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Word Play
By Elizabeth Lesser

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This is a favorite exercise that I’ve used in workshops and with groups.

I have been a collector of poems and quotes for years. Some people collect antique dolls or baseball cards. I collect the words of other people. I tack them on the wall or send them to my sons, sisters, or friends, or use them in a workshop exercise I call the Poetry Bazaar. The exercise is a sort of spiritual parlor game; it’s a deep icebreaker. At the start of a workshop, I spread more than a hundred slips of paper on the floor of the classroom. On each is printed a short poem or quote by wise thinkers as diverse as the poet Rumi and the American comedian George Carlin. I ask the people in the workshop to wander around the room, shopping for a poem, looking for one that tells the secret story of their heart. I encourage them to do some comparison-shopping, to pick up a couple of pieces of paper and try on different sayings and quotes for style and size. Then, when the choices have been made, we gather in a circle and each person reads his or her poem aloud. Some people talk to the group about what the poem means to them. They tell us a story and let us into their life. Others let the poems speak for themselves, something that a good poem can do. I have come to trust the power of a few well-chosen words to reveal to the world something I cannot say, or don’t want to say, or didn’t even know I needed to say until I saw them spelled out in front of me in the prophetic hand of the poet.

Don't worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.
—Howard Thurman

This is a test – it is only a test. If it had been an actual life, you would have received further instructions on where to go and what to do.
—Bumper sticker seen in California

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome.

And say sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger
who was yourself.
Give wine, to the stranger who has loved you.

All your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf.
The photographs, the desperate notes.
Peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
—Derek Walcott

We either make ourselves miserable
or we make ourselves strong.
The amount of work is the same.
—Carlos Castaneda

Our hearts are restless
until they find their
rest in thee.
–Saint Augustine

To find the Buddhist Law,
drift east and west, come and go,
Entrusting yourself to the waves.

I reach for a piece of wood. It turns into a lute.
I do some meanness. It turns out helpful.
I say one must not travel during the holy month.
Then I start out, and wonderful things happen.

If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.
—Mark Twain

Just when I found out
the meaning of life,
they changed it.
—George Carlin

The good life starts
only when you stop
wanting a better one.
—Bertrand Russell

When I was a kid
I drew like Michelangelo.
It took me years to learn to draw
like a kid.

I arise in the morning torn between
a desire to improve the world
and a desire to enjoy the world.
This makes it hard to plan the day.
—E. B. White

If your children see that you are seeking, they will seek—the finding part is up to God.
—Polly Berrien Berends

I have always known that at last
I would take this road,
but yesterday I did not know
that it would be today.

Don't keep searching for the truth;
Just let go of your opinions.
—Seng Ts'an

Saint Francis Prayer
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born again.

Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination
nor both together go to the making of genius.
Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.
—Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

The Lord gave,
and the Lord hath taken away,
blessed be the name of the Lord.
—Job 1:21

Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.
—Carl Jung

Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch, which I’ve got hold of for the moment. And I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it to the future generations.
⎯George Bernard Shaw

Drum sounds rise on the air,
and with them, my heart.
A voice inside the beat says,
I know you are tired,
but come. This is the way.

Let Evening Come

Let the light of late afternoon shine
through chinks in the barn, moving up
the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
on the long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung let
evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.
–Jane Kenyon

In the difficult are the friendly forces,
the hands that work on us.
–Rainer Maria Rilke

A defeat for the ego
is a victory for the Self.

Everything that was not suffered to the end and finally concluded, recurred, and the same sorrows were undergone...
Everything is necessary, everything needs only my agreement, my assent, my loving understanding; then all is well with me and nothing can harm me.
—Herman Hesse

The miracle begins as an emergency,
as so many wonderful things do.
—Robert Johnson

We are all on a journey. Life itself is a journey. Nothing is settled here; we are all passing outward, and therefore it is not true to say that if we are taking a spiritual journey we have to break our settled life. No one lives a settled life here, whether we stay put or we venture far; all are unsettled, all are on their way.
—Hazrat Inayat Khan

If you bring forth what is within you,
what you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

Suffering is a lesson the Soul needs
in order to get to its Beloved.
Joy is too.
—Ram Dass

Love is the extremely difficult realization
that someone other than oneself is real.
—Iris Murdoch

Whoever fights monsters
should see to it that in the process
he does not become a monster.

Everything that irritates us about others
can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
—Carl Jung

One always learns one’s mystery
at the price of one’s innocence.
–Robertson Davies

Life is so startling
that there is no time
for anything else.
—Emily Dickinson

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
—Robert Frost

The first step in turning personality into path
is developing a commitment to seeing ourselves as we are,
no matter how much we might dread what we’ll discover.
–John Welwood

The first half of life is devoted to forming a healthy ego,
the second half is going inward and letting go of it.
⎯Carl Jung

Transition begins in forgiveness.
⎯Marion Woodman

The way to find out about your happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy, when you really are happy—not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy. This requires a bit of self-analysis. What is it that makes you happy? Stay with it, no matter what people tell you. This is what I call ‘following your bliss.’
—Joseph Campbell


I feel that as long as the Earth can make a spring every year, I can; I won't give up until the Earth gives up.
—Alice Walker

The process is to learn how to be open
to our heart being closed.
—Stephen Levine

In the depth of winter,
I finally learned that
within me there lay an
invincible summer.
—Albert Camus

Astonishing! Everything is Intelligent!
I entered into unknowing
And there I remained unknowing,
Transcending all knowledge
—St. John of the Cross

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
—Marcel Proust

I part the out thrusting branches
and come in beneath
the blessed and the blessing trees.
Though I am silent
there is singing around me.
Though I am dark
there is vision around me.
Though I am heavy
there is flight around me.
—Wendell Berry

The mountains, I become part of it
The herb, the fir tree, I become part of it.
The morning mists, the clouds,
the gathering waters,
I become part of it.
The wilderness,
the dew drops,
the pollen,
I become part of it.
—Navaho chant

Waking up this morning, I smile,
Twenty-four brand new hours are
before me. I vow to live fully in each
moment and to look at all beings
with the eyes of compassion.
—Thich Nhat Hanh

You are drunk
and this is the edge of the roof.

Happiness lies in thinking or doing that which one considers beautiful. —Hazrat Inayat Khan

There is nothing in this world that does not speak. Every thing and every being is continually calling out its nature, its character, and its secret; and the more the inner sense is open, the more capable it becomes of hearing the voice of all things.
—Hazrat Inayat Khan

No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.
—Albert Einstein

In all ten directions of the universe,
there is only one truth.
When we see clearly, the great teachings are the same.
What can ever be lost? What can be attained?
If we attain something, it was there from the beginning of time.
If we lose something, it is hiding somewhere near us....

To understand all
is to forgive all.

In dying to ourselves,
all mystics say,
we are born to eternal life.
—Eknath Eswaren

Real fearlessness
is the product
of tenderness.
—Chogyam Trungpa

Real generosity to the future
lies in giving all to the present.
—Albert Camus

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don't open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down the dulcimer.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kiss the ground.

For years, copying other people,
I tried to know myself.
From within, I couldn't decide what to do.
Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
Then I walked outside.

Be compassionate to yourself, but do not justify yourself. Without condemnation and justification, see yourself as you are. Watch yourself thinking, feeling, and acting until you begin to understand yourself. This flame of understanding brings about disentanglement that makes for true simplicity. It is this simplicity of mind and heart that will bring about the transformation for the individual and will immediately transform the world in which you live.
—J. Krishnamurti

Something we were withholding
made us weak;
Until we found it was ourselves.
—Robert Frost

Let yourself be silently drawn
by the stronger pull of what you really love.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
—Mary Oliver

Furthermore we have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god. And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves. Where we had thought to travel outward, we will come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we will be with all the world.
—Joseph Campbell

Come, come, whoever you are,
Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving.
It doesn't matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow
a thousand times.
Come, yet again, come, come.

—Inscription on the tombstone of Jelaluddin Rumi

You can call it wisdom, or sanity, or health, or enlightenment. I use the word God as a short cut. I am comfortable with the word God because I don't have the foggiest idea of what it means.
—Steven Levine

Let go into the mystery.
Let go into the mystery of life.
—Van Morrison

We need to accept the dark unknown, perhaps non-understandable magic inside ourselves of which we are afraid. We need to surrender to the womb of life out of which we came; the black velvet void over which we have no control.
—Barbara Brennan

You should examine yourself and ask how many times you have tried to connect with your heart, fully and truly. How often have you turned away because you feared you might discover something terrible about yourself? How often have you been willing to look at your face in the mirror, without being embarrassed?
—Chogyam Trungpa

Keeping negative aspects secret
makes it impossible to reveal the best of self.
—The Pathwork Guide

The clarity, the lightness, and the freedom of no longer pretending in any way are the direct doorway to the self-esteem you so desperately tried to create and to preserve by hiding.
—The Pathwork Guide

Compassion and love, gratitude for the beauty of creation, appreciation of and joy about it, must also create a deep pain that needs to be suffered. This pain is ever so different from the neurotic pain, the pain by association, the pain of masochistic self-punishment that identifies with what appears to be a victim. This living, healthy, loving pain is also the threshold to joy and ecstasy.
—The Pathwork Guide

We shall not cease from exploration.
And the end of all our exploring,
Will be to arrive where we started,
And know the place for the first time.
—T.S. Elliot

I drank at every vine
The last was like the first.
I came upon no wine
So wonderful as thirst.

I gnawed at every root.
I ate of every plant.
I came upon no fruit
So wonderful as want.

Feed the grape and bean
To the vintner and monger;
I will lay down lean
With my thirst and my hunger.
—Edna St Vincent Millay

No more wine for me!
I'm past delighting in the thick red
and the clear white.

I'm thirsty for my own blood
as it moves into a field of action.

The highest point a man can attain
is not knowledge, or virtue,
or goodness, or victory,
but something even greater
and more heroic:
Sacred Awe!
—Albert Einstein

Instead of standing on the shore and proving to ourselves that the ocean cannot carry us, let us venture on its waters – just to see. —Teilhard de Chardin

Be patient to all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer. Resolve to be always beginning - to be a beginner!
—Rainer Maria Rilke

People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That's what it's all finally about.
—Joseph Campbell

Die while you're alive
and be absolutely dead.
Then do whatever you want:
it's all good.

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
—Emily Dickinson

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
—The Dalai Lama

When one is pretending,
the entire body revolts.
—Anais Nin

Seek not happiness too greedily,
and be not fearful of unhappiness.
—Lao Tzu

The journey to happiness involves finding the courage to go down into ourselves and take responsibility for what's there: all of it.
—Richard Rohr

The good life, as I conceive it, is a happy life. I do not mean that if you are good you will be happy; I mean that if you are happy you will be good. And here is the secret of happiness: let your interests be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile.
—Bertrand Russell

Matter is spirit moving slowly enough to be seen.
—Teilhard de Chardin

You can’t have everything.
Where would you put it?
—Steven Wright

The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.
—Galileo Galilei

He offends no one. Yet he speaks the truth.
His words are clear. But never harsh.
—The Buddha

Here's all you have to know about men and women:
Women are crazy, men are stupid.
And the main reason women are crazy
is that men are stupid.
—George Carlin

A little more matriarchy is what the world needs, and I know it. Period. Paragraph.
—Dorothy Thompson

Whether all is really lost
or not depends entirely on
whether or not I am lost.
  —Vaclav Havel

It is not how much we do,
but how much love
we put in the doing.
It is not how much we give,
but how much love we put in the giving.
—Mother Teresa

Some say the world is a vale of tears,
I say it is a place of soul-making.
—John Keats

I attach more importance
to love and work than to meditation. Love without meditation is enough-
meditation without love is not.
—Meher Baba

You cannot manifest what you want;
you can only manifest what you are.
—Eckhart Tolle

There are only two ways to live your life.
One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle.
—Albert Einstein

If the doors of perception were cleansed
every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite.
—William Blake

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
—Albert Einstein

Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.
—Teilhard de Chardin
It is enough for me to contemplate the mystery of conscious life, perpetuating itself through all eternity; to reflect upon the marvelous structure of the Universe; and to try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifested in nature.
—Albert Einstein

Each small task of everyday life
is part of the total harmony of the universe.
—Saint Theresa

Something opens our wings. Something
makes boredom and hurt disappear.
Someone fills the cup in front of us:
We taste only sacredness.

When you do
things from your
soul, you feel a
river moving in
you, a joy.

To be born again is not
to become somebody else,
but to become ourselves.
—Thomas Merton

So instead of getting to Heaven at last,
I'm going, all along.
—Emily Dickenson

A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. this delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.
—Albert Einstein

The mystery does not get clearer
by repeating the question,
nor is it bought with going to amazing places.

If our senses were fine enough,
we would perceivet he slumbering cliff
as a dancing chaos.

Out beyond ideas
of wrongdoing and rightdoing
there is a field. I'll meet you there.

Inside the Great Mystery this is,
we don't really own anything.
What is this competition we feel then,
before we go, one at a time, through the same gate?

Let us be kinder to one another.
—Aldous Huxley's dying words

The most exhausting thing in my life
is being insincere.
—Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.
—Lao Tzu

Dwell as near as possible to the channel
in which your life flows.
—Henry David Thoreau

There are things I tell no one.
Those close to me might think
I was sad, and try to comfort me, or become sad themselves.
at such times I go off alone, in silence,
as if listening for God.
—Galway Kinnell

For one human being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.
—Rainer Maria Rilke

Don't become a great meditator.
Become a human being.
—Stephen Levine

To be a spiritual warrior
is to be genuine
in every moment of our life.
—Chogyam Trungpa

Work is love made visible.
—Khalil Gibran

I honor those who try
to rid themselves of any lying,
who empty the self,
and have only clear being there.

Your own heart
is the key to the hearts of all.
—Pir Vilayat Khan

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.

We must be the change
we want to see in the world.

O, that my priest's robes were wide enough
to gather up all the suffering people
In this floating world.

Be aware of envy:
For to grudge any man an advantage
in person and fortune,
is to censure the liberality of providence,
and be angry at the goodness of God.

He who binds to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy.
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity's sunrise.
—William Blake

Between living and dreaming
there is a third thing.
Guess it.
—Antonio Machado

I tore myself away
from the safe comfort of certainties
through my love of truth;
and truth rewarded me
—Simone de Beauvoir

Of all that God has shown me
I can speak just the smallest work,
Not more than a honey bee
Takes on her foot
From an overspilling jar.
—Mechthild of Magdeburg

One of the signs of passing youth
is the birth of a sense of fellowship
with other human beings
as we take our place among them.
—Virginia Woolf

Tell a wise person, or else keep silent,
because the massman will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.

In the calm water of the love-nights,
where you were begotten, where you have begotten,
a strange feeling comes over you
when you see the silent candle burning.

Now you are no longer caught
in the obsession with darkness,
and a desire for higher love-making
sweeps you upward.

Distance does not make you falter,
now, arriving in magic, flying,
and finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.

And so long as you haven't experienced
this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest
on the dark earth.

Late, by myself, in the boat of myself,
no light and no land anywhere,
cloud cover thick. I try to stay
just above the surface, yet I'm already under
and living within the ocean.

Oh earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you.
—Thorton Wilder

The Way, when declared
Seems so thin and flavorless.
Nothing to look at, nothing to hear.
And when used -- is inexhaustible.
—Lao Tzu

Let the young rain of tears come,
Let the calm hands of grief come.
It's not all as evil as you think.
—Rolf Jacobsen

All will be well
and all will be well
and all manners of things will be well.
—Julian of Norwich

In the beginning
I knew meeting could only
End in parting, yet
I ignored the coming dawn
And I gave myself to you.
—Fujiwara no Teika

The miracle is not to walk on water. The xe "miracle" miracle is to walk on the green earth in the xe "present" present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty that are available now.
It is not a matter of faith; it is a matter of xe "practice" practice.
—Thich Nhat Hanh

The Journey by 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 your 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.

Esalen’s Law:
(1) You always teach others what you most need to learn yourself.
(2) You are your own worst student.
—Richard Price

I hear and behold God in every object,
yet I understand God not in the least.
—Walt Whitman

For years, copying other people,
I tried to know myself.
From within, I couldn't decide what to do.
Unable to see, I heard my name being called.
Then I walked outside.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

If you don’t live it,
it won’t come out your horn.xe "art"
—Charlie Parker

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.
—Henry David Thoreau

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.

One of the most time-consuming things is to have an enemy.
—E.B. White

Doesn't everything die at last,
"Doesn't everything die at last, "
and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do"
with your one wild and precious life?
"with your one wild and precious life?"
—Mary Oliver"

It is not the strongest of the species that survive,
nor the most intelligent,
but the one most responsive to change.
—Charles Darwin

If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live,
or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair,
but ask me what I am living for, in detail,
and ask me what I think is keeping me
from living fully for the thing
I want to live for.
—Thomas Merton

Go to the truth beyond the mind.
Love is the bridge.
—Stephen Levine

For fast acting relief,
try slowing down.
—Lily Tomlin

If you were going to die soon
and had only one phone call
you could make,
who would you call
and what would you say?
And why are you waiting?
—Stephen Levine

Three Rules of Work
1. Out of clutter, find Simplicity.
2. From discord, find Harmony.
3. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
—Albert Einstein

When I left home and faced the realities of the world, I put my thoughts of God in cold storage for a while, because I couldn’t reconcile what I believed, deep inside, with what was going on around me. But that early period, when God was
as real as the wind that blew from the sea
through the pine trees in the garden, left me with inner peace, which, as I grew older, swelled –
until, perforce, I had to open my mind to God again.
—Jane Goodall

You must do the thing
you think you cannot do.
—Eleanor Roosevelt

There are some people that if they don't know,
you can't tell 'em.
—Louis Armstrong

Appreciation is a wonderful thing;
it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.

We still do not know one-thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us.
—Albert Einstein

If we wait for the moment when everything,
absolutely everything is ready,
we shall never begin.
—Ivan Turgenev

He who is devoid of the power to forgive
is devoid of the power to love.
—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty “yes!” to your adventure.
—Joseph Campbell

Hitch your wagon to a star.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson

Let us not look back in anger,
or forward in fear,
but around in awareness.
—James Thurber

It is better to Believe than to Disbelieve,
In so doing you bring everything
to the realm of possibility.
—Albert Einstein

I wanted to change the world.
But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself.
---Aldous Huxley

I saw the angel in the marble
and carved until I set him free.

For those who believe, there is no death or sorrow that is not mixed with hope—no despair. There is only a constant being born again, a constant going from darkness to light.
—Vincent Van Gogh

Where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. . . And these shall remain: faith, hope and love.
But the greatest of these is love.
—1 Corinthians 13

Wheresoever you go,
go with all your heart.
--- Confucius

And the time came
when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful
than the risk it took to blossom.
—Anaïs Nin

It is only when we have the courage
to face things exactly as they are,
without self-deception or illusion,
that a light will develop out of events,
by which the path to success
may be recognized.
–I Ching

Those who do not know how to weep with their whole heart, don’t know how to laugh either.
—Golda Meir

Love is the only way to grasp
another human being in the innermost core of his personality.
—Victor Frankel

You must learn to be still in the midst of activity,
and to be vibrantly alive in repose.
—Indira Ghandi

We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.
—Anne Frank

Life has taught us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking outward together in the same direction.
—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

It's never too late to have a happy childhood.
—Tom Robbins

Take your life in your own hands and what happens?
A terrible thing: no one to blame.
—Erica Jong

It is a painful thing to look at your own trouble and know that you yourself and no one else has made it.

Knowing others is wisdom.
Knowing yourself is Enlightenment.

When I stand before God at the end of my life,
I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left,
and I could say, “I used everything you gave me.”
—Erma Bombeck

A person will be called to account on judgment day for every permissible thing that he might have enjoyed but did not.
—The Talmud

The trouble with being in the rat race is that even if you win, you're still a rat.
—Lily Tomlin

Often people attempt to live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money in order to do more of what they want so that they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then, do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.
—Margaret Young

When something rotten happens, then you have your choice. You start to really be alive, or you start to die. That's all.
—James Agee

It's not having been in the dark house,
but having left it that counts.
—Theodore Roosevelt

When written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters. One represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.
—John F. Kennedy

I think the years I spent in prison have been the most formative and important years in my life because of the discipline, the sensations, but chiefly the opportunity to think clearly, to try to understand things.
—Jawaharlal Nehru

Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.
—Agnes de Mille

Whatever is flexible and loving
will tend to grow;
whatever is rigid and blocked
will wither and die.

The secret of health for both the mind and the body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, nor to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.
—The Buddha

This is the day which the Lord has made.
Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Best to take the moment present,
as a present for the moment.
—Stephen Sondheim

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing, and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.
—G.K. Chesterton

By Portia Nelson
1) I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost . . . I am hopeless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to get out.
2) 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'm in the same place
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes forever to get out.
3) 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.
4) I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.
5) I walk down another street.

Every breath taken by the man who loves
And the woman who loves
Goes to fill the water tank
Where the spirit horses drink.
—Robert Bly

The purpose of our lives is to be happy.
—The Dalai Lama

Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure
nor this thing nor that
but simply growth.
We are happy when we are growing.
—William Butler Yeats

I have one major rule: Everybody is right. More specifically, everybody—including me—has some important pieces of truth, and all of those pieces need to be honored, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious, and compassionate embrace.
—Ken Wilber

Courage is the price that life
exacts for granting peace.
The soul that knows it not,
knows no release from little things.
—Amelia Earhart

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.
—Louis L'Amour

The best and most beautiful things in this world
cannot be seen or even heard,
but must be felt with the heart.
—Helen Keller

ELIZABETH LESSER is the co-founder of Omega Institute, the United States’ largest adult education center focusing on health, wellness, spirituality, and creativity. She is the New York Times best-selling author of Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow and The Seeker’s Guide: Making Your Life a Spiritual Adventure (both from Random House). For more than 30 years Elizabeth has worked with leading figures in the fields of healing, spiritual development, and cultural change. In 2008 she worked closely with Oprah Winfrey and Eckhart Tolle in the creation of a ten-week online seminar based on Tolle’s book, A New Earth. The “webinar” was viewed by millions of people worldwide. Since then, she has appeared several times on The Oprah Show and Oprah.com webcasts, and is an ongoing host on Oprah Radio, a weekly show on Sirius/XM. A student of the Sufi master, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan since 1971, Elizabeth has also studied with spiritual teachers and religious scholars from other traditions, as well as psychological practitioners and healers. Previous to her work at Omega, she was a midwife and birth educator. She has been active in environmental issues for many years in New York State's Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains, where she lives with her husband. She is the mother of three grown sons.





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