Tag: Gretchen Rubin

Quotes November 04, 2019

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin

“The work I have done has already been adequately rewarded and recognized. Imagination reaches out repeatedly trying to achieve some higher level of understanding, until suddenly I find myself momentarily alone before one new corner of nature’s pattern of beauty and true majesty revealed. That was my reward.”
Richard Feynman, banquet speech at the Nobel Prize ceremonies, Stockholm, 1966
“The Little House was very happy as she sat on the hill and watched the countryside around her. She watched the sun rise in the morning and she watched the sun set in the evening. Day followed day, each one a little different from the one before . . . but the Little House stayed just the same.”
Virginia Lee Burton, The Little House
“There is a perfect ant, a perfect bee, but man is perpetually unfinished…Moreover, the incurable unfinishedness keeps man perpetually immature, perpetually capable of learning and growing.”
Eric Hoffer
“How to gain, how to keep, how to recover happiness, is in fact for most men at all times the secret motive of all they do, and of all they are willing to endure.”
WWilliam James, The Varieties of Religious Experience

Quotes October 29, 2019

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin

“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land…the only way to go to England is to go away from it.”
G. K. Chesterton, “The Riddle of the Ivy,” Tremendous Trifles
“An eccentricity made a regular thing of ceases to provoke remark.”
Sylvia Townsend Warner, “Winged Creatures” in Kingdoms of Elfin
“October is a fine and dangerous season in America. It is dry and cool and the land is wild with red and gold and crimson, and all the lassitudes of August have seeped out of your blood, and you are full of ambition. It is a wonderful time to begin anything at all.”
Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain
“One day when I was studying with Schoenberg, he pointed out the eraser on his pencil and said, ‘This end is more important than the other.’”
John Cage, Silence
“One is happy as a result of one’s own efforts, once one knows of the necessary ingredients of happiness—simple tastes, a certain degree of courage, self-denial to a point, love of work, and, above all, a clear conscience. Happiness is no vague dream, of that I now feel certain.”
George Sand

“For me, the challenge of middle age was not to stand still.”
Jon Katz, A Dog Year

Quotes October 21, 2019

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin

“A change in the weather is sufficient to create the world and ourselves anew.”
Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way
“Perhaps it is the simplest and most popular truths which are also the deepest after all.”
Thomas Merton, Journal, November 20, 1952
“You don’t become a painter, you just discover one day that you are one.”
Yves Klein, quoted in Klein, by Hannah Weitemeier
“If one is out of touch with oneself, then one cannot touch others.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea
“I looked at the menu, then I looked at my wife. The one thing about her that I always loved was that she was never one of those people who thinks that someone else is the answer to their happiness. Me or anybody else. She’s always had her own built-in happiness.”
Bob Dylan, Chronicles: Volume One
“Humor is the antidote to overthinking. It’s a way of saying that life is paradoxical. Humor contains contradictions; it does not resolve them but revels in them. It says that the right way to exist among the contradictions, paradoxes, and absurdities of life is to cope with them through laughter.”
Bob Mankoff, How About Never: Is Never Good For You?
“Most men rather please than admire you; they seek less to be instructed, and even to be amused, than to be praised and applauded; the most delicate of pleasures is to please another person.”
Jean de La Bruyère, “Of Society and Conversation”, The Characters of Jean de La Bruyère
“The way in which people miss their opportunities is melancholy.”
Elizabeth von Arnim, The Solitary Summer
“Grownups! Everyone remembers them. How strange and even sad it is that we never become what they were: beings noble, infallible, and free. We never become them. One of the things we discover as we live is that we never become anything different from what we are. We are no less ourselves at forty than we were at four, and because of this we know grownups as Grownups only once in life: during our own childhood. We never meet them in our lives again, and we miss them always.”
Eizabeth Enright, Doublefields, “The Walnut Shell”



Quotes October 08, 2019

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin

“I love a broad margin to my life.”
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
[Of the French writer Colette] “She was both home-loving and adventurous…passionately attached to what she possessed and ready to risk or give it away at any moment.”
Maurice Goudeket, Close to Colette: An Intimate Portrait of a Woman of Genius
“Neither does the tree hold back its leaves but lets them flow open or glide away when the time is right.”
Mary Oliver, “Habits, Differences, and the Light That Abides,” Long Life
“Alexandra drew her shawl closer about her and stood leaning against the frame of the mill, looking at the stars which glittered so keenly through the frosty autumn air. She always loved to watch them, to think of their vastness and distance, and of their ordered march. It fortified her to reflect upon the great operations of nature, and when she thought of the law that lay behind them, she felt a sense of personal security.”
Willa Cather, O Pioneers!
“I love repetition. Repetitions turn time into a place, turns the days into a house, where the repetitions form the walls, floor, and ceiling.”
Karl Ove Knausgaard, Summer
“Reflection is to colors what echo is to sounds.”
Joubert, Pensees

Quotes September 30, 2019

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin

“No effort is required to define or even attain happiness, but enormous concentration is needed to abandon everything else.”
Quentin Crisp, The Naked Civil Servant
“We followed a path in between the trees, and there, in the middle of the wood, stood an apple tree laden with apples. The children were as astonished as I was, apple trees are supposed to grow in gardens, not wild out in the forest. Can we eat them, they asked. I said yes, go ahead, take as many as you want. In a sudden glimpse, as full of joy as it was of sorrow, I understood what freedom is.”
Karl Ove Knausgaard, Autumn

“Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity. But without proper preparation, I cannot see it, retain it, and use it.”
Twyla Tharp
“The mind…is rarely so disturbed, but that the company of a friend will restore it to some degree of tranquility and sedateness.”
Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments
“What is far off may be more familiar to us than what is quite near.”
Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way
“It is all a question of weeding out what you yourself like best to do, so that you can live most agreeably in a world full of an increasing number of disagreeable surprises.”
M.F.K. Fisher, How to Cook a Wolf
“An egoist lives in poverty. A kind person lives in abundance.”
Maxime Lagacé

You are loved.
Maybe not by yourself, today.
But maybe, just for today, you could pretend to love yourself.
How about tomorrow, too?
By the end of the week, you might actually believe that you are loved.

Quotes September 22, 2019

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin

“We may, by fixing our attention almost fiercely on the facts actually before us, force them to turn into adventures; force them to give up their meaning and fulfill their mysterious purpose.”
G. K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles
“This is suffering’s lesson: pay attention. The important part might come in a form you do not recognize.”
Sarah Manguso, The Two Kinds of Decay
“On a really clean tablecloth, the smallest speck of dirt annoys the eye. At high altitudes, a moment’s self-indulgence may mean death.”
Dag Hammarskjold, Markings
“’Appearances are not held to be a clue to the truth,’ said his cousin. ‘But we seem to have no other.’”
Ivy Compton-Burnett, Manservant and Maidservant
“Would all, who cherish such wild wishes, but look around them, they would oftenest find their sphere of duty, of prosperity and happiness, within those precincts, and in that station where Providence itself has cast their lot. Happy they who read the riddle without a weary world-search, or a lifetime spent in vain!”
Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Threefold Destiny”
“Always, as one arrives, here is the old acceleration of the pulse—the mountainous gray skyline glimpsed from the Triboro Bridge, the cheerful games of basketball and handball being played on the recreational asphalt beside the FDR Drive, the startling, steamy, rain-splotched intimacy of the side streets where one’s taxi slows to a crawl, the careless flung beauty of the pedestrians clumped at the street corners. So many faces, costumes, packages, errands! So many preoccupations, hopes, passions, lives in progress!”
John Updike, “Is New York City Inhabitable?”
“At these best moments a great humility fused with a great ambition: to be only what I was, but to the utmost of what I was.”
Stephen Spender, World Within World
“Most people take action by habit in small things more often than in important things.”
Mary Oliver, “Habits, Differences, and the Light That Abides,” Long Life

Quotes September 10-12, 2019

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin

“Most of us are experts at solving other people’s problems, but we generally solve them in terms of our own and the advice we give is seldom for other people but for ourselves.”
Nan Fairbrother, The House in the Country
“[There are] three possible ways to find meaning in life—even up to the last moment, the last breath…1) a deed we do, a work we create; 2) an experience, a human encounter, a love; and 3) when confronted with an unchangeable fate (such as an incurable disease), a change of attitude toward that fate.”
Victor Frankl, Recollections
“A house in which there are no people—but with all the signs of tenancy—can be a most tranquil good place. People take up space in a house out of proportion to their size.”
Muriel Spark, The Portobello Road
“Who looks upon a river in a meditative hour, and is not reminded of the flux of all things?”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nature,” Selected Essays, Lectures and Poems
“It is in vain to say human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility; they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.”
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
“Even in his most artificial creations, nature is the material upon which man has to work.”
Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way
“Traveling makes one modest: one sees what a tiny place one occupies in the world.”
The Letters of Gustave Flaubert, 1830-1857

Quotes September 03, 2019

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin

“The years from 7 to 13 seem to be particularly formative. We are young enough to be innocent and impressionable, yet old enough to think and feel deeply about what is happening to us.”
Ysenda Maxtone Graham, Mr. Tibbits’s Catholic School
“I didn’t entirely like this glossy new surface, because it made the school look like a museum, and that’s exactly what it was to me, and what I did not want it to be. In the deep, tacit way in which feeling becomes stronger than thought, I had always felt that the Devon School came into existence the day I entered it, was vibrantly real while I was a student there, and then blinked out like a candle the day I left.”
John Knowles, A Separate Peace
“Even paradise must have rules.”
Mary Oliver, “Flow,” Long Life
“Forever—is composed of Nows—”
Emily Dickinson, The Poems of Emily Dickinson
“To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.”
Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist Part II
“I had wanted to come back to Greenwich Village ever since I had left Waverly Place, and since moving to West Eleventh Street, I have never lived anyplace else. I do not want to. That is not because of what the Village is but because of what I have made it, and what I have made it depends on who I am at the time.”
Mary Cantwell, Manhattan, When I Was Young
“It is not always in this world the people who bring us fine roses to whom we are most friendly.”
Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way
“I suppose the more you have to do, the more you learn to organise and concentrate—or else get fragmented into bits. I have learned to use my ‘ten minutes.’ I once thought it was not worth sitting down for a time as short as that; now I know differently and, if I have ten minutes, I use them, even if they bring only two lines, and it keeps the book alive.”
Rumer Godden, A House with Four Rooms
“What we want out of a vacation changes as we age. It changes from vacation to vacation. There was a time when it was all about culture for me. My idea of a real break was to stay in museums until my legs ached and then go stand in line to get tickets for an opera or a play. Later I became a disciple of relaxation and looked for words like beach and massage when making my plans. I found those little paper umbrellas that balanced on the side of rum drinks to be deeply charming then. Now I strive for transcendent invisibility and the chance to accomplish the things I can’t get done at home. But as I pack up my room at the Hotel Bel-Air, I think the best vacation is the one that relieves me of my own life for a while and then makes me long for it again.”
Ann Patchett, “Do Not Disturb,” in This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage
“Thinking about monastic ideals is not the same as living up to them, but at any rate such thinking has an important place in a monk’s life, because you cannot begin to do anything unless you have some idea what you are trying to do.”
Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas

Quotes August 20, 2019

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin

“We are interested in others, when they are interested in us.”
Publius Syrus
“To be driven by our appetites alone is slavery, while to obey a law that we have imposed on ourselves is freedom.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract
“The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.”
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
“Is life so wretched? Isn’t it rather your hands which are too small, your vision which is muddied? You are the one who must grow up.”
Dag Hammarskjold, Markings
“To live is so startling, it leaves but little room for other occupations.”
Emily Dickinson, letter
“To be really happy and really safe, one ought to have at least two or three hobbies, and they must all be real.”
Winston Churchill, “Hobbies”
“There is a myth, sometimes widespread, that a person need only do inner work…that a man is entirely responsible for his own problems; and that to cure himself, he need only change himself…The fact is, a person is so formed by his surroundings, that his state of harmony depends entirely on his harmony with his surroundings.”
Christopher Alexander, The Timeless Way of Building
“The desire of being believed, the desire of persuading, of leading, and directing other people, seems to be one of the strongest of all our natural desires.”
Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments
“Experience, contrary to popular belief, is mostly imagination.”
Ruth Benedict

Quotes August 07, 2019

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin

“Always, as one arrives, here is the old acceleration of the pulse—the mountainous gray skyline glimpsed from the Triboro Bridge, the cheerful games of basketball and handball being played on the recreational asphalt beside the FDR Drive, the startling, steamy, rain-splotched intimacy of the side streets where one’s taxi slows to a crawl, the careless flung beauty of the pedestrians clumped at the street corners. So many faces, costumes, packages, errands! So many preoccupations, hopes, passions, lives in progress!”
John Updike, “Is New York City Inhabitable?”
“Most people take action by habit in small things more often than in important things.”
Mary Oliver, “Habits, Differences, and the Light That Abides,” Long Life
“One does not play Bach without having done scales. But neither does one play a scale merely for the sake of the scale.”
Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace
“There are no new truths, but only truths that have not been recognized by those who have perceived them without noticing.”
Mary McCarthy, “The Vita Activa”, The New Yorker, October 18, 1958
“There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk.”
M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating
“It is much easier to extinguish a first desire than to satisfy all of those that follow it.”
La Rochefoucauld
“It is well to yield up a pleasure, when a pain goes with it.”
Publius Syrus
“In 1970 I felt so lonely that I could not give; now I feel so joyful that giving seems easy. I hope that the day will come when the memory of my present joy will give me the strength to keep giving even when loneliness gnaws at my heart.”
Henri Nouwen, The Genesee Diary
“How often the prospect of future happiness is thus sacrificed to one’s impatient insistence upon an immediate gratification!”
Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way
“Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Social Aims” in The Complete Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Read at whim! Read at whim!”
Randall Jarrell