Quotes To Live By & Learn From

NOTE: While the date of this post is 2008, it is regularly updated. Newer quotes are added to the bottom of the page.

I’m a quote-a-holic.  I believe in the power of words to reshape thoughts, thereby changing our feelings and perceptions.  Here are some of my favorites.

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls the butterfly.

Richard Bach

Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin as self-neglecting.

Shakespeare, Henry V

To be in harmony with the oneness of life is to be without anxiety about imperfection.

Zen Master Dzogen

I made a list of things I have to remember and a list of things I want to forget, but I see they are the same list.

From Linda Pastan’s poem Lists

The attitude of surrender is the best antidote to one’s own anger, anxiety, and fear.

Sally Kempton Yoga Journal

All of our emotions are our babies.  Treat them tenderly, care for them.  Be with them.  Understanding and compassion will ultimately transform them.

Thich Nhat Hanh in Walking Meditation

There will be a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.

Louis L’Amour

Suffering is not the nature of our experience.  It comes from misunderstanding our experience.

Ethan Nichtern in One City

The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.


The Buddha’s Five Remembrances:

I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.

I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.

My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

Thich Nhat Hanh’s translation

All stress comes from resisting the present moment.

Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth

The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself.

Nicole S. Urdang

When Krista Tippett asked eighty year old Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche Communities, what he was doing these days he replied:

I’m doing what I’ve been doing for the past 40 years: learning to love reality.

Comparison is misery.

The Buddha

If I only had three words of advice I could give you they would be : Tell the Truth.

If I were allowed three more, they would be: All the time.

From Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture

Everyone, and everything, is our teacher.

Yogic aphorism

One is one’s own refuge.  Who else could be the refuge?

The Buddha

Nemo dat quod non habet. (Latin for: You cannot give what you do not have.)

We give what we desperately want.  We say what we need to hear.

Robyn Posin

You don’t have a soul.  You are a soul.  You have a body.

C.S. Lewis

Forgiving before you are ready is an act of violence against yourself.  And, you may never be ready.

Nicole S. Urdang

Never give the devil a ride, because if he likes the ride pretty soon he’ll want to drive.

Anne Lamott

The sun is always behind the clouds.


I love you, I will never leave you, I will always take care of you. (Said to oneself.)

Elizabeth Gilbert

What would it be like if I could accept life, accept this moment, exactly as it is?

Tara Brach

The best way way out is always through.

Robert Frost

One of the secrets to a happy life is continuous small treats.

Iris Murdoch

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday and all is well.

Dale Carnegie (with add-on by NSU)

I go out for a walk every day because the demons don’t like fresh air.

Ingmar Bergman

The choice is pain or paralysis.

Florence Nightingale

That which you seek is already within you.

Yogic aphorism

Expectations are resentments under construction.

Anne Lamott

There is no other person in the whole world more deserving of compassion than you.

The Budddha

It’s your life.  If you’re not going to be enthusiastic about it who will be?

Nicole S. Urdang

One heals suffering only by experiencing it to the full.

Marcel Proust

Sometimes, you just have to let everything fall apart.

Pema Chodron

When you find yourself reacting to someone’s behavior, imagine that person as a seven year old.  If you see their hurt and pain it’s easier to have compassion and move on.


Be here now.

Ram Dass

Believing in life before death is hard enough.

“Shoe” in the comic strip Crow

Revenge is like drinking rat poison and expecting the rat to die.

Anne Lamott

When the horse is dead it’s time to dismount.

Attributed to Dakota Indians

We have all experienced abandonment.  What we need to learn is to never abandon our own self.

John Selby

Forgiveness means that it’s finally unimportant that you hit back–you’re done.  It doesn’t necessarily mean you want to have lunch with the person.

Anne Lamott

Never underestimate the power of compassionately recognizing what is going on.

Pema Chodron

What we practice we become.

Yogic Aphorism

When we let go our hand opens and we are able to receive.

Rolf Gates

Never ruin an apology with an excuse.

Kimberly Johnson

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

Dr. Seuss

Rejoicing in ordinary things is not sentimental or trite. It actually takes guts.

Pema Chodron

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light but by making the darkness conscious.

C.G. Jung

Never try to teach a pig to sing.  It wastes your time and annoys the pig.

Paul Dickson

My beloved child, break your heart no longer.  Each time your judge yourself you break your heart.


Rest is a sacred act.

Robyn Posin

A life truly lived constantly burns away veils of illusion, burns away what is no longer relevant, reveals our essence, until, at last, we are strong enough to stand in our naked truth.

Marion Woodman

Now that my ladders gone

I must lie down where all the ladders start

In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart

W.B. Yeats

We can’t heal what we can’t feel.

Debbie Ford

barn’s burnt down;

now I can see

the moon

Haiku by Masahide

Tenderly, I now touch all


knowing one day we will


St. John of the Cross

He who has injured thee was either stronger or weaker than thee.  If weaker, spare him; if stronger, spare thyself.

William Shakespeare

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way….

Charles Dickens

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Reinhold Neibuhr

Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you.

Ian Matthews

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “thank you,” that would suffice.

Meister Eckhart

A Spiritual Journey

And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles,

no matter how long,

but only by a spiritual journey,

a journey of one inch,

very arduous and humbling and joyful,

by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,

and learn to be at home.

Wendell Berry

If you don’t risk anything you risk even more.

Erica Jong

Referring to meditation, an old Chinese Zen Master once said, “Some of you are taking me literally when I say, ‘Don’t think,’ and you are making your minds like a rock. This is a cause of insentiency and an obstruction to the Way. When I say not to think, I mean that if you have a thought, think nothing of it.”

The heart, like the grape, is prone to delivering its harvest in the same moment it is crushed.

Roger Housden

Transcending boundaries is one of the joys of life.

Cedar Barstow

The Heart Sutra: Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.

“Gone, gone, gone to the other shore beyond.”


You can’t escape from a prison unless you know you are in it.


When life descends into the pit

I must become my own candle

Willingly burning my self

To light up the darkness around me.

Alice Walker

Sadness is information from the soul.

C.G. Jung

Courage is the ability to create a relationship with the unknown.

David Whyte

Be happy for no reason.

Alan Finger

The thread is spun under the tears, the cloth bleached with tears, the shirt sewn with tears; but then too it is a better protection than iron and steel….The secret in life is that everyone must sew it for himself….Then, there is peace and rest and comfort in sorrow.

Kierkegaard comparing the final stage of human consciousness to the shirt in an old fable.

Confidence comes from doing difficult things.


Man is what he makes of himself.  And the courage to be as oneself is the courage to make of oneself what one wants to be.

Paul Tillich

In some ways the trauma of separation is a welcome contrast to the boredom that underlies many marriages.

Abigail Trafford

The hardest experiences of our lives crack us open to that which connects us all.

Maria Coffey

To attain clarity, allow confusion.

The Tao of Healing, Haven Trevino

If you can’t get out of it get into it.

Saying from Outward Bound

Man is unhappy because he doesn’t know he’s happy.  It’s only that. That’s all, that’s all!  If anyone finds out he’ll become happy at once, that minute…. It’s all good.  I discovered it all of a sudden.

Dostoyevsky, The Possessed

A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with all the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all-knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity.

Eleanor Roosevelt

We are all one, contributing our part to the wholeness of the universe. Each like a petal: unique, though an integral part of creating the flower’s beauty. Complete as we are, right this minute.

Nicole S. Urdang

When two people decide to get a divorce it isn’t a sign they don’t understand one another, but a sign that they have, at last, begun to.

Helen Rowland

If all misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own and depart.


This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

Dalai Lama

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.


Buddhist Prayer For Peace:

May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind quickly be freed from their illnesses.

May those frightened cease to be afraid, and may those bound be free.

May the powerless find power and may people think of befriending one another.

May those who find themselves in trackless, fearful wilderness—the children, the aged, the unprotected—be guarded by beneficial celestials, and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood.

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Winston Churchill

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.

Helen Keller

If you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right.

Henry Ford

Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.

Richard Bach

An emotional wound requires the same priority attention as a physical wound. Set time aside for mourning.

Melba Colgrove, Harold H. Bloomfield, & Peter Williams

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside, you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
Naomi Shabib Nye

I don’t know anything. Whatever I thought I knew was shattered. Whatever I anticipated never happened, and what I never anticipated did.
Terry Tempest Williams

Finding beauty in a broken world is creating beauty in the world we find.

Terry Tempest Williams

When you close your doors, and make darkness within, remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not alone; nay, God is within and your genius is within. And what need have they of light to see what you are doing?
Epictetus (1st Century AD)

Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn whatever state I am in, therein to be content.
Helen Keller

Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.
W. R. Inge

Far too frequently we see ourselves as doers. This means that in order to feel worthy in our own or [Spirit’s] eyes, we feel we must endlessly work and achieve. We have not always learned just to be receptive, to be in the presence of [Spirit] – quiet, available….

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

The great error of this age is that activity has increased so much that there is little margin left in one’s everyday life for repose.
Repose is the secret of all contemplation and meditation, the secret of getting in tune with that aspect of life which is the essence of all things.

Hazrat Inayat Khan

Listen in deep silence. Be very still and open your mind…. Sink deep into the peace that waits for you beyond the frantic, riotous thoughts and sights and sounds of this insane world.

A Course in Miracles

You do not need to leave your room…Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice. It will roll in ecstasy at your feet.

Franz Kafka

Ultimately, healing is a coming to terms with things
as they are, rather than struggling to force them to
be as they once were, or as we would like them to be
to feel secure

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.

Source unknown to me

Life is so short
We must move more slowly

Thich Nhat Hanh

You are a volume in the divine book
A mirror to the power that created the universe
Whatever you want, ask it of yourself
Whatever you’re looking for can only be found
Inside of you.


The deep attending to hard knots of holding is a powerfully compassionate act, a turning toward rejected parts of our being. As this newly compassionate observing occurs, the object of observation, the body/self is transformed and we move from denial to acceptance, from rejection to inclusion. This is the beginning of…loving kindness for the self.

Katherine Thanas in Being Bodies

All of our emotions are our babies. Treat them tenderly, care for them. Be with them. Understanding and compassion will ultimately transform them.

Thich Naht Hanh

Growth and forward motion continue whether we are vigilant or not. Pushing ourselves often slows the process: it stirs resistance in the healthy parts of us that are protecting the natural flow from being overthrown or interfered with. When things feel really hard, slowing way down allows the internal, organic balancing process to work its magic. When you get scared that you’ll never come out of this (or any other place in which you find yourself) remember that everything in us always moves toward growth and change–no matter how it looks to our outside eye.

Robyn Posin

Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart.
Try to allow the questions themselves,
like locked rooms,
and like books that are written in a very foreign language.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps you will then gradually,
without noticing,
live along some distant day into the answer.


Have compassion for everyone you meet,
even if they don’t want it.
What appears as bad manners, an ill temper or cynicism
is always a sign of things no ears have heard,
no eyes have seen.
You do not know what wars are going on
down there where the spirit
meets the bone.

Miller Williams

For those of you still facing challenges, here’s something key I’d like to share that I’ve learned. Please know that a wholeness exists in you even in the midst of adversity. There is a light in you even now. You may not be able to see it at the end of the tunnel, but it is in you. Right this moment. A wholeness that’s untouched by what you’re facing. Maybe it seems very small. Maybe you don’t even believe it’s there. But it is. If you take a moment to close your eyes, feel it there. That’s the part of you that already knows how to face the challenge, that’s already transformed it and learned from it. It’s the part that will lead you to whatever other guidance you might need along the way. This in no way minimizes the challenge. It’s just that this other piece exists simultaneously and is with you always. And no matter how alone you feel, know that you are not alone. Others feel as you do. If you believe in spirit or the power of love, these are with you always, along with the wholeness inside you.

Alissa Lukara

Grief is a form of loneliness.

Source unknown to me.

Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak whispers the over-fraught heart, and bids it break.

William Shakespeare

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

Henry David Thoreau

You are the thinker not the thought.


Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.


Temporary defeat is not failure.

Napoleon Hill

Learning how to be kind to ourselves, learning how to respect ourselves, is important. The reason it’s important is that, fundamentally, when we look into our own hearts and begin to discover what is confused and what is brilliant, what is bitter and what is sweet, it isn’t just ourselves that we’re discovering. We’re discovering the universe.

Pema Chodron

We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.

Pema Chodron

Every breakdown is a breakthrough.

Buckminster Fuller

We can’t feel gratitude and stress at the same time.

Max Strom

Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you are.

Chinese proverb

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
Carl Jung

Even if we are determined to block the magic it will get through.
Pema Chodron

Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).
James Baraz

Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.

Frederick Buechner

If God had a refrigerator your picture would be on it.
Max Lucado

My vision can be so limiting. I often think the only possible outcomes are those I can imagine.
The Courage To Change, Al-Anon

It’s better to want something you don’t have than to have something you don’t want.
Denny Crane, Boston Legal

Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.

Eckhart Tolle

The cure for anything is salt water—sweat, tears, or the sea.
Isak Dinesen

If you can sit quietly after difficult news;
If in financial downturns you remain perfectly calm;
If you can see your neighbors travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy;
If you can happily eat whatever is put on your plate;
If you can fall asleep without a drink or a pill;
If you can always find contentedness just where you are – you are probably a dog.
The one who knows realizes that difficulties are a part of every human life.

Jack Kornfield

It’s not your job to like me–it’s mine.

Byron Katie

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.

Anais Nin

Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.

Georgia O’Keeffe

Patience is the best remedy for every trouble.
Titus Maccius Plautus

The spiritual path is all about self-acceptance.
Jack Kornfied

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.

Erich Fromm

You have to know how to accept rejection, and reject acceptance.
Ray Bradbury

Enjoy when you can, and endure when you must.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

We have to face the pain we have been running from. In fact, we need to learn to rest in it and let its searing power transform us.

Charlotte Joko Beck

The wind of divine grace is always blowing. You just need to spread your sail. Whenever you do anything, do it with your whole heart concentrated on it. Think day and night, I am of the essence of that Supreme Being-Consciousness-Bliss. What fear and anxiety have I?

Swami Vivekananda

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.


Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.

Oscar Wilde

He who is not contented with what he has would not be contented with what he would like to have.


May today there be peace within.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.

Thérèse de Lisieux

I must be a mermaid. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.

Anaïs Nin

What progress, you ask, have I made? I have begun to be a friend to myself.

Hecato, Greek philosopher

Repetition is the mother of transformation.
David Magone

Every happiness is the child of a separation it did not think it could survive.
Rainer Maria Rilke

On Meditation:

I’m simply saying that there is a way to be sane.
I’m saying that you can get rid of all this insanity
created by the past in you. Just by being a simple
witness of your thought processes.

It is simply sitting silently, witnessing the thoughts,
passing before you.
Just witnessing, not interfering not even judging,
because the moment you judge, you have lost the
pure witness. The moment you say “this is good, this
is bad,” you have already jumped onto the thought process.

It takes a little time to create a gap between the
witness and the mind. Once the gap is there,
you are in for a great surprise,
that you are not the mind, that
you are the witness, A watcher.

And this process of watching is the very alchemy
of real religion. Because as you become more and
more deeply rooted in witnessing, thoughts start
disappearing. You are, but the mind is utterly empty.

That’s the moment of enlightenment.
That is the moment that you become for
the first time an unconditioned, sane,
really free human being.


I have learned … tolerance from the intolerant and kindness from the unkind. I should not be ungrateful to these teachers.

Kahlil Gibran

We might also ask: Given my present situation, how long should I stay with uncomfortable feelings?
This is a good question, yet there is no right answer.
We simply get accustomed to coming back to the present just as it is for a second,
for a minute, for an hour—whatever is currently natural—without its becoming an endurance trial.
Just pausing for two to three breaths is a perfect way to stay present.
This is a good use of our life.
Indeed, it is an excellent, joyful use of our life.

Pema Chodron

“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you, you just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”

Bob Marley

Our true nature is like a precious jewel: although it may be temporarily buried in mud, it remains completely brilliant and unaffected. We simply have to uncover it.

Pema Chodron

What is at the end of any plunge but solid ground?

Nicole S. Urdang

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
Louise Erdrich

“Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, “This is what I need.” It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge. If you bring love to that moment—not discouragement—you will find the strength there. Any disaster you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life. What a privilege!! This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow. Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures, followed by wreckage, were the incidents that shaped the life you have now. You’ll see this is really true. Nothing can happen to you that is not positive. Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not. The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.”

Joseph Campbell Quotes from A Joseph Campbell Companion

Wisdom’s not cheap, we pay for it.

Kevin Kling

I can’t go on. I’ll go on.

Samuel Beckett

If it’s out of proportion to the moment it’s probably about the past.

Deidre Fay

…But loving-kindness toward ourselves doesn’t mean getting rid of anything. It means that we can still be crazy after all these years. We can still be angry after all these years. We can still be timid or jealous or full of feelings of unworthiness. The point is not to try to change ourselves. Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That’s the ground, that’s what we study, that’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.

Pema Chodron

Relaxation is who you really are. Tension is who you think you should be.

Lee Holden

Before you heal someone ask him if he is willing to give up the things that make him sick.


May you discover it is you you are yearning to love most and you who will show you how. It is you you are most longing to know.

Sarah Blondin

If it’s hysterical it’s historical.


Boats that stay in the harbor are safe but that’s not what they’re built for.

Frederick Backman

The world breaks everyone and afterword many are stronger in the broken places.

Ernest Hemingway 

You can’t chase fear out you can only bring love in.

Elizabeth Gilbert 

The brighter the light the darker the shadow.

Nicole Urdang 

In an imperfect world we make the best of what has already been done.

Alexander McCall Smith

Success is not final, failure is not final. It is the courage to go on that counts.


When you realize nothing is lacking the whole world belongs to you. 

Lao Tzu 

To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.

Soren Kierkegaard

I have yet to meet a day when struggle and suffering are not offered to me.

Sarah Blondin

Resisting is the suffering, letting go and accepting is where the healing is found.

Emily Toner

Do no harm but take no shit.

Elizabeth Lesser

Meditation is an evolutionary sport.

Robert Thurman

There is no rejection only redirection.

Matt Haig

Never underestimate the big importance of small things.

Matt Haig

Compassion is the basis of morality.

Arthur Schopenhauer

The needle breaks the fabric in order to repair it.

Katherine May (Wintering)

Childhood is a darkened fantasy-filled theater in which, after a long or a short while, the house lights are turned on, and the brightness makes you blink, and then you see the candy wrappers under the seats and the lines for the bathrooms. That moment can happen at any time.

Ian Fraser December 14 New Yorker personal history

If you are searching for that one person who will change your life, take a look in the mirror.


On a walk one day, a Buddhist teacher asked his students if a huge boulder was heavy. They said of course it is. He said, only if you try to pick it up.

Why worry if you can do something about it, and why worry if you can do nothing about it? 

Shantideva 8th century monk 

Not everything that can be faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

James Baldwin

Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.

Emily Dickinson

There is nothing wrong with you that what’s right with you can’t cure.

Aldous Huxley

Hope is a tease designed to prevent us accepting reality.

Lady Grantham, Sr.,  Downton Abbey

Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself. 

Michel de Montaigne

Do not look for healing at the feet of those who broke you.

Rupi Kaur

As you come to terms with the endings of things (recognize) there’s too much holding back because we fight the endings.

There are cycles in your life that must come to an end and it’s pointless to resist what is inevitable.

Let all the pieces fall apart because the one piece you cannot lose is you.

Nico Luce, Yoga teacher on Gaia

Real power doesn’t come from having a million followers, good hair, a Louis Vuitton purse, a new car, a new home, a title, a partner, or anything that can be weighed, measured, or acquired. Real power is the thing you’ve always had inside you. Real power doesn’t need to be demonstrated or boasted. Real power is the ability to be in your skin, to know who you are, to know you will always be okay. Real power comes from your gut and your heart and your courage and your bravery and your love. Real power can never be taken away from you and never lost once it’s found. It’s the kind of power that people like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rosa Parks and the Dalai Lama all had or have—a quality within unaffected by outer circumstances, an eternal flame that cannot be touched.

Holly Whitaker 

Where we think we need more discipline, we usually need more self-love.

Tara Mohr

Grief unresisted is grace.


It takes time to become what we already are.

Rick Hanson PhD

For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.

Cynthia Occelli

The only people who get upset when you set boundaries are the ones who benefited from you having none.


One day in retrospect the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.

Sigmund Freud

At the innermost core of all loneliness is a deep and powerful yearning for union with one’s lost self.

Brendan Francis

Honor the space between no longer and not yet.

Nancy Levin

If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.

Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas

It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a sick society.


We are turtles, not birds. We take our childhood home with us wherever we go. We cannot fly away from it.

David Richo

Ultimately, healing is a coming to terms with things

as they are, rather than struggling to force them to

be as they once were, or as we would like them to be

to feel secure.

Jon Kabat Zinn

If everything is coming your way you’re in the wrong lane.

Old saying

The body feels stressed when we bring the mind into the past or the future.

David Gandelman

The more one knows the more one is protected by the truth.

Harlan Coben

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.

Winnie the Pooh

Hope, the source of all our suffering.

Harlan Coben

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.

e. e. cummings

If you want to clean the house you have to see the dirt.

Louise Hay

You always know when you’re doing something for the first time, and you almost never know when you’re doing something for the last time.

William Irvine

Healing is not an accident it’s a practice.

Deirdre Fay

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.


There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there’s only one way of being comfortable, and that is to stop running around after happiness.

Edith Wharton

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

Albert Camus

If you truly loved yourself you would never harm another.

The Buddha

We do not worship gods because they dress well.

Bradford Morrow

It’s easier to make your way when you can choose your own sound track.

Fredrik Backman

There are no dark nights of the soul. Your soul is doing just fine. There are only dark nights of the ego.

Robert Holden

We are continually faced with great opportunities which are brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems.

Margaret Mead

Sleep is the best meditation.

Dalai Lama

Remember: You’re not the candle or the flame you’re the light.

And in the light you watch.

Nico Luce

All emotions are just there to keep me safe and help me thrive.

Felix New

I look at “No” as next opportunity.

Felix Now

But who pretends that life is one slowly ascending curve of human development? Most of the time you have to smash into something: the death, the broken relationship, the horrible career moment. Then you think: Well, what matters to me? What do I enjoy? Or even just, I’m still here.

Kenneth Branagh

You teach people how to treat you.

Maya Angelou

Who looks outside dreams, who looks inside awakens.

Carl Jung

On grief:

Don’t lose what you have to what you have lost.

Dr. Lucy Hone

There is always a road back if we have the courage to look for it and take it.

I’m sorry, I was wrong, I didn’t know, I need help.

Those are the signposts, the cardinal directions.

Louise Penny’s Commander Gamache talking to the graduating class of police cadets in A Great Reckoning, ch. 43.

It (mindfulness) does provide a greater basket for tenderly holding and intimately knowing our suffering in any and all circumstances, and that, it turns out, is transformative, and can make all the difference between endless imprisonment in pain and suffering and freedom from suffering.”

Jon Kabat-Zinn

Each of us is deserving of a little forgetting.

Jason Mott in Hell of a Book

When we try to deny our vulnerability, we lose touch with our heart.

Richard C. Schwartz

This moment is the perfect teacher.

Pema Chodron

Our emotions are manifestations of human weather, nothing more, nothing less.

Brigid Lowry

The trauma is not a story about something that happened in the past. The trauma is how the past is alive and well and living in your body in 2022. It’s happening right now. How do you deal with these parts of you that are getting stirred up continuously right now?

Bessel Van Der Kolk

Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit

A lot of times we are angry at other people for not doing what we should have done for ourselves.

Rupi Kaur

The most difficult things are not outside, they’re inside you.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Chemists say the glass is neither half empty nor half full. It’s full: half with water and half with gas.

Weike Wang

Don’t you know yet? It is your light that lights the world.


It’s such a relief that we can change.

Celine Sciamma

Know this: When you lose someone or something, you have not lost yourself.

Annemaree Rowley

For the first time I examined myself with a seriously practical purpose. And there I found what appalled me; a zoo of lusts, a bedlam of ambitions, a nursery of fears, a harem of fondled hatreds. My name was legion.

C.S. Lewis

Who is your enemy? Mind is your enemy. No one can harm you more than your own mind untamed. And who is your friend? Mind is your friend. No one can help you more than your own mind, wisely trained—not even your own mother and father.

The Buddha

Little breath, breathe me gently, row me, for I am the river I am learning to cross.

W. S. Merwin

A long time Buddhist teacher talked about her experiences of depression, terror and helplessness (that arose from a family history of abuse and parentheses). Through her practice she learned to make space for those feelings. She learned that depression is just depression, and that when we are afraid of our feelings we make them as powerful as demons. It’s just depression she said. If we let it in, inhale it, feel it and exhale it, it will naturally transform, like all phenomenal existence. The most important thing is to not deny or avoid the experience.

Katherine Thanas

Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.

The Buddha

There is nothing so bad that it can’t be worse.

Irish proverb

Your hand opens and closes, opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed.


There is no love of life without despair of life.

Albert Camus

Fear is a universal experience. Even the smallest insect feels it. We wade in the tidal pools and put our finger near the soft, open bodies of sea anemones and they close up. Everything spontaneously does that. It’s not a terrible thing that we feel fear when faced with the unknown. It is part of being alive, something we all share. We react against the possibility of loneliness, of death, of not having anything to hold on to. Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.

If we commit ourselves to staying right where we are, then our experience becomes very vivid. Things become very clear when there is nowhere to escape.

Pema Chodron

We can be with what’s happening and not dissociate. Awakeness is found in our pleasure and our pain, our confusion and our wisdom, available in each moment of our weird, unfathomable, ordinary everyday lives.

Pema Chodron

Peace, satisfaction, true repose, come only through effort, and then not for long.

John Burroughs

The meaning of life is to find one’s gift.

The purpose of life is to give it away.


If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.

Henry David Thoreau

When nothing goes right…go left.

Martha Cecilia

To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.

Dr. Seuss

Every storm runs out of rain.

Maya Angelou

Whenever I’m suffering, I find this war with reality to be at the heart of the problem.

Stephen Cope

Our discomfort arises from all our effort to put ground under our feet, to realize our dream of constant OK-ness.

Pema Chodron

What is it like to realize we can never, and finally, get it all together?

Pema Chodron

I would love to live like a river flows, carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.

John O’Donohue

No one actually needs different circumstances, they only need greater support for the experiences they’re having.

Matt Kahn

The less there was of me, the happier I got.

Leonard Cohen

Be a lamp unto yourself.

Be a lamp unto yourself.

Be a refuge to yourself.

Take yourself to no external refuge.

The Buddha

You can’t think yourself through a feeling, you can only feel yourself through a feeling.

Selena Lael

Life is pain management and a slow march toward death. But here’s to having fun while we’re marching.

Alan Cumming

I used to worry about fitting in until I realized the reason I didn’t fit in was because I didn’t want to.

Matt Haig

What you resist persists.

Carl Jung

What you resist will persist; what you befriend, you will transcend.

Robin S. Sharma

Your expectations are valid. You don’t have to invalidate them. You just have to know that they are not realistic.

Mark Epstein, MD

Now that I’m enlightened, I’m just as miserable as ever.

Zen Monk

Never forget:

we walk on hell,

gazing at flowers.


I must undertake to love myself and to respect myself as though my very life depends upon self-love and self-respect.

June Jordan

The man who can keep a secret may be wise, but he is not half as wise as the man with no secrets to keep.

Edgar Watson Howe

Resisting reality is a losing battle.

Catherine Ingram

The seeker is what’s sought.

Lisa Romano

There is a story of a man who right before dying said to his daughter: What was that all about?

Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again and you will be filled with joy.

The Buddha

Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger than we were before.

Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant.

But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be…for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.

Alice Walker

The saddest thing in life is that the best thing in life is courage.

Robert Frost

Because, once alone, it is impossible to believe that one could ever have been otherwise. Loneliness is an absolute discovery.

Marilynne Robinson

(Regarding his getting lost on purpose.)

I want to be lost because I need to know that I can always find my way back.

Ira Sukrungruang

The meaning of life is to find your gift and the purpose of life is to give it away. Pablo Picasso

The only person you’re destined to become is the person you decide to be.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not.


The highest spiritual path is life itself.

Michael A. Singer

If we want a better world we have to make it ourselves.

Alice Walker

Life is so very difficult at times. It’s natural for us to tense our muscles, harden our hearts, and disengage emotions that feel unbearable. It’s part of how the wisdom of our bodies protects us.

David Chernikoff

The good news is that we can learn to relinquish our obsession with the information, mastery, and control we imagine will assuage our existential anxiety. Opening to things as they are, on a moment-to-moment basis, we gradually learn to trust our unfolding lives and to relax into the not-knowing that is ever present and ultimately unavoidable.

David Chernikoff

It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.

Wendell Berry

The dharma in six words:

Pay attention; don’t cling; be kind.

Sally Armstrong

Despair is the necessary prerequisite for the next level of consciousness.

Ram Dass

I want to enjoy less more.

Nicole Urdang

I simply don’t do things I hate.

Amemiya (woman quoted in The Abundance of Less by Andy Couturier)

If we want to have a happy ending it depends on where we stop the story.

Orson Welles

It is very simple to be happy, but very difficult to be simple.

Rabinranath Tagore

There is a great deal of pain in life and perhaps the only pain that can be avoided is the pain that comes from trying to avoid pain.

R.D. Laing

Liberty is a better husband than love to many of us.

Louisa May Alcott

Wisdom is only found at the bottom of the well.


I never aimed for normalcy, a  land for middle children and people who knew how to drive – – I liked feeling different from everyone else, and I felt that way as long as I can remember. What I wanted was to feel OK about those differences, to feel their power instead of their weight.

Whoopi Goldberg

Assimilation is a grieving process: losing the very essence of you for the comfort of acceptance.

Jazmine Hughes

Grief is the doorway to the soul.

Cheryl Richardson

If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.

Henry David Thoreau

A man’s concern, even his despair, over the worthwhileness of life is an existential distress but by no means a mental disease.

Viktor Frankl

From the movie: 23 Walks

Two older people talking…

He: Where’s your favorite place in the world?

She: Somewhere inside me.

Oh Lucy, don’t you sometimes feel sorry for everyone in this whole wide world?

Elizabeth Strout in Lucy by the Sea 

Nothingness will not leave you empty. It will fill you up.

Epiphany Mason

The person who thinks they know goes to war and the person who doesn’t know listens.

Tiger Singleton

Accept what is.

Let go of what was.

Have faith in what will be. 

Annamarie Rowley

I do not want to fight myself every day for the rest of my life.

Paulina Porizkova

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes…including you.

Anne Lamott

Suffering is a disharmony with myself.

Sarah Blondin

Presence is the portal to everything we cherish.

Tara Brach

Whatever arises has the potential to awaken wisdom and love.

Tara Brach

Here’s to less and the more that comes with it!

Jonathan Foust

Everything is imperfect, impermanent, and impersonal.

Ruth King

The only advantage of disaster is that all other evils are swallowed up in it.

Anne Perry

A battle against what is is always destined for defeat.

Tony Brady

If it’s hysterical, it’s historical.


If we shall be quiet and ready enough we will find consolation in every disappointment.

Henry David Thoreau

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.


Sadness does not arise to be healed. It arises to be heard, held in the loving arms of awareness. 

Jeff Foster

Our sadness, pain, and struggle are like a child wandering in a storm that has come knocking at the door asking to come in. Can we welcome it? Allowing it to be what it is, a painful sensation in this moment. It doesn’t mean we’re wrong, failed, or broken. It’s simply a painful feeling here in the body, in this moment, asking to be held. 

Nick Kientsch

Obstacles do not block the path, they are the path.

Zen proverb

If I were you, I would lower my expectations.

Star Trek: Picard S3 E1

When nothing is done, nothing is left undone.

Lao Tse

On addiction:

It’s hard to get enough of something that almost works.

Vincent Felitti

Nothing was ever what you expected. That was the beauty and the terror of life.

Christopher Fowler in White Corridor

Resistance teaches me when it’s time to let go.

Julie Schiffman

Take the time to stop and remember the things you already know.

Patrick Bringley

It’s easy to think who you are is who you think you were.

Thankfully, who you think you’re supposed to be can become less relevant with each passing year as you naturally evolve.

Nicole Urdang

It’s OK to not be OK.


When we open to the experience of interconnectedness with the world, our sense of individuality, softens and the heart opens with compassion toward all beings. This compassion has a radiance about it. But that’s not the way things are, we are just people groping in the dark.

The Dalai Lama

Reality may be hard, but it’s a safer place to live than in our illusions, which will always fail us, and at no point is that more true than in old age. Coming to terms with the soul-truth of who I am, with my complex and confusing mix of darkness and light, has required my ego to shrivel up. Nothing shrivels a person better than age.

Parker J. Palmer

What is in the way is the way.


In brokenness there is an openness.

Betsy Johnson

Understanding is a kind of ecstasy.

Carl Sagan

We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.

Jack Gilbert

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.

(In other words, nobody knows anything.)

Albert Einstein

It’s only life, after all.

The Indigo Girls, Closer to Fine.

Self-discipline is about becoming a disciple of the self.

Lou Redmond

“You know what the happiest animal in the world is?” Ted asks a glum player just bested in a team scrimmage. “A goldfish. It’s got a 10-second memory.”

From Ted Lasso episode

Age teaches a person how to survive despair.

Margaret Renkl

Every storm runs out of rain.

Maya Angelou

My trigger is stress, so my treatment is all perspective.

Maggie Smith

Never be afraid to be afraid.

Swagger, season 2

Keeping up the appearance of someone who is not teetering on the edge of a breakdown is tiring.

Becca Day

Regarding the problem of humanity: We have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and god-like technology.

E.O. Wilson


The moment of change is the only poem.

Adrienne Rich


Not every question gets an answer.

Morse in the last episode of Endeavor


The end of every relationship can always be found in its beginning.

Nicole Urdang


Enlightenment comes from bitter compromise.

Enlightenment comes from tragedy.

Tom Hanks on Ezra Klein Podcast


Whatever you do, never run back to what broke you.

Frank Ocean


The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in seeing with new eyes.

Marcel Proust


Our society does not possess the resources for dealing with irreparable damage. It expects a high degree of performance and efficiency even from those who have experienced an irredeemable loss. The notion that an individual may never be able to return to their earlier level of productivity is, from the perspective of positive thinking, unfathomable. The idea that all barriers are surmountable is so deeply ingrained that there is little space for the finality of defeat.

Mari Ruti


We can’t overcome everything through effort.

Ezra Bayda


Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you.

Roger Ebert


Albert Einstein almost certainly never said, everyone is a genius—but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

Katie Spalding


When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in.

Haruki Murakami


Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me.

Audre Lorde


What you cannot be with will not let you be.

Debbie Ford


Self-kindness is not the default mode of the mind.

Reuben Lowe


Possessions are diminished by possession.



The pain was not gone or healed, it was included.

Sarah Blondin


The heart and mind don’t speak the same language.



First day human.

Sign in a Tokyo store window


It’s not brave if you’re not scared.

From Bounce movie


The answer will appear, it’s just running a bit late.

Sigrid Nunez


And I said to my body, softly, “I want to be your friend.”
It took a long breath and replied, “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this.”
Nayyirah Waheed


Nicole Urdang

Nicole S. Urdang, M.S., NCC, DHM is a Holistic Psychotherapist in Buffalo, NY. She holds a New York state license in mental health counseling and a doctorate in homeopathic medicine from the British Institute of Homeopathy.