“Maintain calm and keep it up.” “The one factor we’ve got to worry is worry itself.” “Don’t be concerned, be pleased.”
These are the sorts of pithy, inspiring phrases and quotes that, traditionally talking, have the facility to regular us via difficult occasions. Struggle. Despair. The 1980s.
Name them mantras, maxims and even memes — they get repeated and recycled through the years, generally over the millennia, as a result of they comprise highly effective jolts of simply accessible fact, perception and perspective.
I have been amassing such fun-size, self-contained knowledge for many years now. I began a listing of discovered quotes on looseleaf sheets in highschool, a pocket book that’s now greater than 160 pages lengthy. I’ve used them in my writing and consulted with them in personally troublesome occasions, reminiscent of heartbreak, work stress and the demise of others.
And I turned to them this week, as all of us face new struggles, searching for knowledge from the previous to assist the current.
Beneath are quotes I believe converse to this time of coronavirus shutdowns and of well being and financial fears.
Like a crow searching for shiny bits of enlightenment, I’ve indiscriminately snatched quotes from wherever: books, songs, films, speeches, articles, performs, poems, spiritual dogma, bumper stickers, graffiti, t-shirts, mates, household and strangers.
But it surely ought to be disclaimed that some quotes have their very own journey; at occasions their origin will get traditionally murky and the provenance doubtful. However I believe that is OK. It is extra necessary that their condensed perception holds us regular.
Forward of assaults on its cities throughout World Struggle II, the British authorities issued and displayed three posters with messages written to spice up morale and mentally put together its civilians. One in every of them, “Maintain calm and keep it up,” has grown in reputation through the years as a result of its message is relevant past its authentic intent. It is also poignant now that coronavirus is invoking comparisons to world war.
Equally, a line from President Franklin Roosevelt’s 1933 inaugural deal with, to a nation paralyzed within the financial worry of the Nice Despair, has endured its authentic which means as a result of “The one factor we’ve got to worry is worry itself” speaks to the psychology of all panic.
“A life lived in worry is a life half lived,” declares a personality within the 1992 Australian movie “Strictly Ballroom,” the road attributed to the movie’s director and co-writer, Baz Luhrmann.
Steven Spielberg’s “Bridge of Spies,” written by Matt Charman and the Coen brothers, repeats variations of this smart change between characters: “Aren’t you apprehensive?” “Would that assist?”
For what use is our worry proper now? “Fear is sort of a rocking chair: It provides you one thing to do however by no means will get you wherever,” wrote humorist Erma Bombeck.
Now could be the time for a extra scientific and analytical strategy, because the physicist Marie Curie mentioned: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it’s only to be understood. Now could be the time to grasp extra, in order that we could worry much less.”
Be pleased, or not less than Zen
For anybody alive in 1988, Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t be concerned, be pleased” has been caught of their head ever since. There have been many happiness songs earlier than and since (Pharrell, the Partridge Household), however McFerrin’s Grammy-winning tune has had the longest endurance, as a result of it is easy and directive.
Personally I desire Bob Marley’s “Don’t be concerned ’bout a factor, trigger each little factor’s gonna be alright.” Additionally directive, plus a name to understand the little issues, like sunrises and hen tune.
“Issues might at all times be higher, however issues might at all times be worse,” is a line attributed to actress Marla Gibbs, of all folks, well-known for her position as a sassy however insightful housekeeper on the 1970s and ’80s sitcom “The Jeffersons.”
I coronary heart “I Coronary heart Huckabees,” the movie co-written and directed by David O. Russell, which comprises this Western Zen koan: “Nothing’s okay. So it is okay.”
It jogs my memory of a degree of acceptance I wrote down simply after I heard comic Eddie Izzard say it dwell on stage final 12 months: “I like to think about life as an journey, like a curler coaster. It helps with the ups and downs.”
I equally like this framing by Fred Rogers: “Usually once you suppose you are on the finish of one thing, you are firstly of one thing else.” It speaks to this time as the beginning of a brand new period, with none unfavourable connotation.
Dance within the rain
“Higher to be busy than to be busy worrying,” actress Angela Lansbury is quoted to have mentioned. As a result of, writer Vivian Greene defined, “Life is not about ready for the storm to cross. It is about studying the way to dance within the rain.” Or as Sting sings, “When the world is operating down, you make one of the best of what is nonetheless round.”
We have to make one of the best with what we’ve got now, particularly if the grocery retailer cabinets are empty. “You possibly can’t at all times get what you need, however should you attempt generally, you get what you want,” sang the Rolling Stones.
And what you want are the naked requirements, “The easy naked requirements. Neglect about your worries and your strife … The naked requirements of life will come to you,” guarantees Baloo the bear in Disney’s “The Jungle E book.”
2 hundred years earlier than coronavirus, the German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe had some poignant metaphorical recommendation to do your half on this pandemic, when he wrote, “Let everybody sweep in entrance of his personal door, and the entire world will likely be clear.”
Embrace that this time might have a constructive influence on you. “That which doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger,” the aphoristic thinker Friedrich Nietzsche famously mentioned. And religious trainer Eckhart Tolle added that “Life provides you with no matter expertise is most useful for the evolution of your consciousness.”
That evolution will probably lead you to look out for others on this important time. “I shall cross this manner however as soon as; any good that I can do or any kindness I can present to any human being; let me do it now,” wrote the Quaker missionary Etienne de Grellet.
And no matter occurs, we simply must endure. “In case you’re going via hell, maintain going,” mentioned the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. As a result of as the times rack up, or the state of affairs intensifies, extra issues could crumble and additional name on our resolve to energy via. In different phrases, “You simply gotta maintain livin’ man, L-I-V-I-N,” Matthew McConaughey’s Wooderson reminds us within the movie “Dazed and Confused.”
Which brings me to my favourite quote from a favourite novel, John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.” Ma Joad provides the household this homespun pep discuss when the automobile breaks down on the best way to California: “This right here bearing went out. We did not realize it was goin’, so we didn’ fear none. Now she’s out an’ we’ll repair her. An’ by Christ that goes for the remainder of it.”
The solar will rise
“This too shall cross,” is an outdated Persian saying which will have originated with the poet Rumi. Abraham Lincoln, one thing of an aphorist himself, was a fan of this line as a result of it’s “true and acceptable in all occasions and conditions,” Lincoln mentioned. “How a lot it expresses! How consoling within the depths of affliction!”
The impermanence and battle had been favourite themes of the Buddha’s recorded sayings, together with, “Reward and blame, achieve and loss, pleasure and sorrow come and go just like the wind.”
That ought to give us hope, perhaps even assist us see “daybreak comes after the darkness,” as writer Lisa Wingate put it.
That is the attitude articulated on the finish of Robert Zemeckis’ hope-fueled movie “Forged Away.” After 4 years caught on an island and unsure of what to do as soon as he returns house, Tom Hanks’ character, Chuck Noland, says, “I do know what I’ve to do now, I’ve received to maintain respiratory as a result of tomorrow the solar will rise. Who is aware of what the tide might carry?”
And in the long run, I’ll give the final phrase to that singer-sage John Lennon. In case you solely bear in mind one in every of these aphorisms, that is the one that almost all succinctly captures endurance, perspective and hope: “Every little thing will likely be okay in the long run. If it is not okay, it is not the tip.”