Quiet Thoughts - Quotes
Wrongfully do men lament the flight of time, accusing it of being too swift, and not perceiving that its period is sufficient. But good memory wherewith nature has endowed us causes everything long past to seem present.
Remember the high board at the swimming pool? After days of looking up at it you finally climbed the wet steps to the platform. From there, it was higher than ever. There were only two ways down: the steps to defeat of the dive to victory. You stood on the edge, shivering in the hot sun, deathly afraid. At last you leaned too far forward, it was too late for retreat, and you dived. The high board was conquered, and you spent the rest of the day diving. Climbing a thousand high boards, we demolish fear, and turn into human beings.
A Gift of Wings
What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark.
You gain strength, courage & confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.
Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You'll find what you need to furnish it - memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.
Life is a journey. Perhaps we may be more or less pointed towards a general direction, but whether we pave that road with diamonds and gold or just plain dirt and cement is up to us.
At every crisis in one's life, it is absolute salvation to have some sympathetic friend to whom you can think aloud without restraint or misgiving.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
Look at everything as though you were seeing it for the first time or the last time. Then your time on earth will be filled with glory.
Most people would rather be certain they're miserable, than risk being happy.
I used to sit on the banks with a raft and watch the water roll lazily by. One day I pushed my raft into the shallows of the water and found the water moved swifter than I thought, but my raft was actually a little rowboat. Then, after some time I rowed my little boat into deeper water. There were great storms, mighty winds, tremendous waves, and sometimes I felt so alone. But I have noticed my little rowboat is now a mighty ship manned by my friends and loved ones, and beautiful calm seas, warm sunny days, and nights filled with comfortable dreams always double after a storm. Now, I could never go back and sit on the bank, in fact, I search for deeper water. Such is life when lived.
Sometimes it seems like there are too many roads... and you are not sure that you will ever find the right one. But that's only because we all make our own story... and exploring is how each new adventure is begun.
Everyone is an explorer. How could you possibly live your life looking at a door and not open it?
People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.
If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.
If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.
If only we'd stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time.
Most men live their lives in quiet desperation. Break forth and find new ground. Don't let it be said that you came to the end of your life and found out that you had not truly lived. Enjoy life and feast on the marrow from the bone of living.
It's scary sometimes when you consider that the smallest decision you make can totally change your life. A single choice and you might be hitching a ride down a totally different highway of life. And the disturbing part of all this is that you'll never know for sure what your life could be, would be, or should be. Gambles we all must take, but sometimes, the stakes are simply too high.
Life isn't about the breaths we take, it's about the moments that take our breath away.
I looked upon a clock to find the truth. The hours were passing like ivory chess figures, striking piano notes, and the minutes raced on wires mounted like tin soldiers. Hours like tall ebony women with gongs between their legs, tolling continuously so that I could not count them. I heard the rolling of my heart-beats; I heard the footsteps of my dreams, and the beat of time was lost among them like the face of truth.
House of Incest
In the world of the dreamer there was solitude: all the exaltations and joys came in the moment of preparation for living. They took place in solitude. But with action came anxiety, and the sense of insuperable effort made to match the dream, and with it came weariness, discouragement, and the flight into solitude again. And then in solitude, in the opium den of remembrance, the possibility of pleasure again.
Children of the Albatross
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I... I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.
The Road Not Taken
In uncertainty I am certain that underneath their topmost layers of frailty men want to be good and want to be loved. Indeed, most of their vices are attempted short cuts to love. When a man comes to die, no matter what his influence and genius, if he dies unloved his life must be a failure to him and his dying a cold horror. It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world.
We have only one story. All novels, all poetry, are built on the never-ending contest in ourselves of good and evil. And it occurs to me that evil must constantly re-spawn, while good, while virtue, is immortal. Vice has always a new fresh young face, while virtue is venerable as nothing else in the world is.
East of Eden
I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than it be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. And now when every new baby is born its first laugh becomes a fairy. So there ought to be one fairy for every boy or girl.
Every time a child says "I don't believe in fairies," there is a little fairy somewhere that falls down dead.
One of the pleasantest things in the world is going on a journey; I can enjoy society in a room; but out of doors, nature is company enough for me. I am then never less alone than when alone.
On Going a Journey
To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars.
Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue to exist, a wonderful living side by side can grow up, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see each other whole against the sky.
Some people have a large circle of friends while others have only friends that they like.
Never fear shadows. They simply mean there's a light shining somewhere nearby.
Due to circumstances beyond your control, you are master of your fate and captain of your soul.
I'm not prepared to sacrifice my being engaged in the world for just any relationship.
Of all the gods, Beauty is the most heartless, and the mirror is her sword.
We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.
Absence extinguishes small passions and increases great ones, as the wind blows out a candle, and blows in a fire.
Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows.
There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.
A Long Walk to Freedom
This is the fairest picture on our planet, the most enchanting to look upon, the most satisfying to the eye and spirit. To see the sun sink down, drowned in his pink and purple and golden floods, and overwhelm Florence with tides of color that make all the sharp lines dim and faint and turn the solid city to a city of dreams, is a sight to stir the coldest nature, and make a sympathetic one drunk with ecstasy.
If we hadn't our bewitching autumn foliage, we should still have to credit the weather with one feature which compensates for all its bullying vagaries - the ice-storm: when a leafless tree is clothed with ice from the bottom to the top - ice that is as bright and clear as crystal; when every bough and twig is strung with ice-beads, frozen dew-drops, and the whole tree sparkles cold and white, like the Shah of Persia's diamond plume. Then the wind waves the branches and the sun comes out and turns all those myriads of beads and drops to prisms that glow and burn and flash with all manner of colored fires, which change and change again with inconceivable rapidity from blue to red, from red to green, and green to gold-the tree becomes a spraying fountain, a very explosion of dazzling jewels; and it stands there the acme, the climax, the supremest possibility in art or nature, of bewildering, intoxicating, intolerable magnificence. One cannot make the words too strong.
God's finger touched him, and he slept.
The credit belongs to the man who is in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best, knows the triumph of high achievement; who at worst, if he fails at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
Tell me not, in mournful numbers, life is but an empty dream! -
For the soul is dead that slumbers, and things are not what they seem.
Life is real! Life is earnest! And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest, was not spoken of the soul.
Not enjoyment, and not sorrow, is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each to-morrow find us farther than to-day.
Art is long, and Time is fleeting, and our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating funeral marches to the grave.
A Psalm of Life
Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
Days, when the ball of our vision
Had eagles that flew unabashed to sun;
When the graps on the bow was decision,
And arrow and hand and eye were one;
When the Pleasures, like waves to a swimmer,
Came heaving for rapture ahead! -
Invoke them, they dwindle, they glimmer
As lights over mounds of the dead.
Ode to Youth in Memory
Fact of the matter is, there is no hip world, there is no straight world. There's a world, you see, which has people in it who believe in a variety of different things. Everybody believes in something and everybody, by virtue of the fact that they believe in something, use that something to support their own existence.
The true object of all human life is play. Life is a task garden, heaven is a playground.