Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.
~ Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
Perfectionism doesn’t believe in practice shots. It doesn’t believe in improvement. Perfectionism has never heard that anything worth doing is worth doing badly–and that if we allow ourselves to do something badly we might in time become quite good at it. Perfectionism measures our beginner’s work against the finished work of masters. Perfectionism thrives on comparison and competition. It doesn’t know how to say, “Good try,” or “Job well done.” The critic does not believe in creative glee–or any glee at all, for that matter. No, perfectionism is a serious matter.
~ Julia Cameron, Finding Water: The Art of Perseverance
We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other until it becomes a habit because what was native has been stolen from us…but we can practice being gentle with each other by being gentle with that piece of ourselves that is hardest to hold.
~ Audre Lorde
To me, poetry is somebody standing up, so to speak, and saying, with as little concealment as possible, what it is for him or her to be on earth at this moment.
~ Galway Kinnell
Not wanting to know much about getting old (I don’t mean older, I mean old: late seventies, eighties, beyond) is probably a human survival characteristic. What’s the use of knowing anything about it ahead of time? You’ll find out enough when you get there.
~ Ursula K. LeGuin, No Time to Spare
To go into the dark with a light
is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark,
go without sight.
that the dark too
blooms and sings
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
~ Wendell Berry
True emptiness is also an openness of being. It is an ongoing receptivity to the wonder of life.
~ Beverly Lanzetta
‘Emptiness’ means empty of a separate self. It is full of everything, full of life. The word emptiness should not scare us. It is a wonderful word. To be empty does not mean non-existent. Emptiness is the ground of everything. Thanks to emptiness, everything is possible.
~Thich Nhat Hanh
Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
~ e. e. cummings
My word of the year is listen.
It’s one of those words whose meaning is in its music. Listen is a quiet word, that half swallowed L and diffident I and softly hissing S. It defies the clamorous words it absorbs, the words that have defined this year, the shouts and roars, the bray and bluster. Listening is hard when the sounds around us grow mean and ugly.
And listening takes particular courage in divisive times.
It’s long past time that we quiet our animal spirits. Our fierce public battles, political fights that have infected our friendships and family, have degraded our discourse, defaced institutions, disturbed our peace. I grew up in Quaker schools, which included regular silent meetings. This did not come naturally to nine-year-olds. But I found then, and need to be reminded now, that we can’t hear the soft, sane voice inside us if we’re talking all the time, and certainly not if we’re shouting.
Instead, let’s listen. Invite surprise. Invest in subtlety. And surrender to silence once in a while.
~ Nancy Gibbs
I bless this day in the fullness of good it already contains, in the many occasions it offers to listen deeply, to be of service to others, to express gratitude moment by moment and to keep my mind so filled with love, beauty and joy that no negativity can find even the tiniest crack in which to set foot.
I bless this day in the infinite opportunities it gives me to love: to love and bless every human I meet, every beast or bird I pass by, every plant I behold, for all are but the manifold expressions of the infinite Life that undergirds all.
Truly, I bless this day for the wonderful adventure it can become as I walk through it with the eyes of wonder rather than boredom, use every opportunity to express peace rather than irritation, and choose love over fear.
Thank you, Life, for this day.
~ Pierre Pradervand, 365 Blessings to Heal Myself and the World