quotes

Sara Mearns on Ballet

sara mearns

I’ve been lucky to see three New York City Ballet performances this year (so far!), and in each, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Sara Mearns. The City Ballet principal is one of my favorites. Of course, she has the flawless technique that’s expected at her level. But Mearns has such a commanding presence that it’s hard to watch anyone else when she’s onstage. You can feel the passion and intensity she brings to each role.

That’s why I couldn’t help but smile when I read how she candidly described her relationship with ballet, in this NY Times article:

Not many people know what it feels like to be so in love with something—more than yourself, or more than anybody else. It’s very scary at times, but it’s just what it is. Sometimes I don’t even know why I’m so passionate about what I do…I really don’t. It’s kind of scary.

As a dancer (though obviously nowhere near her level!), I find her words so relatable. But I think they hold true, whether or not ballet is your passion. It is frightening to see what passion motivates us to do. But it’s also astounding to see what it can drive you to accomplish.

(Photo via undefined magazine)

A Great Quote to Describe Traveling (and Life, in General)

Back in April, I posted about Obvious State, an Etsy shop, run by writer/illustrator Evan Robertson,В that sells gorgeous illustrations of classic literature quotations. It’s been a while since I’d visited the site, but the other day, My Modern Met ran a post showcasing several prints. This one stuck in my mind:

Original Illustration, Charles Dickens quotation

I thought that was such a great way to describe travel. I’ve definitely found that no matter how bad a situation I’ve been in, I’ve never looked back on a trip—or a place—and decided that it was just worthless. In fact, overall, I have nothing but positive memories about pretty much everywhere I’ve been. And so many of my trips were far from perfect: I’ve gotten seasick (or just sick, in general) in more places than I can count, feared for my safety on several occasions (like the time I thought we were being kidnapped in Costa Rica…or when we visited Nicaragua’s Corn Islands during a spate of violent attacks on tourists), nearly froze to death on a few occasions (in the Bolivian desert…and in freakishly cold weather in Hawaii!). And so on.

But it’s those stressful/annoying/uncomfortable situations that make the best stories once you’re back home. They’re often the ones that define a place for you. They’re also usually the ones where you can look back and laugh at how ridiculous you were—and how you’re so much smarter now. 😉 (And yes, I know, I’m lucky that nothing really bad has ever happened to me while traveling.)

Robertson, himself, was thinking of his own travels when he designed the print. Here’s how he describes it:

A traveler fades to black, leaving behind winding paths of cobblestones in the street. Inspired by one of my favorite places to visit and to leave and to revisit in Paris.

And, on a deeper level (cue the dramatic music), that Dickens quote applies to life, in general, as well. I’ve found that once you truly let something go and leave it behind, then you can start to forgive and move on. And that’s definitely something to remember!

(The quotation, by the way, is from the Dickens novel Little Dorrit. I hadn’t heard of it before!)

(Image via Obvious State)

A New Beginning in November

backflip

You probably wouldn’t have guessed from my entries over the past few weeks, but October was a bit of a tough month for me. Nothing spectacularly bad or life-changing happened. I was just under the weather for almost four weeks, which felt like an eternity—and not feeling well for that long had me feeling down and out of sorts. (First I had a horrible cold, then caught whatever Mal had at the Grand Canyon, then had my wisdom teeth removed and experienced a complication with one, then the hurricane hit…)

I’ve found that when I’m feeling down about something, it helps me to look ahead—literally, to flip through the months in my iPhone calendar—and choose a date when I know I will be out of the situation and feeling much better. And while I’m moving forward, I’ll look to that date as often as I need to and remember that things are improving. Earlier this year, I was going through a particularly trying time. I gave myself three months to feel mostly better and six months to be 100% healed. This time, I didn’t need nearly as long. I chose November 1 as my all-better day.

Sure, illnesses and natural disasters are out of my control. But just reminding myself that happier days are ahead did boost my mood a great deal. And now that we’re a few days into November, I can happily report that my colds are gone, all my wisdom teeth have healed and I was super-lucky to have made it through the hurricane without any major troubles.

This quote, which I stumbled upon via Shoko’s blog a few weeks ago, puts it perfectly:

no feeling it final

Definitely wise words to keep in mind!

How do you deal with trying times? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And thanks to everyone who reached out to me during the hurricane—I was touched by your concerns and good wishes!

(Top photo via Travel, Culture, Books and Tea—though if you know the photographer or the setting of this shot, please share! Bottom image via Shoko.)

Wise Words from Junot Diaz

The best book I read this year, and probably ever, was Junot Diaz‘s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. (Yes, yes, I know it came out a few years ago—I go through phases of devouring books, then not reading any for months!) From page one, I was floored by Diaz’s use of language. His voice is incredibly unique and authentic, and he puts words together in rhythmic ways that I’d never heard before, let alone could conceive of doing. As a writer, I can’t even be envious of him. To me, Diaz exists on some other level, one that I—and, quite honestly, most other writers—could never even strive to achieve. (It was no surprise to me that he was just awarded a MacArthur “genius” grant.)

Diaz’s new book, This Is How You Lose Her, came out in September and it’s at the top of my reading list. Accordingly, he’s been in the press a lot, recently. But of all the things I’ve read about him, one quote has stuck in my mind. It’s from a Real Simple piece in which famous authors were asked to impart the valuable life lessons they learned from other works of literature. Diaz’s answer was:

I grew up dirt-poor in the Dominican Republic, and when my family moved to the United States (I was six), my new home felt very hostile and cold. As a kid who wanted protection, I read Watership Down, by Richard Adams. It’s about a group of rabbits who are forced from their home and encounter another warren of well-fed rabbits. The displaced animals realize that their fat kinsmen are safe because a farmer has turned their burrow into an outdoor refrigerator. At just eight years old, I realized that security is sometimes too high a price to pay for your freedom. Kindling bravery is a daily challenge: not hiding away in safety, not settling for whatever is just good enough.

Those are such wise words to remember at any time. But right now, when I’m in the middle of a time of change, they ring especially true.

What quotes have motivated or inspired you, recently? I’d love to hear!

(Photo via Jezebel)

Travel Prints

The other day, I was going down the Etsy rabbit hole and came across these travel-themed prints from 3 Lambs Illustrations. I love the sentiment of the quotes–I’m definitely of this mindset, these days.

And, of course, I loved this one. (Non-New Yorkers, no worries–there are similar prints for London, Paris and Boston.)

Check out even more prints at 3 Lambs Graphics’ Etsy shop.