Sunday, October 12, 2014

Choices That Changed My Life (In 30 Quotes)


For my 30th birthday, I considered writing one of those "Thirty things I've learned by 30" lists, but honestly, most of what I would have written has already been said by others. So, instead, I'm choosing to share the choices that have changed and shaped my life in some way, as articulated in these thirty quotes.

These quotes and the ideas they express are specific to my own personal experiences; many I stumbled upon at exactly the right moment in my life.

Perhaps you will find a few that speak to you as well.

The choice to be curious:
1. "Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment." --Rumi

2. "Your preparation for the real world is not in the answers you’ve learned, but in the questions you’ve learned how to ask yourself." --Rainer Maria Rilke


The choice to follow my heart West:

3. "The mountains are calling and I must go." --John Muir

4. "What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? - it's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies." --Jack Kerouac, On The Road


5. "I want to repeat one word for you: LeaveRoll the word around on your tongue for a bit. It is a beautiful word, isn't it? So strong and forceful, the way you have always wanted to be. And you will not be alone. You have never been alone. Don't worry. Everything will still be here when you get back. It is you who will have changed.” --Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts


The choice to follow my passion(s):

6. "Stay close to any sounds that make you glad you are alive." --Hafiz

7. "If you haven't found it yet, keep looking." --Steve Jobs


8. "If it's both terrifying and amazing, then you should definitely pursue it." --Erada


And to do it now:

9. "The trouble is, you think you have time." --Buddha

10. "One day you will wake up, and you won't have any more time to do the things you've always wanted. Do it now." --Paul Coelho

11. "Start before you're ready." --Steven Pressfield

The choice to let go of the tyranny of perfectionism:

12. "Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it." --Anne LaMott, Bird by Bird

13. "And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good." --John Steinbeck


The choice to dream big, unreasonable dreams:

14. "When you set down the path to create art, whatever sort of art it is, understand that the path is neither short not easy. That means you must determine if the route is worth the effort. If it's not, dream bigger." --Seth Godin, Linchpin

15. "Envision, create, and believe in your own universe, and the universe will form around you." --Tony Hsieh, Delivering Happiness


The choice to believe in myself:

16. "But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save." --Mary Oliver


17. "We are the ones we've been waiting for." --Hopi Elders

The choice to honor the wild within:
18. "Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life. It is made up of divine paradox. To create one must be willing to be stone stupid, to sit upon a throne on top of a jackass and spill rubies from one’s mouth. Then the river will flow, then we can stand in the stream of it raining down." -Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run with the Wolves

19. "You were wild once. Don't let them tame you." --Isadora Duncan

The choice to be happy:
20. "People tend to burden themselves with so many choices. But, in the end, you can throw it all away and just make one basic, underlying decision: Do you want to be happy, or do you not want to be happy? It’s really that simple. Once you make that choice, your path through life becomes totally clear." --Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul

And free:
21. "There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you take nothing personally."  --Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

And courageous:
22. "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."  --Anais Nin  

23. "Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it." --Bill Cosby

24. "Don't be cool. Cool is conservative fear dressed in black. Free yourself from limits of this sort." --Bruce Mau

The choice to run:
25. "Run. For your life, for your joy, for your calm and peace of mind. Run. Because your legs are strong and your lungs are aching for the taste of air. Run. Because what’s the point of a life spent walking in the middle?" --Tyler Gregson

The choice to believe in magic:
26. "And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it." -Roald Dahl

27. "The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper." --W.B. Yeats

The choice to look within:
28. "There is a voice that doesn't use words. Listen." --Rumi

29. "We search for happiness everywhere, but we are like Tolstoy's fabled beggar who spent his life sitting on a pot of gold, under him the whole time. Your treasure--your perfection--is within you already. But to claim it, you must leave the buy commotion of the mind and abandon the desires of the ego and enter into the silence of the heart." --Elizabeth Gilbert

And finally, the choice to turn 30 with this in mind:
30. "It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams." --Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Read // Watched // Listened // Savored: September Edition

Arches National Park near Moab, UT. If you ever have the opportunity to visit this place, you must. It is pure magic.
“Outside the leaves on the trees constricted slightly; they were the deep done green of the beginning of autumn. It was a Sunday in September. There would only be four. The clouds were high and the swallows would be here for another month or so before they left for the south before they returned again next summer.” --Ali Smith, The Whole Story and Other Stories
And just like that, the month is over. A few days late, here's a little summary of what I read, watched, listened to, and savored this past month.

Read
I'm still working my way through Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey's autobiographical account of the three summers he spent as a park ranger at Arches National Park in Utah the 1960's. I read sections of the book while camping in Moab last weekend, a trip that included an 8-mile hike/run/scramble  through the very landscape Abbey describes. Rambling up stretches of sun-baked sandstone, inhaling deep breaths of the woodsy Juniper pines that line the trail, I thought of Abbey's words:

"One breath of juniper smoke, like the perfume of sagebrush after rain, evokes in magical catalysis, like certain music, the space and light and clarity and piercing strangeness of the American West. Long may it burn.” 

What Insights Do Baristas Get About Customers Based On Their Coffee Orders? I found it oddly moving how much care for the human spirit is evident in these descriptions--the effort to phrase an offer of whipped cream in the affirmative, for example. Fascinating stuff.

Also! I picked up The Desire Map at a hippie boutique in Telluride (where we spent a few days hiking and exploring on our way back from Moab), and devoured it on the car ride home. The thought of backing away from rigid goals in favor of pursuing core desired feelings resonates strongly. 

I'm currently playing with the following words and (my own) definitions: 

Engaged: rapt, immersed, fully present in all that I do

Spacious: the discernment to say "no" in order to create space and capacity for "yes"...with people, projects, and possessions.

Luminous: a sense of being illuminated from within by the quality of what I feed my body, mind, and spirit.

Channel: an openness to creativity and divine inspiration; a commitment to living life fully expressed.

Attuned: instinctual, intuitive, embracing of my innate sensitivity to the physical world around me; a willingness to honor the naturally wild and untamed in myself and my environment. See Women Who Run with the Wolves.

I loved reading about Caiti's writing process.

The Complete Guide To Structuring Your Ideal Work Day.

Great to see that clinical studies are validating what I have found empirically true for myself in recent years. (Although, as with any way of eating, I believe the quality of food matters. It would be interesting to see how outcomes would've changed if, for example, they'd encouraged a group to consume fats specifically from properly raised, pastured animals.)


Watched & Listened
The Civil Wars' Billie Jean // Sam Smith's Fast Car // Labrinth's Shake It Off // Ben Howard's Call Me Maybe // Ed Sheeran and Passenger's No Diggity // Kings of Leon's Dancing On My Own

Why You Will Fail To Have a Great Career. Find your passion. No excuses.

Savored
This cider, the perfect treat for fall. My favorite flavor is the Honey Crisp.

Art-filled walls after (finally) getting our artwork hung up in our new place.

Paleo Chicken Chili made with fresh, local green chiles. Grain-free Coconut Pumpkin Spice Muffins and Pear Ginger Crumble. Diced sweet potato sautéed in ghee or coconut oil with my morning eggs. A pinch of nutmeg and cinnamon sprinkled on top of my morning coffee.

I so love the cozy scents of autumn, and have been enjoying burning these candles. (Oh, and don't these look amazing?).

Turning 30 in a few days. And feeling really excited about the awesome shifts that seem to take place when people, women especially, reach this milestone. As Ann Friedman writes:

It was around age 29 that the number of f***s I gave about other people’s opinions dipped to critically low levels. Which freed up all kinds of mental and emotional space for the stuff I was really passionate about.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

What did you read, watch, listen to, and savor this month?