Friday, February 07, 2014

Weekly Quotes 2014 #5

Rather, courage is the ability to do two things.  It is the ability to see good in the distance and take a step toward it—despite obvious risks.  It is also the ability to see evil close at hand and take steps to confront it—despite present danger.  (169)

My immediate past comes into my present experience with the force of necessity.  (176)

Freedom is a function not of independence but of reciprocity.  Our freedom to create more value in our own lives depends, ultimately, upon our commitment to use our agency to create a world that contains more value for everyone else as well.  (181)

Because you are free to take personally all the beauty in the world, you are also obligated to take personally all its ugliness.  (183)

When people reject the claims of traditional religion, they usually reject as well the need to take religion seriously.  Even if they occasionally attend services, they tend to be looking for spiritual enrichments rather than another world to live in.  A concert on Thursday evening, dinner with friends on Friday evening, a hike around the lake on Saturday, and an hour of worship on Sunday:  a dash of spirituality adds a moral patina to a life that otherwise revolves around individual plans and purposes.  (203)

As you take your first steps, look around for a like-minded congregation to share the journey—a place where you can belong.  This may be difficult:  the religious landscape in our nation is dominated by communities that define themselves by outmoded beliefs, as well as by individuals who embrace a solitary—or no spirituality at all.  None of these approaches yield ultimate meaning, however, which is why a satisfying faith requires a journey.  (212-213)

The way to solve the conflict between human values and technological needs is not to run away from technology.  That’s impossible. The way to resolve the conflict is to break down the barriers of dualistic thought that prevent a real understanding of what technology is—not an exploitation of nature, but a fusion of nature and the human spirit into a new kind of creation that transcends both.  (262)

It’s been necessary since before Socrates to reject the passions, the emotions, in order to free the rational mind for an understanding of nature’s order which was as yet unknown.  Now it’s time to further an understanding of nature’s order by reassimilating those passions which were originally fled from.  The passions, the emotions, the affective domain of man’s consciousness, are a part of nature’s order too.  The central part.  (264)

The inner peace of mind occurs on three levels of understanding.  Physical quietness seems the easiest to achieve, although there are levels and levels of this too, as attested by the ability of Hindu mystics to live buried alive for many days.  Mental quietness, in which one has no wandering thoughts at all, seems more difficult, but can be achieved.  But value quietness, in which one has no wandering desires at all but simply performs the acts of his life without desire, that seems the hardest.  (265)

The place to improve the world is first in one’s own heart and head and hands, and then work outward from there.  (267)

There’s no way to bullshit our way into looking good on a mechanical repair job, except with someone who doesn’t know what you’re doing.  (283)

It’s easier in the short run to accept worry’s control and choose to step back from life. We understand this stance, because without any effective strategies to handle worry, children protect themselves from more hurt. Avoidance, once again, is reinforced. When they come up against fear or uncertainty, they stop. If I have to feel like this to get to that, they tell themselves, then why bother? 

American author James Baldwin wrote, “Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch.” 

Denying what you want—and accepting anxiety’s demands to stay stuck—is an emotional crutch that needs to change. 

Worries are going to show up as we try new activities. We do not have to get rid of them, but we do have to manage them. How? When we experiment with new behavior, we manage our worries by being willing to not know how well we will perform. We also have to trust that we can cope with the different possible outcomes. We need to know what we want and feel determined to get it. Then we need to be willing to put up with some hard times and some uncertainty, because the potential benefit is worth the risk. 

Worry is a natural part of learning and growing; we are going to expect it, move toward it, and even voluntarily accept it because it’s an inevitable part of going after what we want in life. (kindle)

Even a priest may doubt. Even a prophet may know terror.

Women bring life into the world. We bring the gift of death. No one can do both.

All gods have their instruments, men and women who serve them and help to work their will on earth.

No matter where he went in this wide world, his fears went with him.

It is being common-born that is dangerous, when the great lords play their game of thrones. . . .

Younger By the Day

[A] journal documents your process while it supports your progress.  (9)

Our culture as a whole is trained to see young women.  There are proportionally far more of them on magazine covers, on TV, and in films than in the actual population.  As a result, we have a citizenry taught to see the young and ignore the not-so-young. It isn’t conscious; it’s Pavlovian.  (13)

When you take control of your time, you take control of your life.  (16)

Although we’re partial to moments that have passed and those yet to come, this moment is the only one we really get.  (17)

In this moment, there is plenty of time.  In this moment, you are precisely as you should be.  In this moment, there is infinite potential.  (17)

In the four-season paradigm, middle age is earmarked for branching out and extending your influence as far as it can go.  (19)

If you make [plans], they might not turn out.  If you don’t, they will not.  Give yourself the best odds for the best life.  (28)

We may not get a lot of say about our big-time troubles, but the little things, the annoyances and aggravations that crop up every day, we can either make short work of or ignore entirely. . . . Value serenity more and winning less. . . . See how pleasant it feels to choose peace over chaos. (37)

Life is a parade of changes unfolding through every day we live.  (39)

But I don’t have finesse.  I have panic attacks and my family’s genetic tendency to talk too fast when upset. (64-65)

She could have been immobilized, but instead she acted to defend and even define herself.  (291)


  1. More great quotes! I read the book "Writing Down the Bones." I thoroughly enjoyed it. I recommended it to one of my older sons who is considering writing a book. My youngest son has already been singled out for his paper writing in college. He thinks he may want to write books later. I will get him to read it someday, too!

    1. It is really such a great book. The first time I read it, it encouraged me to write without judgment. The second and third time, I pulled different inspiration from it. It's just one of those magical books that gets better every time I read it.

  2. I'm going to have to look for Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets! Nice list of quotes. I enjoyed this post.

    1. Here is my short review of the book: