“The feelings of powerlessness that often accompany failure start with those all-too-familiar ‘could have’ or ‘should have’ self-inventories. And our fear grows in tandem with the strength of our belief that an opening has been forever closed. Pervasive feelings of powerlessness eventually lead to despair. My favorite definition of despair comes from the author and pastor Bob Bell: Despair is a spiritual condition. It’s the belief that tomorrow will be just like today. My heart stopped what I heard him say this. man. I know what it feels like to be under that rock and to believe, with all of my heart, that there’s no way out and that I’ll be in that exact same spot tomorrow. For me, that feeling is absolutely a spiritual crisis.
In my work, I’ve found that moving out of powerlessness, and even despair, requires hope. Hope is not an emotion: It’s a cognitive process–a thought process made up of what researcher C. R. Snyder called the trilogy of ‘goals, pathways, and agency.’ Hope happens when we can set goals, have the tenacity and perseverance to pursue those goals, and believe in our own abilities to act.”
“If integrate means ‘to make whole,’ then its opposite is to fracture, disown, disjoin, detach, unravel, or separate. I think many of us move through the world feeling this way. The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear more whole or more acceptable, but our wholeness–even our wholeheartedness–actually depends on the integration of all of our experiences, including the falls.”
“How do we know that God isn’t in Hell, and Satan in Heaven, where he started out? Whose word do we have to go on? Dante? Milton? Literature is literature, my esteemed geniuses, but those poems of yours are just grand guesses. What if God simply couldn’t take Lucifer’s complaining and posturing and Sturming and Dranging day after day, night after night, and decided to pack his bags, get out of there, and go straight to Hell, to put as much distance as possible between himself and that irritating cocky bastard. And once that happened, let’s say that Lucifer calmed down and remained in Heaven among his fellow angels, who never gave a shit about him anyway, happy that the pious asshole was out of his sight, yet sulking that he had no enemy in his weight class worthy of railing against, or usurping. And let’s say that these two impressive personages have lived in both locations all along, from the start. So we have Lucifer out of place among the vanilla goody-goodies, and God sitting around with the fire and brimstone, and a bunch of cackling junior devils. Wouldn’t those newly dead people assigned to one place or the other be in for the surprise of their lost lives when they got there. Good would be mixed in with evil, evil in with good. And God would exist in eternal confusion. And Lucifer, too. Just like the rest of us….”
–Roger Rosenblatt, Thomas Murphy
“There are two kinds of silence, it seems to me. One is that place where we tuck out thoughts and feelings. You can betray in silence, brood in silence, envy, pity, plot, year, admire, condemn, lie to yourself, lie to your conscience, forgive yourself, forgive others, all in silence. Love. You can love in silence. You usually do.
Which leads to the second kind of silence, where you find yourself from time to time, surrounded by, engulfed in–that greater silence, to which all other silences run, when you realize that we are all part of the same poem, the same vast poem that began in the first cosmic spark and will end at the last amalgamation of the stars–a limerick, a sonnet, a fucking epic to which surrender becomes a kind of understanding. It’s as if sound, all sound, constituted an intrusion of people invented because they could not stand the overwhelming power of that silence.”
–Roger Rosenblatt, Thomas Murphy
“We find ourselves torn by confusion, by conflict, by affirmation and denial, by emotion congested by fear, congealed by pride. We are afraid of the Universe in which we live, suspicious of people around us, uncertain of the salvation of our own souls. All these things negatively react and cause physical disorders.
Nature seems to await our comprehension of her and, since she is governed by immutable laws–the ignorance of which excuses no man from their effects–the bondage of humanity must be a result of our ignorance of the true nature of Reality. The storehouse of Nature may be filed with good, but this good is locked to the ignorant. The key to this door is held in the mind of Intelligence, working in accordance with Universal Law. Through experience, man learns what is really good and satisfying, what is truly worthwhile. As his intelligence increases, and his capacity to understand the subtle laws of Nature grows, he will gradually be set free. As he learns the Truth, the Truth will automatically free him.
When we learn to trust the Universe, we shall be happy,prosperous, and well. We must learn to come under that Divine Government, and accept the fact that Nature’s table is ever filled. Never was there a Cosmic famine. ‘The finite alone has wrought and suffered, the Infinite lies stretched in smiling repose.’ God is always God. No matter what our emotional storm, or what our objective situation, may be, there is always a something hidden in the inner being that has never been violated. We may stumble, but always there is that Eternal Voice, forever whispering within our ear, that thing which causes the eternal quest, that thing which forever sings and sings.”
–Ernest Holmes, The Science of Mind
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
“To study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly,
to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open
to bear all cheerfully,
do all bravely,
in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden, and unconscious,
to grow up through the common.
This is to be my symphony.”
–William Ellery Channing
“Boundaries are hard when you want to be liked and when you are a pleaser hellbent on being easy, fun, and flexible….When I do something because I feel pushed, pressured, guilt-tripped, or shamed into it, I expect people to be appreciative in addition to being respectful and professional. Ninety percent of the time they are none of the above. How can we expect people to put value on our work when we don’t value ourselves enough to set and hold uncomfortable boundaries?“
–Brene Brown, Rising Strong