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The Thing You Must Do

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

 ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

This weekend I attended a gathering that consisted of some of the most amazing people I have ever met, including my teacher, Martha Beck. I could write an entire post (or 5) about this experience alone. But I will limit myself to just this one–for now. One of the things I learned this weekend is that it is vitally important to be around supportive, encouraging people, especially when you are about to dive head first into your deepest fears. My longstanding fear has been deep intimacy, be it romantic, friendly or familial. This weekend I discovered that the very thing I was afraid to do, risk being a completely vulnerable weepy mess, was the very thing that set me free and allowed me to experience a profoundly deep connection with others. Consequently, I found myself sharing an intensely real and moving moment with people I had only met hours before. Now I know I can do vulnerable again and again until I’m a complete pro at it, but there had to be the ice-breaker.

There is something you must do, too. Maybe it’s leaving an abusive spouse, taking control of your health, leaving a well-paying (but soul-sucking) job, or finally telling the guy at the bagel shop he’s been getting your order wrong for the last 6 months that you’ve been coming in to the joint. I know, it’s highly personal, very risky and super scary. It’s easy to shrug off this responsibility and claim that it is either too much trouble or that you are happy enough, but you and I both know that is some stinky bull caca. The truth is that doing the thing you think you cannot do is the only way you are going to accomplish all the extraordinary things in life you know you must. It is part of your life’s work and, like it or not, no one can do it for you–even if they could, they wouldn’t do it as brilliantly as you.

I highly recommend doing the thing you think you cannot do with the encouragement and support of your people, the people who think you can do anything (if you are surrounded by discouraging people, the thing you must do now is stop going to them for support – that’s like trying to draw blood from a turnip, it’s not going to happen my friend). Reconnect with your people if you have lost touch. If you feel you are without your people and feel you are alone or misunderstood – I promise you, you are neither. Know that you are in good company. At the very least, know that I am right beside you doing the thing that scares the crap out of me. Underneath the fear there’s a part of you that’s really excited about this, right? That’s what following your bliss feels like. I suggest you see where it takes you.

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Favorite Quotes

December 21, 2008 Leave a comment

Below is a sampling of my favorite quotes – some have inspired me to action, some remind me how universal and timeless the shared experiences of life are and  all resonate deeply with what I know to be true.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. – Albert Einstein

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. – Henry David Thoreau

Real happiness is cheap enough, yet how dearly we pay for its counterfeit. – Hosea Ballou

Things and conditions can give you pleasure, but they cannot give you joy. Nothing can give you joy . . .It is your natural state, not something that you need to work hard for or struggle to attain. – Eckhart Tolle

Worry is thought that pretends to be important and necessary. – Eckhart Tolle

Don’t believe everything you think. – bumper sticker

In life, pain may be mandatory, but suffering is optional. – Unknown

The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new. – Pema Chodron

If you are constantly striving, you are never arriving – Dr. Wayne Dyer

Be the change you want to see in the world. – Ghandi

There is more to life than increasing its speed. – Ghandi

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. – Lao Tzu

A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving. – Lao Tzu

At the center of your being, you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. – Lao Tzu

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become. – Buddha

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. – Jesus

What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul? – Jesus

For every nine people who denounce innovation, only one will encourage it . . . for every nine people who do things the way they have always been done, only one will wonder if there is a better way. For every nine people who stand in front of a locked door, only one will ever come around and check the back door. Our progress as a species rests squarely on the shoulders of that tenth person. The nine are satisfied with things they are told are valuable. Person 10 determines for himself what has value.– Za Rinpoche and Ashley Nebelsieck

The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you really want something, it makes you feel physically stronger. . . .and if you think you want it but you don’t really want it, it makes you feel physically weaker. – Martha Beck

Every morning you wake up is an opportunity to live a life that’s never been lived before.– Martha Beck

When you’re hanging with people who don’t understand you, you’ll always feel a little crazy – because they think you’re crazy. But you’re not crazy. Or maybe you are. Maybe we all are. The point is that, if you want to …feel good about your decisions, you need to hang with your kind of crazy. — Cath Duncan

Individual achievement is not really individual at all. Our talents begin in the Divine, develop with the love and support of others, and only in the end express through us. – Joan Bunning