Quotes

Quotes

Some of my favourite quotes

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”
Franz Kafka

“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”
Robert Frost

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya Angelou

“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
Mark Twain

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

“Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources”
Albert Einstein

“Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning…”
C.S. Lewis

“Education is what survived when what has been learned has been forgotten”
– B.F. Skinner

“Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

“When you listen and read one thinker, you become a clone… two thinkers, you become confused… ten thinkers, you’ll begin developing your own voice… two or three hundred thinkers, you become wise and develop your voice.”
Timothy Keller

“It’s so hard to forget pain, but it’s even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Diary

“The Seven Social Sins are:

Wealth without work.
Pleasure without conscience.
Knowledge without character.
Commerce without morality.
Science without humanity.
Worship without sacrifice.
Politics without principle.

From a sermon given by Frederick Lewis Donaldson in Westminster Abbey, London, on March 20, 1925.”
Frederick Lewis Donaldson

“There is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future.”
Augustine of Hippo

“A simple life is not seeing how little we can get by with—that’s poverty—but how efficiently we can put first things first. . . . When you’re clear about your purpose and your priorities, you can painlessly discard whatever does not support these, whether it’s clutter in your cabinets or commitments on your calendar. (148)”
Victoria Moran

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passion in no passion

I have a confession: I don’t have a passion. The holy grail of what you’re supposed to be doing with your life all lie in this idea that we are to have a driving passion. Something that gets you excited, keeps you going, and you’ll never grow sick of. To be honest, that idea sounds silly to me. I can’t possibly be passionate about pizza (not that there aren’t people who are)! Passion is not purpose. Terri Trespiscio presented at TEDxKC on the topic of passion, noting that “passion is not a path”. More often than not it is a false driver of success. When I was in business school, my instructor made it clear that one of his pet peeves was when students presented business ideas conceived with ‘passion’. Because passion is not quantitative nor pragmatic.

Stop your pity

When I tell people I don’t have a passion, they generally feel sorry for me. “Take some time to figure yourself out, it’ll come to you one day.” “Everyone is passionate about something, you just need to keep searching.” If I was someone who isn’t afraid to try new activities, travel beyond my comfort zone, or socialize and engage, perhaps I haven’t explored enough to discover a passion. But that’s not me. Just because I don’t have a passion does not mean I don’t enjoy doing anything. In fact, I enjoy doing LOTS of things.

Passion is not for everyone

For those who have discovered their passion, fantastic! My argument is that it’s not for everyone. I am not driven by passion or have any one particular thing that motivates me. Saying you’re passionate about helping others is like saying you just want to be happy. What does it mean?

Passion is an intense desire or enthusiasm for something. When you’re passionate you feel joy, excitement, and a tireless ability to persevere. Whether you’re passionate about sports, business, animals, etc, it’s meant to contribute to the meaning of life.

Interestingly enough, passion derives from the Latin word, pati, or passio meaning suffer. How did such a negative experience become such a positive term in modern day English?

What if passion isn’t so much about how 5am hockey practices make you want to jump out of bed in the morning. Or that you just want give every screaming 3 year old a big ‘ol hug every time you see them. Maybe passion is what you have to give up in order to achieve the things you can become excited about. One of my favourite articles by Mark Manson poses the questions “How do you choose to suffer?” and “What is the pain you want to sustain” in order to achieve the life you want to live. Pain is inevitable but how do you choose what you are willing to sacrifice and suffer for that thing you call passion will determine how much value it has on what, why and how you do things.

“Passion has little to do with euphoria and everything to do with patience. It is not about feeling good. It is about endurance. Like patience, passion comes from the same Latin root: pati. It does not mean to flow with exuberance. It means to suffer.”

– Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves

So next time you look at someone who doesn’t have a passion like they’re missing out on life’s biggest phenomenon, ask yourself this, “what have you suffered for that makes you passionate about your passion?”

a letter to the lost

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Dear you,

It’s not okay, and everything won’t work itself out.

There are moments in our lives when we no longer know where we stand, where we’re going or know if we were ever really moving at all. You wonder, “what do I have to live for?” There is no meaning in everyday, and no excitement for tomorrow. You just live. But living as if not living. In moments like these we shut the world out because everything around is too difficult to bare. The constant movements of cars, the once beautiful sounds of birds and trees, and the people. Family and friends who you once found comfort in are now too exhausting to endure. So you shut them all out.

You think you want to disappear because it’s so much easier to be alone. There will be no disappointments, no arguments, and no one to answer to. You work, eat, sleep and go about what is required of you for the day. Nothing more and nothing less. It matters little if the sky were clear or heavy with rain. Your mind turns to autopilot and you black out the world and wonder, “what do I have to live for?”

Clinically they would diagnose you with depression but you’re not sad, you’re just lost. How others perceive you on the outside are only based on your behaviour which may fail to correlate how you really feel inside. They never seem to understand do they? Sometimes we’re unsure of why we act the way we act or say the things we say. We move to an apartment less convenient for work because we ‘needed a change’. We flake out on events because ‘we’re too tired’. You need help but help will never come. A firefighter will never put out a fire that he didn’t know of and was not dispatched to rescue. You never called and perhaps nobody ever will. So you live, because the sun will set tonight and rise tomorrow. As it does everyday.

If life was not meant to be lived in isolation then why do we want nothing but to be alone? If we were all meant to have a purpose, then is that purpose heaven sent or autogenous? If you died today, would that be okay?

Sincerely,

Me

steadfast

We’ve all experienced relationships whether it be friendships or lovers that were simply no good for our well-being. We tolerated them, argued with them, and shared experiences with them but most importantly, always stuck by their side. Rationally speaking, you wonder why you endure these emotional challenges. I have a motto, if you will, that “it’s not about how they make you feel, it’s about how you feel about them”. When you truly love someone for who they are, those feelings aren’t easily swayed by how they treat you and make you feel. Sometimes we wonder how in the world did we withstand those toxic relationships, abusive partners, or simply put up with people who negatively impacted our lives. We could be delusional, psychologically impaired, or clouded by manipulation but I believe that underlying all those are a deep sense of love for the other person that triumphs.

“We all know him to be a proud, unpleasant sort of man; but this would be nothing if you really liked him.”
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Similar to love is joy. We tend to mistaken joy for happiness and lust for love. But joy is not happiness. Happiness is originated from the word ‘hap’ which is a favourable occurrence projecting a sense of pleasure. Happiness is situational. When you win a game of poker, you are happy but when you lose, you are not. Joy however, is not dependent on the outcome. Real joy comes from a sense of pleasure whether or not you win. Love is much like this concept whereby it is not necessarily dependent on how the other person makes you feel.

The problem with loving against all odds is that you can be open to others who devalue your morals and undermine your worthiness. Love prevails whether or not we are in a relationship but a relationship cannot exist without reciprocal love. Both parties require the kind of love that is exclusive of ‘how the other person makes me feel’ in order to be lasting. This is what is defined as steadfast love. Steadfast because you can love the other person at their worst, most intolerable, unpleasant moments not because how they feel about you but simply because of how you feel toward them.

same same but different

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

― Albert Einstein

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I used to say, “people are life’s greatest disappointment”. If you think about all the time you’ve been disappointed it has always been because of people. Perhaps your boss is vindictive, your spouse cheats, your family member manipulates. Whatever the scenario is, it is always caused by people. A friend of mine suggested however that, some of life’s greatest moments are created by people. True, but pure joy can be found in many other things. The joy I get from climbing a mountain and viewing the landscape from above sometimes leaves me overwhelmed with bliss. Self induced happiness can be just as satisfying and much more reliable. But like Albert Eisntein puts it, “A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe…” To divorce ourselves of each other, between man and man, between man and nature, and void our connections as a whole is not only ignorant, it’s life threatening.

Brené Brown author of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead says,“Connection is why we’re here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The power that connection holds in our lives was confirmed when the main concern about connection emerged as the fear of disconnection; the fear that something we have done or failed to do, something about who we are or where we come from, has made us unlovable and unworthy of connection.”

I believe that underlying each of us, regardless of culture, skin colour, family background, social status, etc we are far more similar than we ever are different. Humanity knows no borders. We all want to be loved, to have a sense of belonging, to know we’re enough, and that life in all it’s disappointments and failures still has meaning. Things that hold much more value about our existence than qualities in which we differentiate ourselves. It’s part of our natural development to be able to distinguish differences however, the need to identify what is different stems from our need to determine what is familiar. A study by Bushnell et al in 1989 showed infants who were between 12 and 36 hours old demonstrated a clear preference for watching their mothers’ faces (rather than the faces of strangers). Other studies have replicated these results, and offer insight into the clues such as differences in face shape, hairstyle, and colour (Pascalis et al 1994) to tell people apart. As we grow older, we use these differences to segregate, judge, stereotype, and shame. We fail to see that when stripped away of all our individual qualities we are all the same.

That’s the real beauty of humanity, to see the differences but know we are all the same.

 

sharing is caring

“Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours” – C. S. Lewis

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Since we were little, our parents and teachers have told us “sharing is caring”. It’s so simple, yet, sometimes we let our fears of rejection, judgment, vulnerability, and acceptance hold us back from sharing. Personally, sharing is much more than just showing someone they are important. Sharing is life’s purpose.

“Nothing in life matters if it can’t be shared or given away.”

Today’s culture is very much focused on self-satisfaction. Doing what is best for yourself. If there are areas in your life that are lacking, focus on yourself first. We strive to become better, stronger, smarter, faster and driven by society to thrive on idealistic standards. It consists of wanting and having. You want a dream job, a high salary, a nice car, vacations, holidays, stuff and more stuff. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting these things but what does this all mean when you have them?

  • What is a dream job if it takes your time away from spending time with friends and family?
  • What is a high salary if the only thing you spend it on is accumulating things? A bigger TV, fancy dinners and luxurious vacations?
  • What is a nice car when your concern is how others perceive you in it?
  • What is a vacation when you spend 2 weeks laying on a beach somewhere drinking margaritas all day?

What I am trying to say is, why want what we want if we can’t share what we have? Your high salary paying dream job that allows you the luxury of travel and extravagant materials are only temporary self-satisfying fulfillments of joy. They don’t mean anything because at the end of the day, in terms of secular worldviews, we all end up in the same place. Dead. The problem isn’t about what we want; it’s why we want them. We’re so focused on having that we miss the true joys in life. For example, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many people who have a strong desire to travel. They want to travel to as many places possible, see the world, live a nomadic lifestyle moving from countries to countries. I have no objection to travel, in fact, I would strongly encourage it but what does it mean? You get to see visit all these places to satisfy travel hungers, take on new challenges, experience different cultures and then die. It’s a bit selfish isn’t it? Something like travelling offers so much enrichment to our lives it would be greedy not to share it, talk about it, write about it, or maybe even teach it.

Shifting our mindset

When you ask yourself why you want the things you want, what are your answers? Is it for your satisfaction or is there a greater purpose?

I want to travel the world. Why?

So that I can share stories with my children and show them how nothing is truly weird, they just don’t confirm to normality. Normality being that the majority of societal views has agreed on for cultural acceptance. That Mexicans eat 12 grapes on New Years at the stroke of midnight. And in an Indonesian tribal custom, the young adolescents have their teeth shaven down to make them all even in belief that it will rid evil spirits.

I want to make more money. Why?

So you can buy a nicer car? A nice suit? A new watch? I say “yes!” buy these things, you’ve worked hard for them but that should not be the reason for why you would like to earn more money. How about take your family on a vacation? Or perhaps a higher salary to donate to charities or fund a research or project you believe in?

Even something as simple as, I want to learn how to cook. Why?

So you can be well fed or do you want to learn how to cook for your husband/wife/children? Or perhaps you want to be able to host feasts, parties and gatherings for your closest friends?

Erwin McManus, an American author, lecturer and pastor once said, “people are not generous because they are never truly grateful”. We say we’re grateful yet many of us live selfishly by supporting the things we want for ourselves. But life isn’t about you. If you lived in isolation, by all means, live for you. The downside to living for yourself is that you are not worth a whole lot. Your value exists because of the people in your life. Much like a piece of gold cannot establish it’s own worth without the people who see value in it. In essence, the world and the people around you give you more than you can comprehend yet you say, “I’m keeping this for myself”.

Sharing is caring and nothing in your life really matters until you care to share.

 

when we believe in something greater than ourselves

“Faith in Faith’ he answered. ‘It isn’t necessary to have something to believe in. It’s only necessary to believe that somewhere there’s something worthy of belief.”

– Afred Bester, The Stars My Destination

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So much of the 21st century culture is focused on ourselves. We do what we think is best for us. Forget X and Y generation, we’re labeled the narcissistic generation. The idea that ‘I’m better than you’ has become so normal it’s socially acceptable. Why rely on anyone when you can rely on yourself? Why trust anyone when people are the very root of life’s greatest disappointments? I’m just going to live for myself. Because I know what’s best for me. Sounds about right doesn’t it?

Unfortunately life consists of ups and downs. You can’t have the highs without the lows. We all have different experiences, opportunities, events, and challenges but one thing we share in common are those moments when we simply don’t have an answer to why things happen. Why did my family member pass away? Why did I lose my job? Why am I not succeeding? Why did my husband/wife leave me? Why am I sick?

There are two types of people when it comes to faith. Those who ask why and those who simply accept things for what they are. They don’t fathom beyond the very surface of events. These people generally lack empathy because asking why denotes the intention to understand conditions, reasoning, perspectives and so on. It is our very nature to try and understand the world around us. We create systems, laws, formulas, equations, and definitions to understand everything that exists through our senses.

Humble

Believing in something greater than ourselves says, “I don’t know all the answers”. It’s a humble choice to admit you don’t know. In today’s society, we fault when we don’t know. When your boss asks you a question you don’t know the answer to, it can hinder your professional skills assessment. If your children ask you questions you don’t know the answer to, it can inhibit their trust towards you. Admitting you don’t know takes courage. I believe everyone (with the exception of psychopaths who lack empathy) have questions about life. What is our purpose? Why am I here? Where we differ is what we put our faith in that answers those questions. For some people, they can answer these questions on their own – Individualism. For others it can be Scientology, Buddhism, Naturalism, Christianity, etc. Whatever it may be, these people have made a choice in faith that these ideas, theories, or truth(s) have provided sufficient response to their questions about life.

Hope

Hope does not come from within. You cannot create hope for yourself. Hope comes from the doctor who tells you he is confident in your surgery. Hope comes from knowing that your family will be there and that the sun will rise and set tomorrow. For some, hope comes from a higher spirit. When you say you know what’s best for you, you don’t need hope. Why would you? Believing in hope means believing in external factors that are not manifested from within. However, I am confident that in those moments of despair, grief, and loss, hope is your only option to treading life’s waters. You can’t believe in yourself and believe that hope exists because hope is greater than you.

So where does your faith lie? Can the people of our generation acquit their self-deception to knowing all of life’s answers? When we strip away everything we have – family, friends, job, hobbies, money, everything that we hold valuable, what is left?

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”

– Thomas Aquinas