Friday, May 6, 2011

Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott

"Do you think it makes my hips look too big?" and she said to me slowly, "Annie? I really don't think you have that kind of time."

And I don't think you have that kind of time either. I don't think you have time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won't be good enough at it, and I don't think you have time to waste on someone who does not respond to you with kindness and respect. You don't want to spend your time around people who make you hold your breath. You can't fill up when you're holding your breath. And writing is about filling up, filling up when you are empty, letting images and ideas and smells run down like water- just as writing is also about dealing with the emptiness. The emptiness destroys enough writers without the help of some friend or spouse." p. 170-171

The Art of Possibility, Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander

I guess 2011 is shaping up to be the year I lose my desire to record my reading. Other than my list of titles on the left I  just can't bring myself to write anything. Earlier this year I read Benjamin Zander's The Art of Possibility after loving a talk I saw of his from TED. The book was inspiring but nowhere near as exciting as the TED video. I marked up a bunch of quotes from the book though that I want to remember:

"When he retired from the Supreme Court, Justice Thurgood Marshall was asked of what accomplishment he was most proud. He answered simply, "That I did the best I could with what I had." Could there be any greater acknowledgment?" p.46

"I settled on a game called I am a contribution. Unlike success and failure, contribution has no other side. It is not arrived at by comparison. All at once I found that the fearful question, "Is it enough?" and the even more fearful question, "Am I loved for who I am, or for what I have accomplished?" could both be replaced by the joyful question, "How will I be a contribution today?" p.57

"I discovered a person cannot live a full life under the shadow of bitterness... There is no such thing as bad weather only inappropriate clothing." p. 64

"A young man goes to see his rabbi. "Rabbi," he asks, "you told us a story- something to do with praise?" The rabbi responds, "Yes, it is thus: when you get some good news, you thank the Lord, and when you get some bad news, you praise the Lord." "Of course," replies the man, "I should have remembered. But Rabbi, how do you actually know which is the bad news?" The rabbi smiles, "You are wise, my son. So just to on the safe side, always thank the Lord." p.105

"Speaking in possibility springs from the appreciation that what we say creates a reality; how we define things sets a framework for life to unfold."p.110

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.- Martha Graham" p.116

"She vowed not to say anything that could not stand as the last thing she ever said." p.174

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate,
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous-
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people
Won't feel insecure around you.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone,
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously
Give other people permission to do the same. - Marianne Williamson, p. 178-179

"Victoria chose to tell OUR story, the story of sufficiency and connection, yet she might, perhaps more easily, have told a story about her disappointment over my shortcomings. It is an ongoing choice for all of us- when a lover neglects to call, a colleague lets us down, or someone surpasses us, we can choose to tell the story of the WE or the story of the Other." p. 185

"I am done with great things and big plans, great institutions and big successes. I am for those tiny, invisible loving human forces that work from individual to individual, creeping through the crannies of the world like so many rootlets, or like the capillary oozing of water, yet which, if given time, will rend the hardest monuments of human pride. - William James" p.197

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