Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Book of Bliss: Thoughts that Make You Smile

Some nice quotes... from "Book of Bliss: Thoughts to Make You Smile":

  • Giving of yourself and not expecting anything in return brings joy to you and to others.
  • The best thing about good friends is the way they make you feel like the best version of yourself.
  • Youth is happy because it has the ability to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old. ~ Franz Kafka
  • Even if you can't see it, the sun is always shining.
  • Patience is a gift you give to others that returns to you in kind.
  • Embrace life's passions, but seek lasting contentment.
  • Be proud of yourself everyday. There will always be a good reason.
  • I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. ~ Agatha Christie
  • Because of deep love, one is courageous. ~ Lao Tzu
  • Happy homes are built of blocks of patience. ~ Harold E Kohn
  • It's the little things we do and say that mean as much as we go on our way. ~ Willa Hoey
  • Love without ceasing, give without measure. ~ Malcolm Schloss
  • A loving heart is the truest wisdom. ~ Charles Dickens
  • One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation, and compassion. ~ Simone de Beauvior
  • Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal. ~ Pamela Vaull Starr
  • Enjoy the little things today.
  • Happiness? That's nothing more than health and a poor memory. ~ Albert Schweitzer
  • The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. 
  • Joy is realizing that all of nature's beauty exists for your pleasure.
  • There is no great difference in the reality of one country or another, because it is always people you meet everywhere. They may look different or be dressed differently, or may have a different education or position. But they are all the same. They are all people to be loved. ~ Mother Teresa
  • It's a bliss when your parents tell you that you make them proud. It doesn't matter how how you are; their approval still counts in spades.
  • It's good to have an end to journey toward; but it's the journey that matters, in the end. ~ Ursula K LeGuin
  • Happiness makes up the height for what it lacks in length. ~ Robert Frost.
  • Fulfilment can be as simple as placing the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle.
  • The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart. ~ Helen Keller
  • Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment. ~ Oprah Winfrey
  • If you haven't got all the things you want, be grateful for the things you don't have that you don't want.
  • When someone asks you for a favor, be glad that you can do something for someone else and let him know that you are glad.
  • Remember that happineness is a way of travel - not a destination. ~ Roy M Goodman
  • Kind words can be short adn easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. ~ Mother Teresa
  • Complimenting the good deed of another is a simple way to ensure that such deeds will be repeated.
  • If you always keep your eyes on the path, you miss miles and miles of beautiful scenery.
  • Giving is the highest expression of our power. ~ Vivian Greene
  • Remember that althoug you are one of many, you are singularly unique.
  • Home is not where you live but where they understand you. ~ Christian Morgenstern
  • Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose, there are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from. ~ Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
  • Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another. ~ George Eliot
  • The best defense is a smile.
  • It is the simplicities in nature that are the most soothing to your soul.
  • Peace means loyalty to self... A loyalty to one's self means never a gap between thought, speech, act. ~ Ruth Beebe Hill
  • Truth exists for the wise, beauty for the feeling heart. ~ Johann von Schiller
  • Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. ~ Thomas Jefferson
  • The only way to see the beauty in all things is to believe that it is there and then look for it.
  • Beauty is not caused. It is. ~ Emily Dickinson
  • When you are truly listened to, it makes you much more willing to listen to someone else.
  • A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes. ~ Hugh Downs
  • The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer someone else up. ~ Mark Twain
  • From what we get, we can make a living; what we give, however, makes a life. ~ Arthur Ashe
  • Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. ~ Marcel Proust
  • The most precious times in life are the ones that surprise you and depart as quickly as they showed up, like shooting stars.
  • Courage is the mastery of fear, not the absence of fear. ~ Mark Twain
  • Rainy days are certainly dark and gloomy. Yet they are responsible for bringing forth all the beautfiul colours of spring. Love them for the beauty they bring.
  • Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. ~ James M Barrie
  • Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. ~ Henry David Thoreau
  • Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. ~ Theodore Roosevelt
  • Rest is not a matter of doing absolutely nothing. Rest is repair. ~ Daniel W Josselyn
  • Courage must come from a passion to triumph and an honest belief in one's rightness.
  • We only part to meet again. ~ John Gay
  • The world belongs to the enthusiast who keeps cool. ~ William McFee

    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Essential Wisdom from the collected works of Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    I first came across "The Little Prince" more than 10 years ago... the beautiful book cover caught my attention. Yes, it's the 'same' prince that you see in this photo. But from a different perspective :)

    It's a fairy tale, that describes, from the eyes of the child, his experience and "how" to see things - a pretty different perspective. It's an easy read to children, yet, it carries deep insights when we start to chew the story... yes, the essence would slowly seep through, and the 'taste' of life slowly comes through...

    Picked up this title, basically, it comes with quotes, quotes from a few titles by Antoine de Saint-Exupery:
    • Night Flight
    • Wind, Sand and Stars
    • Flight to Arras
    • The Little Prince
    • The Wisdom of the Sands
    • Wartime Writings 1939-1944

    Some nice quotes...
    • The friend within the man is that part of him which belongs to you and opens to you a door which never, perhaps, is opened to another. Such a friend is true, and all he says is true; and he loves you even if he hates you in other mansions of his heart. ~ The Wisdom of the Sands
    • You'll be bothered from time to time by storms, fog, snow. When you are, think of those who went through it before you and say to yourself, "What they could do, I can do." ~ Wind, Sand and Stars
    • One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes. ~ The Little Prince
    • Very often the essential is weightless. Here the essential seems to have been merely a smile. A smile is often the most essential thing. One is repaid by a smile. One is rewarded by a smile. One is animated by a smile. ~ Wartime Writings 1939-1944
    • To know is not to prove, nor to explain. It is to accede to vision. ~ Flight to Arras
    More about the works by Antoine de Saint-Exupery:

    The Angel Inside, by Chris Widener

    Picked up this book yesterday... bought it because it's thin... bought it because I was looking for something that I hope would lift my mood... yup... I knew I need to do something to clear the gloomy air that has been lingering around these couple of weeks. In fact, I was seeking for clarity. Clarity of my thoughts. Clarity of my directions.

    Not surprising. Though only started this morning, I finished reading the book. (I guess most people will take half the time I take.) But the 'chewing' process was an enjoyable one.

    Indeed, "Michelangelo" is the "hook". Yup... "someone" whom I thought I am familiar with - "David" is his famous masterpiece... yes, and that painting in Sistine Chapel... But I discover more after the reading... He became alive! (Thanks to Chris Widener, who made him become alive!)

    It's not just Michelangelo, but I think I am able to connect myself to the examples that Chris Widener attempted to bring out from the work of the great master. Thanks for making it an enjoyable and refreshing read :)
    As posted in Facebook. It's about pursuing one's passion. Yup... great advice, if we have nothing to cling on to... Anyway, these are certainly good pointers that I would keep in mind :)

    Excerpts posted in Facebook
    • Every person has this tremendous capactiy to be both king and warrior, a person of value and a person of accomplishment - of beauty and power.
    • There comes a time in every person's life when they must decide whether they will follow what they want for their life or what someone else wants for their life.
    • Passionate work is when you wake up in the morning and cannot wait to get to it. When we are so engrossed in the details of the work that we find ourselves forgetting everything else.
    • All throughout life there are people who do work of various sorts. Most people do average work. Some people do above average work. The masters, the ones who succeed tremendously and set the standard for others, are those who master the details.
    • You conceive your world in your mind and then create it with your hands.
    • People who are passionate are people who move the world and make a difference.
    In particular, I think Chapter 8 sums up the 4 stages that one would experience from starting to work on the passion till arriving at the goal:
    • Chipping: Every person has parts of them that simply must go. If those parts stay, you might never reveal the Angel Inside. If we are going to create a life of power and beauty, we must allow ourselves to go through the processes that chip away at all of the parts of us that hide our true selves.
    • Sculpting: We are a product of the things that we allow to shape and influence our lives. Everything and everyone that we interact with will shape and mold the person we become.
    • Sanding: Represents those times in our lives when seemingly negative circumstances surround us. It is when things grate against us. 
    • Polishing: Represents the part of life that makes us look good. It is when we let the world see how beautiful we are. It is when we get to 'shine'.
    Chip away what doesn't belong, sculpt our lives and give them form thorugh the people we associate with the information we take in, allow the rough spots of our lives to be sanded away through adversity and suffering, and then, only then, are we ready to be polished and let our power and beauty show in all their glory.
    A summary of the kind points... (in the last chapter):
    • Find the Angel within you.
    • Follow your own passion.
    • Be confident in your strength.
    • The beauty is in the details.
    • The hand creates what the mind conceives.
    • Plan and prepare.
    • Start with swift action.
    • Embrace the stages of chipping, sculpting, sanding and polishing.
    • Sometimes success takes years, to be content.
    • No one starts wtih the Sistine Chapel.

    I learn more about Michelangelo's David Il Gigante

    Am reading Chris Widener's "The Angel Inside" (Michelangelo's secrets for following your passion and finding the work you love"

    The opening chapter talks about the David - the masterpiece that I thought I'm familiar with. What struck me was the 'written conversation':
    "... I assume, then, you saw Michelangelo's work the David - Il Gigante, as they call it - The Giant?"
    "Yeah, sure. That's one of the biggies, right? No pun intended,"
    "Yes, it is. The biggest in my opinion. And tell me, Thomas, what do you learn from the David?"
    "Learn? Uh, I didn't learn anything. I saw it. He was huge. Naked. It was great. I left."
    "Oh my, you didn't learn anything from Il Gigante?"

    That struck me... hey, I "know" David as what the character, Thomas knows "Huge. Naked. It was great."
    Hm... what else? I'm curious...
    A quick search in the internet, came to this website, "The Altas Society"
    ( )
    It tells me more... something I was not aware I amissed... but this background is definitely something very helpful, when one day, I stand in front of the statue at Galleria dell'Accademia:

    Interesting points extracted from the Art Society, "Michelangelo's David by Roger Donway":
    •  Michelangelo's David possesses no supernatural powers—neither divine strength nor divine foresight. 
    • He does not know how the battle will end. 
    • He squints into the sun, seeing his enemy approach from afar. He is vulnerable, and he is apprehensive. 
    • But he knows what he must do, and he is determined. More than determined: 
    • His face exhibits that combination of strength and fierce intensity that Italians call "terribilita."
    In The World of Art, Robert Payne wrote: "The David expressed a pagan reliance on strength, cunning, and intelligence. A muscular youth, with thick curling hair falling over the nape of his neck, with an expression of great power and refinement, he stands there like a god who has descended to earth in order to chastise the mighty and to tear kings from their thrones. His brows are knit, his eyes are watchful, the youthful body stands in absolute composure, conscious of its own strength, its own power to accomplish whatever the intelligence demands. . . ."