Where You Are

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In practice, it’s hard to grasp that right here, where you’re standing, is it. You can hear it over and over, but there’s a piece of you that doesn’t believe it. Instead, we work to get over there. And once we get over there, we reconsider: Oh no, this isn’t it, so now I have to get over there. Off we go again, trying to get to the next other shore. And once we get there, the whole thing starts again.

The Dude and the Zen Master by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman

From the introduction:

To me, this book is sort of like a snakeskin. A snakeskin is something you might find on the side of the road and make something out of—a belt, say, or a hatband. The snake itself heads off doing more snake stuff—getting it on with lady snakes, eating rats, making more snakeskins, et cetera.

No Regrets

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Setting goals, then busting your butt to follow through with them, takes effort, self-reflection, honesty, and perseverance. But think about the alternative: Do you really want to look back from your old age at the dreams you almost but never quite went for, or the relationships you didn’t find the courage or time to develop? Or do you want to look back and say to yourself, “Yes, I did it”?

Who’s Got Your Back: The Breakthrough Program to Build Deep, Trusting Relationships That Create Success–and Won’t Let You Fail by Keith Ferrazzi

Change and Insight

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“The very first sign of waking up is the insight that we are not doomed to retrace our steps forever.”

Turning Confusion into Clarity: A Guide to the Foundation Practices of Tibetan Buddhism by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, Helen Tworkov

Perpetual Youth

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In the woods, is perpetual youth. Within these plantations of God, a decorum and sanctity reign, a perennial festival is dressed, and the guest sees not how he should tire of them in a thousand years. In the woods, we return to reason and faith. There I feel that nothing can befall me in life,—no disgrace, no calamity, (leaving me my eyes,) which nature cannot repair.

Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Laugh at Yourself

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Let me give you a wonderful Zen practice. Wake up in the morning, go to the bathroom, pee, brush your teeth, look in the mirror, and laugh at yourself. Do it every morning to start off the day, as a practice.

The Dude and the Zen Master by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman

From the introduction:

To me, this book is sort of like a snakeskin. A snakeskin is something you might find on the side of the road and make something out of—a belt, say, or a hatband. The snake itself heads off doing more snake stuff—getting it on with lady snakes, eating rats, making more snakeskins, et cetera.

Misogynistic Expectations

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I have included several quotes from this essay because the subject and the story felt very real to me. I can’t help but wonder how many women of my era physically injured themselves trying to hide the blessing of physical strength (or height) in an effort to fit in, become invisible or simple live through a difficult period while hoping things would improve on the other side.

I found myself both impressed by the author’s ability to flaunt her physical strength and skill, regardless public opinion, and envious of the opportunities and community structure available to her, thereby making this flaunting possible (not easy, just possible).

I truly hope the trend toward strong female characters (both physically and intellectually) in movies and literature (of all kinds and for all ages) not only continues but helps provide the widespread cultural change that will allow more young women to be both strong and unafraid of being seen as strong.

QUOTES:

“The power of mass media pales in comparison to the power of high school gossip.”

As the story went, I fought him off, not because he was weak, but because I was a freak. I was stronger than I was supposed to be…I was not really a girl—but could never be elevated to the power of a guy—so I was somewhere in between: a genderless monster….It was that I sometimes walked down streets, or went to a movie alone. Occasionally, I stopped and helped someone who was stuck by the side of the road. I acted as if nothing had changed since we were all boys and girls playing four-square on the playground, all equal in power. I had not grown up. I had not learned how to be constantly, subconsciously, submissive and afraid. I was not a woman.”

I was downright, happily, self-confidently crazy. I was a girl in high school, and although I did not assume I would always win, I knew I always had a fighting chance.

Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food by BK Loren

Pruning for Growth

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You have to prune a plant in order for it to grow. I find pruning to be very satisfying; I love the sure, swift sound of the clippers rhythmically slicing through a branch. With each cut, I know I’m clearing away the dead matter to make room for new growth. Periodic pruning isn’t just for plants; it’s a natural rhythm for all of us. Cleaning your closets, organizing your personal papers, getting rid of clutter, and spring-cleaning are all forms of pruning. I find that when the weather is warmer, people naturally recommit to living more active and healthy lives, which starts with internally pruning the parts of their lives that no longer nourish them. This internal pruning helps you discover your hidden potential for growth.

If the Buddha Came to Dinner: How to Nourish Your Body to Awaken Your Spirit by Hale Sofia Schatz

Stars Awaken Reverence

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The stars awaken a certain reverence, because though always present, they are inaccessible; but all natural objects make a kindred impression, when the mind is open to their influence. Nature never wears a mean appearance. Neither does the wisest man extort her secret, and lose his curiosity by finding out all her perfection. Nature never became a toy to a wise spirit. The flowers, the animals, the mountains, reflected the wisdom of his best hour, as much as they had delighted the simplicity of his childhood.

Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Important But Not Serious

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Our work may be important, but we don’t take it too seriously. Otherwise, we get attached to one relatively small thing and ignore the rest of life. We’re creating a little niche for ourselves instead of working the whole canvas.

The Dude and the Zen Master by Jeff Bridges and Bernie Glassman

From the introduction:

To me, this book is sort of like a snakeskin. A snakeskin is something you might find on the side of the road and make something out of—a belt, say, or a hatband. The snake itself heads off doing more snake stuff—getting it on with lady snakes, eating rats, making more snakeskins, et cetera.