Quotations to Keep You Going

Last night I dreamt that I had met up with an old friend of mine, whom I haven’t seen in ten years or so. I see her occasional updates on Facebook, but I don’t know much about her anymore or how her life has turned out. It’s important to make that clear, that what follows has little bearing to reality.

In my dream, she was turning cartwheels in a nature reserve somewhere in Valais. [How do I know it was there? Well, some lovely St. Bernard puppies were playing with her in the field.] When I remarked how happy and content she seemed, she turned to me quite seriously and said: ‘Don’t judge by appearances. You have no idea. I have to take strong painkillers for my back pain, follow my husband around to all sorts of different countries and I’ll be a franchisee, for heaven’s sake!’

From Shadow Moutain Saint Bernards site.
From Shadow Moutain Saint Bernards site.

So then I became all competitive and shouted at her: ‘Call that trouble? You should try being me, unemployed, divorced, got a rejection every single day last week – no rest even at the weekend – plus I’m not sure I can keep a roof over my head?’ [N.B. This is an exaggeration as well.]

The woman who was feeding the St. Bernards and cleaning out their litter boxes [yes, I know that’s for cats, not dogs, but in dreams nothing quite makes sense, does it?] turned and said: ‘You should try being my sister: her husband was killed for protesting against the dictator, her child has cystic fibrosis and can’t get treatment in their country, and she has been waiting for two years to get vetted but is now rejected by the US and has spent all her money on the application process.’

I don’t remember if the puppies then licked all of our faces to make us feel better, but I awoke soon after and started wondering what my friend was up to and why we had lost touch (our email addresses kept changing is one reason). Meanwhile, the barrage of world news is relentless, while my mother’s idea of support and encouragement is to phone me regularly to tell me how overweight I am and how discriminated women over 50 are when looking for a job (I am not yet 50), while my father gets me in a panic about the political situation in Romania. Private and public depression and stagnation intermingle, or, as Rebecca Solnit puts it, so much more eloquently than me:

One of the essential aspects of depression is the sense that you will always be mired in this misery, that nothing can or will change. There’s a public equivalent to private depression, a sense that the nation or the society rather than the individual is stuck. Things don’t always change for the better, but they change, and we can play a role in that change if we act. Which is where hope comes in, and memory, the collective memory we call history.


So how do you keep going under the circumstances? With some great books and beautiful quotes, of course. (Motivational wallpapers not included, but here are some pictures which cheer me up.)

When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the areas of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truths which must serve as the touchstone of our judgement. (JFK)

20160822_080019-1So much world all at once –

How it rustles and bustles.

The joy of writing:

The power of preserving

Revenge of a mortal hand. (Wisława Szymborska)

Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art. (Andy Warhol)

Poetry changes the poet and, if you do your job rightly, it changes the reader. What’s being composed is me. (Gwyneth Lewis)

From Mental Floss
From Mental Floss

Don’t waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

We must accept finite disappointment but must never lose infinite hope. (Martin Luther King)

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it. My optimism, then, does not rest on the absence of evil, but on a glad belief in the preponderance of good and a willing effort always to cooperate with the good, that it may prevail. (Helen Keller)

p1030076A failure is not always a mistake. It may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying. (B.F. Skinner)

It is important to say what hope is not: it is not the belief that everything was, is or will be fine. The evidence is all around us of tremendous suffering and destruction. The hope I am interested in is about broad perspectives with specific possibilities, ones that invite or demand that we act. It is also not a sunny everything-is-getting-better narrative, though it may be a counter to the everything-is-getting-worse one. You could call it an account of complexities and uncertainties, with openings. (Rebecca Solnit)

As far as I can see from here almost everyone I know is trying to do the impossible every day. All mothers, all writers, all artists of every kind, every human being who has work to do and still wants to stay human and to be responsive to another human being’s needs, joys and sorrows. There is never enough time and that’s the rub… creation depends as much on laziness as on hard work. (May Sarton)

The first snowdrops of the year...
The first snowdrops of the year…


24 thoughts on “Quotations to Keep You Going”

    1. It’s the dragging on of things which I can’t bear. I’m a bit impatient by nature! But it’s also that I’m beginning to notice a case of collective depression and anxiety lately, and I fear it really can lead to a bit of a paralysis.

  1. I really like those quotes, Marina Sofia. Thanks for sharing them. We do have to find ways to keep going, to look for the good, and, dare I say it, to be grateful. I think your dream’s really interesting, too: a reminder that we all have burdens to bear, and to be compassionate about that.

    1. It’s quite funny, because I have a document in which I store quotes, but when I looked through it the other day, it was all full of rather dark and troubling and negative quotes. So I have to start a new folder, I believe!

  2. Thanks for sharing your tough times and those wonderful quotes. I think I might need to print them out and stick them in front of me during stressful times (like right now). Take care and see you soon!

    1. As I said to Margot above, I like to keep a folder with meaningful quotes and look at them every now and then. It reminds me that humankind has seen all this before and worse, puts things into perspective.

  3. A very appropriate post for me too as I am in post-surgery recovery and getting frustrated because my body will not let me do everything I want it to do! . Everyone is telling me that I am being very positive – generally I am but it takes an awful lot of effort and if you have to face bad news everyday like you describe is happening to you, it takes an awful lot of strength to bounce back. Keep fighting the fight in whatever way works for you

    1. Oh, dear, sorry to hear that – yes, it’s very tempting to overtax the body, isn’t it, as soon as you feel even half-way well… Hope you and I both get sprinkled with patience glitter!

  4. A great post, Marina, and I like the way you’ve ended it with snowdrops. That first sighting always raises the spirits for me despite the dire state of the world. I hope your own situation improves soon.

  5. I keep going by praying and sharing my faith, by crying, by realizing my mother and husband both rely on me. I look at what other people are doing and try to copy them – I fake it until I make it. I keep hoping. Giving up and going into a ball of paralysis is not an option, much as I would like to. I surround myself with hopeful, prayerful people. I don’t pay attention to politics. I am sorry life is hard for you at this point. Don’t give up. Have faith and believe things will get better. You are in my prayers.

    1. Oh, Toni, I am thinking of you and praying for you and your mother! Another example of a situation that is so much worse than mine. Thank you for your kind words and thoughts, let’s send lots of beautiful images, words and positive waves to each other…

      1. Huge wave and grin to you. My situation isn’t worse, just different kind of heartache and anger involved. I try to keep positive but it is hard, but I keep trying. You try and I try. It is all we can do 😎

  6. Ah Marina Sofia, your post a healing one for me, and it seems, from comments, for others too. And I hope that your intention to find these truths for us, enabled you to find them healing truths for you too.

    Most, I love the layered wisdom in all of them, the realisation of life’s bitterness AND its sweetness, all combined.

    And….that first quote is that really JFK as in John Fitzgerald Kennedy. How wonderful! Art, in all of its manifestations is some kind of evidence of our deep soul, our touching of something which transcends individual limitations. As a later post indicates, art changes not only the creator of it, but the receiver of it

    I guess, from the quotes, that Solnit must have written an other book, other than the one I have, on Walking, which is brilliant. So I should probably get it.

    1. That first quote is indeed John F. Kennedy, who I think was one of the best speechwriters (OK, he had help, but he always tinkered with the speeches himself) of the 20th century. Solnit’s book, which is truly compelling reading for our times, is ‘Hope in the Dark’. Originally written in 2003/04, as a sort of response to /11 and the Iraq War, she reissued it and updated it for 2016.

  7. Lovely post! The quotes are beautiful, of course, but the thing that cheered me up most was the picture of that adorable puppy. No world can be all bad that has such sweet creatures in it… 🙂

  8. I hope you will feel better soon. What a dream. Collective anxiety and depression, I agree. At times things seem so crazy that they make me laugh but not cheerfully, sardonically. When there’s uncertainty in our personal life, then it’s worse. I experience a lot of that too.

  9. Aren’t dreams strange? Though a dream with Saint Bernard puppies in it isn’t all bad! Thanks for the photos and the quotes! Hang in there! I ope things begin looking up for you soon!

    1. I dread to think what a Freudian analyst would make of my dream.. but yes, the puppies made all the difference. Thank you for your kind wishes. There’s got to be an upturn in there somewhere!

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