Mary Oliver is an American poet who has won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize whose words always manage to touch me deep within and inspire me. You’ll find me quoting her poetry every now and then in my posts.
Today, I’m sharing just a few of her quotes.
Inspirational Mary Oliver Quotes
You can have the other words—chance, luck, coincidence, serendipity. I’ll take grace. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’ll take it.
– Mary Oliver, “Sand Dabs, Five,” Winter Hours
I want to think again of dangerous and noble things. I want to be light and frolicsome. I want to be improbable and beautiful and afraid of nothing as though I had wings.
– Mary Oliver, Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays
The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time
– Mary Oliver, “Of Power and Time,” Blue Pastures
Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
– Mary Oliver, “Sometimes,” Red Bird
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
– Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day,” New and Selected Poems
Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.
– Mary Oliver, “Evidence,” Evidence
It’s very important to write things down instantly, or you can lose the way you were thinking out a line. I have a rule that if I wake up at 3 in the morning and think of something, I write it down. I can’t wait until morning—it’ll be gone.
– Mary Oliver, “Maria Shriver Interviews the Famously Private Poet Mary Oliver,” O Magazine, Mar. 2011
To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.
– Mary Oliver, “In Blackwater Woods,” American Primitive
Listen. Are you breathing just a little and calling it a life?
– Mary Oliver, “Have You Ever Tried to Enter the Long Black Branches?”, West Wind
What I want in my life is to be willing, to be dazzled, to cast aside the weight of facts, and maybe even float a little above this difficult world.
– Mary Oliver, House of Light
Did any of these quotes strike you? Do share.
If you’ve been doing the September Blogging Challenge – congratulations on reaching the last day. It required you to write 22 posts (on weekdays) and I’m so proud of you for working through it. Thank you for your support and patience as well.
I know many of you couldn’t continue due to various circumstances. That’s life. And the good news is that we get more chances. In October, you might like to try out Sarah Arrow’s 30 Day Challenge (which I undertook this month), or the 31 Day Challenge.
With Pope Francis’ in the US even as I write this, I thought it was only fitting to share some of his thoughts on happiness which I find relevant to every one regardless of religious beliefs.
(Photo by Benhur Arcayan/Malacanang Photo Bureau)
Pope Francis on Happiness
1. “Live and let live.” Everyone should be guided by this principle, he said, which has a similar expression in Rome with the saying, “Move forward and let others do the same.”
2. “Be giving of yourself to others.” People need to be open and generous toward others, he said, because “if you withdraw into yourself, you run the risk of becoming egocentric. And stagnant water becomes putrid.”
3. “Proceed calmly” in life. The pope, who used to teach high school literature, used an image from an Argentine novel by Ricardo Guiraldes, in which the protagonist — gaucho Don Segundo Sombra — looks back on how he lived his life.
4. A healthy sense of leisure. The Pope said “consumerism has brought us anxiety”, and told parents to set aside time to play with their children and turn of the TV when they sit down to eat.
5. Sundays should be holidays. Workers should have Sundays off because “Sunday is for family,” he said.
6. Find innovative ways to create dignified jobs for young people. “We need to be creative with young people. If they have no opportunities they will get into drugs” and be more vulnerable to suicide, he said.
7. Respect and take care of nature. Environmental degradation “is one of the biggest challenges we have,” he said. “I think a question that we’re not asking ourselves is: ‘Isn’t humanity committing suicide with this indiscriminate and tyrannical use of nature?’”
8. Stop being negative. “Needing to talk badly about others indicates low self-esteem. That means, ‘I feel so low that instead of picking myself up I have to cut others down,’” the Pope said. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy.”
9. Don’t proselytize; respect others’ beliefs. “We can inspire others through witness so that one grows together in communicating. But the worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyses: ‘I am talking with you in order to persuade you,’ No. Each person dialogues, starting with his and her own identity. The church grows by attraction, not proselytizing,” the Pope said.
10. Work for peace. “We are living in a time of many wars,” he said, and “the call for peace must be shouted. Peace sometimes gives the impression of being quiet, but it is never quiet, peace is always proactive” and dynamic.
Courtesy of the Catholic News Service.
I must confess that when I first read Paulo Coehlo’s book, The Alchemist, I was not ready for its message. When I read it again, a few years later, it made complete sense to me. I now have a well-worn copy with some lines pencil marked (no, I never use a highlighter or a pen in a book – more about that in another post!). I decided to share these with you today.
“Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him.”
“Learn to recognize the omens, and follow them.”
“If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life is the moment we are living now.”
“It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.”
“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”
“The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”
“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”
“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”
“No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.”
“When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”
“You will never be able to escape your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.”
“Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life.”
“Whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because the desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.”
“And, when you can’t go back, you only have to worry about the best way of moving forward.”
Have you read The Alchemist? Do you have a line from it you treasure?
We’re on Day 8 of the September Blogging Challenge. I hope you’re enjoying it – making new connections and solidifying the old ones.
The self help guru, Dr Wayne Dyer passed away on August 29, 2015.
Wayne Dyer has inspired people since his first book, Your Erroneous Zones, was published in 1976. He went on to publish over 40 books that have inspired people to change their perceptions and live life to the fullest. His book, Pulling Your Own Strings had a deep impact on my life, making me start to take more responsibility for my own destiny.
Quite recently I shared with you about his book, Excuses Begone. I also reviewed Dr Dyer’s daughter, Serena’s book, Don’t Die With Your Music Still In You.
Memorable Wayne Dyer Quotes
- When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself.
- The more you see yourself as what you’d like to become, and act as if what you want is already there, the more you’ll activate those dormant forces that will collaborate to transform your dream into your reality.
- See the light in others and treat them as if that is all you see.
- Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.
- You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.
- ‘The kingdom of heaven is within you’ is not an empty cliche; it is a reality.
- “When you have the choice between being right and being kind just choose kind.
- When you stay on purpose and refuse to be discouraged by fear, you align with the infinite self, in which all possibilities exist.
- Practice being the kind of person you wish to attract.
- You have the power to create the naturally stress-free and tranquil life you desire: You can either activate thoughts that produce stress within you, or activate thoughts that make stress impossible. It’s your choice.
- Anything you really want, you can attain, if you really go after it.
- You cannot always control what goes on outside. But you can always control what goes on inside.
- If you believe it will work out, you’ll see opportunities. If you believe it won’t you will see obstacles.
- You have everything you need for complete peace and total happiness right now.
- Circumstances do not make a man, they reveal him.
- You are not stuck where you are unless you decide to be.
- If others aren’t treating you as you’d like, acknowledge: I taught these people how to treat me as a result of my willingness to make their opinions of me more important than my own. It’s now my intention to teach them how I wish to be treated from here on in!
- Having a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing seems to me to be one of the most basic principles that you can adopt to contribute to individual and world peace.
- A mind at peace, a mind centered and not focused on harming others, is stronger than any physical force in the universe.
- If you ask with kindness in your voice and in your heart, How may I serve you ? the Universe’s response will be, ‘How may I serve you as well.’
Do you have a favourite Wayne Dyer Quote?
“Instructions for living a life.
Tell about it.”
― Mary Oliver
Today I’m 50! Happy birthday to me.
What better way to celebrate it than to recall all I’ve learned a half century of living on this our beautiful Earth. You might find some of them seemingly contradictory, but they’re really not!
50 Life Lessons From 50 Years Of Living
- You are on this Earth school so that your soul can prepare for the next phase of living. Be open to all learning.
- At the end of your life you want to be proud of the choices you’ve made. Make good choices.
- If you have made poor choices, own them and imbibe the lessons they were meant to teach you.
- Life is no picnic, but neither is it a drudge. Learn to enjoy every aspect of it.
- You get to write your own life story. Make it a bestseller!
- You are responsible for your life. Don’t let it be hijacked by anyone else. Put yourself first.
- Never apologize for being who you are.
- Invest time getting to know yourself. Remember, you have to live with yourself for the rest of your life.
- Sing in the shower. Happiness is an inside job. Choose to be happy.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously. I promise you that the world won’t come to an end if you wear your clothes inside out in public!
- There’s nothing better than a good belly laugh. Laugh often.
- Plan for the future, but live in the moment.
- Don’t let your past dictate your present choices.
- There are mean people in this world. Learn to deal with them skillfully.
- There are good people in the world. Make sure you connect with more of them.
- Give of your time and presence to others.
- Value your time and let people know that you do.
- Be punctual. Don’t waste other people’s time because you can’t be better organized.
- Take nothing for granted – not even the air you breathe.
- Be grateful for everything. Gratitude will see you through a lot of difficult times.
- Take care of yourself. The world owes you nothing.
- The Universe is very benevolent. Learn to plug into its resources.
- Practice mindfulness. Self-awareness is the key to living a mindful life.
- Be kind. Your acts of kindness especially when done with no expectation of reward, will bring much soul satisfaction.
- Be open to love. There’s always that one person out there that will get you. Keeping looking for him/her.
- Be God-aware. Know that there’s a Higher Power in control of the Universe.
- Seek intelligent company. Learn to make intelligent and interesting conversation. There’s nothing worse than a bore!
- Realize that everyone is creative. Find your creative outlet/s.
- Practise forgiveness. Forgive yourself and others too.
- Give and you’ll get. (Yes, Mom, I know you told me that!).
- Have dreams and goals. Know when to pursue them and when to let go. Sometimes the best learning is from unfulfilled dreams and unaccomplished goals.
- Know when it is time to let go of a relationship. Believe me, you and the other person will survive (thrive, even!).
- Make time for silliness.
- Money is not the root of evil. Envy often is.
- Get yourself a pet. I’d suggest a dog, naturally.
- Appearances can be deceptive. Learn to look beyond the obvious.
- Don’t trust anyone who is nice all the time.
- Learn to value your own opinion. Take the advice of others, but the final call should be yours.
- Trust your intuition.
- Enjoy the little things – the smell of rain, the sound of birds, the feel of a warm blanket, chocolate…
- Shrouds have no pockets. You can’t take your wealth with you. Be prudent, but never miserly.
- Get a regular massage. You deserve to feel good. Drink plenty of water too.
- Live in grace, never in guilt.
- Be comfortable with your emotions – they are only indicators of what’s going on within you.
- Count up to 10 before you write an angry letter, email or social media update. Run it by a trustworthy person before you send/publish it.
- Take regular naps. Rest your body – it’s good for your soul.
- Make room for awe – a sunset, a baby’s birth, a baby’s smile – let them fill you with awe.
- Remember that you haven’t seen it all, experienced it all and don’t know it all. Be open to new experiences.
- Life is short. Make it meaningful.
- Reach for your dreams, but remember that every day on this earth can be a dream too. Make it a technicolor one.
And there’s a bonus of 25 quotes which are life lessons in themselves! Enjoy!
- Your life is already a miracle of chance waiting for you to shape its destiny. – Toni Morrison
- A self that goes on changing is a self that goes on living. – Virginia Woolf
- There are a thousand thousand reasons to live this life, everyone of them sufficient. – Marilynne Robinson
- I think this is how we’re supposed to be in the world -present and in awe.- Anne Lamott
- Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest. – Maya Angelou
- Do not apologize for crying. Without this emotion, we are only robots. – Elizabeth Gilbert
- What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right. — Albert Einstein
- Think less about what went wrong and more about how you would like it to go right.-Alan Cohen
- You are the hero of your own story – Unknown
- You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean, in a drop.- Rumi
- The only permission, the only validation, and the only opinion that matters in our quest for greatness is our own. – Steve Maraboli
- Your life is your message to the world. Make sure it’s inspiring. – Unknown
- There is more to life than simply increasing its speed. – Mahatma Gandhi
- There is little success where there is little laughter. – Andrew Carnegie
- It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. – Henry David Thoreau
- A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at. -Bruce Lee
- “By seeking and blundering we learn.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. – Vincent Van Gogh
- Whatever you want to do, do it now. There are only so many tomorrows. – Michael Landon
- The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you. – Unknown
- Remember to breathe. It is after all, the secret of life.- Gregory Maguire
- Do something today that your future self will thank you for.- Anonymous
- Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking.
– Marcus Aurelius
- Let go of your attachment to being right, and suddenly your mind is more open. – Ralph Marston
- Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans. – John Lennon
What are the lessons life is teaching you? Do add to my list. (I creating the draft of life lessons for my 100th birthday! 😉 )
No great person survived without great dreams.
– Robin Sharma
Discontent is the first necessity of progress.
– Thomas Edison
Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.
– Malcolm Forbes
Constant effort and frequent mistakes are the stepping stones to genius.
– Elbert Hubbard
Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and the we shall find the way.
– Abraham Lincoln
To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.
First say to yourself what you would be; an dthen do what you have to do.
Success is sweet: the sweeter if long delayed and attained through manifold struggles and defeats.
– A Branson Alcott
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
– Steve Jobs
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
– Eleanor Roosevelt
Let him who would enjoy a good future waste none of his present.
– Roger Babson
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
– Mahatma Gandhi
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.
– Mark Twain
The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.
– Vince Lombardi
Success is about creating benefit for all and enjoying the process. If you focus on this & adopt this definition, success is yours.
– Kelly Kim
I used to want the words ‘She tried’ on my tombstone. Now I want ‘She did it.’
– Katherine Dunham
Really it comes down to your philosophy. Do you want to play it safe and be good or do you want to take a chance and be great?
– Jimmy J
It is our choices, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
– J. K Rowling
You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.
– Albert Einstein
Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
– Harriet Tubman
If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.
– Dhirubhai Ambani
The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.
– Mark Caine
People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
– Tony Robbins
When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.
– Audre Lorde
Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
– Mark Twain
Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
– Eleanor Roosevelt
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
– Thomas A. Edison
If you don’t value your time, neither will others. Stop giving away your time and talents. Value what you know & start charging for it.
– Kim Garst
A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.
– David Brinkley
The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.
– Bruce Lee
Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.
– Swami Vivekananda
Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.
– Dale Carnegie
If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.
– Jim Rohn
The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.
– Ayn Rand
If you genuinely want something, don’t wait for it – teach yourself to be impatient.
– Gurbaksh Chahal
Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.
If you want to make a permanent change, stop focusing on the size of your problems and start focusing on the size of you!
-T. Harv Eker
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
– Steve Jobs
For more such inspirational quotes, go here.