Inspiration for the Journey

Across time, the poets and writers, philosophers and visionaries, psychologists and spiritual teachers (even wise children, talking animals and fairy godmothers), seem to agree on several things: life is a journey into the unknown, uncertainty is around every corner, courage is needed with every step, there are tools and maps to help, surprises occur along the way, and companionship is essential.

May these words be way points.

Journey Into the Unknown

Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.
Margaret Shepard

This is a process of continually stepping into unknown territory. You become willing to step into the unknown territory of your own being. Then you realize that this particular adventure is not only taking you into your own being, it’s also taking you out into the whole universe.
Pema Chodron

How often I found where I should be going only by setting out for somewhere else.
R. Buckminster Fuller

“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!”
Bilbo Baggins in J.R.R Tolkien, The Hobbit

As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life.

I can feel guilty about the past, apprehensive about the future, but only in the present can I act. The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness.
Abraham Harold Maslow

It is possible to live happily in the here and now. So many conditions of happiness are available — more than enough for you to be happy — right now. You don’t have to run into the future in order to get more.
Thich Nhat Hanh

Uncertainty is Around Every Corner

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.
Henry David Thoreau

On this journey we’re moving toward that which is not so certain, that which cannot be tied down, that which is not habitual or fixed. We’re moving toward a whole new way of thinking and feeling, a flexible and open way of perceiving reality that is not based on certainty and security. This new way of perceiving is based on connecting with the living energetic quality of ourselves and everything else.
Pema Chodron

Life is an ongoing process of choosing between safety (out of fear and need for defense) and risk (for the sake of progress and growth). Make the growth choice a dozen times a day.
Abraham Harold Maslow

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
Helen Keller

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.
Carl Jung

Life is not orderly. No matter how we try to make life so, right in the middle of it we die, lose a leg, fall in love, drop a jar of applesauce.
Natalie Goldberg

“It just goes to show you, it’s always something.”
Roseanne Roseannadana, Saturday Night Live

Courage is Needed With Every Step

Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.
John Wayne

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.
Louisa May Alcott

… as Trungpa Rinpoche used to say, “Everybody loves something. Even if it’s just tortillas.” The point is to touch in to the good heart that we already have and nurture it.
Pema Chodron

Get in the habit of expecting things to turn out well for you. Believe that life has more good for you than bad and that even the worst times have blessings wrapped up like gifts inside the difficulty.
Susan Biali

Feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where we are holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.
Pema Chodron

Tools and Maps To Help

Meditation is the ultimate mobile device; you can use it anywhere, anytime, unobtrusively.
Sharon Salzberg

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the earth revolves–slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.
Thich Nhat Hanh

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

It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.
Gandalf in J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

In the ancient Indian Pali language, the words for mind and heart are the same. And the Chinese character for mindfulness is a combination of two characters. One part means now and the other means mind or heart. So, when you hear the word mindfulness you can also consider it to mean heartfulness.
Shamash Alidina

Just watch this moment, without trying to change it at all. What is happening? What do you feel? What do you see? What do you hear?
Jon Kabat-Zinn

Everything can be taken away from man but one thing–the last human freedom–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.
Victor Frankel

It is not simply, ‘mind over matter,’ it is rather that mind matters!
Kenneth Pellitier

I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind…. At these times… I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one’s mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one’s leisure.
Albus Dumbledore in J.K. Rawlings, Harry Potter

Meditation…opens the awareness to the infinite reservoir of energy, creativity, and intelligence that lies deep within everyone.

When people put their emotional upheavals into words, either through writing or talking, their physical and mental health improves.
David Rakel

The act of caring is the first true step in the power to heal.
Phillip Moffitt

[W]e meditate in order to gain serenity, peace, joy, greater efficiency in everyday life, to increase our power to love, to achieve a deeper view of reality. […] Our real goal, however, is to become more complete, to more fully live the potential of being human.
Lawrence LeShawn

Surprises Along the Way

Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
Mary Oliver

Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

With mindfulness there is more to unlearn than there is to learn.
Michael H. Brooks

Not to be rude or anything, but this isn’t really a great time for me to have a House Elf in my bedroom.
Harry in J.K. Rawlings, Harry Potter

When you are right in the heart of your still center, you are a person around whom real magic can happen.
Richard Rudd

Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?
Glinda, the Good Witch: You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.
Dorothy: I have?
Scarecrow: Then why didn’t you tell her before?
Glinda, the Good Witch: Because she wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.
L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Companionship is Essential

Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.
Helen Keller

The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy, is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel all that is as it should be.
Anne Frank

Ah. I smiled. I’m not really here to keep you from freaking out. I’m here to be with you while you freak out, or grieve or laugh or suffer or sing. It is a ministry of presence. It is showing up with a loving heart.
Kate Braestrup

The sacred is in the ordinary…it is to be found in one’s daily life, in one’s neighbors, friends, and family, in one’s own backyard…To be looking elsewhere for miracles is to me a sure sign of ignorance that everything is miraculous. Abraham Harold Maslow

Dorothy: Well, I — I think that it — that it wasn’t enough just to want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em — and it’s that — if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?
Glinda: That’s all it is!
L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 

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