Books that I love are underlined and rabbit eared and I write down quotes so I can keep them close and share them with others. If I am attached to a song it's always because of the lyrics, and listening to a speaker, who uses language to help me think clearly, more positively, is one of my favorite experiences.
I am a "word person" so quotes help me examine a new
perspective and see the world a little differently. Below are
some of my favorites. Some have become integrated into my
belief system and some serve as a reminder that I still have some
work to do.
Spiritual practice is like physical exercise: it has a cumulative effect, and if we want to enjoy our benefits, we can never stop doing it.
~ Marianne Williamson
At some point in my life I believed that if I read enough books and dealt with enough challenges I would eventually understand myself and reach some kind of spiritual awareness. The truth is that personal discovery lasts a lifetime and new lessons are part of the journey. Spiritual practice is a muscle that needs to be worked consistently, not a task that can be accomplished.
Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is Life itself, it is an insane way to live.
~ Eckhart Tolle
We spend so much of our lives rushing to the next thing, hurrying to the next place, focusing on what's next rather than what is in front of us. Living in the moment can be a challenge, but when the effort is made, you feel joy and freedom.
Don't just do something, sit there.
~ Jon Kabat-Zinn
Our society believes that constant productivity is the key to life. We check tasks off our list to generate the feeling of accomplishment, but we are completely disconnected from what we really want and who we really are. Jon Kabat-Zinn is the great teacher of mindfulness, and he reminds us to take time for quiet and awareness.
We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.
~ Stacia Tauscher
Parents tend to focus their energy on the future. The concerns are about future grades, potential failures, inability to go to the best college or other "what if" scenarios. Future concerns disconnect you from the people that are standing in front of you, the people that need attention for who they are right now.
You must unlearn what you have learned.
~ Yoda, from The Empire Strikes Back
There are so many great Yoda quotes, he is such a wise Jedi, but this one resonates with me the most. Sometimes you are taught things that are not true. Sometimes you have beliefs about yourself and others that are not true. It is difficult work to let go of a belief system that is limiting or negative, but opening your mind to new ideas and a different perspective is a step toward peace.
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love, but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
~ from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
This is the classic reminder that children are not "ours", nor should they be expected to think or act exactly like we do. As parents our job is to support, love and keep our children safe, but also to allow their true self to emerge so they can live an authentic and happy life.
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who
said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your
own reason and your own common sense.
This is important in our personal lives, but even more important in our parenting. There are many experts out there, all of them offering the perfect way to parent. This can cause you to give away your power and look outside of yourself for answers instead of listening to your own gut. Experts can offer new ideas or a new perspective, but it's only effective if it resonates with your inner wisdom.
I don't know why
The sky is so blue
And I don't know why
I'm so in love with you
But if there were no music
Then I would not get through
I don't know why
I know these things, but I do
~ from the song I Don't Know Why by Shawn Colvin
Marrying my husband was my first adult decision that came straight from my heart. I didn't need outside opinion or validation to know that this is the person that I wanted to be with (luckily everyone agreed…). This song was played during our wedding video and the words have become my mantra. Whenever I am feeling completely sure of something and I have that deep feeling of trust, I hear Shawn's voice, "I don't know why I know these things, but I do….."
Nothing important, or meaningful, or beautiful, or interesting, or great, ever came out of imitations. What is really hard and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself. Look, everyday, at the choices you are making and when you ask yourself why you are making them, find this answer: Because they are what I want, or wish for. Because they reflect who and what I am.
~ from Being Perfect by Anna Quindlen
My map for a happy life.
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote? Feel free to comment.
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.