Quotes for Your Arsenal

Here are some quotes to keep you going during the change in seasons.

I just finished reading Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus, which follows the fictionalized true story of one of  the first Japanese people to set foot in America.

“Have your whole heart bent on a single purpose.”  –from Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai

“When meeting difficult situations, one should rush forward bravely and with joy.  It is the crossing of a single barrier.”  –from Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai

“When one’s own courage is fixed in his heart, and when his resolution is devoid of doubt, then when the time comes he will of necessity be able to choose the right move.”  –from Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai

A friend recently shared this quote by Georgia O’Keeffe.  “Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing.  Making your unknown known is the important thing.”

My favorite dreamer, SARK, suggests we try not to let fog and pus get in the way of our ability to take action and make decisions.

Fear

Obligation

Guilt

&

Pressure

Urgency

Scarcity

I stumbled on the Confidence Blog by Cathy Sirett and found two great ways to unmask fear.

FEAR = Future Events Appear Real

FEAR = False Expectations Appear Real

My neighbor recently recommended an environmental fantasy movie, Beasts of the Southern Wildwhich I finally had time to watch.  Here are two of my favorite quotes from this moving film.

Hushpuppy: “The whole universe depends on everything fitting together just right. If one piece busts, even the smallest piece… the entire universe will get busted.”

Hushpuppy: “I see that I’m a little piece in a big, big universe. And that makes things right. When I die, the scientists of the future, they’re gonna find it all. They gonna know, once there was a Hushpuppy.”

How will you let the world know you exist?    

All Its Birds

brush and ink

“the universe takes care of all its birds.”
Wonder by R. J. Palacio

I recently read Wonder by R. J. Palacio, and I highly recommend it to everyone.  It’s the story of fifth grader Auggie, a boy who was born with a facial deformity, and how he faces the challenges of transitioning from home school to mainstream school.  As I said in my Goodreads review, I think reading this book will help humans learn how to be a little more humane.

When I attended the SCBWI summer conference in L.A. last summer, Gary Schmidt gave the last keynote speech.  He offered the writers in the room some serious advice, which has stuck with me to this day.  And yes, I’m going to quote him once again.  😉  He said, “Write stories to give kids more to be a human being with.”  I think Palacio has done that.  We can, too.

Getting back to the book, my favorite chapter is only one page and is titled, “The Universe.”  The narrator of this section is really questioning how the universe could allow kids like Auggie to exist in the world.  Why do some people get all the luck and others none at all?  I guess it depends on how you look at it and what you define as lucky.  Auggie is lucky enough to have a loving family and support network to protect him and serve as his nest.  He’s also learned to be very strong and brave in his own way.

Here is my favorite quote from the last lines of the chapter:  “maybe it is a lottery, but the universe makes it all even out in the end.  the universe takes care of all its birds.”

This can be a hard concept to accept sometimes.  But I think the more that we believe this and strive to embody this in our world, the more we can make it a reality.  It is our choice.  We all have a responsibility to take care of each other.

Heart Mind

brain series; acrylic

I hope I can do this piece justice in my explanation.  I will first talk about how the idea came about.  I had seen an Egyptian exhibit at the Toledo Museum of Art.  I remember reading about how past civilizations believed the brain was just a useless mass, so they removed it and did not retain it in a sacred jar like other organs.  The heart was believed to be where mental function took place and was left intact.  I started thinking about how we now know the brain to be the center of thought and emotion, yet we still refer to our hearts in terms of love and feelings.  What does this mean?

I decided to research the heart further.  As it turns out, the heart has many nerves running through it, not just blood vessels.  This suggests that perhaps the brain and heart are connected on a deeper level.  Perhaps they are even mirrors of each other.  Twins working independently and simultaneously.  But in the end, which is which?  Do they influence each other?

I came across another term in my research: Bodhicitta.  This is part of Buddhism.  It is a term denoting an awakening of the mind that unites compassion and wisdom (the heart and the mind).  It basically refers to the idea of enlightenment whereby you see your connection to the universe and all beings and let go of the sense of self and ego.  I especially liked the idea that a person can still follow his or her vocation as long as he or she is motivated to help others in the process.

Some other interesting words to note: “Kokoro,” is a Japanese word referring to the heart AND mind.  The Chinese word would be “xin.”  Imagine if we all used our collective “heart mind,” which is essentially one in the same!

So getting back to the painting, I wanted to convey the idea of the heart and mind connection.  I wondered what would happen if I painted a heart where the brain (or head) would be and a brain where the heart would be.  I made the heart purple with gold light reflections because the crown chakra is represented by these colors.  I made the brain green with pink arteries because the heart chakra is represented by these colors.  I decided the heart should resemble the brain and vise versa.

How will you use your “heart mind” to help the world today?