Category Archives: Favourite Quotes (archive)

How do YOU define success?

I just love this quote. What makes it special is the hope and encouragement it offers that the ‘ordinary’ lives of most of us, in their own way, hold a good measure of success, which should not be defined in terms of professional or public achievement alone…….

“To laugh often and love much, to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest critics and to endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – this is to have succeeded.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson(1803-1882) American essayist and poet

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson

http://www.online-literature.com/emerson/

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Note: I’ve just discovered whilst checking its provenance via Google that this quotation may NOT be from Emerson after all!

If you are interested in researching its origins, check out speculation at www.transcendentalists.com

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200 words copyright Anne Whitaker/R.W. Emerson 2015
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page


Solstice Celebration with Rabindranath Tagore

Tonight I sit gazing out of my third floor window. It is 10.30 pm but midsummer light still glows, painting striped bands across a pale blue wispy sky. Birds are  singing. The river runs through the park below our house; it sounds as mellow as I feel, having had a precious, relaxed day: morning coffee and deep talk with a friend; lunchtime theatre with my husband, then lunch in the local Botanic Gardens, Glasgow, UK, watching the world go by, all of us enjoying a glorious summer’s day. Home, then a long rest with tea and a brilliant book. After that, supper with my brother and nephews, always zany fun. Even the tadpoles in my brother’s untidy back garden look mellow.

I feel blessed as the solstice approaches.

I wanted to share some of this mellowness with my faithful blog followers and readers. Happily,  I soon found this wonderful image and quote from Rabindranath Tagore, a favourite poet of mine. 

Summer Solstice

Summer Solstice

I love the enigmatic, poignant, mysterious quality of this quote. Hope you do too!

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore

200 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2014
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Dust yourself down – Spring’s not far off….

 In my current January mood, as I sit here in my life, grumpy, with a metaphorical blanket pulled over my head, my spirit decidedly in need of dusting, these words from well-known writer, broadcaster and former Bishop of Edinburgh, Richard Holloway speak powerfully to me: I offer them to my fellow January-ites out there, with the thought that the snowdrops are already proliferating cheerfully in our local Botanic Gardens….

St Magnus Cathedral Window, Orkney

St Magnus Cathedral Window, Orkney

photo: Anne Whitaker

“This is my dilemma. I am dust and ashes, frail and wayward, a set of predetermined behavioural responses, … riddled with fear, beset with needs…the quintessence of dust and unto dust I shall return…. But there is something else in me…. Dust I may be, but troubled dust, dust that dreams, dust that that has strong premonitions of transfiguration, of a glory in store, a destiny prepared, an inheritance that will one day be my own…so my life is spread out in a painful dialectic between ashes and glory, between weakness and transfiguration. I am a riddle to myself, an exasperating enigma…this strange duality of dust and glory.”

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(NOTE: Having googled this quotation, I discovered that it has got around, and some of the wording varies slightly depending on who is quoting! So I hope Richard Holloway will forgive me any minor errors which may appear in this version, whilst I track down the exact quote, in the precise book in which it appears….)

Richard F. Holloway (born 26 November 1933) is a Scottish writer and broadcaster and was formerly Bishop of Edinburgh in the Scottish Episcopal Church. To read more about him and his writing, click HERE

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300 words copyright Anne Whitaker/Richard Holloway 2014
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

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Advent Quote: “This being human” by Rumi

I thought it would be appropriate to offer a reflective piece of poetry as this especially tempestuous year ends: we need all the wisdom we can receive, especially in relation to the dark thoughts, the shame and the malice from which no person is immune – could we but take responsibility for those shadow qualities in ourselves as individuals and nations, refraining from projecting them onto others, the world would probably be less fractured than it is….

“This being human” is by far the most popular and most often read of all the quotes I have posted on my blog in the last few years. Here it is once more. It holds so much wisdom.

” This being human “

The poet Rumi

The poet Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all
even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture.

Still treat each guest honourably,
he may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

from the Persian poet Rumi

(1207-1273)

New Year Quote: “This being human” by Rumi

I thought it would be appropriate to offer a reflective piece of poetry as the New Year begins : we need all the wisdom we can receive, especially in relation to the dark thoughts, the shame and the malice from which no person is immune – could we but take responsibility for those shadow qualities in ourselves as individuals and nations, refraining from projecting them onto others, the world would probably be less fractured than it is….

” This being human “

 

The poet Rumi

The poet Rumi

 

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all
even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture.

Still treat each guest honourably,
he may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

from the Persian poet Rumi

(1207-1273)

Invincible summer – in the chill of winter….

All my life I have loved and been inspired by quotes.

Here are two which I pinned up in our kitchen,  absorbing their energy and wisdom during that long period of recovery 2001-8, at a very dark time when my own energy was perilously low.

At this bleak time of year approaching the solstice, when we in Scotland are waiting, and wondering if another severe winter awaits us, I thought some of you might find them inspiring!

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Winter creativity - spot the Tai Chi person!!Winter creativity – spot the Tai Chi person!!
photo: Anne Whitaker
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“It is far more creative to work with the idea of mindfulness rather than with the idea of will.Too often people try to change their lives by using the will as a kind of hammer to beat their lives into shape. If you work with a different rhythm, you will come easily and naturally home to yourself. Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go.”

John O’Donohue, pp 83-4 “Anam Cara” Bantam Books 1999

(John O’Donohue 1956-2008 was an Irish poet turned priest, whose writing merged Celtic spirit and love of the natural world )

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“In the midst of winter
I finally learned
That there was in me
An invincible summer”       – how inspiring is this! I love it……

This is a popular quote whose original source I have as yet not traced, but have come across a slight variation ie ‘within me there lay an invincible summer’ – different sites have different versions. Come on, detectives out there! Where in Camus’ writings does this quote appear? Let me know!

Albert Camus

( Albert Camus 1913-1960 was a French philosopher best known for his book L’Etranger (The Outsider) whose existentialist philosophy influenced a whole post-war generation)

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300 words copyright Anne Whitaker/John O’Donohue/Albert Camus/ 2011
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page


Homage to an ancient postmodernist….

……who displayed an attractive humility which is very evident by its absence in certain contemporary discourses, especially in the realms of eg science, and of religion…..

“The gods did not reveal, from the beginning,
All things to us, but in the course of time
Through seeking we may learn and know things better.
But as for certain truth, no man has known it,
Nor shall he know it,neither of the gods
Nor yet of all the things of which I speak.
For even if by chance he were to utter
The final truth, he would himself not know it:
For all is but a woven web of guesses”

 Xenophanes (c. 570-475 BC)

Xenophanes

Xenophanes

http://www.goodreads.com/