Andrea Balt, Creative Rehab
A choice confronts us. Shall we, as we feel our foundations shaking, withdraw in anxiety and panic? Frightened by the loss of our familiar mooring places, shall we become paralyzed and cover our inaction with apathy? If we do those things, we will have surrendered our chance to participate in the forming of the future. We will have forfeited the distinctive characteristic of human beings – namely, to influence our evolution through our own awareness. We will have capitulated to the blind juggernaut of history and lost the chance to mold the future into a society more equitable and humane.
Or shall we seize the courage necessary to preserve our sensitivity, awareness, and responsibility in the face of radical change? Shall we consciously participate, on however small the scale, in the forming of the new society? I hope our choice will be the latter… Rollo May, The Courage to Create
Lead thou me on, O Zeus, and Destiny,
To that goal long ago to me assigned.
I’ll follow and not falter; if my will
Prove weak and craven, still I’ll follow on.
Cleanthes, quoted in Epictetus’ Encheiridion, or Manual, translated by W.A. Oldfather
A fun pic I found on the NanoWrimo website. NanoWrimo is short for National Novel Writing Month, which is November 1-30: “Thirty days of literary abandon!” I did it once with my cousin and we had a great time.
Curiosity is little more than another name for Hope. Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers,1827
The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. You cannot help but be in awe when you contemplate the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if you try merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity. Albert Einstein
I think, at a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity. Eleanor Roosevelt
Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day. Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it! Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
When you come to a fork in the road, take it. Yogi Berra
Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot. D. H. Lawrence
Only you can find that passion within that burns with an integrity that will not settle for anything less than the Truth. Adyashanti
I shall not change this position so long as I have not done what I set out to do! Siddhartha, intent on illumination, sitting under the bodhi tree, or tree of enlightenment. The World’s Wisdom by Philip Novak
A warrior lives by acting, not by thinking about acting, nor by thinking about what he will think when he has finished acting. Carlos Castaneda, A Separate Reality
You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Henry David Thoreau
Sri Ramakrishna said: ‘Do not seek illumination unless you seek it as a man whose hair is on fire seeks a pond.’ Reflections on the Art of Living, A Joseph Campbell Companion, ed. Diane K. Osbon
Found something I’d journaled years ago, and thought I’d include it here as I wrote it then:
I moved recently and had a bunch of boxes stolen out of my car. All the most important things. The sentimental things. Interesting that even though I’d had many lessons over the last few years on releasing just about everything, I’d noticed in the last few months that I was still holding on to things quite regularly, licking old wounds and new.
I’d just started reading a book, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe, and was surprised by the metaphysics in it, and by Ken Kesey (author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”) and his free and wise spirit, living in the moment, going with the flow—but really doing it, not just yapping about it. And darned if I hadn’t been figuring I needed a dose of his lightness.
Then my stuff got stolen, and I was handling it pretty well—until I realized things near and dear to my heart were taken, which brought tears and self-deprecation. Wasn’t mad at the perpetrators so much, more at myself for leaving some of the boxes in the car (I’d hurt my back) and not double-checking that I’d gotten the important, sentimental stuff out.
That night, I sat down to read to take my mind off things. I opened to a passage where Kesey had been invited to a Unitarian conference on “Shake the Foundations,” and in the Kesey way, he wasn’t going to just talk about it, he and his cohorts were going to take folks through the experience of it and then out the other side.
“Onstage, Kesey, not talking in any formal way, more like performing, working magic—telling of the kind of symbols we use and the games we’re in, and how you can’t really know what an emotion is until you’ve experienced both sides of it, whereupon he seizes the big American flag up on the stage and steps on it, grinds it into the floor—
—huge gasp from the crowd, many of whom are teenagers—
[Paul] Sawyer is already into the thing, and he sees what Kesey is trying to do—don’t just describe an emotion, but arouse it, make them experience it, by manipulating the symbol of the emotion, and sometimes we have to come into the awareness through the back door. Sawyer hears sobs, wheels around in his seat, sees a group of teenagers behind him, from Salt Lake City, looks into their faces, reads the horror that fills them—The Flag!—then feels the manic energy from the crazed thing that has been packed into these children even at this age like a time warp vibration from the Salem witch hysteria, the primordial cry of Die, Infidel—and yet he can’t leave them with that. So he rises up and faces the crowd and says,
—Now wait a minute. That flag is a symbol we attach our emotions to, but it isn’t the emotion itself and it isn’t the thing we really care about. Sometimes we don’t even realize what we really care about, because we get so distracted by the symbols. I remember when I was at school, we used to sing America the Beautiful and somebody would walk down the aisle carrying the flag. I always wanted to be the one who carried the flag down the aisle but I never was. Now, what was I really feeling? Patriotism? Or was it—
But he doesn’t get to finish. A voice cries: “Do it!”
“Do it!” It’s Mountain Girl, beaming at him from her folds of purple, quite delighted with the turn of events.
Before he knows it, he is leading them all in the singing of America the Beautiful, and O beau-ti-ful for spa-cious skies rings out in the hall—as he holds the flag staunchly in his hands and marches up the aisle and then down the aisle, signifying—what? Ne’mind! But exactly! Don’t explain it! Do it!
And there it was—those things that were taken from my car were symbols that I had attached my emotions to, but they weren’t the emotions and they weren’t what I really cared about. They were symbols of the people I loved, some still here and some no longer. But they weren’t the love, or the gratitude, which no box can hold and no person can take.