Category Archives: Robin’s Reflections

Bereavement

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“Once we accept that we are going to lose something, something new comes along. That is the way bereavement works. This is reality, not consolation; but we forget that.”

– Marie de Hennezel, in her book, “The warmth of the heart prevents your body from rusting”. 

Gratitude & Resilience

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“There are two things you need in order to live and cope well in spite of all of Life’s adversities: gratitude and resilience.”

– Glenda’s Dictum.

Concentration/ Focus

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“There is nothing that concentrates the mind like the prospect of death”.

– Samuel Johnson.

Cherishing our Memories

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“Our memories make us who we are…

Choose one moment in every day that is worth cherishing, welcome that moment into your Memory Palace, nurture it always, and it will never leave you”.

– said by the character “Grandpa Byron” in Ross Welford’s Time Travelling with a Hamster.

Help us.

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“God help us to change. To change ourselves and to change our world. To know the need for it. To deal with the pain of it. To feel the joy of it. To undertake the journey without understanding the destination. The art of gentle revolution.”

– Michael Leunig. 

The Faint Light of Hope.

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“We were talking about painful things, and yet I think both of us felt unaccountably happy. Easily cheered. This sharing, this acknowledgement of what it is to be human – this was the faint light of hope from the edge of melancholy.”

Dani Shapiro: Devotion
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A Full Life

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A full life is a life full of pain. But the only alternative is not to live fully, or not to live at all.

M. Scott Peck, in The Road Less Travelled.

Great Marriages

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“Great marriages cannot be constructed by individuals who are terrified by their basic aloneness, as so commonly is the case, and seek a merging in marriage.  Genuine love not only respects the individuality of the other but actually seeks to cultivate it, even at the risk of separation or loss.  The ultimate goal of life remains the spiritual growth of the individual, the solitary journey to peaks that can be climbed only alone.”

– Scott Peck

Experiencing the “Big Emotions”.

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“What undramatic lives we lead, most of us. We get up, we eat, we work, we play, we go to bed, and in the morning we get up again. Sometimes we are not very well, sometimes we are not very lucky. We make more money today than yesterday, or yesterday than today; we are annoyed, amused, flattered, offended, happy, unhappy. That is all. We experience how few of the big emotions, how few of the big events. We do not even die until it is too late to be aware of it.

We do well enough without the big emotions. The big emotions are generally uncomfortable, and it is fitting that they should be reserved for others. For we cannot get rid of the idea that there is a Special Providence looking after us, a Providence much more interested, much more careful, than the one which is looking after our neighbour. Others may be run over as they cross the crowded street; that would not surprise us. But it is incredible that it could happen to ourselves. Our first emotion would not be fear, but amazement. Surely a mistake has been made!”

A.A. Milne (author of Winnie the Pooh, in his adult novel, Mr Pim Passes By).

Under the Wide and Starry Sky

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Under the wide and starry sky,

Dig the grave and let me lie.

Glad did I live and gladly die,

And I laid me down with a will.

 

This be the verse you grave for me:

Here he lies where he longed to be;

Home is the sailor, home from sea,

And the hunter home from the hill.

 

– Robert Louis Stevenson. 

Invictus (Unconquered)

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Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul. 

– William Earnest Henley

Two Types of Secrets

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There are secrets of the mouth and secrets of the heart.

Most secrets are secrets of the mouth. Gossip shared and small scandals whispered. These secrets long to be let loose upon the world. A secret of the mouth is like a stone in your boot. At first you’re barely aware of it. Then it grows irritating, then intolerable. Secrets of the mouth grow larger the longer you keep them, swelling until they press against your lips. They fight to be let free.

Secrets of the heart are different. They are private and painful, and we want nothing more than to hide them from the world. They do not swell and press against the mouth. They live in the heart, and the longer they are kept, the heavier they become.

… it is better to have a mouthful of poison than a secret of the heart. Any fool will spit out poison, but we hoard these painful treasures. We swallow hard against them every day, forcing them deep inside us. There they sit, growing heavier, festering. Given enough time, they cannot help but crush the heart that holds them.

– Patrick Rothfuss in Wise Man’s Fear

Wanting It All

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“Human beings are impelled … to be dissatisfied with what they have, to want more, to over-perceive threats and act on them, to ignore what we mistakenly think is unimportant, to build and make love and achieve and flee danger – only to recognize, sooner or later, that we can never win the battle. On the grand scale, we will all die, and lose much of what we love along the way. Yet even in our mundane lives, we lose the battle every day – often in ways less tragic than comic. The damn webpage won’t load, the mortgage has to be paid, the boss is a jerk, I’m a jerk – every day, the God-or-evolution given instinct to “want it all” butts up against a reality that rarely provides it. From the paramecium recoiling from the scientist’s pinprick to the existentialist bewailing the emptiness of the human condition, life on earth is hard-wired for kvetching. All life forms want more of the pleasant and less of the unpleasant, more of the good and less of the crap. But you can’t always get what you want.”

– Jay Michaelson

Happy in love

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“Happy comes and goes. Loving someone isn’t that crazy infatuation that you feel at first. That passes. Well, not passes, but it calms down, and then sometimes, when you least expect it, you get a glimpse of the person and it all comes back again, in a big rush.

But even that’s not what you’re looking for. What you’re looking for is the feeling that no matter what, being with that person is always going to be better than being without that person. Good times or bad. That having that person around makes whatever you’re going through better, or at least more tolerable.”

– Robin Hobb.