Well Put Archives

The universe is not obliged to be beautiful, and yet it is beautiful.

—Francois Cheng

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The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness.

—Albert Einstein

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I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom–poets, visionaries, the realists of a larger reality.

                                                             —Ursula K. Le Guin

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I thought that having gone so deeply into my own feelings and dramas I could never again reach objectivity and knowledge of others. But now I know that any experience carried out deeply to its ultimate leads you beyond yourself into a larger relation to the experience of others. If you intensify and complete your subjective emotions, visions, you see their relation to others’ emotions. It is not a question of choosing between them, one at the cost of another, but a matter of completion, of inclusion, an encompassing, unifying, and integrating which makes maturity.

—Anais Nin

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We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.

 — May Sarton

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I do not believe that art (all art) and beauty are ever separate, nor do I believe that either art or beauty are optional in a sane society. That puts me on the side of what Harold Bloom calls “the ecstasy of the privileged moment.” Art, all art, as insight, as rapture, as transformation, as joy. Unlike Harold Bloom, I really believe that human beings can be taught to love what they do not love already and that the privileged moment exists for all of us, if we let it. Letting art is the paradox of active surrender. I have to work for art if I want art to work on me.

—Jeanette Winterson

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Above all, be alone with it all,
a hiving off, a corner of silence
amidst the noise, refuse to talk,
even to yourself, and stay in this place
until the current of the story
is strong enough to float you out.

—David Whyte, Coleman’s Bed

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If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.

—Theodore Roosevelt

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Create for the sake of creating.

—handwritten sign on a street in Boulder, Colorado

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The spaces in our lives that technologies filled in were never such barren places after all. Those spaces were where we stored our magic, our hope, and the longing that drove our striving souls. Every technology will alienate you from some part of your life. That is its job. Your job is to notice. First notice the difference. And then, every time, choose.

The End of Absence, Michael Harris

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It’s part of maturity to project upon your life goals and project upon your life realized dreams and a result that you want. It’s part of becoming whole … just like a childish game. It’s honest — it’s an honest game, because … you want your life to hold hope and possibility.

It’s just that when you get to the real meat of life, life has its own rhythm and you cannot impose your own structure upon it — you have to listen to what it tells you, and you have to listen to what your path tells you. It’s not earth that you move with a tractor — life is not like that. Life is more like earth that you learn about and plant seeds in… It’s something you have to have a relationship with in order to experience — you can’t mold it — you can’t control it…

—Jeff Buckley

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You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great.

—Maya Angelou

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Sail forth — steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless old soul, exploring, I with thou, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go,
And we will risk the ship, ourselves, and all.

—Walt Whitman

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Christopher Knight lived alone and undetected in a tent in a hidden campsite in the Maine woods for 27 years. He stole food and other necessities from surrounding cabins to survive. When he was finally caught, an author got him to talk a little about his life in the woods. Here’s a snippet from one of their conversations:

“But you must have thought about things,” I said. “About your life, about the human condition.”

Chris became surprisingly introspective. “I did examine myself,” he said. “Solitude did increase my perception. But here’s the tricky thing—when I applied my increased perception to myself, I lost my identity. With no audience, no one to perform for, I was just there. There was no need to define myself; I became irrelevant. The moon was the minute hand, the seasons the hour hand. I didn’t even have a name. I never felt lonely. To put it romantically: I was completely free.”

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Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

—C.S. Lewis

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Sleep is the best meditation.

—Dalai Lama

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Q: What do you most value in your friends?
A: Friends should always tell you the truth. But please don’t.

—Louis C K

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Excerpting the following from Paul Ekman’s new book, “Moving Toward Global Compassion,” part of which is based upon an extended conversation with the Dalai Lama, is something like having read the Bible and reporting afterward that what you got from it was hairstyle advice from Delilah. Nonetheless:

The Dalai Lama appears to be a chocoholic. At the Mayo Clinic, he revealed to Ekman, “I asked specifically physician, some people say chocolate is bad, some say good. I ask. They say OK. Since then, I got some liberation.”

—Leah Garchik

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The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

—George Bernard Shaw

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Do, or do not. There is no try.

—Yoda

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I have read somewhere of an old Chinese curse: ‘May you be born in an interesting time!’ This is a VERY interesting time: there are no models for ANYTHING that is going on. It is a period of free fall into the future, and each has to make his or her own way. The old models are not working; the new have not yet appeared. In fact, it is we who are even now shaping the new in the shaping of our interesting lives. And that is the whole sense (in mythological terms) of the present challenge: we are the ‘ancestors’ of an age to come, the unwitting generators of its supporting myths,the mythic models that will inspire its lives.

—Joseph Campbell, Goddesses: Mysteries of the Feminine Divine, p.xiv

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Nobody reads my blog.

—t-shirt seen on Pearl Street Mall, Boulder, Colorado

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wag more, bark less

—bumper sticker

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We had to learn ourselves, and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it didn’t matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life and instead to think of ourselves as those being questioned by life—daily and hourly.. . . Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.

—Viktor Frankl

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