Life can be challenging. In order to build resiliency and sustain hope, it is often helpful to share stories of inspiration and triumph and to read prose that reminds us of the importance of nurturing all aspects of self: physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and creative. This section is a venue for sharing inspirational quotes that teach wellness practices for daily living. If you have a favorite quote that you would like to share, please forward it to Elizabeth Venart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today's Inspirational Quote
Source: The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff (1982), pp.48-65
“Everything has its own Inner Nature. . . The Way of Self-Reliance starts with recognizing who we are, what we’ve got to work with, and what works best for us.
“How would you explain it, Pooh?”
“With a song,” he said. “A little something I just made up.”
“Certainly. . . (cough).”
How can you get very far,
If you don’t know Who You Are?
How can you do what you ought,
If you don’t know What You’ve got?
And if you don’t know Which To Do
Of all the things in front of you,
Then what you’ll have when you are through
Is just a mess without a clue
Of all the best that can come true
If you know What and Which and Who.
. . . Sooner or later, we are bound to discover some things about ourselves that we don’t like. But once we see they’re there, we can decide what we want to do with them. . . . In a similar manner, instead of struggling to erase what are referred to as negative emotions, we can learn to use them in positive ways. We could describe the principle like this: while pounding on the piano keys may produce noise, removing them doesn’t exactly further the creation of music. The principles of Music and Living aren’t all that different. . . . So rather than working against ourselves, all we need to do in many cases is to point our weaknesses or unpleasant tendencies in a different direction than we have been.
In the story of the Ugly Duckling, when did the Ugly Duckling stop feeling Ugly? When he realized that he was a Swan. Each of us has something Special, a Swan of some sort, hidden inside somewhere. But until we recognize that it’s there, what can we do but splash around, treading water? The Wise are Who They Are. They work with what they’ve got and do what they can do.
. . . The first thing we need to do is recognize and trust our own Inner Nature, and not lose sight of it. For within the Ugly Duckling is the Swan, inside the Bouncy Tigger is the Rescuer who knows the Way, and in each of us is something Special, and that we need to keep.
Past Inspirational Quotes
Source: Shelter for the Spirit: Create your
own haven in a hectic world (1997) by Victoria Moran, pp.67-68.
“Even when time is a problem, most of
us get our work done. We keep our houses reasonably clean. We care for
our children. We take the care in for an oil change. . . We do what we
have to do. What we want to do, however, may never get done. . . .
“Write down everything you want to do before you die.
It doesn’t have to be reasonable. Just write it. Visit a pygmy tribe
in central Africa. Write it. Locate my best friend from sixth grade. Write
it. . . . When you catalog your heart’s desires, it sets in motion
a chain of events that is indeed uncanny. It’s as if your subconscious
reads the list and sets about to make it happen. . . . We tend to downplay
the importance of fun and of making our dreams come true, but these are
our defenses against regret. Schedule in time for sheer pleasure, and
keep your schedule flexible to allow for impromptu delights. . .
“We were conditioned early in life to see work
as more valuable than play, but play is the work of children. It is the
finest way to learn, and it needs to continue throughout our lives. In
school, we had courses that were “solids”—math, grammar,
Latin, history—and “nonsolids”—art, music, poetry,
sports. But what makes life worth living today, the fact that you can
conjugate a verb, or that you can still recite Sara Teasdale and hit a
pretty decent tennis serve. Program your mind with this: Recreation is
required. It is not optional. Look at the word: recreation. The time you
give to it recreates your soul. There’s no waste in that.”
Source: A Way of Being (1980) by Carl R.
“On the basis of my experience I have
found that if I can help bring about a climate marked by genuineness,
prizing, and understanding, then exciting things happen. Persons and groups
in such a climate move away from rigidity and toward flexibility, away
from static living toward process living, away from dependence toward
autonomy, away from defensiveness toward self-acceptance, away from being
predictable toward an unpredictable creativity. . . . When I am exposed
to a growth-promoting climate, I am able to develop a deep trust in myself,
in individuals, and in entire groups. I love to create such an environment,
in which persons, groups, and even plants can grow.
“I have learned that in any significant or continuing relationship,
persistent feelings, had best be expressed. If they are expressed as feelings,
owned by me, the result may be temporarily upsetting but ultimately far
more rewarding than any attempt to deny or conceal them. . .
“I like my life best when it faces outward most of the time. I prize
the times when I am inward-looking—searching to know myself, meditating,
and thinking. But this must be balanced by doing things—interacting
with people, producing something, whether a flower or a book or a piece
Source: The Art of Doing Nothing (1998)
by Veronique Vienne, pp. 82-87.
“In the pursuit of tomorrow, we often
run into scheduling potholes—those waiting periods that force us
to linger in the present tense. Stuck in the “now” (for how
long, we don’t know), we must wait patiently for the next available
ride into the future. It is a chance to take a breather. But no. Far from
enjoying the lull, we feel frustrated, impatient, jittery. We look at
our watches and are annoyed to find them still ticking. One of our worst
fears is to be left behind as the world rushes toward its destiny.
“We firmly believe that time flows in a continuous
stream, twenty-four hours a day, rain or shine. But, so far, no scientist
or philosopher has been able to prove without a doubt that time goes in
one direction, from left to right, from the past into the future. Sure,
time can be measured, but it can be plotted only in relation to a number
of other phenomena, like the position of the sun or the ticking of the
energy inside atoms. In and of itself, time doesn’t seem to exist.
No wonder we feel foolish when we are made to wait: We are trapped in
an invisible cobweb of our own making. . .
“Waiting is not a prelude to the future. If
anything, it is a prelude to the past. The precious minutes, hours, or
days we invest anticipating an event—the return of a friend, the
birth of a child, the purchase or a house, or the last chapter of a book—make
everything more memorable. Take the time to wait: In doing so, you are
manufacturing the stuff of your souvenirs. Dawdle in the present tense.
Give your future a past to remember.”
Source: The Theft of the Spirit: A Journey to Spiritual Healing
(1992) by Carl A. Hammerschlag, pgs. 42-44.
“The Exodus is a story about the escape from
a narrow place and it is a metaphor for the narrow places that all of
us move through in our lives. . . It is only by negotiating our way through
the narrow places that we liberate ourselves from the constraints of our
tunnel vision and become the heroic survivors of our own journeys. . .
. Fear keeps us stuck in the narrow places . . . keeps us stuck or sends
us running off in any and every direction, instead of following the path
of health and growth. . . . When you let fear rule your decision-making,
you’re not choosing your own path. A Rwandan proverb says: You can
outdistance that which is running after you, but not what is running inside
you. . . . Life can’t be mapped out in advance. Our journeys inevitably
present us with things we can’t understand—catastrophes, illnesses,
traumas, losses, miracles, and ultimately death. Life is a journey of
discovery, not certainty, and the best way to make it is simply to take
it. . . . Since you can’t know about your life before you live it,
you just have to do it. If you have to know it before you do it, then
you’ll only do what you’ve already done. The heroic journey
is in recognizing and confronting your fear so you can move past it to
discover your truth. Where you are is probably where you ought t be. It’s
a place where you can learn something you probably need to know. Trust
the process, not the plan. The end of our journey is ultimately a result
of faith, of believing that the journey is worth making. Before its end,
we all experience lots of little leaps of faith. You can’t know
what will happen before you make the leap, because if you think about
anything long enough you’ll be immobilized by fear. Analytical thinking
is based on preconception, but the learning that comes from experience
is based on living. That kind of learning—about ourselves—is
what makes us heroes. To make a leap of faith you have to be able to ask
yourself one question: Is this what my heart tells me I need now?”
Excerpt from The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, p.153-154
"Over an extended period of time, being an artist
requires enthusiasm more than discipline. Enthusiasm is not an emotional
state. It is a spiritual commitment, a loving surrender to our creative
process, a loving recognition of all the creativity around us. . . Enthusiasm
is grounded in play, not work.
Far from being a brain-numbed soldier, our artist
is actually our child within, our inner playmate. As with all playmates,
it is joy, not duty, that makes for a lasting friend.
True, our artist may rise at dawn to greet the typewriter
or easel in the morning stillness. But this event has more to do with
a child's love of secret adventure than with ironclad discipline. What
other people may view as discipline is actually a play date that we make
with our artist child: "I'll meet you at 6:00 a.m. and we'll goof
around with that script, painting, sculpture. . .
Our artist child can best be enticed to work by treating
work as play. Paint is great gooey stuff. Sixty sharpened pencils are
fun. Many writers eschew a computer for the comforting, companionable
clatter of a solid typewriter that trots along like a pony. In order to
work well, many artists find that their work spaces are best dealt with
as play spaces. Dinosaur murals, toys from the five-and-dime, tiny miniature
Christmas lights, papier-mâché monsters, hanging crystals,
a sprig of flowers, a fish tank. . .
Remember that art is process. The process is
supposed to be fun. For our purposes, "the journey is always the
only arrival" may be interpreted to mean that our creative work is
actually our creativity itself at play in the field of time. At the heart
of this play is the mystery of joy."
Source: Peace is Every Step (1991) by Thicht Nhat Hanh, pages 11-12.
“While we practice conscious breathing,
our thinking will slow down, and we can give ourselves a real rest. Most
of the time, we think too much, and mindful breathing helps us to be calm,
relaxed, and peaceful. It helps us to stop thinking so much and stop being
possessed by sorrows of the past and worries about the future. It enables
us to be in touch with life, which is wonderful in the present moment.
“Of course, thinking is important, but quite a lot
of our thinking is useless. It is as if, in our head, each of us has a
cassette tape that is always running, day and night. We think of this
and we think of that, and it is difficult to stop. With a cassette, we
can just press the stop button. But with our thinking, we do not have
any button. We may think and worry so much that we cannot sleep. . . .According
to the method of conscious breathing, when we breathe in and out, we stop
thinking, because saying “In” and “Out” is not
thinking—“In” and “Out” are only words to
help us concentrate on our breathing. If we keep breathing in and out
this way for a few minutes, we become quite refreshed. We recover ourselves,
and we can encounter the beautiful things around us in the present moment.
The past is gone, the future is not yet here. . . .”
“When we are in touch with the refreshing, peaceful, and healing
elements within ourselves and around us, we learn how to cherish and protect
those things and make them grow. These elements of peace are available
to us anytime.”
Source: The Listening Book: Discovering your own music (1991) by
W.A. Mathieu, p.88.
“You may tell yourself that you are not musical,
but that is not true. What is true is that you are not as musical as _______
(fill in the blank with someone more musical than you, from J.S. Bach
to Aretha Franklin).
“The purpose of music is for you to become who you
are, to bring what is inside you into play, to spin a vibrating thread
through the world, to spark life. Music is everyone’s birthright,
and everyone who wants to can claim it. There will always be someone more
musical than you; but there is always more music in you to uncover—more
pitches, more rhythms, a finer sense of proportion, a clearer perception
of your aural world. I have never seen a person who said of their breath,
“That is someone else’s breath,” or a person who did
not recognize the music in their own soul once it was shown to them. Even
if other people have told you the opposite, the day you claim your innate
music is a musical day for the whole world.”
Sing, chant, dance, play a musical instrument, hum along
with the music on the radio, celebrate the blue skies with a whistling
tune. In song, we can release stress and bring ourselves more fully into
the present moment. Today, claim music as your birthright and allow yourself
to feel the joy that creating music brings.”
Source: Shelter for the spirit: Create your own haven in a hectic world
(1997) by Victoria Moran.
“I know it is not always easy or even possible
to have precisely the kind of holiday you would design. Because we’re
connected to other people, holidays can ask that we observe rituals—religious
or commercial—that are not in alignment with our worldview. They
can also cause us to spend time with family members who push every emotional
panic button we’ve got. On the other hand, if we’re estranged
from our families or unable for one reason or another to be with them
on what are supposed to be “family days,” we lament the separation.
With such a definitive no-win situation, it’s little wonder some
people would rather forget holidays altogether. That is one option. But
there is benefit for our homes and our souls in taking a different tack.
“The key to appreciating any holiday is to accept it as it is. The
fireworks might be duds or the crust on the pumpkin pie could burn, and
there’s no telling what some relative might say or do, but as long
as the day isn’t too heavily orchestrated, you can enjoy it anyway.
Tradition is worth preserving, but we frustrate ourselves when we expect
things to always be the same. Comparing one year’s holiday to another’s
is asking for trouble, because we tend to view the past through rose-colored
glasses. If we don’t compare our celebrations to another year’s
or another person’s, every holiday can be memorable in its uniqueness.
. . .
“Regardless of the outward way you’ll spend some holiday or
other, keep it in your heart exactly as you want it. If this is a day
of spiritual significance to you, feast heartily on spiritual food. If
it’s a day for reflection and preparation, like your birthday or
New Year’s Day, find some time for yourself and a place to be quiet
in the midst of the hubbub. If your soul longs for a certain observance
that isn’t taking place, see that it does—even if you make
it a postscripted celebration the next day or the next week. . . .
“If you foresee a special day with nothing special for you in it,
a day you might have to spend alone, do something about this ahead of
time. Make plans to either find a way to serve, celebrate with other people,
or give yourself a quiet day for retreat and renewal. . . . Make it a
day for every wish-come-true that you can do for yourself. Read what you
like. Walk. Create. Contemplate.”
Source: Cassou, M. & Cubley, S. (1995). Life, paint and passion: Reclaiming
the magic of spontaneous expression. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Who does not feel the tingle of excitement
at the prospect of painting? Paint is sensuous. Its rich, vibrant colors
and its yielding smoothness make you want to taste the delicious enjoyment
of applying it to paper . . . Wherever you are is the entry point. To
do the simple thing with integrity—a point, a line, a scribble,
a rough image—is the most creative response you can make. Instead
of struggling and forcing something special to happen, you do what you
can do. And that is enormous, because it’s a gesture that comes
entirely from within, without yielding to the pressures of how you should
do it and what it should look like.
Creation is never about changing yourself; it is about meeting yourself,
probing deep into your own core. Creation wants only to fulfill your deepest
desire: to know and accept yourself as you are. There are no conditions,
no invitations to show at the door. You are at the door and your brush
is the key. Nothing is a mistake, everything is an extension of your being.
You go into what is there, you discover the courage to face what exists.
You step into the middle of yourself and move from there.
“If you wait for inspiration, you may wait a long time. . . The
more you wait, the more you think and get entangled in the tight net of
success and failure. You do not need an idea to paint, you need only a
brush. If you do not know what to do, just paint! (p.10-12).
Gather together some paint, paintbrushes and canvas
and paint. Have fun with it. Experiment. Play! Painting is a creative,
spontaneous outlet for our feelings and experiences. As helpers, it is
essential that we find ways to express ourselves and release the pain
we feel and witness. We are all creative, and there are so many ways to
enjoy our creativity—through
m usic, art, movement. Create space in your life today for spontaneity
Peace is every step: The path of mindfulness in everyday life by Thich
"Investing in Friends" page 87
Even if we have a lot of money in the bank,
we can die very easily from our suffering. So, investing in a friend,
making a friend into a real friend, building a community of friends, is
a much better source of security. We will have someone to lean on, to
come to, during our difficult moments.
We can get in touch with the refreshing, healing elements within and around
us thanks to the loving support of other people. If we have a good community
of friends, we are very fortunate. To create a good community, we first
have to transform ourselves into a good element of the community. After
that, we can go to another person and help him or her become an element
of the community. We build our network of friends that way. We have to
think of friends and community as investments, as our most important asset.
They can comfort us and help us in difficult times, and they can share
our joy and happiness."
As helpers, we are skilled at providing support to others and can sometimes
neglect our need to receive support as well. It is important that we nurture
our friendships, as the nurturing we receive from our friends can help
sustain us in our work and in our lives. Remember to take time out to
laugh, to play and to connect with people.
Viktor Frankl's "Man Search for Meaning" page 170
"There are three main avenues on which one arrives
at meaning in life. The first is by creating a work or by doing a deed.
The second is by experiencing something or encountering someone; in other
words, meaning can be found not only in work but also in love. . . . Most
important, however, is the third avenue to meaning in life: even the helpless
victim of a hopeless situation, facing a fate he cannot change, may rise
above himself, may grow beyond himself, and by so doing change himself.
He may turn a personal tragedy into a triumph."
We can find meaning through all three avenues. It is important that we allow ourselves to pause and notice the heroic so that we may be inspired by courage. Even as we pause to reflect on the resiliency of others, let us always take special note of our own courage as well.
Elizabeth Venart, Licensed Professional Counselor, 602 S. Bethlehem Pike, Ambler, PA 19002
Phone 215.542.5004 Email email@example.com