|Collected by Alysa Cummings|
It is easy to go down into Hell; night and day, the gates of dark Death stand wide; but to climb back again, to retrace one's steps to the upper air – there's the rub, the task.
Those who have learned by experience what physical pain and bodily anguish mean, belong together all the world over; they are united by a secret bond. One and all they know the horrors of suffering to which man can be exposed, and one and all they know the longing to be free from pain.
If you are going through hell, keep going.
Long is the way/ and hard, that out of hell leads up to light.
...cancer is only a word, like any other...The word reverberated...I gripped it in my mind's fist like a hot stone, unable to throw it far from me, letting it burn into my skin. I was angry. I wanted to hit people with it. Then, the next moment I wanted to make a prayer out of it, I wanted to write a poem with it...
To wish to be well is a part of becoming well.
I train myself for triumph by knowing it is mine no matter what.
There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and have recovered hope.
The art of life is the art of avoiding pain.
I have given a name to my pain, and call it 'dog.'
Life is what happens while you are making other plans.
And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years.
In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on.
The art of life is to know how to enjoy a little and to endure very much.
What happens when my body breaks down happens not just to that body but also to my life, which is lived in that body. When the body breaks down, so does the life.
...When we long for life without...difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.
True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost.
Everyone who has ever built anywhere a 'new heaven' first found the power thereto in his own hell.
Hell is oneself; Hell is alone, the other figures in it merely projections. There is nothing to escape from and nothing to escape to. One is always alone.
I don't like to commit myself about heaven and hell . . you see, I have friends in both places.
No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell.
...wherever you are is called Here,/and you must treat it as a powerful stranger,/must ask permission to know it and be known.
I walk down the street./there is a deep hole in the sidewalk./I fall in/I am lost...I am helpless/It isn't my fault/It takes forever to find a way out.
I've looked at life from both sides now/ From win and lose and still somehow/ It's life's illusions I recall/ I really don't know life at all.
Death is not the enemy; living in constant fear of it is.
Our care should not be to have lived long as to have lived enough.
As I see it every day you do one of two things: build health or produce disease in yourself.
A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses.
One of the most sublime experiences we can ever have is to wake up feeling healthy after we have been sick.
It's no longer a question of staying healthy. It's a question of finding a sickness you like.
Money cannot buy health, but I'd settle for a diamond-studded wheelchair.
The wish for healing has always been half of health.
Drugs are not always necessary, but belief in recovery always is.
To array a man's will against his sickness is the supreme art of medicine.
Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.
Etymologically, 'patient' means sufferer.
Suffering isn't ennobling, recovery is.
Courage is fear that has said its prayers.
A healthy body is the guestchamber of the soul, a sick, its prison.
An optimist is the human personification of spring.
In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer.
I only know that summer sang in me/a little while, that in me sings no more.
Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.
Sooner or later, everyone is a wounded storyteller.
My wound evokes your healer. Your wound evokes my healer. My wound enables me to find you with your wound where you have the illusion of having become lost.
Walk carefully, well loved one/walk mindfully, well loved one,/walk fearlessly, well loved one./return with us, return to us,/be always coming home.
You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
...it is the story you have been writing/all of your life, where no Calypso holds you/ against your own willfulness,/where you can rise/from the bleak island of your old story/ and tread your way home.