Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and the pain of it no less than the excitement and the gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace
‘As Philip Yancey wrote, Buechner “tries to reawaken the child in people: the one who naïvely trusts, who will at least go and look for the magic place, who is not ashamed of not knowing the answers because he is not expected to know the answers.”’
”One of Buechner’s often cited observations is that you find your vocation at the spot where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need. ”
”Buechner’s vocation was to show a way to experience the fullness of life. Of death, he wrote, “What’s lost is nothing to what’s found, and all the death that ever was, set next to life, would scarcely fill a cup.”
“You will never know the effect you will have on someone, not really. It doesn’t matter if you know. The universe will never tell you if you are right or wrong. You just have to try.”
It’s a little humbling, that thought. But I find there’s also a comfort in this way of thinking, in that it’s not just up to you.
Which brings me to my second picture.
Preparing for this commencement, I learned a startling fact:
The monarch butterflies that you sometimes see here in Los Angeles, they migrate about 3,000 miles from Vancouver Canada to Michoacán Mexico — that we knew. What I didn’t know was that each leg of that journey takes the monarchs three to four generations. (Apparently, researchers just learned this.) Three to four generations, each way.
Think about that: A new butterfly takes flight from a eucalyptus tree in Vancouver. By the time the butterflies get here, to Los Angeles, that mother butterfly is gone, her child is gone, and her child’s child is now doing the flying. By the time they make it to Mexico, it’s the child’s child’s child.
It is unsettling, to see yourself as just one particle in a stream. One butterfly in a kaleidoscope. (Did you know that groups of butterflies are called a kaleidoscope? Isn’t that cool? I didn’t know this until, uh, yesterday?)
And the thing is, you might not be the first butterfly. You won’t know it, but you might be the third — or, more likely, the three-hundredth. Taking the work and the knowledge and the discoveries of those that came before you.
And, in your life time, you are going to move it forward in ways no one could have imagine. And you’re not going to get all the way. And that’s OK. Because without your effort, humanity is never going to get there. So, to conclude: I wish you all so much luck, so much fierceness, as you take flight tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.”
Eleanor Roosevelt on the link between personal philosophy and action:
“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.”
Once we acknowledge that limited time is remaining, although we don’t know if that is years, weeks, or hours, we are less driven by ego or by what other people think. Instead, we are more driven by what our hearts truly want. Acknowledging our inevitable, approaching death offers us the opportunity to find greater purpose and satisfaction in the time we have remaining
— Richard Pryor (as Mudbone) in Richard Pryor Live on Sunset Strip @ minute 58
”… that’s all there is. There ain’t no point to it. Because you did not ask to come to this motherfucker and you sure can’t choose how to leave. You don’t know when you are going to go. Don’t take this shit serious. You better have some fun and plenty of it. Because when the shit is over and you ask for a recharge it is too late. So all I can say is keep some sunshine on your face.”
No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change …
”When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change”