other people’s words – my favorite quotes: A-J

A-J / K-M / N-Z

Edward Abbey

Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.

It’s been a guiding force in my life.

When we feel we ought to do something and yet do nothing, we will slowly die inside.

We know we ought to create and move towards beauty, but we let fear and laziness win in the battle of our will, and so we turn to our tv’s and phones for comfort and distraction, and wonder why we’re depressed.

The good news…

The converse is also true. When we do take action toward that thing we know we ought to do, we bring life to our soul.

Shana Abe

I heard what you said. I’m not the silly romantic you think. I don’t want the heavens or the shooting stars. I don’t want gemstones or gold. I have those things already. I want…a steady hand. A kind soul. I want to fall asleep, and wake, knowing my heart is safe. I want to love, and be loved.

Douglas Noel Adams

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.


Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.


A learning experience is one of those things that say, “You know that thing you just did? Don’t do that.”

Dr. Patch Adams

The Gesundheit Institute is a pie in the face of greed – by taking the most expensive thing in America, and giving it away for free.


The most revolutionary act you can commit in our society today is be happy.


So my advice to old people is, damn it, stand tall and recognize you are the gold, you are the storage of the gold of life. If we’re too stupid to see it in you, then make some noise and make us see it; at least go out there and get involved with the children.
— Interview by ‘Caring People’ Magazine, Spring 1993

Jane Addams

True peace is not merely the absence of war, it is the presence of justice.


Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and left one unexpended effort that might have saved the world.


 Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself.


Nothing can be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon and left one unexpended effort which might have saved the world.


The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.


In his own way each man must struggle, lest the moral law become a far-off abstraction utterly separated from his active life.


It is well to remind ourselves, from time to time, that “Ethics” is but another word for “righteousness,” that for which many men and women of every generation have hungered and thirsted, and without which life becomes meaningless.


For action is indeed the sole medium of expression for ethics.


In this effort toward a higher morality in our social relations, we must demand that the individual shall be willing to lose the sense of personal achievement, and shall be content to realize his activity only in connection with the activity of the many.


We stand today united in a belief in beauty, genius, and courage, and that these can transform the world.


In war, truth is the first casualty.
― 525 BC – 456 BC

Ramona Africa

When Obama ran for president, a lot of people of color, and even some white people, looked at him like a savior. But there is no savior out there; we are our savior. As long as we understand that and got that in our heads, then we’re gonna get somewhere. But if we hallucinate that there is some savior out there that’s going to come along and make things better for us and clear up all the injustices, then that’s just what we’re doing: hallucinating – because it ain’t gonna happen. We have to do that work, we have to do it. Like I said, it ain’t easy, it’s gonna take time and it’s not something that’s gonna happen overnight, but the only way it’s gonna happen is for us to start walking that road.
— at Conspiring for Change

Steven Aitchison

People change for two main reasons: either their minds have been opened or their hearts have been broken.


If you have the courage to be honest with everyone, including yourself, you may hurt a few people’s feelings, but they will forever value your opinion more than your half truths.

Mitch Albom

Death ends a life, not a relationship.

Alan Alda

Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.

Robert Alden

There is not enough darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small candle.

Alfred Alder

Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.

Shannon L. Alder

The devil lives in the shadow of subtle things those things people keep hidden from others. They reside in the lies they tell themselves, in order to justify their pain or fear. It is the slight, the dig, the silence and the unspoken truth that we minimize to a passive aggressive status, as if it were a lesser evil. Integrity is not subtle. It speaks loudly, so everyone can hear and be healed. It is something you will never have to search for because it is seen and felt.

Alexander the Great

Remember upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all.

Muhammad Ali

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.


If the entire history of mankind were condensed into a single year, our knowledge of how to destroy life on earth with weapons of mass destruction has been acquired in the last thirty seconds. Never again will we lack the knowledge to eliminate the world in a single act of madness. Therefore, we are faced with a dilemma unique in our history. We must not only control the weapons that can kill us, we must bridge the great disparities of wealth and opportunity among the peoples of the world, the vast majority of whom live in poverty without hope, opportunity or choices in life. These conditions are a breeding ground for division that can cause a desperate people to resort to nuclear weapons as a last resort. Our only hope lies in the power of our love, generosity, tolerance and understanding and our commitment to making the world a better place for all…


My conscience won’t let me go shoot my brother or some darker people or some poor, hungry people in the mud for big, powerful America. And shoot them for what? They never called me nigger, they never lynched me, they didn’t put no dogs on me, they didn’t rob me of my nationality, rape and kill my mother and father. Shoot them for what? How can I shoot them poor people? Poor little black people and babies and children and women. How can I shoot them poor people? Just take me to jail.
— In his statement when he refused the to be inducted into the military, April 28, 1967

Woody Allen

If Jesus came back, and saw what’s going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.
— from “Hannah and Her Sisters” 1986 film

Dorothy Allison

The horror of class stratification, racism, and prejudice is that some people begin to believe that the security of their families and communities depends on the oppression of others, that for some to have good lives there must be others whose lives are truncated and brutal.

American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

We are not a homogeneous organization seeking to become more diverse; we are an incomplete organization seeking to become whole.

Martin Ami

Closure is a greasy little word which, moreover, describes a nonexistent condition. The truth, Venus, is that nobody gets over anything.

Joe Ancis

The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.

Allison Anders

I don’t believe you ever get closure on anything. Things leave a permanent mark on you.

Paul Thomas Anderson

We may be through with the past, but the past is never through with us.
— Magnolia (film)

Brian Andreas

Anyone can slay a dragon, he told me, but try waking up every morning & loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.
— artist & storyteller

Elizabeth Andrew

Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.

Maya Angelou

If I could give you one thought, it would be to lift someone up. Lift a stranger up — lift her up. I would ask you, mother and father, brother and sister, lovers, mother and daughter, father and son, lift someone. The very idea of lifting someone up will lift you, as well.


We spend precious hours fearing the inevitable. It would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends, and living our lives.


You did then what you knew how to do. When you knew better, you did better.


We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.


There’s a world of difference between truth and facts. Facts can obscure truth.


We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders.
You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.
I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.


I think that sometimes we become lethargic out of fear. It’s not really laziness so much as it is timidity. We’d rather bear the ills we have than fly to others that we know not of, when in truth the place where one is standing may be untenable, it may be dangerous, it may be stultifying, and it’s better to just step on. You know, you have to move.
— in Angelou – a conversation between Maya Angelou and bell hooks – with editor Melvin McLeod, Shambhala Sun, January 1998


Art is not a luxury. The artist is so necessary in our lives. The artist explains to us, or at least asks the questions which must be asked. And when there’s a question asked, there’s an answer somewhere. I don’t believe a question can be asked which doesn’t have an answer somewhere in the universe. That’s what the artist is supposed to do, to liberate us from our ignorance.
— in Angelou – a conversation between Maya Angelou and bell hooks – with editor Melvin McLeod, Shambhala Sun, January 1998


You alone are enough and you have nothing to prove to anybody.


I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catchers mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.


I do not trust people who don’t love themselves and yet tell me, ‘I love you.’ There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.


When people show you who they are, believe them.


Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.


You may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lines. You may trod me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I’ll rise.


You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.


I am convinced that most people do not grow up… We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias.
— Letter to My Daughter, 2009

— #—

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

written on the tomb of an Anglican Bishop

When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it too seemed immovable. As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas they would have none of it. And now as I lay on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I might have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and who knows, I may have even changed the world.
— in the Crypts of Westminster Abbey (1100 A.D.)


The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth.
— African proverb


I’m not a member of an organized religion.
I’m a Quaker.

— seen on a bumper sticker


Spes Oritur Ac Tenebras (Latin: Hope Arises From The Darkness)


You do not get to call yourself an ally. I don’t get to call myself an ally. No one gets to bestow that title upon themself. …
Calling oneself an ally takes away the agency and denies the expertise of targets of oppression in that particular oppression. …
Allyship is a state to work toward, with the understanding that we may never actually reach it.

— Wombat Cascadia — SO YOU WANT TO BE AN ALLY!


The true measure of a mountain’s greatness is not its height but whether it is charming enough to attract dragons.
— from a Chinese poem


Only when the last tree has died and the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught will we realize that we cannot eat money.
— Indian proverb


Be humble for you are made of earth. Be noble for you are made of stars.
— Serbian proverb


Either I will find a way or I will make one.
— Latin proverb, most commonly attributed to Hannibal


The system was never broken. It was built this way.
— a sign from Occupy Wall Street


An elder Cherokee Native American was teaching his grandchildren about life. He said to them, “A fight is going on inside me. It is a terrible fight, and it is between two wolves. One wolf represents fear, anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, pride and superiority. The other wolf stands for joy, peace, love, hope, sharing, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, friendship, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside of you and every other person too.” They thought about it for a minute and then one child asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?” The old Cherokee replied “The one I feed.”


Oh no honey… karma is a classy and wise elder that will calmly sit you down and serve you a tea you later realize was laced with the same poison you served others for years.


You can forgive people without welcoming them back into your live. Apology accepted. Access denied.


Do not cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.


Sometimes cutoff isn’t personal. it is spiritual!


The moment you put a stop to people taking advantage of you and disrespecting you, is when they define you as difficult, selfish, or crazy. Manipulators hate boundaries.


The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.
― attributed to Ernest T. Campbell and to Mark Twain


If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.
― attributed to Marissa Mayer, James Watson, Steven R. Craig, Michael Dell, Lorne Michaels, and others

Susan B. Anthony

Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or not

hing in the world’s estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.


I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.

Sherry Anderson

Volunteers are not paid — not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.

Kwame Anthony Appiah

Cultures are made of continuities and changes, and the identity of a society can survive through these changes. Societies without change aren’t authentic; they’re just dead.


Thoroughgoing ignorance about the ways of others is largely a privilege of the powerful.

Fiona Apple

In a letter she posted on Facebook to fans when she cancelled a South American tour because her beloved pitbull Janet was dying:

I know that she’s not sad about aging or dying. Animals have a survival instinct, but a sense of mortality and vanity, they do not. That’s why they are so much more present than people.
But I know that she is coming close to point where she will stop being a dog, and instead, be part of everything. She’ll be in the wind, and in the soil, and the snow, and in me, wherever I go.
I just can’t leave her now, please understand.
If I go away again, I’m afraid she’ll die and I won’t have the honor of singing her to sleep, of escorting her out.

Hannah Arendt

No cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of freedom versus tyranny.


Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power’s disappearance.


The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.


There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is dangerous.


Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.

Joseph Francis Argazzi

Do not surrender your grief. Allow it to transform you.

Barbara Lazear Ascher

I have been trying to make the best of grief and am just beginning to learn to allow it to make the best of me.


For many of us, grieving is our first experience, since childhood, of being out of control. It is a frightening return to old helplessness and society doesn’t tolerate it for long. The collective conscience speaks: “Get a grip on yourself.” “Get on with it.” But how do we “get a grip” on a self in metamorphosis? We are shedding more than tears, we are shedding skins. How can we “get on with it” when “it” has changed?
— Landscape Without Gravity: A Memoir of Grief

Isaac Asimov

Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.


There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.

Margaret Atwood

The Secrets of The Sea: Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.
— The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus


In the end, we’ll all become stories.

Augustine of Hippo

You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones.


Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.


Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.

Marcus Aurelius

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

Richard Bach

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

Charlene Baldridge

We can never know the depth of another’s pain, only be there to listen, to hold, to say how it is with us. When we lose a child to death, the pain never goes away, we simply learn, through practice, how to live in spite of it, or through it, partly by coming together with others who grieve, and partly by expressing our need for hugs and surrounding us with friends who never, ever back away.
—To ache and to bloom

James Baldwin

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