In retrospect, the past seems not one existence with a continuous flow of years and events that follow each other in logical sequence, but a life periodically dividing into entirely separate compartments. Change of surroundings, interests, pursuits, has made it seem actually more like different incarnations.
No matter what we have come through, or how many perils we have safely passed, or how many imperfect and jagged - in some places perhaps irreparably - our life has been, we cannot in our heart of hearts imagine how it could have been different. As we look back on it, it slips in behind us in orderly array, and, with all its mistakes, acquires a sort of eternal fitness, and even, at times, of poetic glamour.
How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more. Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless.
The ages of seven to eleven is a huge chunk of life, full of dulling and forgetting. It is fabled that we slowly lose the gift of speech with animals, that birds no longer visit our windowsills to converse. As our eyes grow accustomed to sight they armour themselves against wonder.
What are the best times to reflect on the course of your life? Whenever you are near water, such as the ocean, a quiet pond, or a small stream. Bodies of water, particularly if they are moving, help to stimulate your creative thought process. Similarly, if you are near a fireplace or even a candle, while the flames tend to have a calming effect, they also help you to reflect on what is really important and what you want to be doing more often. The brilliant, quiet stillness of a candle flame can have an anxiety-reducing effect on your entire being. Believe it or not, you can actually choose to feel comfortable about how you spend your time. Philosophically, but also practically speaking, up to this minute in your life, you did indeed have enough time to accomplish everything you accomplished. And that's been quite a lot. When you choose to feel comfortable about how you spend your time, it immediately helps to reduce anxiety. You can also choose to feel good about your accomplishments. To bemoan the fact that you have only accomplished so much by such and such a time or such and such an age is to remain in a perpetual state of discontent. Feel good about what you have accomplished and look forward to what you will accomplish, and you will have a greater sense of control of the time in your life.
A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. A solemn consideration when I enter a great city by night, that every one of those dark, clustered houses encloses it
You young people can lend your bodies now, play with them, give them as we could not. But remember that you have paid a price: that of a world rich in mystery and delicate emotion. It is not only species of animal that die out. But whole species of feelings. And if you are wise, you will never pity the past for what it did not know. But pity yourself for what it did.
Nowadays not even a suicide kills himself in desperation. Before taking the step he deliberates so long and so carefully that he literally chokes with thought. It is even questionable whether he ought to be called a suicide, since it is really thought which takes his life. He does not die with deliberation but from deliberation.
The individual (no matter how well-meaning he might be, no matter how much strength he might have, if only he would use it) does not have the passion to rip himself away from either the coils of Reflection or the seductive ambiguities of Reflection; nor do the surroundings and times have any events or passions, but rather provide a negative setting of a habit of reflection, which plays with some illusory project only to betray him in the end with a way out: it shows him that the most clever thing to do is nothing at all.
When the waves are round me breaking, As I pace the deck alone, And my eye in vain is seeking Some green leaf to rest upon; What would not I give to wander Where my old companions dwell? Absence makes the heart grow fonder, Isle of Beauty, fare thee well!
Again at Park Corner. We came up to Kensington yesterday evening and drove down here. It was a beautiful evening and our drive was delightful. Besides, for me it had the charm of old scenes revisited. And when we came over the Irishtown hills and saw the beautiful gulf again and heard its low distant murmur, I thought of another evening long ago
-Lucy Maud Montgomery (from her diary upon her return to P.E.I. in the summer of 1913), July 9, 1913
Radiant Day is slowly fading; and the evening calm and still. Gazing through the oak and willow; stoop to kiss the ancient mill. Listen to the damsel dancing; to the jig of feed and flower. And the water wheel revolving; with the dashing constant power. There is music in the rattle; of the tinkling wheat that falls. In the hopper, as the miller; stops to hear the gristmens calls. Yes, I love this shaded building; love the flowing streams and flowers. Love to hear the busy clatter; of the lingering summer hours. More of all, I love the miller; For his sake I love the rest. Of this world and its enchantments, I adore him as the best. Of these twilights I would weary, If his voice came not to cheer, And this mill life would grow dreary; If my darling were not here.
this poem may be copyrighted, so it is not for sale from Quoteland or Gifts of Wisdom
Four be the things I am wiser to know: Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe. Four be the things I'd been better without: Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt. Three be the things I shall never attain: Envy, content, and sufficient champagne. Three be the things I shall have till I die: Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye.
I'm in a period of growth and expansion. I'm taking long, hard looks at the world and what's happening in it, analyzing and thinking. I'm trying to become acquainted with the universe -- with the part of it I occupy -- and trying to settle, for myself, what my relationship with it is.
as cited by Susan Sackett, author of Inside Trek: A Star Trek Memoir, used with permission
I must first know myself, as the Delphian inscription says; to be curious about that which is not my concern, while I am still in ignorance of my own self, would be ridiculous. And therefore I bid farewell to all this; the common opinion is enough for me. For, as I was saying, I want to know not about this, but about myself: am I a monster more complicated and swollen with passion than the serpent Typho, or a creature of a gentler and simpler sort, to whom Nature has given a diviner and lowlier destiny?
True recollection has characteristics by which it can be easily recognized. It produces a certain effect which I do not know how to explain, but which is well understood by those who have experienced it. . . . It is true that recollection has several degrees, and that in the beginning these great effects are not felt, because it is not yet profound enough. But support the pain which you first feel in recollecting yourself, despise the rebellion of nature, overcome the resistance of the body, which loves a liberty which is its ruin, learn self-conquest, persevere thus for a time, and you will perceive very clearly the advantages which you gain from it. As soon as you apply yourself to orison, you will at once feel your senses gather themselves together: they seem like bees which return to the hive and there shut themselves up to work at the making of honey: and this will take place without effort or care on your part. God thus rewards the violence which your soul has been doing to itself; and gives to it such a domination over the senses that a sign is enough when it desires to recollect itself, for them to obey and so gather themselves together. At the first call of the will, they come back more and more quickly. At last, after countless exercises of this kind, God disposes them to a state of utter rest and of perfect contemplation.