Tag Archives: quotes

The Truth of Memory

16 Jul

People will forget what you said
People will forget what you did
But people will never forget how you made them feel.

~Maya Angelou

This is such a deep truth.

Whether we feel joyful, inspired, manipulated, bored, angry, loved, disgusted, or wounded… we remember.

Why did that person make you smile so much? It may be hard to say, but you want to see that person again, don’t you?

What was that fight about? You aren’t sure, but you are not looking forward to talking to that person.

I have been thinking about communication recently and I believe that this quote is the simplest, clearest guideline I have ever read regarding interpersonal communication.

Sometimes I fail in this area.

When I was young, I was very quiet. As I aged and gained experience, I decided to sacrifice some of my caution and privacy and become more open and more casual in my interactions.

Sometimes I think I need some of my caution back, not only to protect myself but to protect others.

I may say the right words with the right intent and still fail to interact in satisfactory way. My timing may have been off. My tone of voice may have been wrong.

By the way, although I am writing about my own social weaknesses, this post was not inspired by my own failures but by someone else’s failure… someone made me feel unimportant . I know it was not intentional, and I know it is not actually true, and yet…there is the feeling in my memory.

I want to create positive emotional memories in others. I am challenging myself to remember Maya Angelou’s words and use them to improve my relationships and first impressions.

Charmed

22 Feb

Charm is the quality in others that makes us more satisfied with ourselves.

~   Henri Frederic Amiel (1821-1881)

A charming person has a natural talent, a gift for elevating others from the inside out.

Do you have someone like that in your life?

New Adventures

29 Jan

Let’s think the unthinkable, let’s do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.

— Douglas Adams (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency)

wide open spaces

This year I am trying new things, taking more risks, and worrying less.

I am driving in snow storms.

I am taking photographs of sunsets through dirty car windows.

I am thinking a little bit less.

I am taking more action.

Life seems simpler.

Mental Magnets

9 Nov
“Optimism is a happiness magnet. If you stay positive, good things and good people will be drawn to you.”—Mary Lou Retton

Have you ever noticed that when you get a new car (even a used car) you start seeing that model of car everywhere — as if you had just acquired the top-selling vehicle in the nation?

Similarly, when you have just been dumped by your sweetheart and you are moping around all alone, thinking about the happy times before your beloved kicked you to the curb, you can be sure that blissful couples will appear at every turn, cuddling and sighing contentedly.

I believe the human mind seeks familiarity. We see whatever we are thinking about.

We may feel as though we are drawing these things toward ourselves like a magnet, when perhaps we are simply more attuned to what has been there all along.

Either way, it seems to be a good idea to focus on what you want in your life, rather than what is wrong or what is missing.

Don't be this guy.

This Mess Is So Big

1 Nov

“And this mess is so big
And so deep and so tall,
We cannot pick it up.
There is no way at all!”

― Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

This is untrue, of course.

Charming, but untrue.

This is what children say when they don’t want to clean their rooms, only they don’t rhyme as well.

If you are an adult, and you catch yourself making this kind of excuse to avoid cleaning or organizing, you must remind yourself that you CAN do it. It might take a while, and it might be stressful, but it can certainly be done.

Have some faith in yourself, focus on the goal, and take breaks.

You can do it!

Even Nelson Mandela Needs to Clean Out His Closet Once in a While

14 Sep

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.  ~Nelson Mandela

We are changing constantly – sometimes on the inside, sometimes on the outside. Your clothing should fit both your current lifestyle and your current body.

If you find yourself altered but your closet remains unchanged, do something about it!

Bruce Lee: Minimalist

7 Sep

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease; hack away at the unessential.” — Bruce Lee

Lee was speaking in the context of martial arts, but I believe the principle may be applied to very nearly everything.

The next time you feel overwhelmed, try hacking away at the unessential.

In a Minute There Is Time

11 Aug

Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse 

~T.S. Eliot, from The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1919)

*   *   *   *   *

Sometimes we forget how much we can accomplish in a short time. A minute doesn’t seem very long – and yet it is long enough.

Make a decision. Make a revision. Improve your life. Improve the life of another person. It will only take a minute.

In a minute you can invest in a small business, solve a problem, tighten a screw, compliment someone, water a plant, wipe the kitchen counter, or even create a new life!

In another minute, somewhere on Earth, a business will fail, someone will receive an insult, a screw will be loosened, a plant will dry up, a counter will become sticky, and someone will most definitely die. In fact, across the globe, these things will happen many times over, and some of them may even happen to you.

Do not be discouraged.

The Universe changes with every moment. So do we.

Make a decision. Change something. Make something better than it was. If you act, perhaps your act will be reversed in the next moment, or perhaps it will not. Either way, if you have acted, your decision to act, and the act itself, both existed in that moment.

You were changed in that moment. The Universe was changed in that moment.

Go ahead, disturb the Universe. I dare you. It will only take a minute.

*   *   *   *   *

On the Subject of Simple Communication

17 Mar

Is communication ever simple?

When we communicate with our fellow humans, so many things can go wrong.  We may say too much or too little.  We may use the wrong tone of voice or make incorrect assumptions about the listener.  We may thoughtlessly spread casual gossip.  We may unintentionally hurt, offend, confuse, mislead, deceive, interrupt, baffle, insult, ignore, irritate, or simply bore our audience.  When it comes to blogging and social media, mindful communication becomes even more of a concern.

I came across this verse in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little Town on the Prairie, and I think it speaks for itself in any century.

If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
Five things observe with care,
To whom you speak,
Of whom you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
~Your loving mother, C. L. Ingalls, De Smet, November 15th, 1881

Even in the days of covered wagons, communication was complicated and had to be handled with care.

While considering the complexity and perils of modern communication, I discovered some other interesting advice. (The quotations below are from thinkexist.com)

Good communication does not mean that you have to speak in perfectly formed sentences and paragraphs. It isn’t about slickness. Simple and clear go a long way.  ~John Kotter

To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.  ~ Anthony Robbins

The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives.  ~Anthony Robbins

I especially like the Anthony Robbins quote about communication and differences in perception, because I find that some people respond poorly to my verbal communication style, which is more straight forward than my writing style.  I believe that honesty is the simplest policy, in most cases.  Much fuss has been made about the differences in communication styles between men and women, but I find as much difficulty – if not more – between the communication styles of different generations and different cultures, and also with a number of individuals who plainly do not share my direct approach.

When have you had trouble communicating because of differences in communication style?

Have you attributed the difficulty to sex, age, culture, or individual perspectives?

The Meaning of Color

15 Nov

“The meaning of a word – to me – is not as exact as the meaning of a colour.  Colours and shapes make a more definite statement than words.”

~Georgia O’Keefe



Color is evocative.  It’s personal.  It brings memories.  It shapes our mood.

I started thinking about the significance of color this weekend, after I joined in helping my friends Zak and Lindsey** paint a room in their home.

Lindsey joked that the visit might inspire some blog posts for me, because with their house in the early stages of a radical fix-up, “There isn’t a clean surface anywhere in the house.” I didn’t think that was strictly true, but yes, in the end I was inspired to write .

For the record, with the new paint we applied to the walls and ceiling, there are now some lovely new clean surfaces in their house.

The paint color was carefully chosen by my friends to recreate the look of a specific place: the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite Park.  I’ve forgotten the official name of the paint color now, but it doesn’t matter.  Like Georgia O’Keefe said, words are not exact.  If I tried to categorize the color, you would get the wrong idea.  Let’s just say it is a warm color, and it makes me think of Pottery Barn catalogs, and Italy — or at least my idea of Italy, I’ve never actually been there.  I haven’t been to the Ahwahnee either, but I guess I know what color the walls are.

As the paint slowly dried, in what will eventually be Zak and Lindsey’s master bedroom, something happened to the room.  We all noticed how the color affected the feel of the space.  It wasn’t just a fresh coat of paint, it was a transformation.  Never-mind the absence of a floor, the broken window, and the dangling wires — the room was suddenly established as inviting, cheerful, and warm… a place to be, instead of just a work in progress.

That kind of change is exciting.  If we had painted the room white, I can guarantee that the effect would not have been as dramatic; the room would only have looked cleaner…a clean surface, but not an inviting one.

Color is a gift.

NOTES:

~I have written before about color, and the powerful effect it can have on me (see Autumn Bliss, Rediscovered).

~The two poppy photographs above are among my favorite personal photos, and their color-match with this blog is just a happy coincidence.  They were taken on a walk during a vacation in Stinson Beach, California.

**  I normally don’t use friends’ names in my posts, out of respect for their privacy, but I recently (quite accidentally) discovered that Zak and Lindsey are already mentioned — and even shown in photographs — in a blog by one of their other friends.  So, that bridge has already been crossed.  See this friendly blog post from David Easson who knows Zak and Lindsey, and their dog Hoosier