Saturday, December 19, 2009

Eknath Easwaran

“We are not nouns,” Buckminster Fuller says pointedly, “we are verbs.” People who are content with rigid images of others are thinking of themselves and others as nouns, as things. Those who keep trying to get closer to others, to understand and appreciate them more all the time, are verbs: active, creative, dynamic, able to change themselves and to make changes in the world they live in.

Eknath Easwaran

Anapekshah means always ready for the unexpected – in other words, ready for anything. It is a very daring attitude, because it means telling life, “I’m not concerned with what you send me. Good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, it doesn’t matter; I can make the best of whatever comes.” The opposite of this is not preparedness, it is rigidity.

-Eknath Easwaran, Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living, Vol. II

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cary Tennis

Forgiving him does not mean that you approve of what he did. It means that you unlock the boundless human compassion that lives within you.
--From "Since You Asked" on, December 7, 2009

Friday, November 6, 2009

Tom Ford

"I started to sink emotionally, spiritually. I became a little bit lost. Leaving Gucci, it intensified because I had been able to cling to my job and to my work and to my identity as a successful fashion designer, and all of a sudden that was gone. It forced me to really think, Well, what am I, who am I, what am I about? It took me a bit of time to figure that out. I think this happens to most people in their life if they're insightful enough to indulge it and to get through to the other side."

"Most people have a lot of problems. You can define yourself by them, or you can realize that everyone is going through what you're going through and you make the best of it and you get on with your life and you don't necessarily inflict that [on other people], because others probably have that too. They're just not inflicting it on you."

--Tom Ford, on leaving Gucci in 2004

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thomas Jefferson

I am convinced our own happiness requires that we should continue to mix with the world, and to keep pace with it....I can speak from experience on the subject. From 1793 to 1797, I remained closely at home, saw none but those who came there, and at length became very sensible of the ill effect it had upon my own mind, and of its direct and irresistible tendency to render me unfit for society, and uneasy when necessarily engaged in it. I felt enough of the effect of withdrawing from the world then to see that it led to an antisocial and misanthropic state of mind, which severely punishes him who gives in to it; and it will be a lesson I never shall forget as to myself.

--from a letter included in John Adams by David McCullough

Friday, October 30, 2009

Judith Warner

Melching, who has succeeded where any number of other women’s rights and global health organizations have failed, explained to me in an interview this summer that the secret to her group’s success lay in the fact that she had learned, through years of trial and error, that to reach people you had to meet them where they were. Respect them. Acknowledge their social norms, beliefs and practices. Find common ground. Build on shared human aspirations — for safety, for dignity, for a better life for one’s children — then discover how those shared aspirations might reasonably translate into ending practices that cause suffering. “If you come in and say, ‘You are awful people,’ people tune out and say, ‘Who do you think you are?’” she told me, speaking first from Senegal, where she has lived for the past 35 years. “Making people feel bad about what they’re doing doesn’t work; they only get defensive. What does work is getting people to discuss together what are their rights and what they mean. It’s not just a question of blaming and shaming people but educating and empowering them.”

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thornton Wilder

Selections from Theophilus North...

In the spring of 1926 I resigned from my job. The first days following such a decision are like the release from a hospital after a protracted illness. One slowly learns how to walk again; slowly and wonderingly one raises one's head. p1

It's wonderful the way nature strives to create harmony within ourselves. p6

The spirit of play swept away the cynicism and indifference into which I had fallen. Moreover, a readiness for adventure reawoke in me -- for risk, for intruding myself into the lives of others, for extracting fun from danger. p6

Kindness is not uncommon, but imaginative kindness can give a man a shock. p18

Monday, October 12, 2009

Benjamin Franklin

Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

Audrey Hepburn

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

-Audrey Hepburn, when asked about her beauty secrets


Every smile is a direct achievement.

Friday, October 9, 2009

LL Cool J (via Twitter)

Some of us have thousands of reasons why we can't do what we want to, when all we need is one reason why we can.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

E. A. Miller

...after two days in the woods, I struggled with neither my body nor my soul. There was no blizzard, no broken leg, no capture by Indians, no desire, upon seeing that first sunrise, to commit either my soul or [my dog's], no spirit of Rimbaud. I was still wrestling with pretense. I was so uncomfortable with my own perceptions that they were only real if they could be translated into narratives of faith and fortitude -- even if those narrative models made me feel like a failure! So much for a solo hiking trip -- I had brought along a vast audience, crowded with family, old lovers (even the thought of which can make me suck in my stomach) and literary critics. Talk about ill-fitting equipment: an invisible audience and borrowed stories.

I came to hike to find a story, but stories are products of past history and future audiences. I didn't know how to attend to the present.

excerpted from Equipment and Pretense, in Solo: On Her Own Adventure, ed. Susan Fox Rogers, 1996.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dorothy Thompson

Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.

A. J. Jacobs

I read a book once that said the key to meditation is to remember it's hard work. It's mental exercise, like free weights for the prefrontal cortex. So are my focusing muscles getting ripped?

Bertrand Russell

One of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdowns is the belief that one's work is terribly important. If I were a medical man, I should prescribe a holiday to any patient who considered his work important.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Craig Ferguson

Americans taught me failure was only something you went through on the way to success, not just in the sense of career or wealth, but as a person. Failure is only failure, and it can be useful, spun into a story that will make people laugh, and maybe once in a while give a message of hope to others who might need some.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Aldous Huxley

Your true traveler finds boredom rather agreeable than painful. It is the symbol of her liberty-her excessive freedom. She accepts her boredom, when it comes, not merely philosophically, but almost with pleasure.

-in honor of Darcie's epic drive

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jose Saramago

It was my fault, she sobbed, and it was true, no one could deny it, but it is also true, if this brings her any consolation, that if before every action, we were to begin by weighing up the consequences, thinking about them in earnest, first the immediate consequences, then the probable, then the possible, then the imaginable ones, we should never move beyond the point where our first thought brought us to a halt.

--from Blindness

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cheesy viral e-mail from the late 90s...

Live a good, honorable life. Then, when you get older and think back, you'll get to enjoy it a second time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Eknath Easwaran

Stand up to your full height and give freely to those around you - your time, your resources your talents, your extra clothes or vegetables from your garden, whatever you have. You are not wealthy simply because you have a lot, you are wealthy when you have given a lot away.

from The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living, Vol. II, p 205

Mister Rogers

I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than complex.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Eknath Easwaran

When we are angry, we are punishing ourselves; anger is its own punishment. Angry thoughts go round and round like a record player. At times we forget that there is any other song in our repertoire. But there is a breathtakingly simple solution to this problem: all we need to do is reach out, lift up the needle, and move it to a new song.

Norman Vincent Peale

How you think about a problem is more important than the problem itself. So always think positively!

Mark Twain

To be good is noble, but to show others how to be good is nobler and no trouble.

Mary Anne Williamson

Every judgment blocks the light!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009



Thich Nhat Hanh

Our true home is in the present moment.
To live in the present moment is a miracle.
The miracle is not to walk on water.
The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment,
to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.
Peace is all around us -- in the world and in nature
And within us -- in our bodies and our spirits.
Once we learn to touch this peace, we will be healed and transformed.
It is not a matter of faith; it is a matter of practice.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Albert Einstein

Imagination is more important than knowledge.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Garrison Keillor

You start with what you know, but writing is a process of discovery. It's not as if we're simply taking a plate out of our heads and laying it down on paper and printing from it; we're not. Writing is an act of discovery. The moment you start--you start with a character, you start with maybe yourself or maybe somebody else, but you start with a character and you learn about that character by writing about that character and you wind up in places you never thought you were going to go when you started out. I mean that's the whole reason for writing. Discovery. You do not know what you yourself think until you put it into words.

--American Masters series on PBS, Garrison Keillor: The Man on the Radio in the Red Shoes

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Barack Obama

Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Auguste Rodin

Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.

Benjamin Franklin

They that give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the days ahead, we must not consider it unpatriotic to raise certain basic questions about our national character. We must begin to ask, "Why are there 40 million poor people in a nation overflowing with such unbelievable affluence? Why has our nation placed itself in the position of being God's military agent on earth...? Why have we substituted the arrogant undertaking of policing the whole world for the high task of putting our own house in order?

Eddie Cantor

Slow down and enjoy life. It's not only the scenery you miss by going too fast--you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.

Samuel Johnson

What we hope ever to do with ease we must learn first to do with diligence.

Maureen Dowd

The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.

St. Francis de Sales

Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them--every day begin the task anew.

Gore Vidal

Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.

A. A. Attanasio

Silence is an easy text to misread.

Andy Warhol

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.

Francis Beaumont

Let us have a care not to disclose our hearts to those who shut up theirs against us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Pearl S. Buck

I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Eknath Easwaran

Dvanda, the 'pairs of opposites' --happiness and sorrow, good and bad, pleasure and pain, and all the rest-- are the very texture of Māyā. Self-will thrives on these dualities, especially likes and dislikes; they are the ego's way of self-expression.

In every country and every community, no matter whether rich or poor, there is a rare type of person who from birth has very little self-will, who can forbear and forgive very easily. People like this are like freestone peaches; you have only to open them up and the seed of self-will falls out easily. The vast majority of us, however, are cling-peach types; the seed seems glued to the rest of the peach. . . .No one is making us cling but ourselves, and it is up to us to let go.

Like a Thousand Suns, p. 84
The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Carmel Snow

Elegance is good taste plus a dash of daring.

(Carmel Snow was the editor of Harper's Bazaar from 1934 to 1958.)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Orhan Pamuk

What literature needs most to tell and investigate today are humanity's basic fears: the fear of being left outside, and the fear of counting for nothing, and the feelings of worthlessness that come with such fears…

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Tim Kreider

I don’t know why we take our worst moods so much more seriously than our best ones, crediting depression with more clarity than euphoria. It’s easy now to dismiss that year [after surviving a near-death experience] as nothing more than the same sort of shaky, hysterical high you’d experience after being clipped by a taxi. But you could also try to think of it as a glimpse of grace. It’s like the revelation I had when I was a kid the first time I ever flew in an airplane: when you break through the cloud cover you realize that above the passing squalls and doldrums there is a realm of eternal sunlight, so keen and brilliant you have to squint against it, a vision to hold onto and take back with you when you descend once more beneath the clouds, under the oppressive, petty jurisdiction of the local weather.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Leonard Mlodinow

I was once on a plane that experienced so much turbulence that when I looked out the window, the wings seemed to flap up and down like a bird’s. I noticed, also, that the woman in the window seat next to me looked pale and terrified. Personally, I took comfort in knowing how many miles planes fly through heavy turbulence without any problems at all. So I explained to the woman how planes were designed to withstand such conditions, and told her the slim odds of anything bad happening. When I finished, she turned away and reached for the barf bag.

Some people take solace in an understanding of their environment, others don’t. For me, an understanding of the role played by chance has taught me that one important factor in success is under our control: the number of at-bats, the number of chances taken, the number of opportunities seized. As someone who has taken risks in life I find it a comfort to know that even a coin weighted toward failure will sometimes land on success. Or, as I.B.M. pioneer Thomas Watson said, “If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.”

(, "What Are The Odds?" May 22, 2009. Leonard Mlodinow teaches randomness to future experimenters at Caltech. His books include “The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives” and “Euclid’s Window: The Story of Geometry from Parallel Lines to Hyperspace.”)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Joseph Campbell

We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

Al Franken

When you encounter seemingly good advice that contradicts other seemingly good advice, ignore them both.

(from The Writer's Almanac, May 21, 2009)

Salman Rushdie

The most interesting thing in fiction is to invent the thing that didn't happen. The less likely, the more interesting.

(July 11, 2008, during a book-signing event at Borders in Madison, WI)

Po Bronson

Some people [when hearing about a certain job] say, "That sounds cool, but how much crap does he have to put up with?" Why indulge that question? The right question is not, "What's the crap factor?" The right question is, "How can I find something that moves my heart so that the inevitable crapstorm is bearable?"

(Po Bronson, What Should I Do With My Life?)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bob Page

I think that's the one mistake people make when pondering a career change. They say to themselves, "What if it doesn't work out?" But they don't answer the question! What if it doesn't? You know what? You'll live.

I think the most important question is, "What if it does work out?" Maybe you can't handle that kind of happiness, having your dreams come true. I know plenty of people who make a career out of complaining and seem to enjoy it very much.

(in The Career Clinic by Maureen Anderson)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Joseph Campbell

This is the threat to our lives. We all face it. We all operate in our society in relation to a system. Now, is the system going to eat you up and relieve you of your humanity, or are you going to be able to use the system to human purposes?... If the person doesn't listen to the demands of his own spiritual and heart life and insists on a certain program, you're going to have a schizophrenic crack-up. The person has put himself off center. He has aligned himself with a programmatic life and it's not the one the body's interested in at all. And the world's full of people who have stopped listening to themselves.

Dick Bolles

I'm often asked what the secret to happiness is. This is my answer: use your gifts. They have a kind of energy, and if you don't let that out, you will go crazy.

(in The Career Clinic by Maureen Anderson)

Chris Shea

That's what makes focusing on what's in front of you so intoxicating. You're in the pure act of living. That's the goal, to figure out how to keep yourself living right now, as opposed to viewing your life through the fears of the past, or the dread of the future, or the opinion of somebody who thought you were stupid. Because that all comes in, in that loud other voice. If you can quiet that voice, you can give rise to another one--and learn how to really live.

(in The Career Clinic by Maureen Anderson)

Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin

Being able to reflect on your life while you're living it (instead of in the instant before you die) is one key to fulfillment, however you go about it. When you're working full-time, though, quiet time can seem like just one more thing to do in an already overcrowded schedule.

(in Your Money or Your Life, as quoted in The Career Clinic by Maureen Anderson)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mavis Leno

People always say, “Work on a marriage.” I think if you work on knowing your own faults and trying to correct them, you’re not going to have to work on your marriage.

(From an interview with Jay and Mavis Leno about their marriage.)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thich Nhat Hanh

If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone, will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work.

Majorca Carter

Studies show without a shadow of a doubt that when you expose people even to small clusters of nature, even in a very urban area, crime rates go down because people want to be near it.
(via Sojourners, May 2009)


The body is amazing. It can handle a lot more--a whole lot more--than you think.

Peter Matthiessen

A change is taking place, some painful growth, as in a snake during the shedding of its skin─dull, irritable, without appetite, dragging about the stale shreds of a former life, near-blinded by the old dead scale on the new eye. It is difficult to adjust because I do not know who is adjusting; I am no longer that old person and not yet the new.
p.310, The Snow Leopard

Friday, May 8, 2009

Richard St. John

Persistence is the number one reason for success.
You gotta persist through failure and C.R.A.P. -- criticism, rejection, assholes and pressure.
Ted Presentation: Richard St. John's Secrets of Success in 8 words, 3 minutes

Monday, May 4, 2009

Saint Francis de Sales

Have patience with all things,
but chiefly have patience with yourself.
Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections,
but instantly set about remedying them;
every day begin the task anew.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mark Hampton

Oh, the fun of arriving at a house and feeling the spark that tells you that you are going to have a good time.

Lewis Grizzard

It's difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a home-grown tomato.

Alice Walker

Expect nothing; live frugally on surprise.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.
-Aeneid, I.203

(Perhaps one day, it will be a joy to remember even this.)

My favorite line of Latin.

Czech Proverb

Learn a new language and get a new soul.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Marcus Aurelius

Be satisfied with success in even the smallest matter, and think that even such a result is no trifle.

Charles Lamb

The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth and to have it found out by accident.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Muriel Rukeyser

Breathe in experience, breathe out poetry.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Results 1 - 10 of about 2,380,000,000 for love
Results 1 - 10 of about 352,000,000 for peace
Results 1 - 10 of about 10,900,000 for happiness


I used to worry about the future
But then I threw my caution to the wind.
I had no reason to be care free
No no no, until I took a trip to the other side of town
Yeah yeah yeah, you know I heard that boogie rhythm
Hey- I had no choice but to get down down down down.

Canned Heat

Wilfred J. Funk

Most Beautiful Words in the English Language:

tranquil, golden, hush, bobolink, thrush, lullaby, chimes, murmuring, luminous, damask, cerulean, melody, marigold, jonquil, oriole, tendril, myrrh, mignonette, gossamer, fawn, dawn, chalice, anemone, mist, oleander, amaryllis, rosemary, camellia, asphodel, and halcyon.

Brendan Kennelly, Irish poet

"Poetry is, above all, a singing art of natural and magical connection because, though it is born out of one's person's solitude, it has the ability to reach out and touch in a humane and warmly illuminating way the solitude, even the loneliness, of others. That is why, to me, poetry is one of the most vital treasures that humanity possesses; it is a bridge between separated souls."


--from The Writer’s Almanac for April 17, 2009

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

William James

Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, 'This is the real me,' and when you have found that attitude, follow it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Billy Collins

Today I pass the time reading
a favorite haiku,
saying the few words over and over.

It feels like eating
the same small, perfect grape
again and again.

An excerpt from "Japan," in Picnic, Lightening

Get Exited and Make Things

(From a designer as an alternative to the iconic English poster)

Giacomo Puccini

Dilegua, o notte!
Tramontate, stelle! Tramontate, stelle!
All'alba vincerò! Vincerò! Vincerò!

("Vanish, o night! Set, stars! Set, stars! At daybreak I shall win! I shall win! I shall win!")

Nessun dorma aria from Turandot

Monday, April 20, 2009

Mark Twain

The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


The future depends on what we do in the present.

Jimmy Cliff

I can see clearly now the rain is gone
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me down
It's gonna be a bright, bright, bright sun shiny day

(I Can See Clearly Now)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Eknath Easwaran

Cultivate one-pointed attention. Doing more than one thing at a time divides attention and fragments consciousness. . . .Everything we do should be worthy of our full attention. When the mind is one-pointed it will be secure, free from tension, and capable of the concentration that is the mark of genius in any field.

(Eknath Easwaran, Like a Thousand Suns, p. 17)

Abraham Hicks

Tell everyone you know: "My happiness depends on me, so you're off the hook."

And then demonstrate it. Be happy, no matter what they're doing. Practice feeling good, no matter what. And before you know it, you will not give anyone else responsibility for the way you feel.

And then you'll love them all... because the only reason you don't love them, is because you're using them as your excuse to not feel good.

Barbara Kingsolver

It is harrowing for me to try to teach 20-year-old students, who earnestly want to improve their writing. The best I can think to tell them is: quit smoking, and observe posted speed limits. This will improve your odds of getting old enough to be wise.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Jill Bolte-Taylor

When my brain runs loops that feel harshly judgmental, counter-productive, or out of control, I wait 90 seconds for the emotional/physiological response to dissipate and then I speak to my brain as though it is a group of children. I say with sincerity, "I appreciate your ability to think thoughts and feel emotions, but I am really not interested in thinking these thoughts or feeling these emotions anymore. Please stop bringing this stuff up."

Simply thinking these thoughts with my inner authentic voice, however, is often not enough for me to get the message across to my story-teller, who is invested in performing its normal function. I have found that when I attach an appropriate feeling to these phrases, and think them with genuine affect, my story-teller is more amenable to this type of communication. If I'm really having trouble getting my brain to listen, I add a kinesthetic component to my message like waggling my pointed finger in the air, or standing firm with my hands on my hips.

A tiny portion of the cells in my brain and body excellent at exploring thought patterns that have the potential to really derail my feeling of inner peace. This group of cells has been called many things; some of my favorites include the Peanut Gallery, the Board of Directors, and the Itty Bitty S#*?!y Committee.

--from My Stroke of Insight

Isabel Gillies

Adlai Stevenson’s quote about Eleanor Roosevelt: she’d “rather light a candle than curse the darkness.”
(from The Happiness Project)

Anton Chekhov

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's this day-to-day living that wears you out.
- Anton Chekhov