Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Midweek reminder: Your work need not be lost

Lately I seem to stumble across quotes that I have long appreciated, but in a larger context. I really enjoy that, finding the words around the well-known nugget. It can shed a whole new light. This passage from Thoreau is a good example, as it is often actually misquoted: "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler."

Listen how it was really written, below. The elaboration I find much more lovely, but probably not quite as "greeting card." Alas.

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. -Henry David Thoreau

That paragraph calls me to live in the woods; simply, quietly, peacefully. And that if I can't live in the woods literally, I can simplify and scale back my life in the present... to live in the woods, figuratively.

What does this passage say to you?


  1. It reminds me of Dave, of the struggles he went though to become the man he is today. <3

  2. I love this. Life was not meant to be complex.

  3. It reminds me to stay true to myself- the minute I start thinking about how others receive me and the things I put out there is the minute things get too fussy.


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