Thursday, December 27, 2018

Inspiration and Wisdom - quotes and notes

Instead of my annual list of quotes from the books I've read this year, I decided to share inspiration and wisdom quotes and notes from various sources I’ve gathered in the course of 2018. Many of these are from Oprah’s Supersoul Sunday or Oprah's Supersoul Conversations podcast (highly recommend both). While other quotes are from the books I've read a long time ago, but only now fully embraced their meaning.

Hope you’ll find some nuggets here which will uplift your spirit, make you think differently and more expansively, and, most importantly, be inspired to live your life to the fullest.

Happy New Year 2019!

Life is good.

These are some of the best questions from Oprah’s “soul to soul” interviews. Imagine answering them for yourself in 2019 or interviewing someone using these. Try it! It could be a very powerful experience.
  • What is your definition of God?
  • What is a soul?
  • What happens when we die?
  • Is there something you are still striving for spiritually? What is that?
  • When do you feel your life’s mission is most potent? When do you feel most fulfilled?
  • What is your definition of a hero?
  • What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn?
  • What do you think is the world’s biggest wound?
  • What is the best advice you have ever been given?
  • Who has been your greatest spiritual teacher?
  • What do you want your legacy to be?
  • What do you think is the purpose of the human experience?
Finish these sentences:
  • I believe in ____
  • Life is _____
  • The person I most want to be proud of me _____
  • I am ready to forgive ____
  • The purpose of forgiveness is _____
  • I feel the presence of love when _____
“No judgment. No expectation. Don’t be attached to the outcome. Just trust.”

Caroline Myss, New York Times best-selling author and spiritual teacher

“Perfection is mathematical concept not a human concept. Humans by nature are not perfect.”
“If you don’t transform your suffering, you will transmit it.”
“Suffering = not being in control.”
“To fall in love means to give the power to change you.”
“Love has to expand.”
“God doesn’t love you because you are that good. God loves you because God is good. That’s the experience of radical grace and unconditional love.”
“Don’t take successes too seriously. Or your failures. Or yourself too seriously.”

Richard Rohr, author, writer

“Everything that materializes, de-materializes. Focus on the internal.”

~ Dwayne Dyer, was an American self-help author and a motivational speaker


“Think higher, feel deeper.”
“I dedicated my life to fighting indifference.”
“What is life but a sum of memories.”
“I define myself more by my questions than by my answers. Answers come and go, but the questions remain.”
“To listen to a witness is to become a witness. [talking about the experience of Auschwitz]”
“We can’t live without friendship.”

~ Elie Wiesel, a Romanian-born American Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate, and Holocaust survivor


“People who need help often don’t look like people who need help.”

~ Glennon Doyle, an author, activist, philanthropist, creator of the online community Momastery, and founder and president of Together Rising, a nonprofit for women and children in crisis


"It’s not that God wasn’t speaking to me, it's just that wasn’t listening."

~Wes Moore, CEO of Robinhood

“Luxury isn’t a matter of all the things you have, but all things you can do without."

~ Pico Iyer, best-selling author and travel writer

“Mindfulness: When you stir the pot, just stir the pot.”
“What we are really trying to do is live our life as if it really matters. Because it does.”
“Next time you are in the shower, check that you are really in the shower. Or is your whole Monday morning meeting is in the shower with you?”
“As long as you are breathing there is more right with you than wrong with you.”
“Pour energy into that which is right with you.”

~ Jon Kabat-Zinn, an American professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine

“Honor the tears that you carry."

~ Jack Kornfield, one of the leading Buddhist teachers

“Coaching is spiritual work. It’s peeling the layers. Removing the veil.”
“Look for a way to lift someone up.”

~ Elizabeth Lesser, co-founder and senior adviser of Omega Institute, the largest adult education center in the United States focusing on health, wellness, spirituality and creativity.


In the book "Proof of Heaven,"which is the account of his personal near-death experience, Dr. Eben Alexander shares some of the wisdom he brought back from the realm of pure consciousness: 

“You are loved and cherished.
You have nothing to fear.
There is nothing you can do wrong.
We are each eternal beings and when we die a physical death we reunite with our higher soul which has always known the truth and purpose of our existence.
The single most important force in the Universe is unconditional Love.”

“Spiritual intelligence is much more important than a high IQ.”
“Spiritual intelligence is recognizing your purpose. It also correlates very closely to one's sense of truth and beauty. A good sign of strong spiritual intelligence is a strong sense of ethics.”

~ John Mackey, Whole Foods co-founder

“When people tell you who they are, believe them.”

~ Maya Angelou, was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist.

“To be broken is no reason to see all things as broken.”
“All things are true. Not that all things are right. Or that all things are fair. But that all things are true. Only an open heart can make sense of how. When we keep choosing between right and wrong, we spend our lives and energy sorting life rather than living it.”
"We have to give up what no longer works to stay close to what is sacred.”
“Our culture has let excellence get ahead of thoroughness of being. Full immersion is the reward for expression not excellence.”

~ Mark Nepo, a poet and a spiritual adviser 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

About my (infrequent) blogging

Just the other day, I looked back at my blog and my last post is from June 2018...the only one this year.

I asked myself: does the frequency of my blog posts put into question the very idea and purpose of having a blog? And why do I write so infrequently lately? Do I have nothing to say anymore?

This blog post is my way of checking in with myself and with all of you out there. How are you all doing? I hope you are all doing well. Today I offer you a lovely meditation mantra I recently learned, because something kind is always worth spreading:

May you be healthy,
May you be happy,
May you be safe,
And may you live with ease.

And as to my questions for myself, here is what I think:

Is this still a blog if it only has a handful of entries a year?

I say yes. Because who makes the rules? I make the rules - at the top of each page it says “my life as I know it.”

And do I have nothing to say anymore?

No. That’s definitely not the case. I have a lot to say. In fact, at the moment I have too much to say and all of those things are crowding my mind and, at times, crushing my soul. But here is the challenge and a dilemma: All of these thoughts seem life-altering, critically important, searing into my psyche AND, at the same time, I can’t seem to find the right words to describe what I am feeling/thinking. Current state of the world and life, seems to be incompatible with my language skills.

So, for now, my dear friends, until my left and right brain hemispheres will be again be on “speaking terms,” I will simply leave you with a quote from Elie Wiesel, a Romanian-born American Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate, and Holocaust survivor. This is from his last book (he died two years ago) called “Open Heart.” Because Elie Wiesel's wise words are ALWAYS worth repeating.

“We must choose between the violence of adults and the smiles of children, between the ugliness of hate and the will to oppose it. Between inflicting suffering and humiliation on our fellow man and offering him the solidarity and hope he deserves. Or not. I know—I speak from experience—that even in darkness it is possible to create light and encourage compassion. That it is possible to feel free inside a prison. That even in exile, friendship exists and can become an anchor. That one instant before dying, man is still immortal. There it is: I still believe in man in spite of man. I believe in language even though it has been wounded, deformed and perverted by the enemies of mankind. And I continue to cling to words because it is up to us to transform them into instruments of comprehension rather than contempt. It is up to us to choose whether we wish to use them to curse or to heal, to wound or to console.”

Friday, June 1, 2018

About blindness

“Don’t turn your face away.
Once you’ve seen, you can no longer act like you don’t know.
Open your eyes to the truth. It’s all around you.
Don’t deny what the eyes to your soul have revealed to you.

Now that you know, you cannot feign ignorance.
Now that you’re aware of the problem, you cannot pretend you don’t care.
To be concerned is to be human.
To act is to care.”

Vashti Quiroz-Vega, writer

New York City subway often offers me incredible insights into the human condition (not to mention a whole range of odors). 

Just the other day, I saw a relatively young man, who got on the subway at the same stop as me. His appearance was unremarkable aside from a long cane. He was blind. This man got inside the car and stood not far from the entrance, I am guessing, to make sure he could more easily get off at his stop.

The train was delayed. One minute, three minutes, five minutes, ten minutes passed by. During all that that time more and more people got on. 

The blind man was pushed and shoved, and at times berated for standing “in the way.” It was hard to watch. But the man just smiled and said “I am sorry” to the people who shoved him. A few times people asked the “crowd” if the train stops at the stop X or Y. And he answered those questions, looking directly ahead. And then others would ask if the train was delayed and how long it’s been “sitting at the station.” He answered those questions too, articulately, in a quiet and clear voice. 

Eventually, it was time for me get off the train. As I was getting off, I said to this man, almost inaudibly: “I am sorry.” And he responded: “It’s alright.” And then the doors closed behind me. A heavy feeling landed in my heart.

“It's all a matter of paying attention, being awake in the present moment, and not expecting a huge payoff. The magic in this world seems to work in whispers and small kindnesses.”
Charles de Lint, writer

Since then, I just keep thinking - who was actually blind in this situation? The man who was physically blind? Or all of us around him who appeared to have been emotionally and spiritually blind?

I understand that those were not just some especially heartless people who all happened to be gathering in the R train at the Courtland street station. They were regular people, just like you and me, who had things on their minds, who were in a rush to get somewhere and likely annoyed at the MTA for a dirty, delayed service. But...

How blind are we to people around us? What suffering or joy are we not noticing accidentally or willingly? How oblivious are we to our fellow humans at home, at work, daily, hourly, for a lifetime? Why don’t we see what’s around us? Self-orientation? Self-preservation? Disinterest? Apathy?  I don’t know. 

But I do know this: I want to do better. I want to be better.

‘If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.”
Leo Tolstoy, writer