There is an ache in my heart for the imagined beauty of a life I haven’t had, from which I had been locked out, and it never goes away.
The past is never where you think you left it.
—Katherine Anne Porter
The inspiration you seek is already within you. Be silent and listen.
The most important possible thing you can do is do a lot of work.
— Ira Glass
If it speaks to your heart, allow space for that.
What could be more interesting, or in the end, more ecstatic, than in those rare moments when you see another person look at something you’ve made, and realize that they got it exactly, that your heart jumped to their heart with nothing in between.
— Robert Motherwell
At the heart of our matter as human beings, really the best thing of all is passion. Passion for another person, for a job, a cause, an idea, a place…. passion for a book when it’s good enough to light up the inside of your head. Perhaps that’s what IT is all about our Purpose: trying to furnish your life with so many different kinds of passion that everywhere in it there is something that fills you to bursting and makes you want to tell the whole world about it.
— Jonathan Carroll
It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.
— Shauna Nieguist
Our intention is to affirm this life, not to bring order out of chaos, nor to suggest improvements in creation, but simply to wake up to the very life we’re living, which is so excellent once one gets one’s mind and desires out of its way and lets it act of its own accord.
— John Cage
Do you have the patience to wait ‘til your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving ‘til the right action arises by itself?
— Lao Tzu
Close some doors today. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because they lead you nowhere.
— Paulo Coelho
Wherever you are is always the right place. There is never a need to fix anything, to hitch up the bootstraps of the soul and start at some higher place. Start right where you are.
— Julia Cameron
If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.
— Nora Roberts
Every really good creative person…whom I have ever known has always had two noticeable characteristics. First, there was no subject under the sun in which he could not easily get interested-from, say, Egyptian burial customs to modern art. Every facet of life had fascination for him. Second, he was an extensive browser in all sorts of fields of information. For it is with the [creative] man as with the cow: no browsing, no milk.
— James Webb Young
If I was asked to get rid of the Zen aesthetic and just keep one quality necessary to create art, I would say it’s trust. When you learn to trust yourself implicitly, you no longer need to prove something through your art. You simply allow it to come out, to be as it is. This is when creating art becomes effortless. It happens just as you grow your hair. It grows.
— John Daido Loori
If you have a talent, use it in every which way possible. Don’t hoard it. Don’t dole it out like a miser. Spend it lavishly like a millionaire intent on going broke.
— Brendan Francis
Without passion, all the skill in the world won’t lift you above craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. Combining the two is the essence of the creative life.
— Twyla Tharp
I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good, either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.
— Roald Dahl
I learned… that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic, striving, but it comes to us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness.
— Brenda Ueland
It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.
— Wendell Berry
How hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you. You leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences…little rags and shreds of your very life.
— Katherine Mansfield
It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.
— Anais Nin
When faced with a decision, choose the path that feeds your soul.
— Dorothy Mendoza Row
Your handwriting. The way you walk. Which china pattern you choose. It’s all giving you away. Everything you do shows your hand. Everything is a self portrait. Everything is a diary.
— Chuck Palahniuk
You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.
— Anne Lamott
Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there.
— Henry Miller
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
— Steve Jobs
You will recognize your own path when you come upon it because you will suddenly have all the energy and imagination you will ever need.
— Sara Teasdale
Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.
— C.S. Lewis
My daily job is to find a way out of that place, again and again and again. That’s the artist’s job, really: continually setting yourself free, and giving yourself new options and new ways of thinking about things.
— Miranda July
Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
— Carl Sagan
Every positive change every jump to a higher level of energy and awareness involves a rite of passage. Each time to ascend to a higher rung on the ladder of personal evolution, we must go through a period of discomfort, of initiation. I have never found an exception.
— Dan Millman
I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.
— Augusten Burroughs
All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.
— Stephen King
We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.
— Anais Nin
Another year is fast approaching. Go be that starving artist you’re afraid to be. Open up that journal and get poetic finally. Volunteer. Suck it up and travel. You were not born here to work and pay taxes. You were put here to be part of a vast organism to explore and create. Stop putting it off. The world has much more to offer than what’s on 15 televisions at TGI Fridays. Take pictures. Scare people. Shake up the scene. Be the change you want to see in the world.
— Jason Mraz
I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Be with those who help your being. Don’t sit with indifferent people, whose breath comes cold out of their mouths.
Most of the shadows of life are caused by standing in our own sunshine.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Dwell in possibility.
— Emily Dickenson
I don’t believe in talent. Talent is like a water table under the earth. You tap into it with your effort and it comes through you, from the bottom of the earth.
— Natalie Goldberg
The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.
— Kurt Vonnegut
Any human anywhere will blossom in a hundred unexpected talents and capacities simply by being given the opportunity to do so.
— Doris Lessing
Life is short. Life goes fast. And what I really want to do in my life is to bring something new, something beautiful and something filled with light into the world. I try to think of that every day so that I can remember why I am coming to my studio.
— Ross Bleckner
Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Your playing small serves no one.
— Marianne Williamson
If you want to identify me ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, and ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the things I want to live for. Between those two answers you can determine the identity of any person.
— Thomas Merton
If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn’t have opened for anyone else.
— Joseph Campbell
Mysteries lie all around us, even in the most familiar things, waiting only to be perceived.
— Wynn Bullock
We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.
— e.e. cummings
Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.
— Ayne Rand
In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
— Albert Schweitzer
The fact is that we are living in a time when the decision to be an artist, to continue to create in spite of everything that’s happening around us, IS a radical political act. This is, I feel, quite a dark time, potentially destructive to the best and most noble aspects of the human spirit. And that’s precisely why it is terribly important for artists in all disciplines to continue to create, even when it feels like there’s little market and little appreciation for our work. Just doing it, and making the difficult decision to continue to do it – to live creative lives that celebrate what life is and can be – is both defiant and affirming, and it’s crucially important. People need to know that someone they know – a neighbor, a friend, a cousin – is committed to the arts. Young people particularly need to know this.
— Beth Adams