Up until the middle of the nineteenth century, men of science were all believers. Most of the great early English naturalists were also ministers; they were the only ones who had education and leisure for such pursuits. Darwin himself almost became a minister. God's power was always thought to be most easily and obviously revealed in the majestic works of nature.
The trick at every turn was to endure the test of living for as long as possible. The odds of survival were punishingly slim, for the world was naught by a school of calamity and an endless burning furnace of tribulation. But those who survived the world shaped it -- even as the world, simultaneously, shaped them.
Part 2. I feel that it has a tremendous relationship to love: First of all, as they say, it's the price you pay for love. But, secondly, in the moments of my life when I have fallen in love, I have just as little power over it as I do in grief.
You can butcher the sheep only once. But if you are careful, you can shear the sheep every year.
I won the argument against the knife that night, but barely. I had some other good ideas around that time -- about how jumping off a building or blowing my brains out with a gun might stop the suffering. but something about spending a night with a knife in my hand did it. The next morning I called my friend Susan as the sun came up, begged her to help me. I don't think a woman in the whole history of my family had ever done that before, had ever sat in the middle of the road like that and said, in the middle of her life, "I cannot walk another step further -- somebody has to help me.
I don't hate humanity and I'm not interested in people who do. Although, it's funny, actually, some of my favorite writers really do. Like Martin Amis. My dirty secret. 'London Fields' is one of my favorite books ever. And it's indefensible! But he's so funny... I forgive him everything.
The culture of Rome just doesn't match the culture of Yoga, not as far as I can see. In fact, I've decided that Rome and Yoga don't have anything in common at all. Except for the way they both kind of remind you of the word toga.
Maybe the difference between first marriage and second marriage is that the second time at least you know you are gambling.
When I don't know what I'm doing, I look like I don't know what I'm doing. When I'm excited or nervous, I look excited or nervous. And when I am lost, which is frequently, I look lost.
It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainment.
Men go into marriage with virtually no expectations whatsoever. Ten years later, the men are delightfully surprised to find out that it's actually kind of nice, and the women have sort of had to take a nose dive from what they thought it was going to be.
Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't, you will leak away your innate contentment. It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments.
Il bel far niente means 'the beauty of doing nothing'... it has always been a cherished Italian ideal. The beauty of doing nothing is the goal of all your work, the final accomplishment for which you are most highly congratulated. The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life's achievement. You don't necessarily need to be rich in order to experience this, either.
The act of quiet nighttime talking, illustrates for me more than anything else the curious alchemy of companionship.
Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.
I feel like if I were to get another tattoo, it would probably be those two words. Just stubborn, stubborn, stubborn gladness.
Most of all, I can choose my thoughts.
I myself have never been enchanted by the dream of the white wedding, and, heaven help us, the expectation that this exquisitely catered event should be 'the happiest moment' of one's life.
We can't just follow Paris for the sake of Paris.
Fear -- who cares?
God never slams a door in your face without opening a box of Girl Scout cookies.
I would neither defend myself from him, nor would I fight him. For the longest time, against the counsel of all who cared about me, I resisted even consulting a lawyer, because I considered even that to be an act of war. I wanted to be all Gandhi about this. I wanted to be all Nelson Mandela about this. Not realizing at the time that both Gandhi and Mandela were lawyers.
At that moment of realization (that union with God is always present), that's when God let me go, let me slide through His fingers with this last compassionate, unspoken message:
You may return here once you have fully come to understand that you are always here.
Marriage is an ongoing, centuries-long social experiment that is mostly controlled by the individuals in the relationships who insist on determining what the relationship terms are going to be. And that's why the terms of marriage change with every century and decade. We're shaping it from the inside. Marriage endures because it evolves. Obviously it does. None of us would accept marriage on its 13th century terms, not even the most conservative people.
I am burdened with what the Buddhists call the monkey mind. The thoughts that swing from limb to limb, stopping only to scratch themselves, spit and howl. My mind swings wildly through time, touching on dozens of ideas a minute, unharnessed and undisciplined. You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.
One must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation.
I worked at the original Coyote Ugly bar when I was a young, unpublished writer. Then later when I became a writer, I wrote an article about it for GQ. Disney read this article about this filthy, disgusting pit in the East Village of New York City, where we used to set the bar on fire to get customers away from us, and said, "That's a great movie for kids!" They made the fantastic Coyote Ugly movie, now legendary.
I tried to reassure him with every line about how the world is hard and unfair sometimes, but that it's all OK because he is so loved. He is surrounded by souls who would do anything to help him. And not only that -- he has wisdom and patience of his own, buried deep inside his being, which will only reveal themselves over time and will always carry him through any trial. He is a gift from God to all of us.
Bhuta ia, dewa ia. (Bali expression meaning Man is a demon, man is a god.).
For if there is one thing I have learned over the years about men, it is that feelings of powerlessness do not usually bring forth their finest qualities.
My heart was broken so badly last time that it still hurts. Isn't that crazy? To still have a broken heart almost two years after a love story ends?
Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.
I'm trying to dismantle a stereotype that in order to live any kind of creative life, you have to be in torment and suffering. We're addicted to this idea because it makes for good bio pics... but I actually think it's better to live a life where you're constantly exploring your curiosity and creativity.
But when it comes to writing the thing that I've sort of been thinking about lately, is why? You know, is it rational? Is it logical that anybody should be expected to be afraid of the work that they feel they were put on this Earth to do.
Nothing in the last few years has dazzled me more than Hilary Mantel's 'Wolf Hall,' which blew the top of my head straight off. I've read it three times, and I'm still trying to figure out how she put that magnificent thing together.
Returning to writing fiction after 13 years away from it. Returning to the rootstock of my whole life as a writer. It's what I had wanted to be for my entire life, since I can remember, since my particular time immemorial. It's how I got my start as a writer.
Mistakes will be made. Failure will occur. You pick yourself up and carry on.
I love my friends and family, but I also love it when they can't find me and I can spend all day reading or walking all alone, in silence, eight thousand miles away from everyone. All alone and unreachable in a foreign country is one my most favorite possible things to be.
It's an honor to be in grief. It's an honor to feel that much, to have loved that much.
We must understand the need for perfectionism is a corrosive waste of time, because nothing is ever beyond criticism. No matter how many hours you spend to render something flawless, somebody will always be able to find fault with it.
Most important, though, I had to wait until I found the perfect traveling eating drinking napping companion. And I did finally find him, two years ago -- my Brazilian-born, French-speaking, wine-worshipping, tripe-consuming, uncomplaining traveler of a sweetheart.
Indeed, when I came to Italy, I expected to encounter a certain amount of resentment, but have received instead empathy from most Italians. In any reference to George Bush, people only nod to Berlusconi, saying","We understand how it is -- we have one, too.
Creativity is a crushing chore and a glorious mystery. The work wants to be made, and it wants to be made through you.
You can measure the happiness of a marriage by the number of scars that each partner carries on their tongues, earned from years of biting back angry words.
He was powerful and I died of love in his shadow.
I think how badly things can go wrong in our judicial system. All it took was one person saying that this was a deliberately set fire, and then a whole chain of information became malevolent.Criminal past -- that worked all in their favor to create this "monster" -- and they even used the word "monster." It's like, let's ensure that the public thinks he's an evil individual.
This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something..
I couldn't care less about evidence and proof and assurances. I just want God. I want God inside me. I want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on water.
I am far more of a loner than people would imagine. But I am the most gregarious and socially interactive loner you ever met. The thing is, I am fascinated by people's stories and I'm very talkative and can't ever say no to anything or anyone, so I tend to over-socialize, to give away too much of my time to the many people I adore.
Traditionally, I have responded to the transcendent mystics of all religions. I have always responded with breathless excitement to anyone who has ever said that God does not live in a dogmatic scripture or in a distant throne in the sky, but instead abides very close to us indeed- much closer than we can imagine, breathing right through our own hearts.
You start whenever you decide to start.
You have been to hell, Ketut?"
He smiled. Of course he's been there. What's it like in hell?" Same like in heaven," he said. He saw my confusion and tried to explain. "Universe is a circle, Liss." He said. "To up, to down -- all same, at end." I remembered an old Christian mystic notion: As above, so below. I asked. "Then how can you tell the difference between heaven and hell?" Because of how you go. Heaven, you go up, through seven happy places. Hell, you go down, through seven sad places. This is why it better for you to go up, Liss." He laughed. Same-same," he said. "Same in end, so better to be happy in journey." I said, "So, if heaven is love, then hell is.. " Love, too," he said. Ketut laughed again, "Always so difficult for young people to understand this!
I guess what I want to learn is how to live in this world and enjoy its delights but also devote myself to God.
This is intimacy: the trading of stories in the dark.
Soon you start craving that intense attention with the hungry obsession of any junkie. When the drug is withheld you probably turn sick, crazy and depleted not to mention resentful of the dealer who encourage this addiction in the first place but who now refuses to pony up the good stuff anymore despite that you know that he has it hidden somewhere God dammit because you know that he used to give it to you for free.
Now imagine a life in which every day a person is presented with not two or even three but dozens of choices, and you can begin to grasp why the modern world has become, even with all its advantages, a neurosis-generating machine of the highest order.
Nothing is so essential as dignity…Time will reveal who has it and who has it not.
Change is all about motion, motion is all about uncertainty and we are deeply uncomfortable with uncertainty.
Don't rush through the experiences and circumstances that have the most capacity to transform you.
When we are mindful of every nuance of our natural world, we finally get the picture: that we are only given one dazzling moment of life here on Earth, and we must stand before that reality both humbled and elevated, subject to every law of our universe and grateful for our brief but intrinsic participation with it.
Desiring another person is perhaps the most risky endeavor of all. As soon as you want somebody really want him, it is as though you have taken a surgical needle and sutured your happiness to the skin of that person, so that any separation will now cause a lacerating injury.
God wants us to be in joy, God wants us to be happy.
I'm still aspiring to be a better and better person, but I think that disappointments have made me gentler with other people and their disappointments, the stuff that they have to carry around and endure.
There is a reason they call God a presence -- because God is right here, right now. In the present is the only place to find Him, and now is the only time.
I'm not particularly inventive. If you left me in а room and told me to write a novel, I wouldn't be able to do it. But if you gave me two years in a public library around the corner, I could. It all comes from sort of mixing the true and the invented. I'm not a fabulist. I'm more of a reporter.
All of women's stories in the 19th century had either one of two endings: you either had the good Jane Austen marriage at the end and you were happy; or you had the terrible Henry James savage downfall because of your own hubris as a woman, or you've made some great error leading you down a path to ruin. One is the story of love that's successful and the other is the story usually of reckless love that goes terribly wrong that destroys the woman.
I was struck -- not for the first time in my years of travel -- by how isolating contemporary American society can seem by comparison. Where I came from, we have shriveled down the notion of what constitutes 'a family unit' to such a tiny scale that it would probably be unrecognizable as a family to anybody in one of these big, loose, enveloping Hmong clans. You almost need an electron microscope to study the modern Western family these days.
Life's metaphors are God's instructions.
That's your friend. My husband is my best friend. He's not the mirror that holds up my flaws. He's just the guy who's like, 'I think you're terrific'... It's just simple, showing up for each other.
These days I settle for feeling only 85 percent sure about most things, most of the time. I believe this is keeping me sane, and I also believe that it's keeping me human. In fact, I'm 85 percent sure of it.
Go back to bed so that, when the tempest comes, you'll be strong enough to deal with it. And the tempest is coming, dear one. Very soon. But not tonight.
I want to explore the art of pleasure in Italy, the art of devotion in India and, in Indonesia, the art of balancing the two. It was only later, after admitting this dream, that I noticed the happy coincidence that all these countries begin with the letter I. A fairly auspicious sign, it seemed, on a voyage of self-discovery.
Every intimacy carries secreted somewhere below its initial lovely surfaces, the ever-coiled makings of complete catastrophe.
The six elements of her Fail Proof Broken-Heart Curing Treatment: "Vitamin E, get much sleep, drink much water, travel to a place far away from the person you loved, meditate, and teach your heart that this is destiny."
The more unsettled and unbalanced we feel, the more quickly and recklessly we are likely to fall in love.
You have no idea how strong my love is!
Om Namah Shivaya, meaning, I honor the divinity that resides within me.
We all want things to stay the same. Settle for living in misery because we are afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.
Given that life is so short, do I really want to spend one-ninetieth of my remaining days on earth reading Edward Gibbon?
Plant an expectation; reap a disappointment.
Dear Lord, please show me everything I need to understand about forgiveness and surrender.
As a writer, you always read in two minds: You read as a reader and you enjoy it, and you look at it as a writer, and you just admire the architecture and the construction.
Sanity and clarity are more important for me and I'm willing to give up a lot of shimmer for it. I'm willing to have more boring friends, who are sane.
According to the mystics, this search for divine bliss is the entire purpose of a human life. this is why we all chose to be born, and this is why all the suffering and pain of life on earth is worthwhile -- just for the chance to experience this infinite love. And once you have found this divinity within, can you hold it? Because if you can...bliss.
Of course you are. I'm sorry for many of the things I've done, too. Everyone is sorry. It's good to be sorry--but don't make a fetish of it.
I would like to be like Rome when I am an old lady.
You may return here once you have fully come to understand that you are always here.
This was my moment to look for the kind of healing and peace that can only come from solitude.
Is this lifetime supposed to be only about duty?
You're wishin' too much, baby. You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone oughtta be.
If Todd Willingham was guilty of anything, it was just his self-preservation. He got up and ran out of the house and then thought about the children after the fact.
Oh, I just want what we all want: a comfortable couch, a nice beverage, a weekend of no distractions and a book that will stop time, lift me out of my quotidian existence and alter my thinking forever.
People keep asking me how I'm doing, and I'm not always sure how to answer that. It depends on the day. It depends on the minute. Right this moment, I'm OK. Yesterday, not so good. Tomorrow, we'll see.
Now, if you are like me -- if you are like practically anybody in America -- then you probably hold some negative opinions about the French, based upon movies, rumors, recent headlines, unfortunate run-ins with Parisian waiters, or... you know... all that unpleasantness surrounding the Vichy regime.
And then, in that regal silence, finally -- I began to meditate on (and with) God.
You have to get hurt. That's how you learn. The strongest people out there, the ones who laugh the hardest with a genuine smile, those are the people who have fought the toughest battles. Because they've decided that they're not going to let anything hold them down, they're showing the world who's boss. One must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation.
Unfenced by law, the unmarried lover can quit a bad relationship at any time. But you -- the legally married person who wants to escape doomed love -- may soon discover that a significant portion of your marriage contract belongs to the State, and that it sometimes takes a very long while for the State to grant you your leave.
Women have always been more critical of marriage than men. The great mysterious irony of it is -- at least it's the stereotype -- that women want to get married and men are trying to avoid it. Marriage doesn't benefit women as much as men, and it never has. And women, once they are married, become very critical of marriages in a way that men don't.
In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it's wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.
You have the opposite of poker face. You have like.. miniature golf face.
There's a crack (or cracks) in everyone…that's how the light of God gets in.
That's just ego, trying to make sure it stays in charge. This is what your ego does. It keeps you feeling separate, keeps you with a sense of duality, tries to convince you that you're flawed and broken and alone instead of whole.
It may be that same-sex couples will save the institution of marriage.
The continent did not appeal: France was filled with irritating people; Spain was corrupt and unstable; Russia, impossible; Italy, absurd; Germany, rigid; Portugal, in decline. Holland, thought favorably disposed toward him, was dull. The United States of America, he decided, was a possibility.
Moss grows where nothing else can grow. It grows on bricks. It grows on tree bark and roofing slate. It grows in the Arctic Circle and in the balmiest tropics; it also grows on the fur of sloths, on the backs of snails, on decaying human bones. ... It is a resurrection engine. A single clump of mosses can lie dormant and dry for forty years at a stretch, and then vault back again into life with a mere soaking of water.
The great Sufi poet and philosopher Rumi once advised his students to write down the three things they most wanted in life. If any item on the list clashes with any other item, Rumi warned, you are destined for unhappiness.
The number 108 is held to be the most auspicious, a perfect three-digit multiple of three, its components adding up to 9, which is three threes. And 3, of course, is the number representing supreme balance.
Who amongst us lives without sacrifice?
You are accidentally leaving your DNA all over everything in a novel because it's all coming from you.
Why they always look so serious in Yoga? You make serious face like this, you scare away good energy. To meditate, only you must smile. Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy. Even smile in your liver. Practice tonight at hotel. Not to hurry, not to try too hard. Too serious, you make you sick. You can calling the good energy with a smile.
(From Ketut Liyer, the Balinese healer).
There is a quiet glory in merely making things, and then sharing those things with an open heart and no expectations.
There's a part of me which has always wanted to hear a man say, "Let me take care of you forever," and I have never heard it spoken before. Over the last few years, I'd given up looking for that person, learned how to say this heartening sentence to myself, especially in times of fear. But to hear it from someone else now, from someone who is speaking sincerely.
God isn't interested in watching you enact some performance of personality in order to comply with some crackpot notion you have about how a spiritual person looks or behaves. We all seem to get this idea that, in order to be sacred, we have to make some massive, dramatic change of character, that we have to renounce our individuality.
There are always two figures in a marriage, two votes, two conflicting sets of decisions, desires and limitations.
I would say that if you really want to STOP knowing someone, you have to divorce him.
David was catnip and kryptonite to me.
What if we just acknowledged that we have a bad relationship, and we stuck it out, anyway? What if we admitted that we make each other nuts, we fight constantly and hardly ever have sex, but we can't live without each other, so we deal with it? And then we could spend our lives together -- in misery, but happy to not be apart.
Venice is beautiful, but like a Bergman movie is beautiful; you can admire it, but you don't really want to live in it.
How could two people who were so in love not end up happily ever after? It had to work. Didn't it?
I am the planet's most affectionate life-form, something like the cross between a golden retriever and a barnacle.
When you're lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost.
When you're lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you've just wandered off the path, that you'll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it's time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don't even know from which direction the sun rises anymore.
I was perfectly happy in my boring life before you came along.
Generally speaking, that's good drama -- the marriage plot or the tragedy -- but the reality of women's lives is that most of us don't get what we wanted, and most of us find ways to have really interesting lives anyway.
By unnerving definition, anything that the heart has chosen for its own mysterious reasons it can always unchoose later--again, for its own mysterious reasons.
What kind of God do you believe in? my answer is easy: I believe in a magnificent God.
We're already separated that's official but there's still a window of hope left open that perhaps someday we could give things another try.
I did believe that my behavior made me unusual -- because it didn't seem to match the behavior of other women -- but I didn't believe it made me bad...I could have spent the rest of the life trying to prove that I was a good girl -- but that would have been unfaithful to who I really was. I believed that I was a good person, if not a good girl...So I gave up on the idea of denying myself what I truly wanted. Then I sought ways to delight myself...Anyway, at some point in a woman's life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time. After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is.
Maybe this is just some stupid romantic South American idea, but I need you to understand-darling, for you, I am even willing to suffer. Whatever pain happens to us in the future, I accept it already, just for the pleasure of being with you now. Let's enjoy this time. It's marvelous. Felipe-Eat, Pray, Love.
Generally speaking, though, Americans have an inability to relax into sheer pleasure. Ours is an entertainment-seeking nation, but not necessarily a pleasure-seeking one.
A lovely evening of new idioms and fresh mozzarella.
We invented marriage. Couples invented marriage. We also invented divorce,mind you. And we invented infidelity,too, as well as romantic misery. In fact we invented the whole sloppy mess of love and intimacy and aversion and euphoria and failure. But most importantly of all, most subversively of all, most stubbornly of all, we invented privacy.
I think that if you can roast a chicken, you can get whatever you want out of a woman. Maybe it's just me but I would suspect that a man trying to impress a woman would be more likely to bring out the steak -- "I killed this for you, now I'm grilling it for you."... A man that can cook you a proper meal that is like a weekday meal -- which I think cannot be better than in the form of a roast chicken -- that's the greatest.
Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are the slave to your emotions.
Ketut, why is life all crazy like this?" I asked my medicine man the next day...So what can we do about the craziness of the world?"
Nothing." Ketut laughed, but with a dose of kindness. "This is nature of world. This is destiny. Worry about your craziness only-make you in peace.
I've met travelers who are so physically sturdy they could drink a shoebox of water from a Calcutta gutter and never get sick. People who can pick up new languages where others of us might only pick up infectious diseases. People who know how to stand down a threatening border guard or cajole an uncooperative bureaucrat at the visa office. People who are the right height and complexion that they kind of look halfway normal wherever they go -- in Turkey they just might be Turks, in Mexico they are suddenly Mexican, in Spain they could be mistaken for a Basque, in Northern Africa they can sometimes pass for Arab.
The problem, simply put, is that we cannot choose everything simultaneously. So we live in danger of becoming paralyzed by indecision, terrified that every choice might be the wrong choice.
I've always been afraid of saying no to people because I don't want them to be disappointed and dislike me.
Writing is not like dancing or modeling; it's not something where-if you missed it by age 19-you're finished. It's never too late. Your writing will only get better as you get older and wiser. If you write something beautiful and important, and the right person somehow discovers it, they will clear room for you on the bookshelves of the world-at any age. At least try.
When I lost my friends, it was because I had used the power of giving on them recklessly. I swept into their lives with my big fat checkbook, and I erased years of obstacles for them overnight -- but sometimes, in the process, I also accidentally erased years of dignity.
He lived in sight of both worlds, but he looked toward the unknown. And he was a scholar.... You can still live on that shimmering line between your old thinking and your new understanding, always in a state of learning. In the figurative sense, this is a border that is always moving -- as you advance forward in your studies and realizations, that mysterious forest of the unknown always stays a few feet ahead of you, so you have to travel light in order to keep following it. You have to stay mobile, movable, supple.
What worked yesterday doesn't always work today.
So miss him. Send him some love and light every time you think about him, then drop it.
Embrace the glorious mess that you are.
I know what it feels like to be bruised; I know what it feels like to carry things around with you that never totally heal. There's closure and then there's stuff that's kind of like, Well, I guess it's going to be in the minivan forever. And you carry it with you and you continue on your journey with your minivan full of stuff, which I think most of us do.
I think you have every right to cherry-pick when it comes to moving your spirit and finding peace in God. You take whatever works from wherever you can find it, and you keep moving toward the light.
Just having walked into a prison environment, sat there for two hours, the effect that it had on me. ... I couldn't imagine the effect it would have on a person 24 hours a day. So then I became more intrigued, and we began a correspondence, and I began visiting Todd Willingham.
Part 3. There are certain things that happen to you as a human being that you cannot control or command, that will come to you at really inconvenient times, and where you have to bow in the human humility to the fact that there's something running through you that's bigger than you.
The search for God is a reversal of the normal, mundane worldly order. In search for God, you revert from what attracts you and swim toward that which is difficult. You abandon your comforting and familiar habits with the hope (the mere hope!) that something greater will be offered you in return for what you have given up.. if we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be.. a prudent insurance policy.
Time -- when pursued like a bandit -- will behave like one; always remaining one country or one room ahead of you, changing its name and hair color to elude you, slipping ou the back door of the motel just as you're banging through the lobby with your newest search warrant, leaving only a burning cigarette in the ashtray to taunt you.
The world needs women who stop asking for permission from the principal. Permission to live their lives as they deeply know they often should. I think we still look to authority figures for validation, recognition, permission.
Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.
He is only happy when he can maintain himself -- mentally and spiritually -- at the intersection between a vertical line and horizontal one, in a state of perfect balance. For this, he needs to know where he is located every moment, both in his relationship to the divine and to his family here on earth. If he loses that balance, he loses his power.
And try not to make a habit of getting engaged in the first place, Vivvie. It can leade to marriage if you're not careful.
The whole sphere of air that surrounds us, Alma, is alive with invisible attractions -- electric, magnetic, fiery and thoughtful. There is a universal sympathy all around us… When we cease all argument and debate -- both internal and external -- our true questions can be heard and answered…That is the gathering of magic.
Richard didn't even have time to ask if I thought I'd ever amount to anything in this life before I looked him eye to eye and said, "I already have, mister."
Every woman deserves a man that can make her heart forget that it was ever broken. Even if these have been broken to pieces to me,this represents a person who gave me a complete,flawless heart. I don't need someone who makes my heart whole. Instead, I need someone who will never let me feel broken. This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.
Of course, we all inevitably work too hard, then we get burned out and have to spend the whole weekend in our pajamas, eating cereal straight out of the box and staring at the TV in a mild coma (which is the opposite of working, yes, but not exactly the same thing as pleasure).
In 1954, Pope Pius XI, of all people, sent some Vatican delegates on a trip to Libya with these written instructions: "Do NOT think that you are going among Infidels. Muslims attain salvation, too. The ways of Providence are infinite.
When I diagnose my depression now, I think it was partially about saying goodbye to these kids that I always expected to have but already knew that I wouldn't.
There were times, especially when I was traveling for 'Eat, Pray, Love,' when, I swear to God, I would feel this weight of my female ancestors, all those Swedish farmwives from beyond the grave who were like, 'Go! Go to Naples! Eat more pizza! Go to India, ride an elephant! Do it! Swim in the Indian Ocean. Read those books. Learn a language.'
Being content with what you have already is an art form that leads to a peace that can't be replaced by anything else.
I felt like I was some kind of primitive spring-loaded machine, placed under far more tension than it had ever been built to sustain, about to blast apart at great danger to anyone standing nearby. I imagined my body parts flying off my torso in order to escape the volcanic core of unhappiness that had become: me.
You have now reached infatuation's final destination--the complete and merciless devaluation of self.
Religious ceremonies are of paramount importance in Bali ( an island, don't forget, with seven unpredictable volcanoes on it-you would pray, too).
Dolce far niente: the pleasure of doing anything.
To my taste, the men in Rome are ridiculously, hurtfully, stupidly beautiful. More beautiful even than Roman women, to be honest. Italian men are beautiful in the same way as French women, which is to say -- no detail spared in the quest for perfection. They're like show poodles. Sometimes they look so good I want to applaud.
Man kan måle sit værd på sin loyalitet over for sine valg, ikke på sine succeser eller fiaskoer.
I have good idea, for if you meet some person from different religion and he want to make argument about God. My idea is, you listen to everything this man say about God. Never argue about God with him. Best thing to say is, 'I agree with you.' Then you go home, pray what you want. This is my idea for people to have peace about religion.
I want to be with God all the time. But I don't want to be a monk, or totally give up worldly pleasures. I guess what i want to learn is how to live in this world and enjoy its delights, but also devote myself to God.
Lucky is the soul whose only troubles are self-inflicted.
I was a veritable Johnny Appleseed of grand expectations, and all I reaped for my trouble was a harvest of bitter fruit.
I push every day against forces that say you have to go faster, be more effective, be more productive, you have to constantly outdo yourself, you have to constantly outdo your neighbor -- all of the stuff that creates an incredibly productive society, but also a very neurotic one.
Your home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself. So that might be creativity, family, invention, adventure, faith, service, it might be raising corgies, I don't know -- Your home is that thing to which you can dedicate your energies with such singular devotion that the ultimate results become inconsequential.
At some point in a woman's life, she just gets tired of being ashamed all the time. After that, she is free to become whoever she truly is.
Aside from my cockeyed internal compass, I also have a shortage of personal coolness, which can be a liability in travel. I have never learned how to arrange my face into that blank expression of competent invisibility that is so useful when traveling in dangerous, foreign places. You know -- that super-relaxed, totally-in-charge expression which makes you look like you belong there, anywhere, everywhere, even in the middle of riot in Jakarta.
I have never created anything in my life that did not make me feel, at some point or another, like I was the guy who just walked into a fancy ball wearing a homemade lobster costume.
You know, I think that allowing somebody, one mere person to believe that he or she is like, the vessel you know, like the font and the essence and the source of all divine, creative, unknowable, eternal mystery is just a smidge too much responsibility to put on one fragile, human psyche. It's like asking somebody to swallow the sun.
Most of us, even if only for two minutes in our lives, have experienced at some time or another an inexplicable and random sense of complete bliss, unrelated to anything that was happening in the outside world.
You gotta stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.
There are times when the only access I have to the truest person that I am is when I'm alone and trying to solve a sentence. It's exciting, even when it's frustrating, even when I can't do it right.
I have no nostalgia for the patriarchy, please believe me. But what I have come to realize is that, when that patriarchic system was (rightfully) dismantled, it was not necessarily replaced by another form of protection. What I mean is -- I never thought to ask a suitor the same challenging questions my father might have asked him, in a different age.
I think the thing that I lost in myself when I stopped writing fiction and the thing that I rediscovered and started mining again is, for lack of a better word, magic. It's the way you can brush up against the inexplicable and the mystical.
I think it's unfortunate that there exists only one path in America to complete social legitimacy, and that is marriage. I think, for instance, that it would be far easier for Americans to elect a black president or a female president than an unmarried president.
This is what rituals are for. We do spiritual ceremonies as human beings in order to create a safe resting place for our most complicated feelings of joy or trauma, so that we don't have to haul those feelings around with us forever, weighing us down. We all need such places of ritual safekeeping.
I love you, Sister. And I don't use that word lightly! (Neither "love," nor "sister." You embody both).
I am a better person when I have less on my plate.
I wondered, "Why have I been chasing happiness my whole life when bliss was here the entire time?
Avea obiceiurile, tabieturile si raspunderile ei. Avea demnitatea ei. Intr-adevar, era cam ca o carte care se deschisese la aceeasi pagina in fiecare zi, timp de treizeci de ani in sir -- dar nu fusese o pagina prea rea. Se simtise vesela. Multumita. Oricine ar fi spus ca avusese o viata buna. Acum nu s-ar mai fi putut intoarce la viata aceea cu nici un chip.
Marriage becomes hard work once you have poured the entirety of your life's expectations for happiness into the hands of one mere person. Keeping that going is hard work.
The only thing you need to do for now is get some rest and take good care of yourself until you do know the answer.
A Sanskrit word appeared in the paragraph: ANTEVASIN. It means, ‘one who lives at the border.' In ancient times, this was a literal description. It indicated a person who had left the bustling center of worldly life to go live at the edge of the forest where the spiritual masters dwelled. The antevasin was not of the villager's anymore-not a householder with a conventional life. But neither was he yet a transcendent-not one of those sages who live deep in the unexplored woods, fully realized. The antevasin was an in-betweener. He was a border-dweller. He lived in sight of both worlds, but he looked toward the unknown. And he was a scholar.
I am stronger than depression and I am braver than loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.
I have far more enthusiasm in life than I have actual energy. In my excitement, I routinely take on more that I can physically or emotionally handle, which causes me to break down in quite predictable displays of dramatic exhaustion. You will be the one burdened with the job of mopping me up every time I've overextended myself and then fallen apart. This will be unbelievably tedious. I apologize in advance.
Dear me, how I love a library.
What profound reward you must glean from studying the world so closely....Too many people turn away from small wonders, I find. There is so much more potency to be found in detail than generalities, but most souls cannot train themselves to sit still for it.
Well, just remember -- all your misery will be waiting for you at the door upon your exit, should you care to pick it up again when you leave.
Don't be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be. If your job is to dance, do your dance. If the divine, cockeyed genius assigned to your case decides to let some sort of wonderment be glimpsed, for just one moment through your efforts, then 'Ole!' And if not, do your dance anyhow. And 'Ole!' to you, nonetheless. I believe this and I feel that we must teach it. 'Ole!' to you, nonetheless, just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up.
Creativity is a scavenger hunt. It's your obligation to pay attention to clues, to the thing that gives you that little tweak.
Astonishingly, at some point, a sputtering torch was thrust into her hands. Alma did not see who gave it to her. She had never before been entrusted with fire. The torch spit sparks and sent chunks of flaming tar spinning into the air behind her as she bolted across the cosmos-the only body in the heavens who was not held to a strict elliptical path. Nobody stopped her. She was a comet. She did not know that she was not flying.
I have a lot of trouble forgiving myself for being so dumb... But yes, of course, the big generous compassionate view that you should take of yourself and of all events is: what a glorious circus train this has been, and what a wonderful messy parade, and all of those steps took me here, where I precisely need to be now, so God bless it.
Tis' better to live your own life imperfectly than to imitate someone else's perfectly.
The notion is that human beings are born, (as my Guru has explained many times,) with equivalent potential for both contraction and expansion. The ingredients of both darkness and light are equally present in all of us, and then it's up to the individual (or the family, or the society) to decide what will be brought forth -- the virtues or the malevolence. The madness of this planet is largely a result of human being's difficulty in coming into virtuous balance with himself. Lunacy (both collective and individual) results.
I promised Todd Willingham that I would attend the execution. ... It was impossible for me to go. I was incapable of that sort of travel. Sitting in a chair that long, driving to Huntsville just wouldn't have happened. ... I'm sure I would have been there. It's something I know. I would not have denied him that, but the accident kept me from being there. At some level, the universe was giving me the excuse for not being there. ... The universe was like, "Oh, you don't have to watch this." ... It would have been a horrible thing, but I'm sure I would have gone.
For the entire decade of my 30s and the early part of my 40s, I didn't write a word of fiction. I just left behind a dream of my life.
When somebody has an enormous success in this culture, people start asking two questions, which are 'What are you doing now?' and 'How are you going to beat that?' And I have to say, I love the assumption that your intention is to beat yourself constantly -- that you're in battle against yourself.
I've never seen any life transformation that didn't begin with the person in question finally getting tired of their own bullshit.
The gods are fond of the cryptic and dislike the evident.
The Yogic path is about disentangling the built-in glitches of the human condition, which I'm going to over-simply define here as the heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment.
This food won't be wasted; after the offering ceremony, Balinese families are always allowed to eat their own donations to the gods, since the offering is more metaphysical than literal. The way the Balinese see it, God takes what belongs to God -- the gesture -- while man takes what belongs to man -- the food itself.
I think of modern marriage as a car strangely fashioned out of an old abandoned horse carriage, built upon the framework of a mule cart. All the original engineering is still there, underneath it all.
If we never leave our house except to drive to work, do we need to be even remotely aware of this powerful, humbling, extraordinary and eternal life force that surges and ebbs around us all the time? Apparently not. Because we have stopped paying attention.
If you're alive, you're a creative person.
The ingredients of both darkness and light are equally present in all of us,...The madness of this planet is largely a result of the human being's difficulty in coming to viruous balance with himself.
Sureness is something like a neck brace, which we clamp around our lives, hoping to somehow protect ourselves from the frightening, constant whiplash of change. Sadly, the brace doesn't always hold.
The beauty and variety of the natural world are merely the visible legacies of endless war.
The Bhagavad Gita--that ancient Indian Yogic text--says that it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection. So now I have started living my own life. Imperfect and clumsy as it may look, it is resembling me now, thoroughly.
I share it here because something was about to occur on that bathroom floor that would change forever the progression of my life..what happened was that I started to pray.
Man is a demon, man is a god. Both true.
Oh, cold world -- I have grown so weary of you and all your horrible bathrooms.
We alter and customize the thing every century, every generation, every day -- both in the courts and in our own homes. And marriage accepts our modifications gracefully. Marriage adapts, evolves and (in a manner that I find miraculous and kind of inspiring) somehow keeps chugging along.
If you can't do what you long to do, go do something else. Go walk the dog, go pick up every bit of trash on the street outside your home, go walk the dog again, go bake a peach cobbler, go paint some pebbles with brightly colored nail polish and put them in a pile. You might think it's procrastiantion, but -- with the right intention -- it isn't; it's motion. And any motion whatsoever beats inertia, because inspiration will always be drawn to motion.
Every word was a singing sparrow, a magic trick, a truffle for me. The words made me laugh in delight.
I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check.
I thought about the relentless thought-processing, soul-devouring machine that is my brain, and wondered how on earth I was ever going to master it. Then I remembered that line from Jaws and couldn't help smiling: 'We're gonna need a bigger boat.
I see women who have this struggle between what they know is right, what they know is necessary, what they know is healthy, what they know is good for them, what they know is good for the work that they need to do, what they know is good for their bodies, what they know is good for their families -- all too often ending that statement with the upturned question mark: "If it's okay with everyone?" Still asking, still requesting, still filing petitions for somebody to say that it's all right.
That is who Barack Obama is -- a person of admirable character -- and that is who he has remained for me over these last four years. I have not agreed with his every decision, but never once have I seen him break his cool, lose his composure, or abandon his insightful perspective -- even during the most serious and or absurd national disasters.
There is a level of grief so deep that it stops resembling grief at all. The pain becomes so severe that the body can no longer feel it. The grief cauterizes itself, scars over, prevents inflated feeling. Such numbness is a kind of mercy.
In a world of disorder and disaster and fraud, sometimes only beauty can be trusted.
In a world of disorder and disaster and fraud, sometimes only beauty can be trusted. Only artistic excellence is incorruptible. Pleasure cannot be bargained down. And sometimes the meal is the only currency that is real.
If you want to get to the castle, Groceries, you've got to swim the moat.
In fact, it was all I could do to stop myself from saying, 'I've always been a big fan of your work.
Marriage is not simply a romantic union between two people; it's also a political and economic contract of the highest order.
Whenever I would feel such happiness my guilt alarm went off.
Admittedly, I am not the one who looks fantastic in everything, but still I cannot help loving myself.
Marriage is those two thousand indistinguishable conversations, chatted over two thousand indistuinguishable breakfasts, where intimacy turns like a slow wheel. How do you measure the worth of becoming that familiar to somebody--so utterly well known and so thoroughly ever-present that you become an almost invisible necessity, like air?
But I don't know how much more socializing I can do, Felipe. I only have the one dress. People will start to notice that I'm wearing the same thing all the time." "You're young and beautiful, darling. You only need the one dress.
Every try to take a toy away from a toddler? They don't like that, do they? They start kicking and screaming. Best way to take a toy away from a toddler is distract the kid, give him something else to play with. Instead of trying to forcefully take thoughts out of your mind, give your mind something better to play with.
Your fear is the most boring thing about you.
Everything really is going to be okay. (And if not okay, then at least comic.).
The philosopher Odo Marquard has noted a correlation in the German language between the word zwei, which means 'two,' and the word zweifel, which means 'doubt' -- suggesting that two of anything brings the automatic possibility of uncertainty to our lives. Now imagine a life in which every day a person is presented with not two or even three but dozens of choices, and you can begin to grasp why the modern world has become, even with all its advantages, a neurosis-generating machine of the highest order. In a world of such abundant possibility, many of us simply go limp from indecision. Or we derail our life's journey again and again, backing up to try the doors we neglected on the first round, desperate to get it right this time. Or we become compulsive comparers -- always measuring our lives against some other person's life, secretly wondering if we should have taken her path instead.
A glorious failure can sometimes be more life affirming than a cautious win.
Every few years, I think, 'Maybe now I'm finally smart enough or sophisticated enough to understand 'Ulysses.'' So I pick it up and try it again. And by page 10, as always, I'm like, 'What the hell?'
Before you realize this truth, say the Yogis, you will always be in despair, a notion nicely expressed in this exasperated line from the Greek stoic philosopher Epictetus: 'You bear God within you, poor wretch, and know it not.
I am determined to make the most of this life that I have, damn it -- it's that kind of stubbornness I think we all need more of.
There was really only one person who -- and I remember to this day -- he was a fireman, and he said, "You'll never know what you'll do when you're in a fire." Everyone else was like: "I don't care; I would have saved my children; I could have done it. Even if I was asleep I would have woken up and saved my children." But the fireman said, "You never know what's going to happen unless you're in there.
Destiny, I feel, is also a relationship -- a play between divine grace and willful self-effort.
Zen masters say you cannot see your reflection in running water, only in still water.
When Catherine told me about this (tragedy nearby), I could only say, shocked, "Dear God, that family needs grace." She replied firmly, "That family needs casseroles," and then proceeded to organize the entire neighborhood into bringing that family dinner, in shifts, every single night, for an entire year. I do not know if my sister fully recognizes that this _is_ grace.
It used to be that god was revealed in the wonders of nature; now God was being challenged by those same wonders. Scholars were now required to choose one side or the other.
We're miserable because we think that we are mere individuals, alone with our fears and flaws and resentment and mortality.
Resist change at your own peril, Vivian. When something ends, let it end.
Deep grief sometimes is almost like a specific location, a coordinate on a map of time. When you are standing in that forest of sorrow, you cannot imagine that you could ever find your way to a better place. But if someone can assure you that they themselves have stood in that same place, and now have moved on, sometimes this will bring hope.
When it comes to women, get your life together first. Put on your own oxygen mask first. Figure out who you are. Mature. And then go find somebody to share that life with.
As the saying goes, "Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them." Why would I want to keep my limitations?
The Yogic sages say that all the pain of a human life is caused by words, as is all the joy. We create words to define our experience and those words bring attendant emotions that jerk us around like dogs on a leash. We get seduced by our own mantras (I'm a failure I'm lonely I'm a failure I'm lonely) and we become monuments to them. To stop talking for a while, then, is to attempt to strip away the power of words, to stop choking ourselves with words, to liberate ourselves from our suffocating mantras.
I saw the apartment almost as a sanatorium, a hospice clinic for my own recovery. I painted the walls in the warmest colors I could find and bought myself flowers every week, as if I were visiting myself in the hospital.
So I stood up and did a handstand on my Guru's roof, to celebrate the notion of liberation. I felt the dusty tiles under my hands. I felt my own strength and balance. I felt the easy night breeze on the palms of my bare feet. This kind of thing -- a spontaneous handstand -- isn't something a disembodied cool blue soul can do, but a human being can do it. We have hands; we can stand on them if we want to. That's our privilege. That's the joy of a mortal body. And that's why God needs us. Because God loves to feel things through our hands.
People always fall in love with the most perfect aspects of each other's personalities. Who wouldn't? Anybody can love the most wonderful parts of another person. But that's not the clever trick. The really clever trick is this: Can you accept the flaws? Can you look at your partner's faults honestly and say, 'I can work around that. I can make something out of it.'? Because the good stuff is always going to be there, and it's always going to pretty and sparkly, but the crap underneath can ruin you.
Todd's mother had several children by different fathers, and Todd Willingham had been abandoned in California. ... He's a good-looking man. He was a witty man, you know? Funny, caring. He wasn't arrogant, but he was kind of set in his ways. If he thought something, it was one way. You could show him an alternative, but he was still going to stick by his particular view. But I could see how to women he could be a very charming, good-looking guy, especially when he was younger.
I should just put it bluntly, because we're all sort of friends here now -- it's exceedingly likely that my greatest success is behind me. Oh, so Jesus, what a thought! You know that's the kind of thought that could lead a person to start drinking gin at nine o'clock in the morning, and I don't want to go there.
Only the young and stupid are confident about sex and romance.
If faith were rational , it wouldn't be -by definition- faith.
Let your conscience be your guide.
Nobody until very recently would have thought that their husband was supposed to be their best friend, confidante, intellectual soul mate, co-parent, inspiration.
Here was something I already knew to be true about myself: Just as there are some wives who will occasionally need a break from their husbands in order to visit a spa for the weekend with their girlfriends, I will always be the sort of wife who occasionally needs a break from her husband in order to visit Cambodia. Just for a few days!
I wonder if I am capable of being somebody's sun, somebody's everything. Am I centered enough now to be the center of somebody else's life?
When you have only two minutes to say good-bye to the person you love most in the world, and you don't know when you'll see each other again, you can become logjammed with the effort to say and do and settle everything at once.
Everybody imitates before they can innovate.
Devotion is diligence without assurance. Faith is a way of saying "Yes, I pre-accept the terms of the universe and I embrace in advance what I am presently incapable of understanding.
Nobody's really paying that much attention to your massive personal dramas.
As for discipline--it's important, but sort of overrated. The more important virtue for a writer, I believe, is self-forgiveness. Because your writing will always disappoint you. Your laziness will always disappoint you.
You must learn in life to take things more lightly, my dear. The world is always changing. Learn how to allow for it.
I filled the song with everything I wished I could teach him about life. I tried to reassure him with every line about how the world is hard and unfair sometimes, but that it's all OK beacuse he is so loved. He is surrounded by souls who would do anything to help him. And not only that- he has wisdom and patience of his own, buried deep inside his being, which will only reveal themselves over time and will always carry him through any trial. He is a gift from God to all of us.
Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy will come to you and clean away dirty energy.
He showed me a sketch he'd drawn once during meditation. It was an androgynous human figure, standing up, hands clasped in prayer. But this figure had four legs, and no head. Where the head should have been, there was only a wild foliage of ferns and flowers. There was a small, smiling face drawn over the heart.
To find the balance you want," Ketut spoke through his translator, "this is what you must become. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it's like you have four legs, instead of two. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead. That way, you will know God.
In desperate love, we always invent the characters of our partners, demanding they be what we need of them, and then feeling devastated when they refuse to perform the role we created in the first place.
We have hands; we can stand on them if we want to. That's our privilege. That's the joy of a mortal body. And that's why God needs us. Because God loves to feel things through our hands.
I don't think you can come into your wisdom until you have made mistakes on your own skin and felt them in reality of your own life.
I've come to realize that the contemporary creative culture is not generating the best possible outcome.
I think perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat, pretending to be elegant when actually it's just terrified. Because underneath that shiny veneer, perfectionism is nothing more that a deep existential angst the says, again and again, 'I am not good enough and I will never be good enough.
He looks at you like you're someone he's never met before, much less someone he once loved with high passion. The irony is, you can hardly blame him. I mean, check yourself out. You're a pathetic mess, unrecognizable even to your own eyes.
And love is always complicated. But still humans most try to love each other, darling. We must get out hearts broken sometimes. This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something.
She followed the pleasure where it led. She had no weight, no name, no thoughts, no history. Then came a burst of phosphorescence, as though a firework had discharged behind her eyes, and it was over. She felt quiet and warm. For the first conscious moment of her life, her mind was free from wonder, free from worry, free from work or puzzlement. Then, from the middle of that marvelous furred stillness, a thought took shape, took hold, took over. I shall have to do this again.
I see a lot of women who can't travel when they're young, and then their kids grow up and they become amazing adventurers. Travel is not only for the young. Sometimes it's wasted on the young.
Here's the thing: the unit of reverence in Europe is the family, which is why a child born today of unmarried parents in Sweden has a better chance of growing up in a house with both of his parents than a child born to a married couple in America. Here we revere the couple, there they revere the family.
The Yogic scriptures say that God responds to the sacred prayers and efforts of human beings in any way whatsoever that mortals choose to worship -- just so long as those prayers are sincere.
That's when Felipe from Brazil asked me in the most natural and relaxed of ways (almost as if he were wondering if we should get a bite to eat), 'Shouldn't we have an affair together, Liz? What do you think?' 283.
I do forget sometimes how much it means for certain men--for certain people--to be able to provide their loved ones with material comforts and protection at all times. I forget how dangerously reduced some men can feel when that basic ability has been stripped from them. I forget how much that matters to men, what it represents.
I think it's wonderful when a love story begins with a great deal of romance and affection, passion and excitement, that's how it should be. But I don't necessarily know that it's the wisest thing in the world to expect that it ends there, or that it should, 30 years down the road, still look as it did on the night of your first kiss.
I'm an enormous product of my century, I'm a product of my upbringing. I was not aware of the fact that I was entering marriage with the highest set of expectations that humans have ever brought to the institution. It was really good to find that out. It doesn't have to be the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, the moon and the stars -- it can just be the moon. It's enough that it just can be what it is.
I'm a pleaser. That's my character.
I was a writer before 'Eat, Pray, Love,' and I'll be a writer after it's over. It's what I want to do for the rest of my life.
It's what I call the haute couture, high-end version of fear perfectionism. It's just fear in really good shoes. But it's still fear.
Balance is not letting anyone love you less than you love yourself.
I was the baby of the family, but I was never babied, and that allowed me to take whatever artistic temperament I had and apply learned discipline. I was taught how to work. I think that's everything. Creativity and imagination alone are not going to get you there.
I actually have a great deal of respect for antidepressants; I think they can be enormously mighty tools toward recovery.
To sit patiently with a yearning that has not yet been fulfilled, and to trust that, that fulfillment will come, is quite possibly one of the most powerful "magic skills" that human beings are capable of. It has been noted by almost every ancient wisdom tradition.
I completely respect the ways people are bound in the lives that they have, whether it's because of forces outside of their control or choices that they've made that they want to honor with their own responsibilities and obligations -- taking care of people around them or being a part of a community, or their work.
There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under my jurisdiction. There are certain lottery tickets I can buy, thereby increasing my odds of finding contentment. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with.
Marriage is a strange combination of dream and reality, and we spend our lives as couples trying to negotiate that divide.
When you want to do something creative and you want to do something new, you have to start with the thing that's making you want to jump up out of bed in the morning.
The fantasy of the wedding day is that it represents undeniable public and private truth that you have been chosen. For that one day, you are the most valuable creature in the world -- a treasure, a princess, a prize.
Most of humanity, he said, have eyes that are so caked shut with the dust of deception they will never see the truth, no matter who tries to help them.
Even in the worst tragedies and crisis, there's no reason to add to everyone's misery by looking miserable yourself.
We don't realize that, somewhere within us all, there does exist a supreme self who is eternally at peace.
People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.
A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. Longer Version:
People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.
A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.
A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master.
A creative life is an amplified life. It's a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life. Living in this manner-continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you-is a fine art, in and of itself.
Which is -- you know, like check it out, I'm pretty young, I'm only about 40 years old. I still have maybe another four decades of work left in me. And it's exceedingly likely that anything I write from this point forward is going to be judged by the world as the work that came after the freakish success of my last book, right?
Power is a neutral energy source, like tofu. It's what you do with it that gives it flavor.
From the most sacred ancient text of Yoga: Oh Krishna, the mind is restless, turbulent, strong, and unyielding. I consider it as difficult to subdue as the wind.
But at some point you have to make peace with what you were given and if God wanted me to be a shy girl with think, dark hair, He would have made me that way, but He didn't. Useful, then, might be to accept how I was made and embody myself fully therein.
The Augusteum warns me not to get attached to any obsolete ideas about who I am, what I represent, whom I belong to, or what function I may once have intended to serve.
I'd learned enough from life's experiences to understand that destiny's interventions can sometimes be read as invitation for us to address and even surmount our biggest fears. It doesn't take a great genius to recognize that when you are pushed by circumstance to do the one thing you have always most specifically loathed and feared, this can be, at the very least, an interesting growth opportunity.
I have searched frantically for contentment for so many years in so many ways, and all the acquisitions and accomplishments- they run you down in the end.
I believe in miracles, I believe in the Law of Attraction, but even I don't think I'm big enough to manifest five Asian elephants cloaked in gold.
This person had arrived, he had illuminated her, he had ensorcelled her with notions of miracle and beauty, he had both understood and misunderstood her, he had married her, he had broken her heart, he had looked upon her with those sad and hopeless eyes, he had accepted his banishment, and now he was gone. What a stark and stunning thing was life- that such a cataclysm can enter and depart so quickly, and leave such wreckage behind!
Look -- I understand that an unexamined life is not worth living, but do you think I could someday have an unexamined lunch?
I'm so excited about school. I'm such a shameless student. I laid my clothes out last night, just like I did before my first day of first grade, with my patent leather shoes and my new lunch box. I hope the teacher will like me :).
A woman's place is in the kitchen...sitting in a comfortable chair, with her feet up, drinking a glass of wine and watching her husband cook dinner.
The appreciation of pleasure can be the anchor of humanity.
The little fishing boat anchors right off the shore of Gili Meno. There are no docks here on this island. You have to roll up your pants, jump off the boat and wade in through the surf on your own power. There's absolutely no way to do this without getting soaking wet or even banged up on the coral, but it's worth all the trouble because the beach here is so beautiful, so special.
Well, I always tried to look nice and be feminine even in the worst tragedies and crisis, there's no reason to add to everyone's misery by looking miserable yourself. That's my philosophy. This is why I always wore makeup and jewelry into the jungle-nothing too extravagant, but maybe just a nice gold bracelet and some earrings, a little lipstick, good perfume. Just enough to show that I still had my self-respect.
I'm choosing happiness over suffering, I know I am. I'm making space for the unknown future to fill up my life with yet-to-come surprises.
A true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back.
A true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.
The more exquisitely and delightfully you can do nothing, the higher your life's achievement.
I'm not a big Austen reader. I wouldn't say I dislike her, but if I had to choose between her and Eliot to bring to a desert island, it would definitely be Eliot.
We all have love stories that go terribly wrong; we all have horribly broken hearts. And somehow we endure. We're not destroyed by it. We endure and go on to do interesting things and have worthy lives, even though we carry our heartbreaks with us. That's a kind of personal story of mine that I don't think I would tell in memoir but I do think I can tell in fiction.
Give your mind a job to do, or else it will find a job to do, and you might not like the job it invents.
I decide every day that I love Creativity enough to accept that Fear will always come with it. And I talk to Fear all the time, speaking to it with love and respect, saying to it: "I know that you are Fear, and that your job is to be afraid. And you do your job really well! I will never ask you to leave me alone or to be silent, because you have a right to speak your own voice, and I know that you will never leave me alone or be silent, anyhow. But I need you to understand that I will always choose Creativity over you.
Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a friend.
When I tried this morning, after an hour or so of unhappy thinking, to dip back into my meditation, I took a new idea with me: compassion. I asked my heart if it could please infuse my soul with a more generous perspective on my mind's workings. Instead of thinking that I was a failure, could I perhaps accept that I am only a human being -- and a normal one, at that?
There's no reason to keep a piece of furniture in your house that is so sacred and rare that you can't put your feet up on it and a dog can't jump up on it. Likewise, a book that sits on a shelf like a piece of porcelain, only to be admired, never to be read again, is a dead book.
We live in this society where you must constantly be reinventing yourself. The big question is what are you doing next. The only thing they want is composed of these three elements: They want you to do it the exact same way because they want more of it; but they want it to be totally different; and they want it to be better. That's all you have to do. You just have to do something that's exactly the same, totally different, and better.
Our relationship now thoroughly ruined, with even civility destroyed between us, all I wanted anymore was the door.
I think another way that you can really harm yourself as an artist is by buying into the mythology that it's really important.
Imagine that the universe is a great spinning engine. You want to stay near the core of the thing -- right in the hub of the wheel -- not out at the edges where all the wild whirling takes place, where you can get frayed and crazy. The hub of calmness -- that's your heart. That's where God lives within you. So stop looking for answers in the world. Just keep coming back to that center and you'll always find peace.
The emotional place where a marriage begins is not nearly as important as the emotional place where a marriage finds itself toward the end, after many years of partnership.
Psychologists suggest that we must reach back at least three generations to look for clues whenever we begin untangling the emotional legacy of any one family's history.
I was a bartender for a long time, so I know how to make drinks, but I'm more likely to offer them than to have them. I think this is one of the reasons why I get to live longer than my great-grandmother did, and why I get to produce more writing than she did, and why my marriage isn't in dire straits.
The Silly Putty-like malleability of the institution marriage, in fact, is the only reason we still have the thing at all. Very few people... would accept marriage on it's thirteenth-century terms. Marriage survives, in other words, precisely because it evolves. (Though I suppose this would not be a very persuasive argument to those who probably also don't believe in evolution).
Marriage is -- among other things -- a study in contradiction and disappointment, and inside that reality there is space for us to truly learn how to love.
Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be… a prudent insurance policy.
You write fiction, you're writing memoir, and when you're writing memoir, you're writing fiction.
It all goes away. Eventually, everything goes away.
What I object to is the hyper-fetishized wedding day, the prioritizing of wedding over marriage. I have a real problem with couples spending far more time discussing the seating arrangement or the color of the bridesmaid's gowns than hashing out, for instance, their feelings about how they intend to handle questions of housework, child-rearing, finances and fidelity for the next four or five decades.
Moreover, they would likely agree that there is not one special person waiting for you somewhere in this world who will make your life magically complete, but that there are any number of people (right in your community, probably) with whom you can seal a respectful bond.
To find the balance you want, this is what you must become. You must keep your feet grounded so firmly on the earth that it's like you have 4 legs instead of 2. That way, you can stay in the world. But you must stop looking at the world through your head. You must look through your heart, instead. That way, you will know God.
If you are given only one opportunity to speak, be certain your voice is heard.
My life acccomplishments? Sanity, and you.
The great lack of parity between husbands and wives has always been spawned by the disproportionate degree of self-sacrifice that women are willing to make on behalf of those they love.
A man that can cook you a proper meal that is like a weekday meal -- which I think cannot be better than in the form of a roast chicken -- that's the greatest.
If you're brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.
One year, Alma bought Prudence- who liked to draw flowers (beautifully, though not 'accurately')- a lovely book on botanical illustration called "Every Lady Her Own Drawing Master: A New Treatise on Flower Painting." That same year, Prudence made for Alma an exquisite satin pincushion, rendered in Alma's favorite color, aubergine.
It has never been easy for me to understand why people work so hard to create something beautiful, but then refuse to share it with anyone, for fear of criticism.
Absolute certainty is not something I strive for anymore. I've learned the hard way that destiny usually looks upon our most strident convictions with amusement, or perhaps even pity.
And when you sense a faint potentiality for happiness after such dark times you must grab onto the ankles of that happiness and not let go until it drags you face-first out of the dirt -- this is not selfishness, but obligation. You were given life; it is your duty to find something beautiful within life no matter how slight.
Nothing is less efficient than perfectionism.
At some point, you gotta let go, and sit still, and allow contentment to come to you.
It is completely acceptable to be tired because it means you're working hard. But it's not acceptable to be stressed because that means things are going wrong or your head is broken.
I know I'm not a self-indulgent idiot; I also know I'm not the second coming of Deepak Chopra. If I had believed either of those, or both, as some people do when they get famous, that's when the mental illness arrives.
You take whatever works from wherever you can find it, and you keep moving toward the light.
I'm here. I love you. I don't care if you need to stay up crying all night long, I will stay with you... There's nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and I am braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.
Women are capable of enduring a tremendous amount of disappointment and still have a good life.
Until-as often happened during those first months travel, whenever I would feel such happiness-my guilt alarm went off. I heard my ex-husband's voice speaking disdainfully in my ear: So this is what you gave up everything for? This is why you gutted our entire life together? For a few stalks of asparagus and an Italian newspaper?
I replied aloud to him: "First of all," I said, "I'm very sorry, but this isn't your business anymore. And secondly, to answer you question...yes.
To devote yourself to the creation and enjoyment of beauty, then, can be a serious business-not always necessarily a means of escaping reality, but sometimes a means of holding on to the real when everything is flaking away into... rhetoric and plot.
When the karma of a relationship is done, only love remains. It's safe. Let go.
Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience.
The Balinese don't wait and see "how things go." That would be terrifying. They organize how things go, in order to keep things from falling apart.
I think when you are an aspiring writer, you must write every day. It's not as though anybody will call you up on the phone and say, "I understand you are a very promising, aspiring writer and I'm going to give you this assignment." You have to create it yourself or it's never going to happen.
Creativity is a gift to the creator not just a gift to the audience.
When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person's body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings.
A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake.
Part of the elasticity that you need, in order to continue to try to create, is the foregone conclusion that not all of it is going to be fabulously successful. But it's all going to be part of a long lifetime body of experimentation.
Despite having written five books, I worry that I have not written the right kinds of books, or that perhaps I have dedicated too much of my life to writing, and have therefore neglected other aspects of my being.
As somebody who, in my second marriage, insisted on a prenuptial agreement, I can also testify that sometimes it is an act of love to chart the exit strategy before you enter the union, in order to make sure that not only you, but your partner as well, knows that there will be no World War III should hearts and minds, for any sad reason, change.