Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Quotes Listing

Anne Lamott

You have to keep taking the next necessary stitch, and the next one, and the next. Without stitches, you just have rags. And we are not rags.

Anne Lamott

You celebrate what works and you take tender care of what doesn?t, with lotion, polish, and kindness.

Anne Lamott

You will go through your life thinking there was a day in second grade that you must have missed, when the grown-ups came in and explained, everything important to other kids. they said, 'Look, you're human, you're going to feel isolated and afraid a lot of the time, nad have bad self-esteem, and feel uniquely ruined, but here is the magic phrase that will take this feeling away. It will be like a feather that will lift you out of that fear and self-consciousness every single time, all through your life.' And then they told the cildren who were there that day the magic phrase that everyone else in the world knows about and uses when feeling blue, which only you don't know, because you were home sick the day the grown-ups told the children the way the whole world works. But there was not such a day in school. No one got the instructions. That is the secret of life. Everyone is flailing around, winging it most of the time, trying to find the way out, or through, or up, without a map. This lack of instruction manual is how most people develop compassion, and how they figure out to show up, care, help and serve, as the only way of filling up and being free. Otherwise you gorw up to be someone who needs to dominate and shame others so no one will know that you weren't there the day the instructions were passed out.

Anne Lamott

Teenagers who do not go to church are adored by God, but they don't get to meet some of the people who love God back.

Anne Lamott

That's what's so touching about weddings: Two people fall in love, and decide to see if their love might stand up over time, if there might be enough grace and forgiveness and memory lapses to help the whole shebang hang together.

Anne Lamott

The good news is that if you don?t seal up your heart with caulking compound, and instead stay permeable, people stay alive inside you, and maybe outside you, too, forever. This

Anne Lamott

The single most radical thing I know . . . is that I get to take care of myself.

Anne Lamott

The truth is that your spirits don't rise until you get way down.

Anne Lamott

The worst possible thing you can do when you?re down in the dumps, tweaking, vaporous with victimized self-righteousness, or bored, is to take a walk with dying friends. They will ruin everything for you. First of all, friends like this may not even think of themselves as dying, although they clearly are, according to recent scans and gentle doctors? reports. But no, they see themselves as fully alive. They are living and doing as much as they can, as well as they can, for as long as they can. They ruin your multitasking high, the bath of agitation, rumination, and judgment you wallow in, without the decency to come out and just say anything. They bust you by being grateful for the day, while you are obsessed with how thin your lashes have become and how wide your bottom.

Anne Lamott

They cramp around our wounds?the pain from our childhood, the losses and disappointments of adulthood, the humiliations suffered in both?to keep us from getting hurt in the same place again, to keep foreign substances out. So those wounds never have a chance to heal. Perfectionism is one way our muscles cramp. In some cases we don?t even know that the wounds and the cramping are there, but both limit us.

Anne Lamott

This is one thing they forget to mention in most child-rearing books, that at times you will just lose your mind. Period.

Anne Lamott

Tom said either you learn to live with paradox and ambiguity or you'll be 6 years old for the rest of your life.

Anne Lamott

Try looking at your mind as a wayward puppy that you are trying to paper train. You don't drop-kick a puppy into the neighbor's yard every time it piddles on the floor. You just keep bringing it back to the newspaper.

Anne Lamott

Try to be a good sport, baby. Sharon feels as bad as you do. It's all right for you to be mad, but...try to be as good a sport as you can. I'll tell you. It's a run-of-the-mill shitty thing. Life is full of them. And it is ALWAYS feels better to be kind.

Anne Lamott

We write to expose the unexposed. If there is one door in the castle you have been told not to go through, you must. The writer's job is to turn the unspeakable into words - not just into any words, but if we can, into rhythm and blues.

Anne Lamott

What can we say beyond Wow, in the presence of glorious art, in music so magnificent that it can't have originated solely on this side of things? Wonder takes our breath away, and makes room for new breath.

Anne Lamott

When hope is not pinned wriggling onto a shiny image or expectation, it sometimes floats forth and opens.

Anne Lamott

When we agree to (or get tricked into) being part of something bigger than our own wired, fixated minds, we are saved. When we search for something larger than our own selves to hook into, we can come through whatever life throws at us.

Anne Lamott

Writing can give you what having a baby can give you: it can get you to start paying attention, can help you soften, can wake you up.

Anne Lamott

Writers show us the glades we'd missed, the trickling voices of streams, the eyes of a barn owl watching us. A writer like my father revealed a shape and movement amid it all, layers, meaning, perspective, joy, because he paid such careful attention, and paying attention is about the biggest redemption there is.

Anne Lamott

You have to be grateful whenever you get to someplace safe and okay, even if it turns out it wasn?t quite where you were heading. The light you see when people are in the tunnel of deep trouble is domestic flashes of recognition and kitchen comforts, not Blake?s radiance, which would be my preference.

Anne Lamott

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.

Anne Lamott

So Rita and I decided that the most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do was to show up for my life and not be ashamed.

Anne Lamott

Sometimes grace works like water wings when you feel you are sinking.

Anne Lamott

Sometimes I could not tell you exactly why, especially when it feels pointless and pitiful, like Sisyphus with cash-flow problems. Other

Anne Lamott

The three things I cannot change are the past, the truth, and you.

Anne Lamott

That grace is having a commitment to - or at least an acceptance of - being ineffective and foolish.

Anne Lamott

The physical body is acknowledged as dust, the personal drama as delusion. It is as if the world we perceive through our senses, that whole gorgeous and terrible pageant, were the breath-thin surface of a bubble, and everything else, inside and outside, is pure radiance. Both suffering and joy come then like a brief reflection, and death like a pin.

Anne Lamott

The welcome book would have taught us that power and signs of status can?t save us, that welcome?both offering and receiving?is our source of safety. Various chapters and verses of this book would remind us that we are wanted and even occasionally delighted in, despite the unfortunate truth that we are greedy-grabby, self-referential, indulgent, overly judgmental, and often hysterical. Somehow that book went missing. Or when the editorial board of bishops pored over the canonical lists from Jerusalem and Alexandria, they arbitrarily nixed the book that states unequivocally that you are wanted, even rejoiced in.

Anne Lamott

There should be a real sense of your imagination and your memories walking and woolgathering, tramping the hills, romping all over the place. Trust them. Don't look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance.

Anne Lamott

They taught me that being of service, an ally to the lonely and suffering, a big-girl helper to underdogs, was my best shot at happiness. They taught me that most of my good ideas were not helpful, and that all of my ideas after ten p.m. were especially unhelpful. They taught me to pay attention, but not so much attention to my tiny princess mind.

Anne Lamott

To be born into this world exactly the way it is, into these exact circumstances, even if that meant not having a dad or an ozone layer, even if it included pets that would die and acne and seventh=grade dances and AIDS.

Anne Lamott

We all know we're going to die; what's important is the kind of men and women we are in the face of this.

Anne Lamott

We can see Spirit made visible when people are kind to one another, especially when it's a really busy person, like you, taking care of a needy, annoying, neurotic person, like you.

Anne Lamott

We do endure, and that out of the wreckage something surprising will rise.

Anne Lamott

When we are stunned to the place beyond words, we?re finally starting to get somewhere. It is so much more comfortable to think that we know what it all means, what to expect and how it all hangs together. When we are stunned to the place beyond words, when an aspect of life takes us away from being able to chip away at something until it?s down to a manageable size and then to file it nicely away, when all we can say in response is Wow, that?s a prayer.

Anne Lamott

When you make friends with fear, it can?t rule you.

Anne Lamott

While it is hard to fathom who we are and how we are to live when public chaos shatters our routine, the slow-motion pain of each private death and cataclysm we endure is harder. Each slams us off our feet, yet we have agreed to pretend to be fine again at some point, ideally as soon as possible, so as not to seem self-indulgent or embarrass anybody. Then people can get on with their lives.

Anne Lamott

Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It?s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can?t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.

Anne Lamott

You need to find people who laugh gently at themselves, who remind you gently to lighten up.

Anne Lamott

Start with your childhood, I tell them. Plug your nose and jump in, and write down all your memories as truthfully as you can.

Anne Lamott

The great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote, ?I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.?

Anne Lamott

The opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns. Faith also means reaching deeply within, for the sense one was born with, the sense, for example, to go for a walk.

Anne Lamott

The search for meaning will fill you with a sense of meaning. Otherwise

Anne Lamott

There are really places in your heart that you don't know exist until you love a child.

Anne Lamott

There?s no point in writing hopeless novels. We all know we?re going to die; what?s important is the kind of men and women we are in the face of this.

Anne Lamott

They kind of want to write, but they really want to be published. You?ll never get to where you want to be that way, I tell them.

Anne Lamott

To be engrossed by something outside ourselves is a powerful antidote for the rational mind, the mind that so frequently has its head up its own ass - seeing things in such a narrow and darkly narcissistic way that it presents a colo-rectal theology, offering hope to no one.

Anne Lamott

This is how we make important changes-- barely, poorly, slowly.

Anne Lamott

Usually if you pray from the heart, you get an answer?the phone rings or the mail comes, and light gets in through the cracks, so you can see the next right thing to do. That?s all you need.