To stay the same [ https://p.feedblitz.com/r3.asp?l=178257669&f=1081591&c=7672437&u=5102652 ]
Willem de Kooning said, “I have to change to stay the same.”
Because whatever system we’re in is changing. Because every step we take changes the ground we walk on. Because while you’re busy trying to keep it all together, someone else is working just as hard to change it again.
Some organizations, artists and leaders work to disrupt and innovate.
And some seem content to close their eyes and will things to be exactly as they were yesterday or last year.
Between the innovator and the laggard, though, is most of us. Surfing and dancing with possibility, simply to continue to serve and keep our promises.
What you do isn’t how you do it. What you do is the promise you make to the people you serve. If the people change, then the specifics of your promise have to change as well.
[Thanks to Will for the quote.]
Let us not underrate the value of a fact; it will one day flower in a truth.
— “Natural History of Massachusetts,” “The Dial,” Henry David Thoreau
Transcendentalists didn’t just believe that spirituality trumped books in the pursuit of knowledge. They also saw facts as fluid, as statements made by thought leaders who’d read said books, but hadn’t taken the steps to uncover their own spirituality and deeper worldly understanding.
There is no greater wealth in this world than the peace of mind. ~ Anonymous
Your world is as big as you make it.
I know, for I used to abide
In the narrowest nest in a corner,
My wings pressing close to my side.
But I sighted the distant horizon
Where the skyline encircled the sea
And I throbbed with a burning desire
To travel this immensity.
I battered the cordons around me
And cradled my wings on the breeze,
Then soared to the uttermost reaches
With rapture, with power, with ease!
–Georgia Douglas Johnson
Georgia Douglas Johnson was a writer, musician, and educator during the Harlem Renaissance. Raised in Georgia, she later moved to Washington, D.C., with her husband. The family home served as a hub for prominent Black writers and intellectuals of the Renaissance within the nation’s capital, hosting gatherings that became known as the S Street Salon or the Saturday Nighters. Like other aspiring Black authors of the period, she was published in The Crisis, from the NAACP. The above description of freeing her wings captures the courage and self-determination that were central to the Great Migration and Harlem Renaissance. In many ways, Johnson and other writers, artists, actors, activists, and musicians of this era laid a foundation for creative Black Americans today.
Plutarch, Greek philosopher, historian, biographer, and priest, lived in Rome during the first century, A.D. An avid defender of free will, and of the soul’s immortality, his ideas have influenced many other great thinkers over the centuries; Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that he found it impossible to “read Plutarch without a tingling of the blood.” This quotation reflects Plutarch’s approach to biography in his best-known work, “Parallel Lives,” a collection of written portraits of well-known Greeks and Romans, such as Caesar, Cicero, and Alexander. Plutarch focused less on listing off his famous subjects’ accomplishments than on evoking their characters, their human nature. For a life — like a mind — is more than the sum of its parts. Whereas a vessel is finite and will eventually run out of space, a fire once kindled will continue to burn, and to consume everything around it.
The point is not to pay back kindness but to pass it on.
The celebrated Dominican-American writer Julia Alvarez has an uncanny ability to cut to the center of the human experience. Her poetry and prose often focus on her identity as a Dominican woman growing up in the United States. This quote, however, comes from Alvarez’s essay “Aha Moment,” in which she describes a terrifying plane ride, and the many moments of kindness she saw in that one small space. Reflecting on that experience, she found that kindness inspires more kindness, and we should pay it forward whenever we can.