Adversity is a natural part of being human.
It is the height of arrogance to prescribe a moral code or health regimen or spiritual practice as an amulet to keep things from falling apart. Things do fall apart. It is in their nature to do so. When we try to protect ourselves from the inevitability of change, we are not listening to the soul. We are listening to our fear of life and death, our lack of faith, our smaller ego’s will to prevail. To listen to the soul is to stop fighting with life-to stop fighting when things fall apart, when they don’t go our way, when we get sick, when we are betrayed or mistreated or misunderstood. To listen to the soul is to slow down, to feel deeply, to see ourselves clearly, to surrender to discomfort and uncertainty, and to wait. -E. Lesser
Stop the words now Open the window in the center of your chest and let the spirits fly in and out -Rumi
Surviving meant being born over and over -Erica Jong
Most of us are about as eager to be changed as we were to be born, and go through our change in a similar state of shock. -James Baldwin
Learn the alchemy true human beings know. The moment you accept what troubles you’ve been given the door will open. -Rumi
In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us. -Ranier Maria Rilke
No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. -Albert Einstein
And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud Was more painful than the risk it took to blossom -Anais Nin
Since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of time, you are incomparable. -Brenda Upland
We will discover the nature of our particular genius when we stop trying to conform to our own or to other people’s models, learn to be ourselves, and allow our natural channel to open. -Shakti Gawain
Take your life in your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame -Erica Jong
Inside you there’s an artist you don’t know about. Say yes quickly, if you know it you’ve known it from before the beginning of the universe. -Rumi
Weathering by Fleur Adcock
My face catches the wind from the snow-line. And flushes with a flush that will never Wholly settle Well, that was A metropolitan vanity, wanting to Look young forever. to pass. I was never a pre-Raphaelite beauty And only pretty enough to be seen with men Who wanted to be seen with passable women. But now that I am in love with a Place that doesn’t care how I look or if I am happy. Happy is how I look and that’s all. My hair will grow grey in any case, my nails chip and flake, My waist thicken and the years work all their usual changes. If my face is to be weather beaten as well, it’s little enough lost of a year among lakes and falls where simply to look out my window at the high pass makes me indifferent to mirrors and to what my soul may wear over it’s new complexion.
You’re It Anonymous
God disguised as a myriad things and playing a game of tag
Has kissed you and said “You’re it-
I mean, you’re really IT!”
Now it does not matter what you believe or feel
For something wonderful is someday going
The Journey Mary Oliver
One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, Though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice— Though the whole house began to tremble And you felt the old tug at your ankles, “Mend my life!” each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop. You knew what you had to do, though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations, though their melancholy was terrible.
It was already late enough and a wild night and the road full of fallen branches and stones.
But little by little as you left their voices behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own,
that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world determined to do the only thing you could do— determined to save the only life you could save.
The Invitation Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn’t matter to me what you do for a living- I want to know What you ache for, and if you dare to dream Of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are- I want to know if you risk looking like a fool for love. for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon- I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow. if you have been opened by life’s betrayals, or have become shriveled or closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with your own pain without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with your own joy if you can dance wildness, and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes, without cautioning yourself to be careful to be realistic Or to remember the limitations of being human
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true- I want to know if you can ‘disappoint’ another to be true to yourself. If you can bear ‘the accusation’ of betrayal and not betray your own soul If you can be ‘faithful’, and therefore trustworthy
I want to know if you can see beauty, even when it’s not pretty every day and if you can source from your own life Beauty’s Presence.
I want to know if you can live with your failure and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “YES!”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have- I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for your family.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here- I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where, or what, or with whom you have studied- I want to know what sustains you from the inside When all else falls away. If you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
The Awakening by Sonny Carroll
A time comes in your life when you finally get it…when, in the midst of all your fears and insanity, you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out – ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes. This is your awakening. You realize it’s time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change … or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that you are not Prince Charming or Cinderella and that in the real world there isn’t always a fairy tale ending (or beginning for that matter). You learn that any guarantee of “happily ever after” must begin with you…and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance. You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are … and that’s OK. They are entitled to their own views and opinions. You learn the importance of loving and championing yourself…and in the process a sense of new-found confidence is born of self-approval. You stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn’t do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that people don’t always say what they mean or mean what they say and that not everyone will always be there for you and that it’s not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself…and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance. You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties….and in the process, a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness. You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world around you, is as a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. And you begin to sift through all the junk you’ve been fed about how you should behave, how you should look, how much you should weigh, what you should wear, what you should do for a living, how much money you should make, what you should drive, how and where you should live, who you should marry, the importance of having and raising children, and what you owe your parents, family, and friends. You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. You begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you’ve outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with … and in the process you learn to go with your instincts. You learn that it is truly in giving that we receive. And that there is power and glory in creating and contributing and you stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” looking for your next fix. You learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which you must build a life. You learn that you don’t know everything, it’s not your job to save the world and that you can’t teach a pig to sing. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry and that martyrs get burned at the stake. Then you learn about love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving and when to walk away. You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations and outcomes. You learn that alone does not mean lonely. You also stop working so hard at putting your feelings aside, smoothing things over and ignoring your needs. You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly OK….and that it is your right to want things and to ask for the things you want … and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands. You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity and respect and you won’t settle for less. You learn that your body really is your temple; you begin to care for it and treat it with respect. You begin to eat a balanced diet, drink more water, and take more time to exercise. You learn that being tired fuels doubt, fear, and uncertainty and so you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul. So you take more time to laugh and to play. You learn that, for the most part, you get in life what you believe you deserve…and that much of life truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for and that wishing for something to happen is different than working toward making it happen. More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success you need direction, discipline and perserverance. You also learn that no one can do it all alone…and that it’s OK to risk asking for help. You learn the only thing you must truly fear is the greatest robber baron of all: FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears because you know that whatever happens you can handle it and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your own terms. You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. You learn that life isn’t always fair, you don’t always get what you think you deserve, and that sometimes bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn’t punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It’s just life happening. And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal state – the ego. You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy and resentment must be understood and redirected, or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls. You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things we take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: abundant food, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself and you make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never, ever settle for less than your heart’s desire. You hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind. You make it a point to keep smiling, to keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility. Then, with courage in your heart and God by your side you take a stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin to design the life you want to live as best you can.
Be willing to commit yourself to a course, perhaps a long and hard one, without being able to foresee exactly where you will come out. – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
The capacity to be either happy or unhappy is determined by the manner in which you react to whatever happens. – Norman Vincent Peale
For an impenetrable shield, stand inside yourself. – Henry David Thoreau
When one door closes another opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened. – Alexander Graham Bell
Where we stand is not as important as the direction in which we are moving. – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
You cannot make yourself feel something you do not feel, but you can make yourself do right in spite of your feelings. – Pearl Buck
The winds of grace (change) are always blowing, but to catch them we have to raise our sails. It may be when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. – Wendell Berry
Dying without actually fully living, without waking up to our lives while we have the chance, is an ongoing and significant risk. – Jon Kabat-Zinn
The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. – R.D. Laing
…changing conditions are not mistakes…it’s just what happens. – Joseph Goldstein
Until one is committed, there is hesitance, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. – W. H. Murray
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. – Goethe
Freedom is the wisdom to choose wisely. – Joseph Goldstein
To be human is to be lost in the woods. – Elizabeth Lesser
The courage to turn and face what wants to change within me. – Elizabeth Lesser
There is no one alive who has not wanted to go back to sleep. – Elizabeth Lesser
Discovering fearlessness comes from working with the softness of the human heart. – Chogyam Trungpa
Our errors and failings are chinks in the heart’s armor through which our true colors can shine. – Elizabeth Lesser
We’re all seeking…the rapture of being alive. – Joseph Campbell
What wants to live in you may be waiting…at the end of a long loneliness. – Elizabeth Lesser
Each one of us regardless of our situation, is in our search of our most authentic, vital, generous and wise self. – Elizabeth Lesser
…The freedom to choose one’s attitude. – Victor Frankl
In our sleep, pain, which cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will comes wisdom. – Aeschylus
Nothing has a more disturbing influence psychologically on children than the unlived life of the parent. – Carl Jung
Let the beauty you love be what you do – Rumi
Grief is good…it is a sign of how well we have loved. – E. Lesser
…approach change with an understanding of the process and an openness to the pain. – E. Lesser
Once again, I accept that life is uncertain-that the goal is not to become more certain about anything but to relax more into the mystery of not knowing what will come next. – E. Lesser
We must pay attention to the voice that calls us out of the safety zone. – E. Lesser
Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change. – Wayne Dyer
Calmness is not non-feeling…it is disentanglement from feelings, a clearness which is not disturbed by circumstance. Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. – Martin Luther King
If in our daily life we can be peaceful, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work. – Thich Nhat Hanh
To conquer yourself is to know the Way. – Lau Ma
I stand upon a block of stillness. It is more secure than any sidewalk. I bring with me my own sidewalk. – Jane Roberts.
Look on all things with love and be born again. Love the sun for it warms the world. Love the rain for it cleanses the spirit and the world. Love the light for it shows the way. Love the darkness for it reveals the stars. Welcome happiness to enlarge your heart. Acknowledge rewards for they are your due. Endure sadness for it opens your soul. Welcome obstacles because they are your challenges. The undisturbed mind is like the calm body water reflecting the brilliance of the moon. Empty the mind and you will realize the undisturbed mind. – Yagyu Jubei
Peace is a natural innate state of mind waiting for us to come back to it Happiness is a butterfly which when pursued, is always just beyond our grasp, but which if you sit down quietly, may alight upon you. – Nathaniel Hawthorne
Conflict is an attack on the self Transform anger and fear into clarity and strength See with eyes of compassion and act with wisest intention Wisdom is not knowing, but being Soft is stronger than hard, water stronger than rocks. Love stronger than force. – Siddhartha
In letting go of wanting something special to occur, maybe we can realize that something special is already occurring. – Jon Kabat-Zinn
In any given moment we are either practicing mindfulness, or defacto, we are practicing mindlessness. – Jon Kabat-Zinn
It is all within us; we are what we are looking for. – Joseph Goldstein
Just listen Be peace. – Thich Nhat Hanh
I have enough…and I allow what I already have enough of to flow to me. – Wayne Dyer
Each moment you are alive is a gem…You re the richest person on Earth, stop being the destitute child…Cherish this very moment. Let go of the stream of distress and embrace life fully in your arms. – Thich Nhat Hanh
The future must not be held hostage by the past. Twenty years from now you’ll be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. – Mark Twain
Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. – Buddha
The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time. – James Taylor
…People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you’re fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don’t, you will leak away your innate contentment… People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person. When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed…They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end…Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn…They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real but only for a season. LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. But if you do not find an intelligent companion, a wise and well-behaved person going the same way as yourself, then go on your way alone, like … a great elephant in the deep forest. Conflict: Two people hitting each other at the same time. If one stops, then the other doesn’t have to defend. – Rich Lucas
Why do we say how we feel to people we’re in conflict with and don’t trust? – Rich Lucas
It’s progress not perfection. – Rich Lucas
We judge ourselves by our intentions. Others judge us by what we do. – Rich Lucas
We are continually faced with great opportunities which are brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems. – Margaret Mead
The human spirit is stronger than anything than can happen to it. – George C. Scott
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. – Kahlil Gibran
When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on. – Thomas Jefferson
I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot… and missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is precisely why I succeed. – Michael Jordan
You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life. This is not an easy struggle. Indeed, it may be the most difficult task in the world, for opening the door to your own life is, in the end, more difficult than opening the doors to the mysteries of the universe. – Daisaku Ikeda
If one is estranged from oneself, then one is estranged from others too. If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others. – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. – M. Scott Peck
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud became more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anais Nin
The most beautiful people we have know are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep, loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand… – Henri Nouwen
There are two ways of spreading light- To be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. – Edith Wharton
As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being. – Carl Gustav Jung
The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers. – Deepak Chopra
The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn. – Gloria Steinem
The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you are still a rat. – Lily Tomlin
We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are. – Anais Nin
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson
I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost … I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes me forever to find a way out. II I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in the same place but, it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out. III I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in … it’s a habit. my eyes are open I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately. IV I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. IV I walk down another street.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. – Steve Jobs
The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances; if there is any reaction, both are transformed. – Carl Jung
Don’t worry that your children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. – Robert Fulghum
The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. – Buddha
We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak. – Epictetus
All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you – Wayne Dyer
Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts. Develop the mind of equilibrium. You will always be getting praise and blame, but do not let either affect the poise of the mind: follow the calmness, the absence of pride. – Sutta Nipata
The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. – Elbert Hubbard
Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit. – Conrad Hilton
There is no change without discontent – Anonymous
Fear of Transformation –by Anonymous
Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I’m either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging along, or, for a few minutes in my life, I’m hurtling across space in between trapeze bars. Most of the time, I spend my life hanging on for dear life to my trapeze bar of the moment. It carries me along at a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I’m in control of my life. I know most of the right questions and some of the right answers. But once in a while, as I’m merrily (or not-so-merrily) swinging along, I look out ahead of me into the distance, and what do I see? I see another trapeze bar swinging toward me. It’s empty, and I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart of hearts, I know that for me to grow, I must release my grip on this present, well-known bar to move to the new one. Each time it happens to me, I hope – no, I pray – that I won’t have to grab the new one. But in my knowing place I know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar, and for some moment in time, I must hurtle across space before I can grab onto the new bar. Each time I am filled with terror. It doesn’t matter that in all my previous hurtles across the void of unknowing I have always made it. Each time I am afraid that I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless chasm between the bars. But I do it anyway. Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call the faith experience. No guarantees, no net, no insurance policy, but you do it anyway because somehow, to keep hanging on to that old bar is no longer on the list of alternatives. And so for an eternity that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void of “the past is gone, the future is not yet here.” It’s called transition. I have come to believe that is the only place that real change occurs. I mean real change, not the pseudo-change that lasts until the next time my old buttons get punched. I have noticed that, in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as a “no-thing,” a no-place between places. Sure the old trapeze bar was real, and that new one coming toward me, I hope that’s real too. But the void in between? That’s just a scary, confusing, disorienting “nowhere” that must be gotten through as fast and as unconsciously as possible. What a waste! I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, with all the pain and fear and feelings of being out of control that can (but not necessarily do) accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives. And so, transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves permission to hang out in the transition between trapeze bars. Transforming our need to grab that new bar – any bar – is allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens. It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening, in the true sense of the word. Hurtling through the void, we just may learn how to fly.