“Peace requires us to surrender our illusions of control.”

Jack Kornfield
Ventriloquist Puppet Charlie McCarthy, 1936, Smithsonian National Museum of American History

“The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don’t have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it. ~Chris Pine

Concern should drive us into action and not into a depression. No man is free who cannot control himself. ~Pythagoras

The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny. ~ Albert Ellis


Control /kənˈtrōl/

noun – 1. the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events. “the whole operation is under the control of a production manager.” 2. a group or individual used as a standard of comparison for checking the results of a survey or experiment. “they saw no difference between the cancer patients and the controls”

verb – 1. determine the behavior or supervise the running of. “he was appointed to control the company’s marketing strategy.” 2. take into account (an extraneous factor that might affect results) when performing an experiment. “no attempt was made to control for variations”

Why Be Normal?

“If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be.”

Maya Angelou
Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh, 1889

“There are times when the mind is dealt such a blow it hides itself in insanity. While this may not seem beneficial, it is. There are times when reality is nothing but pain, and to escape that pain the mind must leave reality behind.” ~ Patrick Rothfuss

“Our lives are mere flashes of light in an infinitely empty universe. In 12 years of education the most important lesson I have learned is that what we see as “normal” living is truly a travesty of our potential. In a society so governed by superficiality, appearances, and petty economics, dreams are more real than anything anything in the “real world”. Refuse normalcy. Beauty is everywhere, love is endless, and joy bleeds from our everyday existence. Embrace it. I love all of you, all my friends, family, and community. I am ceaselessly grateful from the bottom of my heart for everyone. The only thing I can ask of you is to stay free of materialism. Remember that every day contains a universe of potential; exhaust it. Live and love so immensely that when death comes there is nothing left for him to take. Wealth is love, music, sports, learning, family and freedom. Above all, stay gold.” ~ Dominic Owen Mallary

“Normal is an ideal. But it’s not reality. Reality is brutal, it’s beautiful, it’s every shade between black and white, and it’s magical. Yes, magical. Because every now and then, it turns nothing into something.” ~ Tara Kelly


Normal /ˈnôrməl/

adjective – 1. conforming to a standard; usual, typical or expected. “it’s quite normal for puppies to bolt their food. 2. (of a line, ray, or other linear feature) intersecting a given line or surface at right angles. “a single plane of symmetry with a diad axis normal to it”

noun – 1. the usual, average or typical state or condition. “her temperature was above normal” 2. a line at right angles to a given line or surface. “the view is along the normal to the surface”


“With love and patience, nothing is impossible.”

~ Daisaku Ikeda
Painting by Evelyn Morgan

“How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?” – William Shakespeare

“Sometimes heroism is nothing more than patience, curiosity, and a refusal to panic.” – Leif Enger

“I am patient with stupidity but not with those who are proud of it.” – Edith Sitwell

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” – John Quincy Adams


Patience ˈpāSHəns

The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. “You can find bargains if you have the patience to sift through the dross”

Adversity In Our Lives

“Storms Make Trees Take Deeper Roots”

Dolly Parton
Wind-beaten Tree by Vincent van Gogh; 1883

In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive. 
~ Lee Iacocca

You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.
~ Michelle Obama

Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute for experience.
~ Paulo Coelho

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser. 
~John W. Gardner

Adversity     /ədˈvərsədē/ noun
difficulties; misfortune. “resilience in the face of adversity”


“You always drop by, to enlighten my mind, when my wings are feeling heavy & I’ve forgotten how to fly.” 

Curtis Tyrone Jones
Pair of Shoes by Vincent VanGogh

More on Heaviness

“I believe that with all things in life, there is a constant need to let go of the idea of “trying hard”, there’s a heaviness in trying hard to get something, have something or be something. As long as people comply with the idea of “trying hard” they will constantly remain in a place of heaviness. The opposite of this is the state of allowing, of setting out the intentions of what you wish, putting in the required action and not self-sabotaging yourself by “trying hard” or expecting results to unfold in a particular way. Anything that’s worth something to you in life such as love, abundance, freedom, peace is in a continuous state of flow. A state of lightness is the only way to allow yourself to go with the flow of things. Heaviness only makes you become a rocky solid object at the bottom of the stream. You can see the flow of things in the life of others who embody the lightness, but you yourself become unmovable in your state of heaviness, as if blocking the flow from reaching you. Will you let yourself move with the flow of abundance or sink at the bottom with the heaviness of your scarcity mindset?” 
Virgil Kalyana Mittata Iordache

“If you are heavy luggage, it does not matter where you go. You will still find the journey tedious” 
Srividya Srinivasan

“Take a flying leap at the sun. Don’t let your thoughts weigh you down.” 
Marty Rubin

Heaviness      /ˈhevēnəs/     noun

  • the quality of having great weight “Olivia felt the heaviness of her backpack”
  • great density or thickness “the heaviness of the paint”
  • lack of delicacy or grace; coarseness “a certain heaviness of style”
  • the quality of food being hard to digest “the cloying heaviness of snacking on cheese”
  • a state of being greater in amount, force or intensity than usual “the heaviness of the rains in the valley caused flooding”
  • the quality of being oppressive or overpowering to the senses “the heaviness of a hop aroma”
  • (in relation to rock music) the quality of having a strong bass component and a forceful rhythm “the total heaviness of much of this record”
  • the quality of being very important or serious “a few cartoon gags were introduced into the film to lighten its heaviness”
  • a mentally oppressive feeling, especially of sadness or grief “he felt the heaviness of los as he watched her go”


“When a man is prey to his emotions, he is not his own master.” 

~ Baruch Spinoza, Ethics
Jean Michael Basquiat’s Glenn, 1984

More on Emotion:

“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”
 ― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

“I think of myself as an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown which always forces me to blow it at the most important moments.” 
― Jim Morrison

“In order to move on, you must understand why you felt what you did and why you no longer need to feel it.” 
― Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Emotion     /əˈmōSH(ə)n/

a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood or relationships with others.

instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge.

Get Real

“Despite my firm convictions, I have always been a man who tries to face facts, and to accept the reality of life as new experience and new knowledge unfolds. I have always kept an open mind, a flexibility that must go hand in hand with every form of the intelligent search for truth.”

~ Malcolm X
Ballpoint pen drawing by Samuel Silva

More on getting real:

“The real war will never get in the books.
~ Walt Whitman

“Science is a wonderful way of getting out what’s real.”
~ Nick Sagan

“Other people’s opinion of you does not have to become your reality.”
~ Les Brown

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
~ Lao Tzu

Get Real     

used for telling someone that they should try to understand the true facts of a situation and not hope for what is impossible. “Get real! He’s never going to give you the money.”


“I’m convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they’re stones that don’t matter. As long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late to do some good.”

~ Maya Angelou
Fire Breathing Ice Dragon from Lyman Orchards Winterfest, Connecticut

More on Breathing:

“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.”
~ Erich Fromm

“There is a law that man should love his neighbor as himself. In a few hundred years it should be as natural to mankind as breathing or the upright gait; but if he does not learn it he must perish.”
~ Alfred Adler

“Wisdom is nothing but a preparation of the soul, a capacity, a secret art of thinking, feeling and breathing thoughts of unity at every moment of life.”
~ Hermann Hesse

“If you know the art of breathing, you have the strength, wisdom and courage of ten tigers.”
~ Chinese adage

“Art is like breathing for me. If I don’t do it, I start to choke.”
~ Yoko Ono

Breathe     /brēT͟H/

take air into the lungs and then expel it, especially as a regular physiological process. “breathe in through your nose”