Words I Needed Last Week 5/30

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do."

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do."
—Johann Wolfgang Von Goeth

“We write to heighten our own awareness of life. We write to lure and enchant and console others. We write to serenade our lovers. We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. We write...to render all of it eternal and to persuade ourselves that it is eternal. We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it. We write to teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth. We write to expand our world when we feel strangled, or constricted, or lonely.”
—Anais Nin

“What were you before you met me?"
"I think I was drowning"
"And what are you now?"
―Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

The first step is an admission that as successful as you are, were, or hope to be in your life and work, you are not going to find true happiness on the hedonic treadmill of your professional life. You’ll find it in things that are deeply ordinary: enjoying a walk or a conversation with a loved one, instead of working that extra hour, for example. This is extremely difficult for many people. It feels almost like an admission of defeat for those who have spent their lives worshipping hard work and striving to outperform others. Social comparison is a big part of how people measure worldly success, but the research is clear that it strips us of life satisfaction.

—Arthur C. Brooks, “‘Success Addicts’ Choose Being Special Over Being Happy”

“Family can help us repair. Family, chosen and by birth, can also significantly aid in helping those who eat our suffering effectively wipe us off the face of the Earth. Repair what you helped break, my Grandmama taught me. Restore what responsibly loved you, I learned from Gunn. And revise, revise, revise with your family and friends. Collective freedom is impossible without interpersonal repair.

—Kiese Laymon, “What We Owe and Are Owed

“I have dreamed
of accomplishment.
I have fed

I have traded
nights of sleep

for a length of work.
Lo, and I have discovered
how soft bloom

turns to green fruit,
which turns to sweet fruit.
Lo, and I have discovered

all winds blow cold
at last,
and the leaves,

so pretty, so many,
in the great, black

packet of time,
in the great, black
packet of ambition,

and the ripeness
of the apple
is its downfall
— Mary Oliver, “The Orchard”