I’ve always been a David Henry Thoreau guy.
It began in college. Because of course, it did. I read Walden and connected with a man in the wilderness with a plan and a journal.
His quotes hit home and his logic made sense.
His quotes have stood as the ones that inspire me most. It’s the one I’d write down, live by, try and impress the girls with. (As if.)
But a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote has driven most of my life. Until recently:
To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of the intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch,
or a redeemed social condition;
to know that one life has breathed easier
because you lived here.
This is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
That worked. For a while. Then I noticed how selfish it felt.
I would want all those things … to make myself feel better. I floated along without a quote that fit until a friend introduced me to a quotable queen. You’re going to fall in love with her, my friend said. She wasn’t wrong.
This one captured all the contractions of myself that I couldn’t explain.
“Half of me is filled with bursting words and half of me is painfully shy. I crave solitude yet also crave people. I want to pour life and love into everything yet also nurture my self-care and go gently. I want to live within the rush of primal, intuitive decision, yet also wish to sit and contemplate. This is the messiness of life – that we all carry multitudes, so must sit with the shifts. We are complicated creatures, and ultimately, the balance comes from this understanding. Be water. Flowing, flexible and soft. Subtly powerful and open. Wild and serene. Able to accept all changes, yet still led by the pull of steady tides. It is enough.”
― Victoria Erickson
With this, I can sit in the consistent inconsistency of my very being. I can even celebrate it a bit.
I have to remember to remember it, that’s all.
What quote inspires you?
A to Z Challenge
A is for A new name for this blog
B is for B is for Bibster, baseball, and a spot by the birdbath #Gratitudeandshit
C is for Cassie Klein, actress and model; an interview for #GirlsRock
D is for Dusting off and writing again
E is for Energy, Facets of: An interview with crystal healer and healing jewelry maker Amanda Fitzsimmons, for #GirlsRock
F is for Football questions for Go Ask Daddy
G is for Getting behind a cause
H is for Hayden, headphones, and happy hour #GratitudeAndShit
My favorite podcase is Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard and Monica Padman. Their tag line is “a podcast that celebrates the messiness of being human”. Your quote made me think of it. We strive for things to be clear and easy but that’s not how it works. Weekends In Maine
Great post! Not sure I have lived my life inspired by single quotes, more the whole philosophy embodied in certain novels, but every now and again, one resonates for me.
“Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.”
Kut Vonnegut (Honorary President of the American Humanist Association”
Thanks! Philosophies can develop from quotes, for sure. I love that quote, too, because I feel like good behavior shouldn’t be a goal simply to receive good favor. Do good because its’ good.
It’s as if the first quote is about the end goal, but the second is the “how to”, because yes, it’s not that simple and straight forward, is it? Nor life is, nor we, ourselves. I love that second quote for that, for reminding us how complex we are. Reminds me of Brené Brown, who has researched human emotions. Her words “strong back, soft front, wild heart” resonate with Victoria Erickson. Very inspirational post, thank you!
I like that take on the quotes. We are always complex, but I think with experience, we see and appreciate it more. Brene has lots of wisdom, and yes, very much of the ilk of my Victoria Erickson.
So many great quotes and phrases out there – one could actually do an entire A – Z about them. Wait, that’s what I do 🙂
Nice idea, right? You could probably do that for years and years.
i’m a huge fan of quotes and it changes by the moment! )
I like one by Bill Murray I saw recently: Always give 100%, unless you’re donating blood.
I’ve always been partial to Eleanor Roosevelt’s “Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.” It helps me to remember to stay in the moment.
That’s a great quote, Kathy. We can spend so much time chasing happiness that we miss it all around us.
I can relate to both of these quotes. One of my favorites is Eldridge Cleaver’s “If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”
They both resonate, don’t they Ellen? I think Cleaver’s quote has taken on a particularly sharp shape in the past year or so.
There are too many great ones to count. Sort of like when someone asks what is your favorite scripture verse — how do you choose one?
You’re so right about the great ones, Mimi. Have to keep them on rotation, perhaps.
Nice post, Eli. I’ve been a collector of quotes for many years. I have no favorite for each one has provided something I needed when I happened upon it. I’ve read so many books and collected even more. I have found that the resonance of many of these quotes awakens something in me and for that inspiration, I’m grateful.
Thank you, Carrie. Quotes come in and out of our lives, and when they’re sticky, they stay. Sometimes, day by day they change.
I have started a couple of quote books. I write my favorite one at the time on the first page, then hand it off to someone to do the same. They’re to keep the chain going. I haven’t gotten one back … but I love the idea of them circulating their way back to me. (I include my contact information a few times on blank pages, and ask people to contact me when they get the book. There’s instructions on the last page for how to get it back to me.)
Eli, that’s such a cool idea! I hope you will write a fun post when it is returned to you! I wonder where it is now…🤔
Thanks, Carrie – I definitely will write a post when one comes home. I have a few out there … I should probably get a few more ready, too.
I LOVE the Victoria Erickson quote! Fabulous! Because I’ve been walking a path of personal evolution, one of my favorite quotes is from Maya Angelou: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”
Isn’t she a dream? I could love her. That Maya Angelou quote fits you perfectly. And you do it, that’s the thing. You do it.
Thanks so much.
The quote from Victoria Erickson is wonderful. Right now I’m particularly resonating with Anais Nin’s “I’m restless. Things are calling me away. My hair is being pulled by the stars again.”
Isn’t that the most inclusive post for all of us contradictory enigmas? And Anais Nin quotes are stellar. That one … when the stars pull, who are we to resist?