Monday, August 29, 2011

Abigail Thomas

     My mother's first criterion for a man is that he be interesting. What this really means is that he be able to appreciate my mother, whose jokes hinge on some grammatical subtlety or a working knowledge of higher mathematics. You get the picture. Robbie is about as interesting as a pair of red high-top Converse sneakers. But Robbie points to the mattress on the floor. He grins, slowly unbuckling his belt, drops his jeans. "Lie down," says Robbie.
     This is interesting enough for me.

-excerpt from "Modern Love" in Getting Over Tom, a collection of short stories, c. 1994

Friday, August 26, 2011

Christian Wiman

There is a distinction to be made between the anxiety of daily existence, which we talk about endlessly, and the anxiety of existence, which we rarely mention at all. The former fritters us into dithering, distracted creatures. The latter attests to—and, if attended to, discloses—our souls.
And yet it is a distinction without a difference, perhaps, and as crucial to eventually overcome as it is to initially understand, for to be truly alive means to feel one's ultimate existence within one's daily existence, to feel one's trivial, frittering anxieties acquiring a lightness, a rightness, a meaning. So long as anxiety is merely something to be alleviated, it is not life, or we are not alive enough to experience it as such.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Before you go to bed at night, give all your cares and worries to God; he'll be up all night anyway.

Antonio Damasio

The cognitive part of our brain works very fast, so you can do a lot
of reasoning, a lot of recognition of objects, remembering names in
just a few hundredths of a second. But the emotional part of our
brains works very differently, and there is precious little evidence
that this is going to change. Tasks that have to do with empathy and
imagination, with slow-growing qualities like love and fidelity and
ethics, will continue to develop in their own sweet time.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Barack Obama

I think that we forget when [Martin Luther King Jr.] was alive there was nobody who was more vilified, nobody who was more controversial, nobody who was more despairing at times. There was a decade that followed the great successes of Birmingham and Selma in which he was just struggling, fighting the good fight, and scorned, and [made] many folks angry. But what he understood, what kept him going, was that the arc of [a] moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. But it doesn't bend on its own. It bends because all of us are putting our hand on the arc and we are bending it in that direction. And it takes time. And it's hard work. And there are frustrations.

Gene Roddenberry

[Stark Trek] speaks to some basic human needs. That there is a tomorrow — it's not all going to be over in a big flash and a bomb, that the human race is improving, that we have things to be proud of as humans. No, ancient astronauts did not build the pyramids — human beings built them because they're clever and they work hard. And Star Trek is about those things.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Oversoul

Let us learn the revelation of all nature and thought;
that the Highest dwells within us,
that the sources of nature are in our own minds.
As there is no screen or ceiling between our heads and the heavens,
so there is no bar or wall in the soul where we, the effect, cease, and God, the cause, begins.

I am constrained every moment to acknowledge a higher origin for events than the will I call mine.
There is deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is accessible to us.
Every moment when the individual feels invaded by it is memorable.

It comes to the lowly and simple;
it comes to whosoever will put off what is foreign and proud;
it comes as insight;
it comes as serenity and grandeur.
The soul’s health consists in the fullness of its reception.

For ever and ever the influx of this better and more universal self is new and unsearchable.
Within us is the soul of the whole;
the wise silence,
the universal beauty,
to which every part and particle is equally related;
the eternal One.

When it breaks through our intellect, it is genius;
when it breathes through our will, it is virtue;
when in flows through our affections, it is love.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sanaya Roman

A lot of you end up doing so many small tasks that you don't have time to create your life's work; you confuse busyness with accomplishing your higher purpose. You may have stacks of chores to be done and be rushing around, busy every moment. If you are going to get to your life's work, you need to take time to start it.

   *   *   *

Creating your life's work doesn't come from choosing safety and comfort over growth. It comes from choosing and taking those actions that help you get to where you want to go. Learn to embrace your challenges with love rather than avoiding them. Start by doing something that is a slight reach for you; take on a slightly more challenging project than you normally tackle, or learn a new skill. When you do things that make you reach, the rewards are great.