Ever come across a passage, poem or quote that really speaks to you? How do you remember it? Do you dog-ear the page? Highlight the passage? Pin the quote to your words of inspiration board? Save them all in a memo on your computer? Read it once and let it go? I used to do all of the above until about a week ago when I finally decided to start a quote book.
I picked up a small notebook at a local shop and started by jotting down all my absolute favorite quotes from over the past few years. I dug up those random note cards, looked up all my highlights in my kindle app and wrote down all the saved bookmarks and highlighted passages that have spoke to me. It’s quite therapeutic to focus on a quote, record it and to be able to look back at all the words that connected with you at different times in your life. Think of a quote book as basically your own little playbook or pep talk. Sometimes we need a few words of inspiration to get through the day or to remember to treat ourselves properly. Our thought patterns can be chaotic. Sometimes they are a disservice. It’s helpful to bring yourself back to center with a few words of encouragement, cue the quote book!
Here are a few of my favorite quotes, passages and poems to get you started:
Talk to yourself like you would someone you love.
Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you or home is nowhere at all. – Hermann Hesse
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there. -Rumi
Cry everyday if you want, not because you’re sad, but because the world is so beautiful and life is so short.
To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance. -Oscar Wilde
Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift. -Mary Oliver
Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
Asking Too Much by Andrea Gibson:
“I want you to tell me about every person you’ve ever been in love with.
Tell me why you loved them,
then tell me why they loved you.
Tell me about a day in your life you didn’t think you’d live through.
Tell me what the word home means to you
and tell me in a way that I’ll know your mother’s name
just by the way you describe your bedroom
when you were eight.
See, I want to know the first time you felt the weight of hate,
and if that day still trembles beneath your bones.
Do you prefer to play in puddles of rain
or bounce in the bellies of snow?
And if you were to build a snowman,
would you rip two branches from a tree to build your snowman arms
or would leave your snowman armless
for the sake of being harmless to the tree?
And if you would,
would you notice how that tree weeps for you
because your snowman has no arms to hug you
every time you kiss him on the cheek?
Do you kiss your friends on the cheek?
Do you sleep beside them when they’re sad
even if it makes your lover mad?
Do you think that anger is a sincere emotion
or just the timid motion of a fragile heart trying to beat away its pain?
See, I wanna know what you think of your first name,
and if you often lie awake at night and imagine your mother’s joy
when she spoke it for the very first time.
I want you to tell me all the ways you’ve been unkind.
Tell me all the ways you’ve been cruel.
Tell me, knowing I often picture Gandhi at ten years old
beating up little boys at school.
If you were walking by a chemical plant
where smokestacks were filling the sky with dark black clouds
would you holler “Poison! Poison! Poison!” really loud
or would you whisper
“That cloud looks like a fish,
and that cloud looks like a fairy!”
Do you believe that Mary was really a virgin?
Do you believe that Moses really parted the sea?
And if you don’t believe in miracles, tell me —
how would you explain the miracle of my life to me?
See, I wanna know if you believe in any god
or if you believe in many gods
or better yet
what gods believe in you.
And for all the times that you’ve knelt before the temple of yourself,
have the prayers you asked come true?
And if they didn’t, did you feel denied?
And if you felt denied,
denied by who?
I wanna know what you see when you look in the mirror
on a day you’re feeling good.
I wanna know what you see when you look in the mirror
on a day you’re feeling bad.
I wanna know the first person who taught you your beauty
could ever be reflected on a lousy piece of glass.
If you ever reach enlightenment
will you remember how to laugh?
Have you ever been a song?
Would you think less of me
if I told you I’ve lived my entire life a little off-key?
And I’m not nearly as smart as my poetry
I just plagiarize the thoughts of the people around me
who have learned the wisdom of silence.
Do you believe that concrete perpetuates violence?
And if you do —
I want you to tell me of a meadow
where my skateboard will soar.
See, I wanna know more than what you do for a living.
I wanna know how much of your life you spend just giving,
and if you love yourself enough to also receive sometimes.
I wanna know if you bleed sometimes
from other people’s wounds,
and if you dream sometimes
that this life is just a balloon —
that if you wanted to, you could pop,
but you never would
‘cause you’d never want it to stop.
If a tree fell in the forest
and you were the only one there to hear —
if its fall to the ground didn’t make a sound,
would you panic in fear that you didn’t exist,
or would you bask in the bliss of your nothingness?
And lastly, let me ask you this:
If you and I went for a walk
and the entire walk, we didn’t talk —
do you think eventually, we’d… kiss?
That’s asking too much –
this is only our first date.”
I hope these words that have had an amazing impact on me touched you as well. I have so many more inspiring passages, some that come from books I read or wanderings on the internet or by way of friends, all these words are so important that I wish to never be without them and therefore the reason I created a quote book. Quote books are also an amazing gift especially if you customize them for the particular person or even more so for a particular time in a person’s life. I hope you’ll make one this year and continue to fill it until you’re forced to start volume two.