My Entire Register

My heart was heavy as I left, it was me he had been avoiding, there was no doubt about it, but why, what was it about me?

Oh, I knew of course, I felt it all the time, there was something about me people didn’t want to know, something they tried to avoid if they could. Something I had, something about the way I behaved.

But what was it?

I didn’t know.

I didn’t say a lot, of course, I could safely assume that this was noticed and commented on unfavourably. Perhaps also that what I did say tended to be about inappropriate topics. What I said was often heartfelt, at least as soon as I was with someone, and people shied away from that like the plague. The alternative was to say nothing at all. These were my only modi vivendi, it was my entire register.

–Karl Ove Knausgaard, from My Struggle: Book Five (Some Rain Must Fall) p. 386

Various Experiences Remodelled As Entertaining Anecdotes Or Jokes

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…the embarrassment I always felt with people I didn’t know, the thought that I was boring and of no interest and that actually they didn’t want to be here, was completely absent. There was something about him I trusted. What I discussed with Geir that evening I couldn’t have discussed with anyone else I had met in Bergen, not even Yngve. You carried your inner thoughts and passions within you, and perhaps shared with a partner — what did I know about such matters — at any rate it wasn’t something you brought up one night you were on the town, it would have killed everything, caused others to shy away. Because it was all about having a good time, laughing, telling stories or arguing till the sparks flew, but about matters that were outside your inner life, about what was between people, about what they shared. Bands, films, books, other students, lectures, girls, various experiences remodelled as entertaining anecdotes or jokes.
There was nothing of that this evening.

–Karl Ove Knausgaard, from My Struggle: Book Five (Some Rain Must Fall) p. 268

Grow your yoga until nothing is left out

To know yoga as only a sequence of postures, is a partial understanding and thus only a partial expression of yoga.

What if for 30 days you committed to doing a little more to bring health to your body, calm to your mind, space for your spirit?

What if your definition of yoga expanded to encompass everything on and off the mat? That what you think and do in your life became your “yoga” and the “challenge” was simply to remember this each and every day?

Grow your yoga until nothing is left out. That’s yoga.

— Lena Del Mar

To Dance Is To Heighten Your Experience Of The Present Moment

You are dancers, all of you. Life moves you; life dances you. To dance is to investigate and celebrate the experience of being alive. Like life, a dance creates and destroys itself in every moment. Like love, it is beyond reason. Ephemeral as breath, concrete as bone, dance is made of you. You sculpt space. You write with your body in a wordless language that is deeply understood. You grace the space within and around you when you dance. Force, trajectory, inertia, and recovery: dancing is a ride, a duet between your instinct and imagination. To dance is to heighten your experience of the present moment. Your body is your location – when you dance, you are profoundly engaged in being there.

-Crystal Pite

Not Quite Your First Choice Of A Life

But these were days of self-fulfillment, where settling for something that was not quite your first choice of a life seemed weak-willed and ignoble. Somewhere, surrendering to what seemed to be your fate had changed from being dignified to being a sign of your own cowardice. There were times when the pressure to achieve happiness felt almost oppressive, as if happiness were something that everyone should and could attain, and that any sort of compromise in its pursuit was somehow your fault.

― Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

A Little Life

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You won’t understand what I mean now, but someday you will: the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are—not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving—and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, no matter how bad—or good—it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.

― Hanya Yanagihara,  A Little Life

This Terrible and Beautiful World

I am sorry that I cannot make it okay. I am sorry that I cannot save you—but not that sorry. Part of me thinks that your very vulnerability brings you closer to the meaning of life, just as for others, the quest to believe oneself white divides them from it. The fact is that despite their dreams, their lives are also not inviolable. When their own vulnerability becomes real—when the police decide that tactics intended for the ghetto should enjoy wider usage, when their armed society shoots down their children, when nature sends hurricanes against their cities—they are shocked by the rages of logic and the natural world in a way that those of us who were born and bred to understand cause and effect can never be. And I would not have you live like them. You have been cast into a race in which the wind is always at your face and the hounds are always at your heels. And to varying degrees this is true of all life. The difference is that you do not have the privilege of living in ignorance of this essential fact.

I am speaking to you as I always have—treating you as the sober and serious man I have always wanted you to be, who does not apologize for his human feelings, who does not make excuses for his height, his long arms, his beautiful smile. You are growing into consciousness, and my wish for you is that you feel no need to constrict yourself to make other people comfortable. None of that can change the math anyway. I never wanted you to be twice as good as them, so much as I have always wanted you to attack every day of your brief bright life determined to struggle. The people who must believe they are white can never be your measuring stick. I would not have you descend into your own dream. I would have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world.

–Ta-Nehisi Coates, from Between the World and Me

The Extravagant Boys

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The fear was there in the extravagant boys of my West Baltimore neighborhood, in their large rings and medallions, their big puffy coats and full-length fur-collared leathers, which was their armor against their world. They would stand on the corner of Gwynn Oak and Liberty, or Cold Spring and Park Heights, or outside Mondawmin Mall, with their hands dipped in Russell sweats. I think back on those boys now and all I see is fear, and all I see is them girding themselves against the ghosts of the bad old days when the Mississippi mob gathered ’round their grandfathers so that the branches of the black body might be torched, then cut away. The fear lived on in their practiced bop, their slouching denim, their big T- shirts, the calculated angle of their baseball caps, a catalog of behaviors and garments enlisted to inspire the belief that these boys were in firm possession of everything they desired.

–Ta-Nehisi Coates, from Between the World and Me (p. 14)

Say Yes

“My experience in a newspaper newsroom over the years has been: The word you hear least often, the word that’s hardest for people to say in that environment, is the word yes. It’s safer to say no. You get second-guessed less often if you say no. Your job’s not on the line if you say no. But if you’re willing to say yes and you’re willing to face the consequences of having said yes, then quite amazing things can happen.”

–Joe Sexton, being interviewed on Longform