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words repeated

A few months ago, I read John Paul Brammer's Six Sentences I Can't Forget, in which he lists sentences that have lingered in his mind long after they were said. He says:

"These are sentences that accidentally reveal too much—about the person who spoke them, or about the person who       heard them, or about the relationship they share...We all have our own, and I think the ones that choose you (you don’t choose them) say a lot about you. I wish I could know everybody’s. They paint a compelling portrait about your life; where you’ve been, the people you’ve spoken to in your brief time on earth, and what you thought of those people. They say a lot about the way you think."

This got me thinking about my own version of the Six Sentences. Except, I couldn't confidently come up with just six that do all of the above (e.g. paint my life portrait) and, even if I could, I wanted to think of the selection as fluid. The six that would define and explain me would change as I learn more about how to define and explain myself.  So, instead, I started a list of phrases that have stuck with me. This ever-growing list is a paint-by-numbers style attempt at the full life portrait. 


The words on this list are from everywhere and anyone: books, seminars, panels, and coffee shops; some of the most quoted people in the world as well as some people who may rarely be. They're here because they echo some of the ways I see the world, offer me a glimpse into how others see it, or are simply fun to hear/say. These words have sparked some of my own words/thoughts/interpretations, which I'm sharing here too. I would love to hear yours if the words repeated below do the same for you. 

"the privilege of seeing but not experiencing" - Samantha Power (why we care, why I care)

"Let's start somewhere, let's start cooking." - Chef José Andrés

chasing "the simplicity on the other side of complexity" - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Virginia Woolf on life in To the Lighthouse:

"...there is a coherence in things; a stability; something, she meant, is immune from change, and shines out in the face of the flowing, the fleeting, the spectral...Of such moments, she thought, the thing is made that remains for ever after. This would remain." (happiness stops/slows time)

"Was there no safety?...No guide, no shelter, but all miracle"

Milan Kundera in The Unbearable Lightness of Being:

"The sadness was form, the happiness content. Happiness filled the space of sadness."

"The goals we pursue are always veiled...The thing that gives our every move its meaning is always totally unknown to us."

the importance of looking into someone's eyes and taking in their story - Michelle Obama

understanding one another not as the polarized other but as the subject of one's own being - panel on rebuilding for refugees (we live in a world of mini worlds; to each his own mini world)

"Lack of location is my location. I'm always shifting opinions and changing my mind." - Glenn Ligon

"We are not rewarded for enjoying the journey itself but for the successful completion of a journey. Society rewards results, not processes; arrivals, not journeys." - Tal Ben-Shahar in Happier

"Stories are lived before they are told - except in the case of fiction" - Alasdair MacIntyre

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