Lori Lothian’s favorite soul-saving wisdoms for really tough times.
At a dinner party last night, I met a man who’d lived in Manhattan when the World Trade Towers fell—he lost four friends in that tragedy. I recalled my own loss days after 9-11, when my healthy 66-year-old mother was hit by a car and killed. This morning, my daughter’s soccer coach shared he’d just experienced a sudden death in his family. Then, only hours ago, I heard the sad news about the commuter train derailment in New York state that killed four people.
And all of this got me thinking of the many treacherous happenings I’ve lived through in my 51 years on the planet. And I realized that in all of these deaths, accidents, betrayals, break-ups, illnesses and unexpected losses, what got me through them gracefully—in ways that left me stronger and more present to the deliciousness of life—was that I’d learned surrender from those wiser than me. In the midst of life’s turbulence my life raft was often held together by words I’d read and taken to heart. Words that had been written by those guides who displayed a bottomless wisdom and majestic compassion.
Looking for a souful pickup I browsed through favoite books (and websites) searching for quotes I’ve underlined and gone back to countless times over the years. Here’s my top ten. I hope they give you the same measure of grace they gave me when bad things happen.
10 Uplifting Quotes for Hard Times
1. “You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.” ~ Pema Ch0dron
2. “Nobody can hurt me without my permission.” ~ Mahatma Ghandi
3. “One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end.” ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
4. ”I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.” ~ Dalai Lama
5. “I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.” ~ Hermann Hesse
6. Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering. ~ Miguel Ruiz
7. “When someone tells you, ‘I love you,’ and then you feel, ‘Oh, I must be worthy after all,’ that’s an illusion. That’s not true. Or someone says, ‘I hate you,’ and you think, ‘Oh, God, I knew it; I’m not very worthy,’ that’s not true either. Neither one of these thoughts hold any intrinsic reality. They are an overlay. When someone says, ‘I love you,’ he is telling you about himself, not you. When someone says, ‘I hate you,’ she is telling you about herself, not you. World views are self views—literally.” ~ Adyashanti
8. We can always choose to perceive things differently. We can focus on what’s wrong in our life, or we can focus on what’s right.” ~ Marianne Williamson
9. “We have tried everything to get rid of suffering. We have gone everywhere to get rid of suffering. We have bought everything to get rid of it. We have ingested everything to get rid of it. Finally, when one has tried enought, there arises the possibility of spiritual maturity with the willingness to stop the futile attempt to get rid of it and, instead, to actually experience suffering. In that momentous instant, there is the realization of that which is beyond suffering, of that which is untouched by suffering. There is the realization of who one truly is.” ~ Gangaji
10.“ “You see, I don’t mind what happens.” ~ Krishnamurti (sharing after 60 years of public talks, his “secret” to well being).
These words of wisdom have been friends on my journey, fellow travellers on the sometimes rocky road of life. If you have similar quotes that have helped you navigate difficult times, please share here in the comments. When it comes to the soul, the more soul food, the better.
Photo: Flickr/Jeff Rozema