life 2 - life 3 - life 4 - life 5 - life 6

It is not death that we
should fear, but we
should fear never
beginning to live.

Marcus Aurelius


No one imagines that a symphony is supposed to improve in quality as it goes along, or that the whole object of playing it is to reach the finale.  The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it.  It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them.

Alan Watts

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.  To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.

Helen Keller
Affirmation of life is the spiritual act by which people cease to live unreflectively and begin to devote themselves to their lives with reverence in order to raise them to their true value. To affirm life is to deepen, to make more inward, and to exalt the will-to-live.

Albert Schweitzer

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

People living deeply have no fear of death.

Anais Nin


O beautiful human life!  Tears come to my eyes as I think
of it.  So beautiful, so inexpressibly beautiful!  The song
should never be silent, the dance never still, the laugh
should sound like water which runs forever.

Richard Jeffries


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Listen to your life.  See it for the fathomless mystery that it is.
In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement
and 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.

Frederick Buechner


If you have known how to compose your life, you have done a great
deal more than the person who knows how to compose a book.
You have done more than the one who has taken cities and empires.

Michel de Montaigne

Three versions of a similar passage:  there's a passage on success that's usually attributed to Emerson, but that very probably is a misattribution.  Unfortunately, over the years the various versions have changed, and it's pretty hard to tell where these ideas came from originally.  We won't attempt to answer the question of source definitively--we'll just give you the three versions as they're written.
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest criticism and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty and find the best in others; to leave this world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived--this is to have succeeded.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

They have achieved success
who have lived well,
laughed often, and loved much;

who have enjoyed the trust of
pure men and women,

the respect of intelligent people and
the love of little children;

who have filled their niche and accomplished their tasks;

who have left the world better than they found it
whether by an improved poppy,
a perfect poem or a rescued soul;

who have never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty
or failed to express it;

who have always looked for the best in others and
given them the best they had;

whose lives were an inspiration;
whose memory a benediction.

--Bessie Anderson Stanley, 1904

("Success" was written as the winning entry in a contest run by Brown Book Magazine in 1904.  Bessie won a cash prize of $250 which paid off the mortgage on the house, among other things.  It was included in Bartlett's Book of Quotations for decades, and if you can find an old edition from the 30's or 40's, it should be in there.  They dropped it, I think in the 60's, but I don't know why.

The family isn't sure how the poem got mangled and attributed to Emerson, but it was further confused by Ann Landers and her sister Abby.  Ann Landers used to (mis)quote it all the time and cite Emerson as the source.  My great-uncle Art, a retired federal judge who died last March, and she had a decade-long correspondence as he argued for a public correction.  She finally conceded and in her book, The Ann Landers Encyclopedia, prints the whole story.

~~Bethanne Larson, a granddaughter of Bessie Stanley)
Thanks to for this info.

That Person is a Success
Who has lived well,
    laughed often and loved much;
Who has gained the respect of intelligent people
    and the love of children;
Who has filled his or her niche
    and accomplished his or her task;
Who leaves the world better than he or she found it,
    whether by improved poppy, a perfect poem,
    or a rescued soul;
Who never lacked appreciation of earth's beauty
    or failed to express it.
Who looked for the best in others
    and gave the best he or she had.

Robert Louis Stevenson

life 2
- life 3 - life 4 - life 5 - life 6


Life is difficult.  This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.
It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth,
we transcend it.  Once we truly know that life is difficult--once we
truly understand and accept it--then life is no longer difficult.
Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is
difficult no longer matters.

M. Scott Peck

Time is a flowing river.  Happy those who allow themselves
to be carried, unresisting, with the current.  They float through
easy days.  They live, unquestioning, in the moment.

Christopher Morley

There are loyal hearts, there are spirits brave,
There are souls that are pure and true;
Then give to the world the best you have,
And the best will come back to you.

Madeleine Bridges


If our lives shall be such that we shall receive the
glad welcome of "Well done, good and faithful servant,"
we shall then know that we have not lived in vain.

Peter Cooper



I wish you humor and a twinkle in the eye.
I wish you glory and the strength to bear its burdens.
I wish you sunshine on your path and storms to season your journey.
I wish you peace--in the world in which you live and in the smallest corner
   of the heart where truth is kept.
I wish you faith--to help define your living and your life.
More I cannot wish you--except perhaps love--to make all the rest worthwhile.

Robert A. Ward


It is only in exceptional moods that we realize how wonderful are
the commonest experiences of life.  It seems to me sometimes that
these experiences have an "inner" side, as well as the outer side
we normally perceive.  At such moments one suddenly sees everything
with new eyes; one feels on the brink of some great revelation.  It is as if
we caught a glimpse of some incredibly beautiful world
that lies silently about us all the time.

J.W.N. Sullivan


Life is best lived by being bold and daring.  People tend to grow
fearful when they taste failure, face a daunting challenge or fall
ill.  Yet that is precisely the time to become even bolder.  Those
who are victors at heart are the greatest of all champions.

Daisaku Ikeda
Buddhism Day by Day




what shall i tell a child if she asks me what is life?
will i recount the pain and hurt and focus on the strife?
or shall i paint a picture of the beauty that is found
in sailing ships and chocolate chips and bugs beneath the ground?

i'd like to think i'd give her hope of all that is to come
but if she reads some poems of mine, her hope shall be undone
i cannot bear to think that i may dim a child's eyes
present to her a world of just confusion, pain, and lies

for if i am to tell her early on of mountain streams
and help her build the pillars that will hold up all her dreams
i'd paint the birds that fill the trees with beauty and with song
a sanctuary in her mind to help when things go wrong

and in that place in her mind's eye the flowers would grow free
in meadows under blue skies by the mighty loving sea
she'd have a place for comfort, have a place to be alone
amidst tomorrow's challenges, no matter how she's grown

i pray to learn my lessons from the children whom i meet
i dream of sowing sunshine on a crowded city street
i pray my words shall never hurt the child here inside
i pray that never shall i fear the child in me has died

i must reject some words of mine if i'm to feel i'm free
embracing hope, i must hold on to how good life can be
that i may treat the children with respect that they deserve
for i shan't live for self alone--i give my life to serve

tom walsh

To become what we are capable of becoming is the only end in life.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.

SÝren Kierkegaard

Don't let life discourage you; everyone who got
where they are had to begin where they were.

Richard L. Evans

To live is like to love--all reason is against it, and all healthy instinct is for it.

Samuel Butler


You are present in your life on earth at this moment for the purposes
of living, loving, learning, and growing.  Be assured that life can
reliably provide a wide variety of adventures, experiences, and
situations that may require you to draw from the depths of your being.
Your level of self-awareness and manner of expression can determine
the quality of living you experience.  Why?
Because you get back what you give out.

John Marks Templeton
Worldwide Laws of Life



You don't get to choose how you're going to die, or when.
You can only decide how you're going to live.  Now!

Joan Baez


Here is the test to find whether your mission on earth is finished:
If you're alive, it isn't.

Richard Bach


Life is a great big canvas, and you should
throw all the paint on it you can.

Danny Kaye

I would like to live. . . open to time and death painlessly,
noticing everything, remembering nothing,
choosing the given with a fierce and pointed will.

Annie Dillard

How we spend our days is, of course,
how we spend our lives.


We have some inspiring and motivational books that may interest you.  Our main way of supporting this site is through the sale of books, either physical copies or digital copies for your Amazon Kindle (including the online reader).  All of the money that we earn through them comes back to the site in one way or another.  Just click on the picture to the left to visit our page of books, both fiction and non-fiction!

People permit life to slide past them like a deft pickpocket, their
purse--not yet missed and now too late--in his hand.

Edna Ferber

Perhaps we clutch at life only when we have never lived or
trusted it.  Then death seems the last and greatest
defeat, the end of something never felt.

Dorothy Gilman


The first thing that I can record concerning myself is, that I was born. . . .
These are wonderful words.  This life, to which neither time nor eternity
can bring diminution--this everlasting soul, began.
My mind loses itself in these depths.

Margaret Oliphant

 life 2 - life 3 - life 4 - life 5 - life 6


A tree has both straight and crooked branches; the symmetry of the tree,
however, is perfect.  Life is balanced like a tree.  When you consider
the struggles, difficulties, and sorrows as a part of it,
then you see it as beautiful and perfect.

George M. Lamsa

Living consciously reflects the conviction that sight is preferable
to blindness; that respecting the facts of reality is more satisfying
than denying them; that evasion does not make the unreal real
or the real unreal; that it is better to correct your mistakes that
to pretend they do not exist; and that the more conscious you
are of facts bearing on your life and goals, the more
wisely and effectively you can act.

Nathaniel Branden
Self-Esteem Every Day


I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just
the length of it.  I want to have lived the width of it as well.

Diane Ackerman


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Daily Meditations, Year One - Year Two - Year Three - Year Four

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Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Mary Oliver

Don't be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin.

Grace Hansen


I do not want to arrive at the end of life and then be asked what I made
of it and have to answer:  "I acted."  I want to be able to say:  "I loved
and I was mystified.  It was a joy sometimes, and I knew grief.
And I would like to do it all again."

Liv Ullman

What is the use of living if not to strive for noble causes and to
make this muddled world a better place for those
who will live in it after we are gone?

Winston Churchill

Life is so full of meaning and purpose, so full of beauty--beneath its
covering--that you will find that earth but cloaks your heaven.

Fra Giovanni



We should take it for granted that no life can be entirely free
from vexations, trials, troubles, sorrows, and disappointments;
but we should resolve that these things shall not be allowed to
disturb our peace of mind, or to destroy our happiness.  It is as
amazing as it is sad, that we go about largely burdening ourselves
with strivings that are of no consequence, and miss the gladness
and exhilaration of living.  No life is successful until it is
radiant with happiness.

Orison Swett Marden
The Joys of Living

When we are embedded in life there is simply seeing, hearing, smelling,
touching, thinking (and I donít mean self-centered thinking).  When we
live this way there is no problem; there couldnít be.  We are just that.
There is life and we are embedded in it; we are not separate from life.
We just are what life is because we are being what life is; we hear, we
think, we see, we smell, and so on.  We are embedded in life and there
is no problem; life flows along.  There is nothing to realize because when
we are life itself, we have no questions about life.  But that isnít the way
our lives areóand so we have plenty of questions.

Charlotte Joko Beck
Everyday Zen: Love and Work


Found online:

(Found online images come from a variety of unattributed
sources from various social media pages.  They're too nice
not to share!)


Alone in his car heading west, it's easy for Jason
to feel sorry for himself and mad at the world.  But
then he gives a ride to Hector and learns that life
isn't nearly as negative as we sometimes see it,
and that the prejudice and discrimination that
he's experiencing aren't unique to him--and aren't
impossible to overcome.  The friendship between
this young man and his 70-year-old passenger is
an inspiring story of love and dealing with
obstacles in our lives.    
Book - Kindle


Articles and book excerpts on life:

Born with Love      Marianne Williamson
Embracing Life      Rachel Naomi Remen

Good and Bad      Benjamin Hoff

Gratitude:  Why and for What?     Bernie Siegel

His Kind of Odds      Robert Fulghum

from Prescriptions for Living      Bernie Siegel

Pruning a Tree      Bernie Siegel

from Walden       Henry David Thoreau

A Complete and Balanced Life      Helaine Iris

Creating Your Own Life      Author Unknown

Developing a Reflective Life in the Midst of Turmoil      Asoka Selverajah

Edmund Pollard      Edgar Lee Masters

Emotional Response Primer      Louise Morganti Kaelin

Finding a Balance      Brian Dyson

Give Your Life Direction      T.W. Winslow

Living with the Heart of a Child      Joe Mazzella

How to Get More out of Life      Unknown Author

I Believe      John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

I'd Pick More Daisies      Don Herold

In This Day      Bob Perks

It's Your Life to Live      tom walsh

A Life of Choices:  The Choice That Is Life      Jane Mullikin

Living Fully      Laura Russell

Living Life Fully      tom walsh
Proverbs for Abundant Living      Brian Cavanaugh
A Psalm of Life      Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Start Living in Prime Time      Denis Waitley

Start Today      Joe Mazzella

Top Ten Principles to Live by--Plus One!      Louise Morganti Kaelin

What I Hope      Paul Harvey

What's Your View?      Ray Whiting
Rules for Being Human      unattributed
Life Is All Too Short:  Ways to Make It the Best It Can Be     Dennis Tesdale
Take a Deep Breath, Decide to Enjoy Life, and Feed the Birds     Brian Dickinson



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