An aficionado for words and phrases, I keep with me a book – a pride possession, frankly – where I jot down novel words that I encounter throughout the day, phrases that I want to hold on to, and puny one liners that fulfill my daily dose of cringeworthy angst. To me, collecting these forms of expression (most of which happen in passing) has always had an empowering and cathartic element to it. With every additional word, the arsenal of phrases within the book becomes thicker with emotions and, in fact, forms something of its own character. This book holds within its layers of papers, in between each line, the values that I uphold, the the the dreams that i have for the future, the poignant sweet spots of my soul, the motivation behind my actions, sobering wisdom of aphorisms, and the ideas that I fail to express with my own words. Unfortunately, as with most unrequited love, words never seem to reciprocate the same feelings I do: I am neither an eloquent writer nor a silver-tongued elocutionist. I stumble with my words when someone challenges me against my idea, and I take an absurdly long time reading. This oil and water relationship between words and me has been rather a bane than a boon, especially in a college setting where mastering self-expression is deemed to be the holy grail of many students. Though frustrating at times, this chasm lying between us continues a drive, a crave for words that I don’t want to ever satiate.
On that note, and with thanksgiving looming, I’d take this time to express my gratitude for those around me by sharing with you the joy and knowledge they’ve given me through these soundbites from my book:
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1. “Seek out what magnifies your spirit – It’s a beautiful phrase and a beautiful notion. Who are the people, ideas, and books that magnify your spirit? Find them, hold on to them, and visit them often. Use them not only as a remedy once spiritual malaise has already infected your vitality but as a vaccine administered while you are healthy to protect your radiance.”
2. “Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity. Ours is a culture that measures our worth as human beings by our efficiency, our earnings, our ability to perform this or that. The cult of productivity has its place, but worshipping at its altar daily robs us of the very capacity for joy and wonder that makes life worth living – for as Annie Dilalrd memorably put it, “how we spend our days is, of course, who we spend our lives.’”
3. “There’s a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom. The best ideas come to us when we stop actively try to coax the muse into manifesting and let the fragments of experience float around our unconscious mind in order to click into new combinations. “
4. “Be as religious and disciplined about your sleep as you are about your work. We tend to wear our ability to get by on little sleep as some sort of badge of honor that validates our work ethic. But what it really is is a profound failure of self-respect and of priorities. What could possibly be more important than your health and your sanity, from which all else springs?”
5. “No regrets… sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.”
6. “Bernstein’s greatest point of enthusiasm was his lifelong devotion to enamoring young people with music. He understood that love and learning are inextricably linked, that learning is a kind of love and love a kind of learning, and he used his robust and radiant enthusiasm as a force of illumination.