The hardest thing …

The hardest thing in the world is to simplify your life. It’s so easy to make it complex. What’s important is leading an examined life.

– Yvon Chouinard

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I think we ought to read …

I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for? …we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us.

— Franz Kafka, January 27, 1904

Without realizing it …

Without realizing it, we fill important places in each other’s lives. It’s that way with the guy at the corner grocery, the mechanic at the local garage, the family doctor, teachers, neighbors, coworkers. Good people who are always “there,” who can be relied upon in small, important ways. People who teach us, bless us, encourage us, support us, uplift us in the dailiness of life. We never tell them. I don’t know why, but we don’t.

And, of course, we fill that role ourselves. There are those who depend in us, watch us, learn from us, take from us. And we never know.

You may never have proof of your importance, but you are more important than you think. There are always those who couldn’t do without you. The rub is that you don’t always know who.

– Robert Fulghum

from “Bodily Harm”

“Being in love was like running barefoot along a street covered with broken bottles. It was foolhardy, and if you got through it without damage it was only by sheer luck. It was like taking off your clothes at lunchtime in a bank. It let people think they knew something about you that you didn’t know about them, it gave them power over you. It made you visible, soft, penetrable; it made you ludicrous.”

– Margaret Atwood

We have been called …

We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way.

– St. Francis of Assisi

A strong case against “not my circus, not my monkeys.”