without having one.
Robert Musil (The Man Without Qualities: Volume I (1/2))
Kaladin spun through the last motions of the kata, chasm forgotten, bridgemen forgotten, fatigue forgotten. For a moment, it was just him. Him and the wind. He fought with her, and she laughed. He snapped the spear back into place, holding the haft at the one-quarter position, spearhead down, bottom of the haft tucked underneath his arm, end rising back behind his head. He breathed in deeply, shivering. Oh, how I’ve missed that. He opened his eyes. Sputtering torchlight revealed a group of stunned bridgemen standing in a damp corridor of stone, the walls wet and reflecting the light. Moash dropped a handful of spheres in stunned silence, staring at Kaladin with mouth agape. Those spheres plopped into the puddle at his feet, causing it to glow, but none of the bridgemen noticed. They just stared at Kaladin, who was still in a battle stance, half crouched, trails of sweat running down the sides of his face. He blinked, realizing what he’d done. If word got back to Gaz that he was playing around with spears…Kaladin stood up straight and dropped the spear into the pile of weapons. “Sorry,” he whispered to it, though he didn’t know why. Then, louder, he said, “Back to work! I don’t want to be caught down here when night falls.
Brandon Sanderson (The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1))
I went back in and grabbed my running clothes, then changed in the bathroom. I opened the door to the bathroom, stopping when I saw Kaidan's toiletry bag on the sink. I was overcome with curiosity about his cologne or aftershave, because I'd never smelled it on anyone else before. Feeling sneaky, I prodded one finger into the bag and peeked. No cologne bottle. Only a razor, shaving cream, toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant. I picked up the deodorant, pulled off the lid, and smelled it. Nope, that wasn't it. The sound of Kaidan's deep chuckle close to the doorway made me scream and drop the deodorant into the sink with a clatter. I smacked one hand to my chest and grabbed the edge of the sink with the other. He laughed out loud now. “Okay, that must have looked really bad.” I spoke to his reflection in the mirror, then fumbled to pick up the deodorant. I put the lid on and dropped it in his bag. “But I was just trying to figure out what cologne you wear.” My face was on fire as Kaidan stepped into the small bathroom and leaned against the counter, crossing his arms over his chest. I stepped away. He seemed entertained by my predicament. “I haven't been wearing any cologne.” “Oh.” I cleared my throat. “Well, I didn't see any, so I thought it might be your deodorant, but that's not it either. Maybe it's your laundry detergent or something. Let's just forget about it.” “What is it you smell, exactly?” His voice took on a husky quality, and it felt like he was taking up a lot of room. I couldn't bring myself to look at him. Something strange was going on here. I stepped back, hitting the tub with my heel as I tried to put the scent into words. “I don't know. It's like citrus and the forest or something...leaves and tree sap. I can't explain it.” His eyes bored into mine while he wore that trademark sexy smirk, arms still crossed. “Citrus?” he asked. “Like lemons?” “Oranges mostly. And a little lime, too.” He nodded and flicked his head to the side to get hair out of his eyes. Then his smile disappeared and his badge throbbed. “What you smell are my pheromones, Anna.” A small, nervous laugh burst from my throat. “Oh, okay, then. Well...” I eyed the small space that was available to pass through the door. I made an awkward move toward it, but he shifted his body and I stepped back again. “People can't usually smell pheromones,” he told me. “You must be using your extra senses without realizing it. I've heard of Neph losing control of their senses with certain emotions. Fear, surprise...lust.” I rubbed my hands up and down my upper arms, wanting nothing more than to veer this conversation out of the danger zone. “Yeah, I do have a hard time reining in the scent sometimes,” I babbled. “It even gets away from me while I sleep now and then. I wake up thinking Patti's making cinnamon rolls and it ends up being from someone else's apartment. Then I'm just stuck with cereal. Anyway...” “Would you like to know your own scent?” he asked me. My heart swelled up big in my chest and squeezed small again. This whole scent thing was way too sensual to be discussed in this small space. Any second now my traitorous body would be emitting some of those pheromones and there'd be red in my aura. “Uh, not really,” I said, keeping my eyes averted. “I think I should probably go.” He made no attempt to move out of the doorway. “You smell like pears with freesia undertones.” “Wow, okay.” I cleared my throat, still refusing eye contact. I had to get out of there. “I think I'll just...” I pointed to the door and began to shuffle past him, doing my best not to brush up against him. He finally took a step back and put his hands up by his sides to show that he wouldn't touch me. I broke out of the confined bathroom and took a deep breath.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
Involved. At least that was the right word, Alsana reflected, as she liftes her foot off the pedal, and let the wheel spin a few times alone before coming to a squeaky halt. Sometimes, here in England, especially at bus-stops and on the daytime soaps, you heard people say “We’re involved with each other,” as if this were a most wonderful state to be in, as if one chose it and enjoyed it. Alsana never thought of it that way. Involved happened over a long period of time, pulling you in like quicksand. Involved is what befell the moon-faced Alsana Begum and the handsome Samad Miah one week after they’d been pushed into a Delhi breakfast room together and informed they were to marry. Involved was the result when Clara Bowden met Archie Jones at the bottom of some stairs. Involved swallowed up a girl called Ambrosia and a boy called Charlie (yes, Clara had told her that sorry tale) the second they kissed in the larder of a guest house. Involved is neither good, nor bad. It is just a consequence of living, a consequence of occupation and immigration, of empires and expansion, of living in each other’s pockets… one becomes involved and it is a long trek back to being uninvolved. And the woman was right, one didn’t do it for one’s health. Nothing this late in the century was done with health in mind. Alsana was no dummy when it came to the Modern Condition. She watched the talk shows, all day long she watched the talk shows — My wife slept with my brother, My mother won’t stay out of my boyfriend’s life — and the microphone holder, whether it be Tanned Man with White Teeth or Scary Married Couple, always asked the same damn silly question: But why do you feel the need…? Wrong! Alsana had to explain it to them through the screen. You blockhead; they are not wanting this, they are not willing it — they are just involved, see? They walk IN and they get trapped between the revolving doors of those two v’s. Involved. Just a tired inevitable fact. Something in the way Joyce said it, involved — wearied, slightly acid — suggested to Alsana that the word meant the same thing to hear. An enormous web you spin to catch yourself.
Zadie Smith (White Teeth)
So, there was this beautiful princess. She was locked in a high tower, one whose smart walls had cleaver holes in them that could give her anything: food, a clique of fantastic friends, wonderful clothes. And, best of all, there was this mirror on the wall, so that the princess could look at her beautiful self all day long. The only problem with the tower was that there way no way out. The builders had forgotten to put in an elevator, or even a set of stairs. She was stuck up there. One day, the princess realized that she was bored. The view from the tower--gentle hills, fields of white flowers, and a deep, dark forest--fascinated her. She started spending more time looking out the window than at her own reflection, as is often the case with troublesome girls. And it was pretty clear that no prince was showing up, or at least that he was really late. So the only thing was to jump. The hole in the wall gave her a lovely parasol to catch her when she fell, and a wonderful new dress to wear in the fields and forest, and a brass key to make sure she could get back into the tower if she needed to. But the princess, laughing pridefully, tossed the key into the fireplace, convinced she would never need to return to the tower. Without another glance in the mirror, she strolled out onto the balcony and stepped off into midair. The thing was, it was a long way down, a lot farther than the princess had expected, and the parasol turned out to be total crap. As she fell, the princess realized she should have asked for a bungee jacket or a parachute or something better than a parasol, you know? She struck the ground hard, and lay there in a crumpled heap, smarting and confused, wondering how things had worked out this way. There was no prince around to pick her up, her new dress was ruined, and thanks to her pride, she had no way back into the tower. And the worst thing was, there were no mirrors out there in the wild, so the princess was left wondering whether she in fact was still beautiful . . . or if the fall had changed the story completely.
Scott Westerfeld (Pretties (Uglies, #2))
I had a bizarre rapport with this mirror and spent a lot of time gazing into the glass to see who was there. Sometimes it looked like me. At other times, I could see someone similar but different in the reflection. A few times, I caught the switch in mid-stare, my expression re-forming like melting rubber, the creases and features of my face softening or hardening until the mutation was complete. Jekyll to Hyde, or Hyde to Jekyll. I felt my inner core change at the same time. I would feel more confident or less confident; mature or childlike; freezing cold or sticky hot, a state that would drive Mum mad as I escaped to the bathroom where I would remain for two hours scrubbing my skin until it was raw. The change was triggered by different emotions: on hearing a particular piece of music; the sight of my father, the smell of his brand of aftershave. I would pick up a book with the certainty that I had not read it before and hear the words as I read them like an echo inside my head. Like Alice in the Lewis Carroll story, I slipped into the depths of the looking glass and couldn’t be sure if it was me standing there or an impostor, a lookalike. I felt fully awake most of the time, but sometimes while I was awake it felt as if I were dreaming. In this dream state I didn’t feel like me, the real me. I felt numb. My fingers prickled. My eyes in the mirror’s reflection were glazed like the eyes of a mannequin in a shop window, my colour, my shape, but without light or focus. These changes were described by Dr Purvis as mood swings and by Mother as floods, but I knew better. All teenagers are moody when it suits them. My Switches could take place when I was alone, transforming me from a bright sixteen-year-old doing her homework into a sobbing child curled on the bed staring at the wall. The weeping fit would pass and I would drag myself back to the mirror expecting to see a child version of myself. ‘Who are you?’ I’d ask. I could hear the words; it sounded like me but it wasn’t me. I’d watch my lips moving and say it again, ‘Who are you?
Alice Jamieson (Today I'm Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind)
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 apartment was entirely, was only, for her: a wall of books, both read and unread, all of them dear to her not only in themselves, their tender spines, but in the moments or periods they evoked. She had kept some books since college that she had acquired for courses and never read—Fredric Jameson, for example, and Kant’s Critique of Judgment—but which suggested to her that she was, or might be, a person of seriousness, a thinker in some seeping, ubiquitous way; and she had kept, too, a handful of children’s books taken fro her now-dismantled girlhood room, like Charlotte’s Web and the Harriet the Spy novels, that conjured for her an earlier, passionately earnest self, the sober child who read constantly in the back of her parents’ Buick, oblivious to her brother punching her knee, oblivious to her parents’ squabbling, oblivious to the traffic and landscapes pressing upon her from outside the window. She had, in addition to her books, a modest shelf of tapes and CDs that served a similar, though narrower, function…she was aware that her collection was comprised largely of mainstream choices that reflected—whether popular or classical—not so much an individual spirit as the generic tastes of her times: Madonna, the Eurythmics, Tracy Chapman from her adolescence; Cecilia Bartoli, Anne-Sophie Mutter, Mitsuko Uchida; more recently Moby and the posthumously celebrated folk-singing woman from Washington, DC, who had died of a melanoma in her early thirties, and whose tragic tale attracted Danielle more than her familiar songs. Her self, then, was represented in her books; her times in her records; and the rest of the room she thought of as a pure, blank slate.
Claire Messud (The Emperor's Children)
Once I am sure there's nothing going on I step inside, letting the door thud shut. Another church: matting, seats, and stone, And little books; sprawlings of flowers, cut For Sunday, brownish now; some brass and stuff Up at the holy end; the small neat organ; And a tense, musty, unignorable silence, Brewed God knows how long. Hatless, I take off My cycle-clips in awkward reverence. Move forward, run my hand around the font. From where I stand, the roof looks almost new - Cleaned, or restored? Someone would know: I don't. Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few Hectoring large-scale verses, and pronounce 'Here endeth' much more loudly than I'd meant. The echoes snigger briefly. Back at the door I sign the book, donate an Irish sixpence, Reflect the place was not worth stopping for. Yet stop I did: in fact I often do, And always end much at a loss like this, Wondering what to look for; wondering, too, When churches will fall completely out of use What we shall turn them into, if we shall keep A few cathedrals chronically on show, Their parchment, plate and pyx in locked cases, And let the rest rent-free to rain and sheep. Shall we avoid them as unlucky places? Or, after dark, will dubious women come To make their children touch a particular stone; Pick simples for a cancer; or on some Advised night see walking a dead one? Power of some sort will go on In games, in riddles, seemingly at random; But superstition, like belief, must die, And what remains when disbelief has gone? Grass, weedy pavement, brambles, buttress, sky, A shape less recognisable each week, A purpose more obscure. I wonder who Will be the last, the very last, to seek This place for what it was; one of the crew That tap and jot and know what rood-lofts were? Some ruin-bibber, randy for antique, Or Christmas-addict, counting on a whiff Of gown-and-bands and organ-pipes and myrrh? Or will he be my representative, Bored, uninformed, knowing the ghostly silt Dispersed, yet tending to this cross of ground Through suburb scrub because it held unspilt So long and equably what since is found Only in separation - marriage, and birth, And death, and thoughts of these - for which was built This special shell? For, though I've no idea What this accoutred frowsty barn is worth, It pleases me to stand in silence here; A serious house on serious earth it is, In whose blent air all our compulsions meet, Are recognized, and robed as destinies. And that much never can be obsolete, Since someone will forever be surprising A hunger in himself to be more serious, And gravitating with it to this ground, Which, he once heard, was proper to grow wise in, If only that so many dead lie round.
Philip Larkin
What finally turned me back toward the older traditions of my own [Chickasaw] and other Native peoples was the inhumanity of the Western world, the places--both inside and out--where the culture's knowledge and language don't go, and the despair, even desperation, it has spawned. We live, I see now, by different stories, the Western mind and the indigenous. In the older, more mature cultures where people still live within the kinship circles of animals and human beings there is a connection with animals, not only as food, but as 'powers,' a word which can be taken to mean states of being, gifts, or capabilities. I've found, too, that the ancient intellectual traditions are not merely about belief, as some would say. Belief is not a strong enough word. They are more than that: They are part of lived experience, the on-going experience of people rooted in centuries-old knowledge that is held deep and strong, knowledge about the natural laws of Earth, from the beginning of creation, and the magnificent terrestrial intelligence still at work, an intelligence now newly called ecology by the Western science that tells us what our oldest tribal stories maintain--the human animal is a relatively new creation here; animal and plant presences were here before us; and we are truly the younger sisters and brothers of the other animal species, not quite as well developed as we thought we were. It is through our relationships with animals and plants that we maintain a way of living, a cultural ethics shaped from an ancient understanding of the world, and this is remembered in stories that are the deepest reflections of our shared lives on Earth. That we held, and still hold, treaties with the animals and plant species is a known part of tribal culture. The relationship between human people and animals is still alive and resonant in the world, the ancient tellings carried on by a constellation of stories, songs, and ceremonies, all shaped by lived knowledge of the world and its many interwoven, unending relationships. These stories and ceremonies keep open the bridge between one kind of intelligence and another, one species and another. (from her essay "First People")
Linda Hogan (Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals)
once there was a beautiful young panther who had a co-wife and a husband. Her name was Lara and she was unhappy because her husband and her co-wife were really in love; being nice to her was merely a duty panther society imposed on them. They had not even wanted to take her into their marriage as co-wife, since there were already perfectly happy. But she was an "extra" female in the group and that would not do. Her husband sometimes sniffed her breath and other emanations. He even, sometimes, made love to her. but whenever this happened, the co-wife, whose name was Lala, became upset. She and the husband, Baba, would argue, then fight, snarling and biting and whipping at each other's eyes with their tails. Pretty soon they'd become sick of this and would lie clutched in each other's paws, weeping. I am supposed to make love to her, Baba would say to Lala, his heartchosen mate. She is my wife just as you are. I did not plan things this way. This is the arrangement that came down to me. I know it, dearest, said Lala, through her tears. And this pain that I feel is what has come down to me. Surely it can't be right? These two sat on a rock in the forest and were miserable enough. But Lara, the unwanted, pregnant by now and ill, was devastated. Everyone knew she was unloved, and no other female panther wanted to share her own husband with her. Days went by when the only voice she heard was her inner one. Soon, she began to listen to it. Lara, it said, sit here, where the sun may kiss you. And she did. Lara, it said, lie here, where the moon can make love to you all night long. and she did. Lara, it said, one bright morning when she knew herself to have been well kissed and well loved: sit here on this stone and look at your beautiful self in the still waters of this stream. Calmed by the guidance offered by her inner voice, Lara sat down on the stone and leaned over the water. She took in her smooth, aubergine little snout, her delicate, pointed ears, her sleek, gleeming black fur. She was beautiful! And she was well kissed by the sun and well made love to by the moon. For one whole day, Lara was content. When her co-wife asked her fearfully why she was smiling, Lara only opened her mouth wider, in a grin. The poor co-wife ran trembling off and found their husband, Baba, and dragged him back to look at Lara. When Baba saw the smiling, well kissed, well made love to Lara, of course he could hardly wait to get his paws on her! He could tell she was in love with someone else, and this aroused all his passion. While Lala wept, Baba possessed Lara, who was looking over his shoulder at the moon. Each day it seemed to Lara that the Lara in the stream was the only Lara worth having - so beautiful, so well kissed, and so well made love to. And her inner voice assured her this was true. So, one hot day when she could not tolerate the shrieks and groans of Baba and Lala as they tried to tear each other's ears off because of her, Lara, who by now was quite indifferent to them both, leaned over and kissed her own serene reflection in the water, and held the kiss all the way to the bottom of the stream.
Alice Walker
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