Mini Instruction Manuals for the Soul

Heart & Pineapple Border Grey

 

I love the concept Cheryl Strayed shares in her book Brave Enough, in which she calls quotes “mini instruction manuals for the soul”.  Here are some of the quotes that have inspired and guided my soul:

Single Heart Grey

“Always make your dreams two sizes too big so you have room to grow into them” – Unknown (on a birthday card one of my first bosses sent me)

Single Heart Grey

“In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart”. Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But this definition fails to recognise the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences – good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage” ” – Brene Brown

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive” – Joseph Campbell

Single Heart Grey“The story of human intimacy is one of constantly allowing ourselves to see those we love most deeply in a new, more fractured light. Look hard. Risk that.” – Cheryl Strayed

Single Heart Grey

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it” – Maya Angelou

Single Heart Grey

“The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself” – Maya Angelou

Single Heart Grey

“We need the courage to create ourselves daily, to be bodacious enough to create ourselves daily  – as Christians, as Jews, as Muslims, as thinking, caring, laughing, loving human beings. I think that the courage to confront evil and turn it off by dint of will into something applicable to to the development of our evolution, individually and collectively is exciting, honourable.” – Maya Angelou

Single Heart Grey

“Sit in a room and read–and read and read. And read the right books by the right people. Your mind is brought onto that level, and you have a nice, mild, slow-burning rapture all the time”  – Joseph Campbell

Single Heart Grey

“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being” – Carl Jung

Single Heart Grey

“The great events of world history are, at bottom, profoundly unimportant. In the last analysis, the essential thing is the life of the individual. This alone makes history, here alone do the great transformations first take place, and the whole future, the whole history of the world, ultimately spring as a gigantic summation from these hidden sources in individuals. In our most private and most subjective lives we are not only the passive witnesses of our age, and it sufferers, but also its makers. We make our own epoch” – Carl Jung

Single Heart Grey

“Tears, sorrow, and disappointment are bitter, but wisdom is the comforter in all psychic suffering. Indeed, bitterness and wisdom form a pair of alternatives: where there is bitterness wisdom is lacking, and where wisdom is there can be no bitterness.” – Carl Jung

Single Heart Grey

“Everyone has a talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads” – Erica Jong

Single Heart Grey

“With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate, and the wisdom to be humble. Courage is the foundation of integrity” – Mark Twain

Single Heart Grey

“You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically – to say no to other things and the way to do that is by having a bigger yes burning inside” – Stephen Covey

Single Heart Grey

“Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all others” – Winston Churchill

Single Heart Grey

“Courage is the most important of the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage” – Maya Angelou

Single Heart Grey

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently” – Pema Chodron

Single Heart Grey

“Like all explorers, we are drawn to discover what’s out there without knowing yet if we have the courage to face it” – Pema Chodron

Single Heart Grey

“Time taken too literally can be a tyranny. We are never one thing; we are a conversation – everything we are now and every possibility we could be in the future” – David Whyte

Single Heart Grey

“The gateway to the next epoch of your existence is always through the doorway of a conversation” – David Whyte

Single Heart Grey

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others” – Marianne Williamson

Single Heart Grey

“It is, after all, the dab of grit that seeps into an oyster’s shell that makes the pearl, not pearl-making seminars with other oysters” – Stephen King

Single Heart Grey

“Our richest experiences come ……when we are listening to our own voice, doing something that matters, doing it well and doing it in the service of a cause larger than ourselves” – Daniel Pink, Drive

Single Heart Grey

“Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become” – Steve Jobs

Single Heart Grey

“Always trust yourself and your own feeling. If it turns out you are wrong then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights” – Rainer Maria Rilke Letter to a Young Poet

Single Heart Grey

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do”. – Apple’s Think Different campaign

Single Heart Grey

“Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Single Heart Grey

“Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions” – Hafiz

Single Heart Grey

“The wound is the place where the light enters you” – Rumi

Single Heart Grey

“I didn’t always know what I wanted to do, but I knew the kind of woman I wanted to be” – Diane Von Furstenberg

Single Heart Grey

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste.

But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.

Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through” – Ira Glass

Single Heart Grey

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitides” – Walt Whitman

Single Heart Grey

“Logic will get you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere” – Albert Einstein

Single Heart Grey

“Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it – that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that.  We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can become imprisoned if you think if yourself as a noun” – Stephen Fry

Single Heart Grey

“I write to discover what I know” – Flannery O’Connor

Single Heart Grey

“Caminante, son tus huellas el camino, y nada más; caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar. Al andar se hace camino, y al volver la vista atrás se ve la senda que nunca se ha de volver a pisar. Caminante, no hay camino, sino estelas en la mar.” – Antonio Machado Campos de Castilla

The poet David Whyte translates this as:

“Path-maker, your footsteps are the path, and nothing more; path-maker, there is no path, the path is made by walking. By walking one makes the path, and upon glancing behind one sees the path that never will be trod again. Path-maker, there is no path, only trails upon the sea.”

Single Heart Grey

“We make our world significant by the courage of our questions and by the depth of our answers” – Carl Sagan

Single Heart Grey

“The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.” – Thomas Charles “Chuck” Close

Single Heart Grey

“How do I be me? she asked the tree and she heard its whisper: listen to the beat of your heart, stand tall in your roots, stretch your arms to the sky as you claim your presence.  And you’ll know there’s nothing else for you to do, but to be you” – Terri St. Cloud

Single Heart Grey

“The world is full of magic things waiting for our senses to grow sharper” – W.B. Yeats