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Angie #938728 11/22/23 05:35 PM
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Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent.

Victor Hugo

According to popular folklore, every French town has a street named after 19th-century writer Victor Hugo. While the “Les Misérables” author was not beloved by the imperial Bonapartist regime — which forced him into exile for 19 years — he collected friends among many creatives, especially musicians. Besides being close with pianist Franz Liszt and conductor Hector Berlioz, Hugo also wrote the libretto for Louise Bertin’s “La Esmeralda,” an opera based on his 1831 novel “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.” Today, Hugo’s texts have inspired more than 1,000 works of ballet, opera, and musical theater, and every two years, in the Channel Islands, fans celebrate him at the Victor Hugo International Music Festival. With this quote, he underscores how our feelings can be intensified and alleviated by the movement of melody. From a single piano to a symphony of 100, music can conjure a shared emotional catharsis from thin air.

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Angie #938734 11/24/23 06:46 PM
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You can’t always be in the reaping stage or the harvest stage of life. Life has seasons.

Emma Watson

While we would all undoubtedly prefer to experience perpetual success and abundance, that’s simply unrealistic, as actress Emma Watson points out here. It’s important to remember that to reach the bountiful times, we must first put in the work — without sowing, there can be no reaping or harvesting. Much like nature, life is cyclical, and whether it’s a matter of making difficult choices, delaying instant gratification for better outcomes in the future, or weathering the unpredictable storms that come our way, we must shoulder our way through the harder seasons to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Maintaining a balanced perspective and embracing both the easy and the arduous moments can improve our resilience and help us appreciate those sweet moments of success all the more when they do come.

Angie #938746 11/27/23 10:28 PM
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That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great.

Willa Cather

Lying in his grandmother’s garden under the warm autumn sun, Jim Burden, the narrator of Willa Cather’s 1918 novel “My Antonia,” observes the perfection of the ladybugs crawling next to him in the grass. In the peaceful joy of the moment, he concludes that happiness is found when we acknowledge the simple beauty of nature that exists all around us, and relax into our place within it.

Angie #938751 11/28/23 08:52 PM
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Life engenders life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.

Sarah Bernhardt

French actress Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923) had boundless zest for her craft. In 1905, when her traveling production of “La Tosca” stopped in Rio de Janeiro, the 61-year-old ensured a memorable finale by spontaneously leaping from a parapet. Although she sustained a lifelong knee injury, playwrights responded by creating parts she could perform while seated, enabling Bernhardt to continue performing on international stages for more than a dozen years. In all avenues of life, she contended that passion was a reciprocal quality. Effort inspires effort, and putting yourself out there leads to better collaboration and stronger relationships.

Angie #938757 11/29/23 07:21 PM
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Healing begins where the wound was made.

Alice Walker

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker has been lauded for her compassionate perspectives on culture and society, as well as on the Black experience — particularly the Black woman’s experience — as it pertains to both. She’s contributed significant works to the American literary canon, including “The Color Purple” and “The Way Forward Is With a Broken Heart,” the latter of which is excerpted here. In context, Walker is specifically speaking about her call to activism in the face of challenges that appear insurmountable. She argues that finding a way forward requires us to face this inequity and pain head-on, whether it’s through social activism or, on an individual level, mustering up the emotional vulnerability and strength to acknowledge the hurt in order to heal it. Both methods enable us to bear conscious witness to hardship and suffering in the world so that we may find meaningful ways to alleviate it for others and within ourselves.

Angie #938763 12/01/23 01:37 PM
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Never be so focused on what you’re looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.

Ann Patchett

In Ann Patchett’s 2011 novel “State of Wonder,” Dr. Marina Singh is a pharmaceutical research scientist who ventures into the Amazon jungle to find her former mentor, Dr. Annick Swenson, and bring back information regarding the status of Swenson’s research. The reunion between the two women is fraught with unexpected revelations that profoundly impact both of their lives. Here, the tenacious Dr. Swenson cautions Marina, urging her to consider the potential opportunities that may lie before her. Patchett’s words are a reminder to all of us that we should avoid being so rigid in our pursuit of one goal that we miss out on other chances for discovery and wonder. By embracing a receptive and flexible approach to life, we can open ourselves up to fresh possibilities and experiences, even if they don’t always align with our original intentions.

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Angie #938775 12/03/23 10:02 PM
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Be kind once a day — even if it's just in your mind.

Yoko Ono

Kindness doesn’t always have to be an outwardly visible action. This quote from artist, musician, and peace activist Yoko Ono suggests that it can also be a thought or a feeling that we cultivate within ourselves. Making kindness a part of a daily routine — even if just internally, toward ourselves — can have a profound impact that will eventually make its way to others. Ono also suggests here that genuine acts of care don’t need to be validated through external attention. We should practice kindness not to be recognized for what we’ve done, but for the peace and happiness it brings.

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Angie #938781 12/04/23 08:30 PM
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Resilience — the ability to brush off pain.

Kristen Roupenian

Kristen Roupenian is an American author who gained international attention and acclaim with her short story “Cat Person” in 2017. She has since published a collection of short stories, “You Know You Want This,” in which this quote about resilience appears as a fleeting thought in the mind of one of the characters. Her work has been praised for its insight into the nuances of gender politics and power dynamics in modern society.

Angie #938784 12/05/23 07:05 PM
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There is so much to be grateful for, words are poor things.

Marilynne Robinson

The irony of this quote is that the celebrated novelist Marilynne Robinson is known precisely for her ability to capture the human experience in graceful prose. Still, if words are poor things, perhaps it is because Robinson has so very much to be grateful for. Since the 1980 publication of her debut novel “Housekeeping” (which won the PEN Award for Best First Novel and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize), Robinson has gone on to write a dozen books and collect numerous awards including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and the National Humanities Medal for her “grace and intelligence in writing.” This quote is a beautiful reminder for the rest of us, too: Taking time to appreciate all we have can be a powerful feeling.

Angie #938796 12/07/23 07:15 PM
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Seek first the virtues of the mind; and other things either will come, or will not be wanted.

Francis Bacon

The English philosopher Francis Bacon wrote this line in his 1605 book, “The Proficience and Advancement of Learning.” With it, he suggests that in order to be happy, it’s important to do first what we believe is honorable and right. Bacon warned that, paradoxically, chasing success can sometimes be the least effective way to reach joy. "Fortune,” he wrote, “hath somewhat of the nature of a woman, that if she be too much wooed, she is the farther off." But if we live with virtue, he suggests, then good fortune will come our way — or, we’ll discover that a virtuous life can itself be the root of happiness.

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