Michelle Obama’s Most Inspiring Quote


In Honor of Her 53rd Birthday, 15 of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Most Inspiring Quotes

  • By Diana Pearl
CHERISS MAY/NURPHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES

Tuesday marks First Lady Michelle Obama‘s 53rd birthday — and her final one in office. In honor of the milestone, we’ve rounded up some of her most powerful and inspiring quotes from the past eight years.

1. On individual importance:
“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”

On a visit to South Africa in 2011

2. On the future of America’s young people:
“For all the young people in this room and those who are watching, know that this country belongs to you—to all of you, from every background and walk of life. If you or your parents are immigrants, know that you are part of a proud American tradition — the infusion of new cultures, talents and ideas, generation after generation, that has made us the greatest country on earth.”

From her final speech as first lady in January 2017

3. On measuring success:
“Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own.”

— From her 2012 commencement speech at Oregon State University

4. On being your own role model:
“If we want maturity, we have to be mature. If we want a nation that feels hopeful, then we have to speak in hopeful terms. We have to model what we want.”

— From her final interview as first lady with Oprah Winfrey in December 2016

5. On the power of education:
“I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong. So don’t be afraid. You hear me, young people? Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourself with a good education. Then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise. Lead by example with hope, never fear.”

From her final speech as first lady in January 2017 

6. On overcoming fear:
“I am so tired of fear. And I don’t want my girls to live in a country, in a world, based on fear.”

At a campaign event in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in 2008

7. On helping others:
“I will always be engaged in some way in public service and public life. The minute I left my corporate law firm to work for the city, I never looked back. I’ve always felt very alive using my gifts and talents to help other people. I sleep better at night. I’m happier.”

— From an interview with Vogue for their December 2016 issue

8. On being true to yourself:

“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals.”

— From a 2008 interview with Marie Claire

9. On being the bigger person:
“When they go low, we go high.”

— From a speech given at the 2016 Democratic National Convention

10. On the importance of empowering women:
“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half its citizens.”

— At the Summit of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders in July 2014

11. On what it means to be a leader:
“I know that true leadership — leadership that lifts families, leadership that sustains communities and transforms nations — that kind of leadership rarely starts in palaces or parliaments. That kind of leadership is not limited only to those of a certain age or status. And that kind of leadership is not just about dramatic events that change the course of history in an instant. Instead, true leadership often happens with the smallest acts, in the most unexpected places, by the most unlikely individuals.”

— At the Young African Women Leaders Forum in June 2011

12. On giving back:
“When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back.”

— At a meeting with the 2013-2014 White House Fellows in September 2012

13. On possibility and opportunity:
“This time, we decided to stop doubting and to start dreaming. How this time, in this great country — where a girl from the South Side of Chicago can go to college and law school, and the son of a single mother from Hawaii can go all the way to the White House – we committed ourselves to building the world as it should be.”

— During a speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention

14. On what to look for in a partner:
“Don’t look at the bankbook or the title. Look at the heart. Look at the soul. Look at how the guy treats his mother and what he says about women. How he acts with children he doesn’t know. And, more important, how does he treat you? When you’re dating a man, you should always feel good.”

— From an interview with Glamour in 2009

15. On the importance of humor:
“What I have never been afraid of is to be a little silly, and you can engage people that way. My view is, first you get them to laugh, then you get them to listen. So I’m always game for a good joke, and I’m not so formal in this role. There’s very little that we can’t do that people wouldn’t appreciate.”

bline

                                                                                                                         michelleobama

                                                                            Michelle Obama-2017

The Looking Glass Waterfall


I searched and searched and searched

and I could not find Thee anywhere

I called Thee aloud, standing on the Temple.

I rang the Temple bell

with the rising of the sun

I bathed in the Ganges in vain.

I came back from Ka’ba disappointed;

I looked for Thee in heaven,

my Beloved, my Pearl, but at last I have found Thee

hidden in the shell of my heart.

—Hazrat Inayat Khan

 

 

Looking Glass Falls, Pisgah National Forest. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

Looking Glass Falls, Pisgah National Forest. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

 

 

 

Fir trees, what are you?

We are the souls of the sages

who preferred vigil in the solitude to the busy life of the world.

 

Fir trees, what are you? We are hands from heaven,

stretched out to bless the earth continually.

 

 

Fir trees,what are you made for?

We are the temples

made for those who worship God in nature.

 

Fir trees, what are you doing in this forest?

We are the souls on the cross,

patiently awaiting

the hour of our liberation.

 

Dry wood, why do they burn you?

Because I no longer can bear fruit.

—Hazrat Inayat Khan

 

 

 

 

Mighty rocks have slid down the mountain side. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

Mighty rocks have slid down the mountain side. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

 

 

Mountain wild flowers. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

Mountain wild flowers. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

 

 

Tulip, why have you opened your lips?

To tell you what I have learnt in silence.

What did you learn?

To make of oneself an empty cup.

 

Orchid, what do your petals represent?

Graceful movements of dance.

what does your dance express?

The earth paying homage to Heaven

—Hazrat Inayat Khan

 

 

Water is the elixir of life. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

Water is the elixir of life. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

 

The path of freedom

does not lead to the goal of freedom;

It is the path of discipline

which leads to the goal of liberty.

—Hazrat Inayat Khan

 

 

 

The Looking Glass pool. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

The Cliff face beside Looking Glass Falls. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 201

 

 

The falls through the trees. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

The falls through the trees. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

 

 

 

Make your heart as soft as wax

to sympathize with others,

But make it hard as a rock

to bear the hard knocks of the world.

—Hazrat Inayat Khan

 

Entering Pigsah National Forest. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

Entering Pisgah National Forest. Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio, 2016

All Quiet on the Western Front


 

All Quiet on the Western Front

The silence spreads. I talk and must talk. So I speak to him  and say to him. “Comrade, I did not want to kill you. If you jumped in here again, I would not do it, if you would be sensible too. But you were only an idea to me before, an abstraction that lived in my mind and called forth its appropriate response. It was that abstraction I stabbed. But now, for the first time, I see you are a man like me. I thought of your hand-grenades, of your bayonet, of your rifle; now I see your wife and your face and our fellowship. Forgive me, comrade. We always see it too late. Why do thy never tell us that you are just poor devils like us, that your mothers are just as anxious as ours, and that we have the same fear of death, and the same dying and the same agony—forgive me, comrade; how could you be my enemy? If we threw away these rifles and this uniform you could be my brother like Kat and Albert. Take twenty years of my life comrade, and stand up—take more, for I do not know what I can even attempt to do with it now.”

—Erich Maria Remarque

 

” Think of what a world we could build if the power unleashed in war were applied to constructive tasks! On-tenth of the energy that the various belligerents spent in a war, a fraction of the money they exploded in hand grenades and poison gas, would suffice to raise the standard of living in every country and avert the economic catastrophe of worldwide unemployment. We must be prepared to make the same heroic sacrifices for the cause of war. There is no task that is more important or closer to my heart.”

—Albert Einstein

 

You have to work for peace.—Barbara Mattio

 

bjwordpressdivider

 

Cathedrals of Eternity


Galstonbury Tor, Sacred Spiral Hill

Galstonbury Tor, Sacred Spiral Hill

The nature of sacred places is comparable to the nature of the divine in that nothing is unrelated to them. Our life’s destination is not a place, but a new way of looking at things.

Sacred places are perceptions of reality

Sacred places are not locations but events where all time is eternal time

Sacred places are sites for remembering

Sacred places are renewed crucibles of consciousness

Sacred places are an encyclopedia of self-knowledge

Sacred places are time capsules from ourselves to ourselves

Sacred places are portals to eternity

Sacred places are a geography of the imagination

Sacred places are centers of the sacred and profane

Sacred places are realms of things to come.

 

“River banks lined with

green willows, fragrant

grasses:

A place not sacred?

Where?”

——-Sayings of the Masters

 

“I’m too religious to believe in religion. You don’t have to believe in a sacred world. It slaps you in the face. It is everywhere.”

                      —-an eighty year old Hungarian friend to Gretel Ehrlich, poet and novelist

 

“We all move on the fringes of eternity and are sometimes granted vistas through the fabric of illusion.”

                        —Ansel Adams, photographer

 

“To acquire the awareness of the Divine, one need not journey to any special region or place. It is enough if the eye is turned inwards. I the Bhagavadgita, the Inner Reality, the Atma, is described as “splendorous like a billion suns.” But man has not become aware of the light or power within.”

—Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Indian avatar

 

bjwordpressdivider (1)

“We have seen, you and I, the laughing sirens of the trees.

We have been fortunate because, it is said, they are rarely seen, if ever, that they never venture beyond the forest of pine and cedar but stay in the shadows of the thicket of the wood. It is said that these women you have seen cannot think for themselves, that their minds are not their own. It is said, that the women you have seen before your eyes go through life with no intent but to frolic, to make merry and to laugh. It is said that the young who fall and are seduced into their camp return not unto their own but stay with the creatures who think not and cannot reason to know what is good and what is evil. It is said that if in your ramblings you hear this laughter in the wood behind a tree, tarry not, but turn and go the other way. It is said that this is difficult to do when one is young.

—-Laughter Behind the Trees, from the                                                                                                    Tloo-Qwah-nah Ceremony, told by George Clutesi, Nootka writer and artist.

 

 

bjwordpressdivider (1)

 

“Here, my brothers, are the roots of trees, here are empty places; Meditate.”

—Ancient Buddhist Philosopher

 

Tree Awakening

Tree Awakening

“There is in India a tree whose property it is to plant itself. It spreads out mighty 

arms to the earth, where in the space of a single year the arms take root and put

forth anew.”       —Pliny (A.D. 70), on the wondrous Banyan tree

RainbowOverAsheville-3-14-2016

  Rainbow over the French Broad River, Arden, NC

  Photograph and copyright by Barbara Mattio 2016

 

“Stones, plants, animals, the earth, the sky, the stars, the elements, in fact everything

in the universe reveals to us the knowledge, power and the will of the Originator.”

—Abu Hamid Muhammad Al-Ghazzali, Persian                                                                               mystic, 1058-1111.

 

Old Man of the Hoh

Old Man of the Hoh

War and Peace


” Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.”

—Ernest Hemingway

 

Peace, shalom

is not

 

the absence of difficulties

but

the handling of difficulties

without

loss of balance

Shalom is not the absence of tension

but the acceptance of it as part of the Way.

Shalom is not the absence of war

but the careful waging of war

without losing one’s balance.

Shalom, is not passive non-violence,

but active confrontation with truth.

 

Shalom is the ability to see the grain of life

and act in accord with it;

to discover that effortless effort,

action in tune with the Way of Universe,

is the secret of both peace and power.

 

—Rabbi Shapiro

 

 

“War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.”

—John F. Kennedy

 

bjwordpressdivider

 

download (1)

Rumi’s Legacy


Rumi Followers Fight To Keep Turkey From Cashing In On Mystic’s Legacy

Posted: 01/20/2015 8:40 am EST Updated: 5 hours ago
RNS-RUMI-RECLAIM a

ISTANBUL (RNS) Each Sunday, visitors line up outside of the old Sufi lodge, now a museum, in Turkey’s tourist-filled Galata district, informational pamphlets, cameras and $20 tickets in hand.

The site is but one of the many places tourists flock for performances by the country’s famed white-robed whirling dervishes.

Cafes, hotels and former Sufi lodges reinvented as tourist attractions, like the one in Galata, have all cashed in on the ritual’s popularity.

The “sema” ceremonies, as they’re called, promise attendees a peek into a 750-year-old practice that is as graceful as it is spiritual.

Yet as more ceremonies spring up, excitement has been met by skepticism by descendants of the very 13th-century mystic who first popularized it.

“It’s becoming like a show,” said Faruk Hemdem Celebi, a 22nd-generation descendant of the famous poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian and Sufi, Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273). “There are people doing this now to make money and attract tourists.”

rumi
Faruk Hemdem Celebi is a 22nd-generation descendant of Rumi and president of the International Mevlana Foundation. Behind him hangs a picture of his father and predecessor as the alleged hereditary leader of the Mevlevi order. Religion News Service photo by Michael Kaplan

Rumi was a highly revered Persian mystic who preached inclusivity and respect for all. His poetry and writings on divine unity and love have attracted a global following.

Celebi, who leads the International Mevlana Foundation, believes that Rumi’s practices have been wrongly appropriated for profit.

Last month, he announced the launch of a campaign to reclaim Rumi’s practices.

Through familial lineage, Celebi claims to be the heir of the Mevlevi (meaning “My Master”) order, which was founded by Rumi’s followers after his death and includes a collection of disciples who follow Rumi’s teachings.

Celebi is working to bring Rumi’s name under his foundation’s control. He has trademarked 10 terms related to the Sufi saint. But that has, so far, failed to stop its appropriation.

Celebi said he has meetings coming up with some high-ranking government officials, including Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, to discuss how the foundation can have more say in decisions related to Mevlana traditions, and particularly sema.

Istanbul’s Galata district is not the only site for Rumi’s practices.

Thousands of people gather in a sports arena in Konya — the site of Rumi’s shrine, about 450 miles southeast of Istanbul — each December to commemorate the saint’s death through a week of dancing and whirling. (Rumi died in Konya in 1273.)

Legend has it that Rumi, a devout Muslim, was walking through Konya’s gold district when, upon hearing the rhythmic hammering of goldsmiths and their chanting of God’s name, the religious scholar broke out into ecstasy. His body slipped into a trancelike state as his hands raised toward the sky, his body whirling until he reached oneness with the divine.

The whirling has grown into an iconic form of “dhikrullah” or “remembrance of God” — practiced primarily by Rumi’s followers. With each turn, practitioners repeat God’s name.

“It’s a very powerful, meditative experience,” said Ismail Fenter, an American dervish who belongs to the Mevlevi order. “To turn it into dance or into public exhibition … it just cheapens it,” he said.

Today’s Mevlevi leaders grew up at a time when Sufi orders were illegal under Turkey’s strict secular code. Sufi dens were shut down and religious whirling was outlawed in 1925, but reintroduced to the country in the 1950s, strictly for tourism.

It was then that religious whirling turned from a private form of meditative remembrance of God into a public and profitable national artistic display.

The length of sema ceremonies has been truncated to cater toward tourists, and some of the traditional requirements — such as studying for years in Konya to become a dervish — have been dropped.

The Mevlevi order has been trying to rein in the group ever since. While Mevlevi leaders welcome the admiration for Rumi, some are skeptical of the way his message has been interpreted.

“People in America find emotional highs, and Rumi becomes an emotional high,” Fenter said. “But they don’t all understand the part about Islam … and it doesn’t completely make sense without that.”

Many people, however, believe that the popularity of Rumi’s teachings and traditions has outgrown the control of any single family, even if the family claims to be rightful heirs of the saint.

“Rumi has inspired a lot of people and has given comfort and wisdom,” said Margaret Rose, an American expatriate living in Istanbul who has attended a number of whirling ceremonies. “It doesn’t seem offensive; it seems to be done in a respectful way.”

Rose said she would be sorry to see restrictions put on the ceremonies, which she considers a cultural treasure.

“It’s very spiritual and I felt like you could get a glimpse of this ceremony that might have otherwise been private,” she said. “I felt lucky that I got to see it.”

bjwordpressdivider

The Lewis Mix

Husband from Utah, Wife from Hong Kong, Two Mix Babies

Walter Singleton

Walter Singleton's blog, dedicated to Aiden Singleton and Seth Singleton living near Chattanooga, TN.

Pax Et Dolor Magazine

Peace and Pain

SurveyStud,Inc

SurveyStud: https://appsto.re/us/Ddj18.i

Levi House

Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and the needy

Present Minded

A MODERN PERSPECTIVE ON COGNITIVE SCIENCE AND MENTAL HEALTH

We're the Travelers

Travel Magazine of beginner writers - by Traveller Dave

TanyaTales

Where Imagination Makes The Impossible Possible

Mrs. Ann Thropic

Hating All Things Human Since 1986

Urban Poetry

a digital art and poetry wordpress. original poems copyright by linda j. wolff

Simple Man's Guide

to being a Security Officer

Busy K

Kathryn O'Kane's blog

London Wlogger

Walking blogger exploring London's hidden gems, sights and history!

Good Eye Press

Artisanal pinback buttons for political protests and other occasions

praythroughhistory

Heal the past. Free the present. Bless the future.

E-Visa-USA

Electronic System for Travel Authorization

%d bloggers like this: