I’ve always sort of had a soft spot for words. I remember vividly learning about connotation and denotation in junior high, and grasping the concept immediately. Words carry so much weight and they are not to be used lightly. I was a Spanish major in college, another testament to my love for language, and I remember feeling this sense of elation when I learned a new synonym. I think most people would call me rather fluent, but I was always harder on myself, because I knew I still couldn’t convey those subtle nuances which come only when you know a language very thoroughly. You know – House vs Home. Mad vs Furious Happy vs Blissful. And so on.
I developed a love for words, and would collect beautiful quotes, finding a very deep sense of meaning in their words, and also finding a sense of connection with the world. When you find a quote that resonates with you, even if you don’t know the person who wrote it, you sort of still feel like you’ve known them all your life. It’s an odd, magical sort of feeling. Anyone who has taken one of my yoga classes will know that I like to close out each class with an inspirational or thought provoking quote (something I picked up from my first and favorite yoga teacher – Cheryl Boyles).
But lately, I’ve been trying to renew my connection to some of my longtime favorite quotes – that is, re-connect with the true meaning, and apply it to my life. It’s so easy to become used to the sound of the words, that eventually it’s easy to forget their meaning. There are two in particular that I’m working with at the moment, a factor of the circumstances that life has sent my way quite recently as I watch some of those people close to me struggle against mental and physical burdens.
One is the very same phrase that I had tattooed on my wrist at 20 years old – “And this too shall pass”. I got this tattoo with an old dear friend spontaneously one day after spending months writing in on my wrist in sharpie. It was my reminder that nothing is permanent. The sadness and fear that creeps in is only temporary – joy and calm are just waiting in the wings. But it also served as a reminder to enjoy the wonderful things in life. Those too will pass and the sadness and fear are also waiting in the wings. We must enjoy each moment for what it is, because things are constantly changing. Never take beauty and peace for granted. Savor every.last.minute.
The other one is a classic – “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. I believe in this one so strongly, and yet I’m not always great at leading by example. I suppose I’ve always looked at this in the sense of the greater picture. That if you want to see change in the world you must do grand things to affect that change. And I’ve always sort of felt like I wasn’t able to do enough. That my change wasn’t great enough. But more and more I’ve renewing my connection to that phrase. Perhaps this is really just the small things – Change the world by smiling at a stranger passing by, holding the door open for someone, sending notes, cards, flowers to someone who could use a pick-me-up, or just for no reason at all.
There are countless more quotes that resonate strongly with me, but I’ll save those for another day. What’s your favorite quote? What makes your heart sing?