Creation Inspiration: Start A Quote Book


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.
Be yourself.

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.

Be cheerful.

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?
No, wait.

That’s asking too much –

After all,

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.

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Feeling Inspired

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Can you smell fall in the air? While I’m looking forward a season of cozy days spent indoors, our camping trip last weekend and photos of the changing scenery make me want to get outside. Even knowing that tomorrow afternoon I get to sit on the sidelines and watch Alex’s soccer practice has me excited (and brings me right back to the many fall seasons spent playing soccer when I was growing up).  It’s all just a reminder of how important it is for our souls to spend a bit of time outside, especially during these transitions from one season to another. Spend some time outdoors this weekend, letting yourself take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the changing seasons. xo

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Give Thanks

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Thanksgiving is a great reminder to be grateful for our daily joys and all that we have, even when sometimes that feels like not enough.  Today everything we have is plenty. Tomorrow we will have enough too.  Be thankful for it all and spread around the excess today and every day.

If you are here in the U.S., how are you spending your holiday?  I’m hitting the gym with my best friend and then we are going to a Friendsgiving where we will stuff ourselves silly.  Last night we prepped some potato stuffing, peanut butter pie and a pumpkin roll, except it turned out more like a pumpkin blob.  Sometimes life doesn’t pan out the way you expected, but practice thanks anyway 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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Going to the Mountains..

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“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity… – John Muir

Happy Monday everybody!  I hope you were all able to spend a little time outside these past few days.  It was a balmy 78° on the Jersey shore where I spent Saturday shooting a wedding.  I love the ocean, but I have to admit, it felt really nice driving back to North Carolina and the mountains.

John Muir, who founded the Sierra Club, is an inspiration to many, including myself.  Time and time again, I read his words and feel a deep longing to immerse myself in nature.  My recent return from Colorado has me dreaming of mountain climbing and through hikes of the Appalachian Trail.  Originally I planned on writing a post today about hiking the Flatirons 1+2 trail in Boulder, but as I started researching how the peaks were formed, I realized I didn’t have quite enough time to research, digest and reiterate.  Sit tight though that post is coming. I hope you love rocks as much as I do.

*This photo was made in Nederland, Colorado.
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Happy Autumnal Equinox!

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Wouldn’t you agree?  As we (in the northern hemisphere) move towards the dark, it’s important to gather up all the golden moments of autumn and squirrel them away for winter.  Fall always seems to be the season that scurries by the fastest and that may be why it steals my heart year after year.  I’m always trying to grasp onto those last warm weekends and the fresh fall air before the weather turns frigid.

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“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”

-Nathaniel Hawthorne

This year I’m going to try my hardest to spend lots of hours outside (I camped at the McDowell Nature Preserve last night) and appreciate each moment that autumn brings.  I’m also going to make it a point to welcome the long nights of autumn and winter.  Life is about balance and change and the sooner we welcome and appreciate those changes the easier life will be. So dust off your dream catcher, pull out your comforter and screw in a daylight bulb near your reading nook, but before you do that, find your favorite fall outfit, take lots of walks and soak in the season.  Happy Equinox!

 

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Monday Inspiration Vol. 3

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Just a simple yet important reminder for the week ahead of you.  Isn’t it lovely when someone pays you a compliment, tells you you’re doing great or encourages you in some way?  Why shouldn’t you provide your own encouragement as well?  Only you know why you’re headed in the direction you are and that is enough to know it is correct and good.  Maybe you are unsure of your path and that’s ok too!  Just keep moving and encouraging yourself every step of the way, sooner or later you’ll realize everything you did was for a reason and a good one at that.  Remember to encourage others as well.  Tell family, friends and even strangers, words that will boost their spirits and empower them to live a happier and healthier life today and every day.

We’re encouraging you to focus on self-love this week. Christian Nestell Bovee said it best, “our first and last love is self love.” So why not start today?  Realize when you’re being too hard on yourself and simply let it go, exhale and tell yourself something encouraging.  Something you’d say to your sister, partner or coworker to make them feel a bit better about their efforts.  Simply realizing when I’m battering myself has helped me have a more positive mindset in many faucets of my life, everything from self-employment to traveling to eating.  Hear your worries and woes as if they’re coming from a loved one and respond accordingly.  I promise you it will feel great.  Happy Monday!

If you’re in the mood for more Monday Inspiration look here and here.
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Monday Inspiration Vol. 2

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This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to   the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites usall. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

A quick internet search revealed the source of these words as Chief Seattle, but after a little digging and this article, that wide-spread assumption is most likely false.  Even so, I think the sentiment is beautiful and one that I wished many humans believed in.  Tomorrow is earth day and Friday is arbor day so I challenge you to carry these sentences with you this week and the rest of the year.  Pass them on and share them when appropriate and feel great when you do something beneficial for mother nature.  She deserves it and so do you.

Rather than follow our regular schedule, this week we have some really great Earth and Arbor Day-inspired posts for you cats.  Tuesday we’re featuring artist, Benjamin Gazsi, who creates impressive large-scale eco-sculptures that we think you’ll love.  Wednesday’s post will be an easy to follow nature photography tutorial.  You’ll learn about aperture, shutter speed and other functions of your point-and-shoot or DSLR so that you can stop shooting on auto settings and start taking better photos.  Thursday we’re sharing a terracotta pot painting tutorial.  We’ll also highlight some common herbs and tips on how to grow and use them in your home!  And Friday we’re going to skip our usual In Season post and introduce a new series we’re calling In the Field. This week we’ll be talking to Sara Fitzsimmons, a scientist working to breed and reintroduce blight-resistant Chestnut trees to the forests of the eastern US.

We hope you’re gearing up for a week full of earth-inspired posts and living every day like earth day.  Ok, time to take the pup on a hike. Happy Monday!

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Energy flows where intention goes: Create Daily.

Whether you decide to focus your energy on your profession, home, health or anything in between, it’s important to create a little bit of something each day.  It’s nice to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day instead of worry.  Don’t go to bed thinking I should have, why didn’t I or what if?  Lay your head down knowing that however your day played out, you created a little something for yourself.

I tend to be hard on myself when it comes to making and creating.  I have so many ideas floating around in my brain that I get down on myself when I don’t put them into motion.  Sometimes I intend to finish a huge project, but by the end of the day I’ve only ended up collecting the materials to begin, but that’s ok.  Creation takes time.  Being inspired to do something is a process, but it will feel better if you take a tiny step towards your goal, project or creation every day.

I’m sure you’ve heard the quote by Lao Tzu, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  Think back to your last big project at work, in the kitchen or at your crafting table.  Better yet, think about awful papers you had to write in school.  How much energy was wasted resisting?  Then you put pencil to paper and the first sentence emerged and you realized you can get through this paper and who knows you might even go on to live a happy and fulfilling life.  The crazy thing is, I find myself resisting projects that I know I’m going to enjoy creating.  It must be biology trying to protect me from the unknown-I can’t fathom another reason why time after time I tip toe into projects.  Once I begin, I take off at lightening speed and enjoy every second.  Whether it comes easy or there’s problem solving to be done-it’s a nice creative challenge.  So here’s me encouraging you to take off, just do it, create daily!

It could be something simple like a daily doodle of encouragement, a step or two of a larger project or a workout.  Maybe you want to cook dinner five nights a week or edit and organize your entire photo library.  Maybe you’ve been pining awesome DIYs or filling up your basket of clothes to be mended.  Whatever projects you’ve been putting off or shuffling around, here’s your cue. Go, make, create!  Do a little something every day and I promise you, you’ll feel a whole lot better by the time the end of the week rolls around.

Remember: creation doesn’t have to be material.  Maybe you created space to think by meditating for five minutes or muscles by pumping out ten pushups. Usually my creations are meals or even cups of tea and to do lists.  As long as you set aside a moment for yourself in which you can relax and feel inspired you’re beginning to create. Now go! Think! Make! Create!

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