Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only WHAT is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
“…because nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. Hank, when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.”
People who live well are experts at giving. They give their money; they give their time. They share their wisdom and their skills. They quickly say yes when asked to help. For them, the formula is simple: to give is to love and to love is to live. It's a formula for a successful life.
I have long thought that anyone who does not regularly - or ever - gaze up and see the wonder and glory of a dark night sky filled with countless stars loses a sense of their fundamental connectedness to the universe.
“The universe is big, its vast and complicated, and ridiculous. And sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles. And that's the theory. Nine hundred years, never seen one yet, but this would do me.”
I wanted a perfect ending. Now, I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.
“Maybe happiness didn't have to be about the big, sweeping circumstances, about having everything in your life in place. Maybe it was about stringing together a bunch of small pleasures. Wearing slippers and watching the Miss Universe contest. Eating a brownie with vanilla ice cream. Getting to level seven in Dragon Master and knowing there were twenty more levels to go.
Maybe happiness was just a matter of the little upticks- the traffic signal that said "Walk" the second you go there- and downticks- the itch tag at the back of your collar- that happened to every person in the course of the day. Maybe everybody had the same allotted measure of happiness within each day.
Maybe it didn't matter if you were a world-famous heartthrob or a painful geek. Maybe it didn't matter if your friend was possibly dying.
Maybe you just got through it. Maybe that was all you could ask for.”
― Ann Brashares, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
I'm convinced of this: good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they're stones that don't matter. As long as you're breathing, it's never too late to do some good.
“Everybody has a secret world inside of them. I mean everybody. All of the people in the whole world, I mean everybody — no matter how dull and boring they are on the outside. Inside them they've all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds... Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.” ― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 5: A Game of You
Oh, monsters are scared," said Lettie. "That's why they're monsters. And as for grown-ups...' She stopped talking, rubbed her freckled nose with a finger. Then, 'I'm going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”
so i am going to tell you today about something that my friends and i call 'the fraud police'. the fraud police are this imaginary, terrifying force of experts and real grown-ups who don't exist and who come knocking on your door at 3am when you least expect it, saying "fraud police. we've been watching you and we have evidence that you have no idea what you are doing. and you stand accused of the crime of completely making shit up as you go along. you do not actually deserve your job and we're taking everything away. and we're telling everybody." and people working in the arts, especially, have to combat the inner fraud police on a daily basis. and even if you are a very happy, healthy, confident person, the fear of the fraud police is ever lurking. and it really doesn't matter who you are. i have friends who are teachers and writers and psychologists and scientists and pretty much every profession under the sun. and everybody, every so-called adult i know, has had this feeling about their job and themselves at some level. and i don't mean to put all of the non-graduates and grown-ups on the spot, but graduates please look around at the adults. and adults please raise your hand if you've ever had the feeling that the fraud police are going to come and expose you for not actually being able to do your job. the other ones are lying.
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're doing something.
Remember to forgive yourself, and to forgive others. It's too easy to be outraged these days, so much harder to change things, to reach out, to understand.
Try to make your time matter: minutes and hours and days and weeks can blow away like dead leaves, with nothing to show but time you spent not quite ever doing things, or time you spent waiting to begin.
Meet new people and talk to them. Make new things and show them to people who might enjoy them.
Hug too much. Smile too much. And, when you can, love.
- Neil Gaiman (I'm not a huge fan, really I'm not :p)
But nothing's ever lost forever It's just caught inside the cushions of your couch And when you find it You'll have such a nice surprise Nothing's ever lost forever It's just hiding in the recess of your mind And when you need it It will come to you at night
“Stories you read when you're the right age never quite leave you. You may forget who wrote them or what the story was called. Sometimes you'll forget precisely what happened, but if a story touches you it will stay with you, haunting the places in your mind that you rarely ever visit.” ― Neil Gaiman, M Is for Magic
The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing... not healing, not curing... that is a friend who cares.
Be slow to speak, and only after having first listened quietly, so that you may understand the meaning, leanings, and wishes of those who do speak. Thus you will better know when to speak and when to be silent. ~Saint Ignatius
'There is something magical in the mere sight of a sleeper; the sheer passivity, the immobility, the innocence, the helplessness, even of the strong, even of the wicked, come home to us, without comment, directly; the sleeper is made one with nature. And sleep has another direct effect on the imagination to which Shakespeare, like other poets, was keenly alive...'
Those who make us believe that anything’s possible and fire our imagination over the long haul, are often the ones who have survived the bleakest of circumstances. The men and women who have every reason to despair, but don’t, may have the most to teach us, not only about how to hold true to our beliefs, but about how such a life can bring about seemingly impossible social change.
If we're destroying our trees and destroying our environment and hurting animals and hurting one another and all that stuff, there's got to be a very powerful energy to fight that. I think we need more love in the world. We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that.
'Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble'
'A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one's neighbour... such is my idea of happiness.'
Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let's not be afraid to receive each day's surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.
If you look at history you see the way the labor movement was able to achieve things when it stuck to its guns, when it organized, when it resisted. Black people were able to change their condition when they fought back and when they organized. Same thing with the movement against the war in Vietnam, and the women's movement. History is instructive. And what it suggests to people is that even if they do little things, if they walk on the picket line, if they join a vigil, if they write a letter to their local newspaper. Anything they do, however small, becomes part of a much, much larger flow of energy. And when enough people do enough things, however small they are, then change takes place.
Open your refrigerator door, and you summon forth more light than the total amount enjoyed by most households in the 18th century. The world at night, for much of history, was a very dark place indeed.
The books that help you most are those which make you think the most. The hardest way of learning is that of easy reading; but a great book that comes from a great thinker is a ship of thought, deep freighted with truth and beauty.
'Let us liberate ourselves from any form of control. Let us focus at the inner drum, where the rhythm aligns with that of our heart. The measure of responsibility, equals to the need for evolution. Just listen, the inner child, let it whisper in your ear.'
'As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.'
Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we're too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone.
'I never feel lonely if I've got a book - they're like old friends. Even if you're not reading them over and over again, you know they are there. And they're part of your history. They sort of tell a story about your journey through life.'
If there are a hundred steps In thy path to success And ye have not reached it In ninety-nine of them Do not conclude That the journey is a failure. Press on and up... the prizes are generally at the end of an effort, not at its beginning... and not to go on is to miss them. Be valiant... have faith in yourself. Success belongs to him who dares to win it.
When your life feels like you're on a sailboat, with no wind to fill your sails, there are still choices. You can drop anchor and enjoy your surroundings. Start your motor, if you have one. Grab an oar and start paddling, or wait for the wind to fill your sails once again. There are always other choices while crossing the ocean of life.
'I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.'
Our most important task is to transform our consciousness so that violence is no longer an option for us in our personal lives, that understanding that a world of peace is possible only if we relate to each other as peaceful beings, one individual at a time.
"To replace the old paradigm of war with a new paradigm of waging peace, we must be pioneers that can push the boundaries of human UNDERSTANDING. We must be doctors that can cure the virus of violence. We must be soldiers of peace who can do more than preach to the choir. And we must be artists who will make the world our masterpiece."
I think MUSIC is the greatest art form that exists, and I think people LISTEN to MUSIC for different reasons, and it serves different purposes. Some of it is background MUSIC, and some of it is things that might affect a person's day, if not their life, or change an attitude. The best songs are the ones that make you feel something.
Never be so faithful to your plan that you are unwilling to consider the unexpected. Never be so faithful to your plan that you are unwilling to entertain the improbable opportunity that comes looking for you.
The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. No, not at all. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass where ever you may be.
The more I am in a position to be tried in faith with reference to my body, my family, my service for the Lord, my business, etc., the more shall I have opportunity of seeing God's help and deliverance; and every fresh instance, in which He helps and delivers me, will TEND towards the increase of my faith.
Every year I live I am more convinced that the waste of life lies in the love we have not given, the powers we have not used, the selfish prudence that will risk nothing, and which shirking pain, misses happiness as well. No one ever yet was the poorer in the long run for having once in a lifetime 'let out all the length of all the reins'.
Whether one is twenty, forty, sixty, or eighty; whether one has succeeded, failed or just muddled along - life begins each morning! The greatest fact in life is that it is never too late to start again. Biography simply overflows with inspiring examples of this truth. However discouraging your days may have been, keep this thought burning brightly in your mind: life begins each morning!