“Some periods of our growth are so confusing that we don’t even recognize that growth is happening. We may feel hostile or angry or weepy and hysterical, or we may feel depressed. It would never occur to us, unless we stumbled on a book or a person who explained to us, that we were in fact in the process of change, of actually becoming larger, spiritually, than we were before.

“Whenever we grow, we tend to feel it, as a young seed must feel the weight and inertia of the earth as it seeks to break out of its shell on its way to becoming a plant. Often the feeling is anything but pleasant.

“But what is most unpleasant is the not knowing what is happening. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize that we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of the personality is about to be revealed.”

-Alice Walker, Living by the Word

“In myths the hero is the one who conquers the dragon, not the one who is devoured by it. And yet both have to deal with the same dragon. Also, he is no hero who never met the dragon, or who, if he once saw it, declared afterwards that he saw nothing. Equally, only one who has risked the fight with the dragon and is not overcome by it wins the hoard, the ‘treasure hard to attain.’ He alone has a genuine claim to self-confidence, for he has faced the dark ground of his self and thereby has gained himself.
“This experience gives some faith and trust, the pistis in the ability of the self to sustain him, for everything that menaced him from inside he has made his own. He has acquired the right to believe that he will be able to overcome all future threats by the same means. He has arrived at an inner certainty which makes him capable of self-reliance.

Carl Jung, Mysterium coniunctionis, CW 14

“It is impossible to know, in the moment, how a small act of goodness will reverberate through time. The notion is empowering and it is frightening -because it means that we’re all capable of changing the world, and responsible for finding those opportunities to protect, feed, grow, and guide love.”

Bishop Michael Curry, Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times (co-authored by Sara Grace)

“The bad times don’t go away just because times are good. We say these things build character; they make us who we are. And that’s true. But that doesn’t mean they don’t suck. It doesn’t mean that winter isn’t cold.”

-R. Eric Thomas, Here For It: Or How to Save Your Soul in America

“It isn’t about reading the words [with books]; it’s about reading the smell, which wafts from the pages in a cloud of dust and wood pulp. It might smell expensive and well bound, or it might smell of tissue-thin paper and blurred two-color prints, or of fifty years unread in the home of a tobacco-smoking old man. Books can smell of cheap thrills or painstaking scholarship, of literary weight or unsolved mysteries.”

The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow