1. “Time moves slowly, but passes quickly.”

2. “Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming of.”

3. “People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.”

4. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.”

5. “Every small, positive change we make in ourselves repays us in confidence in the future.”

6. “I’m the most stubborn person I know.”

7. “Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get, you’ve got to make yourself.”

8. “In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.”

9. “Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.”

10. “Activism is my rent for living on the planet.”

11. “Be an outcast. Be pleased to walk alone.”

12. “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women created for men.”

13. “The more I wonder, the more I love.”

14. “Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.”

15. “Resistance is the secret of joy!”

16. “I don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends I can be certain of.”

17. “Hard times require furious dancing. Each of us is proof.”

18. “Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.”

19. “When the ax came into the , the trees said the handle is one of us.”

20. “Wherever I have knocked, a door has opened. Wherever I have wandered, a path has appeared.”

21. “I don’t focus on criticism. I prefer to praise people and the world, rather than criticize them and it.”

22. “We do not believe in heaven or hell; we do not believe in eternal damnation. We believe only in the unavoidable horror of and of likewise being hurt.”

23. “The nature of this flower is to bloom.”

24. “Nobody is as powerful as we make them out to be.”

25. “Peace will come wherever it is sincerely invited.”

26. “Poetry is the lifeblood of rebellion, revolution, and the raising of consciousness.”

27. “A writer’s heart, a poet’s heart, an artist’s heart, a musician’s heart, is always breaking. It is through that broken window that we see the world.”

28. “You really can’t be a good artist if you can’t say what you really feel. And people may be offended, but, you know, that’s how you feel, and that is your right, and that is your gift as well.”

29. “As long as the Earth can make a spring every year, I can.”

30. “It no longer bothers me that I may be constantly searching for father figures; by this time, I have found several and dearly enjoyed knowing them all.”

31. “Fiction is such a world of freedom, it’s wonderful. If you want someone to fly, they can fly.”

32. “I see children—all children—as humanity’s most precious resource, because it will be to them that the care of the planet will always be left.”

33. “It is healthier, in any case, to write for the adults one’s children will become than for the children one’s ‘mature’ critics often are.”

34. “Books became my world because the world I was in was very hard.”

35. “You know, one race will not be a survivor if the other one dies, and that’s something that we should think about.”

36. “Every time I conjure up a rock, I throw it.”

37. “As we talked of freedom and justice one day for all, we sat down to steaks. I am eating misery, I thought, as I took the first bite, and spit it out.”

38. “How sad now never to see men holding hands, while everywhere one looks they are holding guns.”

39. “Some people don’t understand that it is the nature of the eye to have seen forever, and the nature of the mind to recall anything that was ever known.”

40. “It’s essential that we understand that taking care of the planet will be done as we take care of ourselves. You know that you can’t really make much of a difference in things until you change yourself.”

41. “The world is changing. It is no longer a world just for boys and men.”

42. “Horses make a landscape look beautiful.”

43. “I think colors are miraculous. We live in a universe that is extremely creative and . We become happier as we appreciate these things in nature.”

44. “My life is not to be somebody else’s impact—you know what I mean?”

45. “I don’t know anything, I think—and I’m glad of it.”

46. “There are those who believe Black people possess the secret of joy and that it is this that will sustain them through any spiritual or moral or physical devastation.”

47. “I believe God is everything—everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you’ve found it.”

48. “Human beings may well be unable to break free of the dictatorship of greed that spreads like a miasma over the world, but no longer will we be an inarticulate and ignorant humanity, confused by our enslavement to superior cruelty and weaponry.”

49. “Those in power must spend a lot of their time laughing at us.”

50. “Healing begins where the wound was made.”

51. “No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.”

52. “You can’t truly have an open heart until it’s been broken.”

53. “I think writing really helps you heal yourself. I think if you write long enough, you will be a healthy person.”

54. “The most important question in the world is, ‘Why is the child crying?’”

55. “Everything is already perfect. And if you can accept that everything is already perfect, the imperfection is a part of the perfection. What’s to worry about?”

56. “What you hope for, you also fear.”

57. “To acknowledge our ancestors means we are aware that we did not make ourselves. We remember them because it is an easy thing to forget—that we are not the first to suffer, rebel, fight, love, and die.”

58. “Yes, Mother. I can see you are flawed. You have not hidden it. That is your greatest gift to me.”

59. “Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence—as it saves most writers who live in interesting, oppressive times and are not afflicted by personal immunity.”

60. “She was so quiet—so reflective. And she could erase herself, her spirit, with a swiftness that truly startled, when she knew the people around her could not respect it.”

61. “Truly the suffering is great, here on earth. We blunder along, shredded by our , bludgeoned by our faults. Not having a clue where the dark path leads us. But on the whole, we stumble along bravely, don’t you think?”

62. “Helped are those whose every act is a prayer for peace; on them depends the future of the world.”

63. “There’s an ecstatic side to writing. It’s like jazz. It just has a life.”

64. “In search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.”

65. “The protection of evil must be the most self-destructive job.”

66. “I can’t fix my mouth to say how I feel.”

67. “If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for?”

68. “A grown child is a dangerous thing.”

69. “We should learn to accept that change is truly the only thing that’s always going on, and learn to ride with it and enjoy it.”

70. “The good news may be that nature is phasing out the white man, but the bad news is that’s who she thinks we all are.”

71. “In each of us, there is a little voice that knows exactly which way to go. And I learned very early to listen to it, even though it has caused so much grief and havoc, and I think that is the only answer.”

72. “I’ve found, in my own writing, that a little hatred, keenly directed, is a useful thing.”

73. “There is always a moment in any kind of struggle when one feels in full bloom. Vivid. Alive. One might be blown to bits in such a moment and still be at peace.”

74. “A burnt finger remembers the fire.”

75. “One thing that never ceases to amaze me, along with the growth of vegetation from the earth and of hair from the head, is the growth of understanding.”

76. “Sometimes, reading a blog, which I do infrequently, I see that generations of Americans have been wilfully crippled, and can no longer spell or write a sentence.”

77. “Artists are messengers whose responsibility is to unite the world—a faith that will lead not to destruction but to transformation.”

78. “Being happy is not the only happiness.”

79. “I’m mad about the waste that happens when people who love each other can’t even bring themselves to talk.”

80. “I have fallen in love with the imagination. And if you fall in love with the imagination, you understand that it is a free spirit. It will go anywhere, and it can do anything.”

81. “Human compassion is equal to human cruelty, and it is up to each of us to tip the balance.”

82. “Surely, the earth can be saved by all the people who insist on love.”

83. “I try to teach my heart not to want things it can’t have.”

84. “Anything we love can be saved.”

85. “Love is big; love can hold anger, love can even hold hatred. It’s about the intention of what you want it to do.”

86. “She thought of how precious it was to be able to know another person over many years. There was incomparable richness in it.”

87. “Guided by my heritage of a love of beauty and a respect for strength, in search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.”

88. “No matter how hidden the cruelty, no matter how far off the screams of pain and terror, we live in one world. We are one people.”

89. “I have learned not to worry about love; but to honor its coming with all my heart.”

90. “Wish for nothing larger than your own small heart.”

91. “Laughter isn’t even the other side of tears. It is tears turned inside out.”

92. “The gift of loneliness is sometimes a radical vision of society or one’s people that has not previously been taken into account.”

93. “I think we have to own the fears that we have of each other, and then, in some practical way, some daily way, figure out how to see people differently than the way we were brought up.”

94. “I’m thinking of the moment something dies and how we instinctively know it, and of how we try not to know what we know because we do not yet understand how we are to negotiate change.”

95. “Everything wants to be loved.We sing, and dance, and holler, just trying to be loved.”

96. “Even as I hold you, I am letting you go.”

97. “Writing poems is my way of celebrating with the world that I have not committed suicide the evening before.”

98. “Every soul is to be cherished, every flower is to bloom.”

99. “You can love yourself spiritually, physically—in almost any way that anybody else can.”

100. “There is no graceful way to carry hatred.”

101. “Abortion is an act of self-defense.”

102. “Some colored people are so scared of whitefolks they claim to love the cotton gin.”

103. “I love us so incredibly, insanely deeply; it’s almost unbearable to see what we do to ourselves.”

104. “Always with me was the inner twin—my true nature, my true self. It is timeless, free, compassionate and in love with whatever is natural to me.”

105. “Never offer your heart to someone who eats hearts who finds heart meat delicious but not rare who sucks the juices drop by drop and bloody-chinned grins like a God.”

106. “My heart hurts so much I can’t believe it. How can it keep beating, feeling like this?”

107. “Listen, God loves everything you love, and a mess of stuff you don’t.”

108. “The only way to solace anyone who loved you in life is to be a good memory.”

109. “Creation is a sustained period of bliss.”

110. “People do not wish to appear foolish. To avoid the appearance of foolishness, they are willing to remain actually fools.”

111. “My God is not a religious God. My God is nature, my God is everything there is. That’s God. Everything is God. I’m a child of that.”

112. “What the mind doesn’t understand, it worships or fears.”

113. “Is solace anywhere more comforting than that in the arms of a sister?”

114. “I am not lesbian, I am not bisexual, I am not straight. I am just curious.”

115. “The animals of the planet are in desperate peril and they are fully aware of this. No less than human beings are doing in all parts of the world, they are seeking sanctuary.”

116. “Anybody can observe the Sabbath, but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.”

117. “All history is current; all injustice continues on some level, somewhere in the world.”

118. “Language is an intrinsic part of who we are and what has, for good or evil, happened to us.”

119. “Only dead people need loud music, you know.”

120. “I think that indigenous women’s wisdom is crucial. So much of the care of the Earth has come from the . I think it’s imperative we turn to their wisdom in how to take care of the planet.”

121. “We are people. People do not throw their geniuses away. If they do, it is our duty as witnesses for the future to collect them again for the sake of our children. If necessary, bone by bone.”

122. “Nature has created us with the capacity to know God, to experience God.”

123. “It’s so important to declutter the mind. For me, creativity is greatly impeded just by the chatter and visual clutter of life. It’s really important to have a space that is really clear for whatever is emerging to come.”

124. “Clearly, older women and especially older women who have led an active life or older women who successfully maneuver through their own family life, have so much to teach us about sharing, patience, and wisdom.”

125. “Well, capitalism is a big problem, because with capitalism, you’re just going to keep buying and selling things until there’s nothing else to buy and sell, which means gobbling up the planet.”

126. “Whoever you are, whatever you are, start with that—whether salt of the earth or only white sugar.”

127. “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

128. “Oh, Celie, unbelief is a terrible thing. And so is the hurt we cause others unknowingly.”

129. “Sexuality is one of the ways that we become enlightened, actually, because it leads us to self-knowledge.”

130. “There is a special grief felt by the children and of those who were forbidden to read, forbidden to question or to know.”

131. “Yoga means to bind back, to unite, to bring the body and the soul together. For this reason, the practice of yoga is a holy endeavor and the teaching of it to our people is a very high calling.”

132. “I’m always amazed that people will actually choose to sit in front of the television and just be savaged by stuff that belittles their intelligence.”

133. “Animals can communicate quite well. And they do. And generally speaking, they are ignored.”

134. “How anyone cannot see that nature is God, is amazing to me—that they’d rather worship something that can only exist, really, in their own minds.

135. “How simple a thing it seems to me that to know ourselves as we are, we must know our mothers’ names.”

136. “To know is to exist; to exist is to be involved, to move about, to see the world with my own eyes.”

137. “As you know from school, it’s when you have not prepared for the test that you have the fear of failing. And if you have prepared, even if you fail, you’ve done your best.”

138. “The experience of God, or in any case, the possibility of experiencing God, is innate.”

139. “Any God I ever found in church, I brought in myself.”

140. “When life descends into the pit, I must become my own candle—willingly burning myself to light up the darkness around me.”

141. “But I don’t know how to fight. All I know how to do is stay alive.”

142. “Not everyone’s life is what they make it. Some people’s life is what other people make it.”

143. “For in the end, freedom is a personal and lonely battle; and one faces down fears of today so that those of tomorrow might be engaged.”

144. “Ignorance, arrogance, and racism have bloomed as Superior Knowledge in all too many universities.”

145. “Well, I think indigenous peoples have ways of living on the Earth that they’ve had forever. And they’ve been overrun by organized religion, which has had a lot of money and power.”

146. “It is natural to want to have a future.”

147. “We’re going to have to debunk the myth that Africa is a heaven for black people—especially black women. We’ve been the mule of the world there and the mule of the world here.”

148. “Revolt is the mirror in which is forced to see itself.”

149. “If you want to have a life that is worth living, a life that expresses your deepest feelings and emotions, and cares, and dreams, you have to fight for it.”

150. “No song or poem will bear my mother’s name. Yet, so many of the stories that I write—that we all write—are my mother’s stories.”

151. “I don’t call myself a Buddhist. I’m a free spirit. I believe I’m here on earth to admire and enjoy it; that’s my religion.”

152. “We will be ourselves and free, or die in the attempt. was not our great-grandmother for nothing.”

153. “Freedom, after all, is like love—the more you give to others, the more you have.”

154. “The trouble with our people is as soon as they got out of slavery, they didn’t want to give the white man nothing else. But the fact is, you got to give them something. Either your money, your land, your woman or your ass.”

155. “You don’t really stay attached to things. Life goes on, so you don’t really sit around and think about how they are relevant to other people. You hope that whatever you create will be relevant.”

156. “Be nobody’s darling; be an outcast. Take the contradictions of your life and wrap them around you like a shawl, to parry stones to keep you warm.”

157. “Life is abundant, and life is beautiful. And it’s a good place that we’re all in, you know, on this earth, if we take care of it.”

158. “I’m poor, I’m Black, I may be ugly and can’t cook, but I’m here.”

159. “Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors.”

160. “I don’t know. I imagine good teaching as a circle of earnest people sitting down to ask each other meaningful questions. I don’t see it as a handing down of answers.”

161. “But it ain’t easy, trying to do without God even if you know he ain’t there, trying to do without Him is a strain.”

162. “This life will soon be over, I say. Heaven lasts always.”

163. “I have fought, and kicked, and fasted, and prayed, and cursed, and cried myself to the point of existing.”

164. “Until you do right by me, I say, everything you even dream about will fail. I give it to him straight, just like it came to me. And it seems to come to me from the trees.”

165. “I think the foundation of everything in my life is wonder.”

166. “I think America has always been polarized. It’s a racist country and it has always been.”

167. “Politically, the world is so confused right now—there’s so much suffering caused by various movements by various parties and people in power in government.”


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