Favorite Quotes

Dog eat Doug

Do you have any favorite quotes or sayings? I’ve been collecting some for years and have a huge pile of them by now. I occasionally go through them to see which ones resonate the most. At the moment it’s these two:

It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look. To affect the quality of the day—that is the highest of arts.
—-Henry David Thoreau

The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace and beauty available to us now. And that is not a matter of faith. It is a matter of practice.
—Thich Nhat Hanh

Learning to “affect the quality of life” isn’t a common hobby, but it’s been mine since I was a teen and it’s been one of the loves of my life. It’s complicated enough to keep me curious and fascinated, and it gets even more interesting as time goes on.

Do you have any favorite quotes? Do you have any hobby you’re passionate about?

Thanks to rummuser, Mike, Evan, bikehikebabe and Cathy for commenting on last week’s post.
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15 Responses to Favorite Quotes

  1. rummuser says:

    Yes, I have got a large collection of quotes and have archived them systematically. I often use quotes in my posts.

    Two favourites which are constant are:

    “Between stimulus and response, there is a space.
    In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and happiness.
    Viktor Frankl

    “Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself”
    Zen Proverb
    rummuser´s last blog post ..I Am Not Even Good Enough

  2. Mike says:

    I’ve never been much for quotes, but inspirational quotes in the workplace has almost completely turned me off to them. Often, in books or other writing, I automatically gloss right over inserted quotations and have to force myself to read them if they are pertinent to the context.
    Mike´s last blog post ..A reconstructed history of my general purpose blogs

  3. Ursula says:

    Jean, what are you doing to me? Do I have a favourite quote? Sure, hundreds. Unlike Ramana I do hug them to my heart and will not let them go forth into the world of others. That’s how mean I am. Brilliant. I love it when people ask me impossible questions.

    Here is one that has sustained me over the last couple of years, though could have told you that for nothing, without putting my name to the quote:

    “One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” (Andre Gide)

    To which I’d like to add: Learn to swim first and sink later.


  4. Looney says:

    I too collect quotes and have a large number of favoritest ones. One thing I do that might be a bit different is to modernize and/or adjust them to fit current circumstances. Thus, I will leave this with Ecclesiastes 12:12

    “Of the collecting of quotes, there is no end, and much study wearies the body.”

  5. bikehikebabe says:

    The only quote I can recall right now is. ‘All things in moderation.’ That’s what my husband says to me. I don’t tend to do things in moderation.

  6. Looney says:

    BHB, the ‘All things in moderation’ comes from classical Greek philosophy. You can always respond with a contrasting Jewish quote:

    “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom” – Ecclesiastes 9:10

  7. Jean says:

    I especially like the Viktor Frankl one.

    I’m just the opposite, if a book has quotes I tend to go through it and read the quotes first.

    I get the impression you’re more visual than auditory. Is that right? Are you ever inspired by pictures? As you’ve no doubt noticed I use cartoons as a source of blog ideas.

    I like your modification of Ecclesiastes. I used to have some T-shirts with the words: “So many books…so little time.” We live in a bookish community and a lot of people told me how much they liked the shirts.

    “Moderation in all things.” That line reminds me of Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy. I read it when I was in high school and I still remember laughing at his comment. He essentially said the phrase was the motto of the ancient Greeks but they always did things in excess, that’s why we still remember them.

    I’ve used the Gide quote many a time. It’s good for courage in the face of uncertainty.

    When Kaitlin was little two of Andy’s favorite sayings were “You have to learn to think!” and “Smart people are a dime a dozen. You have to learn to be effective.”

    But my favorite was when we dropped her off at college. I was feeling sad and sentimental until he turned to me, put his hand on my knee and said, “We no longer have to be a good example for our child. Where shall we go and what shall we do?” I still laugh when I think of it. 😀

  8. Mike says:

    Perhaps. Almost all of my posts now include images, borrowed from creative commons photos on flickr if I can’t find my own. Also a lot of posts are just image themed, my own, and images I’ve “discovered.” I’ve been doing that since the early days of my blogging. For instance, http://exit78.com/a-welder-in-the-round-house/ , which I posted back in December 2005. (I’m in the process of recovering long-lost posts.)

    I don’t know the source, but I did clip one quote and taped it to a file cabinet in my office. It said: “Paranoia is important.”

    … which I’ve mentioned here before: http://cheerfulmonk.com/2009/10/05/at-that-age/
    Mike´s last blog post ..A reconstructed history of my general purpose blogs

  9. Jody says:

    The one that’s honestly HELPED me:

    “This too shall pass.” (proverb)
    Jody´s last blog post ..It’s The Egg Thing

  10. bikehikebabe says:

    Jody, that’s the most helpful quote yet. I used to feel gloomy on a gloomy day. (Our house is mostly windows on the north where the view of mountains & mesas is. 🙁 Not good for keeping in the heat.)

    So I say to myself, ‘This too shall pass.’ [the gloomy day.]

  11. Cathy in NZ says:

    I’ve got lots of quotes for different occasions – especially when I send emails and am in the mood for adding a sig line/quote…

    one of my favourites which I invented is:

    “Opportunities are Everywhere”

    this one from my email setup/sig line:

    Don’t waste a minute not being happy. If one window closes, run to the next window — or break down a door.


    Friendship isn’t a big thing, it’s a million little things


    Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen…..John Steinbeck (1902 – 1968)

    I’ve got quite a big one about creativity that I often link to emails as well…I get moods where I go find another one that appeals…I have somewhere an old ‘birthday book’ which is full of others I have collected over the years.

    Last year I found a whole string of 11 rules titled: Everything I need to know, I learned from Noah’s Ark – printed out and attached to my wall above the computer.

    Whenever I am reading or browsing a book and find that each chapter begins with a quote often in italics I will read that before anything else 🙂

    love quotes that mean something to me…or I want to give someone else an uplift etc 🙂
    Cathy in NZ´s last blog post ..Back home – tired but will revive

  12. Jean says:

    Yes, I noticed that you regularly use photos too. I often spend more time finding the image than I do writing.

    About paranoia–one of our favorite sayings is “We’re not paranoid enough!” It sometimes keeps us from being too gullible. Another one I like is, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t chasing you with knives.”

    I know other people who find comfort in “This too shall pass.” It’s too passive for me. My philosophy is if I have to go through a difficult time I want to get something out of it. So part of my motto is, “No matter what happens keep learning and growing.” And my favorite prayer when things go wrong is, “Thank You, Lord, for the opportunity. I sure hope You know what You’re doing.” It tickles my funny bone. I don’t really believe in God, but if one existed he/she/it would have a sense of humor.

    Two other quotes I like are:

    In the midst of winter I found within me an invincible summer.
    —Albert Camus

    Prayer isn’t asking for things you think you want, but asking to be changed in ways you can’t imagine.
    —Kathleen Norris

    It’s easy enough to be patient here because the sun does come out so much. I still don’t take that for granted. 🙂

    Thanks! You’re a woman after my own heart.

  13. gaelikaa says:

    I am rather partial to quotes and enjoy them when I have the time. My favourite ‘quote makers’ Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker. I know that’s boring but still.

  14. tikno says:

    My favorite is:

    “When the harp strings are tightened, its voice will be increasingly high. If too tight, the strings will broken and its sound will disappear. When the harp strings are lax, its voice will be increasingly low. If too lax, then its sound will disappear too.”
    tikno´s last blog post ..Islamic law – whether it is about a choice

  15. Jean says:

    I like Dorothy Parker too.

    It costs me never a stab nor squirm
    To tread by chance upon a worm.
    Aha, my little dear,
    I say, Your clan will pay me back one day.
    — Dorothy Parker

    That’s a good one too.

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