It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.” ~Frederick Douglass
“The time will come when you can actually make a difference and choose a better life. The time will come when you will consciously create your life with your positive thoughts, intentions and actions. The time will come when you take the first leap into an unknown abyss to find that your fears are just old friends coaxing you down the path towards your happiness. The time come will come when you just effortlessly allow the world to be as it is and let life flow through you knowing you’re taken care of. The time will come when you’re done waiting for tomorrow to write that book, lose that weight, take that class, learn that language, or start that business. The time will come when come with your Spirit says enough with this procrastination; it’s time to move toward your greatness. The time has come and that time is Now.”
- Jackson Kiddard
“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we are not really living. Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.”
- Gail Sheehy
“The Wright brothers didn’t contemplate the staying on the ground of things. Alexander Graham Bell didn’t contemplate the noncommunication of things. Thomas Edison didn’t contemplate the darkness of things. In order to float an idea into your reality, you must be willing to do a somersault into the inconceivable and land on your feet, contemplating what you want instead of what you don’t have.”
- Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
“Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.”
- Joseph Campbell
“Don’t play small! Stand up! Take charge! You are doing yourself and others a disservice by catering your actions towards how you think others will react. Instead, just be yourself, exactly as you are. When you are simply being yourself you will attract everything that is in alignment with who you truly are. You will be shocked to see who drops away. Their absence will leave a space for new and amazing relationships to enter your life. Just be you, and let everyone else do what they may. You are not what others believe you to be, you are what you know you are and nothing else. Just be. You will be rewarded for your courage with a life that reflects your true essence instead of an invented identity created to “please others”. Ahhhh, doesn’t it feel good to just be!?”
- Jackson Kiddard
Anything that annoys you is “for” teaching you patience.
Anyone who abandons you is “for” teaching you how to stand up on your own two feet.
Anything that angers you is “for” teaching you forgiveness and compassion.
Anything that has power over you is “for” teaching you how to take your power back.
Anything you hate is “for” teaching you unconditional love.
Anything you fear is “for” teaching you courage to overcome your fear.
Anything you can’t control is “for” teaching you how to let go and trust the Universe.”
- Jackson Kiddard
“Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired.”
- Martha Graham
“Truth 1. The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.
Truth 2. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it.
Truth 3. The only way to feel better about myself is to go out… and do it.
Truth 4. Not only am I going to experience fear whenever I’m on unfamiliar territory, but so is everyone else.
Truth 5. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.”
- Susan Jeffers, from her book “Feel The Fear… And Do it Anyway”.
“Nothing splendid has ever been achieved except by those who dared believe that something inside of them was superior to circumstances.”
- Bruce Barton
“Success in life could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals. Success is the ability to fulfill your desires with effortless ease. And yet success, including the creation of wealth, has always been considered to be a process that requires hard work and it is often considered to be at the expense of others. We need a more spiritual approach to success and to affluence which is the abundant flow of all good things to you.”
- Deepak Chopra
When it comes to self-esteem, it occurs to me that there are three ways of thinking.
At one extreme is “the opinions of others mean everything.” Many people (especially young women) go through this during adolescence; others take longer to grow out of it (if they do at all). We all know someone who cringes with self-consciousness about … well, everything, who wouldn’t be caught dead going to a movie alone, because “what would people think?” Same with eating alone, attending a wedding stag, or what have you. Rather than focus on “I’m eager to go to this wedding to celebrate my friend’s happiness,” they’re focused on, “what will people think of me if I don’t have a date?”
At the other extreme is “the opinions of others mean nothing.” I see this attitude expressed on tumblr all the time - “the hell with everyone else, I’m just gonna be myself.” It’s a sentiment that many people applaud, but it always gives me pause - we live our lives in community with others, and our sense of self is formed in interaction with those around us (unless we disengage from society and go live in a cave). So, while I’d agree that the opinions of others should not be our primary focus, I question whether they can be entirely disregarded as we move through our lives.
Which brings us to the third school of thought, which exists somewhere in between, and on a continuum between the extremes of the other two. I would call this “I’m okay with that.” It goes something like this: “I know you see me eating alone, and I know you might be judging me for it, but I’m okay with that. I know who I am.” Or, “I know you see me attending this wedding without a date, and I know what judgments you might be making, but I’m okay with that. I’m here to support and celebrate my friend.”
I’d like to always dwell in this stage. I don’t, but I’m getting better with time (and age and, perhaps, maturity). It’s not that the opinions of others don’t matter - I acknowledge them - but I don’t have to internalize them. I don’t have to agree with them. I can say (in my mind) “yeah, I know what you might be thinking, but that’s not how it is, so I’ll just be doing my thing.”
I often see my students wrestling with these ideas - the self-conscious ones who place a lot of importance on the opinions of others, or the “I gotta be me” types who seem defiant (and underneath that, perhaps hurt, perhaps burned). I hope they’ll gradually see there’s a middle road of “I know what you’re thinking, and it’s not that I don’t care, but it doesn’t define me.”
When we think that way, our identity comes into sharper focus.
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
- Bruce Lee
What sustains life and health?
Fresh air. Lots of clean water. Adequate sleep. Nutritious food. Exercising the body. Exercising the mind in positive ways. Happiness.
I’m thinking of how my life has sometimes gone off the rails, and it’s usually when I neglect these areas. I stay cooped up inside. I drink coffee and soft drinks. I only sleep a few hours a night. I eat junk. The only exercise I get, many days, is running around like a chicken with my head cut off because I’m behind schedule due to poor time management. I allow my mind to dwell on fears, rather than positive things. I do things that don’t add to my happiness.
This is an ongoing struggle for me, as it is for many perfectionists (we tend to have a martyr complex), but I’m making improvements. I got eight full hours of sleep last night, and I feel great. I’m on my way to the gym to do some exercise. I’m drinking water instead of soda. I’m eating well today. Just for today, one day, I can do these things, then do them again tomorrow.
I’m sick of being overtired, undernourished, behind schedule. The days are speeding by, and this is my life. I owe it to myself, and those who love me, to get a handle on things.
Eat, drink, pray, love, sleep, and fix your mind on good things today. That’s my wish for both of us.
Great piece on what it means to be truly confident. I think we’ve all known an “intellectual bully” who’s not willing to be wrong.
“The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.”
- John Ruskin
“The dark night of the soul is a profoundly good thing. It is an ongoing spiritual process in which we are liberated from attachments and compulsions and empowered to live and love more freely. Sometimes this letting go of old ways is painful, occasionally even devastating. But this is not why the night is called ‘dark.’ The darkness of the night implies nothing sinister, only that the liberation takes place in hidden ways, beneath our knowledge and understanding. It happens mysteriously, in secret, and beyond our conscious control. For that reason it can be disturbing or even scary, but in the end it always works to our benefit.”
- Thomas Moore
To let go means to let be.
When we let be with compassion, things come and go on their own.” —Jack Kornfield, “The Art of Forgiveness, Lovingkindness and Peace” (via wordslessspoken)
“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.”
- Harriet Braiker
“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain. And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy; And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields. And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.”
- Kahlil Gibran
Moving is a great time to purge stuff - or is it? This author confesses to pack-rat tendencies:
When I left Boondocks University to accept my current job (I just finished my first year on the tenure track), I got rid of tons of stuff. Several large garbage bags of clothes went to Goodwill, books and housewares to the grad students coming up behind me. Still, I had to hire movers. Gone are the days when it all fit in the back of my car. I have a larger apartment now, and since we tend to expand to fill the space, I’ve acquired more stuff.
What about you? Do you tend to “pack light,” or do you need all your … stuff?
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
- Helen Keller