Dearest L – Today is your 9th birthday. It seems impossible, and yet, here it is. But still, impossible.

And yet…

Last year, I showered you with wishes. I continue to keep them alive and well in my heart, Angel-Child. This year, I want to offer you a well of inspiration.

Oh, I don’t suspect you’ll need to sip from here any time too soon, it's a well I share with my grown-up clients. But your Daddy and I can already see the glimmer in your eye. You’re starting to feel the call of adventure. This is good. Where will your beautifully strong legs, mind and heart take you? We can only imagine (and we do).

And when you DO find the road dusty and long, take a rest and drink from this well. Hope, courage, comfort, wisdom, and wonder are found here, and I drink from it often. I’ll admit that sometimes I don't  exactly understand what I’m drinking or why I seem to need it…and that may be true for you too.

Take what you need.

81 quotes are from some people you know and some people you don’t know.

9 quotes are from you. Yes, you. Much like the other great minds and hearts in this gathering, you continue to inspire, astound and buoy me.

1. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. - Buddha

2. Life in itself is an empty canvas; it becomes whatsoever you paint on it. You can paint misery, you can paint bliss. This freedom is your glory. – Osho

3. You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed. You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you'll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest. Except when you don't. Because, sometimes, you won't. - Dr. Seuss 4. Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

5. Don’t postpone joy. – Brenda Geisler

6. If you tell a true story, you can’t be wrong. - Jack Kerouac

7. You are in the perfect position to get there from here. - Abraham-Hicks

8. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through. - Ira Glass

9. We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be. - Anne Lamott

10. In the end, we are our choices. We are also the luck we never choose. - Ellen DeGeneres

11. What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another. Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss. - Joseph Campbell

12. You can't be a complete person without having to wrestle with your own demons - and, for that matter, with your own angel. - H.S. Kushner

13.Don't be afraid of your fears. They're not there to scare you. They're there to let you know that something is worth it. - C. JoyBell C.

14. If the path before you is clear, you're probably on someone else's. - Joseph Campbell

15. The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reels - Steven Furtick

16. When you find yourself in a new situation, a new circumstance, a new life experience, everything that requires healing is going to rush to the surface, and if you don't take a minute to breath, to gather yourself, to pray, you will do what you've always done. So you've got to be clear enough, grounded enough, centered enough to say how am I going to handle it this time? The lesson is pause.- Iyanla Vanzant

17. Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired. - Martha Graham

18.Grace is the key to happiness. When bad things happen, if we have confidence in grace, then we can remain grounded in that and not be overwhelmed by the soap opera of life. And grace is a circular blessing. The more grace enters your life, the more grateful you are. The more grateful you are, the more easily grace seems to enter. - Dharmavidya David Brazier

19. When I say be creative, I don’t mean you should all go and become great painters and great poets. I simply mean let your life be a painting, let your life be a poem. - Osho

20. See if you can catch yourself complaining in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness. - Eckhart Tolle

21. Right now, and in every now-moment, you are either closing or opening. You are either stressfully waiting for something - more money, security, affection - or you are living from your deep heart, opening as the entire moment, and giving what you most deeply desire to give, without waiting. - David Deida

22. Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question . . . Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn't. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you. - Carlos Castaneda

23.We're not on our journey to save the world but to save ourselves. But in doing that you save the world. The influence of a vital person vitalizes. - Joseph Campbell

24. Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish. If you are not capable of generating that kind of energy toward yourself- if you are not capable of taking care of yourself, of nourishing yourself, of protecting yourself- it is very difficult to take care of another person. In the Buddhist teaching, it's clear that to love oneself is the foundation of the love of other people. Love is a practice. Love is truly a practice. - Thich Nhat Hanh

25. Be the kind of person you would like to be with. Some people come into our lives, make footprints on our hearts and we are never the same. People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges. - Joseph F. Newton

26. ‎We're all just walking each other home. - Ram Dass

27. Be excellent to each other. - Bill + Ted

28.A desire presupposes the possibility of action to achieve it; action presupposes a goal that is worth achieving.—Ayn Rand

29. If you want to see the brave, look at those who can forgive. - Bhagavad Gita

30.It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, And if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing. - Oriah Mountain Dreamer

31.Just because things can be challenging, doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. Bridget Pilloud

32.Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. - Lao Tzu

33. He lives the poetry that he cannot write. The others write the poetry that they dare not realize. - Oscar Wilde

34.It seems to me that people have vast potential. Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks. Yet most people don't. They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever. - Philip Adams

35.Persistent people begin their success where others end in failure. - Edward Eggleston

36.Don't be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so. - Belva Davis

37.I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

38. All suffering results from believing we are who we think we are. - Nigaradatta Maharahi

39.Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. - Eleanor Roosevelt

40. The final proof of greatness lies in being able to endure criticism without resentment.  - Elbert Hubbard

41. Self-actualized people are independent of the good opinion of others.- Wayne Dyer

42. Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that's the one that is going to require the most from you. - Caroline Myss

43.Choice is the engine of our evolution. -  Gary Zukav

44. The things that we love tell us what we are.St Thomas Aquinas

45. Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards. When people ask me what really changed my life eight years ago, I tell them that absolutely the most important thing was changing what I demanded of myself. I wrote down all the things I would no longer accept in my life, all the things I would no longer tolerate, and all the things that I aspired to becoming. - Tony Robbins

46. Everything matters. Nothing’s important.—Nietzsche

47. When you have come to the edge of all the light you have And step into the darkness of the unknown Believe that one of the two will happen to you Either you'll find something solid to stand on Or you'll be taught how to fly!  - Richard Bach

48.Who you are will always trump who you think people want you to be. - Brené Brown

49. Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

50. To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.-  Oscar Wilde

51. Challenges come so we can grow and be prepared for things we are not equipped to handle now. When we face our challenges with faith, prepared to learn, willing to make changes, and if necessary, to let go, we are demanding our power be turned on. – Iyanla Vanzant

52. What you seek is seeking you. - Rumi

53.Set a goal, and in small, consistent steps, work to reach it. Get support from your peers when you start flagging. Repeat. You will change.—Seth Godin

54. Perfection is the enemy of done. - SARK

55. The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. The most you can do is live inside that hope, running down its hallways, touching the walls on both sides. - Barbara Kingsolver

56. But if you never try you never know, just what you’re worth. – Coldplay

57. You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem + smarter than you think. - AA Milne

59. When people show you who they are, believe them. - Maya Angelou

60. Most miracles, like everything else, are firmly rooted in who we are. -Iris Sangiuliano

61. Awakeness is found in our pleasure and our pain, our confusion and our wisdom, available in each moment of our weird, unfathomable ordinary everyday lives. - Pema Chödrön

62. The sage, because he confronts his problems directly, never has any. - Lao Tzu

63.The only way to grow is to launch, to initiate and to make a ruckus - Seth Godin

64. Nobody on earth can give you either the key or the door to open, except yourself. – Krishnamurti

65. Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be. - Shel Silverstein

66. All is flux, nothing stays still. - Heraclitus

67. Vulnerability is not weakness....vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage - Brené Brown

68.Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. - Mark Twain

69. The day you let go is the day you’re forgiven. - Michael Franti

70. If you are irritated by every rub, how will you be polished? - Rumi

71. To be great, be whole; Exclude nothing, exaggerate nothing that is not you. Be whole in everything. Put all you are Into the smallest thing you do. The whole moon gleams in every pool. - Fernando Pessoa

72. I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day. – James Joyce

73.The mind can make a heaven out of hell or a hell out of heaven. – John Milton

74. It’s all relative.Richard Geisler

75. Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there – Will Rogers

76. Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours. - Richard Bach

77. Never forget your real identity. You are a luminous conscious stardust being forged in the crucible of cosmic fire. - Deepak Chopra

Or, stated even more succinctly::

79.  Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power. - Lao Tzu

80.The more visionary the idea, the more people it leaves behind. - DeLillo

81.All holiness is about learning to hear the voice of your own soul. - John O'Donohue

9 from you, wise + wonderful you

  1. On compassion:: Give everyone and everything a chance. (May 16, 2009)
  2. On appreciation:: There is music and colour in everything. Isn't it wonderful? (June 20, 2011)
  3. On art appreciation:: Jackson Pollock's painting reminds me of what's in my heart. (Jan 4th, 2011)
  4. On beauty:: Mama even if you DON'T look beautiful on the outside, you still look it on the inside. (Jan 27th 2011) {Best...backhanded...compliment...EVER.}
  5. On birthday wishes:: On your 7th birthday in Disney World, Cinderalla asked you what your birthday wish was. You answered: “for the whole world to be healthy and happy.” (April 12, 2011) {The rest of the evening included various Grand Floridian staff members telling you how happy and healthy they are.}
  6. On complicated relationships with teachers:: Well, she gets annoyed with the kids, then I get annoyed with her and then she gets annoyed with me. It’s kinda classic. (March 10, 2010)
  7. On brain-twisters:: Today’s opposite day. What’s the opposite of today? Tomorrow or yesterday? (June 17, 2011)
  8. On looking good:: You'll look good if you have a good heart, feel good about who you are, wear what YOU want (no matter what anyone else thinks), and makeup. (March 22, 2012) Miles to go, but it's a start.
  9. On now:: Don’t be sad. We have now. (January 18th, 2011) {We were reading Charlotte’s Web and I was choked up when Fern heads off to the fair by herself for the first time knowing how quickly that time will come.}

Yes. We have now.

Thank you for always reminding us to be right here, right now. You make us not want to miss one blessed second. Happy Birthday, Beautiful Heart. 

One final one::

And the wonder of it all is that you just don’t realize how much I love you. - Eric Clapton