Quote overload

Though I think all writing is really for ourselves, there is some writing that is good for sharing and some writing that is best for a closed notebook. I have articles and blog posts outlined, but the sentences have not been ready. Most of my writing lately has been for myself.

This was sparked about two months ago when I felt overwhelmed with quotes. On my Facebook feed, tagged in Instagram, tweeted and everywhere else. Believe me, I love a good sentence. I’ve been collecting quotes that inspire me since I was a kid the way some people collect cats or plastic tubs that can be reused so they never have to use Tupperware again.

I fell in love with a shirt that said “The Beloved is Everywhere ~Rumi” Since that is what I believe, I googled the quote to find the whole poem. Here is what I found:

 If the Beloved is everywhere, the lover is a veil,
But when living itself becomes the Friend, lovers disappear.

Wow. There is so much more there than I thought I was going to find. However, the nerd in my soul nagged me, “Why did they leave out the “if?”

Soon after that, for whatever reason, I saw a few people posting Machiavelli quotes in the context of yoga. In all honesty, it has been almost twenty years since I read The Prince, but I don’t remember it being a very yogic text. I could be wrong. What I do know is that Machiavellianism is defined as “the employment of cunning and duplicity in statecraft or in general conduct.”

This is the one that brought it to a head:


Yes, this is great! Love the sea! Be inspired! However, if you want to build a ship, someone is eventually going to have to collect the wood, assign tasks, build the ship and then sail it.

I spent a week stewing about this and the realized what was happening. These little snippets of language were sparking my curiosity and creating conversations. I was researching and searching for the original context, comparing it to the appropriated context and, ultimately, to my own life.

In short, I was learning. I was learning new poems, dusting off philosophical theories and becoming so mindful of what I was willing to quote or put out in the world.

Let the quotes lead your curiosity beyond the surface. Find the contexts. Be open to finding something deeper or that the quote had absolutely nothing to do with what you thought it did.

Be curious and act on that curiosity. And if you’re going to post something on the internets, know what you’re posting.

Look at it this way: George W. Bush said, “I am Mindful.”  and Donald Rumsfeld said “Don’t divide the world into “them” and “us.” Could you imagine those quotes written in cursive on a photo of a person mediating on a mountain?

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