Monday, December 30, 2013

My favorite book quotes from 2013

When one has a blog, this time of the year, one is tempted to write a sappy “year in review” type of post. I contemplated it, but ultimately decided against it. Instead, I am going to share quotes from some of my favorite books from my 2013 reading frenzy. After all it is through books that I often find my true self. My own life comes into a clearer focus. The books are my teachers and my companions.  They offer wisdom and insight, and I listen to them…As you will see, the books are a crazy array of everything – and they are just a sampling – because that’s how life is – a crazy array of everything, isn’t?  Also, as much as you try, it willl probably be hard to pin point exactly “why” certain quotes are on this list. It’s hard to explain - some arejust for the beauty of the language and the writing, others for the wisdom it offers., yet others for inexplicable reasons – just because they touched something in me. My reasons are not as important as your own reactions to what you read. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

~The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.
~That’s what I’m offering you.” His breath was warm against her skin. “I want to fill your life with color and warmth. I want to fill it with light.”

Redeeming Love: A Novel by Francine Rivers

~Frying chicken always makes me feel a little better about life.
~Some folks is whispering, murmuring to God, and a quiet power fill up the room, like bees buzzing on a comb. I say my prayers to myself. When I’m done, I take a deep breath, wait for the others to finish. When I get home tonight, I’ll write my prayers too. This is worth the double time.
~If chocolate was a sound, it would’ve been Constantine’s voice singing. If singing was a color, it would’ve been the color of that chocolate.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

~Each phase has been accompanied by a utopian rethinking of art’s relationship to the social and of its political potential – manifested in a reconsideration of the ways in which art is produced, consumed and debate.
Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship by Claire Bishop

~Personal choices are not always as personal as they appear. We are all influenced by social conventions, peer pressure, and familial expectations.
~We overwork to overcompensate.
~Guilt management can be just as important as time management for mothers.
~Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to go through life without being labeled by my gender.
~The goal is to give women something men tend to receive automatically—the benefit of the doubt.
~Feeling threatened by others’ choices pulls us all down. Instead, we should funnel our energy into breaking this cycle.
~I am hoping that each woman will set her own goals and reach for them with gusto. And I am hoping that each man will do his part to support women in the workplace and in the home, also with gusto.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

~You, leaders, are artists: a realization that should overwhelm as well as humble. It underscores your public role and the risks involved. You are putting your work on display every day, like an artist.
~Effective Does Not Mean Good We are repeatedly struck by the tolerance of many companies toward people who are highly compromised. Most often, these are people who make money while simultaneously doing immeasurable damage to morale and to the organization.
~C. S. Lewis once remarked that philosophy is the study of what we already know. We would put leadership in the same camp. A common lament from those who read leadership books is that it is all common sense. What else could it be? Leadership is about a relationship between one person and others. As a relationship, it is subject to the same human interests and concerns that infiltrate other areas of our lives. Therefore, if we are accused of common sense, to that we would say, “Good, it should be.”

Every Leader Is an Artist: How the World's Greatest Artists Can Make You a More Creative Leader by William Baker, Michael O'Malley


~Ours was the kind of dinner conversation one might expect to find in an English-as-a-second-language course or in the babble of a Pentecostal church.
~You’ll find the balance you need as soon as you let go of how you think things should be and accept them as they are. Watch for the big wave. It’ll push you in the direction of joy.
~Outside my window the gorgeous blue sky and beaming sunshine mocked me. It was a beautiful new day. Against my will, I started to cry again. I didn’t want a new day full of the same shit as yesterday. I didn’t want to be alone. But I didn’t have the courage not to be.

~On the heels of anger came denial. A glorious place to visit, but a dangerous place to live.
~Life is to be embraced. It’s meant to be lived and enjoyed. Make your mistakes, but make them with gusto and learn from them.

~My attorney, Jeannette, was the sort of elegant, overaccomplished woman I normally disliked on principle alone. She was brilliant, fearless, and dressed with a panache even Fontaine could not duplicate. Her skin reminded me of a mocha latte, and her dark, soulful eyes saw through bullshit like laser vision.

~My heart went pop, pop, sparkle, sparkle, shimmer, shimmer, sigh...
Crazy Little Thing (A Bell Harbor Novel) by Tracy Brogan

~If these statistics surprise you, that’s probably because so many people pretend to be extroverts. Closet introverts pass undetected on playgrounds, in high school locker rooms, and in the corridors of corporate America.
~Peer pressure, in other words, is not only unpleasant, but can actually change your view of a problem.

~Persistence isn’t very glamorous. If genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration, then as a culture we tend to lionize the one percent. We love its flash and dazzle. But great power lies in the other ninety-nine percent.

~Where we stumble is where our treasure lies.
~The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some it’s aBroadway spotlight; for others, a lamplit desk.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

~My subjects say the real lessons of life are learned by recognizing and coming to terms with being human. Even as victims, we are beneficiaries because it is how we stand up to failure and duress which really marks our progress in life. Sometimes one of the most important lessons is to learn to just let go of the past.

~We don't need to change who we are in relation to life's experiences, only our negative reactions to these events.

~Lesson we must learn from human relationships is accepting people for who they are without expecting our happiness to be totally dependent upon anyone
Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives by Michael Newton


~Like the late United States senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, we believe that people have a right to their own opinion but not their own facts.

~Untruths that are somewhere on the spectrum between totally unconscious and partly conscious, untruths that people tell not only to others but at times to themselves as well.

~Indeed, in the cultural climate of early twentieth-century America, it may have been as politically incorrect to express tolerance as it is to express intolerance in early twenty-first-century America.

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People by Mahzarin R. Banaji, Anthony G. Greenwald


~What was wrong with these Russians? Everything they did was slapdash, disorganized, and half-finished.
~This was how Lenin was all the time. He barked orders at everyone, and they did what he said because he always made sense.

~A baby was like a revolution, Grigori thought: you could start one, but you could not control how it would turn out. General Kornilov’s counterrevolution had been crushed before it got started.
Fall of Giants: Book One of the Century Trilogy by Ken Follett

~“All transformation appears to be motivated by desperation and emergency.” She wrote, “The beauty and variety of the natural world are merely the visible legacies of endless war.” She wrote, “The victor shall win—but only until he no longer wins.” She wrote, “This life is a tentative and difficult experiment.”
~“I believe that we are all transient,” she began. She thought for a while and added, “I believe that we are half-blind and full of errors. I believe that we understand very little, and what we do understand is mostly wrong. I believe that life cannot be survived—that is evident!—but if one is lucky, life can be endured for quite a long while. If one is both lucky and stubborn, life can sometimes even be enjoyed.”
~She was not afraid of offending religion, as she frequently told her uncle; she was afraid of offending something far more sacred to her: reason.

~You see, I have never felt the need to invent a world beyond this world, for this world has always seemed large and beautiful enough for me. I have wondered why it is not large and beautiful enough for others—why they must dream up new and marvelous spheres, or long to live elsewhere, beyond this dominion . . . but that is not my business. We are all different, I suppose.
The Signature of All Things: A Novel by Elizabeth Gilbert

~Steel vise wrapped around her chest and squeezed so she felt like she was suffocating and she gasped for air, but beneath her panic she could hear the weary, calm voice of experience: You’ve been here before. It won’t kill you. It feels like you can’t breathe, but you actually are breathing. It feels like you’ll never stop crying, but you actually will.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty


Friday, November 1, 2013

About time

Time flies, people say...
Questions swirl and dance on the floor of my mind:

How did it become November?
Did I feel everything I was meant to feel?
Will it get windy and cold and will it be alright?
Will I still remember what I must not forget?
Have I become better?

Time flies, they say...
Life smiles a frank smile: "Too fast for you kid?"

And answers swirl around the ceiling of my soul:
November came simply and quietly after October, as it should have, as it always does.
You felt what you should have, as you always do, as you always will.
It will get windy and cold, but it is going to be alright, as it always is, as it always has been.
Your mind won't remember but your soul will, as it always does, as it always will.
You have become more of who you are, as you are meant to be, as you always will be.

Friday, February 15, 2013

About Love

The other day I saw a Valentine's day commercial.  It showed a box with a small heart pendant which was surrounded by heart-shaped chocolates. The slogan said that if you get diamonds and chocolate "you know you are loved".

At first I chuckled - does anyone really fall for this!! - but then it got me thinking...The advertisers are at times on to something. The most effective advertising is one which taps into our deepest fears and desires. And this one, with all its obviousness and cheesiness, struck a cord. Why? Because feeling loved is critically important to well-being. So how can you know that you are loved (hint - I don't think diamonds and chocolates are the right barometer)? I mean, really loved, in the deepest and biggest sense of the word? 
  • I feel loved when I remember my grandpa, grandma and my mom. Their love energy is always with me. When I was a baby (maybe a toddler),  the story goes that I used to demand that  all of them - mom, grandpa, and grandma especially - should be within my sight when I was in a stroller. It created all kinds of strange and probably uncomfortable walking arrangements, but they happily complied.  I guess, like every baby, I wanted to make sure I can physically see them to truly know I am loved. That's how I imagine them now, by my side, taking every step I take. Although I can't see them, I know I am loved.
  • I feel loved sitting on comfortable (slightly worn out) couch, wrapped in a warm fuzzy throw, holding hands with two of my favorite men; one hand is small and fits neatly inside mine while the other envelopes my hand.
  • I feel loved when something I worked hard on actually turns  into something tangible and positive. I know that creative energy (all energy) comes from a mysterious, boundless place and I feel loved when I am fortunate enough to tap into it.
  • I feel loved when I realize the dots on my life's journey, like distant stars that I didn't even know existed, are connecting into an amazing constellation.
  • I feel loved when I screw up royally and the sky does not fall, and I know that it's ok.
I recently read a book called "Proof of Heaven".  It's the account of Dr. Eben Alexander's personal near-death experience. In this book he shares the wisdom he brought from heaven. The messages are simple (one may argue that they are a bit too simple to be dispatched from heaven. But then again, isn't everything true, brilliant and pure also simple?) These messages, in a nutshell, are:
  • You are loved and cherished.
  • You have nothing to fear.
  • The single most important force in the Universe is unconditional Love.
So, about Love (with an intential big L), imagine what the world would be like if all of us knew that we are loved, all the time, no matter what? That would be cool. I am down for that.