Subtle Love Quotes

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Men always want to be a woman’s first love. That is their clumsy vanity. We women have a more subtle instinct about these things. What (women) like is to be a man’s last romance.
Oscar Wilde
The most loving parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy the person we really are: a subtle kind of murder.
Jim Morrison
I'll be looking for you, Will, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we'll cling together so tight that nothing and no one'll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you... We'll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams... And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they wont' just be able to take one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we'll be joined so tight...
Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass)
Unhealthy love is based on two people trying to escape their problems through their emotions for each other—in other words, they’re using each other as an escape. Healthy love is based on two people acknowledging and addressing their own problems with each other’s support.
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
The way of love is not a subtle argument. The door there is devastation. Birds make great sky-circles of their freedom. How do they learn it? They fall, and falling, they're given wings.
Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad ar-Rumi)
I remember these things clearly because that was how my mother loved you, not through white lies and constant verbal affirmation, but in subtle observations of what brought you joy, pocketed away to make you feel comforted and cared for without even realizing it.
Michelle Zauner (Crying in H Mart)
Life is a question of nerves, and fibres, and slowly built-up cells in which thought hides itself and passion has its dreams. You may fancy yourself safe and think yourself strong. But a chance tone of colour in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play... I tell you, that it is on things like these that our lives depend.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
The most loving parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy the person we really are: a subtle kind of murder.
Oyinkan Braithwaite (My Sister, the Serial Killer)
To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity and trust.
Henry David Thoreau
When others demand that we become the people they want us to be, they force us to destroy the person we really are. It's a subtle kind of murder ... the most loving parents and relatives commit this murder with smiles on their faces.
Jim Morrison
People should decide on the books' meanings for themselves. They'll find a story that attacks such things as cruelty, oppression, intolerance, unkindness, narrow-mindedness, and celebrates love, kindness, open-mindedness, tolerance, curiosity, human intelligence.
Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass)
Music is storming, driving, relentless, devotional, slinky, subtle, heartbreakingly-beautiful sounds that, lyrically, switch from the cynical to the sanguine, the defeated to the defiant, dealing in love, war, beauty, children, romance, rejection, Pethedine, poetry, panties, God, Auden, Johnny Cash, cold potatoes, too-much-money, not enough money, writer’s block, flowers, animals and more flowers. But maybe I’m projecting here.
Nick Cave
She wondered whether there would ever come an hour in her life when she didn't think of him -- didn't speak to him in her head, didn't relive every moment they'd been together, didn't long for his voice and his hands and his love. She had never dreamed of what it would feel like to love someone so much; of all the things that had astonished her in her adventures, that was what astonished her the most. She thought the tenderness it left in her heart was like a bruise that would never go away, but she would cherish it forever.
Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass)
Emotional illiterates, who don’t recognize the sound of a broken heart, will never be able to hear the subtle vibrations of love reverberating through the rustling flora of life. ("Love as dizzy as a cathedral”)
Erik Pevernagie
Senlin did not believe in that sort of love: sudden and selfish and insatiable. Love, as the poets so often painted it, was just bald lust wearing a pompous wig. He believed true love was more like an education: it was deep and subtle and never complete.
Josiah Bancroft (Senlin Ascends (The Books of Babel, #1))
Romeo and Juliet is synonymous with “romance” in our culture today. It is seen as the love story in English-speaking culture, an emotional ideal to live up to. Yet when you really get down to what happens in the story, these kids are absolutely out of their fucking minds. And they just killed themselves to prove it!
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
About once or twice every month I engage in public debates with those whose pressing need it is to woo and to win the approval of supernatural beings. Very often, when I give my view that there is no supernatural dimension, and certainly not one that is only or especially available to the faithful, and that the natural world is wonderful enough—and even miraculous enough if you insist—I attract pitying looks and anxious questions. How, in that case, I am asked, do I find meaning and purpose in life? How does a mere and gross materialist, with no expectation of a life to come, decide what, if anything, is worth caring about? Depending on my mood, I sometimes but not always refrain from pointing out what a breathtakingly insulting and patronizing question this is. (It is on a par with the equally subtle inquiry: Since you don't believe in our god, what stops you from stealing and lying and raping and killing to your heart's content?) Just as the answer to the latter question is: self-respect and the desire for the respect of others—while in the meantime it is precisely those who think they have divine permission who are truly capable of any atrocity—so the answer to the first question falls into two parts. A life that partakes even a little of friendship, love, irony, humor, parenthood, literature, and music, and the chance to take part in battles for the liberation of others cannot be called 'meaningless' except if the person living it is also an existentialist and elects to call it so. It could be that all existence is a pointless joke, but it is not in fact possible to live one's everyday life as if this were so. Whereas if one sought to define meaninglessness and futility, the idea that a human life should be expended in the guilty, fearful, self-obsessed propitiation of supernatural nonentities… but there, there. Enough.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
A lot of things are inherent in life -change, birth, death, aging, illness, accidents, calamities, and losses of all kinds- but these events don't have to be the cause of ongoing suffering. Yes, these events cause grief and sadness, but grief and sadness pass, like everything else, and are replaced with other experiences. The ego, however, clings to negative thoughts and feelings and, as a result, magnifies, intensifies, and sustains those emotions while the ego overlooks the subtle feelings of joy, gratitude, excitement, adventure, love, and peace that come from Essence. If we dwelt on these positive states as much as we generally dwell on our negative thoughts and painful emotions, our lives would be transformed.
Gina Lake (What About Now?: Reminders for Being in the Moment)
If you love others, life will of necessity be tragic, beautiful, but tragic.
Graeme Rodaughan (A Subtle Agency (The Metaframe War #1))
He stirred my soul in the most subtle way and the story between us wrote itself.
Nikki Rowe
This much I'm certain of: it doesn't happen immediately. You'll finish [the book] and that will be that, until a moment will come, maybe in a month, maybe a year, maybe even several years. You'll be sick or feeling troubled or deeply in love or quietly uncertain or even content for the first time in your life. It won't matter. Out of the blue, beyond any cause you can trace, you'll suddenly realize things are not how you perceived them to be at all. For some reason, you will no longer be the person you believed you once were. You'll detect slow and subtle shifts going on all around you, more importantly shifts in you. Worse, you'll realize it's always been shifting, like a shimmer of sorts, a vast shimmer, only dark like a room. But you won't understand why or how. You'll have forgotten what granted you this awareness in the first place ... You might try then, as I did, to find a sky so full of stars it will blind you again. Only no sky can blind you now. Even with all that iridescent magic up there, your eye will no longer linger on the light, it will no longer trace constellations. You'll care only about the darkness and you'll watch it for hours, for days, maybe even for years, trying in vain to believe you're some kind of indispensable, universe-appointed sentinel, as if just by looking you could actually keep it all at bay. It will get so bad you'll be afraid to look away, you'll be afraid to sleep. Then no matter where you are, in a crowded restaurant or on some desolate street or even in the comforts of your own home, you'll watch yourself dismantle every assurance you ever lived by. You'll stand aside as a great complexity intrudes, tearing apart, piece by piece, all of your carefully conceived denials, whether deliberate or unconscious. And then for better or worse you'll turn, unable to resist, though try to resist you still will, fighting with everything you've got not to face the thing you most dread, what is now, what will be, what has always come before, the creature you truly are, the creature we all are, buried in the nameless black of a name. And then the nightmares will begin.
Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves)
When we fulfill our function, which is to truly love ourselves and share love with others, then true happiness sets in.
Gabrielle Bernstein (May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness)
Who can tell what metals the gods use in forging the subtle bond which we call sympathy, which we might as well call love.
Kate Chopin (The Awakening)
Whats not to love is hardly a reason to love. And the catch of your life is not the same thing as the love of your life. Be careful of that subtle but rather crucial distinction.
Emily Giffin (Where We Belong)
I am willing to see things differently. I am willing to see love.
Gabrielle Bernstein (May Cause Miracles: A 40-Day Guidebook of Subtle Shifts for Radical Change and Unlimited Happiness)
It seemed as if some subtle current of recognition had passed between them... not as if they had met before... but as if they had come close several times until finally an impatient Fate had forced their paths to intersect.
Lisa Kleypas (Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1))
People who’ve never read fairy tales, the professor said, have a harder time coping in life than the people who have. They don’t have access to all the lessons that can be learned from the journeys through the dark woods and the kindness of strangers treated decently, the knowledge that can be gained from the company and example of Donkeyskins and cats wearing boots and steadfast tin soldiers. I’m not talking about in-your-face lessons, but more subtle ones. The kind that seep up from your sub¬conscious and give you moral and humane structures for your life. That teach you how to prevail, and trust. And maybe even love.
Charles de Lint (The Onion Girl (Newford, #8))
You'll be sick or feeling troubled or deeply in love or quietly uncertain or even content for the first time in your life. It won't matter. Out of the blue, beyond any cause you can trace, you'll suddenly realize things are not how you perceived them to be at all. For some reason, you will no longer be the person you believed you once were. You'll detect slow and subtle shifts going on all around you, more importantly shifts in you. Worse, you'll realize it's always been shifting, like a shimmer of sorts, a vast shimmer, only dark like a room. But you won't understand why or how.
Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves)
Your teachers Are all around you. All that you perceive, All that you experience, All that is given to you or taken from you, All that you love or hate, need or fear Will teach you-- If you will learn. God is your first and your last teacher. God is your harshest teacher: subtle, demanding. Learn or die.
Octavia E. Butler (Parable of the Sower (Earthseed, #1))
He doesn’t have to say it, I feel it too; it’s not subtle - like every bell for miles and miles is ringing at once, loud and clanging, hungry ones and tiny, happy, chiming ones, all of them sounding off in this moment. I put my hands around his neck, pull him to me, and then he’s kissing me hard and so deep, and i am flying, sailing, soaring…
Jandy Nelson (The Sky Is Everywhere)
Everybody enjoys what feels good. Everyone wants to live a carefree, happy, and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when they walk into the room. Everybody wants that. It’s easy to want that. A more interesting question, a question that most people never consider, is, “What pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for?” Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out. For
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
I’m all about that shit.” Mom shoots me the Disapproving-Mom-Subtle-Lip-Frown. “I’m all about that poop,” I correct delicately.
Sara Wolf (Lovely Vicious (Lovely Vicious, #1))
Can I tell you a boring science fact?" she whispered. "I bet you didn't learn it in Shadowhunter history class." "If you're trying to distract me from talking about my feelings, you're not being very subtle about it." He touched her face. "You know I make speeches. It's okay. You don't have to make them back. Just tell me you love me," "I'm not trying to distract you." She held up her hand and wiggles the fingers. "There are a hundred trillion cells in the human body," she said. "And every single one of the cells of my body loves you. We shed cells, and grow new ones, and my new cells love you more than the old ones, which is why I love you more every day than I did before. It's science. And when I die and they burn my body and I become ashes that mix with the air, and part of the ground and the trees and the stars, everyone who breathes air of sees the flowers that grow out of the ground or looks up at the stars will remember you and love you, because I love you that much," She smiled. "How was that for a speech?
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
You can argue that it's a different world now than the one when Matthew Shepard was killed, but there is a subtle difference between tolerance and acceptance. It's the distance between moving into the cul-de-sac and having your next door neighbor trust you to keep an eye on her preschool daughter for a few minutes while she runs out to the post office. It's the chasm between being invited to a colleague's wedding with your same-sex partner and being able to slow-dance without the other guests whispering.
Jodi Picoult (Sing You Home)
So I wonder if true love is more subtle. If it sneaks up or stands there next to you, and you don't recognize that it's true love until you turn and look at tis thing that's been right there with you all along, and you realize that you never want to be without it.
Kristin Walker (A Match Made in High School)
Learning After some time, you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and imprisoning a soul; You learn that love does not equal sex, and that company does not equal security, and you start to learn…. That kisses are not contracts and gifts are not promises, and you start to accept defeat with the head up high and open eyes, and you learn to build all roads on today, because the terrain of tomorrow is too insecure for plans… and the future has its own way of falling apart in half. And you learn that if it’s too much even the warmth of the sun can burn. So you plant your own garden and embellish your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring flowers to you. And you learn that you can actually bear hardship, that you are actually strong, and you are actually worthy, and you learn and learn…and so every day. Over time you learn that being with someone because they offer you a good future, means that sooner or later you’ll want to return to your past. Over time you comprehend that only who is capable of loving you with your flaws, with no intention of changing you can bring you all happiness. Over time you learn that if you are with a person only to accompany your own solitude, irremediably you’ll end up wishing not to see them again. Over time you learn that real friends are few and whoever doesn’t fight for them, sooner or later, will find himself surrounded only with false friendships. Over time you learn that words spoken in moments of anger continue hurting throughout a lifetime. Over time you learn that everyone can apologize, but forgiveness is an attribute solely of great souls. Over time you comprehend that if you have hurt a friend harshly it is very likely that your friendship will never be the same. Over time you realize that despite being happy with your friends, you cry for those you let go. Over time you realize that every experience lived, with each person, is unrepeatable. Over time you realize that whoever humiliates or scorns another human being, sooner or later will suffer the same humiliations or scorn in tenfold. Over time you learn to build your roads on today, because the path of tomorrow doesn’t exist. Over time you comprehend that rushing things or forcing them to happen causes the finale to be different form expected. Over time you realize that in fact the best was not the future, but the moment you were living just that instant. Over time you will see that even when you are happy with those around you, you’ll yearn for those who walked away. Over time you will learn to forgive or ask for forgiveness, say you love, say you miss, say you need, say you want to be friends, since before a grave, it will no longer make sense. But unfortunately, only over time…
Jorge Luis Borges
You may fancy yourself safe and think yourself strong. But a chance tone of color in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play. I tell you Dorian, that it is on things like these that our lives depend.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
They can romanticize us so, mirrors, and that is their secret: what a subtle torture it would be to destroy all the mirrors in the world: where then could we look for reassurerance of our identities? I tell you, my dear, Narcissus was so egotist...he was merely another of us who, in our unshatterable isolation, recognized, on seeing his reflection, the beautiful comrade, the only inseparatable love...poor Narcissus, possibly the only human who was ever honest on this point.
Truman Capote (Other Voices, Other Rooms)
The pain is just a subtle reminder of how alive you made me feel.
Cassia Leo (Black Box)
Isn't it grand, isn't it good, that language has only one word for everything we associate with love - from utter sanctity to the most fleshly lust? The result is perfect clarity in ambiguity, for love cannot be disembodied even in its most sanctified forms, nor is it without sanctity even at its most fleshly. Love is always simply itself, both as a subtle affirmation of life and as the highest passion; love is our sympathy with organic life.
Thomas Mann (The Magic Mountain)
My hopes were all dead --- struck with a subtle doom, such as, in one night, fell on all the first-born in the land of Egypt. I looked on my cherished wishes, yesterday so blooming and glowing; they lay stark, chill, livid corpses that could never revive. I looked at my love: that feeling which had been my master's --- which he had created; it shivered in my heart, like a suffering child in a cold cradle; sickness and anguish had seized it; it could not seek Mr Rochester's arms --- it could not derive warmth from his breast. Oh, never more could it turn to him; for faith was blighted -- confidence destroyed!
Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)
tone of colour in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play— I tell you, Dorian, that it is on things like these that our lives depend.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
Teach her that to love is not only to give but also to take. This is important because we give girls subtle cues about their lives—we teach girls that a large component of their ability to love is their ability to sacrifice their selves.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions)
Falling in love is a subtle process, a connection sparked by attraction, tested by compatibility, and forged by memory.
Jay Bell (Something Like Summer (Something Like, #1))
A real flame of love is a subtle thing. It burns as a will-o'-the-wisp, dancing onward to fairy lands of delight. It roars as a furnace. Too often jealousy is the quality upon which it feeds.
Theodore Dreiser (Sister Carrie)
I knew that love would not turn the silver devil into an angel. He would remain what he was--subtle yet childish, unfeeling yet passionate, lost irretrievably to everything but his own desire. But he loved me--and I loved him, now and forever.
Teresa Denys (The Silver Devil)
Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies. And, fortunately, when there aren't any cookies, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or subtle encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention hospital gurneys and nose plugs, an uneaten Danish, soft-spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days, are effective for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives. I know the idea seems strange, but I also know that it just so happens to be true.
Zach Helm (Stranger Than Fiction: The Shooting Script)
With subtle and finely-wrought temperaments it is always so. Their strong passions must either bruise or bend. They either slay the man, or themselves die. Shallow sorrows and shallow loves live on. The loves and the sorrows that are great are destroyed by their own plenitude.
Oscar Wilde
This is a subtle truth. Whatever you love, you are.
Rumi (Jalal ad-Din Muhammad ar-Rumi) (The Essential Rumi)
I was trying to come round to the idea that there might be an invisible reality capable of interfering in our lives, but the only reason I did so was because of a love I didn't want to believe I felt but which was continuing to grow in a subtle, devastating way. I was content in my universe and didn't want to change it at all, even though I was being propelled in that direction.
Paulo Coelho (The Witch of Portobello)
Miss Morstan and I stood together, and her hand was in mine. A wondrous subtle thing is love, for here were we two, who had never seen each other until that day, between whom no word or even look of affection had ever passed, and yet now in an hour of trouble our hands instinctively sought for each other. I have marveled at it since, but at the time it seemed the most natural thing that I would go out to her so, and, as she has often told me, there was in her also the instinct to turn to me for comfort and protection. So we stood hand in hand like two children, and there was peace in our hearts for all the dark things that surrounded us.
Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume I)
Arthur was not one of those interesting characters whose subtle motives can be dissected. He was only a simple and affectionate man, because Merlyn had believed that love and simplicity were worth having.
T.H. White (The Once and Future King (The Once and Future King, #1-4))
And yet she hadn't the air of a woman whose life had been touched by uncertainty or suffering. Pain, fear, and grief were things that left their mark on people. Even love, that exquisite torturing emotion, left its subtle traces on the countenance.
Nella Larsen (Passing)
I feel strangely free at such times. To behave properly is to be always courteous, always clever, and subtle and elegant. But now, when I am so alone, I do not have to be any of these things. For this moment, I am wholly myself, unshaped by the needs of others, by their dreams or expectations or sensibilities. But I am also lonely. With no one to shape me, who stands here, watching the moon, or the stars, or the clouds?
Kij Johnson (The Fox Woman (Love/War/Death, #1))
He had that curious love of green, which in individuals is always the sign of a subtle artistic temperament, and in nations is said to denote a laxity, if not a decadence of morals.
Oscar Wilde
The first language humans had was gestures. There was nothing primitive about this language that flowed from people’s hands, nothing we say now that could not be said in the endless array of movements possible with the fine bones of the fingers and wrists. The gestures were complex and subtle, involving a delicacy of motion that has since been lost completely. During the Age of Silence, people communicated more, not less. Basic survival demanded that the hands were almost never still, and so it was only during sleep (and sometimes not even then) that people were not saying something or other. No distinction was made between the gestures of language and the gestures of life. The labor of building a house, say, or preparing a meal was no less an expression than making the sign for I love you or I feel serious. When a hand was used to shield one’s face when frightened by a loud noise something was being said, and when fingers were used to pick up what someone else had dropped something was being said; and even when the hands were at rest, that, too, was saying something. Naturally, there were misunderstandings. There were times when a finger might have been lifted to scratch a nose, and if casual eye contact was made with one’s lover just then, the lover might accidentally take it to be the gesture, not at all dissimilar, for Now I realize I was wrong to love you. These mistakes were heartbreaking. And yet, because people knew how easily they could happen, because they didn’t go round with the illusion that they understood perfectly the things other people said, they were used to interrupting each other to ask if they’d understood correctly. Sometimes these misunderstandings were even desirable, since they gave people a reason to say, Forgive me, I was only scratching my nose. Of course I know I’ve always been right to love you. Because of the frequency of these mistakes, over time the gesture for asking forgiveness evolved into the simplest form. Just to open your palm was to say: Forgive me." "If at large gatherings or parties, or around people with whom you feel distant, your hands sometimes hang awkwardly at the ends of your arms – if you find yourself at a loss for what to do with them, overcome with sadness that comes when you recognize the foreignness of your own body – it’s because your hands remember a time when the division between mind and body, brain and heart, what’s inside and what’s outside, was so much less. It’s not that we’ve forgotten the language of gestures entirely. The habit of moving our hands while we speak is left over from it. Clapping, pointing, giving the thumbs-up, for example, is a way to remember how it feels to say nothing together. And at night, when it’s too dark to see, we find it necessary to gesture on each other’s bodies to make ourselves understood.
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
We all love to take responsibility for success and happiness. Hell, we often fight over who gets to be responsible for success and happiness. But taking responsibility for our problems is far more important, because that’s where the real learning comes from. That’s where the real-life improvement comes from. To
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
He couldn’t just come right out with it, could he? No, that would scare her off. He had to be subtle, build up to it. Explain himself. “I love you.” Of course, straight to the point was also an effective strategy.
Sarah Mayberry (Can't Get Enough)
But the truth is far less interesting than any of these explanations. The truth is, I thought I wanted something, but it turns out I didn’t. End of story. I wanted the reward and not the struggle. I wanted the result and not the process. I was in love with not the fight but only the victory. And
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
But a chance tone of colour in a room or a morning sky, a particular perfume that you had once loved and that brings subtle memories with it, a line from a forgotten poem that you had come across again, a cadence from a piece of music that you had ceased to play— I tell you, Dorian, that it is on things like these that our lives depend.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
I remember these things clearly because that was how my mother loved you, not through white lies and constant verbal affirmation, but in subtle observations of what brought you joy, pocketed away to make you feel comforted and cared for without even realizing it. She remembered if you liked your stews with extra broth, if you were sensitive to spice, if you hated tomatoes, if you didn't eat seafood, if you had a large appetite. She remembered which banchan side dish you emptied first so the next time you were over it'd be set with a heaping double portion, served alongside the various other preferences that made you, you.
Michelle Zauner (Crying in H Mart)
And then the sly arch-lover that he was, he said the subtlest thing of all: that the lover was nearer the divine than the beloved; for the god was in the one but not in the other - perhaps the tenderest, most mocking thought that ever was thought, and source of all the guile and secret bliss the lover knows.
Thomas Mann (Death in Venice and Other Tales)
A wondrous subtle thing is love, for here were we two, who had never seen each other before that day, between whom no word or even look of affection had ever passed, and yet now in an hour of trouble our hands instinctively sought for each other… So we stood hand in hand like two children, and there was peace in our hearts for all the dark things that surrounded us.
Arthur Conan Doyle (The Sign of Four (Sherlock Holmes, #2))
BELOVED, gaze in thine own heart, The holy tree is growing there; From joy the holy branches start, And all the trembling flowers they bear. The changing colours of its fruit Have dowered the stars with merry light; The surety of its hidden root Has planted quiet in the night; The shaking of its leafy head Has given the waves their melody, And made my lips and music wed, Murmuring a wizard song for thee. There the Loves a circle go, The flaming circle of our days, Gyring, spiring to and fro In those great ignorant leafy ways; Remembering all that shaken hair And how the wingèd sandals dart, Thine eyes grow full of tender care: Beloved, gaze in thine own heart. Gaze no more in the bitter glass The demons, with their subtle guile, Lift up before us when they pass, Or only gaze a little while; For there a fatal image grows That the stormy night receives, Roots half hidden under snows, Broken boughs and blackened leaves. For all things turn to barrenness In the dim glass the demons hold, The glass of outer weariness, Made when God slept in times of old. There, through the broken branches, go The ravens of unresting thought; Flying, crying, to and fro, Cruel claw and hungry throat, Or else they stand and sniff the wind, And shake their ragged wings; alas! Thy tender eyes grow all unkind: Gaze no more in the bitter glass. - The Two Trees
W.B. Yeats
We sometimes hurt those we love because they need to be “taught a lesson,” when we really want to punish. We were depressed and complained we felt bad, when in fact we were mainly asking for sympathy and attention. This odd trait of mind and emotion, this perverse wish to hide a bad motive underneath a good one, permeates human affairs from top to bottom. This subtle and elusive kind of self-righteousness can underlie the smallest act or thought. Learning daily to spot, admit, and correct these flaws is the essence of character-building and good living. An honest regret for harms done, a genuine gratitude for blessings received, and a willingness to try for better things tomorrow will be the permanent assets we shall seek.
Alcoholics Anonymous (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions)
Dear Collector: We hate you. Sex loses all its power and magic when it becomes explicit, mechanical, overdone, when it becomes a mechanistic obsession. It becomes a bore. You have taught us more than anyone I know how wrong it is not to mix it with emotion, hunger, desire, lust, whims, caprices, personal ties, deeper relationships that change its color, flavor, rhythms, intensities. "You do not know what you are missing by your micro-scopic examination of sexual activity to the exclusion of aspects which are the fuel that ignites it. Intellectual, imaginative, romantic, emotional. This is what gives sex its surprising textures, its subtle transformations, its aphrodisiac elements. You are shrinking your world of sensations. You are withering it, starving it, draining its blood. If you nourished your sexual life with all the excitements and adventures which love injects into sensuality, you would be the most potent man in the world. The source of sexual power is curiosity, passion. You are watching its little flame die of asphyxiation. Sex does not thrive on monotony. Without feeling, inventions, moods, no surprises in bed. Sex must be mixed with tears, laughter, words, promises, scenes, jealousy, envy, all the spices of fear, foreign travel, new faces, novels, stories, dreams, fantasies, music, dancing, opium, wine. How much do you lose by this periscope at the tip of your sex, when you could enjoy a harem of distinct and never-repeated wonders? No two hairs alike, but you will not let us waste words on a description of hair; no two odors, but if we expand on this you cry Cut the poetry. No two skins with the same texture, and never the same light, temperature, shadows, never the same gesture; for a lover, when he is aroused by true love, can run the gamut of centuries of love lore. What a range, what changes of age, what variations of maturity and innocence, perversity and art . . . We have sat around for hours and wondered how you look. If you have closed your senses upon silk, light, color, odor, character, temperament, you must be by now completely shriveled up. There are so many minor senses, all running like tributaries into the mainstream of sex, nourishing it. Only the united beat of sex and heart together can create ecstasy.
Anaïs Nin (Delta of Venus)
It’s the subtle shudder when you hear the other’s person’s name. The times when you think about their smile and find it impossible to keep a straight face. It’s those small, precious moments you wish they were with you, because nothing means anything until you share it with them. More than a passion and love alone, it’s that internal alchemy that makes them part of you.
Leisa Rayven (Broken Juliet (Starcrossed, #2))
God’s palette of shifting hues is vast, subtle, and beyond our comprehension. We humans are like those colors. Subtle, shifting, unique. Non-binary. Unable to be labeled or singled out. Beautiful and one-of-a-kind, and seen by God’s eyes alone.
Suzanne DeWitt Hall (Where True Love Is: An Affirming Devotional for LGBTQI+ Individuals and Their Allies)
While I was backstage before presenting the Best New Artist award, I talked to George Strait for a while. He's so incredibly cool. So down-to-earth and funny. I think it should be known that George Strait has an awesome, dry, subtle sense of humor. Then I went back out into the crowd and watched the rest of the show. Keith Urban's new song KILLS ME, it's so good. And when Brad Paisley ran down into the front row and kissed Kimberley's stomach (she's pregnant) before accepting his award, Kellie, my mom, and I all started crying. That's probably the sweetest thing I've ever seen. I thought Kellie NAILED her performance of the song we wrote together "The Best Days of Your Life". I was so proud of her. I thought Darius Rucker's performance RULED, and his vocals were incredible. I'm a huge fan. I love it when I find out that the people who make the music I love are wonderful people. I love Faith Hill and how she always makes everyone in the room feel special. I love Keith Urban, and how he told me he knows every word to "Love Story" (That made my night). I love Nicole Kidman, and her sweet, warm personality. I love how Kenny Chesney always has something hilarious or thoughtful to say. But the real moment that brought on this wave of gratitude was when Shania Twain HERSELF walked up and introduced herself to me. Shania Twain, as in.. The reason I wanted to do this in the first place. Shania Twain, as in.. the most impressive and independent and confident and successful female artist to ever hit country music. She walked up to me and said she wanted to meet me and tell me I was doing a great job. She was so beautiful, guys. She really IS that beautiful. All the while, I was completely star struck. After she walked away, I realized I didn't have my camera. Then I cried. You know, last night made me feel really great about being a country music fan in general. Country music is the place to find reality in music, and reality in the stars who make that music. There's kindness and goodness and....honesty in the people I look up to, and knowing that makes me smile. I'm proud to sing country music, and that has never wavered. The reason for the being.. nights like last night.
Taylor Swift
It was a standard fantasy when you fell in love to imagine you could go back in time and find your beloved growing up, appear there, save him or her, get together as adolescents, by magic, and go on together, fighting for one another, into old age, never wavering.
Norman Rush (Subtle Bodies)
I"m often accused of being irreligious, and I suppose it's for this very reason. Whether it's Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Catholicism, Hinduism, Judaism, or any other ism, when a religioin is created on the subtle premise that God withholds his love and you must submit to the system to earn that love, I consider it the worst of corruptions... For centuries, the church has been telling us that if we want God to love us, we need to follow the rules. It's been far more important to focus on the sin problem than the love problem.
Erwin Raphael McManus
I love you because you're tender and sweet, you the hardest and sternest of men. And your sweetness and tenderness are such that they make you as light as a shred of tulle, subtle as a flake of mist, airy as a caprice. Your thick muscles, your arms, your thighs, your hands, are more unreal than the melting of day into night. You envelop me and I contain you.
Jean Genet (The Balcony)
We began reading books together. He loved Dr. Seuss. I read those books so often I could turn the pages and say the words from memory. I became bored with repetition, and I began to make subtle alterations. The story turned into: One fish Two fish Black fish Blue fish I eat you fish And: See them all See them run The man in back He has a gun
John Elder Robison (Look Me in the Eye)
What do you want?" Peter chuckled, "Right now, to eat my lunch, just like you. Am I missing something here?" "I don't understand American boys, sometimes. I've learned English, but you people can use subtle meanings that elude me in what you say and do." "We're just sharing a table, eating lunch. There's nothing subtle about that." 
Dennis K. Hausker (Anya)
Children, you must understand, are monsters. They are ravenous, ravening, they lope over the countryside with slavering mouths, seeking love to devour. Even when they find it, even if they roll about in it and gorge themselves, still it will never be enough. Their hunger for it is greater than any heart to satisfy. You mustn't think poorly of them - we are all monsters that way, it is only that when we are grown, we learn more subtle ways to snatch it up, and secretly slurp our fingers clean in dark corners, relishing even the last dregs. All children know is a sort of clumsy pouncing after love. They often miss, but that is how they learn.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Habitation of the Blessed (A Dirge for Prester John, #1))
I will love you for ever, whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead I'll drift about for ever, all my atoms, till I find you again... I'll be looking for you, Will, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again we'll cling together so tight that nothing and no one'll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you... We'll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams... And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won't just be able to take one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we'll be joined so tight...
Philip Pullman (The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3))
...the woods, when they give at all, give unstintedly, and hold nothing back from their true worshippers. We must go to them lovingly, humbly, patiently, watchfully, and we shall learn what poignant loveliness lurks in the wild places and silent intervales, lying under starshine and sunset, what cadences of unearthly music are harped on aged pine boughs or crooned in copses of fir, what delicate savours exhale from mosses and ferns in sunny corners or on damp brooklands, what dreams and myths and legends of an older time haunt them. Then the immortal heart of the woods will beat against ours and its subtle life will steal into our veins and make us its own forever, so that no matter where we go or how widely we wander we shall yet be drawn back to the forest to find our most enduring kinship.
L.M. Montgomery (The Blue Castle)
And my biggest fear would be forever missing a piece. You see our story was never complete, and it's supposed to be finished but you haven't yet heard all of me. So listen because my biggest fear would be missing out on how it truly feels . I will forever miss a touch though i never tried it on my face; i might miss how cold it is and i might miss how warm it left me, i might miss how it perfectly traces every line and i might miss how it gets lost everytime. I will forever miss a hand that held my heart, one that only learnt how to wave goodbye, one that only learnt how to part, i will never know how your fingers interlaced with mine, though i have been always sure that they fit perfectly inside. And I know i will definitely miss waking up to your eyes, i will miss knowing they see right through me, i will miss having that subtle silent stare reassure my heart. And a very long playlist will go to waste, no slow dancing not on the kitchen floor and never once in the rain.Just know I already miss having your back, but you are the one who turned yours and i don't know if i should ever forgive that.
Mennah al Refaey
There was a warmth of fury in his last phrases. He meant she loved him more than he her. Perhaps he could not love her. Perhaps she had not in herself that which he wanted. It was the deepest motive of her soul, this self-mistrust. It was so deep she dared neither realise nor acknowledge. Perhaps she was deficient. Like an infinitely subtle shame, it kept her always back. If it were so, she would do without him. She would never let herself want him. She would merely see.
D.H. Lawrence (Sons and lovers + Lady Chatterley's lover)
Carnal love in all its forms, from the highest — true marriage or platonic love — to the most base, down to debauchery, has the beauty of the world for its object. Love that gives itself to the spectacle of the heavens, the plains, the sea, the mountains or the silence of nature senses this love in a thousand faint sounds, breaths of wind and the warmth of the sun. Every human being feels it vaguely for at least a moment. It is an incomplete love, sorrowful, because it gives itself to something incapable of response, which is matter. People desire to transfer this love onto a being that is like it, capable of responding to love, of saying ‘yes,’ of yielding to it. The feeling of beauty sometimes linked to the appearance of a human being makes this transfer possible at least in an illusory way. But it is the beauty of the world — the universal beauty — toward which our desire leads. This kind of transfer is expressed in all literature that encompasses love, from the most ancient and most used metaphors and similes of poetry to the subtle analysis of Proust. The desire to love the beauty of the world in a human being is essentially the desire for the Incarnation. If we think it is something else, we are mistaken. The Incarnation alone can satisfy it.
Simone Weil (Waiting for God)
There are nowadays professors of philosophy, but not philosophers. Yet it is admirable to profess because it was once admirable to live. To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust. It is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically. The success of great scholars and thinkers is commonly a courtier-like success, not kingly, not manly.
Henry David Thoreau
So it hadn’t been wrong or dishonest of her to say no this morning, when he asked if she hated him, any more than it had been wrong or dishonest to serve him the elaborate breakfast and to show the elaborate interest in his work, and to kiss him goodbye. The kiss, for that matter, had been exactly right—a perfectly fair, friendly kiss, a kiss for a boy you’d just met at a party, a boy who’d danced with you and made you laugh and walked you home afterwards, talking about himself all the way. The only real mistake, the only wrong and dishonest thing, was ever to have seen him as anything more than that. Oh, for a month or two, just for fun, it might be all right to play a game like that with a boy; but all these years! And all because, in a sentimentally lonely time long ago, she had found it easy and agreeable to believe whatever this one particular boy felt like saying, and to repay him for that pleasure by telling easy, agreeable lies of her own, until each was saying what the other most wanted to hear—until he was saying “I love you” and she was saying “Really, I mean it; you’re the most interesting person I’ve ever met.” What a subtle, treacherous thing it was to let yourself go that way! Because once you’d started it was terribly difficult to stop; soon you were saying “I’m sorry, of course you’re right,” and “Whatever you think is best,” and “You’re the most wonderful and valuable thing in the world,” and the next thing you knew all honesty, all truth, was as far away and glimmering, as hopelessly unattainable as the world of the golden people. Then you discovered you were working at life the way the Laurel Players worked at The Petrified Forest, or the way Steve Kovick worked at his drums—earnest and sloppy and full of pretension and all wrong; you found you were saying yes when you meant no, and “We’ve got to be together on this thing” when you meant the very opposite; then you were breathing gasoline as if it were flowers and abandoning yourself to a delirium of love under the weight of a clumsy, grunting, red-faced man you didn’t even like—Shep Campbell!—and then you were face to face, in total darkness, with the knowledge that you didn’t know who you were. (p.416-7)
Richard Yates (Revolutionary Road)
He loved her in a subtle kind of way. It wasn’t the kind of love you see in movies, with swelling music and giant gestures and running through the streets to catch a departing train. It wasn’t the kind of love that Byron or Shakespeare wrote about, with flowery language and hyperbole and iambic pentameter. It was still and deep, like water that you might mistake for shallow if you just watched the surface. It was entirely his, not dependent on her own feelings for him, and it would still be there whether she, or him, or everyone else on the world disappeared. It was a subtle kind of love, but it was true.
Jake Christie
As Harold took a bite of Bavarian sugar cookie, he finally felt as if everything was going to be ok. Sometimes, when we lose ourselves in fear and despair, in routine and constancy, in hopelessness and tragedy, we can thank God for Bavarian sugar cookies. And, fortunately, when there aren't any cookies, we can still find reassurance in a familiar hand on our skin, or a kind and loving gesture, or subtle encouragement, or a loving embrace, or an offer of comfort, not to mention hospital gurneys and nose plugs, an uneaten Danish, soft-spoken secrets, and Fender Stratocasters, and maybe the occasional piece of fiction. And we must remember that all these things, the nuances, the anomalies, the subtleties, which we assume only accessorize our days, are effective for a much larger and nobler cause. They are here to save our lives. I know the idea seems strange, but I also know that it just so happens to be true.
Zach Helm (Stranger Than Fiction: The Shooting Script)
While the noble man lives in trust and openness with himself (gennaios 'of noble descent' underlines the nuance 'upright' and probably also 'naïve'), the man of ressentiment is neither upright nor naive nor honest and straightforward with himself. His soul squints; his spirit loves hiding places, secret paths and back doors, everything covert entices him as his world, his security, his refreshment; he understands how to keep silent, how not to forget, how to wait, how to be provisionally self-deprecating and humble. A race of such men of ressentiment is bound to become eventually cleverer than any noble race; it will also honor cleverness to a far greater degree: namely, as a condition of existence of the first importance; while with noble men cleverness can easily acquire a subtle flavor of luxury and subtlety—for here it is far less essential than the perfect functioning of the regulating unconscious instincts or even than a certain imprudence, perhaps a bold recklessness whether in the face of danger or of the enemy, or that enthusiastic impulsiveness in anger, love, reverence, gratitude, and revenge by which noble souls have at all times recognized one another. Ressentiment itself, if it should appear in the noble man, consummates and exhausts itself in an immediate reaction, and therefore does not poison: on the other hand, it fails to appear at all on countless occasions on which it inevitably appears in the weak and impotent.
Friedrich Nietzsche (On the Genealogy of Morals / Ecce Homo)
These are the three stages of enlightenment, the three glimpses of satori. 1. The first stage enlightenment: A Glimpse of the Whole The first stage of enlightenment is short glimpse from faraway of the whole. It is a short glimpse of being. The first stage of enlightenment is when, for the first time, for a single moment the mind is not functioning. The ordinary ego is still present at the first stage of enlightenment, but you experience for a short while that there is something beyond the ego. There is a gap, a silence and emptiness, where there is not thought between you and existence. You and existence meet and merge for a moment. And for the first time the seed, the thirst and longing, for enlightenment, the meeting between you and existence, will grow in your heart. 2. The second stage of enlightenment: Silence, Relaxation, Togetherness, Inner Being The second stage of enlightenment is a new order, a harmony, from within, which comes from the inner being. It is the quality of freedom. The inner chaos has disappeared and a new silence, relaxation and togetherness has arisen. Your own wisdom from within has arisen. A subtle ego is still present in the second stage of enlightenment. The Hindus has three names for the ego: 1. Ahamkar, which is the ordinary ego. 2. Asmita, which is the quality of Am-ness, of no ego. It is a very silent ego, not aggreessive, but it is still a subtle ego. 3. Atma, the third word is Atma, when the Am-ness is also lost. This is what Buddha callas no-self, pure being. In the second stage of enlightenment you become capable of being in the inner being, in the gap, in the meditative quality within, in the silence and emptiness. For hours, for days, you can remain in the gap, in utter aloneness, in God. Still you need effort to remain in the gap, and if you drop the effort, the gap will disappear. Love, meditation and prayer becomes the way to increase the effort in the search for God. Then the second stage becomes a more conscious effort. Now you know the way, you now the direction. 3. The third stage of enlightenment: Ocean, Wholeness, No-self, Pure being At the third stage of enlightenment, at the third step of Satori, our individual river flowing silently, suddenly reaches to the Ocean and becomes one with the Ocean. At the third Satori, the ego is lost, and there is Atma, pure being. You are, but without any boundaries. The river has become the Ocean, the Whole. It has become a vast emptiness, just like the pure sky. The third stage of enlightenment happens when you have become capable of finding the inner being, the meditative quality within, the gap, the inner silence and emptiness, so that it becomes a natural quality. You can find the gap whenever you want. This is what tantra callas Mahamudra, the great orgasm, what Buddha calls Nirvana, what Lao Tzu calls Tao and what Jesus calls the kingdom of God. You have found the door to God. You have come home.
Swami Dhyan Giten
People with strong boundaries understand that it's unreasonable to expect two people to accommodate each other 100 percent and fulfill every need the other has. People with strong boundaries understand that they may hurt someone's feelings sometimes, but ultimately they can't determine how other people feel. People with strong boundaries understand that a healthy relationship is not about controlling one another's emotions, but rather about each partner supporting the other in their individual growth and in solving their own problems. It's not about giving a fuck about everything your partner gives a fuck about. It's about giving a fuck about your partner regardless of the fucks he or she gives. That's unconditional love baby.
Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life)
But love, first learnèd in a lady's eyes, Lives not alone immurèd in the brain, But, with the motion of all elements, Courses as swift as thought in every power, And gives to every power a double power, Above their functions and their offices. It adds a precious seeing to the eye; A lover's eyes will gaze an eagle blind; A lover's ears will hear the lowest sound, When the suspicious head of theft is stopped: Love's feeling is more soft and sensible Than are the tender horns of cockled snails: Love's tongue proves dainty Baccus gross in taste. For valour, is not love a Hercules, Still climbing trees in the Hesperides? Subtle as Sphinx; as sweet and musical As bright Apollo's lute, strung with his hair; And when Love speaks, the voice of all the gods Makes heaven drowsy with the harmony. Never durst poet touch a pen to write Until his ink were tempered with Love's sighs.
William Shakespeare (Love's Labour's Lost)
One of life's primal situations; the game of hide and seek. Oh, the delicious thrill of hiding while the others come looking for you, the delicious terror of being discovered, but what panic when, after a long search, the others abandon you! You mustn't hide too well. You mustn't be too good at the game. The player must never be bigger than the game itself. It's like making a joke which is so subtle that it goes unnoticed and you are reduced to explaining it. Can we draw some other lesson from this? There exists, between people in love, a kind of capital held by each. This is not just a stock of affects or pleasure, but also the possibility of playing double or quits with the share you hold in the other's heart. One of the strategies can be to sacrifice it at just the right moment and be the first to say: 'I'm not playing any more', since you then collect all the stakes.
Jean Baudrillard (Cool Memories)
Here was intellectual life, he thought, and here was beauty, warm and wonderful as he had never dreamed it could be. He forgot himself and stared at her with hungry eyes. Here was something to live for, to win to, to fight for—ay, and die for. The books were true. There were such women in the world. She was one of them. She lent wings to his imagination, and great, luminous canvases spread themselves before him whereon loomed vague, gigantic figures of love and romance, and of heroic deeds for woman’s sake—for a pale woman, a flower of gold. And through the swaying, palpitant vision, as through a fairy mirage, he stared at the real woman, sitting there and talking of literature and art. He listened as well, but he stared, unconscious of the fixity of his gaze or of the fact that all that was essentially masculine in his nature was shining in his eyes. But she, who knew little of the world of men, being a woman, was keenly aware of his burning eyes. She had never had men look at her in such fashion, and it embarrassed her. She stumbled and halted in her utterance. The thread of argument slipped from her. He frightened her, and at the same time it was strangely pleasant to be so looked upon. Her training warned her of peril and of wrong, subtle, mysterious, luring; while her instincts rang clarion-voiced through her being, impelling her to hurdle caste and place and gain to this traveller from another world, to this uncouth young fellow with lacerated hands and a line of raw red caused by the unaccustomed linen at his throat, who, all too evidently, was soiled and tainted by ungracious existence. She was clean, and her cleanness revolted; but she was woman, and she was just beginning to learn the paradox of woman.
Jack London (Martin Eden)
Do not despise your inner world. That is the first and most general piece of advice I would offer… Our society is very outward-looking, very taken up with the latest new object, the latest piece of gossip, the latest opportunity for self-assertion and status. But we all begin our lives as helpless babies, dependent on others for comfort, food, and survival itself. And even though we develop a degree of mastery and independence, we always remain alarmingly weak and incomplete, dependent on others and on an uncertain world for whatever we are able to achieve. As we grow, we all develop a wide range of emotions responding to this predicament: fear that bad things will happen and that we will be powerless to ward them off; love for those who help and support us; grief when a loved one is lost; hope for good things in the future; anger when someone else damages something we care about. Our emotional life maps our incompleteness: A creature without any needs would never have reasons for fear, or grief, or hope, or anger. But for that very reason we are often ashamed of our emotions, and of the relations of need and dependency bound up with them. Perhaps males, in our society, are especially likely to be ashamed of being incomplete and dependent, because a dominant image of masculinity tells them that they should be self-sufficient and dominant. So people flee from their inner world of feeling, and from articulate mastery of their own emotional experiences. The current psychological literature on the life of boys in America indicates that a large proportion of boys are quite unable to talk about how they feel and how others feel — because they have learned to be ashamed of feelings and needs, and to push them underground. But that means that they don’t know how to deal with their own emotions, or to communicate them to others. When they are frightened, they don’t know how to say it, or even to become fully aware of it. Often they turn their own fear into aggression. Often, too, this lack of a rich inner life catapults them into depression in later life. We are all going to encounter illness, loss, and aging, and we’re not well prepared for these inevitable events by a culture that directs us to think of externals only, and to measure ourselves in terms of our possessions of externals. What is the remedy of these ills? A kind of self-love that does not shrink from the needy and incomplete parts of the self, but accepts those with interest and curiosity, and tries to develop a language with which to talk about needs and feelings. Storytelling plays a big role in the process of development. As we tell stories about the lives of others, we learn how to imagine what another creature might feel in response to various events. At the same time, we identify with the other creature and learn something about ourselves. As we grow older, we encounter more and more complex stories — in literature, film, visual art, music — that give us a richer and more subtle grasp of human emotions and of our own inner world. So my second piece of advice, closely related to the first, is: Read a lot of stories, listen to a lot of music, and think about what the stories you encounter mean for your own life and lives of those you love. In that way, you will not be alone with an empty self; you will have a newly rich life with yourself, and enhanced possibilities of real communication with others.
Martha C. Nussbaum
This womens skin is shimmering and pale, her long black hair is tied with dozens of silver ribbons that fall over her shoulders. Her gown is white, covered in what to Bailey looks like looping black embroidery, but as he walks closer he sees that the black marks are actually words written across the fabric. When he is near enough to read parts of the gown, he realizes that they are love letters, inscribed in handwritten text. Words of desire and longing wrapping around her waist, flowing down the train of her gown as it spills over the platform. The statue herself is still, but her hand is held out and only then does Bailey notice the young woman with a red scarf standing in front of her, offering the love letter-clad statue a sungle crimson rose. The movement is so subtle that it is almost undetectable, but slowly, very, very slowly, the statue reaches to accept the rose. Her fingers open, and the young woman with the rose waits patiently as the statue gradually closes her hand around the stem, releasing it only when it is secure. ....The statue is lifting the rose, gradually, to her face. Her eye lids slowly close.
Erin Morgenstern (The Night Circus)
Riley paused, turning back to face Jack. "Just so you know, we are gonna need some definite PDAs tonight. Think you can handle that?" There was irritation in Riley's voice, a subtle change, a certain stress. Jack imagined it was a manifestation of fear, and it made him feel better to think that. In answer Jack moved carefully past Riley, sliding a hand over the younger man's black silk shirt, his fingers brushing Riley's left nipple. He heard a hiss of indrawn breath as his hard thigh touched Riley briefly. "I can handle anything you need, Het-boy," he said, his voice low and growled. "Just follow my cues." Riley followed him to the top of the stairs, and Jack held out his hand. "Husband?" he smirked. Riley took his hand, and they started down the sweeping staircase. "Fuck you, asshole," Riley forced out behind a covering smile. "Not if I fuck you first," Jack said, fast and clear, smirking again as Riley stumbled on the next step.
R.J. Scott (The Heart of Texas (Texas, #1))
Our romantic lives are fated to be sad and incomplete, because we are creatures driven by two essential desires which point powerfully in entirely opposing directions. Yet what is worse is our utopian refusal to countenance the divergence, our naive hope that a cost-free synchronisation might somehow be found: that the libertine might live for adventure while avoiding loneliness and chaos. Or that the married Romantic might unite sex with tenderness, and passion with routine.” “Infatuations aren’t delusions. That way a person has of holding their head may truly indicate someone confident, wry and sensitive; they really may have the humour and intelligence implied by their eyes and the tenderness suggested by their mouth. The error of the infatuation is more subtle: a failure to keep in mind the central truth of human nature that everyone – not merely our current partners, in whose multiple failings we are such experts – but everyone will have something substantially and maddeningly wrong with them when we spend more time around them, something so wrong as to make a mockery of those initially rapturous feelings. The only people who can still strike us as normal are those we don’t yet know very well. The bet cure for love is to get to know them better.
Alain de Botton (The Course of Love)
The carnistic schema, which twists information so that nonsense seems to make perfect sense, also explains why we fail to see the absurdities of the system. Consider, for instance, advertising campaigns in which a pig dances joyfully over the fire pit where he or she is to be barbecued, or chickens wear aprons while beseeching the viewer to eat them. And consider the Veterinarian's Oath of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 'I solemnly swear to use my...skills for the...relief of animal suffering,' in light of the fact that the vast majority of veterinarians eat animals simply because they like the way meat tastes. Or think about how poeple won't replace their hamburgers with veggie burgers, even if the flavor is identical, because they claim that, if they try hard enough, they can detect a subtle difference in texture. Only when we deconstruct the carnistic schema can we see the absurdity of placing our preference for a flawless re-creation of a textural norm over the lives and deaths of billions of others.
Melanie Joy (Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism)
in heavenly realms of hellas dwelt two very different sons of zeus: one, handsome strong and born to dare --a fighter to his eyelashes-- the other,cunning ugly lame; but as you'll shortly comprehend a marvellous artificer now Ugly was the husband of (as happens every now and then upon a merely human plane) someone completely beautiful; and Beautiful,who(truth to sing) could never quite tell right from wrong, took brother Fearless by the eyes and did the deed of joy with him then Cunning forged a web so subtle air is comparatively crude; an indestructible occult supersnare of resistless metal: and(stealing toward the blissful pair) skilfully wafted over them- selves this implacable unthing next,our illustrious scientist petitions the celestial host to scrutinize his handiwork: they(summoned by that savage yell from shining realms of regions dark) laugh long at Beautiful and Brave --wildly who rage,vainly who strive; and being finally released flee one another like the pest thus did immortal jealousy quell divine generosity, thus reason vanquished instinct and matter became the slave of mind; thus virtue triumphed over vice and beauty bowed to ugliness and logic thwarted life:and thus-- but look around you,friends and foes my tragic tale concludes herewith: soldier,beware of mrs smith
E.E. Cummings
Every Day You Play.... Every day you play with the light of the universe. Subtle visitor, you arrive in the flower and the water, You are more than this white head that I hold tightly as a bunch of flowers, every day, between my hands. You are like nobody since I love you. Let me spread you out among yellow garlands. Who writes your name in letters of smoke among the stars of the south? Oh let me remember you as you were before you existed. Suddenly the wind howls and bangs at my shut window. The sky is a net crammed with shadowy fish. Here all the winds let go sooner or later, all of them. The rain takes off her clothes. The birds go by, fleeing. The wind.  The wind. I alone can contend against the power of men. The storm whirls dark leaves and turns loose all the boats that were moored last night to the sky. You are here.  Oh, you do not run away. You will answer me to the last cry. Curl round me as though you were frightened. Even so, a strange shadow once ran through your eyes. Now, now too, little one, you bring me honeysuckle, and even your breasts smell of it. While the sad wind goes slaughtering butterflies I love you, and my happiness bites the plum of your mouth. How you must have suffered getting accustomed to me, my savage, solitary soul, my name that sends them all running. So many times we have seen the morning star burn, kissing our eyes, and over our heads the grey light unwinds in turning fans. My words rained over you, stroking you. A long time I have loved the sunned mother-of-pearl of your body. Until I even believe that you own the universe. I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells, dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses. I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.
Pablo Neruda (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair)
There is a very simple secret to being happy. Just let go of your demand on this moment. Any time you have a demand on the moment to give you something or remove something, there is suffering. Your demands keep you chained to the dream state of conditioned mind. The problem is that when there is a demand, you completely miss what is now. Letting go applies to the highest sacred demand, and even to the demand for love. If you demand in some subtle way to be loved, even if you get love, it is never enough. In the next moment, the demand reasserts itself, and you need to be loved again. But as soon as you let go, there is knowing in that instant that there is love here already. The mind is afraid to let go of its demand because the mind thinks that if it lets go, it is not going to get what it wants - as if demanding works. This is not the way things work. Stop chasing peace and stop chasing love, and your heart becomes full. Stop trying to be a better person, and you are a better person. Stop trying to forgive, and forgiveness happens. Stop and be still.
Adyashanti
Epicurus founded a school of philosophy which placed great emphasis on the importance of pleasure. "Pleasure is the beginning and the goal of a happy life," he asserted, confirming what many had long thought, but philosophers had rarely accepted. Vulgar opinion at once imagined that the pleasure Epicurus had in mind involved a lot of money, sex, drink and debauchery (associations that survive in our use of the word 'Epicurean'). But true Epicureanism was more subtle. Epicurus led a very simple life, because after rational analysis, he had come to some striking conclusions about what actually made life pleasurable - and fortunately for those lacking a large income, it seemed that the essential ingredients of pleasure, however elusive, were not very expensive. The first ingredient was friendship. 'Of all the things that wisdom provides to help one live one's entire life in happiness, the greatest by far is the possession of friendship,' he wrote. So he bought a house near Athens where he lived in the company of congenial souls. The desire for riches should perhaps not always be understood as a simple hunger for a luxurious life, a more important motive might be the wish to be appreciated and treated nicely. We may seek a fortune for no greater reason than to secure the respect and attention of people who would otherwise look straight through us. Epicurus, discerning our underlying need, recognised that a handful of true friends could deliver the love and respect that even a fortune may not. Epicurus and his friends located a second secret of happiness: freedom. In order not to have to work for people they didn't like and answer to potentially humiliating whims, they removed themselves from employment in the commercial world of Athens ('We must free ourselves from the prison of everyday affairs and politics'), and began what could best have been described as a commune, accepting a simpler way of life in exchange for independence. They would have less money, but would never again have to follow the commands of odious superiors. The third ingredient of happiness was, in Epicurus's view, to lead an examined life. Epicurus was concerned that he and his friends learn to analyse their anxieties about money, illness, death and the supernatural. There are few better remedies for anxiety than thought. In writing a problem down or airing it in conversation we let its essential aspects emerge. And by knowing its character, we remove, if not the problem itself, then its secondary, aggravating characteristics: confusion, displacement, surprise. Wealth is of course unlikely ever to make anyone miserable. But the crux of Epicurus's argument is that if we have money without friends, freedom and an analysed life, we will never be truly happy. And if we have them, but are missing the fortune, we will never be unhappy.
Alain de Botton
To understand a child we have to watch him at play, study him in his different moods; we cannot project upon him our own prejudices, hopes and fears, or mould him to fit the pattern of our desires. If we are constantly judging the child according to our personal likes and dislikes, we are bound to create barriers and hindrances in our relationship with him and in his relationships with the world. Unfortunately, most of us desire to shape the child in a way that is gratifying to our own vanities and idiosyncrasies; we find varying degrees of comfort and satisfaction in exclusive ownership and domination. Surely, this process is not relationship, but mere imposition, and it is therefore essential to understand the difficult and complex desire to dominate. It takes many subtle forms; and in its self-righteous aspect, it is very obstinate. The desire to "serve" with the unconscious longing to dominate is difficult to understand. Can there be love where there is possessiveness? Can we be in communion with those whom we seek to control? To dominate is to use another for self-gratification, and where there is the use of another there is no love. When there is love there is consideration, not only for the children but for every human being. Unless we are deeply touched by the problem, we will never find the right way of education. Mere technical training inevitably makes for ruthlessness, and to educate our children we must be sensitive to the whole movement of life. What we think, what we do, what we say matters infinitely, because it creates the environment, and the environment either helps or hinders the child. Obviously, then, those of us who are deeply interested in this problem will have to begin to understand ourselves and thereby help to transform society; we will make it our direct responsability to bring about a new approach to education. If we love our children, will we not find a way of putting an end to war? But if we are merely using the word "love" without substance, then the whole complex problem of human misery will remain. The way out of this problem lies through ourselves. We must begin to understand our relationship with our fellow men, with nature, with ideas and with things, for without that understanding there is no hope, there is no way out of conflict and suffering. The bringing up of a child requires intelligent observation and care. Experts and their knowledge can never replace the parents' love, but most parents corrupt that love by their own fears and ambitions, which condition and distort the outlook of the child. So few of us are concerned with love, but we are vastly taken up with the appearance of love. The present educational and social structure does not help the individual towards freedom and integration; and if the parents are at all in earnest and desire that the child shall grow to his fullest integral capacity, they must begin to alter the influence of the home and set about creating schools with the right kind of educators. The influence of the home and that of the school must not be in any way contradictory, so both parents and teachers must re-educate themselves. The contradiction which so often exists between the private life of the individual and his life as a member of the group creates an endless battle within himself and in his relationships. This conflict is encouraged and sustained through the wrong kind of education, and both governments and organized religions add to the confusion by their contradictory doctrines. The child is divided within himself from the very start, which results in personal and social disasters.
J. Krishnamurti (Education and the Significance of Life)