This is a compilation of thoughts and quotes that I have found or written recently, as well as many that I've collected throughout the years. Most thoughts are posted randomly, as I feel inspired. A listing of quotes can be found alphabetically (check the 2008 and 2009 archives listing), or by source.

Feel free to suggest additions!

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7

Monday, April 29, 2013

You Can Buy Happiness, But Not With Money

An investment in gratitude pays valuable dividends, especially when times are tough.
By Jeffrey Rossman, PhD,

Many people today are struggling to make do with less. What's the secret to finding happiness when you're coping with loss? If we observe people who know how to be happy, we find that they make a point of being grateful for whatever they have. And it's not related to how much material wealth you may or may not possess. A growing body of research has demonstrated that grateful people are happier than their less-grateful counterparts, regardless of their income level.

THE DETAILS: Gratitude has also been found to be a powerful antidote to depression. Martin Seligman, PhD, a pioneer in the positive psychology movement, and colleagues at University of Pennsylvania delivered gratitude instructions to 50 severely depressed visitors to a self-help website. They recommended that individuals take time each day to write down three things that went well that day, and why they thought so. Fifteen days later, 94 percent of the 50 individuals reported feeling significantly less depressed. Their scores on a widely used depression inventory dropped by 50 percent -- equivalent to improvement seen with medication treatment or psychotherapy, although the latter interventions generally take longer to work. Individuals in a placebo-controlled group who wrote down three childhood memories each day did not experience an improvement in their depressive symptoms. More important, the effects for the group practicing gratitude lasted for a full 6 months. The researchers repeated the same study several months later with a different group of depressed Web users and obtained substantially the same results. Seligman's group also found that writing in a gratitude journal had a mood-boosting effect for depressed patients in a 12-week therapy group, as well as for patients in individual therapy.

WHAT IT MEANS: Cultivating gratitude is a powerful way to overcome adversity and depression. By choosing to focus on your blessings, rather than ruminating on your disappointments and deficits, you nourish positive feelings about yourself, your life, and others. As an ongoing attitude, gratitude will help you cultivate happiness throughout your life. It is no accident that the individuals in Seligman's study maintained their gains long after they completed the online intervention. Gratitude is habit-forming. The number of things you can be grateful for is infinite. As a happiness resource, gratitude is free and inexhaustible.

There are many ways you can weave gratitude into the fabric of your life:
•Keep a gratitude journal. At the end of each day, write down three things you experienced that you feel grateful for. They could be as varied as the buds appearing on the trees in your yard and appreciation for the kindness extended to you by a stranger. As you chronicle the things you feel grateful for, make a point of not repeating any of the prior entries in your journal.

•Write and deliver a gratitude letter to someone in your life whom you have not properly thanked for what they have given to you. You can deliver the letter in person or read it over the telephone. It's a powerful experience, for you as well as for the person you're thanking.

•Say grace before each meal to express your thanks for the food you are about to eat.

Use whatever language you're comfortable with, whether religious, spiritual, or just an informal expression of gratitude for the meal.

•Make a point of thanking anyone who serves you in any way -- the cashier at the checkout counter, your child for clearing the dinner table, the tech-support person who helped you fix your computer.

•Take gratitude breaks during the course of each day to simply appreciate the myriad blessings, large and small, that are present in your life.

Jeffrey Rossman, PhD, is a advisor and director of life management at Canyon Ranch in Lenox, MA. His column, "Mind-Body-Mood Advisor," appears weekly on

See also:
Pharrell William's "Happy"
The Science of Happiness

Friday, April 26, 2013

There's Something About Water: Pictures and Quotes

There is something about water...  wonderful, mysterious, soothing, healing and destructive.  I love water- all that it means, all that it does, all that it represents. 

Here are some pictures I have taken, followed by some great water quotes:

We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. - Thomas Fuller

Pure water is the world's first and foremost medicine. - Slovakian Proverb

A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. - Henry David Thoreau

I believe that water is the only drink for a wise man. - Henry David Thoreau

The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea. - Isak Dinesen

For whatever we lose (like a you or a me),
It's always our self we find in the sea.
- E.E. Cummings

Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither.
- William Wordsworth

Ocean: A body of water occupying two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills. - Ambrose Bierce

I find myself at the extremity of a long beach. How gladly does the spirit leap forth, and suddenly enlarge its sense of being to the full extent of the broad, blue, sunny deep! A greeting and a homage to the Sea! I descend over its margin, and dip my hand into the wave that meets me, and bathe my brow. That far-resounding roar is the Ocean's voice of welcome. His salt breath brings a blessing along with it. - Nathaniel Hawthorne

My connection to the earth is reinforced through the rhythm of the waves. - Mike Dolan

"Take your shoes off," purred the ocean waves. - Dr. SunWolf

Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think. - Robert Henri

Life is like sea-water; it never gets quite sweet until it is drawn up into heaven. - J.P. Richter

Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever. - Herman Melville

A person should go out on the water on a fine day to a small distance from a beautiful coast, if he would see Nature really smile. Never does she look so delightful, as when the sun is brightly reflected by the water, while the waves are gently rippling, and the prospect receives life and animation from the glancing transit of an occasional row-boat, and the quieter motion of a few small vessels. But the land must be well in sight; not only for its own sake, but because the immensity and awfulness of a mere sea-view would ill accord with the other parts of the glittering and joyous scene. - Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare

He that will learn to pray, let him go to sea. - George Herbert

Did you ever feel the tongue dry, the lips parched, and the throat feverish, and then, bringing a goblet filled with pure water to your lips, do you remember the sensation as it trickled over your tongue and gurgled down your throat? Was it not a luxury?... Here is a beverage brewed for us by our Heavenly Father—brewed, too, in beautiful places.... He brews pure water, far away on the mountain top, whose granite peak glitters like gold in the sunlight; away again, on the wide wild sea, where the hurricane howls its mournful melody, and the storm sends back the chorus, sweeping the march of God! - John Bartholomew Gough

There brews He beautiful water! And beautiful it always is! You see it glistening in the dewdrop; you hear it singing in the summer rain; you see it sparkling in the ice gem when the trees seem loaded with rich jewels!... dancing in the hailstorm, leaping, foaming, dashing...! See how it weaves a golden gauze for the setting sun, and a silvery tissue for the midnight moon! - John Bartholomew Gough

If I offer you a glass of water, and bring back a cup of ice, I’m trying to teach you patience. And also that sometimes you get ice with no water, and later you’ll get water with no ice. Ah, but that’s life, no? - Jarod Kintz

I'm always happy when I'm surrounded by water, I think I'm a Mermaid or I was a mermaid. The ocean makes me feel really small and it makes me put my whole life into perspective… it humbles you and makes you feel almost like you’ve been baptized. I feel born again when I get out of the ocean. - BeyoncĂ© Knowles

You never really know what's coming. A small wave, or maybe a big one. All you can really do is hope that when it comes, you can surf over it, instead of drown in its monstrosity. - Alysha Speer

In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans; in one aspect of You are found all the aspects of existence. - Kahlil Gibran

You can't trust water: Even a straight stick turns crooked in it. - W.C. Fields

Life in us is like the water in a river. - Henry David Thoreau

They both listened silently to the water, which to them was not just water, but the voice of life, the voice of Being, the voice of perpetual Becoming. - Hermann Hesse

A pool just isn't the same as the ocean. It has no energy. No life. - Linda Gerber

People left a lot of things behind when they went in the water. Their clothes, their stuff, their makeup, their fixed-up hair, their voices, their hearing, their sight—at least as they normally experienced them. - Ann Brashares

You are water
I’m water
we’re all water in different containers
that’s why it’s so easy to meet
someday we’ll evaporate together. - Yoko Ono

There is no water in oxygen, no water in hydrogen: it comes bubbling fresh from the imagination of the living God, rushing from under the great white throne of the glacier. The very thought of it makes one gasp with an elemental joy no metaphysician can analyse. The water itself, that dances, and sings, and slakes the wonderful thirst--symbol and picture of that draught for which the woman of Samaria made her prayer to Jesus--this lovely thing itself, whose very wetness is a delight to every inch of the human body in its embrace--this live thing which, if I might, I would have running through my room, yea, babbling along my table--this water is its own self its own truth, and is therein a truth of God. - George MacDonald

The water you kids were playing in, he said, had probably been to Africa and the North Pole. Genghis Khan or Saint Peter or even Jesus may have drunk it. Cleopatra might have bathed in it. Crazy Horse might have watered his pony with it. Sometimes water was liquid. Sometimes it was rock hard- ice. Sometimes it was soft- snow. Sometimes it was visible but weightless- clouds. And sometimes it was completely invisible- vapor- floating up into the the sky like the soals of dead people. There was nothing like water in the world, Jim said. It made the desert bloom but also turned rich bottomland into swamp. Without it we'd die, but it could also kill us, and that was why we loved it, even craved it, but also feared it. Never take water for granted, Jim said. Always cherish it. Always beware of it. - Jeannette Walls

I've come to the conclusion that the artist cannot justify life or come up with a cogent reason as to why life is meaningful, but the artist can provide you with a cold glass of water on a hot day. - Woody Allen

It is difficult to find anything more healthy to drink than good cold water, such as flows down to us from springs and snows of our mountains. This is the beverage we should drink. It should be our drink at all times. - Brigham Young

As our bodies are mostly made of water, I’d rather be hungry than thirsty. And as love is mostly made up of sugar water, I’d rather be a hummingbird caged in your heart. - Jarod Kintz

The places where water comes together with other water. Those places stand out in my mind like holy places. - Raymond Carver

Nothing in the world is more flexible and yielding than water. Yet when it attacks the firm and the strong, none can withstand it, because they have no way to change it. So the flexible overcome the adamant, the yielding overcome the forceful. Everyone knows this, but no one can do it. - Lao Tsu

Water is life's mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water. - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Don't you realize that the sea is the home of water? All water is off on a journey unless it's in the sea, and it's homesick, and bound to make its way home someday. - Zora Neale Hursto

We all need the waters of the Mercy River. Though they don't run deep, there's usually enough, just enough, for the extravagance of our lives. - Unknown

Today I want to be like that one floating branch I see in the water. I want to be free from time and spend awhile in that blue sea....Just floating...Not going anywhere...Being silent and supported by the deep waters... Only listening to the sounds of the lapping waves. - Unknown

Don't be ashamed to weep; 'tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed inside to comfort us. - Brian Jacques

Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness. - Steve Maraboli

Anger is like flowing water; there's nothing wrong with it as long as you let it flow. Hate is like stagnant water; anger that you denied yourself the freedom to feel, the freedom to flow; water that you gathered in one place and left to forget. Stagnant water becomes dirty, stinky, disease-ridden, poisonous, deadly; that is your hate. On flowing water travels little paper boats; paper boats of forgiveness. Allow yourself to feel anger, allow your waters to flow, along with all the paper boats of forgiveness. Be human. - C. JoyBell C.

It is life, I think, to watch the water. A man can learn so many things. - Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.  I am haunted by waters. - Norman Maclean

Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does. - Margaret Atwood

The ocean was the best place, of course. That was what she loved most. It was a feeling of freedom like no other, and yet a feeling of communion with all the other places and creatures the water touched. - Ann Brashares

Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream. - Martin Luther King Jr.

Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container. - Wallace Stevens

Water is the driving force in nature. - Leonardo da Vinci

Always be like a water. Float in the times of pain or dance like waves along the wind which touches its surface. - Santosh Kalwar

Ah, well, then you've never stood on a beach as the waves came crashing in, the water stretching out from you until it's beyond sight, moving and blue and alive and so much bigger than even the black beyond seems because the ocean hides what it contains. - Patrick Ness

High and fine literature is wine, and mine is only water; but everybody likes water. - Mark Twain

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Invictus by William Ernest Henley: "I am the captain of my soul."

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.

Background on the writing of this great poem:
William Ernest Henley is known to most people by virtue of this single poem.

As mentioned previously, Henley was hospitalized for tuberculosis. One of his legs was amputated in order to save his life; it was said to be very painful. Immediately after the amputation, he received news that another operation would have to be done on his other leg. However, he decided to enlist the help of a different doctor named Joseph Lister. Under Lister's care he was able to keep his other leg by undergoing intensive surgery on his remaining foot. 

While recovering from this surgery in the infirmary, he was moved to write the words of Invictus. This period of his life, coupled with the reality of an impoverished childhood, plays a major role in the meaning behind the poem; it is also the prime reason for this poem's existence.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Excerpts from "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff" by Richard Carlson, Part 2

More excerpts from the book "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff... and it's all small stuff" by Richard Carlson, PH.D.  

For the first part of excerpts, see Excerpts from "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff", Part 1

The truth is, life is almost never as bad as it seems when you're in a low mood.  Rather than staying stuck in a bad temper, convinced you are seeing life realistically, you can learn to question your judgment.  Learn to pass it off as simply that: an unavoidable human condition that will pass with time, if you leave it alone.  A low mood is not the time to analyze your life...remind yourself, "This too shall pass."  It will.

      "Life is a test.  It is only a test.  Had this been a real life you would have been instructed where to go and what to do". - Unknown

When you look at life and its many challenges as a test, or series of tests, you begin to see each issue you face as an opportunity to grow, a chance to roll with the punches.  Whether you're being bombarded with problems, responsibilities, even insurmountable hurdles, when looked at as a test, you always have a chance to succeed, in the sense of rising above that which is challenging you.

If on the other hand, you see each new issue you face as a serious battle that must be won in order to survive, you're probably in for a very rocky journey.  The only time your're likely to be happy is when everything is working out just right.  And we all know how often that happens.

Ask yourself, "Why is this issue in my life? What would it mean and what would be involved to rise above it?  Could I possibly look at this issue any differently? Can I see it as a test of some kind?"

When you expect to be dished out your share of disapproval instead of struggling against this fact, you'll develop a helpful perspective to assist your life journey. Rather than feeling rejected by disapproval, you can remind yourself, "Here it is again.  That's okay."  You can learn to be pleasantly surprised, even grateful when you receive the approval you're hoping for.

      "Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty." - Bumper sticker

Practicing random kindness is an effective way to get in touch with the joy of giving without expecting anything in is fun and it doesn't have to be brings great contentment into your life.

Learn to be less bothered by people.  Underneath even the most annoying behavior is a frustrated person who is crying out for compassion.  When someone acts in a strange way, look for the innocence in his behavior.  When you're not frustrated by the actions of others, it's a lot easier to stay focused on the beauty of life.

It's impossible to feel better at the expense of someone else.

Humility and inner peace go hand in hand.  The less compelled you are to try to prove yourself to others, the easier it is to feel peaceful inside.

Being interested in the way other people act is a way of replacing judgments with loving-kindness.  When you are genuinely curious about theway someone reacts or the way they feel about something, it's unlikely that you will also be annoyed.

One of the cardinal rules of joyful living is that judging others takes a great deal of energy and, without exception, pulls you away from where you want to be.

Consider deeply an respect the fact that we are all very different.  When you do, the love you feel for others as well as the appreciation you have for your own uniqueness will increase.

Our minds are powerful instruments.  When we decide that something is true or beyond our reach, it's very difficult to pierce tthrough this self-created hurdle.

I have learned that when I argue for my own limitations, very seldom do I disappoint myself.

It's easy to God's beauty in a beautiful sunrise, a snow-capped mountain, the smile of a healthy child, or in ocean waves crashing on a sandy beach.  But can we learn to find the holiness in seemingly ugly circumstances - difficult life lessons, a family tragedy, or a struggle for life?

Somewhere, in the back of your mind, try to remember that everything has God's fingerprints on it.  The fact that we can't see the beauty in something doesn't suggest that it's not there.  Rather, it suggests that we are not looking carefully enough or with a broad enough perspective to see it.

When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical.

There are many times when simply agreeing with criticism defuse the situation, satisfies a person's need to express a point of view, offers you a chance to learn something about yourself by seeing a grain of truth in another position, and perhaps most important, provides you an opportunity to remain calm.

Reacting to criticism never makes the criticism go away.  In fact, negative reactions to criticism often convince the person doing the criticizing that they are accurate in their assessment of you.

Stop constantly wishing your were somewhere else.  As you focus more on becoming more peaceful with where you are, rather than focusing on where you would rather be, you begin to find peace right now, in the present.

Being listened to is one of the rarest and most treasured gifts you can offer.

Often the difference between a person who is happy and someone who is unhappy isn't how often they get low, or even how low they drop, but instead, it's what they do with their low moods.

If you don't fght your negative feelings, if you are graceful, they will pass away just as surely as the sun sets in the evening.

Try to see your driving not only as a way of getting you somewhere, but as a chance to breathe and to reflect.  You can spend those moments being frustrated, or you can use them wisely.

It's useful to think of relaxation as a quality of heart that you can access on a regular basis rather than reserved for some later time.

You have a choice in how you respond to life.

See more at:

Part 3 - Excerpts from "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff".html