I must lose myself in action, lest I wither in despair.

Alfred Lord Tennyson (by George Frederic Watts; Public Domain)

I admit it, I much prefer happy, uplifting quotes. But more importantly, I prefer quotes that can help someone with what they are going through. Not only does this very brief quote by Tennyson remind us that grief, despair, and depression afflicted even the most famous people in history (in fact, these dark forces generally helped shape who they would become), it also gives us a clear pathway out of the shadows. No matter how dark of a time we might be going through, we still have the mental capacity to choose where we would like to be, and define what actual steps it will take to get there. When our mind wants to focus on the darkness, let us recognize this condition and lose ourselves in the actions needed to move forward. It is amazing how this simple step will make the melancholy abate.

—Mike Hazell

Eliot on Perspective

People to whom nothing has ever happened cannot understand the unimportance of events.

T.S. Eliot (Image Licensed)

There are certain people and certain things in life which are anathema to one’s happiness and success. They need to be recognized, and then cut from one’s life to the greatest possible degree. Personal and spiritual growth and development is the aim, so why would we willingly carry inhibitors with us on our journey?

Mike Hazell (Image Licensed)

Humor Friday

The backdrop: Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky desperately wanted to become the nominee and win the presidential election of 1840. In an effort to appease both sides on the issue of slavery, he sang two songs on the subject depending on his crowd of listeners. On 07 Feb 1839, on the floor of the US Senate, in a speech geared to garner favor with pro-slavery Southerners, Clay proclaimed, “I would rather be right than be president!” To which Speaker of the House Thomas Brackett Reed famously quipped to the senator:

The gentleman need not trouble himself. He’ll never be either.

—Thomas Brackett Reed (by Mathew Brady; Public Domain)

In order to have an enemy, one must be somebody. One must be a force before they can be resisted by another force. A malicious enemy is better than an aloof friend. 

Madame Sophie Swetchine (pron “SVYEE-chen”; Public Domain)

(Madame Swetchine was a Russian mystic who converted to Catholicism in 1815 and, as a result, was forced to emigrate to Paris.) 

If you ask me which is the real hereditary sin of human nature, do you imagine I shall answer pride, or luxury, or ambition, or egotism? No; I shall answer indolence. Who conquers indolence will conquer all the rest. Indeed, all good principles must stagnate without mental activity. 

Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann (Public Domain)

You will find it less easy to uproot faults than to choke them by gaining virtues. Do not think of your faults, still less of others’ faults. In every person who comes near you look for what is good and strong; honor that; try to imitate it, and your faults will drop off like dead leaves when their time comes. 

John Ruskin (1863, by W. & D. Downey; Public Domain)