It’s a funny thing… but people mostly have it backward. They think they live by what they want. But really, what guides them is what they’re afraid of. What they don’t want.
They say, Find a purpose in your life and live it. But, sometimes, it is only after you have lived that you recognize your life had a purpose, and likely one you never had in mind.
It’s crass to plaster your good deeds up on a billboard. Something to be said for doing it quietly, with dignity. There’s more to kindness than signing checks in public.
I suspect the truth is that we are waiting, all of us, against insurmountable odds, for something extraordinary to happen to us.
Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly.
I now know that some people feel unhappiness the way others love: privately, intensely, and without recourse.
“Out beyond ideas
of wrongdoing and right doing,
there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.”
But it is important to know this, to know your roots. To know where you started as a person. If not, your own life seems unreal to you. Like a puzzle. Vous comprenez? Like you have missed the beginning of a story and now you are in the middle of it, trying to understand.
I should have been more kind. That is something a person will never regret. You will never say to yourself when you are old, Ah, I wish I was not good to that person. You will never think that.
You say you felt a presence, but I only sensed an absence. A vague pain without a source. I was like a patient who cannot tell the doctor where it hurts, only that it does.
It was the kind of love that, sooner or later, cornered you into a choice: either you tore free or you stayed and withstood its rigor even as it squeezed you into something smaller than yourself.
The cities, the roads, the countryside, the people I meet – they all begin to blur. I tell myself I am searching for something. But more and more, it feels like I am wandering, waiting for something to happen to me, something that will change everything, something that my whole life has been leading up to.
For courage, there must be something at stake. I come here with nothing to lose.
Nothing good came free. Even love. You paid for all things. And if you were poor, suffering was your currency.
I’ve read that if an avalanche buries you and you’re lying there underneath all that snow, you can’t tell which way is up or down. You want to dig yourself out but pick the wrong way, and you dig yourself to your own demise.
No one will know how much solitude, bitterness and resignation lies beneath the surface happiness.
The ‘insane’ always believe in first impressions.
When she had achieved almost everything she wanted in life, she had reached the conclusion that her existence had no meaning, because every day was the same.
People struggle to get out of coma, not to go into one.
Insanity is the inability to communicate your ideas.
What makes a person hate themselves? – Cowardice, perhaps. Or the eternal fear of being wrong, of not doing what others expect.
How can I hate someone who only ever gave me love?
Time that never ends, that never passes, that remains in the present, where all of life secrets lie.
Be like the fountain that overflows, not like the cistern that merely contains.
The best way to avoid trouble is to share responsibility.
People only go insane when they try to escape from routine.
Certain people, in their eagerness to construct a world no external threat can penetrate, build exaggeratedly high defense against the outside world, against new people, new places, different experiences and leave their inner world stripped bare.
No one should let themselves get used to anything.
The two hardest tests on the spiritual road: the patience to wait for the right moment and the courage to not be disappointed with what you encounter.
The danger of an adventure is worth a thousand days of ease and comfort.
If people don’t like it, they can complain. And if they don’t have the courage to complain, that’s their problem.
You have two choices: to control your mind or let your mind control you.
Stay insane but behave like normal people. Run the risk of being different but learn to do so without attracting attention.
We’re allowed to make a lot of mistakes in our lives, except the mistakes that destroys us.
If only everyone could know and live with their inner craziness. Would the world be a worse place for it? No, people would be fairer and happier.
You are someone who is different, but who wants to be the same as everyone else. And that in my view is a serious illness. God chose you to be different. Why are you disappointing God with this kind of attitude?
There is always someone who wants exactly what you want.
Everyone dreams, nut only a few realize their dreams, that makes cowards of us all.
Basically everything that happens in our life is our fault and ours alone.
Of all the hardships a person had to face, none was more punishing than the simple act of waiting.
Marriage can wait, education cannot.
A society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated.
A man’s heart is a wretched, wretched thing. It isn’t like a mother’s womb. It won’t bleed. It won’t stretch to make room for you.
You see, some things I can teach you. Some you learn from books. But there are things that, well, you have to see and feel.
Perhaps this is just punishment for those who have been heartless, to understand only when nothing can be undone.
The past held only this wisdom: that love was a damaging mistake, and its accomplice, hope, a treacherous illusion.
Learn this now and learn it well. Like a compass facing north, a man’s accusing finger always finds a woman.
Behind every trial and sorrow that He makes us shoulder, God has a reason.
Each snowflake was a sigh heard by an aggrieved woman somewhere in the world. All the sighs drifted up the sky, gathered into clouds, then broke into tiny pieces that fell silently on the people below. As a reminder of how women suffer.
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs,
Or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls.
And the past held only this wisdom: that love was a damaging mistake, and its accomplice, hope, a treacherous illusion. And whenever those twin poisonous flowers began to sprout in the parched land of that field, Mariam uprooted them. She uprooted them and ditched them before they took hold.
Then I think of all the tricks, all the minutes all the hours and days and weeks and months and years waiting for me. All of it without them. And I can’t breathe then, like someone’s stepping on my heart, Laila. So weak I just want to collapse somewhere.
And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.
There is only one sin. and that is theft… when you tell a lie, you steal someones right to the truth.
It may be unfair, but what happens in a few days, sometimes even a single day, can change the course of a whole lifetime.
Not a word passes between us, not because we have nothing to say, but because we don’t have to say anything
When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness.
It was only a smile, nothing more. It didn’t make everything all right. It didn’t make ANYTHING all right. Only a smile. A tiny thing. A leaf in the woods, shaking in the wake of a startled bird’s flight. But I’ll take it. With open arms. Because when spring comes, it melts the snow one flake at a time, and maybe I just witnessed the first flake melting.
They only let you be this happy if they’re preparing to take something from you.
People say that eyes are windows to the soul.
A man who has no conscience, no goodness, does not suffer.
Quiet is peace. Tranquility. Quiet is turning down the volume knob on life. Silence is pushing the off button. Shutting it down. All of it.
I want to tear myself from this place, from this reality, rise up like a cloud and float away, melt into this humid summer night and dissolve somewhere far, over the hills. But I am here, my legs blocks of concrete, my lungs empty of air, my throat burning. There will be no floating away.
War doesn’t negate decency. It demands it, even more than in times of peace.
There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft. When you kill a man, you steal a life… you steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness.. there is no act more wretched than stealing.
In that vast space you can sail unaccompanied for hours, afloat on pine and brush and rock.
It’s the tranquility born of sheer immensity; it calms with its very magnitude, which renders the merely human of no consequence.
Midwifing changed my mother. She was a grown woman with seven children, but this was the first time in her life that she was, without question or caveat the one in charge.
But here was a principle through which the dimensions of life could be defined, captured. Perhaps reality was not wholly volatile. Perhaps it could be explained, predicted. Perhaps it could be made to make sense.
I want to bellow, to weep into my father’s knee and promise to never do it again. But the wolf I am, I am still above lying and anyway he would sniff the lie.
I had begun to understand that we had lent our voices to a discourse whose sole purpose was to dehumanize and brutalize others- because nurturing that discourse was easier, because retaining power always feels like the way forward.
To admit uncertainty is to admit to weakness, to powerlessness, and to believe in yourself despite both.
There were wonderful suppositions embedded in this method of reading: the books are not tricks, and that I was not feeble.
There was a kind of symbiosis in their relationship to these grand places; they gave life to the ancient architecture by making it the backdrop of their discourse, by refusing to worship as its altar as if it were a dead thing.
But vindication has no power over guilt. No amount of anger or rage directed at others can subdue it, because guilt is never about them. Guilt is the fear of one’s own wretchedness. It has nothing to do with other people.
You could call this selfhood many things. Transformation, metamorphosis. Falsity, betrayal. I call it an education.
EACH OF US IS BORN INTO GENIUS. Sadly, most of us die amid mediocrity.
Everyone needs to drive innovation. Everyone needs to inspire their teammates. Everyone needs to embrace change. Everyone needs to take responsibility for results. Everyone needs to be positive. Everyone needs to become devoted to expressing their absolute best.
We all need to lead where we are planted and shine where we now find ourselves.
The highest of all human abilities is the ability each one of us has to choose how we respond to the environment we find ourselves within. And when each of us chooses peak performance and personal leadership, of course, the organization itself gets to world-class speedily.
We all have an ‘inner leader’ inside of us, longing to break free. We all have a natural power to lead that has nothing to do with a big title, or how old we are, or where we live.
Leadership has nothing to do with what you get or where you sit. Leadership’s a lot more about how brilliantly you work and how masterfully you behave.
The less you cared about receiving the stuff most of us care about at work, the more you received it.
The only way to avoid getting eaten alive is for companies to strengthen the capacities of employees at every level to lead in everything they do.
It’s no longer an excuse to say you don’t have a high rank so you don’t need to take ownership for the results of the organization. To succeed, everyone now must see themselves as part of the leadership team.
A restaurant is the only place I know of where you get the good stuff first and then you pay the price. In work—and in life in general—you need to pay the price of success before you get all the rewards due to you.
Money is really only the byproduct of standing for the finest within you and doing some SEW (Seriously Exceptional Work).
You can’t be creative and innovative and all that juicy stuff if you’re too scared to think, feel, and be different. Be an original.
The great news is that it’s just not possible to grow your interior world and not see corresponding growth in your exterior world. So working on yourself really is Job Number One.
Self-leadership isn’t about improving, because there’s nothing really wrong with you. It’s more about remembering. Remembering your inner leader and then making your relationship with it stronger each day. Self-leadership has so much to do with simply reconnecting to the person you once were—to your true nature.
I happen to believe we are all walking repositories of buried treasure. I believe this is one of the oldest and most generous tricks the universe plays on us human beings, both for its own amusement and for ours: The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.
We all know that fear is a desolate boneyard where our dreams go to desiccate in the hot sun.
When the time is ripe for certain things, they appear at different places, in the manner of violets coming to light in early spring.
Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart. The rest of it will take care of itself.
I think it’s a mighty act of human love to remind somebody that they can accomplish things by themselves, and that the world does not automatically owe them any reward, and that they are not as weak and hobbled as they may believe.
We should live each and every day with the certainty that this armor of light will protect us from danger, and then we will no longer be bound to the duality of existence. We have to find a middle path, where there is neither joy nor suffering, only profound peace.
I see the leaves falling, their shapes silhouetted against the sun. The same thing is happening inside me: with every step I take, another barrier falls, another defense is destroyed, another wall collapses, and my heart, hidden behind it all, is beginning to see and enjoy the autumn light.
We aren’t who we want to be. We are what society demands. We are what our parents choose. We don’t want to disappoint anyone; we have a great need to be loved. So, we smother the best in us. Gradually, the light of our dreams turns into the monster of our nightmares. They become things not done, possibilities not lived.
The human brain is fascinating; we will forget a scent until we smell it again, we will erase a voice from our memory until we hear it again, and even emotions that seemed buried for ever will be awakened when we return to the same place.
Wisdom and experience don’t change the man. Time doesn’t change the man. The only thing that changes us is love. Life offers us thousands of opportunities for learning. Ever man and every woman, in every day of our lives, always has a good opportunity to surrender to love. Life is not a long vacation, but a constant learning process.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
“Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”
“Sometimes the Bible in the hand of one man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand of (another)… There are just some kind of men who – who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.”
As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash”
“People in their right minds never take pride in their talents.”
It was times like these when I thought my father, who hated guns and had never been to any wars, was the bravest man who ever lived.”
Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”
“You just hold your head high and keep those fists down. No matter what anybody says to you, don’t you let ’em get your goat. Try fightin’ with your head for a change.
It’s never an insult to be called what somebody thinks is a bad name. It just shows you how poor that person is, it doesn’t hurt you.”
When a child asks you something, answer him, for goodness sake. But don’t make a production of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion faster than adults, and evasion simply muddles
Simply because we were licked a hundred years before we started is no reason for us not to try to win.”
There are just some kind of men who-who’re so busy worrying about the next world they’ve never learned to live in this one, and you can look down the street and see the results.”
I am happy you’re happy, really I am, but I feel like I’ve been left behind. Maybe our time has come and gone. Maybe your time is now meant to be spent with her. And if that’s the case, I won’t bother sending you this letter. And if I’m not sending this then what am I doing still writing it? Ok I’m going now and I’m ripping these muddled thoughts up.
I hope that once the summer is over, we’ll see each other every day. We’ll be sick of the sight of each other then!
My best friend is gone. It was silly of me to rely so much on one person. It’s all coming back on the now.
It was good to see you again. Please don’t be a stranger…
Life is funny, isn’t it? Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, just when you finally begin to plan something, get excited about it and feel like you know what direction you’re heading in the paths change, the signs change, the wind blows the other way, north suddenly south and east is west and you’re last. It’s so easy to lose your way, to lose direction.
There aren’t many sure things in life, but one thing I do know is that you have to deal with the consequences of your action. You have to follow through on some things. I always had a choice I always took the easy way out.
I need to pick myself up and stop feeling sorry for myself. Life is so hard- so what? It’s hard for everyone, isn’t it? Anyone who says it’s easy is a liar.
Once again, you’ve put my life into perspective.
I think life likes to do the every now and then. It does a dip and when you feel like you can’t take anymore, it smooths out again.