Running Clears The Mind Quotes

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You’re okay," Zane said quietly but clearly. "Just focus on me for a few minutes. What’s the first thing that comes to mind?" While talking, he was gently wiping away the blood. Ty blinked at him, opening his mouth as he thought the very first thing that came to mind when Zane prompted him. I love you. He snapped his mouth closed and stared at Zane, unable and unwilling to answer.
Abigail Roux (Sticks & Stones (Cut & Run, #2))
Al's voice was faint but resolute. "Stand up. Try to look sexy." "In a bedsheet?" I complained, running my hands down it. "How can I look sexy in a bedsheet?" He cleared his throat, and I grimaced. "Never mind.
Kim Harrison (Ever After (The Hollows, #11))
God certainly knows of some happiness for us which He is going to bring out of the trouble, only we must have patience and not run away. And then all at once something happens and we see clearly ourselves that God has had some good thought in His mind all along; but because we cannot see things beforehand, and only know how dreadfully miserable we are, we think it is always going to be so.
Johanna Spyri (Heidi)
Liam cleared his throat again and turned to fully face me. “So, it’s the summer and you’re in Salem, suffering through another boring, hot July, and working part-time at an ice cream parlor. Naturally, you’re completely oblivious to the fact that all of the boys from your high school who visit daily are more interested in you than the thirty-one flavors. You’re focused on school and all your dozens of clubs, because you want to go to a good college and save the world. And just when you think you’re going to die if you have to take another practice SAT, your dad asks if you want to go visit your grandmother in Virginia Beach.” “Yeah?” I leaned my forehead against his chest. “What about you?” “Me?” Liam said, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. “I’m in Wilmington, suffering through another boring, hot summer, working one last time in Harry’s repair shop before going off to some fancy university—where, I might add, my roommate will be a stuck-up-know-it-all-with-a-heart-of-gold named Charles Carrington Meriwether IV—but he’s not part of this story, not yet.” His fingers curled around my hip, and I could feel him trembling, even as his voice was steady. “To celebrate, Mom decides to take us up to Virginia Beach for a week. We’re only there for a day when I start catching glimpses of this girl with dark hair walking around town, her nose stuck in a book, earbuds in and blasting music. But no matter how hard I try, I never get to talk to her. “Then, as our friend Fate would have it, on our very last day at the beach I spot her. You. I’m in the middle of playing a volleyball game with Harry, but it feels like everyone else disappears. You’re walking toward me, big sunglasses on, wearing this light green dress, and I somehow know that it matches your eyes. And then, because, let’s face it, I’m basically an Olympic god when it comes to sports, I manage to volley the ball right into your face.” “Ouch,” I said with a light laugh. “Sounds painful.” “Well, you can probably guess how I’d react to that situation. I offer to carry you to the lifeguard station, but you look like you want to murder me at just the suggestion. Eventually, thanks to my sparkling charm and wit—and because I’m so pathetic you take pity on me—you let me buy you ice cream. And then you start telling me how you work in an ice cream shop in Salem, and how frustrated you feel that you still have two years before college. And somehow, somehow, I get your e-mail or screen name or maybe, if I’m really lucky, your phone number. Then we talk. I go to college and you go back to Salem, but we talk all the time, about everything, and sometimes we do that stupid thing where we run out of things to say and just stop talking and listen to one another breathing until one of us falls asleep—” “—and Chubs makes fun of you for it,” I added. “Oh, ruthlessly,” he agreed. “And your dad hates me because he thinks I’m corrupting his beautiful, sweet daughter, but still lets me visit from time to time. That’s when you tell me about tutoring a girl named Suzume, who lives a few cities away—” “—but who’s the coolest little girl on the planet,” I manage to squeeze out.
Alexandra Bracken (The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1))
How you refill. Lying there. Something like happiness, just like water, pure and clear pouring in. So good you don’t even welcome it, it runs through you in a bright stream, as if it has been there all along.
Peter Heller (The Dog Stars)
Sometimes, we have to run away in order to clear our heads and put ourselves together as best we can. The important thing, is that we return stronger than when we left.
T.J. Klune (The Extraordinaries)
[Doubt] is not a new idea; this is the idea of the age of reason. This is the philosophy that guided the men who made the democracy that we live under. The idea that no one really knew how to run a government led to the idea that we should arrange a system by which new ideas could be developed, tried out, and tossed out if necessary, with more new ideas bought in - a trial-and-error system. This method was a result of the fact that science was already showing itself to be a successful venture at the end of the eighteenth century. Even then it was clear to socially minded people that the openness of possibilities was an opportunity, and that doubt and discussion were essential to progress into the unknown. If we want to solve a problem that we have never solved before, we must leave the door to the unknown ajar...doubt is not to be feared, but welcomed and discussed.
Richard P. Feynman
At last, Sturmhond straightened the lapels of his teal frock coat and said, “Well, Brekker, it’s obvious you only deal in half-truths and outright lies, so you’re clearly the man for the job.” “There’s just one thing,” said Kaz, studying the privateer’s broken nose and ruddy hair. “Before we join hands and jump off a cliff together, I want to know exactly who I’m running with.” Sturmhond lifted a brow. “We haven’t been on a road trip or exchanged clothes, but I think our introductions were civilized enough.” “Who are you really, privateer?” “Is this an existential question?” “No proper thief talks the way you do.” “How narrow-minded of you.” “I know the look of a rich man’s son, and I don’t believe a king would send an ordinary privateer to handle business this sensitive.” “Ordinary,” scoffed Sturmhond. “Are you so schooled in politics?” “I know my way around a deal. Who are you? We get the truth or my crew walks.” “Are you so sure that would be possible, Brekker? I know your plans now. I’m accompanied by two of the world’s most legendary Grisha, and I’m not too bad in a fight either.” “And I’m the canal rat who brought Kuwei Yul-Bo out of the Ice Court alive. Let me know how you like your chances.” His crew didn’t have clothes or titles to rival the Ravkans, but Kaz knew where he’d put his money if he had any left. Sturmhond clasped his hands behind his back, and Kaz saw the barest shift in his demeanor. His eyes lost their bemused gleam and took on a surprising weight. No ordinary privateer at all. “Let us say,” said Sturmhond, gaze trained on the Ketterdam street below, “hypothetically, of course, that the Ravkan king has intelligence networks that reach deep within Kerch, Fjerda, and the Shu Han, and that he knows exactly how important Kuwei Yul-Bo could be to the future of his country. Let us say that king would trust no one to negotiate such matters but himself, but that he also knows just how dangerous it is to travel under his own name when his country is in turmoil, when he has no heir and the Lantsov succession is in no way secured.” “So hypothetically,” Kaz said, “you might be addressed as Your Highness.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
[John] Harrison [could not] express himself clearly in writing.... No matter how brilliantly ideas formed in his mind, or crystallized in his clockworks, his verbal descriptions failed to shine with the same light.... The first sentence [of his last published work] runs on, virtually unpunctuated, for twenty-five pages." Dava Sobel, Longitude, p66
Dava Sobel
Then you must wait," she said, "and keep on saying to yourself: God certainly knows of some happiness for us which He is going to bring out of the trouble, only we must have patience and not run away. And then all at once something happens and we see clearly ourselves that God has had some good thought in His mind all along;
Johanna Spyri (Heidi)
Normally, her mind was like a busy beach - all day long she would run back and forth, leaving footprints, building small mounds and castles, writing out ideas and diagrams with her fingers in the sand, but when the night tide came in, she would close her eyes and allow each wave of rhythmic breath to wash in and out over her day's accumulation, and before long the beach would be clear and empty, and she would drift off to sleep.
Gavriel Savit
Peace occurs when you don’t turn your observations into problems. The first step in any behavior is observation. You notice a cue, a it of information, an event. If you do not desire to act on what you observe , then you are at peace. Craving is about wanting to fix everything. Observation without craving is the realization that you do not need to fix anything. Your desires are not running rampant. You do not crave a change in state. Your mind does not generate a problem for you to solve.
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones)
If you are not from a particular place the history of that particular place will dwell inside you differently to how it dwells within those people who are from that particular place. Your connection to certain events that define the history of a particular place is not straightforward because none of your ancestors were in any way involved or affected by those events. You have no stories to relate and compare, you have no narrative to inherit and run with, and all the names are strange ones that mean nothing to you at all. And it's as if the history of a particular place knows all about this blankness you contain. Consequently if you are not from a particular place you will always be vulnerable for the reason that it doesn't matter how many years you have lived there you will never have a side of the story; nothing with which you can hold the full force of the history of a particular place at bay. And so it comes at you directly, right through the softly padding soles of your feet, battering up throughout your body, before unpacking its clamouring store of images in the clear open spaces of your mind. Opening out at last; out, out, out And shimmered across the pale expanse of a flat defenceless sky. All the names mean nothing to you, and your name means nothing to them.
Claire-Louise Bennett (Pond)
Atheist, homosexual, eccentric, marathon-running English mathematician, A. M. Turing was in large part responsible not only for the concept of computers, incisive theorems about their powers, and a clear vision of the possibility of computer minds, but also for the cracking of German ciphers during the Second World War.
Andrew Hodges (Alan Turing: The Enigma)
I never knew I never knew that everything was falling through That everyone I knew was waiting on a cue To turn and run when all I needed was the truth But that's how it's got to be It's coming down to nothing more than apathy I'd rather run the other way than stay and see The smoke and who's still standing when it clears Everyone knows I'm in Over my head Over my head With eight seconds left in overtime She's on your mind She's on your mind Let's rearrange I wish you were a stranger I could disengage Just say that we agree and then never change Soften a bit until we all just get along But that's disregard Find another friend and you discard As you lose the argument in a cable car Hanging above as the canyon comes between Everyone knows I'm in Over my head Over my head With eight seconds left in overtime She's on your mind She's on your mind Everyone knows I'm in Over my head Over my head With eight seconds left in overtime She's on your mind She's on your ... And suddenly I become a part of your past I'm becoming the part that don't last I'm losing you and its effortless Without a sound we lose sight of the ground In the throw around Never thought that you wanted to bring it down I won't let it go down till we torch it ourselves And everyone knows I'm in Over my head Over my head With eight seconds left in overtime She's on your mind She's on your mind Everyone knows She's on your mind Everyone knows I'm in over my head I'm in over my head I'm over my... Everyone knows I'm in Over my head Over my head With eight seconds left in overtime She's on your mind She's on your mind.
The Fray
We can walk our road together if our goals are all the same. We can run alone and free if we pursue a different aim. Let the truth of Love be lighted. Let the love of truth shine clear. Sensibility armed with sense and liberty with the Heart and Mind united in a single perfect sphere.
Neil Peart
Every now and then there may be snags, you may run yourself ragged, and sometimes you may be wary of what may come about, but when you open your mind's eye to what you really want in life, there is a clear path to your hearts desires.
Kenneth G. Ortiz
Five boys, playing in the woods one winter day, decided to see who could make the straightest set of tracks in the snow. They were very careful to put one foot directly in front of the other, but when they had crossed the clearing, one track was curved, one was crooked, and two were almost zigzag. Only one boy had a straight track. When they asked him how he did it, he replied that he had not looked at his feet; he had picked out a tree across the clearing and had walked straight toward it. If we are to leave a straight track in our daily walk, we must not have our minds centered on ourselves. We must fix our gaze upon the Lord Jesus Christ. We are to “run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus…
Donald Grey Barnhouse
Meditation begins now, right here. It can't begin someplace else or at some other time. To paraphrase the great Zen master Dogen, "If you want to practice awareness, then practice awareness without delay." If you wish to know a mind that is tranquil and clear, sane and peaceful, you must take it up now. If you wish to free yourself from the frantic television mind that runs our lives, begin with the intention to be present now. Nobody can bring awareness to your life but you. Meditation is not a self-help program--a way to better ourselves so we can get what we want. Nor is it a way to relax before jumping back into busyness. It's not something to do once in awhile, either, whenever you happen to feel like it. Instead, meditation is a practice that saturates your life and in time can be brought into every activity. It is the transformation of mind from bondage to freedom. In practicing meditation, we go nowhere other than right here where we now stand, where we now sit, where we now live and breathe. In meditation we return to where we already are--this shifting, changing ever-present now. If you wish to take up meditation, it must be now or never.
Steve Hagen (Meditation Now or Never)
To the extent that you actually realize that you are not, for example, your anxieties, then your anxieties no longer threaten you. Even if anxiety is present, it no longer overwhelms you because you are no longer exclusively tied to it. You are no longer courting it, fighting it, resisting it, or running from it. In the most radical fashion, anxiety is thoroughly accepted as it is and allowed to move as it will. You have nothing to lose, nothing to gain, by its presence or absence, for you are simply watching it pass by. Thus, any emotion, sensation, thought, memory, or experience that disturbs you is simply one with which you have exclusively identified yourself, and the ultimate resolution of the disturbance is simply to dis-identify with it. You cleanly let all of them drop away by realizing that they are not you--since you can see them, they cannot be the true Seer and Subject. Since they are not your real self, there is no reason whatsoever for you to identify with them, hold on to them, or allow your self to be bound by them. Slowly, gently, as you pursue this dis-identification "therapy," you may find that your entire individual self (persona, ego, centaur), which heretofore you have fought to defend and protect, begins to go transparent and drop away. Not that it literally falls off and you find yourself floating, disembodied, through space. Rather, you begin to feel that what happens to your personal self—your wishes, hopes, desires, hurts—is not a matter of life-or-death seriousness, because there is within you a deeper and more basic self which is not touched by these peripheral fluctuations, these surface waves of grand commotion but feeble substance. Thus, your personal mind-and-body may be in pain, or humiliation, or fear, but as long as you abide as the witness of these affairs, as if from on high, they no longer threaten you, and thus you are no longer moved to manipulate them, wrestle with them, or subdue them. Because you are willing to witness them, to look at them impartially, you are able to transcend them. As St. Thomas put it, "Whatever knows certain things cannot have any of them in its own nature." Thus, if the eye were colored red, it wouldn't be able to perceive red objects. It can see red because it is clear, or "redless." Likewise, if we can but watch or witness our distresses, we prove ourselves thereby to be "distress-less," free of the witnessed turmoil. That within which feels pain is itself pain-less; that which feels fear is fear-less; that which perceives tension is tensionless. To witness these states is to transcend them. They no longer seize you from behind because you look at them up front.
Ken Wilber (No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth)
I want you all to know,” Skulduggery said, “that we are the first line of defence. In fact, we’re practically the only line of defence. If we fail, there won’t be a whole lot anyone else will be able to do. What I’m trying to say is that failure at this point isn’t really the smart move to make. We are not to fail, do I make myself absolutely clear? Failure is bad, it won’t help us in the short term and certainly won’t do us any favours in the long run, and I think I’ve lost track of this speech, and I’m not too sure where it’s headed. But I know where it started and that’s what you’ve got to keep in mind. Where’s my hat?
Derek Landy (Playing with Fire (Skulduggery Pleasant, #2))
There were some thoughts—such as a memory of running under the pouring rain, and how it felt—that I couldn’t even begin to put into words…Yet their image was clear in my mind.
Orhan Pamuk (The Red-Haired Woman)
There’s very little that worrying can do to help our situations. Worrying is like running on a treadmill…it gives us an opportunity to sweat but gets us absolutely nowhere. Worrying skews our reality, suppresses the immune system, promotes coronary disease, and plagues us with digestive problems. It’s clear…when the soul is heavy the body feels the weight. Do yourself a favor. Lighten up. Take a deep breath, clear your mind and focus your energy on the things you can change rather than on the things you can’t. Worry is the enemy of optimism and personal progress. progress.
Jason Versey (A Walk with Prudence)
Imagine a peaceful river running through the countryside. That’s your river of well-being. Whenever you’re in the water, peacefully floating along in your canoe, you feel like you’re generally in a good relationship with the world around you. You have a clear understanding of yourself, other people, and your life. You can be flexible and adjust when situations change. You’re stable and at peace. Sometimes, though, as you float along, you veer too close to one of the river’s two banks. This causes different problems, depending on which bank you approach. One bank represents chaos, where you feel out of control. Instead of floating in the peaceful river, you are caught up in the pull of tumultuous rapids, and confusion and turmoil rule the day. You need to move away from the bank of chaos and get back into the gentle flow of the river. But don’t go too far, because the other bank presents its own dangers. It’s the bank of rigidity, which is the opposite of chaos. As opposed to being out of control, rigidity is when you are imposing control on everything and everyone around you. You become completely unwilling to adapt, compromise, or negotiate. Near the bank of rigidity, the water smells stagnant, and reeds and tree branches prevent your canoe from flowing in the river of well-being. So one extreme is chaos, where there’s a total lack of control. The other extreme is rigidity, where there’s too much control, leading to a lack of flexibility and adaptability. We all move back and forth between these two banks as we go through our days—especially as we’re trying to survive parenting. When we’re closest to the banks of chaos or rigidity, we’re farthest from mental and emotional health. The longer we can avoid either bank, the more time we spend enjoying the river of well-being. Much of our lives as adults can be seen as moving along these paths—sometimes in the harmony of the flow of well-being, but sometimes in chaos, in rigidity, or zigzagging back and forth between the two. Harmony emerges from integration. Chaos and rigidity arise when integration is blocked.
Daniel J. Siegel (The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind)
Something as simple and ordinary as drinking a cup of tea can bring us great joy and help us feel our connection to the Earth. The way we drink our tea can transform our lives if we truly devote our attention to it. Sometimes we hurry through our daily tasks, looking forward to the time when we can stop and have a cup of tea. But then when we’re finally sitting with the cup in our hands, our mind is still running off into the future and we can’t enjoy what we’re doing; we lose the pleasure of drinking our tea. We need to keep our awareness alive and value each moment of our daily life. We may think our other tasks are less pleasant than drinking tea. But if we do them with awareness, we may find that they’re actually very enjoyable. Drinking a cup of tea is a pleasure we can give ourselves every day. To enjoy our tea, we have to be fully present and know clearly and deeply that we are drinking tea. When you lift your cup, you may like to breathe in the aroma. Looking deeply into your tea, you see that you are drinking fragrant plants that are the gift of Mother Earth. You see the labor of the tea pickers; you see the luscious tea fields and plantations in Sri Lanka, China, and Vietnam. You know that you are drinking a cloud; you are drinking the rain. The tea contains the whole universe.
Thich Nhat Hanh (How to Eat (Mindfulness Essentials, #2))
Humans have always exalted dreams. Pindar of Thebes, the Greek lyric poet, suggested that the soul is more active while dreaming than while awake. He believed that during a dream, the awakened soul may see the future, “an award of joy or sorrow drawing near.” So it’s no wonder that humans were quick to reserve dreams for people alone; researchers for many years claimed dreams were a property of “higher” minds. But any pet owner who has heard her dog woof or seen his cat twitch during sleep knows that is not true. MIT researchers now know not only that rats dream, but what they dream about. Neurons in the brain fire in distinctive patterns while a rat in a maze performs particular tasks. The researchers repeatedly saw the exact same patterns reproduced while the rats slept—so clearly that they could tell what point in the maze the rat was dreaming about, and whether the animal was running or walking in the dream. The rats’ dreams took place in an area of the brain known to be involved with memory, further supporting a notion that one function of dreams is to help an animal remember what it has learned.
Sy Montgomery (The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness)
Junko: That sort of thing happens all the time. You get drunk on your own "correctness," and the more stubborn you get, the further happiness flies away from you. It's a bitter pill to swallow. Madoka: I wonder if there's any way I can help... Junko: Even good advice from others won't bring any clear solutions to someone in that frame of mind. ...Even so, you want to find a solution? Then go ahead and screw up. If she's being too correct, then somebody should make mistakes for her. Madoka: I should screw up...? Junko: Yep! Tell a really bad lie. Run away in the face of something scary. She may not understand what you're trying to do at first, but there are times when you realize in hindsight that a mistake was the right thing to do... During those times when you're just stuck for an answer, making a mistake is one method of unsticking yourself. Madoka, you've grown up to be a good kid. You don't tell lies, and you don't do bad things. You're a girl who works hard at what she thinks is right. You get an "A" as a child. So before you become an adult, you have to start practicing falling down. You see, we adults have our pride and responsibilities, so it becomes harder and harder to make mistakes.
Magica Quartet (Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Vol. 2 (Puella Magi Madoka Magica, #2))
There are readings—of the same text—that are dutiful, readings that map and dissect, readings that hear a rustling of unheard sounds, that count grey little pronouns for pleasure or instruction and for a time do not hear golden or apples. There are personal readings, which snatch for personal meanings, I am full of love, or disgust, or fear, I scan for love, or disgust, or fear. There are—believe it—impersonal readings—where the mind's eye sees the lines move onwards and the mind's ear hears them sing and sing. Now and then there are readings that make the hairs on the neck, the non-existent pelt, stand on end and tremble, when every word burns and shines hard and clear and infinite and exact, like stones of fire, like points of stars in the dark—readings when the knowledge that we shall know the writing differently or better or satisfactorily, runs ahead of any capacity to say what we know, or how. In these readings, a sense that the text has appeared to be wholly new, never before seen, is followed, almost immediately, by the sense that it was always there, that we the readers knew it was always there, and have always known it was as it was, though we have now for the first time recognised, become fully cognisant of, our knowledge.
A.S. Byatt (Possession)
We can’t let him win. Even if it takes fifty years, or a hundred. You can’t let the bad guys win. It’s not acceptable.” For Hodda, life is drama. It falls into a set number of clearly defined categories: tragedy, comedy, romance, burlesque, farce. If it’s a comedy, the good guys win and everybody gets married. If it’s a tragedy, the good guys win but everybody dies. But you can’t let the bad guys win. Nobody’s going to pay to see that. Me, I don’t care about the bad guys, so long as they keep the hell away from me. When they get too close, in my face, I tell lies and run away. That means I’ll never be a hero, but I don’t mind that. I do character parts and impersonations.
K.J. Parker (How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It (The Siege, #2))
I’ve noticed a paradox in great scientists and superforecasters: the reason they’re so comfortable being wrong is that they’re terrified of being wrong. What sets them apart is the time horizon. They’re determined to reach the correct answer in the long run, and they know that means they have to be open to stumbling, backtracking, and rerouting in the short run. They shun rose-colored glasses in favor of a sturdy mirror. The fear of missing the mark next year is a powerful motivator to get a crystal-clear view of last year’s mistakes. “People who are right a lot listen a lot, and they change their mind a lot,” Jeff Bezos says. “If you don’t change your mind frequently, you’re going to be wrong a lot.
Adam M. Grant (Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know)
Women don't always want the right things in a man. And men don't have even an idea of what they want," she said. "Why, one minute their bodies tell them they want a wild woman that makes their blood rush. The next minute their good sense reminds them that they need a hard worker who is sturdy enough to help plow the field and birth the babies. They want a woman who'll mind their word and not be giving no jawing. But they also want a gal they can complain to when they are scared and unsure and who's smart enough to talk clear about the things goin' on." "So the wife has to be all those things?" "No, the wife is none of them," the old woman answered. "The wife is a wife and no further definition is necessary." Granny leaned forward in her chair to look more closely at Meggie. "Roe Farley married you and you were his wife. Nothing further even need to be said." Her face flushing with embarrassment, she glanced away. "But he doesn't... he didn't love me." "And did you think he would?" Momentarily Meggie was taken aback. "Well, yes." "Lord Almighty, child," Granny said. "Love ain't something that heaven hands out like good teeth or keen eyesight. Love is something two people make together." Shaking her head, the old woman leaned back in her chair once more and tapped on her pipe. "Love, oh, my, it starts out simple and scary with all that heavy breathing and in the bed sharing," she said. "You a-trembling when he runs his hands acrost your skin, him screaming out your name when he gets in the short rows. That's the easy part, Meggie. Every day thereafter it gets harder. The more you know him, the more he knows you, the longer you are a part of each other, the stronger the love is and the tougher it is to have it.
Pamela Morsi (Marrying Stone (Tales from Marrying Stone, #1))
I can do anything I believe I can do! I’ve got it, and every day I get more of it. I have talent, skills, and ability. I set goals and I reach them. I know what I want out of life. I go after it and I get it. People like me, and I feel good about myself. I have a sense of pride in who I am, and I believe in myself. Nothing seems to stop me. I have a lot of determination. I turn problems into advantages. I find possibilities in things that other people never give a chance. I have a lot of energy—I am very alive! I enjoy life and I can tell it and so can others. I keep myself up, looking ahead, and liking it. I know that I can accomplish anything I choose, and I refuse to let anything negative hold me back or stand in my way. I am not afraid of anything or anyone. I have strength, power, conviction, and confidence! I like challenges and I meet them head on, face to face—today especially! I am on top of the world and I’m going for it. I have a clear picture in my mind of what I want. I can see it in front of me. I know what I want and I know how to get it. I know that it’s all up to me and I know I can do it. Roadblocks don’t bother me. They just mean that I am alive and running, and I’m not going to stand still for anything. I trust myself I’ve got what it takes—plenty of it—and I know how to use it. Today, more than ever. Today I am unstoppable! I’ve got myself together and I’m getting more together every day. And today—look out world, here I come! Limitations? I don’t even recognize them as limitations. There is no challenge I can’t conquer; there is no wall I can’t climb over. There is no problem I can’t defeat, or turn around and make it work for me. I stand tall! I am honest and sincere. I like to deal with people and they like me. I think well; I think clearly. I am organized; I am in control of myself, and everything about me. I call my shots, and no one has to call them for me. I never blame anyone else for the circumstances of my life. I accept my failings and move past them as easily as I accept the rewards for my victories. I never demand perfection of myself, but I expect the very best of what I have to give—and that’s what I get! I never give myself excuses. I get things done on time and in the right way. Today I have the inner strength to do more than ever. I am an exceptional human being. My goals and my incredible belief in myself turn my goals into reality. I have the power to live my dreams. I believe in them like I believe in myself. And that belief is so strong that there is nothing that diminishes my undefeatable spirit.
Shad Helmstetter (What To Say When You Talk To Your Self)
Problem #3: Goals restrict your happiness. The implicit assumption behind any goal is this: “Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy.” The problem with a goals-first mentality is that you’re continually putting happiness off until the next milestone. I’ve slipped into this trap so many times I’ve lost count. For years, happiness was always something for my future self to enjoy. I promised myself that once I gained twenty pounds of muscle or after my business was featured in the New York Times, then I could finally relax. Furthermore, goals create an “either-or” conflict: either you achieve your goal and are successful or you fail and you are a disappointment. You mentally box yourself into a narrow version of happiness. This is misguided. It is unlikely that your actual path through life will match the exact journey you had in mind when you set out. It makes no sense to restrict your satisfaction to one scenario when there are many paths to success. A systems-first mentality provides the antidote. When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy. You can be satisfied anytime your system is running. And a system can be successful in many different forms, not just the one you first envision.
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones)
Making these choices [to attend school instead of skipping], as it turned out, wasn't about willpower. I always admired people who “willed” themselves to do something, because I have never felt I was one of them. If sheer will were enough by itself, it would have been enough a long time ago, back on University Avenue, I figured. It wasn't, not for me anyway. Instead, I needed something to motivate me. I needed a few things that I could think about in my moments of weakness that would cause me to throw off the blanket and walk through the front door. More than will, I needed something to inspire me. One thing that helped was a picture I kept in mind, this image that I used over and over whenever I was faced with these daily choices. I pictured a runner running on a racetrack. The image was set in the summertime and the racetrack was a reddish orange, divided in white racing stripes to flag the runners’ columns. Only, the runner in my mental image did not run alongside others; she ran solo, with no one watching her. And she did not run a free and clear track, she ran one that required her to jump numerous hurdles, which made her break into a heavy sweat under the sun. I used this image every time I thought of things that frustrated me: the heavy books, my crazy sleep schedule, the question of where I would sleep and what I would eat. To overcome these issues I pictured my runner bolting down the track, jumping hurdles toward the finish line. Hunger, hurdle. Finding sleep, hurdle, schoolwork, hurdle. If I closed my eyes I could see the runner’s back, the movement of her sinewy muscles, glistening with sweat, bounding over the hurdles, one by one. On mornings when I did not want to get out of bed, I saw another hurdle to leap over. This way, obstacles became a natural part of the course, an indication that I was right where I needed to be, running the track, which was entirely different from letting obstacles make me believe I was off it. On a racing track, why wouldn't there be hurdles? With this picture in mind—using the hurdles to leap forward toward my diploma—I shrugged the blanket off, went through the door, and got myself to school.
Liz Murray (Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival, and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard)
Whenever I run up against what's called "instinct," I feel like I want to cry. As I begin to realize from various experiences in my life just how enormous our instincts are and how powerless we are against the force that drives us, sometimes I think I might lose my mind. I become distracted, wondering what I should to do. There is no way to resist or accept the force; it simply feels as if some huge thing has blanketed me whole, from the top of my head, so that it can now drag me around freely. There is a certain satisfaction in being dragged around, as well as a separate sad feeling as I watch it happen. Why is it that we cannot be happy with ourself or love only ourself throughout our life? It is pathetic to watch whatever emotions or sense of reason I have acquired up to that point be devoured by instinct. Whenever I let the slightest thing make me forget myself, I can't help but be disappointed. The clear confirmation that that self—me, that is—is also ruled by instinct makes me think I could cry. It makes me want to call out for Mother and Father. But even more pathetic is that—to my surprise—the truth could be found in aspects of myself that I don't like.
Osamu Dazai (Schoolgirl)
Yeah, they told us that time flies, didn't know what it means Now I feel like we just running around tryna Catch it and hoping to cut up its wings But that ain't gon' happen Joy, when was the last time we had it? I don't remember 'cause all that we do Is go backwards but that's what you get When you live in the past And I know we breathing but we not alive Really, is this the way we wanna die? 'Til you got everything bottled inside If only they knew what goes on in our minds I know what you thinking so don't try to hide Why do you look at me like you surprised? If you really mean what you write in these lines Why don't you fix it? 'Cause I'm getting tired Yeah, I can no longer do this Ever since you fell in love with the music See, you find a way to express what you feel But the moment that you get away from the mic You don't know what you doing Is it clear to you yet? I don't know what's going on in your head But eventually, you'll have to deal with the things That you talk about yeah, but I guess until then, we're lost
Nathan Feuerstein (NF)
What I’m trying to say is that failure at this point isn’t really the smart move to make. We are not to fail, do I make myself absolutely clear? Failure is bad, it won’t help us in the short term and certainly won’t do us any favours in the long run, and I think I’ve lost track of this speech, and I’m not too sure where it’s headed. But I know where it started and that’s what you’ve got to keep in mind. Has anyone seen my hat?” “You
Derek Landy (Playing with Fire (Skulduggery Pleasant, #2))
I had recently read to my dismay that they have started hunting moose again in New England. Goodness knows why anyone would want to shoot an animal as harmless and retiring as the moose, but thousands of people do—so many, in fact, that states now hold lotteries to decide who gets a permit. Maine in 1996 received 82,000 applications for just 1,500 permits. Over 12,000 outof-staters happily parted with a nonrefundable $20 just to be allowed to take part in the draw. Hunters will tell you that a moose is a wily and ferocious forest creature. Nonsense. A moose is a cow drawn by a three-year-old. That’s all there is to it. Without doubt, the moose is the most improbable, endearingly hopeless creature ever to live in the wilds. Every bit of it—its spindly legs, its chronically puzzled expression, its comical oven-mitt antlers—looks like some droll evolutionary joke. It is wondrously ungainly: it runs as if its legs have never been introduced to each other. Above all, what distinguishes the moose is its almost boundless lack of intelligence. If you are driving down a highway and a moose steps from the woods ahead of you, he will stare at you for a long minute (moose are notoriously shortsighted), then abruptly try to run away from you, legs flailing in eight directions at once. Never mind that there are several thousand square miles of forest on either side of the highway. The moose does not think of this. Clueless as to what exactly is going on, he runs halfway to New Brunswick before his peculiar gait inadvertently steers him back into the woods, where he immediately stops and takes on a startled expression that says, “Hey—woods. Now how the heck did I get here?” Moose are so monumentally muddle-headed, in fact, that when they hear a car or truck approaching they will often bolt out of the woods and onto the highway in the curious hope that this will bring them to safety. Amazingly, given the moose’s lack of cunning and peculiarly-blunted survival instincts, it is one of the longest-surviving creatures in North America. Mastodons, saber-toothed tigers, wolves, caribou, wild horses, and even camels all once thrived in eastern North America alongside the moose but gradually stumbled into extinction, while the moose just plodded on. It hasn’t always been so. At the turn of this century, it was estimated that there were no more than a dozen moose in New Hampshire and probably none at all in Vermont. Today New Hampshire has an estimated 5,000 moose, Vermont 1,000, and Maine anywhere up to 30,000. It is because of these robust and growing numbers that hunting has been reintroduced as a way of keeping them from getting out of hand. There are, however, two problems with this that I can think of. First, the numbers are really just guesses. Moose clearly don’t line up for censuses. Some naturalists think the population may have been overstated by as much as 20 percent, which means that the moose aren’t being so much culled as slaughtered. No less pertinent is that there is just something deeply and unquestionably wrong about killing an animal that is so sweetly and dopily unassuming as a moose. I could have slain this one with a slingshot, with a rock or stick—with a folded newspaper, I’d almost bet—and all it wanted was a drink of water. You might as well hunt cows.
Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail)
I want to see him clearly again with the help of these notes, these scraps of memory, which are meant to clarify and recall to mind not only the hopeless situation of my friend but also my own hopelessness at the time, for just as Paul’s life had once again run into an impasse, so mine too had run into an impasse, or rather been driven into one. I am bound to say that, like Paul, I had once more overstated and overrated my existence, that I had exploited it to excess.
Thomas Bernhard (Wittgenstein's Nephew: A Novel)
Let’s imagine a running washing machine. Let’s imagine the dirty clothes in the machine and how the liquid detergent is getting the dirt out of clothes and draining it to the waste outlet. Now imagine brain surrounded by a large pool of cleaning fluid called CSF (cerebrospinal fluid). Imagine CSF pulling the wastes from inside the brain and draining it into the blood, which routes it to the waste outlets. CSF clears waste many times faster in sleeping brain than in the waking brain.
Pawan Mishra
I don't think we have ever had real democracy in this country. Anyone who studies adoption of the constitution will understand quite clearly that; democracy - as we understand that on today; was the last thing the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the constitution ....it was: to establish strong central authority responding the elitist interests in United States. That's private property. And those men who wrote the constitution were representatives of the elites. They were the lawyers, bankers, merchants, the land owners, slave owners and so forth. And they write the constitution for their own private interest$. That is how government has served ever since. And that is why we have so little democracy in United States.
Philip Agee (CIA Off Campus: Building the Movement Against Agency Recruitment and Research)
What matters is the character of...stereotypes, and the gullibility with which we employ them. And these in the end depend upon...our philosophy of life. If in that philosophy we assume that the world is codified according to a code which we possess, we are likely to make our reports of what is going on describe a world run by our code. But if our philosophy tells us that each man is only a small part of the world, that his intelligence catches at best only phases and aspects in a coarse net of ideas, then, when we use our stereotypes, we tend to know that they are only stereotypes, to hold them lightly, to modify them gladly. We tend, also, to realize more and more clearly when our ideas started, where they started, how they came to us, why we accepted them. All useful history is antiseptic in this fashion. It enables us to know what fairy tale, what school book, what tradition, what novel, play, picture, phrase, planted one preconception in this mind, another in that mind.
Walter Lippmann (Public Opinion)
Fear brings your mind to the edge of insanity, where everything is so frighteningly crystal clear you can take in every little thing that’s happening around you. Your body runs purely on adrenaline, with not a drop of blood pumping through your veins.
Michelle Horst (Wake Me Up (Tainted Ink, #1))
Running alone can allow you to hit the mute button on the world... and take full advantage of exercise's stress-busting benefits. 'Running alone can be a meditative experience where you get to really think and concentrate or completely clear your mind and zone out,' a psychotherapist Michelle Maidenberg says, ... 'You have to practise letting go of the inner chatter that can get in the way of what you want to accomplish,' sports psychologist Cindra Kamphoff says, 'And that's something you have to do on your own.
Sara Maitland (How to Be Alone (The School of Life))
BOWLS OF FOOD Moon and evening star do their slow tambourine dance to praise this universe. The purpose of every gathering is discovered: to recognize beauty and love what’s beautiful. “Once it was like that, now it’s like this,” the saying goes around town, and serious consequences too. Men and women turn their faces to the wall in grief. They lose appetite. Then they start eating the fire of pleasure, as camels chew pungent grass for the sake of their souls. Winter blocks the road. Flowers are taken prisoner underground. Then green justice tenders a spear. Go outside to the orchard. These visitors came a long way, past all the houses of the zodiac, learning Something new at each stop. And they’re here for such a short time, sitting at these tables set on the prow of the wind. Bowls of food are brought out as answers, but still no one knows the answer. Food for the soul stays secret. Body food gets put out in the open like us. Those who work at a bakery don’t know the taste of bread like the hungry beggars do. Because the beloved wants to know, unseen things become manifest. Hiding is the hidden purpose of creation: bury your seed and wait. After you die, All the thoughts you had will throng around like children. The heart is the secret inside the secret. Call the secret language, and never be sure what you conceal. It’s unsure people who get the blessing. Climbing cypress, opening rose, Nightingale song, fruit, these are inside the chill November wind. They are its secret. We climb and fall so often. Plants have an inner Being, and separate ways of talking and feeling. An ear of corn bends in thought. Tulip, so embarrassed. Pink rose deciding to open a competing store. A bunch of grapes sits with its feet stuck out. Narcissus gossiping about iris. Willow, what do you learn from running water? Humility. Red apple, what has the Friend taught you? To be sour. Peach tree, why so low? To let you reach. Look at the poplar, tall but without fruit or flower. Yes, if I had those, I’d be self-absorbed like you. I gave up self to watch the enlightened ones. Pomegranate questions quince, Why so pale? For the pearl you hid inside me. How did you discover my secret? Your laugh. The core of the seen and unseen universes smiles, but remember, smiles come best from those who weep. Lightning, then the rain-laughter. Dark earth receives that clear and grows a trunk. Melon and cucumber come dragging along on pilgrimage. You have to be to be blessed! Pumpkin begins climbing a rope! Where did he learn that? Grass, thorns, a hundred thousand ants and snakes, everything is looking for food. Don’t you hear the noise? Every herb cures some illness. Camels delight to eat thorns. We prefer the inside of a walnut, not the shell. The inside of an egg, the outside of a date. What about your inside and outside? The same way a branch draws water up many feet, God is pulling your soul along. Wind carries pollen from blossom to ground. Wings and Arabian stallions gallop toward the warmth of spring. They visit; they sing and tell what they think they know: so-and-so will travel to such-and-such. The hoopoe carries a letter to Solomon. The wise stork says lek-lek. Please translate. It’s time to go to the high plain, to leave the winter house. Be your own watchman as birds are. Let the remembering beads encircle you. I make promises to myself and break them. Words are coins: the vein of ore and the mine shaft, what they speak of. Now consider the sun. It’s neither oriental nor occidental. Only the soul knows what love is. This moment in time and space is an eggshell with an embryo crumpled inside, soaked in belief-yolk, under the wing of grace, until it breaks free of mind to become the song of an actual bird, and God.
Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad ar-Rumi) (The Soul of Rumi: A New Collection of Ecstatic Poems)
Our lives are in constant flux, which generates many predicaments. But when these are faced with a calm and clear mind supported by spiritual practice, they can all be successfully resolved. When our minds are clouded by hatred, selfishness, jealousy, and anger, we lose not only control but also our judgment. At those wild moments, anything can happen, including war. Although the practice of compassion and wisdom is useful to us all, it is especially valuable for those responsible for running national affairs, in whose hands lie the power and opportunity to create a framework for world peace.
Dalai Lama XIV
In Tibet, we have a traditional image, the windhorse, which represents a balanced relationship between the wind and the mind. The horse represents wind and movement. On its saddle rides a precious jewel. That jewel is our mind. A jewel is a stone that is clear and reflects light. There is a solid, earthly element to it. You can pick it up in your hand, and at the same time you can see through it. These qualities represent the mind: it is both tangible and translucent. The mind is capable of the highest wisdom. It can experience love and compassion, as well as anger. It can understand history, philosophy, and mathematics—and also remember what’s on the grocery list. The mind is truly like a wish-fulfilling jewel. With an untrained mind, the thought process is said to be like a wild and blind horse: erratic and out of control. We experience the mind as moving all the time—suddenly darting off, thinking about one thing and another, being happy, being sad. If we haven’t trained our mind, the wild horse takes us wherever it wants to go. It’s not carrying a jewel on its back—it’s carrying an impaired rider. The horse itself is crazy, so it is quite a bizarre scene. By observing our own mind in meditation, we can see this dynamic at work. Especially in the beginning stages of meditation, we find it extremely challenging to control our mind. Even if we wish to control it, we have very little power to do so, like the infirm rider. We want to focus on the breathing, but the mind keeps darting off unexpectedly. That is the wild horse. The process of meditation is taming the horse so that it is in our control, while making the mind an expert rider.
Sakyong Mipham (Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind)
I immersed myself in my relationship with my husband, in little ways at first. Dutch would come home from his morning workout and I’d bring him coffee as he stepped out of the shower. He’d slip into a crisp white shirt and dark slacks and run a little goop through his hair, and I’d eye him in the mirror with desire and a sultry smile that he couldn’t miss. He’d head to work and I’d put a love note in his bag—just a line about how proud I was of him. How beautiful he was. How happy I was as his wife. He’d come home and cook dinner and instead of camping out in front of the TV while he fussed in the kitchen, I’d keep him company at the kitchen table and we’d talk about our days, about our future, about whatever came to mind. After dinner, he’d clear the table and I’d do the dishes, making sure to compliment him on the meal. On those weekends when he’d head outside to mow the lawn, I’d bring him an ice-cold beer. And, in those times when Dutch was in the mood and maybe I wasn’t, well, I got in the mood and we had fun. As the weeks passed and I kept discovering little ways to open myself up to him, the most amazing thing happened. I found myself falling madly, deeply, passionately, head-over-heels in love with my husband. I’d loved him as much as I thought I could love anybody before I’d married him, but in treating him like my own personal Superman, I discovered how much of a superhero he actually was. How giving he was. How generous. How kind, caring, and considerate. How passionate. How loving. How genuinely good. And whatever wounds had never fully healed from my childhood finally, at long last, formed scar tissue. It was like being able to take a full breath of air for the first time in my life. It was transformative. And it likely would save our marriage, because, at some point, all that withholding would’ve turned a loving man bitter. On some level I think I’d known that and yet I’d needed my sister to point it out to me and help me change. Sometimes it’s good to have people in your life that know you better than you know yourself.
Victoria Laurie (Sense of Deception (Psychic Eye Mystery, #13))
I had never been so close to death before. For a long time, as I lay there trying to clear my mind, I couldn't think coherently at all, conscious only of a terrible, blind bitterness. Why had they singled me out? Didn't they understand? Had everything I'd gone through on their behalf been utterly in vain? Did it really count for nothing? What had happened to logic, meaning and sense? But I feel much calmer now. It helps to discipline oneself like this, writing it down to see it set out on paper, to try and weigh it and find some significance in it. Prof Bruwer: There are only two kinds of madness one should guard against, Ben. One is the belief that we can do everything. The other is the belief that we can do nothing. I wanted to help. Right. I meant it very sincerely. But I wanted to do it on my terms. And I am white, and they are black. I thought it was still possible to reach beyond our whiteness and blackness. I thought that to reach out and touch hands across the gulf would be sufficient in itself. But I grasped so little, really: as if good intentions from my side could solve it all. It was presumptuous of me. In an ordinary world, in a natural one, I might have succeeded. But not in this deranged, divided age. I can do all I can for Gordon or scores of others who have come to me; I can imagine myself in their shoes, I can project myself into their suffering. But I cannot, ever, live their lives for them. So what else could come of it but failure? Whether I like it or not, whether I feel like cursing my own condition or not -- and that would only serve to confirm my impotence -- I am white. This is the small, final, terrifying truth of my broken world. I am white. And because I am white I am born into a state of privilege. Even if I fight the system that has reduced us to this I remain white, and favored by the very circumstances I abhor. Even if I'm hated, and ostracized, and persecuted, and in the end destroyed, nothing can make me black. And so those who are cannot but remain suspicious of me. In their eyes my very efforts to identify myself with Gordon, whit all the Gordons, would be obscene. Every gesture I make, every act I commit in my efforts to help them makes it more difficult for them to define their real needs and discover for themselves their integrity and affirm their own dignity. How else could we hope to arrive beyond predator and prey, helper and helped, white and black, and find redemption? On the other hand: what can I do but what I have done? I cannot choose not to intervene: that would be a denial and a mockery not only of everything I believe in, but of the hope that compassion may survive among men. By not acting as I did I would deny the very possibility of that gulf to be bridged. If I act, I cannot but lose. But if I do not act, it is a different kind of defeat, equally decisive and maybe worse. Because then I will not even have a conscience left. The end seems ineluctable: failure, defeat, loss. The only choice I have left is whether I am prepared to salvage a little honour, a little decency, a little humanity -- or nothing. It seems as if a sacrifice is impossible to avoid, whatever way one looks at it. But at least one has the choice between a wholly futile sacrifice and one that might, in the long run, open up a possibility, however negligible or dubious, of something better, less sordid and more noble, for our children… They live on. We, the fathers, have lost.
André P. Brink (A Dry White Season)
it bubbled over and round stones. He saw birds come and dip their heads to drink in it and then flick their wings and fly away. It seemed like a thing alive and yet its tiny voice made the stillness seem deeper. The valley was very, very still. As he sat gazing into the clear running of the water, Archibald Craven gradually felt his mind and body both grow quiet, as quiet as the valley itself. He wondered if he were going to sleep, but he was not. He sat and gazed at the sunlit water and his eyes began to see things growing at its edge. There was one lovely mass of blue forget-me-nots growing so close to the stream that its leaves were wet and at these he found himself looking as he remembered he had looked at such things years ago. He
Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden)
Well,” I said, trying to keep my tone light as I walked over to put my arms around his neck, though I had to stand on my toes to do so. “That wasn’t so bad, was it? You told me something about yourself that I didn’t know before-that you didn’t, er, care for your family, except for your mother. But that didn’t make me hate you…it made me love you a bit more, because now I know we have even more in common.” He stared down at him, a wary look in his eyes. “If you knew the truth,” he said, “you wouldn’t be saying that. You’d be running.” “Where would I go?” I asked, with a laugh I hoped didn’t sound as nervous to him as it did to me. “You bolted all the doors, remember? Now, since you shared something I didn’t know about you, may I share something you don’t know about me?” Those dark eyebrows rose as he pulled me close. “I can’t even begin to imagine what this could be.” “It’s just,” I said, “that I’m a little worried about rushing into this consort thing…especially the cohabitation part.” “Cohabitation?” he echoed. He was clearly unfamiliar with the word. “Cohabitation means living together,” I explained, feeling my cheeks heat up. “Like married people.” “You said last night that these days no one your age thinks of getting married,” he said, holding me even closer and suddenly looking much more eager to stick around for the conversation, even though I heard the marina horn blow again. “And that your father would never approve it. But if you’ve changed your mind, I’m sure I could convince Mr. Smith to perform the ceremony-“ “No,” I said hastily. Of course Mr. Smith was somehow authorized to marry people in the state of Florida. Why not? I decided not to think about that right now, or how John had come across this piece of information. “That isn’t what I meant. My mom would kill me if I got married before I graduated from high school.” Not, of course, that my mom was going to know about any of this. Which was probably just as well, since her head would explode at the idea of my moving in with a guy before I’d even applied to college, let alone at the fact that I most likely wasn’t going to college. Not that there was any school that would have accepted me with my grades, not to mention my disciplinary record. “What I meant was that maybe we should take it more slowly,” I explained. “The past couple years, while all my friends were going out with boys, I was home, trying to figure out how this necklace you gave me worked. I wasn’t exactly dating.” “Pierce,” he said. He wore a slightly quizzical expression on his face. “Is this the thing you think I didn’t know about you? Because for one thing, I do know it, and for another, I don’t understand why you think I’d have a problem with it.” I’d forgotten he’d been born in the eighteen hundreds, when the only time proper ladies and gentlemen ever spent together before they were married was at heavily chaperoned balls…and that for most of the past two centuries, he’d been hanging out in a cemetery. Did he even know that these days, a lot of people hooked up on first dates, or that the average age at which girls-and boys as well-lost their virginity in the United States was seventeen…my age? Apparently not. “What I’m trying to say,” I said, my cheeks burning brighter, “is that I’m not very experienced with men. So this morning when I woke up and found you in bed beside me, while it was really, super nice-don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it very much-it kind of freaked me out. Because I don’t know if I’m ready for that kind of thing yet.” Or maybe the problem was that I wasn’t prepared for how ready I was…
Meg Cabot (Underworld (Abandon, #2))
ANTHONY: I feel you, Johanna, I feel you Do they think that walls can hide you? Even now I'm at your window I am in the dark beside you, Buried sweetly in your yellow hair, Johanna… SWEENEY TODD: And are you beautiful and pale, With yellow hair, like her I'd want you beautiful and pale, The way I've dreamed you were, Johanna... ANTHONY: Johanna... SWEENEY TODD: And if you're beautiful, what then, With yellow hair, like wheat? I think we shall not meet again — My little dove, my sweet Johanna… ANTHONY: I'll steal you, Johanna… SWEENEY TODD: Goodbye, Johanna. You're gone, and yet you're mine. I'm fine, Johanna, I'm fine! ANTHONY: Johanna… BEGGAR WOMAN: Smoke! Smoke! Sign of the devil! Sign of the devil! City on fire! Witch! Witch! Smell it, sir! An evil smell! Every night at the vespers bell — Smoke that comes from the mouth of hell — City on fire! City on fire! Mischief! Mischief! Mischief... SWEENEY TODD: And if I never hear your voice, My turtledove, my dear, I still have reason to rejoice: The way ahead is clear, Johanna... JOHANNA: I'll marry Anthony Sunday Anthony…Sunday… ANTHONY: I feel you… SWEENEY TODD: And in that darkness when I'm blind With what I can't forget — ANTHONY: Johanna… SWEENEY TODD: It's always morning in my mind, My little lamb, my pet, Johanna… JOHANNA: I knew you'd come for me one day… Come for me…one day… SWEENEY TODD/ANTHONY: You stay, Johanna — Johanna… SWEENEY TODD: The way I've dreamed you are Oh look, Johanna — a star! ANTHONY: Buried sweetly in your yellow hair… SWEENEY TODD: A shooting star! BEGGAR WOMAN: There! There! Somebody, somebody look up there! Didn't I tell you? Smell that air! City on fire! Quick, sir! Run and tell! Warn 'em all of the witch's spell! There it is, there it is, the unholy smell! Tell it to the Beadle and the police as well! Tell 'em! Tell 'em! Help! Fiend! City on fire! City on fire! Mischief! Mischief! Mischief...Fiend . . . Alms…alms...for a miserable woman… SWEENEY TODD: And though I'll think of you, I guess, until the day I die, I think I miss you less and less as every day goes by, Johanna... ANTHONY: Johanna... JOHANNA: With you beside me on Sunday, Married on…Sunday… SWEENEY TODD: And you'd be beautiful and pale, And look too much like her. If only angels could prevail, We'd be the way we were, Johanna... ANTHONY: I feel you...Johanna… JOHANNA'S VOICE: Married on Sunday…married on Sunday ... SWEENEY TODD: Wake up, Johanna! Another bright red day! We learn, Johanna, to say goodbye! ANTHONY: I’ll steal you!
Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)
I’ve been operating according to the idea that it is almost impossible to let go of mental patterns that operate unconsciously and that I have to know such a pattern of thinking first in order to let go of it and abide in my true nature. Leave all those mental habits and patterns alone. The self that is apparently operating, that seems to know these patterns and that would ‘let go of them’ is itself simply one such pattern. These patterns of thinking and feeling have taken their shape, over the years, from the belief that we are a separate self, without our making any particular effort. In just the same way, as our experiential conviction that we are not a limited, located self deepens, so our thoughts, feelings and subsequent behaviour will slowly, effortlessly and naturally realign themselves with this new understanding. In order to know our self we do not need to know the mind. No other knowledge than the knowledge that is present right now in this very moment is required to know our self. What does it mean to know our self? We are our self, so we are too close to our self to be able to know our self as an object. Our simply being our self is as close to knowing our self as we will ever come. We cannot get closer than that. In fact, being our self is the knowing of our self, but it is not the knowing of our self as an object. To say ‘I am’, (in other words to assert that we are present), we must know that ‘I am’. Being and knowing are, in fact, one single non-objective experience. But we do not step outside of our self in order to know our own being. We simply are our self. That being of our self is the knowing of our self. This being/knowing is shining in all experience. This experiential understanding dissolves the idea that our self is not present here and now and that it is not known here and now. And when our desire to know or find ourselves as an object is withdrawn, we discover that our own self was and is present all along, shining quietly in the background, as it were, of all experience. As this becomes obvious we discover that it is not just the background but also the foreground. In other words, it is not just the witness but simultaneously the substance of all experience. Completely relax the desire to find yourself as an object or to change your experience in any way. Relax into this present knowing of your own being. See that it is intimate, familiar and loving. See clearly that it is never not with you. It is shining here in this experience, knowing and loving its own being. It runs throughout all experience, closer than close, intimately one with all experience but untouched by it. As this intimate oneness, it is known as love. In its untouchable-ness it is known as peace and in its fullness it is known as happiness. In its openness and willingness to give itself to any possible shape (including the apparent veiling of its own being), it is known as freedom and, as the substance of all things, it is known as beauty. However, more simply it is known just as ‘I’ or ‘this’. Who Is? Q: All these questions about consciousness
Rupert Spira (Presence: The Intimacy of All Experience)
My friend Wicker once said to be careful what and how you say what you’re really thinking to a woman. After much screwing up in that department with Emma, I’ve learned it’s not what you should hide, but what you say that makes her react the way she does. If I am unable to make myself clear, as I so often do, it’s more likely going to go to pot if I try to explain how I really feel. Instead, I rework in my brain what she needs to hear. I don’t always nail it, but I’m getting better at it. And it’s always the truth even if it isn’t how I see it. Is it deceiving? No. It’s being considerate and aware that she is an emotional creature, and that for some crazy reason, craves my attention. I love to make her happy. My jumbled up mess of a mind isn’t important in the long run if it just confuses her. So I chose words carefully. When something goes right, I use it over and over again. -Ames
Cyndi Goodgame (Yield (Goblin's Kiss Series, # 2))
I stared at the spot where [the ghost of] Warwick's nephew had warned me never to tell anyone what I could do, and then I slid my hand into Jacob's and pulled him close. He slipped his other arm around me and held me. I kissed him, and tried to clear my mind of everything but him and me. I looked deep into his eyes, and tried to determine if I was ready to let him in on the one thing I'd been carrying with me since my first round of psychic testing. He started back at me like a man who'd fallen for me, hard. And that part inside, the one that usually tells me to run, or to shut up, or to play along and myself invisible and hopefully whatever I'm dealing with will just go away? That part of me said, /Yes. Tell him./ "I've got more talent than everyone on their payroll put together," I said. Jacob squeezed me tighter. His eyes never moved from mine. "I'm so far beyond level five it's not even funny
Jordan Castillo Price (Camp Hell (PsyCop, #5))
...you're not the first I've interrupted by mistake. You've not shocked me, and you've not surprised me either." I look up at him too quickly, and my vision swims. He puts a steadying hand on my shoulder. "If you thought I was ignorant as to the nature of your relationship with Mr. Newton, you may need to reexamine your concept of appropriate of physical fondness between friends." I nod, trying to pretend its fine when really my muscles are clenched, and I'm fighting the urge to run. I don't want to have this conversation. I don't know where it's going, but my instincts tell me to scoot away from it. I can feel my shoulders rise, and perhaps he notices for he lets his his hands fall away, and instead, folds them in his lap. Perhaps its only in my own mind, but it feels like a deliberate gesture, as though he's putting his hands away to show he won't raise them against me. "We aren't that obvious," I say, and when Scipio gives me a pointed look I add," I know plenty of lads who are fond without being unchaste. "But its clear you're not those lads." I'm not sure he hears the way my breath hitches for he quickly adds, "which is fine. Who gives a fig for chastity anyways." He laughs at his own joke, glancing over at me like he hoping I might join in. I wonder suddenly if this is what it's meant to be like with a father and a son and a first real love.
Mackenzi Lee (The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky (Montague Siblings, #1.5))
KUNDALINI DANCE Dark and cold and wet were Her hands I felt Her chilly breath inside my throat Her claws deep inside trying to find traces of Fear within me I stayed still Accepting Opening Receiving Within a moment She was inside Two fingers below My belly button In there She found no traces of shivers no traces of resistance, no traces of weakness just clear pure Passage-Way Then She grew into Her most powerful Self She stood undisturbed, unmoved, unchanged Totally free and She screamed AAAAAUUUUUUMMM From the centre of the earth, Through the tunnels of the caves, To the surface of the volcanoes AAAAUUUUUUMMMM To open: Mountain tops untouched by clouds and rain Cherry fields in their full blossom A dog running after a train filled with the excitement A witch laughing at passers-by mirroring their paranoia Death looking us in the eyes searching for the chosen Few Capable to see the Key behind Her magic veil
Nataša Pantović (Tree of Life with Spiritual Poetry (AoL Mindfulness, #9))
The summer my daughters were six and four, we were at the beach one day and went for a long walk. It was astonishingly hot, and the sun, bouncing off a clear sea and blinding sand, was relentless. Wearing bikini bottoms but no tops, my children alternated between making sandpiles and running into the sea to cool off. The beach was empty. Eventually a woman and her son appeared in the distance, moving lazily in our direction. The boy seemed to be around the same age. Eventually the children came together, playing in the water with on another but not talking. His mother and I, farther back in each direction, waved and smiled. I thought we would just keep walking, but when we got close to the children, she said loudly, 'You really should put tops on them.' At first, I didn't understand her. 'Thanks,' I replied. 'They're covered in sunscreen.' 'They're girls,' she said. It wasn't until she was near my daughters that she'd realized this. I was dumbfounded. She might have been equally dumbfounded if I had taken the time to explain that her statement was an overtly sexist sexualization. The four children were physically indistinguishable, physically active on a hot beach. When I made no move toward shielding her son from the girls' scary, tempting, and corrupting bodies, she pulled him out of the water by the arm. They rushed down the beach before it crossed my mind to whip off my own top. Aggression takes many forms.
Soraya Chemaly (Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger)
What we feel and how we feel is far more important than what we think and how we think. Feeling is the stuff of which our consciousness is made, the atmosphere in which all our thinking and all our conduct is bathed. All the motives which govern and drive our lives are emotional. Love and hate, anger and fear, curiosity and joy are the springs of all that is most noble and most detestable in the history of men and nations. The opening sentence of a sermon is an opportunity. A good introduction arrests me. It handcuffs me and drags me before the sermon, where I stand and hear a Word that makes me both tremble and rejoice. The best sermon introductions also engage the listener immediately. It’s a rare sermon, however, that suffers because of a good introduction. Mysteries beg for answers. People’s natural curiosity will entice them to stay tuned until the puzzle is solved. Any sentence that points out incongruity, contradiction, paradox, or irony will do. Talk about what people care about. Begin writing an introduction by asking, “Will my listeners care about this?” (Not, “Why should they care about this?”) Stepping into the pulpit calmly and scanning the congregation to the count of five can have a remarkable effect on preacher and congregation alike. It is as if you are saying, “I’m about to preach the Word of God. I want all of you settled. I’m not going to begin, in fact, until I have your complete attention.” No sermon is ready for preaching, not ready for writing out, until we can express its theme in a short, pregnant sentence as clear as crystal. The getting of that sentence is the hardest, most exacting, and most fruitful labor of study. We tend to use generalities for compelling reasons. Specifics often take research and extra thought, precious commodities to a pastor. Generalities are safe. We can’t help but use generalities when we can’t remember details of a story or when we want anonymity for someone. Still, the more specific their language, the better speakers communicate. I used to balk at spending a large amount of time on a story, because I wanted to get to the point. Now I realize the story gets the point across better than my declarative statements. Omit needless words. Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell. Limits—that is, form—challenge the mind, forcing creativity. Needless words weaken our offense. Listening to some speakers, you have to sift hundreds of gallons of water to get one speck of gold. If the sermon is so complicated that it needs a summary, its problems run deeper than the conclusion. The last sentence of a sermon already has authority; when the last sentence is Scripture, this is even more true. No matter what our tone or approach, we are wise to craft the conclusion carefully. In fact, given the crisis and opportunity that the conclusion presents—remember, it will likely be people’s lasting memory of the message—it’s probably a good practice to write out the conclusion, regardless of how much of the rest of the sermon is written. It is you who preaches Christ. And you will preach Christ a little differently than any other preacher. Not to do so is to deny your God-given uniqueness. Aim for clarity first. Beauty and eloquence should be added to make things even more clear, not more impressive. I’ll have not praise nor time for those who suppose that writing comes by some divine gift, some madness, some overflow of feeling. I’m especially grim on Christians who enter the field blithely unprepared and literarily innocent of any hard work—as though the substance of their message forgives the failure of its form.
Mark Galli (Preaching that Connects)
Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man. This is no accident. The inherent difficulties of the subject would be great enough in any case, but they are multiplied a thousandfold by a factor that is insignificant in, say, physics, mathematics or medicine - the special pleading of selfish interests. While every group has certain economic interests identical with those of all groups, every group has also, as we shall see, interests antagonistic to those of all other groups. While certain public policies would in the long run benefit everybody, other policies would benefit one group only at the expense of all other groups. The group that would benefit by such policies, having such a direct interest in them, will argue for them plausibly and persistently. It will hire the best buyable minds to devote their whole time to presenting its case. And it will finally either convince the general public that its case is sound, or so befuddle it that clear thinking on the subject becomes next to impossible. In addition to these endless pleadings of self-interest, there is a second main factor that spawns new economic fallacies every day. This is the persistent tendency of man to see only the immediate effects of a given policy, or its effects only on a special group, and to neglect to inquire what the long-run effects of that policy will be not only on that special group but on all groups. It is the fallacy of overlooking secondary consequences.
Henry Hazlitt (Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest & Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics)
The entire flaw in the Bible is the notion that God is perfect. It represents a failure of imagination on the part of the early scholars. It’s responsible for every impossible theological question as to good and evil with which we’ve been wrestling through the centuries. God is good, however, wondrously good. Yes, God is love. But no creative force is perfect. That’s clear.” “And the Devil? Is there any new intelligence about him?” He regarded me for a moment with just a touch of impatience. “You are such a cynical being,” he whispered. “No, I’m not,” I said. “I honestly want to know. I have a particular interest in the Devil, obviously. I speak of him much more often than I speak of God. I can’t figure out really why mortals love him so much, I mean, why they love the idea of him. But they do.” “Because they don’t believe in him,” David said. “Because a perfectly evil Devil makes even less sense than a perfect God. Imagine, the Devil never learning anything during all this time, never changing his mind about being the Devil. It’s an insult to our intellect, such an idea.” “So what’s your truth behind the lie?” “He’s not purely unredeemable. He’s merely part of God’s plan. He’s a spirit allowed to tempt and try humans. He disapproves of humans, of the entire experiment. See, that was the nature of the Devil’s Fall, as I see it. The Devil didn’t think the idea would work. But the key, Lestat, is understanding that God is matter! God is physical, God is the Lord of Cell Division, and the Devil abhors the excess of letting all this cell division run wild.
Anne Rice (The Tale of the Body Thief (The Vampire Chronicles, #4))
The bottom of the lake is our own true Self; the lake is the Chitta and the waves the Vrittis. Again, the mind is in three states, one of which is darkness, called Tamas, found in brutes and idiots; it only acts to injure. No other idea comes into that state of mind. Then there is the active state of mind, Rajas, whose chief motives are power and enjoyment. "I will be powerful and rule others." Then there is the state called Sattva, serenity, calmness, in which the waves cease, and the water of the mind-lake becomes clear. It is not inactive, but rather intensely active. It is the greatest manifestation of power to be calm. It is easy to be active. Let the reins go, and the horses will run away with you. Anyone can do that, but he who can stop the plunging horses is the strong man. Which requires the greater strength, letting go or restraining? The calm man is not the man who is dull. You must not mistake Sattva for dullness or laziness. The calm man is the one who has control over the mind waves. Activity is the manifestation of inferior strength, calmness, of the superior.
Swami Vivekananda (Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda)
Yup. I had a crisis of trying to make sense of theistic determinism. The Exodus story. Moses goes to Pharaoh and says, “Let my people go.” And Pharaoh says, “No way.” And Moses brings a plague upon Egypt. And Pharaoh says, “Okay, I give up. You can all go.” And then, at least in the version I was raised with, “God hardened Pharaoh’s heart” and made him say, “I changed my mind, nobody’s going anywhere.” So now, in comes the second plague, and Pharaoh says, “I give up.” And God intervenes again, and at the end we’re asked not only to judge Pharaoh but, while we’re at it, kill all the firstborns and the horses and whatever poor schmucks have been forced to be in the army running those chariots across the Red Sea. And justice has been served. But wait a second—God interfered. But then God judged them, and that’s very confusing. And when I was thirteen, it became crystal clear. I remember one night waking up at two in the morning and thinking, “None of that makes sense. None of it’s for real. It’s nonsense.” And I’ve been incapable of a shred of spirituality or religiosity since then.
Robert M. Sapolsky
We’ve created mass production at low prices, a system that operates under duress. There are stressed-out pigs who can’t mate, who bite one another’s tails because they’re so confined, or who are so heavy their legs can no longer support their bodies; turkeys who can’t reproduce naturally; chickens who have to be debeaked because they peck at each other in densely packed cages; roosters bred for growth who’ve become so aggressive that they injure or kill their mates; and cows who eat other cows as part of their feed and go mad. All of this is presided over by stressed-out farmers, many of whom have come to accept the industry’s bigger-is-better mantra, though it’s clearly unsustainable for them and the earth. In the process they have become almost as trapped as the animals they “farm.” Farmers, industry, and consumers have created a treadmill that runs ever more rapidly, fueled by all kinds of suffering animals—including us. It’s a system that only takes and doesn’t give back; it extracts and doesn’t replenish, until the creatures and the earth that sustain its existence have nothing more to give.
Gene Baur (Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food)
Newton Pulsifer had never had a cause in his life. Nor had he, as far as he knew, ever believed in anything. It had been embarrassing, because he quite wanted to believe in something, since he recognized that belief was the lifebelt that got most people through the choppy waters of Life. He’d have liked to believe in a supreme God, although he’d have preferred a half-hour’s chat with Him before committing himself, to clear up one or two points. He’d sat in all sorts of churches, waiting for that single flash of blue light, and it hadn’t come. And then he’d tried to become an official Atheist and hadn’t got the rock-hard, self-satisfied strength of belief even for that. And every single political party had seemed to him equally dishonest. And he’d given up on ecology when the ecology magazine he’d been subscribing to had shown its readers a plan of a self-sufficient garden, and had drawn the ecological goat tethered within three feet of the ecological beehive. Newt had spent a lot of time at his grandmother’s house in the country and thought he knew something about the habits of both goats and bees, and concluded therefore that the magazine was run by a bunch of bib-overalled maniacs. Besides, it used the word “community” too often; Newt had always suspected that people who regularly used the word “community” were using it in a very specific sense that excluded him and everyone he knew. Then he’d tried believing in the Universe, which seemed sound enough until he’d innocently started reading new books with words like Chaos and Time and Quantum in the titles. He’d found that even the people whose job of work was, so to speak, the Universe, didn’t really believe in it and were actually quite proud of not knowing what it really was or even if it could theoretically exist. To Newt’s straightforward mind this was intolerable. Newt had not believed in the Cub Scouts and then, when he was old enough, not in the Scouts either. He was prepared to believe, though, that the job of wages clerk at United Holdings [Holdings] PLC, was possibly the most boring in the world. This is how Newton Pulsifer looked as a man: if he went into a phone booth and changed, he might manage to come out looking like Clark Kent.
Terry Pratchett (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
On a crisp, fresh morning in the Scottish Highlands, I had planned a ten-mile run. Both Jon Pratt and I were training a lot that winter, and we were both in good shape. Our run had a delightful and magical quality. My mind was very clear, and I remained completely present, noticing every rock on the trail and even the dew glistening on the pine needles. Every gust of wind invigorated and refreshed me. Even the clear echoes of our feet hitting the trail brought me back to the moment. As we inhaled and exhaled, the vapors created a mist. I felt connected to the sky and the earth.
Sakyong Mipham (Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind)
Transcendental generosity is generally misunderstood in the study of the Buddhist scriptures as meaning being kind to someone who is lower than you.  Someone has this pain and suffering and you are in a superior position and can save them—which is a very simple-minded way of looking down on someone.  But in the case of the bodhisattva, generosity is not so callous.  It is something very strong and powerful; it is communication.   Communication must transcend irritation, otherwise it will be like trying to make a comfortable bed in a briar patch.  The penetrating qualities of external color, energy, and light will come toward us, penetrating our attempts to communicate like a thorn pricking our skin.  We will wish to subdue this intense irritation and our communication will be blocked.   Communication must be radiation and receiving and exchange.  Whenever irritation is involved, then we are not able to see properly and fully and clearly the spacious quality of that which is coming toward us, that which is presenting itself as communication.  The external world is immediately rejected by our irritation which says, “no, no, this irritates me, go away.”  Such an attitude is the complete opposite of transcendental generosity.   So the bodhisattva must experience the complete communication of generosity, transcending irritation and self-defensiveness.  Otherwise, when thorns threaten to prick us, we feel that we are being attacked, that we must defend ourselves.  We run away from the tremendous opportunity for communication that has been given to us, and we have not been brave enough even to look to the other shore of the river.  We are looking back and trying to run away.   Generosity is a willingness to give, to open without philosophical or pious or religious motives, just simply doing what is required at any moment in any situation, not being afraid to receive anything.  Opening could take place in the middle of a highway.  We are not afraid that smog and dust or people’s hatreds and passions will overwhelm us; we simply open, completely surrender, give.  This means that we do not judge, do not evaluate.  If we attempt to judge or evaluate our experience, if we try to decide to what extent we should open, to what extent we should remain closed, the openness will have no meaning at all and the idea of paramita, of transcendental generosity, will be in vain.  Our action will not transcend anything, will cease to be the act of a bodhisattva.   The whole implication of the idea of transcendence is that we see through the limited notions, the limited conceptions, the warfare mentality of this as opposed to that. Generally, when we look at an object, we do not allow ourselves to see it properly.  Automatically we see our version of the object instead of actually seeing the object as it is.  Then we are quite satisfied, because we have manufactured or own version of the thing within ourselves.   Then we comment on it, we judge, we take or reject; but there is on real communication going on at all.   Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, p.167, Chogyam Trungpa Rimpoche
Chögyam Trungpa
Christy dug her hand deeper into her shoulder bag. Scanning the papers she finally located there, she found no phone numbers or addresses listed. All the plans had been made in such haste. All she knew was that someone was supposed to meet her here. She was here, and he or she wasn't. Never in her life had she felt so completely alone. Stranded with nowhere to turn. A prayer came quickly to her lips. "Father God, I'm at Your mercy here. I know You're in control. Please show me what to do." Suddenly she heard a voice calling to her. "Kilikina!" Christy's heart stopped. Only one person in the entire world had ever called her by her Hawaiian name. She spun around. "Kilikina," called out the tall, blond surfer who was running toward her. Christy looked up into the screaming silver-blue eyes that could only belong to one person. "Todd?" she whispered, convinced she was hallucinating. "Kilikina," Todd wrapped his arms around her so tightly that for an instant she couldn't breathe. He held her a long time. Crying. She could feel his warm tears on her neck. She knew this had to be real. But how could it be? "Todd?" she whispered again. "How? I mean, what...? I don't..." Todd pulled away, and for the first time she noticed the big gouquet of white carnations in his hand. They were now a bit squashed. "For you," he said, his eyes clearing and his rich voice sounding calm and steady. Then, seeing her shocked expression, he asked, "You really didn't know I was here, did you?" Christy shook her head, unable to find any words. "Didn't Dr. Benson tell you?" She shook her head again. "You mean you came all this way by yourself, and you didn't even know I was here?" Now it was Todd's turn to look surprised. "No, I thought you were in Papua New Guinea or something. I had no idea you were here!" "They needed me here more," Todd said with a chin-up gesture toward the beach. "It's the perfect place for me." With a wide smile spreading above his square jaw, he said, "Ever since I received the fax yesterday saying they were sending you, I've been out of my mind with joy! Kilikina, you can't imagine how I've been feeling." Christy had never heard him talk like this before. Todd took the bouquet from her and placed it on top of her luggage. Then, grasping both her quivering hands in his and looking into her eyes, he said, "Don't you see? There is no way you or I could ever have planned this. It's from God." The shocked tears finally caught up to Christy's eyes, and she blinked to keep Todd in focus. "It is," she agreed. "God brought us back together, didn't He?" A giggle of joy and delight danced from her lips. "Do you remember what I said when you gave me back your bracelet?" Todd asked. "I said that if God ever brought us back together, I would put that bracelet back on your wrist, and that time, it would stay on forever." Christy nodded. She had replayed the memory of that day a thousand times in her mind. It had seemed impossible that God would bring them back together. Christy's heart pounded as she realized that God, in His weird way, had done the impossible. Todd reached into his pocket and pulled out the "Forever" ID bracelet. He tenderly held Christy's wrist, and circling it with the gold chain, he secured the clasp. Above their heads a fresh ocean wind blew through the palm trees. It almost sounded as if the trees were applauding. Christy looked up from her wrist and met Todd's expectant gaze. Deep inside, Christy knew that with the blessing of the Lord, Todd had just stepped into the garden of her heart. In the holiness of that moment, his silver-blue eyes embraced hers and he whispered, "I promise, Kilikina. Forever." "Forever," Christy whispered back. Then gently, reverently, Todd and Christy sealed their forever promise with a kiss.
Robin Jones Gunn (A Promise Is Forever (Christy Miller, #12))
As a consequence of natural analgesic actions or as a result of the administration of drugs that interfere with body signaling (painkillers, anesthetics), the brain receives a distorted view of what the body state really is at the moment. We know that in situations of fear in which the brain chooses the running option rather than freezing, the brain stem disengages the part of the pain-transmission circuitry, a bit like pulling the plug. The periqueductal gray, which controls these responses, can also command the secretion of natural opioids and achieve precisely what taking an analgesic would achieve -- elimination of pain signals. In the strict sense, we are dealing here with a hallucination of the body because what the brain registers in its maps and the conscious mind feels do not correspond to the reality that might be perceived. Whenever we ingest molecules the have the power to modify the transmission or mapping of body signals, we play on this mechanism. Alcohol does it; so do analgesics and anesthetics, as well as countless drugs of abuse. It is patently clear that, other than out of curiousity, humans are drawn to such molecules because of their desire to generate feelings of well-being, feelings in which pain signals are obliterated and pleasure signals induced.
António R. Damásio
Leaving Forever My son can look me level in the eyes now, and does, hard, when I tell him he cannot watch chainsaw murders at the midnight movie, that he must bend his mind to Biology, under this roof, in the clear light of a Tensor lamp. Outside, his friends throb with horsepower under the moon. He stands close, milk sour on his breath, gauging the heat of my conviction, eye-whites pink from his new contacts. He can see me better than before. And I can see myself in those insolent eyes, mostly head in the pupil's curve, closed in by the contours of his unwrinkled flesh. At the window he waves a thin arm and his buddies squall away in a glare of tail lights. I reach out my arm to his shoulder, but he shrugs free and shows me my father's narrow eyes, the trembling hand at my throat, the hard wall at the back of my skull, the raised fist framed in the bedroom window I had climbed through at three A.M. "If you hit me I'll leave forever," I said. But everything was fine in a few days, fine. "I would have come back," I said, "false teeth and all." Now, twice a year after the long drive, in the yellow light of the front porch, I breathe in my father's whiskey, ask for a shot, and see myself distorted in his thick glasses, the two of us grinning, as he holds me with both hands at arm's length.
Ron Smith (Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery: Poems)
AUTHOR’S NOTE Dear reader: This story was inspired by an event that happened when I was eight years old. At the time, I was living in upstate New York. It was winter, and my dad and his best friend, “Uncle Bob,” decided to take my older brother, me, and Uncle Bob’s two boys for a hike in the Adirondacks. When we left that morning, the weather was crisp and clear, but somewhere near the top of the trail, the temperature dropped abruptly, the sky opened, and we found ourselves caught in a torrential, freezing blizzard. My dad and Uncle Bob were worried we wouldn’t make it down. We weren’t dressed for that kind of cold, and we were hours from the base. Using a rock, Uncle Bob broke the window of an abandoned hunting cabin to get us out of the storm. My dad volunteered to run down for help, leaving my brother Jeff and me to wait with Uncle Bob and his boys. My recollection of the hours we spent waiting for help to arrive is somewhat vague except for my visceral memory of the cold: my body shivering uncontrollably and my mind unable to think straight. The four of us kids sat on a wooden bench that stretched the length of the small cabin, and Uncle Bob knelt on the floor in front of us. I remember his boys being scared and crying and Uncle Bob talking a lot, telling them it was going to be okay and that “Uncle Jerry” would be back soon. As he soothed their fear, he moved back and forth between them, removing their gloves and boots and rubbing each of their hands and feet in turn. Jeff and I sat beside them, silent. I took my cue from my brother. He didn’t complain, so neither did I. Perhaps this is why Uncle Bob never thought to rub our fingers and toes. Perhaps he didn’t realize we, too, were suffering. It’s a generous view, one that as an adult with children of my own I have a hard time accepting. Had the situation been reversed, my dad never would have ignored Uncle Bob’s sons. He might even have tended to them more than he did his own kids, knowing how scared they would have been being there without their parents. Near dusk, a rescue jeep arrived, and we were shuttled down the mountain to waiting paramedics. Uncle Bob’s boys were fine—cold and exhausted, hungry and thirsty, but otherwise unharmed. I was diagnosed with frostnip on my fingers, which it turned out was not so bad. It hurt as my hands were warmed back to life, but as soon as the circulation was restored, I was fine. Jeff, on the other hand, had first-degree frostbite. His gloves needed to be cut from his fingers, and the skin beneath was chafed, white, and blistered. It was horrible to see, and I remember thinking how much it must have hurt, the damage so much worse than my own. No one, including my parents, ever asked Jeff or me what happened in the cabin or questioned why we were injured and Uncle Bob’s boys were not, and Uncle Bob and Aunt Karen continued to be my parents’ best friends. This past winter, I went skiing with my two children, and as we rode the chairlift, my memory of that day returned. I was struck by how callous and uncaring Uncle Bob, a man I’d known my whole life and who I believed loved us, had been and also how unashamed he was after. I remember him laughing with the sheriff, like the whole thing was this great big adventure that had fortunately turned out okay. I think he even viewed himself as sort of a hero, boasting about how he’d broken the window and about his smart thinking to lead us to the cabin in the first place. When he got home, he probably told Karen about rubbing their sons’ hands and feet and about how he’d consoled them and never let them get scared. I looked at my own children beside me, and a shudder ran down my spine as I thought about all the times I had entrusted them to other people in the same way my dad had entrusted us to Uncle Bob, counting on the same naive presumption that a tacit agreement existed for my children to be cared for equally to their own.
Suzanne Redfearn (In An Instant)
Catching my breath, I lean against the front of the car and focus on the individual blades of grass hedging my flip-flop, trying not to throw up or pass out or both. In the far distance, a vehicle approaches-the first one to witness the scene of our accident. A million explanations run through my mind, but I can’t imagine a single scenario that would solve all-or any-of our issues right now. None of us can risk going to the hospital. Mom technically doesn’t qualify as human, so I’m sure we’d get a pretty interesting diagnosis. Rachel is technically supposed to be deceased as of the last ten years or so, and while she probably has a plethora of fake IDs, she’s still antsy around cops, which will surely be called to the hospital in the event of a gunshot wound, even if it is just in the foot. And let’s not forget that Mom and Rachel are new handcuff buddies. There just isn’t an explanation for any of this. That’s when I decide I’m not the one who should do the talking. After all, I didn’t kidnap anyone. I didn’t shoot anyone. And I certainly didn’t handcuff myself to the person who shot me. Besides, both Mom and Rachel are obviously much more skilled at deception then I’ll ever be. “If someone pulls over to help us, one of you is explaining all this,” I inform them. “You’ll probably want to figure it out fast, because here comes a car.” But the car comes and goes without even slowing. In fact, a lot of cars come and go, and if the situation weren’t so strange and if I weren’t so thankful that they didn’t actually stop, I’d be forced to reexamine what the world is coming to, not helping strangers in an accident. Then it occurs to me that maybe the passerby don’t realize it’s the scene of an accident. Mom’s car is in the ditch, but the ditch might be steep enough to hide it. It’s possible that no one can even see Rachel and Mom from the side of the road. Still, I am standing at the front of Rachel’s car. An innocent-looking teenage girl just loitering for fun in the middle of nowhere and no one cares to stop? Seriously? Just as I decide that people suck, a vehicle coming from the opposite direction slows and pulls up a few feet behind us. It’s not a good Samaritan traveler pulling over to see what he or she can do to inadvertently complicate things. It’s not an ambulance. It’s not a state trooper. If only we could be so lucky. But, nope, it’s way worse. Because it’s Galen’s SUV. From where I stand, I can see him looking at me from behind the wheel. His face is stricken and tried and relieved and pained. I want to want to want to believe the look in his eyes right now. The look that clearly says he’s found what he’s looking for, in more ways than one.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
With his tongue between his teeth, Officer Wally cocked his weapon and took aim. BANG! Mario felt the bullet enter his left foot, but carried on running undeterred. In place of screams, there was laughter. The golden ecstasy supplied by the drug was at its peak. It wouldn’t be long now; he could feel it. BANG! The second bullet caught him in his right foot, yet he dared not stop. It was near now, so near... BANG! “He missed,” Mario thought initially, but as he brought his hands to his lips, he tasted iron. Both his palms were bleeding profusely, and so were his feet. He laughed once again – head spinning, heart dancing, mind burdened by his search for meaning – his wet eyes on the velvet sky. The clouds were clearing. ‘The spear!’ he shouted to the heavens above. ‘Don’t forget the spear!’ It happened faster than any pair of eyes could capture it: the fourth bullet cut through the air with a tangible screech, and the nearby building exploded into applause. Like a marionette whose strings had been cut, Mario Fantoccio fell theatrically, the wound at his side painting the cobbles in Marsmeyer’s No.4 vermillion red. The ground beneath him split down the middle, and from the depths of asphalt, he heard music. It was the Music of Strings, of Celestial Spheres – an underworld rhapsody with dark aftertones, gushing out of the earth like puss from a wound. It was alluring, resplendent and at the same time, terrifying. Demonic and eternal, devastating and yet hypnotizing, the Sounds of Hell beckoned, and like an obedient child, Mario followed, sinking deeper and deeper into the Underworld. In a perfect moment of synchronicity, the orange sun of dusk broke through the rainclouds and cast a single beam of sunlight upon Mario’s forehead. He closed his eyes, his mind at ease, his head full of Music. The cobbles trembled under the approaching sound of footsteps. ‘Where is he? Where did he go?’ said the pursuing man. ‘H-he just vanished, sarge. In-into thin air!’ ‘Don’t be silly, Wally. People don’t just vanish into thin air. I know I got him. Heaven preserve me, I got him four times!’ ‘Yes, sarge.’ ‘What’s this now?’ ‘Rather looks like our man, sarge. Or at least, his rough outline filled out in blood. Well, except—’ ‘—except this one’s got wings,’ said the sergeant, his knees cracking as he crouched. He cautiously prodded the red shape with his index. ‘This ain’t blood, either.’ ‘Sir?’ The sergeant shoved the finger in his mouth. ‘Theatrical red paint.
Louise Blackwick (The Underworld Rhapsody)
When I opened my eyes, we were still surrounded by darkness. A lantern, standing on the ground, showed a bubbling well. The water splashing from the well disappeared, almost at once, under the floor on which I was lying, with my head on the knee of the man in the black cloak and the black mask. He was bathing my temples and his hands smelt of death. I tried to push them away and asked, ‘Who are you? Where is the voice?’ His only answer was a sigh. Suddenly, a hot breath passed over my face and I perceived a white shape, beside the man’s black shape, in the darkness. The black shape lifted me on to the white shape, a glad neighing greeted my astounded ears and I murmured, ‘Cesar!’ The animal quivered. Raoul, I was lying half back on a saddle and I had recognized the white horse out of the PROFETA, which I had so often fed with sugar and sweets. I remembered that, one evening, there was a rumor in the theater that the horse had disappeared and that it had been stolen by the Opera ghost. I believed in the voice, but had never believed in the ghost. Now, however, I began to wonder, with a shiver, whether I was the ghost’s prisoner. I called upon the voice to help me, for I should never have imagined that the voice and the ghost were one. You have heard about the Opera ghost, have you not, Raoul?” “Yes, but tell me what happened when you were on the white horse of the Profeta?” “I made no movement and let myself go. The black shape held me up, and I made no effort to escape. A curious feeling of peacefulness came over me and I thought that I must be under the influence of some cordial. I had the full command of my senses; and my eyes became used to the darkness, which was lit, here and there, by fitful gleams. I calculated that we were in a narrow circular gallery, probably running all round the Opera, which is immense, underground. I had once been down into those cellars, but had stopped at the third floor, though there were two lower still, large enough to hold a town. But the figures of which I caught sight had made me run away. There are demons down there, quite black, standing in front of boilers, and they wield shovels and pitchforks and poke up fires and stir up flames and, if you come too near them, they frighten you by suddenly opening the red mouths of their furnaces … Well, while Cesar was quietly carrying me on his back, I saw those black demons in the distance, looking quite small, in front of the red fires of their furnaces: they came into sight, disappeared and came into sight again, as we went on our winding way. At last, they disappeared altogether. The shape was still holding me up and Cesar walked on, unled and sure-footed. I could not tell you, even approximately, how long this ride lasted; I only know that we seemed to turn and turn and often went down a spiral stair into the very heart of the earth. Even then, it may be that my head was turning, but I don’t think so: no, my mind was quite clear. At last, Cesar raised his nostrils, sniffed the air and quickened his pace a little. I felt a moistness in the air and Cesar stopped. The darkness had lifted. A sort of bluey light surrounded us. We were on the edge of a lake, whose leaden waters stretched into the distance, into the darkness; but the blue light lit up the bank and I saw a little boat fastened to an iron ring on the wharf!” - Chapter 12: Apollo’s Lyre
Gaston Leroux (The Phantom of the Opera)
Chaos poked him again, and Blake welcomed the pain this time. This pain will remind me why I shouldn’t find her. Blake hated his weakness, but he let the pain transport him back to the clearing, to her face. He vowed it would be the last time, but he wanted to remember her noises and panting as he tasted her soft skin. She smelled like cinnamon. Blake tried to see her face in his memory: trusting Livia, submitting to his hands and tongue. Instead he saw her pain as she told him she didn’t see his skin turn to glass in the sun. She’d tried to hide her knowing. Brave, beautiful Livia. She’d stood there waiting and never even flinched when he ran past. He could have plowed into her. Blake knew what it took to stay still when your mind screamed Run! A person had to find a place inside to die while things they didn’t want happened to their body.
Debra Anastasia (Poughkeepsie (Poughkeepsie Brotherhood, #1))
I scrambled onto the bed, lunging for him, feeling what was his arm, then his stomach, then his shoulders. His skin was freezing as I gripped his shoulders and shouted his name. No response, and I slid a hand up his neck, to his mouth- to make sure he was still breathing, that this wasn't his power floating away from him- Icy breath hit my palm. And bracing myself, I rose up on my knees, aiming blindly and slapping him. My palm stung- but he didn't move. I hit him again, pulling on that bond between us, shouting his name down it like it was a tunnel, banging on that wall of ebony adamant within his mind, roaring at it. A crack in the dark. And then his hands were on me, flipping me, pinning me with expert skill to the mattress, a taloned hand at my throat. I went still. 'Rhysand.' I breathed. Rhys, I said, through the bond, putting a hand against that inner shield. The dark shuddered. I threw my own power out- black to black, soothing his darkness, the rough edges, willing it to calm, to soften. My darkness sang his own a lullaby, a song my wet nurse had hummed when my mother had shoved me into her arms to go back to attending parties. 'It was a dream,' I said. His hand was so cold. 'It was a dream.' Again, the dark paused. I sent my own veils of night brushing up against it, running star-flecked hands down it. And for a heartbeat, the inky blackness cleared enough that I saw his face above me: drawn, lips pale, violet eyes wide- scanning. 'Feyre,' I said. 'I'm Feyre.' His breathing was jagged, uneven. I gripped the wrist that held my throat- held, but didn't hurt. 'You were dreaming.' I willed that darkness inside myself to echo it, to sing those raging fears to sleep, to brush up against that ebony wall within his mind, gentle and soft... Then, like snow shaken from a tree, his darkness fell away, taking mine with it. Moonlight poured in- and the sounds of the city.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2))
I don't require any more sleep than you do, sir. If you stay up late, I am capable of doing the same. I also have work to do." His brows lowered in a forbidding scowl. "Go to bed, Miss Sydney." Sophia did not flinch. "Not until you do." "My bedtime has nothing to do with yours," he said curtly, "unless you are suggesting that we go to bed together." Clearly, the remark was meant to intimidate her into silence. A reckless reply came to mind, one so bold that she bit her tongue to keep from speaking. And then she thought, Why not? It was time to declare her sexual interest in him... time to advance her plan of seduction one more step. "All right," she said quickly. "If that is what it takes to make you get the rest you require- so be it." His dark face went blank. The lengthy silence that ensued was evidence of how greatly she had surprised him. My God, she thought in a flutter of panic. Now I've done it. She could not predict how Sir Ross would respond. Being a gentleman- a notoriously celibate one- he might refuse her proposition. However, there was something in his expression- a flicker in his gray eyes- that made her wonder if he might not accept the impulsive invitation. And if he did, she would have to carry it out and sleep with him. The thought jarred her very soul. This was what she had planned, what she had wanted to achieve, but she was suddenly terrified. Terrified by the realization of how much she wanted him. Slowly Sir Ross approached, following as she backed away one step, then another, until her spine was flattened against the door. His alert gaze did not move from her flushed face as he braced his hands on the door, placing them on either side of her head. "My bedroom or yours?" he asked softly. Perhaps he expected her to back down, stammer, run away. Her hands curled into balls of tension. "Which would you prefer?" she parried. His head tilted as he studied her, his eyes oddly caressing. "My bed is bigger.
Lisa Kleypas (Lady Sophia's Lover (Bow Street Runners, #2))
Yes, in the very beginning of her life the girl-child is full of herself. Her days are meaningful and unfold according to a deep wisdom that resides within her. It faithfully orchestrates her movements from crawling to walking to running, her sounds from garbles to single words to sentences, and her knowing of the world through her sensual connection to it. Her purpose is clear: to live fully in the abundance of her life. With courage, she explores her world. Her ordinary life is interesting enough. Every experience is filled with wonder and awe. It is enough to listen to the rain dance and count the peas on her plate. Ordinary life is her teacher, challenge, and delight. She says a big YES to Life as it pulsates through her body. With excitement, she explores her body. She is unafraid of channeling strong feelings through her. She feels her joy, sadness, anger, and fear. She is pregnant with her own life. She is content to be alone. She touches the depths of her uniqueness. She loves her mind. She expresses her feelings. She likes herself when she looks in the mirror. She trusts her vision of the world and expresses it. With wonder and delight, she paints a picture, creates a dance, and makes up a song. To give expression to what she sees is as natural as her breathing. And when challenged, she is not lost for words. She has a vocabulary to speak about her experience. She speaks from her heart. She voices her truth. She has no fear, no sense that to do it her way is wrong or dangerous. She is a warrior. It takes no effort for her to summon up her courage, to arouse her spirit. With her courage, she solves problems. She is capable of carrying out any task that confronts her. She has everything she needs within the grasp of her mind and imagination. With her spirit, she changes what doesn’t work for her. She says “I don’t like that person” when she doesn’t, and “I like that person” when she does. She says no when she doesn’t want to be hugged. She takes care of herself.
Patricia Lynn Reilly (A Deeper Wisdom: The 12 Steps from a Woman's Perspective)
I hear two female voices around the corner and creep toward the end of the hallway to hear better. “…just can’t handle her being here,” one of them sobs. Christina. “I can’t stop picturing it…what she did…I don’t understand how she could have done that!” Christina’s sobs make me feel like I am about to crack open. Cara takes her time responding. “Well, I do,” she says. “What?” Christina says with a hiccup. “You have to understand; we’re trained to see things as logically as possible,” says Cara. “So don’t think that I’m callous. But that girl was probably scared out of her mind, certainly not capable of assessing situations cleverly at the time, if she was ever able to do so.” My eyes fly open. What a--I run through a short list of insults in my mind before listening to her continue. “And the simulation made her incapable of reasoning with him, so when he threatened her life, she reacted as she had been trained by the Dauntless to react: Shoot to kill.” “So what are you saying?” says Christina bitterly. “We should just forget about it, because it makes perfect sense?” “Of course not,” says Cara. Her voice wobbles, just a little, and she repeats herself, quietly this time. “Of course not.” She clears her throat. “It’s just that you have to be around her, and I want to make it easier for you. You don’t have to forgive her. Actually, I’m not sure why you were friends with her in the first place; she always seemed a bit erratic to me.” I tense up as I wait for Christina to agree with her, but to my surprise--and relief--she doesn’t. Cara continues. “Anyway. You don’t have to forgive her, but you should try to understand that what she did was not out of malice; it was out of panic. That way, you can look at her without wanting to punch her in her exceptionally long nose.” My and moves automatically to my nose. Christina laughs a little, which feels like a hard poke to the stomach. I back up through the door to the Gathering Place. Even though Cara was rude--and the nose comment was a low blow--I am grateful for what she said.
Veronica Roth (Insurgent (Divergent, #2))
To this day when I inhale a light scent of Wrangler—its sweet sharpness—or the stronger, darker scent of Musk, I return to those hours and it ceases to be just cologne that I take in but the very scent of age, of youth at its most beautiful peak. It bears the memory of possibility, of unknown forests, unchartered territories, and a heart light and skipping, hell-bent as the captain of any of the three ships, determined at all costs to prevail to the new world. Turning back was no option. Whatever the gales, whatever the emaciation, whatever the casualty to self, onward I kept my course. My heart felt the magnetism of its own compass guiding me on—its direction constant and sure. There was no other way through. I feel it again as once it had been, before it was broken-in; its strength and resolute ardency. The years of solitude were nothing compared to what lay ahead. In sailing for the horizon that part of my life had been sealed up, a gentle eddy, a trough of gentle waves diminishing further, receding away. Whatever loneliness and pain went with the years between the ages of 14 and 20, was closed, irretrievable—I was already cast in form and direction in a certain course. When I open the little bottle of eau de toilette five hundred different days unfold within me, conversations so strained, breaking slowly, so painstakingly, to a comfortable place. A place so warm and inviting after the years of silence and introspect, of hiding. A place in the sun that would burn me alive before I let it cast a shadow on me. Until that time I had not known, I had not been conscious of my loneliness. Yes, I had been taciturn in school, alone, I had set myself apart when others tried to engage. But though I was alone, I had not felt the pangs of loneliness. It had not burdened or tormented as such when I first felt the clear tang of its opposite in the form of another’s company. Of Regn’s company. We came, each in our own way, in our own need—listening, wanting, tentatively, as though we came upon each other from the side in spite of having seen each other head on for two years. It was a gradual advance, much again like a vessel waiting for its sails to catch wind, grasping hold of the ropes and learning much too quickly, all at once, how to move in a certain direction. There was no practicing. It was everything and all—for the first and last time. Everything had to be right, whether it was or not. The waters were beautiful, the work harder than anything in my life, but the very glimpse of any tempest of defeat was never in my line of vision. I’d never failed at anything. And though this may sound quite an exaggeration, I tell you earnestly, it is true. Everything to this point I’d ever set my mind to, I’d achieved. But this wasn’t about conquering some land, nor had any of my other desires ever been about proving something. It just had to be—I could not break, could not turn or retract once I’d committed myself to my course. You cannot force a clock to run backwards when it is made to persevere always, and ever, forward. Had I not been so young I’d never have had the courage to love her.
Wheston Chancellor Grove (Who Has Known Heights)
Some think Grom felt the pull toward Nalia," Toraf says softly. "Maybe it's a family trait." "Well, there's where you're wrong, Toraf. I'm not supposed to feel the pull toward Emma. She belongs to Grom. He's firstborn, third generation Triton. And she's clearly of Poseidon." Galen runs his hand through his hair. "I think that if Grom were her mate, he would have found Emma somehow instead of you." "That's what you get for thinking. I didn't find Emma. Dr. Milligan did." "Okay, answer me this," Toraf says, shaking a finger at Galen. "You're twenty years old. Why haven't you sifted for a mate?" Galen blinks. He's never thought of it, actually. Not even when Toraf asked for Rayna. Shouldn't that have reminded him of his own single status? He shakes his head. He's letting Toraf's gossip get to him. He shrugs. "I've just been busy. It's not like I don't want to, if that's what you're saying." "With who?" "What?" "Name someone, Galen. The first female that comes to mind." He tries to block out her name, her face. But he doesn't stop it in time. Emma. He cringes. It's just that we've been talking about her so much, she's naturally the freshest on my mind, he tells himself. "There isn't anyone yet. But I'm sure there would be if I spent more time at home." "Right. And why is that you're always away? Maybe you're searching for something and don't even know it." "I'm away because I'm watching the humans, as is my responsibility, you might remember. You also might remember they're the real reason our kingdoms are divided. If they never set that mine, none of this would have happened. And we both know it will happen again." "Come on, Galen. If you can't tell me, who can you tell?" "I don't know what you're talking about. And I don't think you do either." "I understand if you don't want to talk about it. I wouldn't want to talk about it either. Finding my special mate and then turning her over to my own brother. Knowing that she's mating with him on the islands, holding him close-" Galen lands a clean hook to Toraf's nose and blood spurts on his bare chest. Toraf falls back and holds his nostrils shut. Then he laughs. "I guess I know who taught Rayna how to hit." Galen massages his temples. "Sorry. I don't know where that came from. I told you I was frustrated." Toraf laughs. "You're so blind, minnow. I just hope you open your eye before it's too late." Galen scoffs. "Stop vomiting superstition at me. I told you. I'm just frustrated. There's nothing more to it than that." Toraf cocks his head to the side, snorts some blood back into is nasal cavity. "So the humans followed you around, made you feel uncomfortable?" "That's what I just said, isn't it?" Toraf nods thoughtfully. Then he says, "Imagine how Emma must feel then." "What?" "Think about it. The humans followed you around a building and it made you uncomfortable. You followed Emma across the big land. Then Rachel makes sure you have every class with her. Then when she tries to get away, you chase her. Seems to me you're scaring her off." "Kind of like what you're doing to Rayna." "Huh. Didn't think of that." "Idiot," Galen mutters. But there is some truth to Toraf's observation. Maybe Emma feels smothered. And she's obviouisly still mourning Chloe. Maybe he has to take it slow with Emma. if he can earn her trust, maybe she'll open up to him about her gift, about her past. But the question is, how much time does she need? Grom's reluctance to mate will be overruled by his obligation to produce an heir. And that heir needs tom come from Emma.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
I don’t want any misunderstandings between us. I can’t make any promises.” “Ah. Commitment issues.” “Something like that.” She considered briefly and then nodded once. “Okay.” “Okay? That’s all you can say?” “I’m good with your issues if you’re good with mine.” “Your issues don’t begin to compare to mine,” he warned. “Now we’re comparing issues?” “You think running background checks on the guys you date constitutes a serious issue?” She frowned. “Of course not. Paying someone to run background checks on my dates is just common sense. My issues are a lot more personal. I do not intend to discuss them with a man who isn’t interested in having a relationship with me. Good night, Jack. Again.” “Wait. You’re saying you’re okay with my commitment issues?” “Right. Now, if you’re done with this conversation—” “We’re not having a conversation, we’re conducting a damn negotiation.” She raised her brows. “Is that right?” “Just to be clear—you’d be okay with a relationship based on the understanding that I’ve got a lousy track record in the relationship department?” “I’ll put my lousy track record up against yours anytime.” She folded her arms. “However, I do insist on monogamy on both sides while we are involved in this uncommitted relationship.” Her voice was as tight as that of a gambler who was doubling down on a desperate bet. “Agreed,” he said. He did not want to think about her with another man. “Anything else you want to negotiate?” “Can’t think of anything offhand,” she said. “You?” “Nothing comes to mind.” “Then it looks like we have established the terms and conditions of a relationship.” “Are you going to whip out a contract for me to sign?” Her browns snapped together. “What?” “Talk about taking the romance out of things.” She stared at him for a beat. Then she went off like a volcano. “You started it,” she said. Her voice was harsh with indignation, anger, and—maybe—pain. Or maybe—just maybe—those were the emotions tearing through him. “Me?” he shot back. “You’re the one who wanted to compare issues.” “I can’t believe you’re trying to make this my fault.” He moved closer to her. “Damned if I’ll let you stick me with the blame for this fiasco.” “First you accuse me of taking all the romance out of our relationship and then you call it a fiasco. You’re right. Whatever happens between us probably won’t last very long, not at the rate we’re going, so I suggest we get started before it fizzles out completely.
Jayne Ann Krentz (Secret Sisters)
Just like rain, let it all flow incessantly until the sky clears out. Sometimes a part of me asks how is it that the ones who love the most, dearly, tenderly giving their all, find their hollow end meeting with scars that they never deserved. How is it that sometimes Life turns cold for those who sprinkle the most amount of sunshine, the hand that wipes other's pain how is that parched with betrayals and misunderstandings. But I guess it is about life lessons, how a soul grows through it all, as if the soul walks across the pyre of fire to know and eventually become its own mettle. Through it all the heart becomes more open and the mind more understanding, a unique strength of peace walks inside the very fire that rages the soul. Patience flows in through perseverance and the ashes mould in the teardrop of resilience to wear the smile of kindness. I have realised that when the worst happens to us, the soul is confronted with two choices, either to become bitter with repeating the question why or to become better with understanding the way how to walk ahead. Eventually it boils down to two simple emotions, love and hate, astonishingly born out of the same part of our mind and heart. It is a selection of either vengeance or forgiveness, not an easy choice to make especially when we are at our most vulnerable self. Whatever we choose becomes our reality, as if we get soaked in it, and somehow Time runs by. And when years pass by and we look back and see the path, and reflect on our choice we understand the meaning of both the choices, to some they take the shape of peace and to some they take the shape of agony, but looking closely we can see that the agony is the pathway leading to peace, forgiveness is the destination, sooner or later we all reach that space to find it in us to forgive, some in years while some in lifetimes. And perhaps, that is why we all undergo all that happens to us, chained in our Karma. So even when Life seems unfair, give it your all. Love with all your soul and no matter what comes by, don't stop walking along this shore of Time, because no matter how long it takes, you will find your Home. And when Life puts up a question as to why some who broke your soul find pleasure so easy, remind yourself the difference between pleasure and peace and don't forget to acknowledge the fact that perhaps you have paid your Karmic debt in full while theirs might just be beginning. So break if you must, but remind yourself about the gift of Life and Love every passing moment that breathes like a dream in an illusion of Time. Let your Faith walk hand in hand with you as you tread softly towards your destination, because no matter the years or the lifetimes, someday the sky shall be clear for the rainbow of your soul to smile in the Justice of Him, who knows all, sees all, feels all and does all.
Debatrayee Banerjee
Kant is sometimes considered to be an advocate of reason. Kant was in favor of science, it is argued. He emphasized the importance of rational consistency in ethics. He posited regulative principles of reason to guide our thinking, even our thinking about religion. And he resisted the ravings of Johann Hamann and the relativism of Johann Herder. Thus, the argument runs, Kant should be placed in the pantheon of Enlightenment greats. That is a mistake. The fundamental question of reason is its relationship to reality. Is reason capable of knowing reality - or is it not? Is our rational faculty a cognitive function, taking its material form reality, understanding the significance of that material, and using that understanding to guide our actions in reality - or is it not? This is the question that divides philosophers into pro- and anti-reason camps, this is the question that divides the rational gnostics and the skeptics, and this was Kant’s question in his Critique of Pure Reason. Kant was crystal clear about his answer. Reality - real, noumenal reality - is forever closed off to reason, and reason is limited to awareness and understanding of its own subjective products… Kant was the decisive break with the Enlightenment and the first major step toward postmodernism. Contrary to the Enlightenment account of reason, Kant held that the mind is not a response mechanism but a constitute mechanism. He held that the mind - and not reality - sets the terms for knowledge. And he held that reality conforms to reason, not vice versa. In the history of philosphy, Kant marks a fundamental shift from objectivity as the standard to subjectivity as the standard. What a minute, a defender of Kant may reply. Kant was hardly opposed to reason. After all, he favored rational consistency and he believed in universal principles. So what is anti-reason about it? The answer is that more fundamental to reason than consistency and universality is a connection to reality. Any thinker who concludes that in principle reason cannot know reality is not fundamentally an advocate of reason… Suppose a thinker argued the following: “I am an advocate of freedom for women. Options and the power to choose among them are crucial to our human dignity. And I am wholeheartedly an advocate of women’s human dignity. But we must understand that a scope of a women’s choice is confined to the kitchen. Beyond the kitchen’s door she must not attempt to exercise choice. Within the kitchen, however, she has a whole feast of choices[…]”. No one would mistake such a thinker for an advocate of women’s freedom. Anyone would point out that there is a whole world beyond the kitchen and that freedom is essentially about exercising choice about defining and creating one’s place in the world as a whole. The key point about Kant, to draw the analogy crudely, is that he prohibits knowledge of anything outside our skulls. The gives reasons lots to do withing the skull, and he does advocate a well-organized and tidy mind, but this hardly makes him a champion of reason… Kant did not take all of the steps down to postmodernism, but he did take the decisive one. Of the five major features of Enlightenment reason - objectivity, competence, autonomy, universality, and being an individual faculty - Kant rejected objectivity.
Stephen R.C. Hicks (Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault)
Tiffany’s basket was on the table. It had a present in it, of course. Everyone knew you took a small present along when you went visiting, but the person you were visiting was supposed to be surprised when you gave it to her, and say things like “Oooh, you shouldn’t have.” “I brought you something,” said Tiffany, swinging the big black kettle onto the fire. “You’ve got no call to be bringing me presents, I’m sure,” said Granny sternly. “Yes, well,” said Tiffany, and left it at that. She heard Granny lift the lid of the basket. There was a kitten in it. “Her mother is Pinky, the Widow Cable’s cat,” said Tiffany, to fill the silence. “You shouldn’t have,” growled the voice of Granny Weatherwax. “It was no trouble.” Tiffany smiled at the fire. “I can’t be havin’ with cats.” “She’ll keep the mice down,” said Tiffany, still not turning around. “Don’t have mice.” Nothing for them to eat, thought Tiffany. Aloud, she said, “Mrs. Earwig’s got six big black cats.” In the basket, the white kitten would be staring up at Granny Weatherwax with the sad, shocked expression of all kittens. You test me, I test you, Tiffany thought. “I don’t know what I shall do with it, I’m sure. It’ll have to sleep in the goat shed,” said Granny Weatherwax. Most witches had goats. [...] When Tiffany left, later on, Granny Weatherwax said good-bye at the door and very carefully shut the kitten outside. Tiffany went across the clearing to where she’d tied up Miss Treason’s broomstick. But she didn’t get on, not yet. She stepped back up against a holly bush, and went quiet until she wasn’t there anymore, until everything about her said: I’m not here. Everyone could see pictures in the fire and in clouds. You just turned that the other way around. You turned off that bit of yourself that said you were there. You dissolved. Anyone looking at you would find you very hard to see. Your face became a bit of leaf and shadow, your body a piece of tree and bush. The other person’s mind would fill in the gaps. Looking like just another piece of holly bush, she watched the door. The wind had got up, warm but worrisome, shaking the yellow and red leaves off the sycamore trees and whirring them around the clearing. The kitten tried to bat a few of them out of the air and then sat there, making sad little mewling noises. Any minute now, Granny Weatherwax would think Tiffany had gone and would open the door and— “Forgot something?” said Granny by her ear. She was the bush. “Er...it’s very sweet. I just thought you might, you know, grow to like it,” said Tiffany, but she was thinking: Well, she could have got here if she ran, but why didn’t I see her? Can you run and hide at the same time? “Never you mind about me, my girl,” said the witch. “You run along back to Miss Treason and give her my best wishes, right now. But”—and her voice softened a little—“that was good hiding you did just then. There’s many as would not have seen you. Why, I hardly heard your hair growin’!” When Tiffany’s stick had left the clearing, and Granny Weatherwax had satisfied herself in other little ways that she had really gone, she went back inside, carefully ignoring the kitten again. After a few minutes, the door creaked open a little. It may have been just a draft. The kitten trotted inside...
Terry Pratchett (Wintersmith (Discworld, #35; Tiffany Aching, #3))
In the EPJ results, there were two statistically distinguishable groups of experts. The first failed to do better than random guessing, and in their longer-range forecasts even managed to lose to the chimp. The second group beat the chimp, though not by a wide margin, and they still had plenty of reason to be humble. Indeed, they only barely beat simple algorithms like “always predict no change” or “predict the recent rate of change.” Still, however modest their foresight was, they had some. So why did one group do better than the other? It wasn’t whether they had PhDs or access to classified information. Nor was it what they thought—whether they were liberals or conservatives, optimists or pessimists. The critical factor was how they thought. One group tended to organize their thinking around Big Ideas, although they didn’t agree on which Big Ideas were true or false. Some were environmental doomsters (“We’re running out of everything”); others were cornucopian boomsters (“We can find cost-effective substitutes for everything”). Some were socialists (who favored state control of the commanding heights of the economy); others were free-market fundamentalists (who wanted to minimize regulation). As ideologically diverse as they were, they were united by the fact that their thinking was so ideological. They sought to squeeze complex problems into the preferred cause-effect templates and treated what did not fit as irrelevant distractions. Allergic to wishy-washy answers, they kept pushing their analyses to the limit (and then some), using terms like “furthermore” and “moreover” while piling up reasons why they were right and others wrong. As a result, they were unusually confident and likelier to declare things “impossible” or “certain.” Committed to their conclusions, they were reluctant to change their minds even when their predictions clearly failed. They would tell us, “Just wait.” The other group consisted of more pragmatic experts who drew on many analytical tools, with the choice of tool hinging on the particular problem they faced. These experts gathered as much information from as many sources as they could. When thinking, they often shifted mental gears, sprinkling their speech with transition markers such as “however,” “but,” “although,” and “on the other hand.” They talked about possibilities and probabilities, not certainties. And while no one likes to say “I was wrong,” these experts more readily admitted it and changed their minds. Decades ago, the philosopher Isaiah Berlin wrote a much-acclaimed but rarely read essay that compared the styles of thinking of great authors through the ages. To organize his observations, he drew on a scrap of 2,500-year-old Greek poetry attributed to the warrior-poet Archilochus: “The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” No one will ever know whether Archilochus was on the side of the fox or the hedgehog but Berlin favored foxes. I felt no need to take sides. I just liked the metaphor because it captured something deep in my data. I dubbed the Big Idea experts “hedgehogs” and the more eclectic experts “foxes.” Foxes beat hedgehogs. And the foxes didn’t just win by acting like chickens, playing it safe with 60% and 70% forecasts where hedgehogs boldly went with 90% and 100%. Foxes beat hedgehogs on both calibration and resolution. Foxes had real foresight. Hedgehogs didn’t.
Philip E. Tetlock (Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction)
I suppose we ought to go back,” she said when several minutes had passed, and his silence became unsettling. In answer Ian tipped his head back and closed his eyes, looking like a man in the throes of some deep, internal battle. “Why?” he said, still in that odd posture. “Because there’s nowhere else to walk,” she answered, stating the obvious. “We did not come out tonight to walk,” he said flatly. Elizabeth’s sense of security began to disintegrate. “We didn’t?” “You know we didn’t.” “Then-then why are we here?” she asked. “Because we wanted to be alone together.” Horrified at the possibility that he’d somehow known what thoughts had been running through her mind at supper, she said uneasily, “Why should you think I want to be alone with you?” He turned his head toward her, and his relentless gaze locked with hers. “Come here and I’ll show you why.” Her entire body began to vibrate with a mixture of shock, desire, and fear, but somehow her mind remained in control. It was one thing to want to be kissed by him at the cottage where the vicar was nearby, but here, with absolute privacy and nothing to prevent him from taking all sorts of liberties, it was another matter entirely. Far more dangerous. More frightening. And based on her behavior in England, she couldn’t even blame him for thinking she’d be willing now. Struggling desperately to ignore the sensual pull he was exerting on her, Elizabeth drew a long, shaky breath. “Mr. Thornton,” she began quietly. “My name is Ian,” he interrupted. “Considering our long acquaintance-not to mention what has transpired between us-don’t you think it’s a little ridiculous to call me Mr. Thornton?” Ignoring his tone, Elizabeth tried to keep hers nonjudgmental and continue her explanation. “I used to blame you entirely for what happened that weekend we were together,” she began softly. “But I’ve come to see things more clearly.” She paused in that valiant speech to swallow and then plunged in again. “The truth is that my actions that first night, when we met in the garden and I asked you to dance with me, were foolish-no, shameless.” Elizabeth stopped, knowing that she could partly exonerate herself by explaining to him that she’d only done all that so her friends wouldn’t lose their wagers, but he would undoubtedly find that degrading and insulting, and she wanted very much to soothe matters between them, not make them much, much worse. And so she said haltingly, “Every other time we were alone together after that I behaved like a shameless wanton. I can’t completely blame you for thinking that’s exactly what I was.” His voice was heavy with irony. “Is that what I thought, Elizabeth?” His deep voice saying her name in the darkness made her senses jolt almost as much as the odd way he was looking at her across the distance that separated them. “Wh-what else could you have thought?” Shoving his hands into his pockets, he turned fully toward her. “I thought,” he gritted, “you were not only beautiful but intoxicatingly innocent. If I’d believed when we were standing in the garden that you realized what the hell you were asking for when you flirted with a man of my years and reputation, I’d have taken you up on your offer, and we’d both have missed the dancing.” Elizabeth gaped at him. “I don’t believe you.” “What don’t you believe-that I wanted to drag you behind the hedges then and there and make you melt in my arms? Or that I had scruples enough to ignore that ignoble impulse?
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
The crowd as silent,holding their breaths.Hot wind rustled in the trees as the ax gleamed in the sun.Luce could feel that the end was coming,but why? Why had her soul dragged her here? What insight abouther past,or the curse, could she possibly gain from having her head cut off? Then Daniel dropped the ax to the ground. "What are you doing?" Luce asked. Daniel didn't answer.He rolled back his shoulders, turned his face toward the sky, and flung out her arms. Zotz stepped forward to interfere,but when he touched Daniel's shoulder,he screamed and recoiled as if he'd been burned. And then- Daniel's white wings unfurled from his shoulders.As they extended fully from his sides,huge and shockingly bright against the parched brown landscape, they sent twenty Mayans hurtling backward. Shouts rang out around the cenote: "What is he?" "The boy is winged!" "He is a god! Sent to us by Chaat!" Luce thrashed against the ropes binding her wrists and her ankles.She needed to run to Daniel.She tried to move toward him,until- Until she couldn't move anymore. Daniel's wings were so bright they were almost unbearable. Only, now it wasn't just Daniel's wings that were glowing. It was...all of him. His entire body shone.As if he'd swallowed the sun. Music filled the air.No,not music, but a single harmonious chord.Deafening and unending,glorious and frightening. Luce had heard it before...somewhere. In the cemetery at Sword&Cross, the last night she'd been there,the night Daniel had fought Cam,and Luce hadn't been allowed to watch.The night Miss Sophia had dragged her away and Penn had died and nothing had ever been the same.It had begun with that very same chord,and it was coming out of Daniel.He was lit up so brightly,his body actually hummed. She swayed where she stood,unable to take her eyes away.An intense wave of heat stroked her skin. Behind Luce,someone cried out.The cry was followed by another,and then another,and then a whole chorus of voices crying out. Something was burning.It was acrid and choking and turned her stomach instantly. Then,in the corner of her vision,there was an explosion of flame, right where Zotz had been standing a moment before. The boom knocked her backward,and she turned away from the burning brightness of Daniel,coughing on the black ash and bitter smoke. Hanhau was gone,the ground where she'd stood scorched black.The gap-toothed man was hiding his face,trying hard not to look at Daniel's radiance.But it was irresistible.Luce watched as the man peeked between his fingers and burst into a pillar of flame. All around the cenote,the Mayans stared at Daniel.And one by one,his brilliance set them ablaze.Soon a bright ring of fire lit up the jungle,lit up everyone but Luce. "Ix Cuat!" Daniel reached for her. His glow made Luce scream out in pain,but even as she felt as if she were on the verge of asphyxiation, the words tumbled from her mouth. "You're glorious." "Don't look at me," he pleaded. "When a mortal sees an angel's true essence, then-you can see what happened to the others.I can't let you leave me again so soon.Always so soon-" "I'm still here," Luce insisted. "You're still-" He was crying. "Can you see me? The true me?" "I can see you." And for just a fraction of a second,she could.Her vision cleared.His glow was still radiant but not so blinding.She could see his soul. It was white-hot and immaculate,and it looked-there was no other way to say it-like Daniel. And it felt like coming home.A rush of unparalleled joy spread through Luce.Somewhere in the back of her mind,a bell of recognition chimed. She'd seen him like this before. Hadn't she? As her mind strained to draw upon the past she couldn't quite touch,the light of him began to overwhelm her. "No!" she cried,feeling the fire sear her heart and her body shake free of something.
Lauren Kate (Passion (Fallen, #3))
I will invest my heart's desire and the work of my hands in things that will outlive me. Although it grieves me that houses are burning, I have fallen in love with freedom regardless, and the entitlement of a woman to get a move on, equipped with boots that fit and opinions that might matter. The treasures I carry closest to my heart are things I can't own: the curve of a five-year-old's forehead in profile, and the vulnerable expectation in the hand that reaches for mine as we cross the street. The wake-up call of birds in a forest. The intensity of the light fifteen minutes before the end of day; the color wash of a sunset on mountains; the ripe sphere of that same sun hanging low in a dusty sky in a breathtaking photograph from Afghanistan. In my darkest times I have to walk, sometimes alone, in some green place. Other people must share this ritual. For some I suppose it must be the path through a particular set of city streets, a comforting architecture; for me it's the need to stare at water until my mind comes to rest on nothing at all. Then I can go home. I can clear the brush from a neglected part of the garden, working slowly until it comes to me that here is one small place I can make right for my family. I can plant something as an act of faith in time itself, a vow that we will, sure enough, have a fall and a winter this year, to be followed again by spring. This is not an end in itself, but a beginning. I work until my mind can run a little further on its tether, tugging at this central pole of my sadness, forgetting it for a minute or two while pondering a school meeting next week, the watershed conservation project our neighborhood has undertaken, the farmer's market it organized last year: the good that becomes possible when a small group of thoughtful citizens commit themselves to it...Small change, small wonders - these are the currency of my endurance and ultimately of my life.
Barbara Kingsolver
When he reached the doorman, he stopped. “Did you see Miss Christian come in a few minutes ago?” The doorman nodded. “Yes, sir. She got here just before you arrived.” Relief staggered him. He bolted for the elevator. A few moments later, he strode into the apartment. “Kelly? Kelly, honey, where are you?” Not waiting for an answer, he hurried into the bedroom to see her sitting on the edge of the bed, her face pale and drawn in pain. When she heard him, she looked up and he winced at the dullness in her eyes. She’d been crying. “I thought I could do it,” she said in a raw voice, before he could beg her forgiveness. “I thought I could just go on and forget and that I could accept others thinking the worst of me as long as you and I were okay again. I did myself a huge disservice.” “Kelly…” Something in her look silenced him and he stood several feet away, a feeling of helplessness gripping him as he watched her try to compose herself. “I sat there tonight while your friends and your mother looked at me in disgust, while they looked at you with a mixture of pity and disbelief in their eyes. All because you took me back. The tramp who betrayed you in the worst possible manner. And I thought to myself I don’t deserve this. I’ve never deserved it. I deserve better.” She raised her eyes to his and he flinched at the horrible pain he saw reflected there. Then she laughed. A raw, terrible sound that grated across his ears. “And earlier tonight you forgave me. You stood there and told me it no longer mattered what happened in the past because you forgave me and you wanted to move forward.” She curled her fingers into tight balls and rage flared in her eyes. She stood and stared him down even as tears ran in endless streams down her cheeks. “Well, I don’t forgive you. Nor can I forget that you betrayed me in the worst way a man can betray the woman he’s supposed to love and be sworn to protect.” He took a step back, reeling from the fury in her voice. His eyes narrowed. “You don’t forgive me?” “I told you the truth that day,” she said hoarsely, her voice cracking under the weight of her tears. “I begged you to believe me. I got down on my knees and begged you. And what did you do? You wrote me a damn check and told me to get out.” He took another step back, his hand going to his hair. Something was wrong, terribly wrong. So much of that day was a blur. He remembered her on her knees, her tear-stained face, how she put her hand on his leg and whispered, “Please don’t do this.” It made him sick. He never wanted to go back to the way he felt that day, but somehow this was worse because there was something terribly wrong in her eyes and in her voice. “Your brother assaulted me. He forced himself on me. I didn’t invite his attentions. I wore the bruises from his attack for two weeks. Two weeks. I was so stunned by what he’d done that all I could think about was getting to you. I knew you’d fix it. You’d protect me. You’d take care of me. I knew you’d make it right. All I could think about was running to you. And, oh God, I did and you looked right through me.” The sick knot in his stomach grew and his chest tightened so much he couldn’t breathe. “You wouldn’t listen,” she said tearfully. “You wouldn’t listen to anything I had to say. You’d already made your mind up.” He swallowed and closed the distance between them, worried that she’d fall if he didn’t make her sit. But she shook him off and turned her back, her shoulders heaving as her quiet sobs fell over the room. “I’m listening now, Kelly,” he forced out. “Tell me what happened. I’ll believe you. I swear.” But he knew. He already knew. So much of that day was replaying over and over in his head and suddenly he was able to see so clearly what he’d refused to see before. And it was killing him. His brother had lied to him after all. Not just lied but he’d carefully orchestrated the truth and twisted it so cleverly that Ryan had been completely deceived.
Maya Banks (Wanted by Her Lost Love (Pregnancy & Passion, #2))
Quote from "The Dish Keepers of Honest House" ....TO TWIST THE COLD is easy when its only water you want. Tapping of the toothbrush echoes into Ella's mind like footsteps clacking a cobbled street on a bitter, dry, cold morning. Her mind pushes through sleep her body craves. It catches her head falling into a warm, soft pillow. "Go back to bed," she tells herself. "You're still asleep," Ella mumbles, pushes the blanket off, and sits up. The urgency to move persuades her to keep routines. Water from the faucet runs through paste foam like a miniature waterfall. Ella rubs sleep-deprieved eyes, then the bridge of her nose and glances into the sink. Ella's eyes astutely fixate for one, brief millisecond. Water becomes the burgundy of soldiers exiting the drain. Her mouth drops in shock. The flow turns green. It is like the bubbling fungus of flockless, fishless, stagnating ponds. Within the iridescent glimmer of her thinking -- like a brain losing blood flow, Ella's focus is the flickering flashing of gray, white dust, coal-black shadows and crows lifting from the ground. A half minute or two trails off before her mind returns to reality. Ella grasps a toothbrush between thumb and index finger. She rests the outer palm against the sink's edge, breathes in and then exhales. Tension in the brow subsides, and her chest and shoulders drop; she sighs. Ella stares at pasty foam. It exits the drain as if in a race to clear the sink of negativity -- of all germs, slimy spit, the burgundy of imagined soldiers and oppressive plaque. GRASPING THE SILKY STRAND between her fingers, Ella tucks, pulls and slides the floss gently through her teeth. Her breath is an inch or so of the mirror. Inspections leave her demeanor more alert. Clouding steam of the image tugs her conscience. She gazes into silver glass. Bits of hair loosen from the bun piled at her head's posterior. What transforms is what she imagines. The mirror becomes a window. The window possesses her Soul and Spirit. These two become concerned -- much like they did when dishonest housekeepers disrupted Ella's world in another story. Before her is a glorious bird -- shining-dark-as-coal, shimmering in hues of purple-black and black-greens. It is likened unto The Raven in Edgar Allan Poe's most famous poem of 1845. Instead of interrupting a cold December night with tapping on a chamber door, it rests its claws in the decorative, carved handle of a backrest on a stiff dining chair. It projects an air of humor and concern. It moves its head to and fro while seeking a clearer understanding. Ella studies the bird. It is surrounded in lofty bends and stretches of leafless, acorn-less, nearly lifeless, oak trees. Like fingers and arms these branches reach below. [Perhaps they are reaching for us? Rest assured; if they had designs on us, I would be someplace else, writing about something more pleasant and less frightening. Of course, you would be asleep.] Balanced in the branches is a chair. It is from Ella's childhood home. The chair sways. Ella imagines modern-day pilgrims of a distant shore. Each step is as if Mother Nature will position them upright like dolls, blown from the stability of their plastic, flat, toe-less feet. These pilgrims take fate by the hand. LIFTING A TOWEL and patting her mouth and hands, Ella pulls the towel through the rack. She walks to the bedroom, sits and picks up the newspaper. Thumbing through pages that leave fingertips black, she reads headlines: "Former Dentist Guilty of Health Care Fraud." She flips the page, pinches the tip of her nose and brushes the edge of her chin -- smearing both with ink. In the middle fold directly affront her eyes is another headline: "Dentist Punished for Misconduct." She turns the page. There is yet another: "Dentist guilty of urinating in surgery sink and using contaminated dental instruments on patients." This world contains those who are simply insane! Every profession has those who stray from goals....
Helene Andorre Hinson Staley
The common error of ordinary religious practice is to mistake the symbol for the reality, to look at the finger pointing the way and then to suck it for comfort rather than follow it. Religious ideas are like words— of little use, and often misleading, unless you know the concrete realities to which they refer. The word “water” is a useful means of communication amongst those who know water. The same is true of the word and the idea called “God.” I do not, at this point, wish to seem mysterious or to be making claims to “secret knowledge.” The reality which corresponds to “God” and “eternal life” is honest, above-board, plain, and open for all to see. But the seeing requires a correction of mind, just as clear vision sometimes requires a correction of the eyes. The discovery of this reality is hindered rather than helped by belief, whether one believes in God or believes in atheism. We must here make a clear distinction between belief and faith, because, in general practice, belief has come to mean a state of mind which is almost the opposite of faith. Belief, as I use the word here, is the insistence that the truth is what one would “lief” or wish it to be. The believer will open his mind to the truth on condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes. Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith lets go. In this sense of the word, faith is the essential virtue of science, and likewise of any religion that is not self-deception. Most of us believe in order to feel secure, in order to make our individual lives seem valuable and meaningful. Belief has thus become an attempt to hang on to life, to grasp and keep it for one’s own. But you cannot understand life and its mysteries as long as you try to grasp it. Indeed, you cannot grasp it, just as you cannot walk off with a river in a bucket. If you try to capture running water in a bucket, it is clear that you do not understand it and that you will always be disappointed, for in the bucket the water does not run. To “have” running water you must let go of it and let it run. The same is true of life and of God.
Alan W. Watts (The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety)
And she knew her defiance in escaping his grasp, even temporarily, had shown Jasu the depth of her strength. In the months afterward, though he behaved awkwardly, he had allowed her the time and space she needed. It was the first genuine show of respect he had made toward her in their four years of marriage. Jasu’s parents made no such concession, their latent disappointment growing into relentless criticism of her for failing to bear a son.Kavita walks outside and spreads her mat on the rough stone steps, where she sits facing the rising sun in the east She lights the small ghee-soaked diya and thin stick of incense, and then closes her eyes in prayer. The wisp of fragrant smoke slowly circles its way up into the air and around her. She breathes deeply and thinks, as always, of the baby girls she has lost. She rings the small silver bell and chants softly. She sees their faces and their small bodies, she hears their cries and feels their tiny fingers wrap around hers. And always, she hears the sound of Usha’s desperate cry echoing behind the closed doors of the orphanage. She allows herself to get lost in the depths of her grief. After she has chanted and sung and wept for some time, she tries to envision the babies at peace, wherever they are. She pictures Usha as a little girl, her hair wound in two braids, each tied with a white ribbon. The image of the girl in her mind is perfectly clear: smiling, running, and playing with children, eating her meals and sleeping alongside the others in the orphanage.Every morning, Kavita sits in the same place outside her home with her eyes closed until the stormy feelings peak and then, very gradually, subside. She waits until she can breathe evenly again. By the time she opens her eyes, her face is wet and the incense has burned down to a small pile of soft ash. The sun is a glowing orange ball on the horizon, and the villagers are beginning to stir around her. She always ends her puja by touching her lips to the one remaining silver bangle on her wrist, reconciling herself to the only thing she has left of her daughters. These daily rituals have brought her comfort and, over time, some healing. She can carry herself through the rest of the day with these peaceful images of Usha in her mind. Each day becomes more bearable. As days turn to weeks, and weeks to months, Kavita feels her bitterness toward Jasu soften. After several months, she allows him to touch her and then, to reach for her at night.
Shilpi Somaya Gowda (Secret Daughter)
Though she could feel Dom darting glances at her the whole time, she couldn’t face him, couldn’t even look at him. Not just now, when she was still in turmoil about what they’d done. About what he’d said to her at the end. It will also give you a chance to decide what you want. That was the trouble. She didn’t know what she wanted. Well, she did know--she wanted to marry Dom the courteous gentleman. But not Dom the Almighty. She wanted the Dom who mourned for the six children who’d lost their mother needlessly, not the Dom who was sure Nancy was a whore because she’d married his bastard of a brother. But what if both parts were him? What if she couldn’t have one without the other? Why, he hadn’t even said he loved her! Then again, neither had she, so she could hardly fault him for that. Their past was still too raw, and they were both still afraid. Perhaps he’d been waiting for her to say it. She’d certainly been waiting for him. Because then she might really believe he meant to make a life with her again, and not go running off at the first sign of disaster. Like, perhaps, if Nancy proved to be bearing George’s son. “Since it’s such a beautiful morning,” Dom said, “I was thinking that someone might prefer to ride in the phaeton with me. What do you think, Jane? Shall you join me?” He was asking. Deliberately asking, not ordering. And she could feel his expectant gaze on her, indeed, feel everyone’s expectant gazes on her. But her thoughts were too jangled right now, and an enforced ride with him would only jangle them more. Especially since they’d be trapped together for half the day. She wouldn’t be able to escape. Not that she necessarily wanted to escape. Did she? Oh, Lord, she couldn’t handle this at the moment. “Actually, I was looking forward to chatting with your sister in His Grace’s coach. If you don’t mind.” Only then did she meet his gaze. It showed nothing of his thoughts, which made everything worse. She’d begun to recognize that bland expression; he only wore it when he was protecting himself. And if he felt a need to protect himself, then she’d hurt him. She swallowed hard. She hadn’t wanted to hurt him. Perhaps she should ride with him. Clear the air. Perhaps she was being a coward. “Whichever you prefer,” he said curtly. Then he walked briskly down the steps to his waiting phaeton, leapt in, and set it going. And the decision was made for her. Again. No, she couldn’t blame this one on him. This one was entirely hers. She’d sent him running away. Everyone knew it, too, which was nowhere more apparent than in the carriage once they were all settled in and headed off.
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
No, she couldn’t blame this one on him. This one was entirely hers. She’d sent him running away. Everyone knew it, too, which was nowhere more apparent than in the carriage once they were all settled in and headed off. Lisette was unusually silent. The duke’s wooden expression said that he wished he could be anywhere else but here. And Tristan was studying her with a cold gaze. He did that for a mile or so before he spoke. “You’re a cruel woman, Jane Vernon.” “Tristan!” Lisette chided. “Don’t be rude.” “I’ll be as rude as I please to her,” he told his sister, with a jerk of his head toward Jane. “That man is mad for her, and she just keeps toying with him.” Guilt swamped Jane. And she’d thought that spending half a day trapped with Dom would be bad? She must have been dreaming. “It’s none of our concern,” Lisette murmured. “The hell it isn’t.” Tristan stared hard at Jane. “Is this about Nancy? About the fact that if she has a child, Dom will lose the title and the estate?” “No, of course not!” How dared he! “Tristan, please--” Lisette began. “That’s why you jilted him years ago, isn’t it?” Tristan persisted. “Because he no longer had any money, and you’d lose your fortune if you married him?” “I did not jilt him!” Jane shouted. An unnatural silence fell in the carriage, and she cursed her quick tongue. But really, this was all Dom’s fault for never telling his family the truth. She was tired of being made to look the villainess when she’d done nothing wrong. “What do you mean?” Lisette asked. Jane released an exasperated breath. “I mean, I did jilt him. But only because he tricked me into it.” When that brought a smug smile to Tristan’s face, she narrowed her eyes on him. “You knew.” “Not the details. I just knew something wasn’t right. But since it was clear that neither you nor my idiot brother were going to say anything without being prodded into it, I…er…did a bit of prodding.” He smirked at her. “You do tend to speak your mind when you get angry.” Jane scowled at him. “You’re just like him, manipulative and arrogant and--” “I beg to differ,” Tristan said jovially. “He’s just like me. I taught him everything he knows.” “Yes, indeed,” Lisette said with a snort. “You taught him to be as much an idiot as you.” She glanced from Tristan to Jane. “So, is one of you going to tell me what is going on? About the jilting, I mean?” Tristan cocked an eyebrow at Jane. “Well?” She sighed. The cat was out of the bag now. Might as well reveal the rest. So she related the whole tale, from Dom’s plotting with Nancy at the ball to George’s involvement to how she’d finally discovered the truth. When she finished, Tristan let out a low whistle. “Hell and thunder. My big brother has a better talent for deception than I realized.” “Not as good as you’d think,” Jane muttered. “If I hadn’t been so wounded and angry at the time, I would have noticed how…manufactured the whole thing felt.” Lisette patted her hand. “You were young. We were all more volatile then.” Her voice hardened. “And he hit you just where it hurt, the curst devil. No wonder you want to strangle him half the time. I would have strung him up by his toes if he’d done such a thing to me!
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
Good God, Miss Butterfield,” Lord Jarret said. “Don’t tell me you read Minerva’s Gothic horrors.” “They’re not Gothic horrors!” Maria protested. “They’re wonderful books! And yes, I’ve read every single one, more than once.” “Well, that explains a few things,” Oliver remarked. “I suppose I have my sister to thank for turning a sword on me at the brothel.” Lord Gabriel laughed. “You took a sword to old Oliver? Oh, God, that’s rich!” Lord Jarret sipped some wine. “At least the mystery of the ‘weapons at her disposal’ is now solved.” “He was misbehaving,” Maria said, with a warning glance for Oliver. Did he want them to know everything, for pity’s sake? “He left me no choice.” “Oh, Maria’s always doing things like that,” Freddy said through a mouth full of eel. “That’s why we won’t teach her to shoot. She always goes off half-cocked.” Maria thrust out her chin. “A woman has to stand up for herself.” “Hear, hear!” Lady Celia raised her goblet of wine to Maria. “Don’t mind these clod-pates. What can you expect from a group of men? They would prefer we let them run roughshod over us.” “No, we wouldn’t,” Lord Gabriel protested. “I like a woman with a little fire. Of course, I can’t speak for Oliver-“ “I assure you, I rarely feel the need to run roughshod over a woman,” Oliver drawled. An arch smile touched his lips as his gaze locked with Maria’s. “I’ve kissed one or two when they weren’t prepared for it, but every man does that.” Lady Minerva snorted. “Yes, and most of them get slapped, but not you, I expect. Even when you misbehave, you have a talent for turning ladies up sweet. How else would you go from having a sword thrust at you to gaining Miss Butterfield’s consent to be your bride-eh, Miss Butterfield?” Maria didn’t answer. Something was nagging at the back of her brain-a vaguely familiar line from one of Lady Minerva’s books: “He had a talent for turning ladies up sweet, which both thrilled and alarmed her.” “Heavens alive.” She stared at Oliver. “You’re the Marquess of Rockton!” She hardly realized she’d said it aloud until his brothers and sisters laughed. A pained look crossed Oliver’s face. “Don’t remind me.” Sparing a glare for his sister, Oliver muttered, “You have no idea how my friends revel in the fact that my sister made me a villain in her novel.” “They only revel because she made them into heroes,” Lord Jarret pointed out, eyes twinkling. “Foxmoor got quite a big head over it, and Kirkwood’s been strutting around ever since the last one came out. He loved that he got to trounce you.” “That’s because he knows he couldn’t trounce me in real life,” Oliver remarked. “Though he keeps suggesting we should have a ‘rapier duel’ to prove whether he could.” Maria stared at them agape. “Do you mean that the Viscount Churchgrove is real? And Foxmoor…great heavens, that’s Wolfplain!” “Yes.” Oliver rolled his eyes. “Churchgrove is my friend, the Viscount Kirkwood, and Wolfplain is another friend, the Duke of Foxmoor. Apparently Minerva has trouble coming up with original characters.” “You know perfectly well that I only used a version of their names,” Lady Minerva said smoothly. “The characters are my own.” “Except for you, Oliver,” Lord Jarret remarked. “You’re clearly Rockton.
Sabrina Jeffries (The Truth About Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #1))
You don’t know me! You know Miss Erstwhile, but--” “Come now, ever since I witnessed your abominable performance in the theatrical, it’s been clear that you can’t act to save your life. All three weeks, that was you.” He smiled. “And I wanted to keep knowing you. Well, I didn’t at first. I wanted you to go away and leave me in peace. I’ve made a career out of avoiding any possibility of a real relationship. And then to find you in that circus…it didn’t make sense. But what ever does?” “Nothing,” said Jane with conviction. “Nothing makes sense.” “Could you tell me…am I being too forward to ask?...of course, I just bought a plane ticket on impulse, so worrying about being forward at this point is pointless…This is so insane, I am not a romantic. Ahem. My question is, what do you want?” “What do I…?” This really was insane. Maybe she should ask that old woman to change seats again. “I mean it. Besides something real. You already told me that. I like to think I’m real, after all. So, what do you really want?” She shrugged and said simply, “I want to be happy. I used to want Mr. Darcy, laugh at me if you want, or the idea of him. Someone who made me feel all the time like I felt when I watched those movies.” It was hard for her to admit it, but when she had, it felt like licking the last of the icing from the bowl. That hopeless fantasy was empty now. “Right. Well, do you think it possible--” He hesitated, his fingers played with the radio and light buttons on the arm of his seat. “Do you think someone like me could be what you want?” Jane smiled sadly. “I’m feeling all shiny and brand new. In all my life, I’ve never felt like I do now. I’m not sure yet what I want. When I was Miss Erstwhile, you were perfect, but that was back in Austenland. Or are we still in Austenland? Maybe I’ll never leave.” He nodded. “You don’t have to decide anything now. If you will allow me to be near you for a time, then we can see.” He rested his head back, and they looked at each other, their faces inches apart. He always was so good at looking at her. And it occurred to her just then that she herself was more Darcy than Erstwhile, sitting there admiring his fine eyes, feeling dangerously close to falling in love against her will. “Just be near…” she repeated. He nodded. “And if I don’t make you feel like the most beautiful woman in the world every day of your life, then I don’t deserve to be near you.” Jane breathed in, taking those words inside her. She thought she might like to keep them for a while. She considered never giving them up. “Okay, I lied a little bit.” He rubbed his head with even more force. “I need to admit up front that I don’t know how to have a fling. I’m not good at playing around and then saying good-bye. I’m throwing myself at your feet because I’m hoping for a shot at forever. You don’t have to say anything now, no promises required. I just thought you should know.” He forced himself to lean back again, his face turned slightly away, as if he didn’t care to see her expression just then. It was probably for the best. She was staring straight ahead with wide, panicked eyes, then a grin slowly took over her face. In her mind was running the conversation she was going to have with Molly. “I didn’t think it was possible, but I found a man as crazy intense as I was.
Shannon Hale (Austenland (Austenland, #1))
Jackson gaped at her, wondering how this had all turned so terrible wrong. But he knew how. The woman was clearly daft. Bedlam-witted. And trying to drive him in the same direction. "You can't be serious. Since when do you know anything about investigating people?" She planted her hands on her hips. "You won't do it, so I must." God save him, she was the most infuriating, maddening-"How do you propose to manage that?" She shrugged. "Ask them questions, I suppose. The house party for Oliver's birthday is next week. Lord Devonmont is already coming, and it will be easy to convince Gran to invite my other two. Once they're here, I could try sneaking into their rooms and listening in on their conversations or perhaps bribing their servants-" "You've lost your bloody mind," he hissed. Only after she lifted an eyebrow did he realize he'd cursed so foully in front of her. But the woman would turn a sane man into a blithering idiot! The thought of her wandering in and out of men's bedchambers, risking her virtue and her reputation, made his blood run cold. "You don't seem to understand," she said in a clipped tone, as if speaking to a child. "I have to catch a husband somehow. I need help, and I've nowhere else to turn. Minerva is rarely here, and Gran's matchmaking efforts are as subtle as a sledgehammer. And even if my brothers and their wives could do that sort of work, they're preoccupied with their own affairs. That leaves you, who seem to think that suitors drop from the skies at my whim. If I can't even entice you to help me for money, then I'll have to manage on my own." Turning on her heel, she headed for the door. Hell and blazes, she was liable to attempt such an idiotic thing, too. She had some fool notion she was invincible. That's why she spent her time shooting at targets with her brother's friends, blithely unconcerned that her rifle might misfire or a stray bullet hit her by mistake. The wench did as she pleased, and the men in her family let her. Someone had to curb her insanity, and it looked as if it would have to be him. "All right!" he called out. "I'll do it." She halted but didn't turn around. "You'll find out what I need in order to snag one of my choices as a husband?" "Yes." "Even if it means being a trifle underhanded?" He gritted his teeth. This would be pure torture. The underhandedness didn't bother him; he'd be as underhanded as necessary to get rid of those damned suitors. But he'd have to be around the too-tempting wench a great deal, if only to make sure the bastards didn't compromise her. Well, he'd just have to find something to send her running the other way. She wanted facts? By thunder, he'd give her enough damning facts to blacken her suitors thoroughly. Then what? If you know of some eligible gentleman you can strong-arm into courting me, then by all means, tell me. I'm open to suggestions. All right, so he had no one to suggest. But he couldn't let her marry any of her ridiculous choices. They would make her miserable-he was sure of it. He must make her see that she was courting disaster. Then he'd find someone more eligible for her. Somehow. She faced him. "Well?" "Yes," he said, suppressing a curse. "I'll do whatever you want." A disbelieving laugh escaped her. "That I'd like to see." When he scowled, she added hastily, "But thank you. Truly. And I'm happy to pay you extra for your efforts, as I said." He stiffened. "No need." "Nonsense," she said firmly. "It will be worth it to have your discretion." His scowl deepened. "My clients always have my discretion.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
Know Your Father’s Heart Today’s Scripture Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 JOHN 4:10 KJV Today, I want you to reread the parable of the father of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11–32). As you read, keep in mind that this son utterly rejected and completely humiliated and dishonored his father, then only returned home when he remembered that even his father’s hired servants had more food than he did! It was not the son’s love for his father that made him journey home; it was his stomach. In his own self-absorbed pride, he wanted to earn his own keep as a hired servant rather than to receive his father’s provision by grace or unmerited favor. God wants us to know that even when our motivations are wrong, even when we have a hidden (usually self-centered) agenda and our intentions are not completely pure, He still runs to us in our time of need and showers His unmerited, undeserved, and unearned favor upon us. Oh, how unsearchable are the depths of His love and grace toward us! It will never be about our love for God. It will always be about His magnificent love for us. The Bible makes this clear: “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10 KJV). Some people think that fellowship with God can only be restored when you are perfectly contrite and have perfectly confessed all your sins. Yet we see in this parable that it was the father who was the initiator, it was the father who had missed his son, who was already looking out for him, and who had already forgiven him. Before the son could utter a single word of his rehearsed apology, the father had already run to him, embraced him, and welcomed him home. Can you see how it’s all about our Father’s heart of grace, forgiveness, and love? Our Father God swallows up all our imperfections, and true repentance comes because of His goodness. Do I say “sorry” to God and confess my sins when I have fallen short and failed? Of course I do. But I do it not to be forgiven because I know that I am already forgiven through Jesus’ finished work. The confession is out of the overflow of my heart because I have experienced His goodness and grace and because I know that as His son, I am forever righteous through Jesus’ blood. It springs from being righteousness-conscious, not sin-conscious; from being forgiveness-conscious, not judgment-conscious. There is a massive difference. If you understand this and begin practicing this, you will begin experiencing new dimensions in your love walk with the Father. You will realize that your Daddy God is all about relationship and not religious protocol. He just loves being with you. Under grace, He doesn’t demand perfection from you; He supplies perfection to you through the finished work of His Son, Jesus Christ. So no matter how many mistakes you have made, don’t be afraid of Him. He loves you. Your Father is running toward you to embrace you! Today’s Thought My Father God runs to me in my time of need and showers His unmerited, undeserved, and unearned favor upon me. Today’s Prayer Father, thank You that I can experience Your love even when I have failed. No matter how many mistakes I may have made, I don’t have to be afraid to come to You. I am still Your beloved child, and I always have fellowship with You because of the finished work of Jesus. I thank You that You don’t demand perfection from me, but You supply perfection to me through the cross. It blesses my heart to know that You just love being with me. Thank You for running to embrace me. Amen.
Joseph Prince (100 Days of Right Believing: Daily Readings from The Power of Right Believing)
Blessed Man” is a tribute to Updike’s tenacious maternal grandmother, Katherine Hoyer, who died in 1955. Inspired by an heirloom, a silver thimble engraved with her initials, a keepsake Katherine gave to John and Mary as a wedding present (their best present, he told his mother), the story is an explicit attempt to bring her back to life (“O Lord, bless these poor paragraphs, that would do in their vile ignorance Your work of resurrection”), and a meditation on the extent to which it’s possible to recapture experience and preserve it through writing. The death of his grandparents diminished his family by two fifths and deprived him of a treasured part of his past, the sheltered years of his youth and childhood. Could he make his grandmother live again on the page? It’s certainly one of his finest prose portraits, tender, clear-eyed, wonderfully vivid. At one point the narrator remembers how, as a high-spirited teenager, he would scoop up his tiny grandmother, “lift her like a child, crooking one arm under her knees and cupping the other behind her back. Exultant in my height, my strength, I would lift that frail brittle body weighing perhaps a hundred pounds and twirl with it in my arms while the rest of the family watched with startled smiles of alarm.” When he adds, “I was giving my past a dance,” we hear the voice of John Updike exulting in his strength. Katherine takes center stage only after an account of the dramatic day of her husband’s death. John Hoyer died a few months after John and Mary were married, on the day both the newlyweds and Mary’s parents were due to arrive in Plowville. From this unfortunate coincidence, the Updike family managed to spin a pair of short stories. Six months before he wrote “Blessed Man,” Updike’s mother had her first story accepted by The New Yorker. For years her son had been doing his filial best to help get her work published—with no success. In college he sent out the manuscript of her novel about Ponce de León to the major Boston publishers, and when he landed at The New Yorker he made sure her stories were read by editors instead of languishing in the slush pile. These efforts finally bore fruit when an editor at the magazine named Rachel MacKenzie championed “Translation,” a portentous family saga featuring Linda’s version of her father’s demise. Maxwell assured Updike that his colleagues all thought his mother “immensely gifted”; if that sounds like tactful exaggeration, Maxwell’s idea that he could detect “the same quality of mind running through” mother and son is curious to say the least. Published in The New Yorker on March 11, 1961, “Translation” was signed Linda Grace Hoyer and narrated by a character named Linda—but it wasn’t likely to be mistaken for a memoir. The story is overstuffed with biblical allusion, psychodrama, and magical thinking, most of it Linda’s. She believes that her ninety-year-old father plans to be translated directly to heaven, ascending like Elijah in a whirlwind, with chariots of fire, and to pass his mantle to a new generation, again like Elijah. It’s not clear whether this grand design is his obsession, as she claims, or hers. As it happens, the whirlwind is only a tussle with his wife that lands the old folks on the floor beside the bed. Linda finds them there and says, “Of all things. . . . What are you two doing?” Her father answers, his voice “matter-of-fact and conversational”: “We are sitting on the floor.” Having spoken these words, he dies. Linda’s son Eric (a writer, of course) arrives on the scene almost immediately. When she tells him, “Grampy died,” he replies, “I know, Mother, I know. It happened as we turned off the turnpike. I felt
Adam Begley (Updike)