“The worst thing you do when you think is lie — you can make up reasons that are not true for the things that you did, and what you’re trying to do as a creative person is surprise yourself — find out who you really are, and try not to lie, try to tell the truth all the time. And the only way to do this is by being very active and very emotional, and get it out of yourself — making things that you hate and things that you love, you write about these then, intensely. When it’s over, then you can think about it; then you can look, it works or it doesn’t work, something is missing here. And, if something is missing, then you go back and reemotionalize that part, so it’s all of a piece.
But thinking is to be a corrective in our life — it’s not supposed to be a center of our life. Living is supposed to be the center of our life, being is supposed to be the center — with correctives around, which hold us like the skin holds our blood and our flesh in. But our skin is not a way of life — the way of living is the blood pumping through our veins, the ability to sense and to feel and to know. And the intellect doesn’t help you very much there — you should get on with the business of living.”—A conversation with Ray Bradbury at Brain Pickings
“I have noticed that when all the lights are on, people tend to talk about what they are doing – their outer lives. Sitting round in candlelight or firelight, people start to talk about how they are feeling – their inner lives. They speak subjectively, they argue less, there are longer pauses. To sit alone without any electric light is curiously creative. I have my best ideas at dawn or at nightfall, but not if I switch on the lights – then I start thinking about projects, deadlines, demands, and the shadows and shapes of the house become objects, not suggestions, things that need to done, not a background to thought.”—Jeanette Winterson, Why I Adore the Night
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
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
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.
“Every transition begins with an ending. We have to let go of the old before we can pick up the new — not just outwardly, but inwardly, where we keep our connections to the people and places that act as definitions of who we are.”—William Bridges
“Most people think that shadows follow, precede, or surround beings or objects. The truth is that they also surround words, ideas, desires, deeds, impulses and memories.”—Elie Wiesel, writer, Nobel laureate
“The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.
For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson
“I like to see people reunited, I like to see people run to each other, I like the kissing and the crying, I like the impatience, the stories that the mouth can’t tell fast enough, the ears that aren’t big enough, the eyes that can’t take in all of the change, I like the hugging, the bringing together, the end of missing someone.”—Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (via bookmania)
“So when you realise you’ve gone a few weeks and haven’t felt that awful struggle of your childish self — struggling to lift itself out of its inadequacy and incompetence — you’ll know you’ve gone some weeks without meeting new challenge, and without growing, and that you’ve gone some weeks towards losing touch with yourself. The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.”—Ted Hughes, in a letter to his 24-year-old son
“Literally, psychologist means ‘one who studies the soul’, we think of it as a scary word in our harsh-sounding, Germanic language, but it actually means something really beautiful. I also like that it is ambiguous as to whether it’s me studying my own soul, or yours, or you studying my soul, or me asking you to study your own. It’s like a big impossible object that goes around and around.”—Iain Woods
“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”—Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish engineer and inventor
“When we look at the image of our own future provided by the old, we do not believe it: an absurd inner voice whispers, that that will never happen to us — when that happens, it will no longer be ourselves that it happens to.”—Anne Amos and Andrew Balfour, Looking Into Later Life
“Perhaps that is the real challenge of psychiatric care: to hold up a picture of what language actually is. Where communication is broken, dysfunctional, turned back on itself, persons are trapped; care for persons is care for their language, listening to the worlds they inhabit (to their souls) so as to engage them with other worlds — neither reductively or collusively.”—Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, The Care of Souls
“Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.”—Tim Kreider, The ‘Busy’ Trap (New York Times)
Yes. If you haven’t read this article, it’s not one to be missed.
“Were we incapable of empathy – of putting ourselves in the position of others and seeing that their suffering is like our own – then ethical reasoning would lead nowhere. If emotion without reason is blind, then reason without emotion is impotent.”—