Quotes to Sustain, Comfort and Guide Us Now

It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.

— His Holiness, the Dalai Lama

I think it’s safe to say that these are some of the hardest times many of us have ever been through. It’s hard to find consolation when we’re surrounded by so much bad news, and immersed in isolation, worry, and a sense of being destabilized on a daily, even hourly, basis. We hear terrible news about impending climate change and many of us are already living with the results. We rightfully worry about our own health and that of our loved ones in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. Many of us are deeply frightened by our current political reality and mourn the divisiveness that seems so entrenched in our country.

 

So many of our former certainties are being challenged even as some of our deepest fears seem to have taken wing.

How do we find a way to stay open in the face of difficult change as it arises, and yet remain hopeful, accountable, and strong? How do we allow ourselves and one another moments of vulnerability and fear, and then pick up and keep doing the best we can do in whatever circumstances we find ourselves?

Here at Engaging the Senses Foundation, we find great comfort and a sense of being spoken to by turning to art and the making of art and beauty. We are constantly inspired to be the best we can be by the passionate, creative writers, artists, and organizations we are  privileged to work with, along with some of the world’s greatest spiritual and thought leaders. We hope some of these tender, profound quotes will resonate with you, too, and help you feel heard, seen, nourished, and reflected.

We have much work to do together. Let’s lift each other up.

And whom do I call my enemy?
An enemy must be worthy of engagement.
I turn in the direction of the sun and keep walking.
It’s the heart that asks the question, not my furious mind.
The heart is the smaller cousin of the sun.
It sees and knows everything.
It hears the gnashing even as it hears the blessing.
The door to the mind should only open from the heart.
An enemy who gets in, risks the danger of becoming a friend.
—U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo

Humans are vulnerable and rely on the kindnesses of the earth and the sun; we exist together in a sacred field of meaning.
—Joy Harjo

We can choose how to live our lives now. We can seize any moment and begin anew.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.
— Thich Nhat Hanh

One breath taken completely; one poem, fully written, fully read — in such a moment, anything can happen.
—Jane Hirshfield

Solitude, whether endured or embraced, is a necessary gateway to original thought.
—Jane Hirshfield

There are some truths about life that can be expressed only as stories, or songs, or images. Art delights, instructs, consoles. It educates our emotions.
—Dana Gioia

Yet the stones remain less real to those who cannot name them, or read the mute syllables graven in silica. To see a red stone is less than seeing it as jasper metamorphic quartz, cousin to the flint the Kiowa carved as arrowheads. To name is to know and remember.
—Dana Gioia

What is the lesson of history, if not
that we owe each other more bread, more
friendship, fewer lies,
less cruelty.—Tim Seibles

I think of myself as an ambassador of the arts. In my heart of hearts, I know the world would be a more peaceful, tender place if we were more moved by the poetry around us.
—Tim Seibles

remember
that all you need to remember is what you love
Remember to Marry the World.
—Diane di Prima

I have just realized that the stakes are myself
I have no other
ransom money, nothing to break or barter but my life
—Diane di Prima

We are asleep with compasses in our hands.
—W.S. Merwin

On the last day of the world
I would want to plant a tree.
—W.S. Merwin

The doors to the world of the wild Self are few but precious. If you have a deep scar, that is a door. If you have an old, old story, that is a door. If you love the sky and the water so much you almost cannot bear it, that is a door. If you yearn for a deeper life, a full life, a sane life, that is a door.
—Clarissa Pinkola Estés

Go out in the woods, go out. If you don’t go out in the woods nothing will ever happen and your life will never begin.
—Clarissa Pinkola Estés

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.
—Wendell Berry

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief… For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
—Wendell Berry

Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.
—Pema Chodron

Bodhichitta is our heart—our wounded, softened heart. Right down there in the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die. This love is bodhichitta. It is gentle and warm; it is clear and sharp; it is open and spacious. The awakened heart of bodhichitta is the basic goodness of all beings.
—Pema Chodron

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
—Mary Oliver

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
—Mary Oliver

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