But at the end, if we are brave enough to love, if we are strong enough to forgive, if we are generous enough to rejoice in another's happiness, and if we are wise enough to know that there is enough love to go around for us all, then we can achieve a fulfillment that no other living creature will ever know, we can reenter paradise.
Harold S. Kushner
Libraries are sanctuaries from the world and command centers onto it: here in the quiet rooms are the lives of Crazy Horse and Aung San Suu Kyi, the Hundred Years' War and the Opium Wars and the Dirty War, the ideas of Simone Weil and Lao-Tzu, information on building your sailboat or dissolving your marriage, fictional worlds and books to equip the reader to reenter the real world. They are, ideally, places where nothing happens and where everything that has happened is stored up to be remembered and relived, the place where the world is folded up into boxes of paper. Every book is a door that opens onto another world, which might be the magic that all those children's books were alluding to, and a library is a Milky Way of worlds.
Until we understand what the land is, we are at odds with everything we touch. And to come to that understanding it is necessary, even now, to leave the regions of our conquest - the cleared fields, the towns and cities, the highways - and re-enter the woods. For only there can a man encounter the silence and the darkness of his own absence. Only in this silence and darkness can he recover the sense of the world's longevity, of its ability to thrive without him, of his inferiority to it and his dependence on it. Perhaps then, having heard that silence and seen that darkness, he will grow humble before the place and begin to take it in - to learn from it what it is. As its sounds come into his hearing, and its lights and colors come into his vision, and its odors come into his nostrils, then he may come into its presence as he never has before, and he will arrive in his place and will want to remain. His life will grow out of the ground like the other lives of the place, and take its place among them. He will be with them - neither ignorant of them, nor indifferent to them, nor against them - and so at last he will grow to be native-born. That is, he must reenter the silence and the darkness, and be born again. (pg. 27, "A Native Hill")
The next significant incident would change Steven forever: an apartment building fire. Steven and another officer arrived to the sounds of the screams of parents desperately trying to find their children. They ran inside believing there were three children trapped; they scooped them up and ran outside with a feeling of elation and relief. They had saved the children from certain death. The feeling was short lived. A frantic mother approached them, 'Where's my daughter?' Steven and the other officer tried to reenter the building but the fire had become too intense. All they could do was watch in horror as a partial wall of the building collapsed, revealing the child's location. They could see and hear her, but they couldn't save her. Her screams were mixed with the screams of her mother. Eventually her screams were silenced and she was no longer visible. Her mother continued to wail in pain, others dropped to their knees and sobbed while the first responders choked back their own tears and finished their jobs, the emotion overwhelming. Every person on the scene was altered that day. A piece of every one of them became part of the ashes.
Karen Rodwill Solomon
A goal is a specific objective that you either achieve or don't sometime in the future. A system is something you do on a regular basis that increases your odds of happiness in the long run. If you do something every day, its a system. If you're waiting to achieve it someday in the future, it's a goal. If you achieve your goal, you celebrate and feel terrific, but only until you realize you just lost the thing that gave you purpose and direction. Your options are to feel empty and useless, perhaps enjoying the spoils of your success until they bore you, or set new goals and reenter the cycle of permanent presuccess failure. All I'm suggesting is that thinking of goals and systems as very different concepts has power. Goal-oriented people exist in a state of continuous presuccess failure at best, and permanent failure at worst if things never work out. Systems people succeed every time they apply their systems, in the sense that they did what they intended to do. The goals people are fighting the feeling of discouragement at each turn. The systems people are feeling good everytime they apply their system. That's a big difference in terms of maintaining your personal energy in the right direction.
I'm really enjoying my solitude after feeling trapped by my family, friends and boyfriend. Just then I feel like making a resolution. A new year began six months ago but I feel like the time for change is now. No more whining about my pathetic life. I am going to change my life this very minute. Feeling as empowered as I felt when I read The Secret, I turn to reenter the hall. I know what I'll do! Instead of listing all the things I'm going to do from this moment on, I'm going to list all the things I'm never going to do! I've always been unconventional (too unconventional if you ask my parents but I'll save that account for later). I mentally begin to make my list of nevers. -I am never going to marry for money like Natasha just did. -I am never going to doubt my abilities again. -I am never going to... as I try to decide exactly what to resolve I spot an older lady wearing a bright red velvet churidar kurta. Yuck! I immediately know what my next resolution will be; I will never wear velvet. Even if it does become the most fashionable fabric ever (a highly unlikely phenomenon) I am quite enjoying my resolution making and am deciding what to resolve next when I notice Az and Raghav holding hands and smiling at each other. In that moment I know what my biggest resolve should be. -I will never have feelings for my best friend's boyfriend. Or for any friend's boyfriend, for that matter. That's four resolutions down. Six more to go? Why not? It is 2012, after all. If the world really does end this year, at least I'll go down knowing I completed ten resolutions. I don't need to look too far to find my next resolution. Standing a few centimetres away, looking extremely uncomfortable as Rags and Az get more oblivious of his existence, is Deepak. -I will never stay in a relationship with someone I don't love, I vow. Looking for inspiration for my next five resolutions, I try to observe everyone in the room. What catches my eye next is my cousin Mishka giggling uncontrollably while failing miserably at walking in a straight line. Why do people get completely trashed in public? It's just so embarrassing and totally not worth it when you're nursing a hangover the next day. I recoil as memories of a not so long ago night come rushing back to me. I still don't know exactly what happened that night but the fragments that I do remember go something like this; dropping my Blackberry in the loo, picking it up and wiping it with my new Mango dress, falling flat on my face in the middle of the club twice, breaking my Nine West heels, kissing an ugly stranger (Az insists he was a drug dealer but I think she just says that to freak me out) at the bar and throwing up on the Bandra-Worli sea link from Az's car. -I will never put myself in an embarrassing situation like that again. Ever. I usually vow to never drink so much when I'm lying in bed with a hangover the next day (just like 99% of the world) but this time I'm going to stick to my resolution. What should my next resolution be?