Happy Monday Quotes #32: The Sea

The next 24 hours will be steeped in anticipation, because, tomorrow night I will be going on a little formal boating adventure, having secured two tickets to a four-course dinner cruise aboard a yacht, with cocktails and music (and dancing … and plenty of romance I presume … but, let’s hope no pirates, even though I’d be fine with a reasonable amount of swashbuckling)!


I don’t mean to oversell this thing, but it’s going to be kind of an all-out affair with some pretty-close-to-formal attire. (I will actually be wearing what some might call a “gown,” even though it’s technically made of jersey material — don’t take away my comfort!) I may be making way too big a deal out of it, but, if we can’t get excited about the little things, what’s left?


In preparation for my trip, here are some delightful quotes about “the sea” and all its mysterious magic.


“We need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” — Henry David Thoreau (from Walden: Or, Life in the Woods)


“’Look at that sea, girls–all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.’” — L.M. Montgomery (from Anne of Green Gables)


“My soul is full of longing/for the secret of the sea,/and the heart of the great ocean/sends a thrilling pulse through me.” — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


“And now I know that we must lift the sail/And catch the winds of destiny/Wherever they drive the boat./To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness,/But life without meaning is the torture/Of restlessness and vague desire—/It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.” — Edgar Lee Masters (from “George Gray”)





Happy Monday Quotes #31: The Senses

Once again, I’ve been off this “Happy Monday Quotes” sauce for a while, but I’m back on the wagon!


Today is unusually warm and beautiful, and on my trip back from Brooklyn to my home office computer this morning, I was taking in all the sensory treats (and occasional total madness) of NYC as it once again prepares for the another summer season. The joys of mid-spring, when hints of summer smells, tastes, sights and sounds abound and pique our excitement had me thinking about how much our senses play a part in experiencing the world. I am definitely guilty of not paying attention to how much energy there is in this city, especially in May, once we truly start shedding winter layers and getting even more twitterpated.


Today, I felt unusually joyful about living here — in a city that feeds me a steady diet of intriguing vibrations — so some quotes about “the senses” seem like an appropriate celebration of the delightful now!


“Walking and talking are two very great pleasures, but it is a mistake to combine them. Our own noise blots out the sounds and silences of the outdoor world; and talking leads almost inevitably to smoking, and then farewell to nature as far as one of our senses is concerned. The only friend to walk with is one who so exactly shares your taste for each mood of the countryside that a glance, a halt, or at most a nudge, is enough to assure us that the pleasure is shared.” — C.S. Lewis (from Surprised by Joy)


“Intermittently she caught the gist of his sentences and supplied the rest from her subconscious, as one picks up the striking of a clock in the middle with only the rhythm of the first uncounted strokes lingering in the mind.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald (from Tender is the Night)


“It was then that the ecstasy and the dream began, in which emotion was the matter of the universe, and matter but an adventitious intrusion likely to hinder you from spinning where you wanted to spin.” — Thomas Hardy (from Tess of the d’Urbervilles)


“I have not yet lost a feeling of wonder, and of delight, that this delicate motion should reside in all the things around us, revealing itself only to him who looks for it. I remember, in the winter of our first experiments, just seven years ago, looking on snow with new eyes. There the snow lay around my doorstep — great heaps of protons quietly precessing in the earth’s magnetic field. To see the world for a moment as something rich and strange is the private reward of many a discovery.” — Edward M. Purcell

Happy Monday Posts #30: Spring

A wonderfully busy work schedule, fabulous new clients (more on that in a separate “update” post within the week!) and a slew of other wondrous, challenging, tedious and in-between events and issues have kept me away from my Happy Monday quoting for what I realize has been almost a month! I’m also quite weary of wintry weather, so I’ve felt not-so keen on keeping to a normal schedule. (Hibernation and excessive eating, anyone?)


I was just talking to a friend this morning about how ridiculously cold it still is inside my apartment … especially for April 7. So, in hopes of evoking the springy powers that be/”springing” spring, I thought I’d present some quotes I like about the season we are (supposedly) in at the moment.


“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.” — Ernest Hemingway (from A Moveable Feast)


“’Is the spring coming?’ he said. ‘What is it like?’…’It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…'” — Frances Hodgson Burnett (from The Secret Garden)


“… sweet spring is your … time is my time is our … time for springtime is lovetime … and viva sweet love” — E.E. Cummings


“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!” — Mark Twain (from Tom Sawyer, Detective)


“Spring drew on…and a greenness grew over those brown beds, which, freshening daily, suggested the thought that Hope traversed them at night, and left each morning brighter traces of her steps.” — Charlotte Brontë (from Jane Eyre)

Happy Monday Posts #29: Brevity

Tonight, I present a few quotes on brevity. (The late hour I am posting should explain the topic choice … and the short introduction.)


“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” — Blaise Pascal (from The Provincial Letters:  Letter 16, 1657)


“It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.” — Friedrich Nietzsche


“I’d like to get away from earth awhile/And then come back to it and begin over./May no fate wilfully misunderstand me/And half grant what I wish and snatch me away/Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:/I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.” — Robert Frost (from Birches)


“Like all sweet dreams, it will be brief, but brevity makes sweetness, doesn’t it?” — Stephen King (from 11/22/63)

Happy Monday Quotes #28: Procrastination

I read a little article in The Atlantic last week about writers and procrastination that caused me a fair amount of existential pain because it struck too familiar a chord. While my work ethic is pretty strong (it would have to be in order for me to run my own business for 10 years and not be homeless), I definitely have a procrastination problem that, at its worst can cause anxiety that spreads to all areas of my being and can, at times, add unnecessary drama to my life.


However, no matter how hard I try to approach projects the “right” way by making an outline/plan of attack and then researching in frustrating, teaspoon-measured increments, I find I need to create a little bit of “Will I or Won’t I Finish This on Time?” tension in order to produce my best work. In college and grad school, I was always someone that wrote papers the night before (after thinking about them for weeks) and often saw the sun rising the next morning as I was printing out the final pages. I am very comfortable in the chaos that is, as the article says, “the unstructured world of work” and have the “A”s to prove my strategies (mostly) worked for me, but I still always wish I had the discipline to work well without crazy amounts of pressure.


In acknowledgment of the writer’s flaw I will likely never entirely exorcise, here are some musings about procrastination.


“Never put off till tomorrow what may be done day after tomorrow just as well.” — Mark Twain (from More Maxims of Mark)


“Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.” — Steven Wright


“But indefinite visions of ambition are weak against the ease of doing what is habitual or beguilingly agreeable; and we all know the difficulty of carrying out a resolve when we secretly long that it may turn out to be unnecessary. In such states of mind the most incredulous person has a private leaning towards miracle: impossible to conceive how our wish could be fulfilled, still – very wonderful things have happened!” — George Eliot (from Middlemarch)


“From now on I hope always to stay alert, to educate myself as best I can. But lacking this, in Future I will relaxedly turn back to my secret mind to see what it has observed when I thought I was sitting this one out. We never sit anything out … We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” — Ray Bradbury

Happy Monday Quotes #27: Sweetness

I’ve been listening to some sweet little love songs this morning, and, while plotting my return to music, finished writing a few of my own late last week/over the weekend. Because sweetness is underrated, here are a few delicious quotes on that fuzzy, warm, gooey feeling when you realize your proverbial pockets are full of it.


“Full many a gem of purest ray serene/The dark unfathom’d caves of ocean bear:/Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,/And waste its sweetness on the desert air.” — Thomas Gray (from “An Elegy Written In A Country Churchyard”)


“It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.” — Chuck Palahniuk (from Diary)


“Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.” — Andy Rooney


“It is the tenderness that breaks our hearts. The loveliness that leaves us stranded on the shore, watching the boats sail away. It is the sweetness that makes us want to reach out and touch the soft skin of another person. And it is the grace that comes to us, undeserving though we may be.” — Robert Goolrick (from The End of the World as We Know It: Scenes from a Life)

Happy Monday Quotes #26: Compromise

I’ve been exceedingly hard on myself lately, as life has been throwing some cogs in my usually fast-turning wheels in the form of unpredictable weather, disappointments, illnesses, deaths and other unexpected, unfortunate events that have prevented me from accomplishing  everything both personally and professionally that I want to accomplish on my desired timeline. As a result, I’ve had to make a few compromises with myself and cut myself some slack. And I have not enjoyed having to do this. The word “compromise” when it comes to art I create, work I do for others and my half of friendships, relationships, etc. is a very dirty word in my vocabulary.


For instance, last week, something had to disappear from my schedule. And it was Happy Monday Quotes. I know no one is waiting with breath drawn for this post every week. But I still felt lazy. And then, I decided to take Thursday off, because it was the most logical day to take a break, vowing I would work through the weekend to make up for it. Unfortunately an unplanned ER visit on Saturday and necessary recovery time afterwards threw that whole plan out the window. Even as so many aspects of my life are filled with love and joy, there are still some aspects that haven’t quite caught up yet.


We all need to go a little bit easier on ourselves sometimes and realize that a day,  a week, a month or even a year of slowing down does not mean we are lost causes. Life will force us into mandatory break mode when we think we don’t need it, but often it is to help us rest our hearts and heads to grow into what we are becoming and be ready for the bountiful times that will show up to delight us when we least expect them.


Here are a few quotes about the beauty of compromise.


“To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. That’s what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul – would you understand why that’s much harder?” — Ayn Rand (from The Fountainhead)


“Can compromise be an art? Yes–but a minor art.” — Joyce Carol Oates


“There’s more than one way to skin a cat, my father used to say; it bothered me, I didn’t see why they would want to skin a cat even one way.” — Margaret Atwood (from Surfacing)


“They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable, but how about a compromise like moderately rich and just moody?” — Princess Diana


Happy Monday Quotes #25: Questions

I was trying to figure out how to theme this week’s “Happy Monday Quotes,” and I was coming up blank. As I started to think about asking people on Facebook and Twitter for ideas, I realized how much of my life is spent asking and answering questions.


I really love asking questions. Even when they bring something unpleasant to the surface, this unpleasantness presents the potential for growth. And when I find out something new, unexpected or delightful, of course, my world is changed for the better. I was taught by parents, teachers (the good ones) and others to ask a lot of them, because that is the only way to learn about how all the fascinating things in the universe work, plus about how people’s brains think and how their hearts feel. (However, truth be told, exposing my secretly-tender underbelly enough to answer those pesky feeling questions when they are asked of me is not easy at all, but I digress …)


So, here are some quotes on the theme of questions of all types — big, small and in between — that lead to new discoveries and a richer experience of the world.


“Where do one’s fears come from? Where do they shape themselves? Where do they hide before coming out into the open?” — Agatha Christie (from The Moving Finger)


“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.” — Rainer Maria Rilke (from Letters to a Young Poet)


“Indeed, the only truly serious questions are ones that even a child can formulate. Only the most naive of questions are truly serious. They are the questions with no answers. A question with no answer is a barrier that cannot be breached. In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limit of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence.” — Milan Kundera (from The Unbearable Lightness of Being)


“An infinite question is often destroyed by finite answers. To define everything is to annihilate much that gives us laughter and joy.” — Madeleine L’Engle (from A Circle of Quiet)

Happy Monday Quotes #24: Laughter

The past couple months have been a little rocky on a few fronts, but one thing I’ve had in spades, thanks to friends, family and other favorites, is laughter. While my stomach is one of the ways to my and many others’ hearts, laughter is always the direct route to endearing all of me. In honor of all the one-liners, forwarded memes, impromptu stand-up routines, elaborate concept jokes and parody songs that just keep flowing in a steady, delightful stream, here are a few quotes on laughter.

“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.” — Oscar Wilde (from The Nightingale and the Rose)

“The earth laughs in flowers.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“…it was her habit to build up laughter out of inadequate materials.” — John Steinbeck (from The Grapes of Wrath)

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” — Erma Bombeck

“Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can; all of them make me laugh.” — W.H. Auden

Happy Monday Quotes #23: Acceptance

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the many different types of acceptance. This concept seems an especially fitting thought for the week of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday — a time when we think about the differences and similarities between all of us as humans and enjoying the thankfully colorful world in which we live.


Like everyone else on the planet that has a soul, I have definitely struggled with self-acceptance and with acknowledging and even embracing my many imperfections. I have kind of a double standard when it comes to acceptance and love, because, while I am a harsh critic of my own imperfections and feel endlessly frustrated by the (many) mistakes I make, I often end up loving people because of rather than in spite of their flaws. Because, it is our flaws that make us most vulnerable and in which we can see our grittiest, down-and-dirtiest and also most beautiful humanity. And it is that humanity that makes real change, growth and deep connection with each other possible.


In the spirit of loving ourselves and each other and accepting the good, bad and grey areas within, here are a few quotes about acceptance.


“What’s been important in my understanding of myself and others is the fact that each one of us is so much more than any one thing. A sick child is much more than his or her sickness. A person with a disability is much, much more than a handicap. A pediatrician is more than a medical doctor. You’re MUCH more than your job description or your age or your income or your output.” — Fred Rogers (from The World According to Mister Rogers)


“The boy continued to listen to his heart as they crossed the desert. He came to understand its dodges and tricks, and to accept it as it was. He lost his fear, and forgot about his need to go back to the oasis, because, one afternoon, his heart told him that it was happy. ‘Even though I complain sometimes,’ it said, ‘it’s because I’m the heart of a person, and people’s hearts are that way. People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them. We, their hearts, become fearful just thinking of loved ones who go away forever, or of moments that could have been good but weren’t, or of treasures that might have been found but were forever hidden in the sands. Because, when these things happen, we suffer terribly.'” — Paulo Coelho (from The Alchemist)


“Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle.” — Helen Keller


“to love life, to love it even/when you have no stomach for it/and everything you’ve held dear/crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,/your throat filled with the silt of it./When grief sits with you, its tropical heat/thickening the air, heavy as water/more fit for gills than lungs;/when grief weights you like your own flesh/only more of it, an obesity of grief,/you think, How can a body withstand this?/Then you hold life like a face/between your palms, a plain face,/no charming smile, no violet eyes,/and you say, yes, I will take you/I will love you, again.” – Ellen Bass (from “The Thing Is”) (I’ve used this quote before, but it bears repeating.)

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