Go back. Go back in time. Everyone's life is a chain of memories. In each chain there are shining links, happenings where this element of wonder...was very strong. Why don't you reach out and relive some of those memories? If you work at it, remembering the wonder can revive your ability to live life as it should be lived.
It takes courage to care for others, because people who care run the risk of being hurt. It's not easy to let your guard down, open your heart, react with sympathy or compassion or indignation or enthusiasm when usually it's much easier-and sometimes much safer-not to get involved. People who take the risk make a tremendous discovery: The more things you care about, and the more intensely you care, the more alive you are.
No one lives on the top of the mountain. It's fine to go there occasionally -for inspiration, for new perspectives. But you have to come down. Life is lived in the valleys. That's where the farms and gardens and orchards are, and where the plowing and the work is done. That's where you apply the visions you may have glimpsed from the peaks.
Was it possible that a bustling display of energy might only be a camouflage for a spiritual vacuum? The thought so impressed me that I mentioned it next day to the French purser, at whose table I was sitting. He nodded his agreement. "Stevenson is right," he said. "Indeed, if you will pardon my saying so, the idea applies particularly to you Americans. A lot of your countrymen keep so busy getting things done that they reach the end of their lives without ever having lived at all."
People who take the risk make a tremendous discovery: The more things you care about, and the more intensely you care, the more alive you are. This capacity for caring can illuminate any relationship: marriage, family, friendships-even the ties of affection that often join humans and animals. Each of us is born with some of it, but whether we let it expand or diminish is largely up to us. To care, you have to surrender the armor of indifference. You have to be willing to act, to make the first move.
Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid. In the past, whenever I had fallen short in almost any undertaking, it was seldom because I had tried and failed. It was because I had let fear of failure stop me from trying at all.
Some people confuse acceptance with apathy, but there's all the difference in the world. Apathy fails to distinguish between what can and what cannot be helped; acceptance makes that distinction. Apathy paralyzes the will- to- action; acceptance frees it by relieving it of impossible burdens.
I walked slowly out on the beach. A few yards below high-water mark I stopped and read the words again: WRITE YOUR WORRIES ON THE SAND. I let the paper blow away, reached down and picked up a fragment of shell. Kneeling there under the vault of the sky, I wrote several words, one above the other. Then I walked away, and I did not look back. I had written my troubles on the sand. The tide was coming in.