Quotes July 24, 2019

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin

“Happiness and misery are not absolute but depend on the direction in which you are tending and consist in a progression towards better or worse.”
Samuel Butler, The Note-books of Samuel Butler
“The fact is, that, of all God’s gifts to the sight of man, colour is the holiest, the most divine, the most solemn…The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.”
John Ruskin, The Stones of Venice
“For whatever reason, the heart cannot separate the world’s appearance and actions from morality and valor, and the power of every idea is intensified, if not actually created, by its expression in substance. Over and over in the butterfly we see the idea of transcendence. In the forest we see not the inert but the aspiring. In water that departs forever and forever returns, we experience eternity.”
Mary Oliver, “Wordsworth’s Mountain,” Long Life
“Pessimism like calumny is easy to do, and attracts immediate attention. The gossiper and the writer may find this out soon enough, and a little encouragement from the current mood will procure them successes that bring endless imitators in their trail. On the other hand saying good things about life in general and individuals in particular and making it interesting is a serious task which few can achieve with credit.”
Bernard Berenson, Sunset and Twilight
“It has been well observed, that the misery of man proceeds not from any single crush of overwhelming evil, but from small vexations continuously repeated.”
Samuel Johnson, “Pope,” in Selected Writings
“The constant remaking of order out of chaos is what life is all about, even in the simplest domestic chores such as clearing the table and washing the dishes after a meal…but when it comes to the inner world, the world of feeling and thinking, many people leave the dishes unwashed for weeks so no wonder they feel ill and exhausted.”
May Sarton, Recovering
“Sometimes deliberate people look for their island and conquer it, and sometimes the dream of the island can be a passive symbol for what is one step beyond reach. The island—at last, privacy, remoteness, intimacy, a rounded whole without bridges or fences.”
Tove Jansson, “The Island,” The Paris Review
“Like the bee, we distill poison from honey for our self-defense—what happens to the bee if it uses its sting is well known.”
Dag Hammarskjold, Markings
“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
it’s always ourselves we find in the sea.”
e.e. cummings, “maggie and milly and molly and may”
“Action and feeling go together…by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling.”
William James, Talks to Teachers on Psychology and to Students on Some of Life’s Ideals
“Everyone knows the power of things: life is solidified in them, more immediately present than in any of its instants.”
Simone de Beauvoir, A Very Easy Death
“One of the consolations of old age is the intense pleasure I now get from nature. It seems that in youth I was too busy confronting life and experience to stand still and gaze.”
P. D. James, Time to Be in Earnest
“We love the things we love for what they are.”
Robert Frost, “Hyla Brook”
“Habit is, of all the plants of human growth, the one that has least need of nutritious soil in order to live.”
Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way
“The days are long, but the years are short.”
Gretchen Rubin