riding bitch

The life of a writer and survivor of loss.


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Slowing Down

Greetings from Portland, Oregon. I just cruised into this city last night and am excited to check it out. So far, the road trip has been an absolute joy. The only negative – and it’s hardly a negative – is that it’s taking longer than I anticipated. This is partly because I’m traveling with a dog and need to stop to let her do her business (and run around). And partly because there’s so much beauty that I keep stopping to take pictures.

Slowing down isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, this is one of many differences between this road trip and the one I did in the opposite direction 19 years ago. Back then, I had to be in LA by a certain date for the beginning of grad school. Today, I have no such deadline. My schedule is completely up to me. Which is not to say that I want to be on the road forever, or arrive at my destination a month from now. I simply don’t have to rush. 

For example, when I saw a sign for Lagoon Lake north of Eureka, California, I pulled off the road and drove down a hill to discover this practically empty beach.

Eureka beachEureka beach2Beach north of EurekaBeach north of Eureka2

 

In Redwood National Park, I drove 34 miles in and out of the park just to see this view.

Redwood National Park2Redwood National Park3

 

I pulled over again for this beach, which took my breath away when I saw it from the road.

Northern Cali beachNorthern Cali beach2

 

Several people told me I couldn’t leave Oregon without seeing Crater Lake, so I drove a few hours roundtrip to check it out. It was created thousands (millions?) of years ago when the volcano erupted, blowing the top of the mountain off. Over time, the crater filled with water from rain and snow melt. The little island you see in the middle is apparently a new mini-volcano growing within the old one. One day, maybe millions of years from now, it, too, will blow. 

Crater Lake3Crater LakeCrater Lake2

 

Someone also suggested I check out Florence, a tiny fishing village on the Oregon coast, and the nearby dunes. This is what we did just before driving to Portland. 

Florence OregonOregon duneOregon dune3

Oregon dune2So, yeah, I’m slowing down and soaking it in. I know there is much more ahead, and many unknowns at my final destination, but I’m trying to stay focused on the here and now. I want to always remember this trip, these images, the sounds, the energy of each place I visit. 

It feels like a luxury to slow down, but really, it’s simple. You don’t even have to leave home to do it.

When was the last time you slowed down?

 

 

 


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“I’ll be back.”

Well, this is it. Within minutes of ‘publishing’ this post, Ruby and I are leaving the Bay area, where we’ve been for three days, and heading north for our cross-country adventure (which is starting out more like up-country). I’m both excited and nervous to begin this journey into unchartered territory, literally and figuratively. As I face these huge unknowns, I wanted to take a moment to look back at all the things, places and people that I’m leaving behind (in no particular order).

My apartment. Kaz’s apartment. He lived there for many years before he met me. The place where we fell in love. Where we lived together. Where he died, and where I grieved him. I still remember the first time I stepped into that apartment, I had butterflies in my stomach.

My neighborhood. One mile east of Mann’s Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in an area called “Little Armenia,” which is adjacent to “Thai Town.” Unlike much of Los Angeles, in this neighborhood everything you need is in walking distance: café, cheap tacos, cheap Thai food, dog supply store, dog washing, dry cleaning, bank, grocery stores (the small mom-and-pop kind and the large chains), gas station, 7/11, post office and so on. Many of these establishments knew me. The mom-and-pop grocery store once let me walk out with a $50 I.O.U. because I didn’t have cash and their credit card machine was down and it was 10 minutes to closing time. I came back the next day with the money. It was such a wonderful interaction. “That’s what it means to be a regular,” a friend told me. 

My neighbors. Believe it or not, I never knew any of my neighbors before getting a dog. But in the past two years, I’ve made some very dear friends on the block, mostly other dog owners. We’ve spent hundreds of hours walking our dogs together, having play dates, drinking vodka and juice on hot summer nights, having heated discussions about all kinds of subjects, and laughing until we cried. My neighbors helped me so much with the move, I honestly don’t know how I would have managed without them. Meeting these folks enriched my life, and I’m very grateful.

My dog’s friends. The summer of ’14 will always be known as the summer Ruby met her first love. His name was Capone. They were exactly the same age, born in the same year, just three days apart. They would run around and wrestle in Capone’s yard for hours. To a stranger’s eye, their rough-and-tumble play might have looked scary. But despite the bared teeth, growls, body slams and neck grips neither ever got hurt. On the contrary, they were perfectly matched in size, stamina, strength and love. Capone’s father Ivan said Capone now has two “tear drop” markings under his left eye and sent me the before and after pics. It’s true. They’re there. That’s love for ya.

My dog’s daycare. A dedicated bunch of super professionals who loved Ruby as if she were their own (and whom she loved just as much). Whenever I left her there, I knew she was in good hands. On her last day, they gave her an entire bag of dog treats for free. 

My dog’s vet. Though across town and a little pricey, the level of service was excellent. Again, she was in good hands.

My dentist. Remember when I came back from Vermont with a loose front tooth? My dentist gave me a brand new smile and didn’t charge me an arm and a leg. He was kind, patient, gentle, thorough and professional. As a bonus, he was also young and handsome. He was my favorite dentist thus far in life. And, as we all know, a good dentist is hard to find. 

My mechanic. In a city like Los Angeles, your mechanic is almost as important as your dentist. I had the same mechanic for 19 years. He was a handsome, middle-aged, white-haired, Persian Israeli man named Eddie. He was like a second father figure, helping me maintain the four cars I’ve owned since moving here. He would always shake his head when I would bring in my ailing vehicle, “Why don’t you bring it to me sooner?” Of course, I brought my car to him before the road trip for a total tune-up and new front brakes. He hugged me goodbye, “Please call me when you arrive. I want to know you got there safely.” That’s a good mechanic.

My therapist. I changed therapists this year and really liked the new one. I liked the old one too. In any case, I’ll miss them both.

My friends. I have the best friends in the world. The only thing that makes leaving slightly less painful is that a few of my closest friends have also left L.A. in the past few years (one just the other week). But I still have close friends in the city, and I will miss them dearly. The good news is a few have promised to visit, and now with social media and Skype, it’s not as difficult to keep in touch. But still.

No list would be complete without mentioning the weather, which is so consistently sunny and pleasant that it’s almost the only thing you can count on in L.A. (other than the traffic). As a friend recently told me, “There is more to life than sunshine.” She’s right. But when I’m shoveling snow in sub-zero degrees I can almost guarantee I’ll be thinking of balmy L.A.

Finally, I will miss my father, who didn’t live in Los Angeles but six hours away. Even though we didn’t see each other more than once or twice a year, it was reassuring knowing he was fairly close. Now, I will be joining my siblings on the east coast. 

I’m sure I’ll miss more things and people, but these are the first things that come to mind. 

As our former governor cum action hero once famously said, “I’LL BE BACK.”

Now it’s time to hit the road.

Los Angeles (view from Griffith Park)

Los Angeles (view from Griffith Park)

 


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Touchstones and Purging

After three weeks of packing, sorting, moving and saying goodbye, Ruby and I are FINALLY on the road. The last time I moved across country was exactly 19 years ago (August 1995). I remember it being hectic, but not quite as massive as this current move from Los Angeles to upstate New York. This moving process has been nothing short of revelatory.

In sorting through journals, letters, cards and photos (many of which pre-date my move to Los Angeles), I revisited past loves, relationships, friendships, as well as periods of grief, mourning, anticipation, travel, professional highs and lows, new beginnings, family milestones and family strife. Some of my friends suggested getting rid of these mementos. “Who needs them? They’re your past! You’re embracing your future!” Another friend reminded me, “There is only now.”

I did throw out a lot, but none of the journals and only a fraction of the letters, cards and photos. As a writer, especially one attempting to write a memoir, I feel like these touchstones are important, like little flash cards of life. This is when you did this. This is how you felt about that. This person loved/hurt/confused/helped you. When I get to NY, I plan to organize some of these items into chronological order. This way I can easily access my original recollections of specific time periods, people and events.

Other things I kept: favorite books, artwork, coffee mugs, office supplies, paperweights, notebooks, DVDs and clothing. I also kept several items of Kaz’s. Some things I plan to give to his family. Other things I plan to hold onto as long as it feels right.

I’m proud to say that I got rid of much, much more — over half of my belongings. Whatever I couldn’t sell, I either donated to a local church or threw down the trash shoot. It felt like a great purge.

Not ironically, within an hour of driving out of Los Angeles I started experiencing body aches, exhaustion, fever and nausea. Was it psychosomatic or something more serious? “Patient checked for Ebola in Sacramento!” a friend texted me. I told myself it was food poisoning. In any case, I couldn’t keep driving. I pulled over in Lost Hills, a tiny, dusty town off the 5 Freeway, and checked into a Motel 6. I slept for 14 hours, waking only once to walk Ruby and puke my guts out.

That was the day before yesterday. I’m feeling better now, and currently in San Francisco visiting my father for his 85th birthday. The road trip officially begins when we leave here this weekend.

I decided to take the Northern route: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York. I’ll be visiting Redwood National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Badlands National Park, Mt. Rushmore, and many more places. If you have any other suggestions, please chime in. I’ll be blogging the entire trip, and meeting some bloggers along the way.

One more update: the Vegas production gig has been postponed (for the third time). I’m not going to mention it again until they send me a ticket. 🙂

Looking forward to sharing the journey with you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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An Invitation to Other Writers

As some of you may recall, I published an essay on Modern Loss a couple of months ago called “Forever ‘The Girls’.” I am thrilled to announce that I’ve just become a contributing editor to the site. This is an incredible opportunity, for which I am both grateful and humbled. I’m also very excited to work with other writers.

I would like to invite you to get in touch with me if you’re interested in having your work published on Modern Loss.

Below is a little more info:

In case you’re not familiar with Modern Loss, we launched last November as an online magazine about grief and loss that is geared toward Gen X and Gen Y. Currently, we publish — in addition to more service-oriented resource pieces — short personal essays that are narrowly focused around one aspect of loss. One writer imagines watching the Kardashians with her late mother; another explains what it’s like to mourn her philandering husband; another still visits his dead dad on Google Street View. We’ve been featured in the NYTSlate, and elsewhere, and held our first live event, with HBO, in June. (You can also check out our About Us page.)

If you’d like to pitch me an idea for an essay on loss, please email me at nivadorellsmith@gmail.com. Essays can be about any kind of loss – spouse, parent, child, sibling, friend, co-worker, pet – and almost any aspect. Essays are generally 800 words but can be a little shorter or a little longer. Unfortunately, there is no pay (yet), but it will allow you to connect with more people and drive more traffic to your blog.

I take it as a fortuitous sign from the Universe that today WordPress posted this about writing through grief, including several grief-related blogs. I plan to reach out to them — and hope to hear from you too.

– Niva

 


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Getting Closer to Leaving

Believe it or not, I still don’t know when I’m leaving LA. Before I go to NY, I’m going to be working on a film (as a coordinator) for a few weeks. It’s shooting in Las Vegas, and the shoot dates have been pushed back several times due to budget and scheduling issues (normal for independent films). Right now it’s supposed to start shooting on August 11, which means I would start probably at the end of next week. The plan is to pack everything up and send my belongings ahead of me to NY, then work in Vegas for a month. When the shoot is over I will pick up Ruby (she can’t stay with me in Vegas), then head out on our road trip to the East Coast.

This state of limbo since quitting the job and before leaving LA has been odd, but not entirely unpleasant. I’ve been getting work done and making progress, also making new friends. It’s ironic that I should start enjoying LA so much right before leaving. There have been days when I thought maybe I shouldn’t leave, maybe I should just stay. But I think it’s normal to start seeing things in a new light before a big change. I know I will miss Los Angeles, and California, a lot. But it will always be here, and I know with certainty that I’ll be back either for business, pleasure, or quite possibly to live.

Another major decision I’ve made recently is to not keep my LA apartment. Subletting wasn’t really an option. It’s prohibited in my lease, and the building manager lives in the building. I could have tried a ‘work around’ but, honestly, if/when I come back to LA, I don’t want to return to this particular place. It took me a long time to reach that decision, but ever since I did, I have felt a huge sense of relief. It’s risky to give up a cheap place in an expensive city, but since I don’t know what the future holds, I’d rather be free.

So, the Catskills await. It feels a bit like an arranged marriage – even though I know it’s not necessarily forever. I pray that I like it out there. I’ve already made some contacts with people who live nearby, and have a couple of job prospects. Through my sister’s network of people, and my own small network of NY people, I’ll be meeting plenty of folks and making friends, both in the Catskills and NYC. I’m not worried about that aspect. I’m trying not to worry at all, and instead practice patience and faith.

I can’t wait for the next chapter to begin.

 


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Dealing With a Loved One’s Things

In anticipation of the big move, I’ve begun to sell some of my stuff. Smaller items so far: DVDs, CDs, books, shoes, clothes, etc. Soon I will sell the larger items: bed, couch, entertainment unit, etc. I want to travel as light as possible, and I don’t have any emotional attachment to things. I never have actually, with a few exceptions: my mother’s watercolors, a ceramic mug she made, a wooden cutting board (shaped like a pig) that my brother made when he was 11, a wooden step stool that he made when he was 14, and a small piece of art by my sister.

Other than those few sentimental items, my computer, journals, clothes and several books, I couldn’t care less about much else in the apartment — unless it belonged to my late husband.

Kaz was very attached to his things and, not surprisingly, had a lot of really interesting stuff. His things represented who he was — or rather what his interests were. If you didn’t know him personally, you could tell a lot about him just from his collection of books, music, clothes and artwork. For example, you could tell that he liked heavy metal and rap music, tattoos, graphic novels and comic books. You could tell that he loved Pam Grier, the blaxploitation era, certain television shows, science fiction and chess. You could also tell that he had an appreciation for voluptuous women and alcohol (he collected shot glasses and flasks).

When I redecorated the apartment shortly after he died (because I wanted to stay here but not have it look exactly the same), I kept most of these things around to both represent and remind me of him.

I also gave some of his things away to his family and friends almost immediately. I had this overwhelming urge for people to have a ‘piece’ of him, as represented by a belt, a pair of his beloved Nike sneakers (he had dozens), a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, a DVD he loved, or his favorite hat. I gave his small collection of toy cars to my brother to give to his two little boys, who were 5 and 3 at the time. My brother later told me that before he gave them the cars, he explained to them where the toy cars came from, and why they were receiving them. The boys were so moved by the story of the man who had gotten sick and died young that they cried.

But what I gave away was only a small fraction of what Kaz owned. Now, three years later, on the eve of leaving the apartment and starting anew, I am facing the dilemma of what to do with the remaining items.

Do I pack and ship everything to his family? That would be extremely time-consuming and expensive (but I probably will end up doing with certain things).

Do I give stuff away to his friends and/or Goodwill?

Do I sell things? This feels like the most practical and fastest, but also the most controversial.

There are some things I know for sure I’ll take with me, mostly artwork, books, a bicycle, his motorcycle gear, two heavy glass tumblers (for drinking scotch) –  and, yes, maybe the shot glass collection. Everything else, I’m not sure.

Like I said, I have never been one to place much importance on things. But dealing with someone else’s things is different, especially if those things were important to them. I just don’t know how long to hang onto stuff. I also worry that if I get rid of too much, I’ll have nothing left of him. It’s a tough call all around.

Have you dealt with this issue? How did you handle your loved one’s things?

What would you want your surviving spouse to do with your things?

 


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The Solidarity of Widows

This past weekend M came to visit. Some of you may recall M from last year (I wrote about her here and here). M and I were friends before she lost her husband, but since then we’ve grown much closer. We speak on the phone every week or two. I’ve been to visit her once, and now she’s been to visit me. On her last day here, we went for a hike with L, another widow friend of mine from my old job. Then the three of us went to brunch. It was a lovely time, full of laughter and good food. Though M and L had just met, they got along like old friends.

There’s something to be said for the solidarity amongst widows. M and I discussed it on the ride to the airport. When you’re a widow, it doesn’t matter how young or old you are, what your cultural or ethnic background is, if you’re rich or poor — you can usually relate to another widow.

It’s more than just sharing a unique and powerful loss. We all come to the loss in different ways, some by illness, prolonged or sudden, others by freak accidents or crimes. Still others by suicide. We share the loss, but we also share what happens after that. We know about the guilt: caregiving decisions, life decisions, the “shoulda-coulda-wouldas”.

We know about the madness of grief, the swirling of thoughts, the sleepless nights, the constant questioning and unsatisfying answers. We know about the crazy things people say to us, the financial issues, the burden and emotional complexity of dealing with all of our loved one’s things.

We recognize and respect (and never question) widows who still wear their wedding rings, even if we don’t choose to do so ourselves. The same with widows who decide not to date, and those who do. We don’t judge each other like others so often judge us.

We understand how life changes for a widow, how it’s never ever the same. Even if a widow remarries, she will never see her new husband in the same way she saw the one she lost. It’s not a matter of “better” or “worse” — it’s an awareness that will permeate her existence forever. An awareness that might make her less prone to anger, irritability, pettiness, or might prompt her to quit her job and pursue her dreams, or to help others in need.

Her outlook on life and her priorities change. She might cut off certain people in her life simply because they do nothing for her anymore. Though grief makes her foggy, certain aspects of life become crystal clear.

No matter how young she is, she will be more mature.

M said to me this weekend, “That girl is gone. And she’s never coming back.”

I told M that I see loss like a natural disaster of the heart. Hurricanes, tornados, fires, earthquakes, tsunamis… are all an unfortunate part of nature. They strike randomly, leave great devastation in their wake and, in some cases, actually change the landscape of the earth. But afterwards, life springs anew. People rebuild. Plants grow. Animals return. Everyone adapts to the new reality, while never forgetting the past.

And widows are their own unique group of survivors.

It pains me that M had to endure what she did at such a young age (more than ten years younger than I am). We still cry over the men we can no longer hold dear, the mistakes we feel we made, all of the wasted time and silly arguments. If only we knew then what we know now. But we can both agree that there’s no going back to what was. There is only now.

There is only now.


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13 Steps to a Writing Milestone

As some of you might have recently read, the essay I wrote for Narrative.ly published last week. This was only the second time my work has been published somewhere other than on the blog, so it was a really big deal for me both personally and professionally. It also turned out in a way I never anticipated. Here’s what happened:

1 – The (blind) pitch

I’m new to freelancing, so pitching is still a new and scary process (does that ever change?). I pitched the idea for the essay at the suggestion of a friend. Usually pitches are sent as emails directly to editors. This one was an online form, which added to the “shot in the dark” feeling. When I didn’t hear back for a few weeks, I figured that was it. Then I received an email from the editor saying otherwise. My first thought was:

2 – Pitch accepted?! Holy shit.

Within the span of a few minutes I went from elation to panic and back, until I was somewhere in the middle. Of course I wanted to write the essay, but actually writing it was a different story. I reached out to my writer friends saying “yikes!” They replied with so much encouragement, I finally started to calm down. I had asked for this, and I got it. Now it was time to deliver.

3 – Procrastination Preparation

For several days I did nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. I was thinking… and reading other essays on the site… and thinking. Once I had a sense of how I wanted it to go, I started writing.

4 – Procrastination Scheduling

I tend to thrive under pressure, but there was no way I was going to self-sabotage by writing the essay the night before the deadline. I set a few preliminary deadlines so I would have time to write a bad draft, time to make it better, time to send it out for feedback, time for folks to actually read it, and time to edit.

5 – Mind Games 

The only way I could write freely, not obsess over every single word, and not chicken out was to pretend like no one would read it but me. Ever.

6 – Mind Games, cont’d

On the other hand, I was on a deadline and had certain parameters, so I couldn’t write with total abandon. A part of my brain had to remain objective. So, I took turns between wearing my writer vs. my editor hat. First I wrote to my heart’s content; then I read it as if I didn’t know the story or the writer.

7 – Feedback

I’m not at the stage where I can send something to an editor without having some other eyeballs read it (and not sure I ever will be). I sent the first draft to my writer friends, all of them award-winning, trusted colleagues. We have a joke that we’re the Shitty First Draft Club. In all seriousness, I cannot stress enough how important it is – and how fortunate I am – to have a safe place to send the first shitty draft.

8 – Editing

After receiving some feedback, I did another few passes, double and triple-checked everything, then sent it to the editor. We call this moment “thumb slam!”

9 – The Waiting Game

I admit, waiting is not my favorite thing to do, especially when it’s something important. To ward off the swirling in my head, I forced myself to stay busy with other things and told myself that even if the editor hated it, I wouldn’t get discouraged because I’m still learning.

10 – Response!

When the editor said he loved it, my heart started beating really fast. “Oh my g-d, this might actually get published.” He had a few minor changes and gave me a gentle nudge to go deeper with the essay (which I needed).

11 – More Editing, Thumb Slam #2, More Waiting

I sent the final pass, then again waited to hear back. At any point, the editor could have said, “Sorry, this isn’t going to work.” Instead, I received word the essay was a “go.”

12 – Anticipation 

The days leading up to this very personal essay going out to thousands of people, I was filled with terror nervous excitement. One non-writer friend said I shouldn’t share the essay on Facebook. Another friend told me “but that’s what Facebook is for.” I decided to only post the essay on professional pages and see what happens.

Within hours of the essay going live on Friday morning, people (who don’t know me) started tweeting me, sharing it on Facebook, and leaving the most beautiful, heartfelt comments. By noon, I decided to post the essay on my personal page. Then I sort of held my breath as… one by one, friends and colleagues shared the essay and showered my page with supportive comments, all of which totally blew me away.

13 – Conclusion

On Monday, an author friend of mine who had read and loved the essay made an email-introduction to her book agent in NYC. On Tuesday, the agent and I spoke on the phone — by the time we hung up, she was my agent.

So, there you go. From blind pitch to book agent. It was a crazy, emotional, awesome and truly humbling ride.

Now there’s a ton of work to do, and I can’t wait to get started. As The Alchemist says: “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

One week to freedom!

 

 


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Saying I Do, And Saying Farewell (New Essay on Narrative.ly)

Friends,

I wrote this essay about me and Kaz for the online publication Narrative.ly. I’d be honored if you would check it out and leave a comment below if you’re so inspired. Later this week I’ll post what I learned from the experience of writing this piece, which went semi-viral this past weekend.

http://narrative.ly/second-acts/saying-i-do-and-saying-farewell/

The journey continues!

Thank you.

Niva


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The Alchemist and Your Personal Legend

I’m currently re-reading (for the third time) THE ALCHEMIST by Paulo Coelho.

my tattered copy of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

my tattered copy of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

If you’re unfamiliar with it, here’s a brief explanation. It’s basically a fable, i.e. a short story with supernatural elements that conveys a moral.

The main character is a young shepherd boy from Spain who goes on a quest to find a treasure and, along the way, encounters mentors, friends and enemies, as well as many obstacles and setbacks, some quite dangerous. He also falls in love and has to overcome his own self-doubts and fears. All of these elements are part of the larger journey of his life, symbolically representing how we can get easily distracted or discouraged from what our heart truly desires. The moral of the story is that each person has a Personal Legend (the thing they were put on this Earth to do), and a person’s only obligation in life is to pursue that Personal Legend.

A friend gave me this book many years ago as I was about to travel abroad for a film festival. I read it again shortly after Kaz died. I’m reading it again now because I’m feeling many of the emotions the shepherd feels in the story. But I believe my “personal legend” is to be a story-teller and the upcoming journey to the east coast is part of that evolution. Writing is the foundation of my soul, the base from which all else springs.

Below are some favorite quotes from The Alchemist. You could spend hours meditating on each one, but as you read through them, think about your own personal legend. Do you know what it is? Are you pursuing it? 

“People learn, early in their lives, what is their reason for being.”

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

“There is a force that wants you to realize your Personal Legend.”

“Every search begins with beginners luck and ends with the victor’s being severely tested.”

“Everything in life is an omen… There is a universal language, understood by everybody, but already forgotten.”

“Don’t forget that everything you deal with is only one thing and nothing else. And don’t forget the language of omens. And, above all, don’t forget to follow your Personal Legend through to its conclusion.”

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”

“The closer one gets to realizing his Personal Legend, the more that Personal Legend becomes his true reason for being.”

“I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living now.”

“When each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.”

“There is only one way to learn. It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.”

“Making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”

“What is the world’s greatest lie?” the little boy asks.
The old man replies, “It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.”

“The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”

“Courage is the quality most essential to understanding the Language of the World.”

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

“The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better.”

“Naturally, (your heart) is afraid that, in pursuing your dream, you might lose everything you’ve won.”

“You will never be able to escape from your heart. So, it’s better to listen to what it has to say. That way, you’ll never have to fear an unanticipated blow.”

“When something evolves, everything around that thing evolves as well.”