The Quote Garden

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 Est. 1998

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Quotations about Self

God begins us; we must finish ourselves. ~Simeon Carter (1824–1911), Poems and Aphorisms: A Woodman's Musings, 1893

Man casts the shadow of whatever he loves. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

Sometimes, to have a conversation you really need to have, you need to take a walk alone in the rain. ~Robert Brault,

Were it in his power to choose another life and another soul, I am not sure, if he could have his own over again, whether he would take anybody else's. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), "Concerning a Person of My Acquaintance"  [Writing of himself. An unfinished work. Translated by Norman Alliston, 1908. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

We sometimes feel that we have been really understood, but it was always long ago, by someone now dead. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1963  #infj  #oldsoul

I find that when I act like the person I wish to become, the person I am tends to grudgingly follow along. ~Robert Brault,

To wash one's hair, make one's toilet, and put on scented robes; even if not a soul sees one, these preparations still produce an inner pleasure. ~Sei Shōnagon (c.966–c.1025), "Things That Make One's Heart Beat Faster," The Pillow Book, translated and edited by Ivan Morris, 1991

The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it. ~J. M. Barrie, The Little Minister, 1891

We are all multiple personalities, sanity being the knack of settling on one spokesperson. ~Robert Brault,

Looking back, you realize that a very special person passed briefly through your life, and that person was you. It is not too late to become that person again. ~Robert Brault,

The only man we have any respect for is the man who uses all the endowment he has, and uses it until he bleeds. ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)  [Preceding Fischerisms entry — Karl Ludwig counselled his students: "Your labors must exhibit blood stains." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Many of us are impersonations of what we know we ought to be. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "Three-fourths of Life," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

Don't be self-satisfied. This hinders growth, and nullifies progress. ~Minna Thomas Antrim (1861–1950), Don'ts for Girls, 1902

You only get one life, so it's probably worth the effort to make it a life you'd be willing to put your name on. ~Robert Brault,

When they were in school, Peter used to say that everything you do is a self-portrait.... "The only thing an artist can do is describe his own face." You're doomed to being you. This, he says, leaves us free to draw anything, since we're only drawing ourselves. Your handwriting. The way you walk. Which china pattern you choose. It's all giving you away.... Everything is a self-portrait. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Diary, 2003

Compared to chaos pictured by man for the universe outside his portion, the order inside that portion is marvelous indeed, and is most marvelously taken for granted by the aforesaid biped. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "The Order of Nature," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

The simplest and most familiar truth seems new and wonderful the instant we ourselves experience it for the first time. ~Marie Dubsky, Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916), translated by Mrs Annis Lee Wister, 1882

I attract what I am. Life will have vasty barren places until I cover my own desert with green. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

As the roots of a tree are hidden in the earth, so we may regard the root of our Ego as sunk in a world beyond our consciousness... ~William F. Barrett, On the Threshold of the Unseen, 1918

I am the sunlight to the soil of my own soul. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am. ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, 1963  [The edition I first read in high school of Plath's classic novel was printed as "listened to the old bray of my heart" and periods instead of commas between each "I am," but I've since learned that most scholars assert the wording to be "brag" and is also what you will find in most other editions, so I've updated the quotation accordingly. —tg]

The most powerful words in the English language are those that come after the words  I am. ~Tommy Newberry, Success Is Not an Accident, 1999

The words 'I am' are potent words; be careful what you hitch them to. The thing you're claiming has a way of reaching back and claiming you! ~A. L. Kitselman, E-Therapy, 1950

The surest way to become the person you were meant to be is to mean it yourself. ~Robert Brault,

We are all chameleons taking color from our surroundings. ~Austin O'Malley, Keystones of Thought, 1914

Let thy hands be as the hands of a good watch, through every golden moment marking the worthy progress of the inner life. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882  [Mr Basford was a watchmaker from New England. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

You have the Answer. Just get quiet enough to hear it. ~Pat Obuchowski

Self-delusion: short term self-protection in exchange for longer term self-destruction. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

Your soul is all that you possess. Take it in hand and make something of it! ~Martin H. Fischer (1879–1962)

Many a man gets swamped in the mire of his own character. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

My heart filled with love, flowing over with joy, my own little drum that I like to march by! ~Gunda Fijnje-Nolan, @godutch, September 4th 2009, winner of The Quote Garden create your own quote contest on Twitter, @quotegarden

A key thing to know about yourself is where you usually leave your car keys when you don't leave them where you usually do. ~Robert Brault,

To make of one's self a sounding-board of the Divine, a harp of life, vibrant, and sweet, and healing. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

I must reconsider my position, as I cannot go on living here as I am doing, though I know that there is no such thing as changing one's life: one merely wanders round and round within the circle of one's own personality. ~Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), letter to Robert Ross  ["When he left prison he did not know that one must keep moving, but hoped to choose a pleasant point in his personality, and stay there." ~Arthur Ransome, Oscar Wilde: A Critical Study, 1912 —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

There is great security in the prisons we create for ourselves. ~Stephen G. Scalese, The Whisper in Your Heart

Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul... ~Henry Van Dyke

Sometimes we give up a dream to play a larger role in someone else's dream. ~Robert Brault,

For far over all that folks hold worth,
There lives and there leaps in me
A love of the lowly things of earth,
And a passion to be free.
~Robert W. Service (1874–1958), "A Rolling Stone," 1912

The elation of flying is worth the pain of sprouting wings. ~Terri Guillemets

As for me, I can flap only one wing... ~George Sand, letter to Gustave Flaubert, 1870

Each one of us is alone in the world... We seek pitifully to convey to others the treasures of our heart, but they have not the power to accept them, and so we go lonely, side by side but not together, unable to know our fellows and unknown by them. ~W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence, 1919

Every man has a world to conquer. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor

I will woo back the beauty that was mine, the grace that was meant, the sweetness. I will reclaim the years. I will go back into the unlighted past and hang a lantern aloft. I come out of the sins of my unknowing. I pay with enlightenment. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of Longing: XII," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

A philosopher lives in your mind,
a lover in your heart,
an alchemist in your soul.
~Terri Guillemets

My only dereliction will be if I let a day pass that does not bear my imprint upon it, that does not carry my royal insignia, my coat of arms. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

One need not be a Chamber – to be Haunted –
      One need not be a House –
      The Brain – has Corridors – surpassing
      Material Place –
Far safer, of a Midnight – meeting
      External Ghost –
      Than an Interior – Confronting –
      That cooler – Host.
Far safer, through an Abbey – gallop –
      The Stones a'chase –
      Than Unarmed – One's A'self encounter –
      In lonesome place –
Ourself – behind ourself – Concealed –
      Should startle – most....
~Emily Dickinson, c.1862–63

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "Metapsychics," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

I am drunk with the wine of me, intoxicant of my own being,
Bacchante of my own soul's steepings,
Beset by the realization of me, driven by knowing.
I pour myself out like the singing starling.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Creation Songs: VII," A Soul's Faring, 1921

Possession is nine points of the law and self-possession is the other one. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

We're all just stardust with a personality. ~Terri Guillemets

Sometimes at night I light a lamp so as not to see. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

There comes a morning in life when you wake up a new person; that is to say, you wake up the same person but you realize it's your own fault. ~Robert Brault,

Many unwittingly enter into co-partnership with Satan to work out their own destruction. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

The dark days are drawing to an end. Soon it will be spring once more; I shall go out into the fields, and shake away these thoughts of discouragement and fear which have lately too much haunted my fireside. For me, it is a virtue to be self-centred; I am much better employed, from every point of view, when I live solely for my own satisfaction, than when I begin to worry about the world. The world frightens me, and a frightened man is no good for anything... Not that I regard my life as an example for anyone else; all I say is, that it is good for me, and in so far an advantage to the world. To live in quiet content is surely a piece of good citizenship. ~George Gissing, The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft, 1903

There are plenty of people holding flashlights casting shadows, offering directions. Perhaps it's best if you light your own way. ~Jeb Dickerson, @JebDickerson

Be there for others, but never leave yourself behind. ~Dodinsky

What an odd, ruminating, noisy, self-interrupting conversation we conduct with ourselves from birth to death. ~Diane Ackerman, An Alchemy of Mind: The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain

I travel upon the heart line of
past and present, weaving in the
sun pollen of who I am today,
wading in the rain puddles
of having too much to say because
I must always speak from four directions.
      It is where I have been.
      It is where I am going.
      It is where I move.
      It is where I am.
~James McGrath (b.1928)

I said I could have done the thing, had the obstacles been removed, but after all else had been cleared away, there would still have been myself. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

I close my eyes.
The whole world dies.
I open them and I create
A tree, a falling fence, a gate,
A pine cone fallen from the tree —
And me...
~Mary Carolyn Davies, "Spring Day," Youth Riding, 1919

I am letting myself happen more than I did. ~Barry Fox Stevens (1902–1985), Don't Push the River (it flows by itself), 1970

At this very moment, you may be saying to yourself that you have any number of admirable qualities. You are a loyal friend, a caring person, someone who is smart, dependable, fun to be around. That's wonderful, and I'm happy for you, but let me ask you this: are you being any of those things to yourself? ~Phillip C. McGraw, The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom, 2003

Care for yourself enough to listen carefully to what you say to yourself. ~Willis Goth Regier, In Praise of Flattery, 2007

Let's get lost in the dark, forget who we were, and resurface as something new. ~Daniel, @blindedpoet, tweet, 2010

If I forgot what I have not been, I would forget myself. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), Voices, 1988

Write me as an herb-gatherer, and say the soil I dug was my soul. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

Just like you have to ask yourself if what you're putting into your body is healthy for you, you have to ask yourself if what you're investing your emotional energy in is healthy for you. ~Lola Clay, therapist, in My 600-lb Life, "Tiffany's Story," 2019  [S7, E9]

The tragedy is if I become limited by another's limitations, and unfixed and undone because another is unfixed and undone. I am my own ultimate hindrance, but in the meantime I may have much else to overcome. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself. ~Michel de Montaigne

We are lost if we get too much time to think about ourselves, provided that we regard ourselves not as an object of study, as a specimen, but always as everything that we now are. We become conscious of so much that is sad that at the thought of it we lose all inclination to bring the elements into order and connection. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908

At a certain point, some of us just sit down and watch the rest of our lives go by. Don’t let it happen to you! ~Terri Guillemets

Your heart knows your song, but you have to be willing to listen to the words. ~Sue Rock, @sue215,, August 2010 winner of The Quote Garden create your own quote contest on Twitter, @quotegarden

It's just really a matter of perspective. It's a trick of the mind because everything you think you are is a story you tell yourself about yourself, right? ~Nine Perfect Strangers, "Motherlode," 2021, teleplay by Jessica Sharzer & Jonathan Levine, based on the 2018 book Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty  [S1, E6, Napoleon Marconi]

      Then I found that selfish hoping,
      Darkly seeking, blindly groping
In vain wishing and regretting chased life's glory from my brow;
      So I ceased from selfish fretting,
      Turned to Love, and, self-forgetting,
Left "what I hope to get and keep," for what I will be now.
~James Allen, "To-morrow and To-day," Poems of Peace, 1907

The greatest hazard of all, losing the self, can occur very quietly in the world, as if it were nothing at all. No other loss can occur so quietly; any other loss — an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. — is sure to be noticed. ~Søren Kierkegaard, The Sickness Unto Death, 1849, translated by Howard V. Hong and Edna H. Hong, 1980

...and certainly, a wise man never loses any thing, if he have himself. ~Michel de Montaigne, translated by Charles Cotton

When I was young and full of dreams
My wishes to a star I told:
      A lover true,
      Then a child or two
To comfort me when old.
Now one frail star is far too weak
That bore my hopes when younger.
      The slender moon
      Sets all too soon
Weighed down with my heart's hunger.
~P. P., "Burden of Wishes," Poems by Three Friends, 1924

You cannot break faith with yourself. ~R. D. Lawrence, "Town and Country," The Green Trees Beyond: A Memoir, 1994

Who pursues the vision must go alone and without counsel. Who follows the voice must be his own interpreter. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

A bud can be beautiful, a work of art even. But I'm finding it simply can't compare to the openness of the blossom. Looking for my sun. ~Jeb Dickerson, @JebDickerson

Present yourself always
As who you would be,
And that is the person
The world will see.
~Robert Brault,

I will leave some sign that I came by, — my initials carved upon the bark of the tree of life. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

DIARY  An honest autobiography. ~Charles Wayland Towne, The Foolish Dictionary, Executed by Gideon Wurdz, Master of Pholly, Doctor of Loquacious Lunacy, etc., 1904

The calm man is his own cyclone cellar. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1906, George Horace Lorimer, editor

With regard to our bad qualities there can be only perpetual warfare or disgraceful peace. ~Marie Dubsky, Freifrau von Ebner-Eschenbach (1830–1916), translated by Mrs Annis Lee Wister, 1882

This accidental
Meeting of possibilities
Calls itself I.
~Dag Hammarskjöld, 1959, translated from the Swedish by Leif Sjöberg and W. H. Auden, Markings, 1964

The ratio of matter, mind and spirit continually changes. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

Every day I go forth to seek my identity, feeling greatly blessed by the things I don't find it in. ~Robert Brault,

Specks of universe in my soul,
flurries of God in my head.
Heart ticks away, doing its job—
whispering poetry all the while.
Enlightenment flickers subtly
from old gray half-burnt wicks.
~Terri Guillemets

I will save myself. I will rescue the outcast of me. I will be saved by the brotherhood in my own breast. I will rise above this personal damnation, into the divine, impersonal infinitude that I am. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: I," A Soul's Faring, 1921

Do what you must,
And your friends will adjust.
~Robert Brault,

From birth to death every man is weaving destiny around himself, as a spider does his web. ~Helena P. Blavatsky (1831–1891)

The trick to liking who you are is not to hate too much the person it turned out you weren't. ~Robert Brault,

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space...
~Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go!, 1990

Every day ask yourself, "What would I do today if I were a better person?" ~Robert Brault,

Somewhere in the world
Somebody knows my secret,
I shall not be alone any more.
~May Sinclair (Mary Amelia St. Clair Sinclair), The Dark Night, 1924

Almost always it is the fear of being ourselves that brings us to the mirror. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

The mirror will only lie, when you look at it through a mask. ~Anthony Liccione

"You forget," she began,
"That you menace yourself. You yourself are the man
That is guilty. Alas! must it ever be so?
Do we stand in our own light, wherever we go,
And fight our own shadows forever?..."
~Robert Bulwer-Lytton, 1st earl of Lytton

No sooner is your ocean filled, than he grumbles that it might have been of better vintage. Try him with half of a Universe, of an Omnipotence, he sets to quarrelling with the proprietor of the other half, and declares himself the most maltreated of men. — Always there is a black spot in our sunshine: it is even, as I said, the Shadow of Ourselves. ~Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus, Book II, "Chapter IX: The Everlasting Yea"

Do not fear a life without the presence of those who gave up on you. Instead, fear a life where you have abandoned yourself. ~Dodinsky

I am the lyrist of an hour, — and I am the sayer of centuries. I pronounce for eternity.
I tell you my human pain, — and I tell you my God-longing.
I tell you the ache of my finite being, — and the throes of my infinite incompleteness.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of the Strong: IX," A Soul's Faring, 1921

The peace you seek is there, it's there between all the traffic in your mind, stop and rest for peace will find you if you let it. ~Mike Dolan, @HawaiianLife, tweet, 2009

Don't feel bad removing people who love to create their own chaos. Your allegiance is to your peace of mind. ~Dodinsky

We are not burdened by society's expectations, but rather, the expectations which we place on ourselves. ~Keith Wynn, @ravens_rhapsody, tweet, 2017

It's hard, sometimes, when nothing's stopping you, to know what's stopping you. ~Robert Brault,

When light proves painful to any darkness within us, that is the time to walk straight into it. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "Truth," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

You make a difference in this world not merely by raising yourself above the average but by raising the average. ~Robert Brault,

Is life so wretched? Isn't it rather your hands which are too small, your vision which is muddled? You are the one who must grow up. ~Dag Hammarskjöld, 1950, translated from the Swedish by Leif Sjöberg and W. H. Auden, Markings, 1964

The ranking mystery is how we manage to get along with each other as well as we do when each of us speaks a different language. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "Habit and Association," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

[E]very donkey who ever peered at himself in the water of the stream he was crossing has enjoyed the sight and been sure he was a handsome horse. ~Gustave Flaubert, letter to Louise Colet, 1846 October 7th, translated by Francis Steegmuller

Having perfected our disguise, we spend our lives searching for someone we don't fool. ~Robert Brault,

Self's the monster all-mouth,
And all gorilla-arms…
~James Oppenheim, "Self," The Book of Self, 1917

Buried deep in even the most hard-boiled, science-ridden, practical modern soul there is an insatiable hunger for romance, the cherishing of some dream. Man must have a dream in order to live... never in my life have I come to know intimately the gruffest, grimmest, most disillusioned realist, man or woman, without discovering deep down, hidden and often unhonored, something [sentimental]. Under the toughest hide a small dream, a hope persists. And who is to say with certitude that this is not the true reality and all else mere self-deception and illusion? This thing that is still alive in even the embers of the aging body is a bit of life itself. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, "Magic," A View from the Hill, 1957

This torch of a body with a brain shedding invisible light:
This Self, this secret cave I may retire to...
~James Oppenheim, "We Unborn," Songs for the New Age, 1914

Ah! but the moods lie in his nature, my boy, just as much as his reflections did, and more. A man can never do anything at variance with his own nature. He carries within him the germ of his most exceptional action; and if we wise people make eminent fools of ourselves on any particular occasion, we must endure the legitimate conclusion that we carry a few grains of folly to our ounce of wisdom. ~George Eliot, Adam Bede

And another thing — they can put me in jail, but I'm a free spirit. Can't nobody but the good Lord take that away from me. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, Tammy Out of Time, 1958

It's frustrating when people don't understand you — and even more frustrating when the people who understand you keep getting you all wrong. ~Robert Brault,, 2018

All extremely sensitive persons are unconscious egoists. Don't coddle your ego. ~Minna Thomas Antrim (1861–1950), Don'ts for Girls, 1902

I give you the sword with the two edges and send you forth to win or lose by what you are. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of the Strong: XXXVIII," A Soul's Faring, 1921

There are two sides to every story. Even my own story. ~Terri Guillemets, "Two steps forward, one stumble backward," 1994

It is hard sometimes to let someone else live by the same deceptions you allow yourself. ~Robert Brault,

I could not clearly distinguish what was passing in my head; it seemed to me that I was under the influence of a horrible dream and that I had but to awake to find myself cured; at times it seemed that my entire life had been a dream, ridiculous and childish, the falseness of which had just been disclosed. ~Alfred de Musset, The Confession of a Child of the Century/La Confession d'un enfant du siècle, 1836, translated from French by Kendall Warren

I know not what phantom we take for self.... ~Alexandre Vinet (1797–1847)

...I knew that everything was real. Except me. ~Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, 2012

They taught her how it felt to wake up at dawn and decide what to do with the day. Bit by bit, she had claimed herself. Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another. ~Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987  [a little altered –tg]

We never lose our demons, Mordo. We only learn to live above them. ~Doctor Strange, 2016, written by Jon Spaihts, Scott Derrickson, and C. Robert Cargill  [The Ancient One]

If solitude deprives of the benefit of advice, it also excludes from the mischief of flattery. But the absence of others' applause is generally supplied by the flattery of one's own breast. ~William Benton Clulow, Horæ Otiosæ, 1833

I would establish a great world brotherhood amongst those who had known the unfulfillment of a great human craving, who had known the Great Want. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

...but I have such a complication of things both in my head and heart that I do not very well know what I do, and if I can't settle my brains, your next news of me will be that I am locked up by my relations; in the mean time I lock myself up, and keep my distraction as private as possible. The most facetious part of the history is, that my distemper is of such a nature that I know not whether to laugh or cry at it; I am glad and sorry, and smiling and sad; — but this is too long an account of so whimsical a being. I give myself sometimes admirable advice, but I am incapable of taking it. ~Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, 1726

Hear ye, intruders! Beware of guard dreams. ~Terri Guillemets

This was something that belonged to herself alone, hidden, like the pink heart of a fig that wore its blossom inside... ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, Sudden Glory, 1951

Among navigators there are some who discover worlds, who add new continents to the earth and new constellations to the heavens: they are the masters, eternally splendid. Other belch terror from their vessels' guns and wax rich and fat from their plunder. Still others leave home to seek gold and silk under foreign skies. And still others merely let down their nets to catch salmon for gourmets and cod for the poor. I am the obscure and patient pearl-fisher, who dives deep and comes up empty-handed and blue in the face. A fatal attraction draws me down into the abysses of thought, down to those innermost recesses that never lose their fascination for the strong. I shall spend my life watching the ocean of art where others are sailing or fighting; and from time to time I'll entertain myself by plunging to the bottom in search of green or yellow shells. No one will want them, so I'll keep them for myself alone, and use them to cover the walls of my hut. ~Gustave Flaubert, letter to Louise Colet, 1846 October 7th, translated by Francis Steegmuller

No matter what you do in life, a part of you still sits at a curbside, still hearing the drumbeat of a distant parade, still waiting for it to turn the corner. ~Robert Brault,

That's every bit of my life... I mean, that's all the outside of my life. I reckon it would take a million years of telling to tell the inside of anybody's life. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, Tammy Out of Time, 1958

I like to jot down thoughts and ideas as I tread life's garden, for then sometimes when I am weary I can turn a leaf and find what my mood was on a certain day and that changes a train of thought and brings back sunshine. ~Helen Rose Anne Milman Crofton, My Kalendar of Country Delights, "September Nineteenth," 1903

The longest journey
Is the journey inwards...
~Dag Hammarskjöld, 1950, translated from the Swedish by Leif Sjöberg and W. H. Auden, Markings, 1964

It may be folly to expect adults to do what they may reasonably be expected to do, and as everyone should know, when everything has been said and done, more will have been said than done, but is it too much to expect that some adults will take a good look at themselves and reexamine the foundations of their attitudes in the midst of which they sit pat as in so many citadels of solidified infallibility? ~Ashley Montagu, Man Observed, 1968

When I look for my existence I do not look for it in myself. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

One must have chaos within one to give birth to a dancing star. ~Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), Thus Spake Zarathustra, translated by M.A. Mügge, 1908

We all know the part of us that needs to be harnessed. It takes someone else to know the part of us that needs to be set free. ~Robert Brault,

Decorate yourself from the inside out. ~Terri Guillemets

I have wandered far upon the desert plain, but in my heart a bird keeps singing, and the daffodils beckon and blow, — and one day I shall wander back. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then, I contradict myself,
I am large — I contain multitudes.
~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

I too am not a bit tamed — I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
~Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, 1856 edition

MESSAGE? — Would God I had a roaring message,
And I would shout it lustily like Whitman!
~Julia Cooley Altrocchi (1893–1972), "The Message," The Dance of Youth and Other Poems, 1917

Shall I stitch and stitch that my flesh may be covered, and leave no time for the weaving of fabric for my shivering spirit? Shall I supply the fuel of my flesh, and allow my soul's fires to be extinguished?... Shall I not more surely perish from lack of rapture than from lack of bread? ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: XVIII," A Soul's Faring, 1921

We are sure to be losers when we quarrel with ourselves; it is a civil war, and in all such contentions, triumphs are defeats. ~C. C. Colton

There are always obstacles, although sometimes they have to be rearranged in order to lie in your path. ~Robert Brault,

No one has yet computed how many imaginary triumphs are silently celebrated by people each year to keep up their courage. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "The Emotions," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

I think I prefer the delirium of fever to that of wine. It doesn't upset me so. the after effect is not so lasting. And I see my bare soul in more rosy colours. In wine I am apt to be earthy, perhaps a bit sordid. Exaggerated commonplaces struggle with exuberance. In fever I am freed of banalities. I see my soul in its true dimensions, as it would like me to see it and as I would like to have it... A little terrifying at times, this delirium — I see too far into myself. ~George A. Dorsey, Young Low, 1917

...owl-eyed with introspection... ~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island, 1915

It cannot be denied, but outward accidents conduce much to fortune; favour, opportunity, death of others, occasion fitting virtue: but chiefly, the mould of a man's fortune is in his own hands: “Faber quisque fortunæ suæ,” saith the poet... ~Francis Bacon

Every man is the architect of his own fortune. ~Appius Claudius Cæcus

Every man is the architect of his own destiny, but the trouble is we don't pay enough attention to the fire-escapes. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

the thunder is in our veins
the lightning in our very souls
~Terri Guillemets

When I dance, I dance; when I sleep, I sleep. Nay, and when I walk alone in a beautiful Orchard, if my Thoughts are some part of the Time taken up with strange Occurrences, I some part of the Time call them back again to my Walk, or to the Orchard, to the Sweetness of the Solitude, and to my self. ~Michel de Montaigne, "Of Experience," translated from French by Charles Cotton

Foolishness, radicalism, morbidity are marks of promising youth, the obvious signs of inward ferment. We should rejoice to find them. They are among the indications of spiritual growth. ~Robert M. Gay, 1917

We have always thought of perfection as something completed, and therefore finite. But, as Mr. Okakura tells us in his charming 'Book of Tea,' Laoist thought rejects the finite, because where there is an end, where there is completion, there is death. Growth has stopped. Therefore we find a dwelling on the idea of the imperfect, the uncompleted, when the capacity for growth still remains. Taotzŭ praises the softness and weakness of the new-born child, so helpless yet so mighty in its potentialities, and contrasts with it the rigid strength of the grown dead man. He is full of the praises of emptiness, the emptiness of the bowl that may be filled again and again with water. We too should make ourselves empty that the great soul of the universe may fill us with its breath. So too in the Chinese picture there is the empty space, that our imagination may enter into and there find its freedom. Never to be stagnant, never to let the dust of the world settle on the wings of the soul, to be spiritually fluid and free — that is the ideal of Laotzŭ. For so we join the great stream of the cosmic life that permeates all things. ~Laurence Binyon, "Ideas of Design in East and West," 1913

Helpers aren't so good at asking for help. ~The Good Doctor, "Not the Same," 2020, written by D. Hoselton, A.S. Weissman, & S. Chanse  [S4, E4]

Words that they said to me at other times, I hear now. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

I shall be like a tree.
I shall grow older and older,
Nor let men know I care.
Things shall change around me
And for aught any knows
It shall not matter,
Though I inwardly suffer and weep...
~P. P., "I Shall Be Like a Tree," Poems by Three Friends, 1924

A great many persons groan and grow weary under the burden of their own nothingness. ~James Lendall Basford

To one day know the taste of that for which, through long years, we have starved. To sit down to the feast of Deferred, Withheld, and Forbidden things! ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

Our hearts crave a dependence our minds deny us. ~Elizabeth Bibesco

I have stayed too long with a task that fed an alien hunger, and starved my own soul. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

My flag is raised high today. For others to see, sure. But more so to find which way my wind is blowing. Almost time to chart a course. ~Jeb Dickerson, @JebDickerson, tweet, 2009

When society is good for me, I need everybody; when bad, nobody. ~Madame Swetchine, translated by Harriet W. Preston

I who have been so cramped and small, without room to breathe or be, — and the world such a big, big world! I shall know big thrills, like torn precipices, like gashes rent in the earth, like avalanches toppling. I shall know craters bursting, mountains heaved out of the sea, the elation of rising tides. I shall feel worlds born within me, realizing life in great throes of being. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: XLIV," A Soul's Faring, 1921  [a little altered —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

It's like my daughter when in art class "she" painted something so unlike and beyond her usual work that the instructor looked at it and asked, "Who did that?" My daughter replied, "I don't know. Some ghost, I guess." What would life be like if we trusted our "ghosts" all the time? ~Barry Fox Stevens (1902–1985)

If only I may grow: firmer, simpler — quieter, warmer. ~Dag Hammarskjöld, 1953, translated from the Swedish by Leif Sjöberg and W. H. Auden, Markings, 1964

Life doesn't hand out ribbons for best-lived. It's an internal decoration. ~Terri Guillemets

Ah, yes, the real me — someone I'm reasonably sure my parents would never have let me play with. ~Robert Brault,, 2018

This above all — to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
~William Shakespeare, Hamlet, c.1600  [I, 3, Polonius]

A man who is true to himself has neither time nor inclination to be false to others. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1904, George Horace Lorimer, editor

There is no reason why a man should show his life to the world. The world does not understand things.... I have said to you that to speak the truth is a painful thing. To be forced to tell lies in much worse.... what is said of man is nothing. The point is, who says it. A man's very highest moment is, I have no doubt at all, when he kneels in the dust, and beats his breast, and tells all the sins of his life. ~Oscar Wilde, letter to Lord Alfred Douglas ("Bosie"), 1897  [Titled by Robert Ross as 'De Profundis.' Bowdlerized copy published 1905 without named reference to Douglas. Not published as full text original until 1962. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Personality is but the faint light thrown by your star. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "Metapsychics," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

You are right — I'm not frivolous at heart. But there's a sort of frivolous skin over my soul and I can't take it off. As Mrs. Poyser says, I'd have to be hatched over again and hatched different before I could change it. ~L. M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island, 1915

Sometimes it's worth getting lost to see who will come looking for us. ~Robert Brault,

Possess your soul without fussing; your guardian angel does not lose half the sleep over you you think he does. ~Austin O'Malley

To master yourself is to free yourself from the prison or procrastination, from the shackles of alibis and excuses, and from the stronghold of negative, critical attitudes... to conquer the paralyzing effects of fear... to defeat the demons of doubt... to overcome the plaguesome perils of pessimism... to transcend the ruinous roads of resentment... ~William Arthur Ward, "The Wisdom of Mastering Yourself"

Reasonable care of oneself is unselfishness... But anything in excess of reasonable care is pure vice. ~Marie Corelli (Mary Mills Mackay)

Were the world to treat us the way we treat ourselves we would turn into firebrand revolutionaries. ~Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition, 1973

One day I will count my possessions, and they will include me. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

Some time, amid the pauses of our care and strife,
      Comes a solemn yearning for a nobler life—
      For some deeper purpose, for a light divine,
      O'er our darkened pathway some pure star to shine.
And we almost catch the meaning life portrays;
      Almost lose, in adoration, life's dark days;
      Almost see the end triumphant drawing nigh—
      See the signs of victory bending from the sky;
Almost grasp the secret of eternal things;
      Almost see the gleaming of immortal wings;
      Almost hear the answer to our longing cry;
      Almost know the wherefore to our ceaseless why...
~Josephine Butterfield Walcott (1840–1906), "Almost," 1871

Don't overestimate your ability, but what you know you can do, try to do excellently. ~Minna Thomas Antrim (1861–1950), Don'ts for Girls, 1902

I value not that peace whose calms begin
When pity-of-self plays juggler with our sin...
~Edgar Fawcett, "At a Window," Songs of Doubt and Dream, 1891

Up to a point a man's life is shaped by environment, heredity, and movements and changes in the world about him; then there comes a time when it lies within his grasp to shape the clay of his life into the sort of thing he wishes to be. Only the weak blame parents, their race, their times, lack of good fortune, or the quirks of fate. Everyone has it within his power to say, this I am today, that I shall be tomorrow. The wish, however, must be implemented by deeds. ~Louis L'Amour, The Walking Drum, 1984

Circumstances are moulds in which characters are run. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

I should like to see any man's biography with corrections and emendations by his ghost. We don't know each other's secrets quite so well as we flatter ourselves we do. We don't always know our own secrets as well as we might. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, The Poet at the Breakfast Table

There are secrets I will take to the grave — and others I'd feel safer having cremated. ~Robert Brault,

The deepest thing in our nature is this Binnenleben (as Viennese neurologist Sigmund Freud lately has called it), this dumb region of the heart in which we dwell alone with our willingnesses and unwillingnesses, our faiths and fears — as he terms it, the buried life of human beings. No doctor, he says, can get into really profitable relations with a nervous patient until he gets some sense of what the patient's Binnenleben is, of the sort of unuttered inner atmosphere in which his consciousness dwells alone with the secrets of its prison-house. This inner personal tone is what we can't communicate or describe articulately to others; but the wraith and ghost of it, so to speak, are often what our friends and intimates feel as our most characteristic quality. ~William James, mash‑up quote from "Is Life Worth Living?," 1895, and "The Gospel of Relaxation," 1899

...there is not a man in the world who can tell to-day what he will do to-morrow. ~Thomas H. Chivers

Congenial to other people?
It is with yourself
That you must live.
~Dag Hammarskjöld, 1959, translated from the Swedish by Leif Sjöberg and W. H. Auden, Markings, 1964

My life is a twisted rainbow. ~Terri Guillemets

Finally all prayer comes back to you. All desire for good. All hunger for ecstasy. All petition for power. It all comes back to you. You thought there was some shrine outside at which to worship. Now you have learned that you are your own altarlight. Does this get rid of God? No. For the first time it brings God near enough for recognition.... Give me of myself the strength to live. Let me not borrow capacity. Let me be the sufficient reservoir of immortal furtherance. That is what I seem to hear Muriel Strode repeat from this beautiful ritual. Get up off your knees. Do you think God would risk paradisiacal odds on the man on his knees?... Lift yourself up to your own stature. You will ask and answer your own prayers.... God will be satisfied in your wisdom. ~Horace Traubel (1858–1919), review of Muriel Strode's My Little Book of Prayer, in The Conservator, March 1905

As to the Seven Deadly Sins, I deplore Pride, Wrath, Lust, Envy and Greed. Gluttony and Sloth I pretty much plan my day around. ~Robert Brault,

Sometimes it seems like we're all living in some kind of prison. And the crime is how much we hate ourselves. It's good to get really dressed up once in a while and admit the truth — that when you really look closely, people are so strange and so complicated that they're actually beautiful. Possibly even me. ~My So-Called Life, "The Zit," 1994, written by Betsy Thomas  [S1, E5]

...and i must take time to live these
moments that touch me from within...
~Ken Sekaquaptewa and Candy St. Jacques, Sahuaro, 1970, yearbook of the Associated Students of Arizona State University

I had the curious sense that I was marking time, that I was waiting for something to happen before my life could pick up its strange charmed way, its purpose and direction. ~Richard Bach, The Bridge Across Forever:  a lovestory, 1984

The zebra is everywhere. I suddenly realized. The zebra. It is not something outside of us. The zebra is something inside of us. Our fears. Our own self-destructive nature. The zebra is the worst part of us when we are face-to-face with our worst times. The demon is us! ~Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain, 2008

It is folly for a man to pray to the gods for that which he has the power to obtain by himself. ~Epicurus, translated by Russel M. Geer

Are there not hours of an immortal birth,—
Bright visitations from a purer sphere,
That cannot live in language? Is there not
A mood of glory, when the mind attuned
To heaven, can out of dreams create her worlds?—
~Robert Montgomery, "Beautiful Influences," A Universal Prayer; Death; A Vision of Heaven; and A Vision of Hell; &c. &c., 1829

Don't fall prey to the illusion that duty is only to others — you have just as much a duty to care for yourself. ~Terri Guillemets

I perpetuate me.
I fight the fight for my soul, against my own extinction.
I align myself with inextinguishableness.
I stretch in a living, breathing trail. From ages' rim to ages' rim I stretch with my sufficience.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of the Strong: XI," A Soul's Faring, 1921

There ought, I thought, to be a ritual for being born twice — patched, retreaded and approved for the road... ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, 1963

We're all on different paths, but action is hard work and you must drive your own soul. ~Terri Guillemets

I am the starved hound of being, following an endless trail, day upon day spent in coursing, night upon night exhausted by the chase. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: XXII," A Soul's Faring, 1921

...I shall be but a strange dim ghost.
For close as you come to the heart of me
There are still the hidden places
That none may know that none may see
We all have masks to our faces...
~George Elliston, "Dim Ghost," Through Many Windows, 1924

What you never see in a mirror is the smile that greets your friends or the blush that welcomes your lover. ~Robert Brault,

I moan with the pain of my thoughts, remembering how I might have blossomed as stars.
I might have brushed the very gates of heaven in my flight, but I flew low over moors and morasses, and the poisoned everglades of being.
But I am the militant of life. I come with clenched spiritual fists, screaming my protest to the Creative Force, seeking the interpretation, straining to translate, to grasp the elusive meaning of me.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: III," A Soul's Faring, 1921

We all have to escape from this thing called life sometimes. Maybe we use substances to do it. Maybe we use religion. Maybe we use exercise. Maybe we use anger. But we all have to do it. How we do it is what defines us. ~Dan Pearce, author of the Single Dad Laughing blog,

God of my yearning, how deep is the world, and how shallow is my dipping up! ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of Longing: XV," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923

"Yes," continued Lord Henry, "that is one of the great secrets of life, — to cure the soul by means of the senses, and the senses by means of the soul. You are a wonderful creature. You know more than you think you know, just as you know less than you want to know." ~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, July 1890

I felt I must do this at once, for I am not a resolute man and do not trust myself. (But I wish I knew which I really am, the one who distrusts or the one who is distrusted. There's the problem.) ~J. B. Priestley, Midnight on the Desert: A Chapter of Autobiography, 1917

Trust Yourself... You know more than you think you do. ~Benjamin Spock, M.D., The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care, 1946

Another night, another "Why?"
I shout into the starlit sky
To echo as a fading cry
Across the reach of no reply.
~Robert Brault, 2017,

Though man or angel judge my life
     and read it like an open scroll,
And weigh my heart, I have judge
     more just than any—my own soul.
~Frederic Ridgely Torrence, The House of a Hundred Lights: A Psalm of Experience After Reading a Couplet of Bidpai, 1899

[T]he hours are even now never so full of gain as when I give them to the sky, the sea, the open wold. Why should we grudge Nature our heart? We might as well grudge it to the God who made the world. ~Adeline Sergeant, The Story of a Penitent Soul: Being the Private Papers of Mr. Stephen Dart, Late Minister at Lynnbridge in the County of Lincoln, 1892

It's easy to get lost when the map is in your hand and not in your heart. ~Terri Guillemets

What I, like, dread, is when people who know you in completely different ways end up in the same area... You have to develop this, like, combination you, on the spot. ~My So-Called Life, "Dancing in the Dark," 1994, written by Winnie Holzman  [S1, E2]

Why mind your scorn? — I scorn myself.
Maybe I am approaching a little nearer if you look at me and condemn, and I look upon your condemnation with indifference....
Why ask your acceptance, when I have never had my own?..
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: LII," A Soul's Faring, 1921

Be cautious what tales you tell yourself — you're writing your own autobiography. ~Terri Guillemets

Self-pity, a condition of mind to be fought,
Is an unhealthy, neurotic kind of a thought!
And those who are troubled in this unhappy way
Should fight this state of mind every night and each day.
~Gertrude Tooley Buckingham, "Self-Pity," 1940s

The man that shows off, to that one who wants to convince of his value is to himself. ~Doménico Cieri Estrada

Get involved. You don't want to look back on your life and realize that you successfully managed to stay out of it. ~Robert Brault,

I want to unfold.
Let no place in me hold itself closed,
for where I am closed, I am false...
~Rainer Maria Rilke, Book of Hours (Das Stunden-Buch), translated from German and modified by Anita Barrows and Joanna Marie Macy

The man who is his own worst enemy generally loves his enemy. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

Wherever I sat — on the deck of a ship or at a street café in Paris or Bangkok — I would be sitting under the same glass bell jar, stewing in my own sour air. ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, 1963

Why, Lord, must something in us
      Yearly die?
And our most true remembrance of it
Until the pure forgetting
      By and by.
Why then must something other
      Come and grow?
Renewing us for nothing—save the
Upbuilding of this bed
      Of needles, so.
~Mark Van Doren, "Why, Lord," A Winter Diary And Other Poems, 1935

Things happen in life that make us question our faith when perhaps they ought to make us question our life. ~Robert Brault,

Definitions belong to the definers — not the defined. ~Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987  [a little altered –tg]

People aren't ignoring you. They are busy with their lives. And the way to stop feeling ignored is to get busy with yours. ~Robert Brault,

I am just a vessel
      That songs sing through
      Old songs and new
      Pink songs and blue
      I am just a vessel
      That songs sing through.
But if in the singing
      Dreams shall find release
      Words a subtle peace
      May I never cease
      Being just a vessel
      That songs sing through.
~George Elliston, "Symbol," Through Many Windows, 1924

Not a blade of grass but has a story to tell, not a heart but has its romance, not a life which does not hide a secret which is either its thorn or its spur. Everywhere grief, hope, comedy, tragedy; even under the petrifaction of old age, as in the twisted forms of fossils, we may discover the agitations and tortures of youth. This thought is the magic wand of poets and of preachers: it strips the scales from our fleshly eyes, and gives us a clear view into human life; it opens to the ear a world of unknown melodies, and makes us understand the thousand languages of nature. Thwarted love makes a man polyglot, and grief transforms him into a diviner and a sorcerer. ~Henri-Frédéric Amiel, 28th March 1855 (journal), translated from French by Mary Augusta Ward

There is a public me and a private me, who, if they were separate people, probably wouldn't exchange Christmas cards. ~Robert Brault,

Selfishness is a bottomless pit. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

with pensive heads and lashing tails
my dreams alight on capricious sails
~Terri Guillemets, "Life's adventure," 2000

Maybe there was another kind of looking glass to know one's self by — made of things people said. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, Tammy Out of Time, 1958

Some things become so completely our own that we forget them.~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

The world was a dream of beauty, an ache of loveliness,
An ache that I felt in my body,
A phallic pain,
As though I must unite myself like the sky with the earth…
~James Oppenheim, The Mystic Warrior, 1921

And almost thence my nature is subdued
To what it works in, like the dyer's hand...
~William Shakespeare

Sometimes I feel like life misprinted me. ~Terri Guillemets, "XV reasons," 1988

In a speech, the columnist Charles Krauthammer.... offered a new version of Socrates' famous saying, "The unexamined life is not worth living." In our age of bottomless self-love and obsession with our own feelings, Krauthammer suggested, "The too-examined life is not worth living either." ~John Leo, December 1993, Universal Press Syndicate

Though confined to our destiny, we do get to pick the color scheme. ~Robert Brault,

When I was a live man
      A few years ago...
I swore that I'd matter—
      Never mind how.
But after a lifetime
      Of hunger and prayer,
I broke my heart trying
      To make the world care.
And now as I lie here,
      Feeding this tree,
I am more to the world
      Than it is to me.
~Louis Untermeyer, "Matter," The New Adam, 1920

I am going into a far country, farther than the East is from the West — the Land of my Separate Selves. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of Longing: XXIII," At the Roots of Grasses, 1923

Like a dead leaf that rolls along the ground,
Driven by a wind that wanders round and round,
I see my heart, with edges cut and curled,
Like a dead leaf that 's driven without a sound.
Green faded into red, and red to brown;
Life to decay, and death the latest crown!
~Philip Henry Savage (1868–1899)

Sometimes I feel like I'm going nowhere, in opposite directions. ~Terri Guillemets

There are sufferings that have lost their memory and do not remember why they are suffering. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

Sometimes, when I get too wrapped up in myself, I like to take a walk into town, and for an afternoon or so, just be the passing stranger in other people's lives. ~Robert Brault, candle to the Milky Way... ~Terri Guillemets

The wise man who knew himself left no autobiography. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

There is part of us that stands in quiet witness to what we do, taking notes, waiting for a solitary moment to bring up the subject. ~Robert Brault,

Some people never have reflections unless they stand before a mirror. ~Author unknown, 1940s

A eureka moment in life is when you realize that the world thinks it has you all figured out and has set up the roadblocks on all the wrong paths. ~Robert Brault,

The world that bore me on its orbicular flow
Is dead, and now finds in me its burial hill.
~Cave Outlaw, "The Phoenix and Turtle," Each Day, 1942

I had removed my patent leather shoes after a while, for they foundered badly in the sand. It pleased me to think they would be perched there on the silver log, pointing out to sea, like a sort of soul-compass, after I was dead. ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, 1963

Alexandros of Antioch took a block of marble and chiseled away from it everything that was not his masterpiece, the Venus de Milo. If you will chisel away one fault from your character every day, you may discover —
a) that you're actually a statue of Margaret Thatcher.
b) that you're still just a block of marble.
c) that there are pigeon droppings on your shoes.
d) that you, too, are a hidden masterpiece.
~Robert Brault,

Pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for. ~Dag Hammarskjöld, 1952, translated from the Swedish by Leif Sjöberg and W. H. Auden, Markings, 1964

He who takes an accurate account of his moral-stock-in-trade, will find his chief assets to be made up of selfishness, and his principal liability the debt he owes to nature. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

I fear that you will learn the lessons of beauty and injustice
That the poetry your body can create will abandon you
That the gifts of your own strength and passion will be dulled before they are even born
I fear that you will cease to yearn for flight
~Being Erica, "Plenty of Fish," 2009, written by Jana Sinyor  [S1, E3, Alex Berlin, reading his poem to Erica Strange]

There's nothing like self-improvement to get your friends to like you for who you were. ~Robert Brault,

My children suspect I've long slipped over the border from Quaint and now dwell in the capital city of Eccentricity. ~Ethel Pochocki (1925–2010), “Still Acceptably Quaint, But Flirting With ‘Odd,’” 1996 justify thyself unto thyself... ~Laurence Sterne, letter to J. H. S. Esq., 1762

Somewhere there are fledglings in a nest that I have come to feed, that must otherwise perish.
Somewhere some one prays to be released, some one prays that I shall not be so long, that I shall not tarry on the way.
The rabble is at my door, the world is demanding. It holds out its shackled wrists, and points to its greying temples.
And I am coming. I am delayed — delayed because I, too, am lost, but I am coming, and I will arrive, and I will reach you!
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: XCI," A Soul's Faring, 1921

Everything that I bear within me bound, is to be found somewhere else free. ~Antonio Porchia (1886–1968), Voces, 1943–1966, translated from the Spanish by W.S. Merwin (1927–2019), c.1968

Did you really run into a monster on your path, or just a mirror? ~Terri Guillemets

If I had it to do again, I would less often judge myself and more often ask for a jury. ~Robert Brault,

This fall I think you're riding for — it's a special kind of fall, a horrible kind. The man falling isn't permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom. He just keeps falling and falling. The whole arrangement's designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn't supply them with. Or they thought their own environment couldn't supply them with. So they gave up looking. They gave it up before they ever really even got started. ~J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, 1951  [Mr. Antolini —tg]

Without our being aware of it, our fingers are so guided that a pattern is created when the thread gets caught in the web. ~Dag Hammarskjöld, 1956, translated from the Swedish by Leif Sjöberg and W. H. Auden, Markings, 1964

I would prefer not to. ~Herman Melville, "Bartleby"

Until I have come humbly, I shall know that I have not come at all.
I shall come, not as one who has escaped pain, but as one who has glorified it.
I will annihilate the narrow margin that lies between me and my unused potency.
My confusion is but a phase — and I am not afraid of phases.
~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "Songs of Longing" (XIII, XXII, XXVIII, & XXVIII), At the Roots of Grasses, 1923  [A poetry mash‑up: one line each from four Strode poems of the same section. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]

Daily I learn — sometimes painfully, other times with glee — that mine is a path never meant to be paved. ~Jeb Dickerson, @JebDickerson, tweet, 2009

The treasure of self is buried under the rainbow and yet glows beyond the sun. ~Terri Guillemets

I have come blatantly, beating the gongs of life. One day I shall come quietly, in the humility of my great and wondrous soul. I who have beaten only tom-toms shall come thrumming the sweet lyre of being. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: LIX," A Soul's Faring, 1921

my life is like
a dust storm in fog
nonstop thunder
that I thought
was my heartbeat
~Terri Guillemets

Most often, walking alone with my shadow is how I find my answer, the result of gathering together all agreeable parties. ~Robert Brault,

...once again his blood, fulfilled
Of brine, of sunset, and his dreams, exhaled
A vision...
~John Davidson, "A Ballad in Blank Verse of the Making of a Poet"

What do I want to be when I grow up? Happy. I want to be happy. And useful, loved, loving, healthy, wise, free, strong. ~Terri Guillemets

One day the hour will strike; it will call to me to arise, and what if my unused limbs shall fail me? ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), "A Soul's Faring: LXII," A Soul's Faring, 1921

We must be our own, before we can be another's. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

An aging man cannot rewrite his youth but a youth may rewrite his own future. ~Terri Guillemets

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Last saved 2023 Mar 28 Tue 22:27 PDT