Reading is most magical when there’s a moment of pause on a page, when you’ve just come across that paragraph you want to read again and take with you. Voila, what you read has just changed you!
I was inspired by these little changes to share the highlights of my reading this week.
Why do we even bother reading and writing? What’s the quest for? Mohsin Hamid’s answer is anything but dreamy, it is raw and real.
“We are all refugees from our childhoods. And so we turn, among other things, to stories. To write a story, to read a story, is to be a refugee from the state of refugees. Writers and readers seek a solution to the problem that time passes, that those who have gone are gone and those who will go, which is to say every one of us, will go. For there was a moment when anything was possible. And there will be a moment when nothing is possible. But in between we can create.”
― Mohsin Hamid, How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia
Next one : every other page is either a revelation or nuggets of Stoicism while reading Aurelius. And this one was a curious reminder on a long day.
“Whenever you are about to find fault with someone, ask yourself the following question: What fault of mine most nearly resembles the one I am about to criticize?”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
This might be cheating slightly but I could not resist adding a quote from an interview with Esther Perel. It is powerful without escaping to idiot compassion.
How do you move beyond fear of rejection, or normalize it, or get comfortable with rejection?
You don’t. You don’t get comfortable. You talk about it with other people and you say, “It sucks.” The experience of being rejected, this experience of somebody loving somebody ends. The experience of jealousy, of loneliness, these are part of the human condition. Today people want to anesthetize their life from all these experiences. They want sure bets. This is life. You’re going to be in pain, you’re going to suffer, you’re going to feel rejected, you’re going to feel loved, you’re going to feel jealous, you’re going to feel possessive, you’re going to feel generous, you’re going to feel stingy, you’re going to feel all kinds of things.
That’s the richness of our emotional lives. You’re going to cry with music. You’re going to read literature, and it’s going to show you that you’re not the only one. You’re going to cry with your friends, and you’re going to realize that they have gone through some of the same things. And, gradually, you learn to build resistance, to become resilient in the sense that you’re going to beat back and move forward through these experiences of life so that you’re not just a fragile creature.
Hope to do this again as I start reading Joseph Campbell next week. I believe, that words we read and words we utter change us in remarkable ways.