“Never cut what you can untie.”
— Joseph Joubert
“The purpose of listening across lines of difference is not agreement or compromise. It is understanding.”
— Valarie Kaur
“Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusions destroyed.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche
“Be patient with yourself, nothing in nature blooms all year.”
“I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
Finally, I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
— Mary Oliver
“Deep listening is an act of surrender. We risk being changed by what we hear. When I really want to hear another person’s story, I try to leave my preconceptions at the door and draw close to their telling. I am always partially listening to the thoughts in my own head when others are speaking, so I consciously quiet my thoughts and begin to listen with my senses. Empathy is cognitive and emotional—to inhabit another person’s view of the world is to feel the world with them. But I also know that it’s okay if I don’t feel very much for them at all. I just need to feel safe enough to stay curious. The most critical part of listening is asking what is at stake for the other person. I try to understand what matters to them, not what I think matters. Sometimes I start to lose myself in their story. As soon as I notice feeling unmoored, I try to pull myself back into my body, like returning home. As Hannah Arendt says, ‘One trains one’s imagination to go visiting.’ When the story is done, we must return to our skin, our own worldview, and notice how we have been changed by our visit. So I ask myself, What is this story demanding of me? What will I do now that I know this?”
― Valarie Kaur
“When you feel confused or burdened by problems focus on *this instant* and ask yourself: What problem do I have right now? You will find that there is no problem *now*. A challenge that requires action, possibly, but not a problem.”
— Eckhart Tolle
“Keep some room in your heart for the Unimaginable”
– Mary Oliver.
“Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly.”
— Mae West
“I don’t want to be part of your revolution if I can’t dance!
— Emma Goldman
“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.”
— Fred Rogers
“Hard times require furious dancing”.
— Alice Walker
1. Remind yourself that time is valuable and once it’s spent you absolutely can’t get it back.
2. Ask yourself: “Would I be willing to do this thing tomorrow?” It’s easy to sign yourself up for something in April when it’s only September. Do your future self a favor and try this little exercise.
3. Respond quickly. Don’t leave people hanging once you know you’re saying no.
4. Own your “no” if it’s not a priority (because something else actively is): “Thanks so much for thinking of me. I’m not going to be able to take this on, but I wish you the best with X.”
5. Reframe your “no” to assuage your guilt (if it’s something you genuinely wish you had time for). Acknowledge that this commitment is significant to you, even if you’re not taking it on. A good sample script: “This is so important that it deserves someone’s full energy, and since I can’t do that because I have XYZ other things, I would be dishonoring the importance of this event/role/weekend getaway by saying yes.”
“Because of the routines we follow, we often forget that life is an ongoing adventure…and the sooner we realize that, the quicker we will be able to treat life as art: to bring all our energies to each encounter, to remain flexible enough to notice and admit when what we expected to happen did not happen. We need to remember that we are created creative and can invent new scenarios as frequently as they are needed.”
– Maya Angelou
Three Things in Human Life Are Important.
The First Is To Be Kind.
The Second Is To Be Kind.
And the Third Is To Be Kind
— Henry James
“Ordinary isn’t the enemy but instead something nourishing and unavoidable, the bedrock upon which the rest of experience ebbs and flows. Embrace this — the warm water, the pruned hands, the prismatic gleam of the bubbles and the steady passage from dish to dish to dish — and feel, however briefly, the breath of actual time, a reality that lies dormant and plausible under all the clutter we pile on top of it. A bird makes its indecipherable call to another bird, a song from a passing car warps in the Doppler effect and I’m reminded, if only for a moment, that I need a lot less than I think I do and that I don’t have to leave my kitchen to get it.”
– Mike Powell, An Ode to Washing the Dishes
“Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart.”
— Rainer Maria Rilke
stand up for what is right
prioritize your mental health
being flexible brings success
your voice makes a difference
do not hide from your emotions
hard moments do not last forever
healing yourself makes life better
pursue your goals no matter what
embracing change eases your mind
“Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together”
— Anaïs Nin
“Well now really when we go back into falling in love. And say, it’s crazy. Falling. You see? We don’t say “rising into love”. There is in it, the idea of the fall. And it goes back, as a matter of fact, to extremely fundamental things. That there is always a curious tie at some point between the fall and the creation. Taking this ghastly risk is the condition of there being life. You see, for all life is an act of faith and an act of gamble. The moment you take a step, you do so on an act of faith because you don’t really know that the floor’s not going to give under your feet. The moment you take a journey, what an act of faith. The moment that you enter into any kind of human undertaking in relationship, what an act of faith. See, you’ve given yourself up. But this is the most powerful thing that can be done: surrender. See. And love is an act of surrender to another person. Total abandonment. I give myself to you. Take me. Do anything you like with me. See. So, that’s quite mad because you see, it’s letting things get out of control. All sensible people keep things in control. Watch it, watch it, watch it. Security? Vigilance Watch it. Police? Watch it. Guards? Watch it. Who’s going to watch the guards? So, actually, therefore, the course of wisdom, what is really sensible, is to let go, is to commit oneself, to give oneself up and that’s quite mad. So we come to the strange conclusion that in madness lies sanity.”
– Alan Watts
“My life is my practice.”
– Ram Dass
“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving.”
— bell hooks