“Do small things with great love.” – Mother Teresa
I like quotes. I curate them the way my dad did humor – but instead of using notecards, I use an Excel spreadsheet with a column for where I’ve used them and where I got them. I loan my spreadsheet out now and again – like to my friend who was taping quotes to her teenager’s mirror every morning as they waited for college admissions results to come in.
Quotes have such an elegance – a succinctness of capturing a particular idea so that it can be passed on. It’s an amazing gift to be able to do that, to coin a phrase or sentence worth repeating. And worth repeating outside of the context of any longer writing.
There is also an inferred meaning of a quote based on who said it, if attributed to someone. One of my favorite quotes is from Anne Sexton “Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.” It doesn’t take much looking to find that while Anne Sexton tackled some deep and revealing subjects in her work, she also is alleged to have physically abused her children. Knowing that, I find it harder to use that quote because who said it matters.
When I first started writing, I had a difficult time believing my own voice had any credibility so I wanted to rely on quotes as a crutch. To counter that, I changed my process so that I wrote and only when I was done or had trouble pulling together the last sentence did I go and find a quote that helped me clarify my topic. In that way, I’ve found a way to add another voice to what I’m writing without silencing my own.
The quotes that I think of when I’m in a crunch or stuck change with the major themes in my life. I had a different set of go-tos when I was trying to work up the courage to have kids then now when I’m in the thick of parenting. With that said, here are a few of my personal favorites.
“You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you’re right.” – Henry Ford
“Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” – Roald Dahl
“Everything you’ve always wanted is on the other side of fear.” – George Adair
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.‘” – Erma Bombeck
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” – Matthew 7:3
“The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain
“God breaks the heart again and again and again until it stays open.” Hazrat Inayat Khan
“Please remember, it is what you are that heals, not what you know.” – Carl Jung
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“Great things are done when men and mountains meet.” – William Blake
“You don’t have a soul, you ARE a soul.” – Dick Leon
And the perfect one to end this post comes from the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, “Everything will be alright in the end, and if it’s not alright, it’s not the end.”
Do you have any favorite quotes?
(featured photo from Pexels)