(get over the) hump day inspiration: The Wind in the Willows edition

The Wind in the Willows quote

I just finished the childhood classic, “The Wind in the Willows,” and though its thematic focus is on the comforts of home, of course the quote that called out to me is all about the pleasures of taking off.

(Photo under quote: Daniel Axelson)

(get over the) hump day inspiration: Rumi

Rumi quote

I made a decision this week that felt like a huge risk, moving me from a place of relative safety with no future, to a transitional (and incredible) next step without any security or commitment. Even though I feel 100% certain that I did the right thing, I’m still hugely anxious about opening the door to a world of unknowns.

It was in this context that, walking home last night, I stopped short at the sight of two humongous lines of text painted on a brownstone’s living room wall, which I spied through the curtain-less bay window (almost as though it were staged as a message for passersby). In bright white lettering against a dark blue background were the words:

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.

It spoke to me in a visceral way – I was not exactly sure what it meant to me but my body responded immediately. I let out a noise halfway between a sob and an exclamation. I may have cocked my head to one side and nodded vehemently to no one in particular. I guess I just needed that affirmation that it’s okay to choose the less clear option when it nevertheless feels right. It’s empowering to think you can be confused and correct at the same time.

When I got home I looked up the line and found that the whole quote is even more apropos to my current situation:

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment. Cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is intuition.

I love everything about that. It may just become my mantra for the next few months.

(get over the) hump day inspiration: questionable attribution edition

"“Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you'll be able to see further.”

I feel bad about crediting this quote to JP Morgan when it may in fact have been Thomas Carlyle or someone else entirely who said it. The Internet is undecided on that score, which is ironic considering that the nature of the quote is about seeing clearly.

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(get over the) hump-day inspiration: Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog inspirational quote

Today’s words of wisdom come from an unlikely source: my favorite anti-hero, Werner Herzog, who reminds us that life is violent and painful and that the times we’re living in are particularly banal and bleak. It’s very freeing, actually.

Unfortunately I cannot take credit for the inspired creation above. It comes from this Tumblr of Werner Herzog motivational posters. Best Internet discovery in years.

More brilliant madness by and about Werner Herzog, if you ever need a giggle:

One of my favorite pieces of writing, ever.

Continuing an interview after being shot by an air rifle.

Laugh out loud musings on adventure.

(get over the) hump-day inspiration: mr. rogers

Mr. Rogers quote

I grew up watching Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood on a daily basis. He is one of those people you never have to meet in person to feel you utterly know and love. His voice was so peaceful and his embodiment of community, nurturing, and imagination so total and profound that he still functions like a security blanket for me – one look at his face and I’m instantly calm and content. I also happen to think Daniel Tiger is the most amazingly gentle and wise being that ever existed (yes, I use that word loosely). If I ever have a son he will be named Daniel in his honor. And because I love that name; I’m not entirely batty.

So of course Mr. Rogers would come up with the single most optimistic, encouraging, life-affirming statement of all time. Of course he would say, “Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” Mr. Rogers is nothing if not a man who miraculously transforms your feelings – from despair to solace, gloominess to good cheer, limitations to opportunities – every time he opens up his mouth.

And every time I read this quote it applies to something new – whatever is going on in my life at the moment. Currently, it’s a reminder that though my charmed apartment life is soon coming to an end, I now have the impetus to downsize my worldly possessions in preparation for traveling the world. I have the chance to see things with the new perspective that comes with a move. My fresh start affords me the possibility of making new friends, finding new places to love, and reassessing what is really important in my life. And if worse comes to worst and I hate my new apartment, that could motivate me to bury myself in studying French instead… Although I really hope that will not be the case!