med_cat: (woman reading)
Elizabeth Gilbert

Question of the day: IS YOUR SOUL APPALLED?

Dear Ones:

I often receive questions from people who are trying to find their path in life, but don't know which way to turn. ("I'm stuck," is the most familiar expression of this dismaying condition.)

Getting unstuck can be a long process — even a lifelong process — but here is a line of thought I try to offer people, when I see them goes something like this:

For reasons that you may never understand, you have been given stewardship over a human soul — which is, of course, your own. This soul was born into YOU — born into your very specific life. Your soul, born into this life, is what my friend Rob Bell calls "a unique event in the history of the universe." There has never been one of you before. Nobody has ever tried the experiment of YOU yet. Nobody has ever tried being this particular soul, lodged in this particular body, born into this particular family, arriving at this particular moment in time, raised in this particular culture, faced with these particular challenges. (And, as Rob also reminds us, that realization alone can be a comforting thought, when you are feeling lost and overwhelmed: NOBODY HAS EVER TRIED THE EXPERIMENT OF YOU YET. Why did you think you were supposed to get it right on the first try? You are a unique event. There is no precedent. There is no operational manual. So show yourself some mercy, if this business of being you seems impossibly tricky at times. You have to figure you out as you go. Sometimes "figuring yourself out as you go" can feel like you're tinkering with the engine of a car, while you are also driving that car down the highway at 70 mile an hour, and while you are also the passenger. Perfect. I think it's supposed to feel like that. It's a strange situation. Have patience with yourself.)

Read more... )

med_cat: (Hourglass)
When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil.

But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own — not of the same blood or birth, but of the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine.

And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him.

We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower.

To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions.

(Marcus Aurelius, "Meditations", translated by Gregory Hays)
med_cat: (Ad astra)
I see I'd already posted this in March of 2011, but I don't think it's lost its relevance...something I'd been thinking of recently.

"...The prayer of Ajax was for light;
Through all that dark and desperate fight,
The blackness of that noonday night,
He asked but the return of sight,
  To see his foeman's face.

Let our unceasing, earnest prayer
Be, too, for light,--for strength to bear
Our portion of the weight of care,
That crushes into dumb despair
  One half the human race...."
med_cat: (Hourglass)
You must match time’s swiftness with your speed in using it, and you must drink quickly as though from a rapid stream that will not always flow…

Just as travelers are beguiled by conversation or reading or some profound meditation, and find they have arrived at their destination before they knew they were approaching it; so it is with this unceasing and extremely fast-moving journey of life, which waking or sleeping we make at the same pace — the preoccupied become aware of it only when it is over.

med_cat: (cat in dress)
The higher we are placed, the more humbly we should walk."

-- Cicero,
med_cat: (cat in dress)

("For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You'd be surprised how far that gets you."
~Neil deGrasse Tyson)
med_cat: (Hourglass)

"Ask not what you can expect of life; ask what life expects of you."

(Viktor Frankl)
med_cat: (Hourglass)

If you read one thing today, make it Seneca on the shortness of life and how to live wide rather than long:

"It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it."

"Everyone hustles his life along, and is troubled by a longing for the future and weariness of the present. But the man who … organizes every day as though it were his last, neither longs for nor fears the next day… Nothing can be taken from this life, and you can only add to it as if giving to a man who is already full and satisfied food which he does not want but can hold. So you must not think a man has lived long because he has white hair and wrinkles: he has not lived long, just existed long. For suppose you should think that a man had had a long voyage who had been caught in a raging storm as he left harbor, and carried hither and thither and driven round and round in a circle by the rage of opposing winds? He did not have a long voyage, just a long tossing about."
med_cat: (woman reading)
A classic tale, which I was recently reminded of by [ profile] leto_12's post. The story is below, in English and Russian.

There is a Chinese Proverb that goes something like this…

A farmer and his son had a beloved stallion who helped the family earn a living. One day, the horse ran away and their neighbors exclaimed, “Your horse ran away, what terrible luck!” The farmer replied, “Maybe so, maybe not. We’ll see.”

A few days later, the horse returned home... )
(the two versions in Russian provided by [ profile] leto_12--many thanks!)
Один старик нашел в лесу прекрасную белую кобылицу. Он привел ее к себе домой, и стал за ней ухаживать. И все соседи говорили: "Надо же, как тебе повезло! Ведь такая красивая кобыла, это же целое сокровище!" А старик отвечал: "Не знаю, повезло мне или нет, но знаю, что надо теперь для лошади строить конюшню", и вместо рассуждений шел строить конюшню.

В один далеко не прекрасный день лошадь убежала. И все соседи опять собрались у старика, рассуждая: "Ох, какое невезение! Лошадь сбежала, какая потеря!". А старик сказал: "Не знаю, везение это или невезение, знаю только, что конюшню мне можно не строить".

По-русски, в двух вариантах: )
med_cat: (Ad astra)
There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I'm going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts.

— Elizabeth Gilbert
med_cat: (Hourglass)

At times it can feel like the pain and disappointment just never seems to stop. If it is not one thing it is another. We try so hard. We try to be so good and do right by people. We work and struggle and press forward day after day. We are told there is supposed to be some sort of reward out there, but where is it? Read more... )
You hurt. You recover. You move on. Odds are pretty good you're just going to get hurt again. But each time, you learn something.
Each time, you come out of it a little stronger, and at some point you realize that there are more flavors of pain than coffee.Read more... )
med_cat: (cat in dress)

Arnhild Lauveng is a Norwegian psychologist, who was diagnosed with a severe form of schizophrenia at the age of 16 and spent the next 10 years in and out of psychiatric hospitals. She recovered, became a psychologist, and wrote a book about her experience.

You can see the book in English here:

I would like to show you the concluding pages of her book, below:

Арнхильд Лаувенг--норвежский психолог. В возрасте 16 лет у неё была диагностирована шизофрения в тяжёлой форме. Следующие 10 лет она провела в основном в психиатрических больницах. Она вылечилась, получила диплом психолога и написала книгу о своей жизни. Я хотела бы показать вам последние страницы этой книги. Всю книгу в русском переводе можно бесплатно найти в электронных библиотеках.

Вот статья про неё; спасибо [ profile] a_bodryak


Жизнь моя сложилась совсем не так, как я задумывала. Что-то навсегда изменилось, и жизнь направилась по совершенно другому руслу. Иногда приходится слышать от людей, переживших какой-нибудь кризис, что теперь они видят, что без него никогда не стали бы теми, кто они есть. Я не могу этого сказать о себе. Я помню, как это была тяжко, какой безнадежной казалась жизнь. Я знаю, сколько я натворила глупостей, навредила самой себе и тем, кого я люблю. Я знаю, как легко все могло обернуться в самую худшую сторону. Я знаю, что мне невероятно повезло, что я вообще осталась жива. Так что если бы в моей власти было выбирать, я постаралась бы избежать этой боли. Однако наверняка было лучше, что выбор от меня не зависел. Потому что я узнала страшно много такого, чего иначе мне никогда не довелось бы узнать. Может быть, я стала лучше в человеческом смысле, и я знаю, что мне это помогло стать хорошим психологом. Не потому что моя история справедлива для всех и каждого. Но потому что мой опыт показал мне, что нет никаких «мы» и «они>. Все мы просто люди. Все мы разные. И все в основе своей одинаковы.

My life has turned out not at all the way I’d thought it would. Some things have changed forever, and my life went down an entirely different path. Sometimes one hears from people who have survived a major crisis of some sort that now they can see that without that crisis, they would have never become who they are. I cannot say that about myself. I remember how very difficult it was, and how hopeless my life seemed. I know how many foolish things I had done, hurting myself and those I love. I know how easily this could have come to the worst. I know that I was incredibly lucky that I have remained alive at all. So if it were within my power to choose, I would have chosen to avoid this pain. However, it was probably for the best that the choice was not mine to make. Because I did learn a lot of things I would have never been able to otherwise. Perhaps I have become a better person, and I know that it helped me to become a good psychologist. Not because my story is true for each and every one. But because my experience has shown me that there are no “we” and “they”. All of us are simply people. All of us are different. And all of us are the same, deep down.

Read more... )

"A Prayer"

Jun. 13th, 2014 09:41 am
med_cat: (cat in dress)
"A Prayer"

Let me do my work each day; and if the darkened hours of despair overcome me,
may I not forget the strength that comforted me in the desolation of other times.

May I still remember the bright hours that found me walking over the silent hills of my childhood,
or dreaming on the margin of a quiet river, when a light glowed within me,
and I promised my early God to have courage amid the tempests of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness and from the sharp passions of unguarded moments.
May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit.

Though the world knows me not,
may my thoughts and actions be such as shall keep me friendly with myself.

Lift up my eyes from the earth, and let me not forget the uses of the stars.
Forbid that I should judge others lest I condemn myself.

Let me not follow the clamor of the world, but walk calmly in my path.

Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am;
and keep ever burning before my vagrant steps the kindly light of hope.

And though age and infirmity overtake me, and I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams,
teach me still to be thankful for life, and for time's olden memories that are good and sweet;
and may the evening's twilight find me gentle still.

(Max Ehrmann)
med_cat: (cat in dress)
If you are going to fuss over things, it is important to pick your battles. The ideal, of course, would be to "fuss" over nothing. But given that we are all human, that may not be possible. What is possible is picking much more carefully the things that we are prepared to make a fuss over. Ask yourself: "How much difference will this make when I'm 85?" If you think it will matter then, let it matter now. If you make everything matter now, you may not get to be 85.

—Neale Donald Walsch
med_cat: (cat in dress)

"The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. "

~Charles Swindoll
med_cat: (cat in dress)
Education is the best provision for the journey to old age."

-- Aristotle,
Greek philosopher
med_cat: (dog and book)
You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.
— Marcus Aurelius

Perhaps the highest human potential is only realized when we no longer require the world to conform to our fantasies of how it should be.
~ Earon Davis
med_cat: (cat in dress)
"Life is 10 percent what you make it and 90 percent how you take it."
- Irving Berlin


Jan. 14th, 2014 07:00 am
med_cat: (cat in dress)

Some rainbow shreds of Hope and Joy;
Faith's golden stripes without alloy;
Scraps of Ambition bright to see;
A few white threads of Charity;
Much of the purple cloth of Pain;
Love's fabric, like a golden vein
Between the strands of Hate and Strife;--
Such is the patchwork we call Life.

(Clinton Scollard)
med_cat: (Ad astra)
In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.

I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.

And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.

Falsely yours,

Albert Camus


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