Question: Though I have labored long and hard in the service of the Lord, I have received no improvement; I am still an ordinary and ignorant man.

Answer: You have gained the realization that you are ordinary and ignorant, and this in itself is a worthy accomplishment.

Baal Shem Tov

Life is so generous a giver but we, judging its gifts by their covering, cast them away as ugly or heavy or hard. Remove the covering and you will find beneath it a living splendor, woven of love, by wisdom, with power. Welcome it, grasp it, and you touch the angel’s hand that brings it to you.

Everything we call a trial or a sorrow or a duty, believe me, that angel’s hand is there, and the wonder of an overshadowing presence. Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty beneath its covering, that you will find earth but cloaks your heaven. Courage then to claim it, that is all.

Fra Giovanni

What is our innocence,
what is our guilt? All are
naked, none is safe.

Marianne Moore

It is a great grace of God to practice self-examination; but too much is as bad as too little. Believe me, by God’s help we shall advance more by contemplating the divinity than by keeping our eyes fixed on ourselves.

St. Teresa of Avila

Fortunately, psychoanalysis is not the only way to resolve inner conflicts. Life itself still remains a very effective therapist.

Karen Horney

That summer that I was ten —
Can it be there was only one
summer that I was ten?

May Swenson

Do not believe that he who seeks to comfort you now lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life has much difficulty and sadness and remains far behind yours. Were it otherwise, he would never have been able to find those words.

Rainer Maria Rilke

To be happy even without happiness — that is happiness.

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

When all becomes silent around you, and you recoil in terror — see that your work has become a flight from suffering and responsibility, your unselfishness a thinly disguised masochism; hear, throbbing within you, the spiteful, cruel heart of the steppe wolf — do not anesthetize yourself by once again calling up the shouts and horns of the hunt, but gaze steadfastly at the vision until you have plumbed its depths.

Dag Hammarskjöld

From dreams we talk to each other about reality.

Jean Toomer

Mostly, we authors must repeat ourselves — that’s the truth. We have two or three great moving experiences in our lives — experiences so great and moving that it doesn’t seem at the time that anyone else has been caught up and pounded and dazzled and astonished and beaten and broken and rescued and illuminated and rewarded and humbled in just that way before.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

I took a course in speed reading and was able to read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It’s about Russia.

Woody Allen

A former student of Paul Rand, the graphic designer, recalls the week when everyone in the class was too busy to do much work on Rand’s new assignment, redesigning the Parcheesi game. Rand arrived at class, paced up and down in front of the sketches, then turned to the class and said, “You mean I drove all the way to New Haven to look at this stuff?” He walked out, went to his car, and drove off. The next week, the work was their best of the semester.

Philip Meggs

Notice the difference between what happens when a man says to himself, “I failed three times,” and what happens when he says, “I am a failure.”

S.I. Hayakawa

The only thing that changed was my mind.

Laurie Nedvin

In a dark time, the eye begins to see.

Theodore Roethke