The Most Difficult Roads Quotes

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You picked the right road, even though it is the most difficult. That is the essence of heroism. (p. 326)
Brandon Mull (A World Without Heroes (Beyonders, #1))
the most difficult roads to travel often lead to the most beautiful destinations.
K.D. Rawden (Jocelyn's Journal)
My Dear Son, I am so very proud of you. Now, as you embark on a new journey, I'd like to share this one piece of advice. Always, always remember that - adversity is not a detour. It is part of the path. You will encounter obstacles. You will make mistakes. Be grateful for both. Your obstacles and mistakes will be your greatest teachers. And the only way to not make mistakes in this life is to do nothing, which is the biggest mistake of all. Your challenges, if you let them, will become your greatest allies. Mountains can crush or raise you, depending on which side of the mountain you choose to stand on. All history bears out that the great, those who have changed the world, have all suffered great challenges. And, more times than not it's precisely those challenges that, in God's time, lead to triumph. Abhor victimhood. Denounce entitlement. Neither are gifts, rather cages to damn the soul. Everyone who has walked this earth is a victim of injustice. Everyone. Most of all, do not be too quick to denounce your sufferings. The difficult road you are called to walk may, in fact be your only path to success.
Richard Paul Evans (A Winter Dream)
What a subtle, treacherous thing it was to let yourself go that way! Because once you've 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 int he 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.
Richard Yates (Revolutionary Road)
It is more difficult to love than to die. It is not death that human beings are most afraid of, it is love. The heart is bigger than a mountain. One human life is deeper than the ocean. Strange fishes and sea-monsters and mightly plants live in the rock-bed of our spirits. The whole of human history is an undiscovered continent deep in our souls.
Ben Okri (The Famished Road)
The most difficult part ot traditional taekwondo is not learning the first kick or punch. It is not struggling to remember the motions of a poomsae or becoming aquainted with Korean culture. Rather, it is taking the first step across the threshold of the dojang door. This is where roads diverge, where choices are made that will resonate throughout a lifetime.
Doug Cook (Taekwondo: A Path to Excellence)
Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult. Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy.
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Travelled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth (Classic Edition))
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)
People in the West like to shoot things. When they first got to the West they shot buffalo. Once there were 70 million buffalo on the plains and then the people of the West started blasting away at them. Buffalo are just cows with big heads. If you've ever looked a cow in the face and seen the unutterable depths of trust and stupidity that lie within, you will be able to guess how difficult it must have been for people in the West to track down buffalo and shoot them to pieces. By 1895, there were only 800 buffalo left, mostly in zoos and touring Wild West shows. With no buffalo left to kill, Westerners started shooting Indians. Between 1850 and 1890 they reduced the number of Indians in America from two million to 90,000. Nowadays, thank goodness, both have made a recovery. Today there are 30,000 buffalo and 300,000 Indiands, and of course you are not allowed to shoot either, so all the Westerners have left to shoot at are road signs and each other, both of which they do rather a lot. There you have a capsule history of the West.
Bill Bryson
If they were to ask me what road leads to heaven, I would answer them: the most difficult!
Nikos Kazantzakis
Philosophy being nothing else but the study of wisdom and truth, it may with reason be expected that those who have spent most time and pains in it should enjoy a greater calm and serenity of mind, a greater clearness and evidence of knowledge, and be less disturbed with doubts and difficulties than other men. Yet so it is, we see the illiterate bulk of mankind that walk the high-road of plain common sense, and are governed by the dictates of nature, for the most part easy and undisturbed. To them nothing that is familiar appears unaccountable or difficult to comprehend. They complain not of any want of evidence in their senses, and are out of all danger of becoming Sceptics. But no sooner do we depart from sense and instinct to follow the light of a superior principle, to reason, meditate, and reflect on the nature of things, but a thousand scruples spring up in our minds concerning those things which before we seemed fully to comprehend. Prejudices and errors of sense do from all parts discover themselves to our view; and, endeavouring to correct these by reason, we are insensibly drawn into uncouth paradoxes, difficulties, and inconsistencies, which multiply and grow upon us as we advance in speculation, till at length, having wandered through many intricate mazes, we find ourselves just where we were, or, which is worse, sit down in a forlorn Scepticism.
George Berkeley
Exu eats anything in the way of food, but he drinks only one thing: straight rum. At the crossroads Exu waits sitting upon the night to take the most difficult road, the narrowest, the most winding, the bad road, it is generally held, for all Exu wants is to frolic, to make mischief. Exu, the great mischief-maker, Vadinho's patron deity.
Jorge Amado (Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands)
Suppose we were planning to impose a dictatorial regime upon the American people—the following preparations would be essential: 1. Concentrate the populace in megalopolitan masses so that they can be kept under close surveillance and where, in case of trouble, they can be bombed, burned, gassed or machine-gunned with a minimum of expense and waste. 2. Mechanize agriculture to the highest degree of refinement, thus forcing most of the scattered farm and ranching population into the cities. Such a policy is desirable because farmers, woodsmen, cowboys, Indians, fishermen and other relatively self-sufficient types are difficult to manage unless displaced from their natural environment. 3. Restrict the possession of firearms to the police and the regular military organizations. 4. Encourage or at least fail to discourage population growth. Large masses of people are more easily manipulated and dominated than scattered individuals. 5. Continue military conscription. Nothing excels military training for creating in young men an attitude of prompt, cheerful obedience to officially constituted authority. 6. Divert attention from deep conflicts within the society by engaging in foreign wars; make support of these wars a test of loyalty, thereby exposing and isolating potential opposition to the new order. 7. Overlay the nation with a finely reticulated network of communications, airlines and interstate autobahns. 8. Raze the wilderness. Dam the rivers, flood the canyons, drain the swamps, log the forests, strip-mine the hills, bulldoze the mountains, irrigate the deserts and improve the national parks into national parking lots. Idle speculations, feeble and hopeless protest. It was all foreseen nearly half a century ago by the most cold-eyed and clear-eyed of our national poets, on California’s shore, at the end of the open road. Shine, perishing republic.
Edward Abbey (Desert Solitaire)
It hurts, but that’s all it does. The most difficult part of the training is training your mind. You build calluses on your feet to endure the road. You build callouses on your mind to endure the pain. There’s only one way to do that. You have to get out there and run.
David Goggins (Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds)
The difficult road I took alone—I kept walking, and most importantly, I kept turning the pages, and it landed me here.
Charlena E. Jackson (The Stars Choose Our Lovers)
How can I explain to her that I just can't come home? It's too soon, it's too late; I do want to be with Helen every second of the day but at the same time I don't want to be with her at all. I want to have back what I felt at the beginning. I could no more leave her then than leave my arms or legs. How do you find the beginning, though? There are no roads or signs. You start to doubt it even exists. The hardest thing isn't deciding that I want to go back to when Helen and Gracie and I were us. The most difficult thing is finding the map to get there.
Cath Crowley (The Life and Times of Gracie Faltrain (Gracie Faltrain, #1))
A “no” does not hide anything, but a yes can very easily become a deception, a self-deception; which of all difficulties is the most difficult to conquer. Ah, it is all too true that, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Søren Kierkegaard (Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard)
Establishing yourself as a scientist takes an awfully long time. The riskiest part is learning what a true scientist is and then taking the first shaky steps down that path, which will become a road, which will become a highway, which will maybe someday lead you home. A true scientist doesn’t perform prescribed experiments; she develops her own and thus generates wholly new knowledge. This transition between doing what you’re told and telling yourself what to do generally occurs midway through a dissertation. In many ways, it is the most difficult and terrifying thing that a student can do, and being unable or unwilling to do it is much of what weeds people out of Ph.D. programs.
Hope Jahren (Lab Girl)
What rules, then, can one follow if one is dedicated to the truth? First, never speak falsehood. Second, bear in mind that the act of withholding the truth is always potentially a lie, and that in each instance in which the truth is withheld a significant moral decision is required. Third, the decision to withhold the truth should never be based on personal needs, such as a need for power, a need to be liked or a need to protect one’s map from challenge. Fourth, and conversely, the decision to withhold the truth must always be based entirely upon the needs of the person or people from whom the truth is being withheld. Fifth, the assessment of another’s needs is an act of responsibility which is so complex that it can only be executed wisely when one operates with genuine love for the other. Sixth, the primary factor in the assessment of another’s needs is the assessment of that person’s capacity to utilize the truth for his or her own spiritual growth. Finally, in assessing the capacity of another to utilize the truth for personal spiritual growth, it should be borne in mind that our tendency is generally to underestimate rather than overestimate this capacity. All this might seem like an extraordinary task, impossible to ever perfectly complete, a chronic and never-ending burden, a real drag. And it is indeed a never-ending burden of self-discipline, which is why most people opt for a life of very limited honesty and openness and relative closedness, hiding themselves and their maps from the world. It is easier that way. Yet the rewards of the difficult life of honesty and dedication to the truth are more than commensurate with the demands. By virtue of the fact that their maps are continually being challenged, open people are continually growing people. Through their openness they can establish and maintain intimate relationships far more effectively than more closed people. Because they never speak falsely they can be secure and proud in the knowledge that they have done nothing to contribute to the confusion of the world, but have served as sources of
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
To leave the road of continual failure, a person must first utter the three most difficult words to say: ‘I was wrong.
Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age)
Good sense is, of all things among men, the most equally distributed; for every one thinks himself so abundantly provided with it, that those even who are the most difficult to satisfy in everything else, do not usually desire a larger measure of this quality than they already possess. And in this it is not likely that all are mistaken the conviction is rather to be held as testifying that the power of judging aright and of distinguishing truth from error, which is properly what is called good sense or reason, is by nature equal in all men; and that the diversity of our opinions, consequently, does not arise from some being endowed with a larger share of reason than others, but solely from this, that we conduct our thoughts along different ways, and do not fix our attention on the same objects. For to be possessed of a vigorous mind is not enough; the prime requisite is rightly to apply it. The greatest minds, as they are capable of the highest excellences, are open likewise to the greatest aberrations; and those who travel very slowly may yet make far greater progress, provided they keep always to the straight road, than those who, while they run, forsake it.
René Descartes (Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy)
Would he be happy? Joan hoped so. But somehow he seemed a man fated always to yearn after that which he could not have, to choose for himself the rockiest, most difficult path. She would pray for him, as for all the other sad and troubled souls who must travel roads alone.
Donna Woolfolk Cross (Pope Joan)
Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.1 It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult—once we truly understand and accept it—then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult. Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy. They voice their belief, noisily or subtly, that their difficulties represent a unique kind of affliction that should not be and that has somehow been especially visited upon them, or else upon their families, their tribe, their class, their nation, their race or even their species, and not upon others. I know about this moaning because I have done my share. Life is a series of problems. Do we want to moan about them or solve them? Do we want to teach our children to solve them? Discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems. Without discipline we can solve nothing. With only some discipline we can solve only some problems. With total discipline we can solve all problems. What makes life difficult is that the process of confronting and solving problems is a painful one. Problems, depending upon their nature, evoke in us frustration or grief or sadness or loneliness or guilt or regret or anger or fear or anxiety or anguish or despair. These are uncomfortable feelings, often very uncomfortable, often as painful as any kind of physical pain, sometimes equaling the very worst kind of physical pain. Indeed, it is because of the pain that events or conflicts engender in us all that we call them problems. And since life poses an endless series of problems, life is always difficult and is full of pain as well as joy.
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
Either way would give her a shot at covering their most pressing expenses until Malcolm Dyer was found and the remainder of their money returned. “Please, God,” she thought as she dialed the first number. “Please let them catch him soon. And please don’t make these women too difficult to deal with.
Wendy Wax (Ten Beach Road (Ten Beach Road #1))
LIFE IS DIFFICULT. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.1 It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. Most
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Travelled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth (Classic Edition))
Last month, on a very windy day, I was returning from a lecture I had given to a group in Fort Washington. I was beginning to feel unwell. I was feeling increasing spasms in my legs and back and became anxious as I anticipated a difficult ride back to my office. Making matters worse, I knew I had to travel two of the most treacherous high-speed roads near Philadelphia – the four-lane Schuylkill Expressway and the six-lane Blue Route. You’ve been in my van, so you know how it’s been outfitted with everything I need to drive. But you probably don’t realize that I often drive more slowly than other people. That’s because I have difficulty with body control. I’m especially careful on windy days when the van can be buffeted by sudden gusts. And if I’m having problems with spasms or high blood pressure, I stay way over in the right hand lane and drive well below the speed limit. When I’m driving slowly, people behind me tend to get impatient. They speed up to my car, blow their horns, drive by, stare at me angrily, and show me how long their fingers can get. (I don't understand why some people are so proud of the length of their fingers, but there are many things I don't understand.) Those angry drivers add stress to what already is a stressful experience of driving. On this particular day, I was driving by myself. At first, I drove slowly along back roads. Whenever someone approached, I pulled over and let them pass. But as I neared the Blue Route, I became more frightened. I knew I would be hearing a lot of horns and seeing a lot of those long fingers. And then I did something I had never done in the twenty-four years that I have been driving my van. I decided to put on my flashers. I drove the Blue Route and the Schuylkyll Expressway at 35 miles per hour. Now…Guess what happened? Nothing! No horns and no fingers. But why? When I put on my flashers, I was saying to the other drivers, “I have a problem here – I am vulnerable and doing the best I can.” And everyone understood. Several times, in my rearview mirror I saw drivers who wanted to pass. They couldn’t get around me because of the stream of passing traffic. But instead of honking or tailgating, they waited for the other cars to pass, knowing the driver in front of them was in some way weak. Sam, there is something about vulnerability that elicits compassion. It is in our hard wiring. I see it every day when people help me by holding doors, pouring cream in my coffee, or assist me when I put on my coat. Sometimes I feel sad because from my wheelchair perspective, I see the best in people. But those who appear strong and invulnerably typically are not exposed to the kindness I see daily. Sometimes situations call for us to act strong and brave even when we don't feel that way. But those are a few and far between. More often, there is a better pay-off if you don't pretend you feel strong when you feel weak, or pretend that you are brave when you’re scared. I really believe the world might be a safer place if everyone who felt vulnerable wore flashers that said, “I have a problem and I’m doing the best I can. Please be patient!
Daniel Gottlieb (Letters to Sam: A Grandfather's Lessons on Love, Loss, and the Gifts of Life)
My dear lady,’ he was saying, ‘what is madness? I can assure you that the more we study the subject, the more difficult we find it to pronounce. We all practise a certain amount of self-deception, and when we carry it so far as to believe we are the Czar of Russia, we are shut up or restrained. But there is a long road before we reach that point. At what particular spot on it shall we erect a post and say, “On this side sanity, on the other madness?” It can’t be done, you know. And I will tell you this, if the man suffering from a delusion happened to hold his tongue about it, in all probability we should never be able to distinguish him from a normal individual. The extraordinary sanity of the insane is a most interesting subject.
Agatha Christie (Miss Marple and Mystery: Over 50 Stories)
Old English poetry is characterised by a number of poetic tropes which enable a writer to describe things indirectly and which require a reader imaginatively to construct their meaning. The most widespread of these figurative descriptions are what are known as kennings. Kennings often occur in compounds: for example, hronrad (whale-road) or swanrad (swan- road) meaning 'the sea'; banhus (bone-house) meaning the 'human body'. Some kennings involve borrowing or inventing words; others appear to be chosen to meet the alliterative requirement of a poetic line, and as a result some kennings are difficult to decode, leading to disputes in critical interpretation. But kennings do allow more abstract concepts to be communicated by using more familiar words: for example, God is often described as moncynnes weard ('guardian of mankind').
Ronald Carter (The Routledge History of Literature in English: Britain and Ireland)
When he looks at me, Meri, he makes me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world, as if he could gaze at me for a lifetime and never grow tired of my face. As if he sees not just who I am, but who I can become. And when I look at him, not only do I see a handsome suitor who makes my heart flutter, I see a solid, dependable man who can be counted on no matter how difficult the road may become. A man who wants more than a pretty ornament to dangle on his arm. A man who wants a partner.
Karen Witemeyer (Short-Straw Bride (Archer Brothers, #1))
Meanwhile the thinking person, by intellect usually left-wing but by temperament often right-wing, hovers at the gate of the Socialist fold. He is no doubt aware that he ought to be a Socialist. But he observes first the dullness of individual Socialists, then the apparent flabbiness of Socialist ideals, and veers away. Till quite recently it was natural to veer towards indinerentism. Ten years ago, even five years ago, the typical literary gent wrote books on baroque architecture and had a soul above politics. But that attitude is becoming difficult and even unfashionable. The times are growing harsher, the issues are clearer, the belief that nothing will ever change (i.e. that your dividends will always be safe) is less prevalent. The fence on which the literary gent sits, once as comfortable as the plush cushion of a cathedral-stall, is now pinching his bottom intolerably; more and more he shows a disposition to drop off on one side or the other. It is interesting to notice how many of our leading writers, who a dozen years ago were art for art's saking for all they were worth and would have considered it too vulgar for words to even vote at a general election, are now taking a definite political standpoint; while most of the younger writers, at least those of them who are not mere footlers, have been 'political' from the start. I believe that when the pinch comes there is a terrible danger that the main movement of the intelligentsia will be towards Fascism. . . . That will also be the moment when every person with any brains or decency will know in his bones that he ought to be on the Socialist side. But he will not necessarily come there of his own accord; there are too many ancient prejudices standing in the way. He will have to be persuaded, and by methods that imply an understanding of his viewpoint. Socialists cannot afford to waste any more time in preaching to the converted. Their job now is to make Socialists as rapidly as possible; instead of which, all too often, they are making Fascists.
George Orwell (The Road to Wigan Pier)
By October of 1958, most roads leading to the Oriente Province had become impassable. Bridges were cut and dropped by the rebels, making travel to the eastern part of Cuba extremely difficult. The elections in November were seen as an obvious sham and everyone knew that the only way to survive was to keep quiet and wait for changes to take place. Most of Batista’s supporters were still in denial and carried out their atrocities with abandon. Tension among the people in Havana had grown and as Christmas approached, it became obvious that this year things would be different. People that had been harassed, or worse, were in no mood to celebrate the holidays. With the country engaged in a civil war that affected everyone, Christmas was not celebrated in the usual manner during the winter of 1958.
Hank Bracker
My ideal was contained within the word beauty, so difficult to define despite all the evidence of our senses. I felt responsible for sustaining and increasing the beauty of the world. I wanted the cities to be splendid, spacious and airy, their streets sprayed with clean water, their inhabitants all human beings whose bodies were neither degraded by marks of misery and servitude nor bloated by vulgar riches; I desired that the schoolboys should recite correctly some useful lessons; that the women presiding in their households should move with maternal dignity, expressing both vigor and calm; that the gymnasiums should be used by youths not unversed in arts and in sports; that the orchards should bear the finest fruits and the fields the richest harvests. I desired that the might and majesty of the Roman Peace should extend to all, insensibly present like the music of the revolving skies; that the most humble traveller might wander from one country, or one continent, to another without vexatious formalities, and without danger, assured everywhere of a minimum of legal protection and culture; that our soldiers should continue their eternal pyrrhic dance on the frontiers; that everything should go smoothly, whether workshops or temples; that the sea should be furrowed by brave ships, and the roads resounding to frequent carriages; that, in a world well ordered, the philosophers should have their place, and the dancers also. This ideal, modest on the whole, would be often enough approached if men would devote to it one part of the energy which they expend on stupid or cruel activities; great good fortune has allowed me a partial realization of my aims during the last quarter of a century. Arrian of Nicomedia, one of the best minds of our time, likes to recall to me the beautiful lines of ancient Terpander, defining in three words the Spartan ideal (that perfect mode of life to which Lacedaemon aspired without ever attaining it): Strength, Justice, the Muses. Strength was the basis, discipline without which there is no beauty, and firmness without which there is no justice. Justice was the balance of the parts, that whole so harmoniously composed which no excess should be permitted to endanger. Strength and justice together were but one instrument, well tuned, in the hands of the Muses. All forms of dire poverty and brutality were things to forbid as insults to the fair body of mankind, every injustice a false note to avoid in the harmony of the spheres.
Marguerite Yourcenar (Memoirs of Hadrian)
Ego or fixed identity doesn’t just mean we have a fixed idea about ourselves. It also means that we have a fixed idea about everything we perceive. I have a fixed idea about you; you have a fixed idea about me. And once there is that feeling of separation, it gives rise to strong emotions. In Buddhism, strong emotions like anger, craving, pride, and jealousy are known as kleshas—conflicting emotions that cloud the mind. The kleshas are our vehicle for escaping groundlessness, and therefore every time we give in to them, our preexisting habits are reinforced. In Buddhism, going around and around, recycling the same patterns, is called samsara. And samsara equals pain. We keep trying to get away from the fundamental ambiguity of being human, and we can’t. We can’t escape it any more than we can escape change, any more than we can escape death. The cause of our suffering is our reaction to the reality of no escape: ego clinging and all the trouble that stems from it, all the things that make it difficult for us to be comfortable in our own skin and get along with one another. If the way to deal with those feelings is to stay present with them without fueling the story line, then it begs the question: How do we get in touch with the fundamental ambiguity of being human in the first place? In fact, it’s not difficult, because underlying uneasiness is usually present in our lives. It’s pretty easy to recognize but not so easy to interrupt. We may experience this uneasiness as anything from slight edginess to sheer terror. Anxiety makes us feel vulnerable, which we generally don’t like. Vulnerability comes in many guises. We may feel off balance, as if we don’t know what’s going on, don’t have a handle on things. We may feel lonely or depressed or angry. Most of us want to avoid emotions that make us feel vulnerable, so we’ll do almost anything to get away from them. But if, instead of thinking of these feelings as bad, we could think of them as road signs or barometers that tell us we’re in touch with groundlessness, then we would see the feelings for what they really are: the gateway to liberation, an open doorway to freedom from suffering, the path to our deepest well-being and joy. We have a choice. We can spend our whole life suffering because we can’t relax with how things really are, or we can relax and embrace the open-endedness of the human situation, which is fresh, unfixated, unbiased. So the challenge is to notice the emotional tug of shenpa when it arises and to stay with it for one and a half minutes without the story line. Can you do this once a day, or many times throughout the day, as the feeling arises? This is the challenge. This is the process of unmasking, letting go, opening the mind and heart.
Pema Chödrön (Living Beautifully: with Uncertainty and Change)
Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.1 It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult—once we truly understand and accept it—then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult. Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy. They voice their belief, noisily or subtly, that their difficulties represent a unique kind of affliction that should not be and that has somehow been especially visited upon them, or else upon their families, their tribe, their class, their nation, their race or even their species, and not upon others. I know about this moaning because I have done my share.
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
Although I have afflicted you, . . . I will afflict you no more. (Nahum 1:12) There is a limit to our affliction. God sends it and then removes it. Do you complain, saying, “When will this end?” May we quietly wait and patiently endure the will of the Lord till He comes. Our Father takes away the rod when His purpose in using it is fully accomplished. If the affliction is sent to test us so that our words would glorify God, it will only end once He has caused us to testify to His praise and honor. In fact, we would not want the difficulty to depart until God has removed from us all the honor we can yield to Him. Today things may become “completely calm” (Matt. 8:26). Who knows how soon these raging waves will give way to a sea of glass with seagulls sitting on the gentle swells? After a long ordeal, the threshing tool is on its hook, and the wheat has been gathered into the barn. Before much time has passed, we may be just as happy as we are sorrowful now. It is not difficult for the Lord to turn night into day. He who sends the clouds can just as easily clear the skies. Let us be encouraged—things are better down the road. Let us sing God’s praises in anticipation of things to come. Charles H. Spurgeon “The Lord of the harvest” (Luke 10:2) is not always threshing us. His trials are only for a season, and the showers soon pass. “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5). “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor. 4:17). Trials do serve their purpose. Even the fact that we face a trial proves there is something very precious to our Lord in us, or else He would not spend so much time and energy on us. Christ would not test us if He did not see the precious metal of faith mingled with the rocky core of our nature, and it is to refine us into purity and beauty that He forces us through the fiery ordeal. Be patient, O sufferer! The result of the Refiner’s fire will more than compensate for our trials, once we see the “eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Just to hear His commendation, “Well done” (Matt. 25:21); to be honored before the holy angels; to be glorified in Christ, so that I may reflect His glory back to Him—ah! that will be more than enough reward for all my trials. from Tried by Fire Just as the weights of a grandfather clock, or the stabilizers in a ship, are necessary for them to work properly, so are troubles to the soul. The sweetest perfumes are obtained only through tremendous pressure, the fairest flowers grow on the most isolated and snowy peaks, the most beautiful gems are those that have suffered the longest at the jeweler’s wheel, and the most magnificent statues have endured the most blows from the chisel. All of these, however, are subject to God’s law. Nothing happens that has not been appointed with consummate care and foresight. from Daily Devotional Commentary
Jim Reimann (Streams in the Desert: 366 Daily Devotional Readings)
Well-respected psychologist and researcher Dr. Erich Fromm lived through both world wars and lost his Jewish faith on the other side of that trauma. After researching Nazism for years, he came to the conclusion that no one starts out evil;12 instead, people become evil “slowly over time through a long series of choices.”13 His book The Heart of Man, which is an exploration of evil and the human condition, is worth quoting at length: The longer we continue to make the wrong decisions, the more our heart hardens; the more often we make the right decision, the more our heart softens—or better perhaps, becomes alive…. Each step in life which increases my self-confidence, my integrity, my courage, my conviction also increases my capacity to choose the desirable alternative, until eventually it becomes more difficult for me to choose the undesirable rather than the desirable action. On the other hand, each act of surrender and cowardice weakens me, opens the path for more acts of surrender, and eventually freedom is lost. Between the extreme when I can no longer do a wrong act and the extreme when I have lost my freedom to right action, there are innumerable degrees of freedom of choice…. Most people fail in the art of living not because they are inherently bad or so without will that they cannot lead a better life; they fail because they do not wake up and see when they stand at a fork in the road and have to decide.14
John Mark Comer (Live No Lies: Recognize and Resist the Three Enemies That Sabotage Your Peace)
Situation awareness means possessing an explorer mentality A general never knows anything with certainty, never sees his enemy clearly, and never knows positively where he is. When armies are face to face, the least accident in the ground, the smallest wood, may conceal part of the enemy army. The most experienced eye cannot be sure whether it sees the whole of the enemy’s army or only three-fourths. It is by the mind’s eye, by the integration of all reasoning, by a kind of inspiration that the general sees, knows, and judges. ~Napoleon 5   In order to effectively gather the appropriate information as it’s unfolding we must possess the explorer mentality.  We must be able to recognize patterns of behavior. Then we must recognize that which is outside that normal pattern. Then, you take the initiative so we maintain control. Every call, every incident we respond to possesses novelty. Car stops, domestic violence calls, robberies, suspicious persons etc.  These individual types of incidents show similar patterns in many ways. For example, a car stopped normally pulls over to the side of the road when signaled to do so.  The officer when ready, approaches the operator, a conversation ensues, paperwork exchanges, and the pulled over car drives away. A domestic violence call has its own normal patterns; police arrive, separate involved parties, take statements and arrest aggressor and advise the victim of abuse prevention rights. We could go on like this for all the types of calls we handle as each type of incident on its own merits, does possess very similar patterns. Yet they always, and I mean always possess something different be it the location, the time of day, the person you are dealing with. Even if it’s the same person, location, time and day, the person you’re dealing who may now be in a different emotional state and his/her motives and intent may be very different. This breaks that normal expected pattern.  Hence, there is a need to always be open-minded, alert and aware, exploring for the signs and signals of positive or negative change in conditions. In his Small Wars journal article “Thinking and Acting like an Early Explorer” Brigadier General Huba Wass de Czege (US Army Ret.) describes the explorer mentality:   While tactical and strategic thinking are fundamentally different, both kinds of thinking must take place in the explorer’s brain, but in separate compartments. To appreciate this, think of the metaphor of an early American explorer trying to cross a large expanse of unknown terrain long before the days of the modern conveniences. The explorer knows that somewhere to the west lies an ocean he wants to reach. He has only a sketch-map of a narrow corridor drawn by a previously unsuccessful explorer. He also knows that highly variable weather and frequent geologic activity can block mountain passes, flood rivers, and dry up desert water sources. He also knows that some native tribes are hostile to all strangers, some are friendly and others are fickle, but that warring and peace-making among them makes estimating their whereabouts and attitudes difficult.6
Fred Leland (Adaptive Leadership Handbook - Law Enforcement & Security)
Employment Prayer II by Sonya I. Perkins As I embark on new areas in my life, I ask for the blessings and guidance of God, my ancestors, my spirit guides, and guardian angels. I ask for their blessings to guide me through this difficult period in my life. May I walk through this time with my head held high and with faith in myself and in spirit, and may I survive hard times as my ancestors survived hard times. I ask in the name of God for assistance in my search for suitable and gainful employment. I ask that my ancestors hear my pleas and put the right devices into my path, such as advertisements and people like recruiters, and that word of mouth reach my ears if the work is right for me. I ask that whatever opportunities are looking to find someone, let that opportunity find me, for I will be grateful for the blessing that opportunity will bequeath me. I ask that opportunity search and find me, as I have searched and searched for employment. They say opportunity knocks, but only one time. My eyes are open to see opportunity; my ears await the sound of opportunity knocking. I am ready to receive opportunity. I have patience, and I will continue to search for the job/career that is right for only me. I seek employment not just for a paycheck but also to be a productive, contributing member of my community. I ask for a suitable job, so that I may take care of my loved ones and myself. I ask for work to come to my hands so that I may feel and be useful. I ask that the people I work with be decent, friendly, hard working, and easy to get along with. I ask that I be compensated accordingly for the work that I provide. I ask that the job I secure will be something that I can look forward to doing on a daily basis. In the name of the divine providence, may my roads be opened and clear for me to find the right job. In the name of my spirit guides, I pray that the door of opportunity be opened to me as I try to become a more productive being. In the name of my guardian angel, I ask that you assist me during the hard times and help me to make it through until suitable employment is held securely in my hands. In the name of the most high and all that is light, I ask for these blessings for myself and for all those in search of employment for the betterment of all. So it was spoken, so it shall be.  Àṣe o!
Oba Ilari Aladokun (Ancestor Paths: Honoring our Ancestors and Guardian Spirits Through Prayers, Rituals, and Offerings)
The information in this topic of decision making and how to create and nurture it, is beneficial to every cop in their quest to mastering tactics and tactical decision making and are a must read for every cop wanting to be more effective and safe on the street. My purpose is to get cops thinking about this critical question: In mastering tactics shouldn’t we be blending policy and procedure with people and ideas? It should be understandable that teaching people, procedures helps them perform tasks more skillfully doesn’t always apply. Procedures are most useful in well-ordered situations when they can substitute for skill, not augment it. In complex situations, in the shadows of the unknown, uncertain and unpredictable and complex world of law enforcement conflict, procedures are less likely to substitute for expertise and may even stifle its development. Here is a different way of putting it as Klein explains: In complex situations, people will need judgment skills to follow procedures effectively and to go beyond them when necessary.3 For stable and well-structured tasks i.e. evidence collection and handling, follow-up investigations, booking procedures and report writing, we should be able to construct comprehensive procedure guides. Even for complex tasks we might try to identify the procedures because that is one road to progress. But we also have to discover the kinds of expertise that comes into play for difficult jobs such as, robbery response, active shooter and armed gunman situations, hostage and barricade situations, domestic disputes, drug and alcohol related calls and pretty much any other call that deals with emotionally charged people in conflict. Klein states, “to be successful we need both analysis (policy and procedure) and intuition (people and ideas).”4 Either one alone can get us into trouble. Experts certainly aren’t perfect, but analysis can fail. Intuition isn’t magic either. Klein defines intuition as, “ways we use our experience without consciously thinking things out”. Intuition includes tacit knowledge that we can’t describe. It includes our ability to recognize patterns stored in memory. We have been building these patterns up all our lives from birth to present, and we can rapidly match a situation to a pattern or notice that something is off, that some sort of anomaly is warning us to be careful.5
Fred Leland (Adaptive Leadership Handbook - Law Enforcement & Security)
Roosevelt wouldn't interfere even when he found out that Moses was discouraging Negroes from using many of his state parks. Underlying Moses' strikingly strict policing for cleanliness in his parks was, Frances Perkins realized with "shock," deep distaste for the public that was using them. "He doesn't love the people," she was to say. "It used to shock me because he was doing all these things for the welfare of the people... He'd denounce the common people terribly. To him they were lousy, dirty people, throwing bottles all over Jones Beach. 'I'll get them! I'll teach them!' ... He loves the public, but not as people. The public is just The Public. It's a great amorphous mass to him; it needs to be bathed, it needs to be aired, it needs recreation, but not for personal reasons -- just to make it a better public." Now he began taking measures to limit use of his parks. He had restricted the use of state parks by poor and lower-middle-class families in the first place, by limiting access to the parks by rapid transit; he had vetoed the Long Island Rail Road's proposed construction of a branch spur to Jones Beach for this reason. Now he began to limit access by buses; he instructed Shapiro to build the bridges across his new parkways low -- too low for buses to pass. Bus trips therefore had to be made on local roads, making the trips discouragingly long and arduous. For Negroes, whom he considered inherently "dirty," there were further measures. Buses needed permits to enter state parks; buses chartered by Negro groups found it very difficult to obtain permits, particularly to Moses' beloved Jones Beach; most were shunted to parks many miles further out on Long Island. And even in these parks, buses carrying Negro groups were shunted to the furthest reaches of the parking areas. And Negroes were discouraged from using "white" beach areas -- the best beaches -- by a system Shapiro calls "flagging"; the handful of Negro lifeguards [...] were all stationed at distant, least developed beaches. Moses was convinced that Negroes did not like cold water; the temperature at the pool at Jones Beach was deliberately icy to keep Negroes out. When Negro civic groups from the hot New York City slums began to complain about this treatment, Roosevelt ordered an investigation and an aide confirmed that "Bob Moses is seeking to discourage large Negro parties from picnicking at Jones Beach, attempting to divert them to some other of the state parks." Roosevelt gingerly raised the matter with Moses, who denied the charge violently -- and the Governor never raised the matter again.
Robert A. Caro (The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York)
The war against ISIS in Iraq was a long, hard slog, and for a time the administration was as guilty of hyping progress as the most imaginative briefers at the old “Five O’Clock Follies” in Saigon had been. In May 2015, an ISIS assault on Ramadi and a sandstorm that grounded U.S. planes sent Iraqi forces and U.S. Special Forces embedded with them fleeing the city. Thanks to growing hostility between the Iraqi government and Iranian-supported militias in the battle, the city wouldn’t be taken until the end of the year. Before it was over we had sent well over five thousand military personnel back to Iraq, including Special Forces operators embedded as advisors with Iraqi and Kurdish units. A Navy SEAL, a native Arizonan whom I had known when he was a boy, was killed in northern Iraq. His name was Charles Keating IV, the grandson of my old benefactor, with whom I had been implicated all those years ago in the scandal his name had branded. He was by all accounts a brave and fine man, and I mourned his loss. Special Forces operators were on the front lines when the liberation of Mosul began in October 2016. At immense cost, Mosul was mostly cleared of ISIS fighters by the end of July 2017, though sporadic fighting continued for months. The city was in ruins, and the traumatized civilian population was desolate. By December ISIS had been defeated everywhere in Iraq. I believe that had U.S. forces retained a modest but effective presence in Iraq after 2011 many of these tragic events might have been avoided or mitigated. Would ISIS nihilists unleashed in the fury and slaughter of the Syrian civil war have extended their dystopian caliphate to Iraq had ten thousand or more Americans been in country? Probably, but with American advisors and airpower already on the scene and embedded with Iraqi security forces, I think their advance would have been blunted before they had seized so much territory and subjected millions to the nightmare of ISIS rule. Would Maliki have concentrated so much power and alienated Sunnis so badly that the insurgency would catch fire again? Would Iran’s influence have been as detrimental as it was? Would Iraqis have collaborated to prevent a full-scale civil war from erupting? No one can answer for certain. But I believe that our presence there would have had positive effects. All we can say for certain is that Iraq still has a difficult road to walk, but another opportunity to progress toward that hopeful vision of a democratic, independent nation that’s learned to accommodate its sectarian differences, which generations of Iraqis have suffered without and hundreds of thousands of Americans risked everything for.
John McCain (The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations)
What is a friend? A friend is one of the nicest things you can have – and one of the best things you can be. – Douglas Pagels, from These Are the Gifts I’d Like to Give to You (published 1999) Have steppingstones to look forward to, milestones to look back upon, and -- in between -- do everything it takes to have an abundance of connect-the-dot days that lead to happiness. – Douglas Pagels, from 30 Beautiful Things That Are True About You May you remember that though the roads we take can sometimes be difficult, those are often the ones that lead to the most beautiful views. – Douglas Pagels, from A Special Christmas Blessing Just for You Love of family and love of friends is where everything beautiful begins. – Douglas Pagels, from A Special Christmas Blessing Just for You I want you to be reminded from time to time that you are a wonderful gift, and one of the nicest things in this entire world... is your presence in it. – Douglas Pagels, from A Special Christmas Blessing Just for You Do your part for the planet. Do all those things you know you “should” do. Our grandchildren will either have words of praise for our efforts and our foresight, or words that condemn us for forgetting that they will live here long after we are gone. Don’t overlook the obvious: This is not a dress rehearsal. This is the real thing. Our presence has an impact, but our precautions do, too. – Douglas Pagels, from Words That Shine Like Stars The wisest people on earth are those who have a hard time recalling their worries and an easy time remembering their blessings. – Douglas Pagels, from These Are the Gifts I’d Like to Give to You Expressing your creativity is done more by the way you are living than by any other gesture. – Douglas Pagels, from These Are the Gifts I’d Like to Give to You If your pursuit of wealth causes you to sacrifice any aspect of your health, your priorities are heading you in the wrong direction. Don’t hesitate to make a “you” turn. – Douglas Pagels, from These Are the Gifts I’d Like to Give to You The more you’re bothered by something that’s wrong, the more you’re empowered to change things and make them right. The more we follow that philosophy as individuals, the easier it will be to brighten our horizons outward from there, taking in our communities, our cultures, our countries, and the common ground we stand on. The crucible of peace and goodwill is far too empty, and each of us must, in some way, help to fill it. – Douglas Pagels, from These Are the Gifts I’d Like to Give to You We can always do more and be more than we think we can. Let’s think less and imagine more. – Douglas Pagels, from These Are the Gifts I’d Like to Give to You
Douglas Pagels
When we finished we sat quietly and watched the endless view. I was slowly realizing that this was one of the Seer’s qualities that I appreciated the most. To be present without words, without expectations and without any judgement. These were the times when I felt that he could communicate his thoughts and visions through his presence alone. Looking out became looking in. It was an undramatic kind of transmission, which would move you almost imperceptibly and silently. At these moments I felt my body relax completely. Each fibre, each muscle and every single cell found its correct place. An empathetic vigilance grew from this relaxed condition, a vigilance, which saw people and things as they were on their own merit. This was not about acceptance any more, since there was nothing to accept. Everything was as it was. It was a long-forgotten language. He showed me how almost all communication between people, the spoken and the written word, is nothing but our desperate attempts to cling to illusory personalities and identities tainted by prejudices, fear and vanity. A language which did not allow any room for listening, which focused on itself, which was excluding and only lived due to its attack and defence system was, according to him, a poor and inhumane one. Although the users of this language were usually very good at repartee and were able to write infinitely, they were really only good at maintaining and communicating limitations without end. It was this maintenance of limitations which was one of the main reasons that the great paradigm change, which all were waiting for, did not happen. He did not judge. He simply looked at and worked for the release of limitations wherever he met them. Not until the dissolution of all mental noise would it be possible to practise the transmission of stillness as a transforming kind of communication between people. It was not possible to enter this condition with a limited attention. The road to the transpersonal and the related level might seem difficult, because it demanded an obligation which included the complete human being. It was not enough to be just a little bit pregnant. You either were or you were not. And the paradoxical difference between the one and the other was the simple fact that the sleeping person decided to open his eyes, to wake up and become conscious of his wakeful condition. The fact that such a seemingly simple decision could appear so difficult lay in the fact that it entailed the release of more or less everything that you have ever learned and gained, and which you erroneously have interpreted as a true realization. He presented all these considerations to me on the mountain. In one single thought, without words, without judgement.
Lars Muhl (The O Manuscript: The Seer, The Magdalene, The Grail)
My own observations had by now convinced me that the mind of the average Westerner held an utterly distorted image of Islam. What I saw in the pages of the Koran was not a ‘crudely materialistic’ world-view but, on the contrary, an intense God-consciousness that expressed itself in a rational acceptance of all God-created nature: a harmonious side-by-side of intellect and sensual urge, spiritual need and social demand. It was obvious to me that the decline of the Muslims was not due to any shortcomings in Islam but rather to their own failure to live up to it. For, indeed, it was Islam that had carried the early Muslims to tremendous cultural heights by directing all their energies toward conscious thought as the only means to understanding the nature of God’s creation and, thus, of His will. No demand had been made of them to believe in dogmas difficult or even impossible of intellectual comprehension; in fact, no dogma whatsoever was to be found in the Prophet’s message: and, thus, the thirst after knowledge which distinguished early Muslim history had not been forced, as elsewhere in the world, to assert itself in a painful struggle against the traditional faith. On the contrary, it had stemmed exclusively from that faith. The Arabian Prophet had declared that ‘Striving after knowledge is a most sacred duty for every Muslim man and woman’: and his followers were led to understand that only by acquiring knowledge could they fully worship the Lord. When they pondered the Prophet’s saying, ‘God creates no disease without creating a cure for it as well’, they realised that by searching for unknown cures they would contribute to a fulfilment of God’s will on earth: and so medical research became invested with the holiness of a religious duty. They read the Koran verse, ‘We create every living thing out of water’ - and in their endeavour to penetrate to the meaning of these words, they began to study living organisms and the laws of their development: and thus they established the science of biology. The Koran pointed to the harmony of the stars and their movements as witnesses of their Creator’s glory: and thereupon the sciences of astronomy and mathematics were taken up by the Muslims with a fervour which in other religions was reserved for prayer alone. The Copernican system, which established the earth’s rotation around its axis and the revolution of the planet’s around the sun, was evolved in Europe at the beginning of the sixteenth century (only to be met by the fury of the ecclesiastics, who read in it a contradiction of the literal teachings of the Bible): but the foundations of this system had actually been laid six hundred years earlier, in Muslim countries - for already in the ninth and tenth centuries Muslim astronomers had reached the conclusion that the earth was globular and that it rotated around its axis, and had made accurate calculations of latitudes and longitudes; and many of them maintained - without ever being accused of hearsay - that the earth rotated around the sun. And in the same way they took to chemistry and physics and physiology, and to all the other sciences in which the Muslim genius was to find its most lasting monument. In building that monument they did no more than follow the admonition of their Prophet that ‘If anybody proceeds on his way in search of knowledge, God will make easy for him the way to Paradise’; that ‘The scientist walks in the path of God’; that ‘The superiority of the learned man over the mere pious is like the superiority of the moon when it is full over all other stars’; and that ‘The ink of the scholars is more precious that the blood of martyrs’. Throughout the whole creative period of Muslim history - that is to say, during the first five centuries after the Prophet’s time - science and learning had no greater champion than Muslim civilisation and no home more secure than the lands in which Islam was supreme.
Muhammad Asad (The Road to Mecca)
Questions for Reflection or Discussion Which of the nine types sounded most like you, and why? Is there something about that type that makes you feel especially uncomfortable or embarrassed? Is there something about that type that delights you? Every triad struggles with a particular difficult emotion: the Gut Triad with anger, the Heart Triad with shame, and the Head Triad with fear. Can you think of a time in your life when you were dealing with the emotion that is associated with your triad? How did that play out? Which of the four stages of SNAP do you think will be most challenging for you? Is it more difficult for you to stop what you’re doing, notice your patterns of behavior, ask questions of yourself or pivot to change your conduct? What is a default behavior that you employ when you are feeling anxious or stressed? In what ways is this behavior healthy or unhealthy? Think about this quote from the book: “We don’t know ourselves by what we get right; we know ourselves by what we get wrong.” Can you remember a time when your darker side taught you something important about yourself? Have you ever tried centering prayer or another form of meditation? If so, how did it feel? (If you are interested in centering prayer and would like to know more, I suggest reading Open Mind, Open Heart by Fr. Thomas Keating or Into the Silent Land by Martin Laird.)
Ian Morgan Cron (The Road Back to You Study Guide)
When you travel, you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly, and on most journeys you don't even understand the language the people speak. So you are like a child just out of the womb. You begin to attach much more importance to the things around you because your survival depends upon them. You begin to be more accessible to others because they may be able to help you in difficult situations. And you accept any small favor from the gods with great delight, as if it were an episode you would remember for the rest of your life. At the same time, since all thins are new, you see only the beauty in them, and you feel happy to be alive. That's why a religious pilgrimage has always been one of the most objective ways of achieving insight. The word peccadillo, which means a "small sine" comes from pecus, which means "defective foot" a foot that is incapable of walking a road. The way to correct the peccadillo is always to walk forward, adapting oneself to new situations and receiving in return all of the thousands of blessings that life generously offers to those who seek them. So why would you think that I might be worried about the half-dozen projects that I left behind in order to be here with you?
Paulo Coelho (The Pilgrimage)
Parker Palmer (who by now you’ve guessed is one of my discernment gurus) writes that when we are doing what we are supposed to be doing, we will know it because we will be energized by it, joyful in it. (Think of the apostle Paul’s fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5: love, joy, peace, and so on.) And when we are not doing what we’re supposed to be doing, we will be dragged down by it, disheartened by it, and perhaps, if we are not careful, destroyed by it. Simply put: Does the path you’re on bring you joy or pain? Note that the question is not, Is this what others think I should be doing? It’s not, Is this what makes me look good—or makes me a lot of money? It’s not even, Is this what other people whose walks with God I respect are doing? Does the path you’re on bring you joy or pain? I’m not talking, of course, about temporary hardships: internships, residencies, two-shift careers while you’re finishing something. I believe that most worthwhile things require hard work, the solving of difficult problems, stamina, faithfulness. In my three years of seminary I was challenged to my limits. I had never worked so hard, had to manage time so well. And I loved every minute of it. Okay, maybe not every minute—I can’t say I enjoyed Greek, or my hospital chaplaincy, although I understood why I was doing them. But even in those hard things I knew I was doing the right thing, and my life, in general, was filled with joy. And if you are doing even the most worthy of things, but it breaks you down instead of building you up, you may need to take notice. Once you set your foot on the path, ask yourself, “Is this the path of God’s joy for me?” If after a while you’re not sure you can answer that question in the affirmative, give some serious thought to whether or not you ought to continue. Merton’s prayer ends in this way: You will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always.5 As I’ve spent time thinking about who and what God is, I’ve come to believe that God’s job is not to make things easy for me. Not to give me a candy-coated existence. Not even to make me feel good about myself. But what has made my life possible—or at least, made it possible to continue living—is that I have felt God’s presence with me in good times and bad, and come to the genuine belief that if I try hard to live in God’s will instead of chasing my own, good things will happen. I rarely, if ever, know exactly what those good things will be, and sometimes they don’t seem particularly good in the moment. But that’s what faith is all about. Not a naive belief that God is going to give me what I want. Instead, it’s my own resolve to go on believing and trusting, and to keep my feet moving on the path, so that up around the next bend or over the next rise, maybe what God has in store for me will come into view.
Greg Garrett (No Idea: Entrusting Your Journey to a God Who Knows)
Camden in the winter of 1954 was a bleak place. It is difficult to see it this way if you’ve only been there in the summer, but most of Maine can be dismal, especially along the coast, during the long nights and short days. Once the colorful leaves have fallen from the majestic maple trees, and the last tourist has gone home, things become grim. So it was, during that cold January day, when I was on the road hoping to get a ride to New Jersey. On the radio, the weather forecasters predicted an overnight blizzard, but here it was only late afternoon and snow was already accumulating on the road. This would be my last opportunity to get home to see my family and friends, before cruising back on down to the Caribbean. I had really hoped to get an earlier start, to get far enough south to miss the brunt of the storm. Maine is known for this kind of weather, and the snowplows and sanders were ready. In fact, I didn’t see many other vehicles on the road any longer. Schools had let out early and most businesses were closed in anticipation of the storm. My last ride dropped me off in Belfast, telling me that he was trying to get as far as Augusta, before State Road 3 became impassable. Standing alongside the two-lane coastal highway with darkness not far off, I was half thinking that I should turn back. My mind was made up for me when I stepped back off the road, making room for a big State DOT dump truck with a huge yellow snowplow. His airbrakes wheezed as he braked, coming to a stop, at the same time lifting his plow to keep from burying me. The driver couldn’t believe that I was out hitchhiking in a blizzard. This kind of weather in Maine is no joke! The driver told me that the year before a body had been found under a snow bank during the spring thaw. Never mind, I was invincible and nothing like that could happen to me, or so I thought. He got me as far as Camden and suggested that I get a room. “This storm is only going to get worse,” he cautioned as I got off. I waved as he drove off. Nevertheless, still hoping that things would improve, I was determined to continue.
Hank Bracker
Conclusion: Adulthood at Last, Ready or Not We have seen in this chapter that the feeling of being in-between is a common part of being an emerging adult. Entering adulthood is no longer as definite and clear-cut as getting married. On the contrary, the road to young adulthood is circuitous, and the end of it usually does not come until the late twenties. Young people reach adulthood not because of a single event, but as a consequence of the gradual process of becoming self-sufficient and learning to stand alone. As they gradually take responsibility for themselves, make independent decisions, and pay their own way through life, the feeling grows in them that they have become adults. However, they view this achievement with mixed emotions. The independence of emerging adulthood is welcome, and they take pride in being able to take care of themselves without relying on their parents’ assistance. Nevertheless, the responsibilities of adulthood can be onerous and stressful, and emerging adults sometimes look back with nostalgia on a childhood and adolescence that seem easier in some ways than their lives now. Claims that most emerging adults experience a “quarterlife crisis”35 in their twenties may be exaggerated; life satisfaction and well-being go up from adolescence to emerging adulthood, for most people. But even if it is not exactly a “crisis,” emerging adulthood is experienced as a time of new and not always welcome responsibilities, a time of not just exhilarating independence and exploration but stress and anxiety as well. Despite the difficulties that come along with managing their own lives, most emerging adults look forward to a future they believe is filled with promise. Whether their lives now are moving along nicely or appear to be going nowhere, they almost unanimously believe that eventually they will be able to create for themselves the kind of life they want. They will find their soul mate, or at least a loving and compatible marriage partner. They will find that dream job, or at least a job that will be enjoyable and meaningful. Eventually this happy vision of the future will be tested against reality, and for many of them the result will be a jarring collision that will force them to readjust their expectations. But during emerging adulthood everything still seems possible. Nearly everyone still believes their dreams will prevail, whatever perils the world may hold for others. Are they too optimistic? Oh yes, at least from the perspective of their elders, who know all too well the likely fate of youthful dreams. Yet is important to understand their optimism as a source of strength, as a psychological resource they will need to draw upon during a stage of life that is often difficult. Given their high expectations for life, they are almost certain to fall short, but it is their self-belief that allows them to get up again after they have been knocked down, even multiple times. They may be optimistic, but the belief that they will ultimately succeed in their pursuit of happiness gives them the confidence and energy to make it through the stresses and uncertainty of the emerging adult years. NOTES Preface to the Second Edition 1.
Jeffrey Jensen Arnett (Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road from the Late Teens Through the Twenties)
Taking a moment to be thankful for the things that easily could be, but are not. If we live in a place where there are no bloodthirsty lions walking around on the roads, let's be thankful. If there's no inbound asteroid or other imminent extinction event befallen on us, let's be thankful. If we are mostly free of disease or disorder in ourselves and those around us, let's be thankful. If there's no starvation in our own house or the house of neighbour, let's be thankful. If there's no lifethreatening pollution in our parts of the atmosphere, or water, let's be thankful. If we're not isolated, imprisoned, without any real prospects of a good future, let's be thankful. If we do not live near an active volcano, or within an area prone to earthquakes, super storms or other destabilizing natural phenomenae, let's be thankful. If it's not raining diamonds or acid [as is reality on some cosmic bodies], and if every part of our mighty Earth is habitable and healthy, let's be thankful. And if we collected some parts of tranquility for ourselves, or others, in this otherwise brief life, let's be thankful. It can be difficult to see, without concious effort to remind ourselves, that things are probably pretty good, also. Though, it is no excuse for laziness and inaction with regards to our duties in lending a hand according to the size of our hand, and perhaps with some regard for our own dignity, and to foresight.
People who neglect their children in the grossest of ways more often than not will consider themselves the most loving of parents. It is clear that there may be a self-serving quality in this tendency to confuse love with the feelings of love; it is easy and not at all unpleasant to find evidence of love in one’s feelings. It may be difficult and painful to search for evidence of love in one’s actions.
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
The strongest and most resilient among us have been broken and often traveled a ragged road.
RJ Intindola – (Gandolfo) – 1983
One early morning while jogging through the outskirts of Bahesht along the river, I had the rare privilege to witness a spectacular anthropological wonder. A huge caravan of what seemed like a thousand kuchis (nomads), at least twice that many camels toting all their worldly goods, and several thousand sheep and goats came walking through town on a singular dirt road. They were obviously heading to a new home somewhere up in the mountains, stirring up the dust in the early morning light. Their caravan stretched for well over a mile. As I ran past countless camels—laden with collapsed, black tents topped by ancient-looking women and led by men who looked as if they had stepped out of the Old Testament—I couldn’t help but marvel that these are some of the very few true nomads left on the face of the earth. The kuchis looked back at me as though I was from another planet. Abraham must have looked like these men, I thought as I continued my jog. Now there was a true nomad who walked by faith and not by sight! His citizenship was in heaven! It dawned on me that if I am to be a real follower of Jesus, I am called to be something of a nomad on this earth. I thought of a verse that I had recently read about Abraham and other spiritual nomads, Hebrews 11:16: “But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” I smiled at the kuchi men that I jogged past. I know that I look different, but I am more like you than you may think ... I’m a nomad, too! Our guys in Bahesht were living as nomads on earth more than I was. I had a family and lived in the fair city of Iskandar in The Museum—basically a mud mansion—and here they were scraping by in one of the most remote and difficult places on the planet, trying to serve the poorest of the poor.
Matthew Collins (Three Years in Afghanistan: An American Family’s Story of Faith, Endurance, and Love)
The road to heaven isn’t much of a road,” he was saying. “It’s more like a dusty trail, roughly cut out through the underbrush. Most people don’t even notice it. It doesn’t look like a path at all, so they walk right by. Others see it, but don’t go down it because it’s ugly. Dirty. Difficult. Overgrown. If they took the road to heaven, their progress would be slow, maybe immeasurable. They’d have to give up a lot because the path is narrow.
Bonnie Grove (Talking to the Dead)
As long as we’re preoccupied with our former traumas and triumphs, or our fears and dreams about what might happen down the road, or who said what to whom, it’s very difficult to appreciate and cherish the intrinsically joyful gift of life right here, now.
Surya Das (The Big Questions: A Buddhist Response to Life's Most Challenging Mysteries)
The overwhelming favorites to dominate the race to become the so-called Information Superhighway were competing proprietary technologies from industry powerhouses such as Oracle and Microsoft. Their stories captured the imagination of the business press. This was not so illogical, since most companies didn’t even run TCP/IP (the software foundation for the Internet)—they ran proprietary networking protocols such as AppleTalk, NetBIOS, and SNA. As late as November 1995, Bill Gates wrote a book titled The Road Ahead, in which he predicted that the Information Superhighway—a network connecting all businesses and consumers in a world of frictionless commerce—would be the logical successor to the Internet and would rule the future. Gates later went back and changed references from the Information Superhighway to the Internet, but that was not his original vision. The implications of this proprietary vision were not good for business or for consumers. In the minds of visionaries like Bill Gates and Larry Ellison, the corporations that owned the Information Superhighway would tax every transaction by charging a “vigorish,” as Microsoft’s then–chief technology officer, Nathan Myhrvold, referred to it. It’s difficult to overstate the momentum that the proprietary Information Superhighway carried. After Mosaic, even Marc and his cofounder, Jim Clark, originally planned a business for video distribution to run on top of the proprietary Information Superhighway, not the Internet. It wasn’t until deep into the planning process that they decided that by improving the browser to make it secure, more functional, and easier to use, they could make the Internet the network of the future. And that became the mission of Netscape—a mission that they would gloriously accomplish.
Ben Horowitz (The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers)
Of all recent social struggles, anti-fascism faces perhaps the most difficult road toward establishing itself as an extension of over a century of struggle against white supremacy, patriarchy, and authoritarianism.
Mark Bray (Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook)
8 Ways to Work Smarter and Improve Productivity We as a whole have a similar measure of time in a day, and there is no real way to get a greater amount of it. It doesn't make a difference how effective or well off one is - we are altogether topped at 24 hours for every day. We need to subtract some to sleep, eating, driving and simply living everyday lives - the time left for entrepreneurial undertakings is once in a while enough. However, there is an approach to expand that time, and it includes working more brilliant - not harder. Utilize the eight hints beneath and you will accomplish more in a shorter timeframe. 1. Ensure you cherish what you do 100 percent. This is entirely basic. When you completely adore what you do, it doesn't feel like work. It sounds so buzzword, yet it's flawless. I adore what I do, and I get up each morning energized for what is coming down the road. A late night or long travel day doesn't make a difference - I hop up out of bed each morning without a wake up timer. When you are really enthusiastic about what you are doing you remain laser centered, which normally brings about high profitability. In the event that you are hopeless and abhor what you are doing, paying little mind to how much cash you are making, you won't be energized and your profitability will go directly down the deplete. 2. Grasp innovation. In the event that you decline to grasp innovation you will put yourself at a noteworthy weakness. There are program augmentations, applications and robotization programming to help practically every part of your business and everyday duties. Quite a while back, it wound up noticeably conceivable to maintain your whole business in a hurry from your portable workstation. Today, the same is conceivable from your cell phone. We have mind boggling apparatuses accessible to us that give us finish area opportunity. Thump out errands while driving, doing cardio at the exercise center or sitting tight for a flight - having your whole business readily available can radically build your profitability. 3. Use your systems administration connections. Think about the time and exertion you burn through systems administration - being dynamic via web-based networking media, going to meetings and conversing with everybody. Set aside the opportunity to truly make a strong system and really use the quality of others to help your business. You need to give before you can hope to get, so make it a point to help however many individuals as could be expected under the circumstances. The connections you assemble while doing this can prove to be useful down the line, and when you have a system of experts to help you in specific zones, you gain from the best, as well as don't need to do all the truly difficult work alone. 4. Measure accomplishment in assignments finished, not hours worked. Many people are hung up on the quantity of hours works. Disregard saying "I worked 12 hours today" and rather concentrate on the quantity of assignments you finished. When you are a business person, hours worked amount to nothing - you aren't checking in. Assignments finished, not number of hours, manage achievement. As you figure out how to thump out errands speedier, you accomplish more. Most business people are normally aggressive, so make an individual rivalry and attempt to up your execution as far as every day assignments finished. Do this and watch your profitability shoot through the rooftop. 5. Delegate your shortcomings. I was always wore out until the point when I figured out how to appoint. Now and then, we think we are superhuman and can do everything, except that is basically not the situation.
The sense that I'd fled my Jewishness in Odessa added painful new pressure to the dilemma I would face at sixteen. That's when each Soviet citizen first got an internal passport - the single most crucial identity document. As a child of mixed ethnicities - Jewish mom, Russian dad - I'd be allowed to select either for Entry 5. This choice-to-come weighed like a stone on my nine-year-old soul. Would I pick difficult honor and side with the outcasts, thereby dramatically reducing my college and job opportunities? Or would I take the easy road of being 'Russian'? Our emigration rescued me from the dilemma, but the unmade choice haunts me to this day. What would I have done?
Anya von Bremzen (Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing)
Camden in the winter of 1954 was a bleak place. It is difficult to see it this way if you’ve only been there in the summer, but most of Maine can be dismal, especially along the coast, during the long nights and short days. Once the colorful leaves have fallen from the majestic maple trees, and the last tourist has gone home, things become grim. So it was, during that cold January day, when I was on the road hoping to get a ride to New Jersey. On the radio, the weather forecasters predicted an overnight blizzard, but here it was only late afternoon and snow was already accumulating on the road. This would be my last opportunity to get home to see my family and friends, before cruising back on down to the Caribbean. I had really hoped to get an earlier start, to get far enough south to miss the brunt of the storm. Maine is known for this kind of weather, and the snowplows and sanders were ready. In fact, I didn’t see many other vehicles on the road any longer. Schools had let out early and most businesses were closed in anticipation of the storm. My last ride dropped me off in Belfast, telling me that he was trying to get as far as Augusta, before State Road 3 became impassable. Standing alongside the two-lane coastal highway with darkness not far off, I was half thinking that I should turn back. My mind was made up for me when I stepped back off the road, making room for a big State DOT dump truck with a huge yellow snowplow. His airbrakes wheezed as he braked, coming to a stop, at the same time lifting his plow to keep from burying me. The driver couldn’t believe that I was out hitchhiking in a blizzard. This kind of weather in Maine is no joke! The driver told me that the year before a body had been found under a snow bank during the spring thaw. Never mind, I was invincible and nothing like that could happen to me, or so I thought. He got me as far as Camden and suggested that I get a room. “This storm is only going to get worse,” he cautioned as I got off. I waved as he drove off. Nevertheless, still hoping that things would improve, I was determined to continue…
Hank Bracker
warlords battled constantly for supremacy and the possibility of attack was ever present. The castle itself was squat and powerful, with thick walls and heavy towers at each of the four corners. It had none of the soaring grace of Redmont or Castle Araluen. Rather, it was a dark, brooding and forbidding structure, built for war and for no other reason. Halt had told Horace that the word Montsombre translated to mean “dark mountain.” It seemed an appropriate name for the thick-walled building at the end of the winding, tortuous pathway. The name became even more meaningful as they climbed higher. There were poles lining the side of the road, with strange, square structures hanging from them. As they drew closer, Horace could make out, to his horror, that the structures were iron cages, only an arm span wide, containing the remains of what used to be men. They hung high above the roadway, swaying gently in the wind that keened around the upper reaches of the path. Some had obviously been there for many months. The figures inside were dried-out husks, blackened and shriveled by their long exposure, and festooned in fluttering rags of rotting cloth. But others were newer and the men inside were recognizable. The cages were constructed from iron bars arranged in squares, leaving room for ravens and crows to enter and tear at the men’s flesh. The eyes of most of the bodies had been plucked out by the birds. He glanced, sickened, at Halt’s grim face. Deparnieux saw the movement and smiled at him, delighted with the impression his roadside horrors were having on the boy. “Just the occasional criminal,” he said easily. “They’ve all been tried and convicted, of course. I insist on a strict rule of law in Montsombre.” “What were their crimes?” the boy asked. His throat was thick and constricted and it was difficult to form the words. Again, Deparnieux gave him that unconcerned smile. He made a pretense of trying to think. “Let’s say ‘various,’” he replied. “In short, they displeased me.” Horace held the other man’s amused gaze for a few seconds, then,
John Flanagan (The Icebound Land (Ranger's Apprentice, #3))
Korie: When I was a student at Ouachita Christian School, my senior-year Bible teacher, David Matthews, adopted a little five-year-old boy. In class that year, we talked a lot about how important it was for Christians families to adopt and that children should never be left without a home and loving parents. The idea always stuck with me. James 1:27 says: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” When we were dating, like most couples, Willie and I talked about how many kids we wanted to have. I told Willie about my desire to adopt and he was all for it. We both grew up with big families so we decided we wanted to have four kids, with at least one of them through adoption. We never knew how that would happen. We didn’t know if we would adopt a boy or a girl or a newborn baby or older child. We decided we would remain open, and if God wanted it to happen, it would happen. There were several families at White’s Ferry Road Church that adopted children, including one couple that had adopted biracial twins. Their lawyer came to them and asked if they were interested in adopting another biracial child who was about to be born. They told her they couldn’t do it at the time, but they remembered that we had expressed an interest in adopting a child. Their lawyer called Willie and me and told us how difficult it was to place biracial children in homes in the South. We were shocked. It was the twenty-first century. We committed to being a part of changing that in our society. Skin color should not make a difference.
Willie Robertson (The Duck Commander Family)
THAT which most excites men's fear is that they must follow Jesus, for he runs swiftly, like a powerful giant, and no one can overtake him. He is so far ahead on the way of perfection as to be lost to sight, and he travels by a lonely, desert road, infested by wild animate and so difficult and parched that no one can go by it. Hence many people choose other ways, following their own reason or opinions or appetites; they seek some other paths, and even without seeking them, find many that lead to hell and are so smooth and pleasant that they forget what a terrible reception they will meet with in the end. They only think of the pleasant way and fresh air and companions and that, whichever road they take, they are sure of society.[940]   They
Francisco De Osuna (Third Spiritual Alphabet (Contemplative Series Book 5))
When a country’s economy is in trouble—when it has a balance of trade deficit, for instance, and when its debts are mounting—and when the currency, therefore, is declining in value because everybody can see that the economy is bad, politicians, throughout history, have found a way of making things worse with the imposition of exchange controls. They run to the press and they say, “Listen, all you God-fearing Americans, Germans, Russians, whatever you are, we have a temporary problem in the financial market and it is caused by these evil speculators who are driving down the value of our currency—there is nothing wrong with our currency, we are a strong country with a sound economy, and if it were not for these speculators everything would be OK.” Diverting attention away from the real cause of the problem, which is their own mismanagement of the economy, politicians look to three crowds of people to blame for the regrettable situation. After the speculators come bankers and foreigners. Nobody likes bankers anyway, not even in good times; in bad times, everybody likes them less, because everybody sees them as rich and growing richer off the bad turn of events. Foreigners as a target are equally safe, because foreigners cannot vote. They do not have a say-so in national affairs, and remember, their food smells bad. Politicians will even blame journalists: if reporters did not write about our tanking economy, our economy would not be tanking. So we are going to enact this temporary measure, they say. To stem the scourge of a declining currency, we are going to make it impossible, or at least difficult, for people to take their money out of the country—it will not affect most of you because you do not travel or otherwise spend cash overseas. (See Chapter 9 and the Bernanke delusion.) Then they introduce serious exchange controls. They are always “temporary,” yet they always go on for years and years. Like anything else spawned by the government, once they are in place, a bureaucracy grows up around them. A constituency now arises whose sole purpose is to defend exchange controls and thereby assure their longevity. And they are always disastrous for a country. The free flow of capital stops. Money is trapped inside your country. And the country stops being as competitive as it once was.
Jim Rogers (Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets)
Then came on a thaw for three or four days, with really warm weather, when everything melted; when the streams burst their bonds; when the earth became soft until it seemed to have no bottom and mud reigned supreme. It was everywhere; the roads were almost impassable and it was difficult to haul the rations to camp from the station. A detail of seventy-five was made from the Seventeenth to assist the brigade wagons back to camp. It was a cheerless task. The heavy army wagons came toiling laboriously along; many became stalled in the mud, the wheels sunken below the hubs, horses straining, the drivers cursing and lashing the poor animals, while a dozen men pushed at each wheel, all and everything covered with the liquid mire; such was December in Virginia. The Christmas of 1862 was cheerless indeed; the weather was frightful, and a heavy snowstorm covered everything a foot deep. Each soldier attempted to get a dinner in honor of the day, and those to whom boxes had been sent succeeded to a most respectable degree, but those unfortunates whose homes were outside the lines had nothing whatever delectable partaking of the nature of Christmas. Well! it would have puzzled [anyone] to furnish a holiday dinner out of a pound of fat pork, six crackers, and a quarter of a pound of dried apples. We all had apple dumplings that day, which with sorghum molasses were not to be despised. Some of the men became decidedly hilarious, and then again some did not; not because they had joined the temperance society nor because they were opposed to the use of intoxicating liquors, but because not a soul invited them to step up and partake. One mess in the Seventeenth did not get so much as a smell during the whole of the holidays; and a dry, dismal old time it proved. We read in the Richmond papers of the thousands and thousands of boxes that had been passed en route to the army, sent by the ladies of Richmond and other cities, but few found their way to us. The greater part of them were for the troops from the far South who were too distant from their homes to receive anything from their own families. The Virginians were supposed to have been cared for by their own relatives and friends; but some of them were not, as we all know.
Philip Van Doren Stern (The Civil War Christmas Album)
My favorite time to write is in the late afternoon, weekdays, particularly Wednesday. This is how I go about it: I take a fresh pot of tea into my study and close the door. Then I remove my clothes and leave them in a pile as if I had melted to death and my legacy consisted of only a white shirt, a pair of pants, and a pot of cold tea. Then I remove my flesh and hand it over a chair. I slide if off my bones like a silken garment. I do this so that what I write will be pure, Completely rinsed of the carnal, uncontaminated by the preoccupations of the body. Finally I remove each of my organs and arrange them On a small table near the window. I do not want to hear their ancient rhythms when I am trying to tap out my own drumbeat. Now I sit down at the desk, ready to begin. I am entirely pure: nothing but a skeleton at a typewriter. I should mention that sometimes I leave my penis on. I find it difficult to ignore the temptation. Then I am a skeleton with a penis at a typewriter. In this condition I write extraordinary love poems most of them exploiting the connection between sex and death. I am concentration itself: I exist in a universe where there is nothing but sex, death, and typewriting. After a spell of this I remove my penis too. Then I am all skull and bones typing into the afternoon. Just the absolute essentials, no flounces. Now I write only about death, most classical of themes in language light as the air between my ribs. Afterward, I reward myself by going for a drive at sunset. I replace my organs and slip back into my flesh and clothes. Then I back the car out of the garage and speed through woods on winding country roads, passing stone walls, farmhouses, and frozen ponds, all perfectly arranged like words in a famous sonnet.
Billy Collins
Terrible cultural struggle is kindled by the demand that that which is great shall be eternal. For everything else that lives exclaims 'No!' The customary, the small, and the common fill up the crannies of the world like a heavy atmosphere which we are all condemned to breathe. Hindering, suffocating, choking, darkening, and deceiving: it billows around what is great and blocks the road which it must travel towards immortality. This road leads through human brains — through the brains of miserable, short-lived creatures who, ever at the mercy of their restricted needs, emerge again and again to the same trials and with difficulty avert their own destruction for a little time. They desire to live, to live a bit at any price. Who could perceive in them that difficult relay race by means of which only what is great survives? And yet again and again a few persons awaken who feel themselves blessed in regard to that which is great, as if human life were a glorious thing and as if the most beautiful fruit of this bitter plant is the knowledge that someone once walked proudly and stoically through this existence, while another walked through it in deep thoughtfulness and a third with compassion. But they all bequeathed one lesson: that the person that lives life most beautifully is the person who does not esteem it. Whereas the common man takes this span of being with such gloomy seriousness, those on their journey to immortality knew how to treat it with Olympian laughter, or at least with lofty disdain. Often they went to their graves ironically — for what was there in them to bury? The boldest knights among these addicts of fame, those who believe that they will discover their coat of arms hanging on a constellation, must be sought among philosophers. Their efforts are not dependent upon a 'public,' upon the excitation of the masses and the cheering applause of contemporaries. It is their nature to wander the path alone. Their talent is the rarest and in a certain respect most unnatural in nature, even shutting itself off from the hostile towards similar talents. The wall of their self-sufficiency must be made of diamond if it is not to be demolished and shattered. For everything in man and nature is on the move against them. Their journey towards immortality is more difficult and impeded than any other, and yet no one can be more confident than the philosopher that he will reach his goal. Because the philosopher knows not where to stand, if not on the extended wings of all ages. For it is the nature of philosophical reflection to disregard the present and momentary. He possesses the truth: let the wheel of time roll where it will, it will never be able to escape from the truth.
Friedrich Nietzsche
Speech to the Reichstag Berlin, December 11 Deputies! Men of the German Reichstag! Ever since the rejection of my last peace proposal in July 1940, we have been aware that this war has to be fought to the bitter end. That the Anglo-American, Jewish-capitalist world formed a front with Bolshevism does not come as a surprise to us National Socialists. At home, we found them in the same union, and we succeeded in our struggle at home by defeating our enemies after a sixteen-year-long struggle for power. When I decided twenty-three years ago to enter politics in order to reverse the decline of the nation, I was a nameless, unknown soldier. Many of you know how difficult the first years of this struggle were. The way from a small movement of seven men to the taking over of responsible government on January 30, 1933, was so miraculous that Providence itself must have made it possible through its blessings. Today, I head the strongest army in the world, the mightiest air force, and a proud navy. Behind me, I am conscious of the sworn community of the party, which made me great and which became great through me. The enemies that I confront have been known to be our enemies for over twenty years. Alas, the road that lies ahead of me cannot be compared to the one lying behind me. The German Volk realizes the decisiveness of the hour for its existence. Under the most difficult circumstances, millions of soldiers are obediently and loyally doing their duty. The American President and his plutocratic clique have called us a people of have nots. That is right! And these have-nots want to live. In any event, they will not allow the owners to rob them of the little that they have to live on. My party comrades, you know my relentless resolve to conclude a struggle victoriously once it has begun. You know my intention not to shy away from anything in such a fight and to break all the resistance that has to be broken. In my speech on September 1, 1939, I assured you that, in this struggle, neither the force of arms nor time will defeat Germany. I want to assure my enemies that neither will the force of arms nor time defeat us, but neither inner doubts make us falter in the fulfillment of our duty. When we consider the sacrifices of our soldiers, how they risk their lives, then the sacrifices of the homeland become completely insignificant and unimportant. When we think of the numbers of those who, generations before us, fell for the existence and greatness of the German Volk, then we become all the more aware of the greatness of the duty imposed on us. Whoever seeks to forsake this duty has no right to expect treatment as a Volksgenosse in our midst. Therefore, no one can expect to live who thinks that he can depreciate the front’s sacrifices at home. Irrespective of the form of disguise for this attempt to disrupt this German front, to undermine this Volk’s willingness to resist, to weaken the authority of this regime, to sabotage the efforts of the homeland, the offender will fall! There will be only one difference: the soldier honorably makes this sacrifice at the front, while the other, who wishes to depreciate this honorable sacrifice, dies in shame. Our enemies should not deceive themselves. In the two thousand years of the history known to us, our German Volk has never been more unified and united than it is today. The Lord of the Worlds has done so many great things for us in the last years that we bow in gratitude before Providence, which has permitted us to be members of such a great Volk. We thank Him that, in view of past and future generations of the German Volk, we were also allowed to enter our names honorably in the undying book of German history.
Adolf Hitler
Lincoln Road that sorrow is most difficult for the young because it, "takes them unawares." The old, he said, have learned to anticipate difficulty. Lincoln wrote that sorrow is most difficult for the young because it, "takes them unawares." The old, he said, have learned to anticipate difficulty.
Richard Brookhiser (Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln)
To avoid early-morning wakings, do not allow your child to get out of his crib or room until at least 11 hours after his bedtime (you can settle for 10½ hours if your child consistently—after three or more days in a row—seems rested after this much sleep). One of the most difficult times for your child to put himself back to sleep is in the early morning, particularly if he’s been used to getting up or coming into bed with you at that hour. But if you get your child up too early, he’s robbed of enough sleep and will start his day overtired and cranky—and will have a tougher time napping well. For additional information on how to troubleshoot early-morning wakings, please see the section entitled “Bumps in the Road” in Chapter 10, “Special Situations.” For Crib Sleepers If your child wakes in the early-morning hours, continue to do your check-ins just as you did at bedtime and throughout the night. If he hasn’t gone back to sleep, once the clock reaches your designated wake time, go into your child’s room, open the blinds or turn on the light, and say, “You did it! You stayed in your crib the whole night until the sun was nice and bright! We’re so proud of you!” Cuddle and hug him and give him a nice full feed, if he’s ready. Whatever you do, don’t allow your child to fall back asleep—in your arms, in your bed, or in his crib; he’s spent the night practicing how to sleep on his own, and you don’t want to undo your hard work. If your child has woken early but managed to put himself back to sleep—and is still sleeping at the designated wake time—lucky you! Allow him to sleep as long as he likes, up to 12 hours; you’ll want to wake him at this point to preserve his ability to nap well. If your child sleeps later than your scheduled wake time, remember to adjust his nap time later as well (but don’t adjust it any earlier, to avoid a too-early schedule for the day).
Jennifer Waldburger (The Sleepeasy Solution: The Exhausted Parent's Guide to Getting Your Child to Sleep from Birth to Age 5)
My climb took so long that I spent literally only a few minutes on the top. Thunderstorms were brewing all around me, so I made a quick exit to the nearest tree line. (In the opposite direction, I might add, of the trailhead and my car!) While on the ridge, I made a critical decision that I’m sure helped me not only survive the climb but also reach the summit. I decided to rest. On a long, hard climb, sometimes the most important time on the mountain is the time you spend not doing anything. Those brief minutes of rest give your body the necessary breathing time to catch up with your exertion level; they give you time to take in some much-needed food and water; and they allow you to enjoy the view, mark your progress, and remember why you started up the mountain in the first place. Rest on a long, difficult journey is vital. That’s why I believe that one of the most important statements Jesus ever made was about rest. To a group of road-weary spiritual seekers, Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28–30). Have you ever heard more beautiful or inviting words? Against the backdrop of a culture that stressed the importance of
Will Davis Jr. (10 Things Jesus Never Said: And Why You Should Stop Believing Them)
One Must Have Great Feelings In the modern world where there are so many problems, one is apt to lose great feeling. I mean by that word feeling, not sentiment, not emotionalism, not mere excitement, but that quality of perception, the quality of hearing, listening, the quality of feeling, a bird singing on a tree, the movement of a leaf in the sun. To feel things greatly, deeply, penetratingly, is very difficult for most of us because we have so many problems. Whatever we seem to touch turns into a problem. And, apparently, there is no end to man’s problems, and he seems utterly incapable of resolving them because the more the problems exist, the less the feelings become. I mean by “feeling” the appreciation of the curve of a branch, the squalor, the dirt on the road, to be sensitive to the sorrow of another, to be in a state of ecstasy when we see a sunset. These are not sentiments, these are not mere emotions. Emotion and sentiment or sentimentality turn to cruelty, they can be used by society; and when there is sentiment, sensation, then one becomes a slave to society. But one must have great feelings. The feeling for beauty, the feeling for a word, the silence between two words, and the hearing of a sound clearly—all that generates feeling. And one must have strong feelings, because it is only the feelings that make the mind highly sensitive.
J. Krishnamurti (The Book of Life: Daily Meditations with Krishnamurti)
In fact, our assumption is that many of these conversations can be quick. The earlier you raise an issue, catch a misunderstanding, or ask a question to clarify intentions, the sooner you clear it up and move on. The longer you let things fester, the bigger the problem becomes. So investing seven minutes now to sort through why you and your client seem to have different expectations about the scope of a project will save you seven hours (or seven months) of confusion, frustration, and cost overruns down the road.
Douglas Stone (Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most)
The road does seem long before you embark on the journey, That’s why I think the most difficult part is to start. But when you are in motion, and steps taken become many, Nothing can stop you; that’s only if you guard your heart.
Innocent Mwatsikesimbe (This Is My Life)
The results we are looking for, unfortunately, often include stopping our thoughts altogether, or destroying unwanted emotions. One simple reason meditation is difficult to sustain is that the principal benefits of meditation are not short-term, and it is generally hard to convince ourselves to engage in anything that has mostly long-term effects. Our
Ethan Nichtern (The Road Home: A Contemporary Exploration of the Buddhist Path)
This slice of life happened during the depression era, late 1920’s and early 1930’s in Hoboken, NJ. Will such hard times happen again as the “Rich get richer and the poor get poorer?” “Fischer & Koenig’s factory building had been built in a wedge of filled-in land between the cliff side road of the palisades and the railroad tracks. Although some unwieldy power tools had already been invented, and were in use since the end of the nineteenth century, they were seldom used at home or in small factories such as the one where my father worked. As in most shops of that era, everything was custom-made. My father did almost everything by hand, including the staining, polishing and finishing work of furniture, tabletops and caskets. It was an era when things were still done the old-fashioned way. With jobs scarce and difficult to find, he worked long hours in the cold building with nothing more than an open steel drum outside the door, in which scrap wood was burned so that the workers could occasionally warm their hands. Under these horrid conditions, it didn’t take long for his nose to run, his hands to become raw and cracked, and his lips to become chapped. It seemed that he constantly had a cold and problems with his feet. Studying the faces of people back then, you could see the intense hardship in their weathered faces.
Hank Bracker
The agnostic has a very curious notion of religion. He is convinced that a man who says 'I believe in God' should at once become perfect; if this does not happen, then the believer must be a fraud and a hypocrite. He thinks that adherence to a religion is the end of the road, whereas it is in fact only the beginning of a very long and sometimes very rough road. He looks for consistency in religious people, however aware he may be of inconsistencies in himself. The fact that we do expect consistency of others - and are astonished by their lack of it - is sufficient proof of our awareness that the human personality ought to be unified under one command. Perhaps the most difficult of all the requirements of religion is simplicity, for the simple man is all of one piece; he does not leave bits of himself scattered all over the landscape of his life. He is, so to speak, the same all through, whichever way you slice him, and it has been said that only the saint has a right to say 'I'; the rest of us would do better to confess 'My name is legion'.
Charles Le Gai Eaton (Islam and the Destiny of Man)
Evening, March 9    "Abide in me."   John 15:4    Communion with Christ is a certain cure for every ill. Whether it be  the wormwood of woe, or the cloying surfeit of earthly delight, close  fellowship with the Lord Jesus will take bitterness from the one, and  satiety from the other. Live near to Jesus, Christian, and it is a  matter of secondary importance whether thou livest on the mountain of  honour or in the valley of humiliation. Living near to Jesus, thou art  covered with the wings of God, and underneath thee are the everlasting  arms. Let nothing keep thee from that hallowed intercourse, which is  the choice privilege of a soul wedded to the well-beloved . Be not  content with an interview now and then, but seek always to retain his  company, for only in his presence hast thou either comfort or safety.  Jesus should not be unto us a friend who calls upon us now and then,  but one with whom we walk evermore. Thou hast a difficult road before  thee: see, O traveller to heaven, that thou go not without thy guide.  Thou hast to pass through the fiery furnace; enter it not unless, like  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, thou hast the Son of God to be thy  companion. Thou hast to storm the Jericho of thine own corruptions:  attempt not the warfare until, like Joshua, thou hast seen the Captain  of the Lord's host, with his sword drawn in his hand. Thou art to meet  the Esau of thy many temptations: meet him not until at Jabbok's brook  thou hast laid hold upon the angel, and prevailed. In every case, in  every condition, thou wilt need Jesus; but most of all, when the iron  gates of death shall open to thee. Keep thou close to thy soul's  Husband, lean thy head upon his bosom, ask to be refreshed with the  spiced wine of his pomegranate, and thou shalt be found of him at the  last, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. Seeing thou hast  lived with him, and lived in him here, thou shalt abide with him for  ever. 
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Morning and Evening)
Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.1 It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult—once we truly understand and accept it—then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters. Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult.
M. Scott Peck (The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth)
Once you are clear on what is necessary it is important to apply a strategic plan and act towards this initiatory process of Illumination. This will no doubt be difficult and at times the remnants of the belief or restriction nudges you to stop and take the comfortable road which is stagnation and failure. The Luciferian must resist and with a whole heart hate this weakness and the sickness of spirit it brings, infecting other thoughts and actions over time. Conquering will require consistency, discipline and an overwhelming force of your personality to attain this initiatory experience of Illumination. This is Magick is the most potent and powerful way, the Luciferian becomes by the totality and obsessive energy fueling Will, Desire and Belief.
Michael W. Ford (Apotheosis: The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Luciferianism & the Left-Hand Path)
My short time in Pretoria made me realize that it can best be described as that place where the brushstrokes of life blend the old with the new in a way that helps to create a story of a place that will forever be deeply tucked into the breathing spaces of my heart, as a place of fondness. A reminder that even when the lessons doesn’t go according to plan, there are always chances to be like the statue of President Nelson Mandela, open arms – embracing the future and using the past, especially the most difficult chapters, to help to infuse new life through the wisdom gained by being like the middle part of the Union Buildings, a space of collaboration. In the words of South African British poet William Polmer, “Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.” And when the connection is made, that place is simply called Pretoria. And if one should look a little deeper at the connection, you’ll understand that Pretoria is simply a word with a Latin origin, Praetor, that means Leader, a perfect place to house the Union Buildings, the place where our difference becomes one, and that knowledge becomes the spectrum of where the old and the new intersect, and we call that… Pretoria…Leader within.
The ability of the murderer to know exactly where Edie was, the phone being used only where it would be most difficult to pinpoint who’d used it, which implied knowledge of police methods, and the extraordinarily detailed knowledge about the two new characters for the film that Yasmin had said Ormond had. Murphy was now asking her about her own holiday plans. Robin pulled herself together enough to describe learning to ski, back at New Year. The conversation was only lightly personal, but it was pleasant and easy. Murphy made Robin laugh with a description of a friend’s accident on a dry ski slope, where he’d taken a date he was keen to impress. At no time did he mention his previous invitation for a drink, nor did he make her feel uncomfortable in this small space, and she was grateful for both these things. They were approaching Blackhorse Road when Robin suddenly said, astounded by her own bravery, ‘Listen – that time you called me about a drink – the reason I was so – I’m not used to people asking me out.’ ‘How’s that possible?’ said Murphy, keeping his eyes on the road. ‘I’ve just got divorced – well, a year ago now – from someone I was with since we were seventeen,’ said Robin. ‘So – anyway, I was in work mode when you called, and that’s why I was a bit – you know – clueless.’ ‘Ah,’ said Murphy. ‘I got divorced three years ago.’ Robin wondered how old he was. She’d have guessed a couple of years older than her. ‘Have you got kids?’ she asked. ‘No. My ex didn’t want them.’ ‘Oh,’ said Robin. ‘You?’ ‘No.’ They’d pulled up outside her flat before either spoke again. As she picked up her bag and put her hand on the door handle, Murphy said, ‘So… if, after I get back from holiday, I called you again and asked you out…?’ It’s only a drink, said Ilsa’s voice in Robin’s head. Nobody’s saying you’ve got to jump into bed with him. An image of Madeline Courson-Miles flickered before Robin’s eyes. ‘Er –’ said Robin, whose heart was hammering. ‘Yes, OK. That’d be great.’ She thought he’d look pleased at that, but instead he seemed tense. ‘OK.’ He rubbed his nose, then said, ‘There’s something I should tell you first, though. It’s what you say, isn’t it, “come out for a drink”? But, ah – I’m an alcoholic.’ ‘Oh,’ said Robin again. ‘Been sober two years, nine months,’ said Murphy. ‘I’ve got no problem with people drinking around me. Just need to put that out there. It’s what you’re supposed to do. AA rules.’ ‘Well, that doesn’t make any – I mean, thanks for saying,’ said Robin. ‘I’d still like to go out some time. And thanks for the lift, I really appreciate it.’ He looked cheerful now. ‘Pleasure. Better get back to my packing.’ ‘Yes – have fun in Spain!’ Robin got out of the car. As the blue Avensis pulled away, Murphy raised a hand in farewell, and Robin reciprocated, still amazed at herself. It had been quite some morning. She’d just unlocked her front door when her mobile rang. ‘Hi,’ said Strike. ‘Is that offer of the sofa-bed still open?’ ‘Yes, of course,’ said Robin, both confused and pleased, entering her flat and pushing the door shut with her foot. ‘How’s Pat?’ ‘Bloody grumpy. I got her home all right. Told her to get an emergency appointment with her doctor. Half the door flew off and hit her in the back. I can tell she’s sore: she could’ve cracked something. She told me to piss off, though not in those exact words. Probably thinks I’m accusing her of being too old to survive a door hitting her.’ ‘Strike,’ said Robin, ‘I’ve just found something out. They’re about to arrest Phillip Ormond for murder.’ Silence followed these words. Robin walked into her kitchen and set her handbag down on the counter. ‘Ormond?’ repeated Strike.
Robert Galbraith (The Ink Black Heart (Cormoran Strike, #6))