Little Things! (Quotes)

I went looking for an old favourite quote in my quotations document.

This is the one I went looking for: “It isn’t the big pleasures that count the most, it’s making a big deal out of the little ones.” – Jean Webster

These are the others that popped up when I did a ‘Find’ on the word “little”:

“Mingle a little folly with your wisdom; a little nonsense now and then is pleasant.” Horace (65 – 8 B.C.) Roman poet and satirist

Susan Sarandon, when asked for advice to would-be activists: “People single me out for being an activist, but I always say that the impulse is inborn – it just needs to be nurtured. It starts when you’re little, and you see some kids being unkind to another kid on the bus. Maybe you do something. Maybe you don’t. But there was that hint in your brain that something was wrong, that you weren’t comfortable with the situation. Throughout your life, you have the opportunity to learn from that experience, to react to that little voice inside of you that says something has crossed your moral bottom line, to ignore what others are telling you to do and honor your impulse. The very core of your being an activist is being true to yourself.” – In Utne Reader, May/June 2002 issue

“What I remembered then was Reenie, from when we were little. It was Reenie who’d done the bandaging, of scrapes and cuts and minor injuries; Mother might be resting, or doing good deeds elsewhere, but Reenie was always there. She’d scoop us up and sit us on the white enamel kitchen table, alongside the pie dough she was rolling out or the chicken she was cutting up or the fish she was gutting, and give us a lump of brown sugar to get us to close our mouths. Tell me where it hurts, she’d say. Stop howling. Just calm down and show me where. But some people can’t tell where it hurts. They can’t calm down. They can’t ever stop howling.” – From Margaret Atwood’s novel Blind Assassin

“In his experience, great wounds sometimes healed, small sometimes festered. Any wound might heal on the skin side but keep on burrowing inward to a man’s core until it ate him up. The why of it, like much in life, offered little access to logic.” ~ The character Inman from the novel COLD MOUNTAIN by Charles Frazier

“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the worst of failures.” – George Edward Woodberry, quoted in Reflections of Eden – My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo, by Birute Galdikas (Little, Brown & Co., 1995)

The Dalai Lama in 1992, after visiting the Greenpeace boat, the Rainbow Warrior, at Rio’s Earth Summit: “It’s a small boat, a little untidy. But it’s a very powerful symbol and the spirit on board is impressive. I was very inspired by that feeling, and it made my spirit stronger too.”

“I’m always amazed that people will actually choose to sit in front of the television and just be savaged by stuff that belittles their intelligence.” – Alice Walker, writer (1944- )

“Safety is the most unsafe spiritual path you can take. Safety keeps you numb and dead. People are caught by surprise when it is time to die. They have allowed themselves to live so little.” – Stephen Levine

“Those who can, do. Those who believe others can also, teach.” – John E. King, lawyer/aphorist, Captive Notions (Little Philosophies Press) – quoted in Utne Reader May/June 2005

“A small boy lived by the ocean. He loved the creatures of the sea, especially the starfish, and spent much of his time exploring the seashore. One day he learned there would be a minus tide that would leave the starfish stranded on the sand. The day of the tide he went down to the beach and began picking up stranded starfish and tossing them back into the sea. An elderly man who lived next door came down to the beach to see what he was doing. “I’m saving the starfish,” the boy proudly declared. When the neighbour saw all of the stranded starfish, he shook his head and said, “I’m sorry to disappoint you young man, but if you look down the beach one way, there are stranded starfish as far as the eye can see. And if you look down the beach the other way, it’s the same. One little boy like you isn’t going to make much of a difference.” The boy thought about this for a moment. Then he reached his small hand down to the sand, picked up a starfish, tossed it out into the ocean and said, “I sure made a difference for that one.” – from a card that benefits the Lifespring Foundation (cards available in Minneapolis, MN, phone: (612) 729-2001).

Pema Chödrön on joy:

“Joy has to do with seeing how big, how completely unobstructed, and how precious things are. Resenting what happens to you and complaining about your life are like refusing to smell the wild roses when you go for a morning walk, or like being so blind that you don’t see a huge black raven when it lands in the tree that you’re sitting under. We can get so caught up in our own personal pain or worries that we don’t notice that the wind has come up or that somebody has put flowers on the dining room table or that when we walked out in the morning, the flags weren’t up, and that when we came back, they were flying. Resentment, bitterness, and holding a grudge prevent us from seeing and hearing and tasting and delighting.

There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs, and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.

Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life, it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our lives.” ~ page 24, Chapter Six – “Joy” – The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness, Pema Chödrön, Shambhala, 1991

“Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.” – Tori Amos

“Don’t be yourself. Be someone a little nicer.” – Mignon McLaughlin, journalist and author (1913-1983)

“I know what the greatest cure is: it is to give up, to relinquish, to surrender, so that our little hearts may beat in unison with the great heart of the world.” – Henry Miller

“War is the greatest destroyer of human life, the greatest polluter, the greatest creator of refugees, the greatest cause of starvation and illness. We all have to care – not just for our own little circle, but for the universe.” – Muriel Duckworth

“Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.” ~ Barack Obama

“This is the true joy in life – the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. The being a force of nature, instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it to future generations.” – George Bernard Shaw

“The paradox of courage is that a man must be a little careless of his life in order to keep it.” – G. K. Chesterton

“Very little is needed to make a happy life. It is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” – Marcus Aurelius (121-180), Roman emperor & philosopher

“Nothing could be more salutary at this stage than a little healthy contempt for a plethora of material blessings.” ~ Aldo Leopold, Foreword to A Sand County Almanac

“We are blind to the future. We can barely hold on to our strange versions of the past. We see only a little of what is directly before us. We know almost nothing. The only way we can stand it is not to care. I care and I can’t stand it. I should just breathe in and out and be brave. But not knowing what is going to happen next and living with the hope that whatever it is it won’t be too difficult to understand is like driving at top speed with the windshield completely painted over with a picture of where you used to live.” – character David in the Scott Spencer novel Endless Love

“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” – Robin Williams

“It reminded me of talking, how what is said is never quite what was thought, and what is heard is never quite what was said. It wasn’t much in the way of comfort, but everything has a little failure in it, and we still make do somehow.” – The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers <pg 225>

“There are always people willing to commit unspeakable human atrocity in exchange for a little power and privilege.” – Chris Hedges, War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning

“True Charity: C.S. Lewis didn’t talk about percentage giving. He said the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. Our charities should pinch and hamper us. If we live at the same level of affluence as other people who have our level of income, we are probably giving away too little. Obstacles to charity include greed for luxurious living, greed for money itself, fear of financial insecurity, and showy pride.” ~ KathrynAnn Lindskoog

“I hope to be remembered as someone who made the earth a little more beautiful.” – Justice William O. Douglas

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye.’ ~ Antoine de St. Exupéry in The Little Prince

“I do contend that we have put poisonous and biologically potent chemicals into the hands of persons largely or wholly ignorant of their potentials for harm. When the public protests, confronted with some obvious evidence of damaging results of pesticide applications, it is fed little tranquilizing pills of half truth.” – Rachel Carson in Silent Spring

“Holding onto a resentment is like eating rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.” – Anne Lamott in Crooked Little Heart

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” – Edmund Burke

*** this little exercise gave me more than a little inspiration & joy. So, yay!!