For years—before memes, before the internet existed—I’ve collected quotes.
Recently, when I wrote my memoir, I decided to include an epigraph at the start of each chapter. I was lucky to have so many quotes to pick from—and at the same time, it was a bit overwhelming to pick the most meaningful words.
I sifted through years of notes to collect the lines that were most influential in the course of my life. The ones that spoke to my soul. The ones that truly altered the way I thought, the way I lived.
Because how we think is how we live.
These are the words I come back to, again and again, to remind me what is most important.
Life can distract us. We need reminders. Here I give you my top 20:
- “What if rather than being disheartened by the ambiguity, the uncertainty of life, we accepted it and relaxed into it?” ~ Pema Chodron
- “I stopped waiting for the world to give me what I wanted; I started giving it to myself.” ~ Byron Katie
- “The highest goal one can achieve is amazement.” ~ Goethe
- “Illness sets the stage for the opening of our hearts.” ~ Judith Orloff
- “With the whole world as the apple of your eye, all of life becomes an aphrodisiac.” ~ Gregg Levoy
- “Let’s pay attention only to where we are. / There’s enough beauty in being here and not somewhere else.” ~ Fernando Pessoa
- “Everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings.” ~ Stage Manager, Thornton Wilder’s Our Town
- “It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined.” ~ Henry James
- “Loneliness in the poverty of self; solitude in the richness of self.” ~ May Sarton
- “So oftentimes it happens that we live our lives in chains / That we never even know we have the key.” ~ The Eagles
- “Possibility is not luxury; it is as crucial as bread.” ~ Judith Butler
- “We are freer than we think.” ~ Michel Foucault
- “It’s right underneath your fingers, baby. That’s all you have to understand—everything is right underneath your fingers.” ~ Ray Charles
- “Let the miracles, even the ones we don’t want or see, unfold.” ~ Mark Nepo
- “Every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” ~ Walt Whitman
- “If I took fear out of the equation, what would I change about how I spend my days?” ~ Lissa Rankin
- “Nothing belongs to me. Everything comes and goes. Serenity is an open door.” ~ Byron Katie
- “Don’t call it uncertainty—call it wonder.” ~ OSHO
- “Don’t call it insecurity—call it freedom.” ~ OSHO
- “I’m ready to live my forever.” ~ Anders Osborne
Do you have a quote that has guided your life? Add it in the Comments below.
Relephant bonus: 3 pieces of advice I wish I started following earlier in life:
Author: Kate Evans
Editor: Renee Jahnke
Images: andrea floris / Flickr