I’ve been unsettled these past few days and although I can see the swirl of thoughts keep pace with my breath, even settling into stillness doesn’t allow for clarity to appear.
This place, the unknown—between here and there and I’m not sure where—is a marvel of a landscape and my ego resists at all costs, shouting Hurry up, we’re falling behind—but if you know yourself well (and sometimes I do), you know that it is not possible to go any faster.
I read and sleep and rest and walk and play and practice in my tiny apartment in a big city, surrounded by love, getting personal with the unknown and I turn to those that have come before me and walked their own paths for inspiration:
“I promise I shall never give up, and that I’ll die yelling and laughing, and that until then I’ll rush around this world I insist is holy and pull at everyone’s lapel and make them confess to me and to all.”
~ Jack Kerouac
“I made it the mantra of those days; when I paused before yet another series of switchbacks or skidded down knee-jarring slopes, when patches of flesh peeled off my feet along with my socks, when I lay alone and lonely in my tent at night I asked, often out loud: Who is tougher than me?The answer was always the same, and even when I knew absolutely there was no way on this earth that it was true, I said it anyway: No one.”
~ Cheryl Strayed
“I exist as I am, that is enough,
If no other in the world be aware I sit content,
And if each and all be aware I sit content.
One world is aware, and by the far the largest to me, and that is myself,
And whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand or ten million years,
I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness, I can wait.”
~ Walt Whitman
“Whatever you are physically…male or female, strong or weak, ill or healthy—all those things matter less than what your heart contains. If you have the soul of a warrior, you are a warrior. All those other things, they are the glass that contains the lamp, but you are the light inside.”
~ Cassandra Clare
“A kind of light spread out from her. And everything changed color. And the world opened out. And a day was good to awaken to. And there were no limits to anything. And the people of the world were good and handsome. And I was not afraid any more.”
~ John Steinbeck
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”
~ Paulo Coelho
“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.”
~ Ayn Rand
“But secretly I knew I had been transformed, moved by the revelation that human beings create art, that to be an artist was to see what others could not.”
~ Patti Smith
“Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted.”
This piece has been adapted from the original, which first appeared on elephant journal.