Do you think it’s a question of how much you balance that drive to achieve with being present and enjoying the moment?

You know, it’s funny because I frequently get emails from young people starting out and asking, “How do I make a successful website or start my own thing?” And, very often, it’s tied to some measure of success that’s audience-based or reach-based. “How do you build up to seven million readers a month or two million Facebook fans?” But the work is not how to get that size of an audience or those numbers. That’s just the byproduct of what Lewis Hyde calls “creative labor,” which is really our inner drive. The real work is how not to hang your self-worth, your sense of success and merits, the fullness of your heart, and the stability of your soul on those numbers—on that constant positive reinforcement and external validation. That’s the only real work, and the irony is that the more “successful” you get, by either by your own standards or external standards, the harder it is to decouple all of those inner values from your work. I think we often confuse the doing for the being.

She gave only what was easy for her; what came naturally and instinctively. What she had always given of herself to past lovers, but nothing more.That was usually enough for them, at least in the short run, because she was very special in her way. As a result, she never made any genuine effort to go beyond her old safe boundaries, the first layer, below the thin topsoil of her limitations. She probably believed she worked hard to make their relationship succeed. Look at what I’m doing for you and all that I’m giving of myself. But it was no different from what she had given others in the past. Had she really made any new effort, gesture or concession? No. It is not hard for a person who knows how to waltz to waltz again. But if they have never tap danced and are asked to learn, then dancing becomes both difficult and challenging. She never attempted to dig deep within to find any latent qualities that might have helped her to grow and become more whole. It takes real courage and effort to mine undiscovered parts of ourselves and then use them. Because in truth we do not want things to change. We rarely choose to do it voluntarily. Because change invariably makes waves in our lives and the higher they are, the more they scare us. To attempt to become better (stronger, wiser, more understanding…) than we were yesterday means swimming straight into those waves. If she had looked and found such things, such potential, and then had the guts to put them to use, it might have changed everything.

—    Jonathan Carroll (via browndresswithwhitedots)

One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.

—    Maya Angelou, Rest In Peace (via arkitextura)

(via archatlas)

Instead of focusing on how much you can accomplish, focus on how much you can absolutely love what you’re doing.

—    Leo Babauta (via observando)