Explore. Dream. Discover.

“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, “I—I hardly know, Sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”

Brace yourself – a long photo essay with almost 10 years worth of selfies from my phone and quotes I love on exploring, making your dreams come true, and discovering more and more of who you are. Why? … Why not? 😉

“Question: I am interested in so many things, and I have a terrible fear because my mother keeps telling me that I’m just going to be exploring the rest of my life and never get anything done. But I find it really hard to set my ways and say, “Well, do I want to do this, or should I try to exploit that, or should I escape and completely do one thing?”

Anaïs Nin: One word I would banish from the dictionary is ‘escape.’ Just banish that and you’ll be fine. Because that word has been misused regarding anybody who wanted to move away from a certain spot and wanted to grow. He was an escapist. You know if you forget that word you will have a much easier time. Also you’re in the prime, the beginning of your life; you should experiment with everything, try everything…. We are taught all these dichotomies, and I only learned later that they could work in harmony. We have created false dichotomies; we create false ambivalences, and very painful one’s sometimes – the feeling that we have to choose. But I think at one point we finally realize, sometimes subconsciously, whether or not we are really fitted for what we try and if it’s what we want to do.

You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too. No, I think there was too rigid a pattern. You came out of an education and are supposed to know your vocation. Your vocation is fixed, and maybe ten years later you find you are not a teacher anymore or you’re not a painter anymore. It may happen. It has happened. I mean Gauguin decided at a certain point he wasn’t a banker anymore; he was a painter. And so he walked away from banking. I think we have a right to change course. But society is the one that keeps demanding that we fit in and not disturb things. They would like you to fit in right away so that things work now.” 

― Anais Nin

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

― Howard Thurman

“You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating. The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all. It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death. Some never awaken.” 

― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934

“There is no reality except the one contained within us. That is why so many people live such an unreal life. They take the images outside of them for reality and never allow the world within to assert itself.” 

― Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf

“The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you

Don’t go back to sleep!

You must ask for what you really want.

Don’t go back to sleep!

People are going back and forth 

across the doorsill where the two worlds touch,

The door is round and open

Don’t go back to sleep!” 

― Rumi

“Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there.” 

― Henry Miller

“How can I accept a limited definable self when I feel, in me, all possibilities?… I never feel the four walls around the substance of the self, the core. I feel only space. Illimitable space.”

― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934

“Why are we so full of restraint? Why do we not give in all directions? Is it fear of losing ourselves? Until we do lose ourselves there is no hope of finding ourselves.” 

― Henry Miller

“I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.” 

― Anais Nin

“Let me be, was all I wanted. Be what I am, no matter how I am.” 

― Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird

“I see myself forever and ever as the ridiculous [person], the lonely soul, the wanderer, the restless frustrated artist, the [person] in love with love, always in search of the absolute, always seeking the unattainable.” 

― Henry Miller, Stand Still Like the Hummingbird

“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” 

― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 7: 1966-1974

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” 

― Rumi

“Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” 

― Anais Nin

“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.” 

― Rumi

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” 

― Anais Nin

“Forget safety.

Live where you fear to live.

Destroy your reputation.

Be notorious.” 

― Rumi

“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.” 

― Anais Nin

“Everybody says sex is obscene. The only true obscenity is war.” 

― Henry Miller, Tropic of Cancer

“To be joyous is to be a madman in a world of sad ghosts.” 

― Henry Miller

“Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours.” 

― Hermann Hesse

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them.” 

― Rumi, The Essential Rumi

“I have had to experience so much stupidity, so many vices, so much error, so much nausea, disillusionment and sorrow, just in order to become a child again and begin anew. I had to experience despair, I had to sink to the greatest mental depths, to thoughts of suicide, in order to experience grace.” 

Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

“The secret of joy is the mastery of pain.” 

– Anais Nin

“We must become so alone, so utterly alone, that we withdraw into our innermost self. It is a way of bitter suffering. But then our solitude is overcome, we are no longer alone, for we find that our innermost self is the spirit, that it is God, the indivisible. And suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of the world, yet undisturbed by its multiplicity, for our innermost soul we know ourselves to be one with all being.” 

Hermann Hesse

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” 

― Rumi, The Essential Rumi

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.” 

― Rumi

“Let yourself be drawn by the stronger pull of that which you truly love.” 

― Rumi

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” 

― Henry Miller

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” 

― Anaïs Nin

“Serenity is when you get above all this, when it doesn’t matter what they think, say or want, but when you do as you are, and see God and Devil as one.” 

― Henry Miller

“People living deeply have no fear of death.” 

― Anaïs Nin

“Take someone who doesn’t keep score,

who’s not looking to be richer, or afraid of losing,

who has not the slightest interest even

in his own personality: he’s free.” 

― Rumi 

“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.” 

― Anais Nin

“What you seek is seeking you.” 

― Rumi

“You cannot save people. You can only love them.” 

― Anaïs Nin

“It may be important to great thinkers to examine the world, to explain and despise it. But I think it is only important to love the world, not to despise it, not for us to hate each other, but to be able to regard the world and ourselves and all beings with love, admiration and respect.” 

Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

“Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah…it makes absolutely no difference what people think of you.” 

― Rumi

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” 

― Rainer Maria Rilke

“Oh soul,

you worry too much.

You have seen your own strength.

You have seen your own beauty.

You have seen your golden wings.

Of anything less,

Why do you worry?

You are in truth

The soul, of the soul, of the soul.” 

― Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi

“You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, 

none can make you spiritual. 

There is no other teacher but your own soul.” 

― Swami Vivekananda

“If we surrendered

to earth’s intelligence

we could rise up rooted, like trees.” 

― Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

“It is always what I have already said: always the wish that you may find patience enough in yourself to endure, and simplicity enough to believe; that you may acquire more and more confidence in that which is difficult, and in your solitude among others. And for the rest, let life happen to you. Believe me: life is right, in any case.” 

― Rainer Maria Rilke

“Keep growing quietly and seriously throughout your whole development; you cannot disturb it more rudely than by looking outward and expecting from outside replies to questions that only your inmost feeling in your most hushed hour can perhaps answer.” 

― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.” 

― Anais Nin

“You must give birth to your images. They are the future waiting to be born. Fear not the strangeness you feel. The future must enter you long before it happens. Just wait for the birth, for  the hour of the new clarity.” 

― Rainer Maria Rilke

“God speaks to each of us as he makes us,

then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,

go to the limits of your longing.

Embody me.

Flare up like a flame

and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.

Just keep going. No feeling is final.

Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.

You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.” 

― Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God

“You were born with potential. 

You were born with goodness and trust. You were born with ideals and dreams. You were born with greatness. 

You were born with wings. 

You are not meant for crawling, so don’t. 

You have wings. 

Learn to use them and fly.” 

― Rumi

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” 

― Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

“Do you know what you are?

You are a manuscript oƒ a divine letter.

You are a mirror reflecting a noble face. 

This universe is not outside of you. 

Look inside yourself;

Everything that you want, 

You are already that.” 

― Rumi, Hush, Don’t Say Anything to God: Passionate Poems of Rumi

“When someone seeks,” said Siddhartha, “then it easily happens that his eyes see only the thing that he seeks, and he is able to find nothing, to take in nothing because he always thinks only about the thing he is seeking, because he has one goal, because he is obsessed with his goal. Seeking means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal.” 

― Herman Hesse, Siddhartha

“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” 

― Rumi

“I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.” 

― Hermann Hesse, Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend

“Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else … Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.” 

― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

“I live in my dreams — that’s what you sense. Other people live in dreams, but not in their own. That’s the difference.” 

― Herman Hesse, Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend

“Study me as much as you like, you will not know me, for I differ in a hundred ways from what you see me to be. Put yourself behind my eyes and see me as I see myself, for I have chosen to dwell in a place you cannot see.” 

― Rumi

“Learn what is to be taken seriously and laugh at the rest.” 

― Herman Hesse

“You don’t find love, it finds you. It’s got a little bit to do with destiny, fate, and what’s written in the stars.” 

― Anaïs Nin

“Love must not entreat,’ she added, ‘or demand. Love must have the strength to become certain within itself. Then it ceases merely to be attracted and begins to attract.” 

― Hermann Hesse, Demian: Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend

“An eye is meant to see things.

The soul is here for its own joy.

A head has one use: For loving a true love.

Feet: To chase after.

Love is for vanishing into the sky. The mind,

for learning what men have done and tried to do.

Mysteries are not to be solved: The eye goes blind

when it only wants to see why.

A lover is always accused of something.

But when he finds his love, whatever was lost

in the looking comes back completely changed.” 

― Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi, Night and Sleep

“What matters is how quickly you do what your soul directs.”

― Rumi, The Essential Rumi

This entry was published on September 10, 2021 at 3:39 am. It’s filed under photo essay, Selfies, This and That and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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