Men make war to get attention. All killing is an expression of self-hate.
Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
We have to wake up. We have to refuse to be a clone.
The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.
Artists have a responsibility to speak and to act when governments fail, and if we don't do that, we really deserve the world we get.
The animals of the planet are in desperate peril. Without free animal life I believe we will lose the spiritual equivalent of oxygen.
My daughter's birth was the incomparable gift of seeing the world at quite a different angle than before, and judging it by a standard that would apply far beyond my natural life.
If we want to fight people in the world, we should fight them with pillows -- pillows stuffed with food, medicine, music… That would be so much cheaper than bombs.
Hard times' is a phrase the English love to use, when speaking of Africa. And it is easy to forget that Africa's 'hard times' were made harder by them.
I think the War on Terror is really absurd, especially coming from a country that is founded on terrorism.
To acknowledge our ancestors means we are aware that we did not make ourselves...We remember them because it is an easy thing to forget: that we are not the first to suffer, rebel, fight, love, and die.
Helped are those who are shown the existence of the Creator's magic in the Universe; they shall experience delight and astonishment without ceasing.
Have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show. Any God I ever felt in church I brought in with me. And I think all the other folks did too. They come to church to share God, not find God.
As we talked of freedom and justice one day for all, we sat down to steaks. I am eating misery, I thought, as I took the first bite. And spit it out.
I have fought and kicked and fasted and prayed and cursed and cried myself to the point of existing.
If she come, I be happy. If she don't, I be content. And then I figure this the lesson I was suppose tolearn.
We alone can devalue gold by not caring if it falls or rises in the marketplace. Wherever there is gold there is a chain, you know, and if your chain is gold so much the worse for you.
The grace with which we embrace life, in spite of the pain, the sorrows, is always a measure of what has gone before.
We will never regret
having been born in this
for we recognize it
for what it is: the time of fullness
In my opinion and experience, imperialists of all nations and races will tell us anything to keep us fighting. For them.
In a way, no matter who's in charge of the corporation that the United States is, the direction in which it is taken seems to be inexorable. So, you just get the job of being the front man for four or eight years. Now, most people realize that's what you are.
I'm thinking of the moment something dies and how we instinctively know it. And of how we try not to know what we know because we do not yet understand how we are to negotiate change.
Love likes to extend itself. If you receive it in a book -- or however you get it -- then your duty is to extend it beyond.
who smiled at us and kissed our babies
blue eyes shining with triumph
well knew we were falling
into our graves
kicked by them
as they counted
It is the sense
that something that was alive
for a very long time
is still alive. Not yet beaten into
by those who kill everything
What that song? I ast. Sound low down dirty to me. Like what the preacher tells you its sin to hear. Not to mention sing.
She hum a little more. Something come to me, she say. Something I made up. Something you help scratch out my head.
The sight of a Black nun strikes their sentimentality; and, as I am unalterably rooted in native ground, they consider me a work of primitive art, housed in a magical color; the incarnation of civilized, anti-heathenism, and the fruit of a triumphing idea.
She thought of how diligently she'd worked to free herself. Difficult because of the shock she was in, discovering she was trapped, captured most of all by possessions.
What make him pull through? I ast
Oh, she say, Harpo made him send you the rest of your sister's letters. Right after that he start to improve. You know meanness kill, she say.
There is always a moment in any kind of struggle when one feels in full bloom. Vivid. Alive. One might be blown to bits in such a moment and still be at peace.
Well, sometime Mr ---- git on me pretty hard. I have to talk to Old Maker. But he my husband. I shrug my shoulders. This life soon be over, I say. Heaven last all ways. You ought to bash Mr ---- head open, she say. Think bout heaven later.
What hurts the most is being misunderstood. They tell me that's an Aquarian trait -- that that's the thing we don't like.
No person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended. Or who belittles in any fashion the gifts you labor so to bring into the world.
I'm always amazed that people will actually choose to sit in front of the television and just be savaged by stuff that belittles their intelligence.
It's so important to unclutter the mind. For me, creativity is greatly impeded just by the chatter and visual clutter of life. It's really important to have a space that is really clear for whatever is emerging to come.
The long-term accommodation that protects marriage and other such relationships is ... forgetfulness.
Love is big; love can hold anger, love can even hold hatred. It's about the intention of what you want it to do.
Helped are those who lose their fear of death; theirs is the power to envision the future in a blade of grass.
First time I got the full sight of Shug Avery long black body with it black plum nipples, look like her mouth, I thought I had turned into a man.
To me war is something to be outgrown, recognized as immature, wasteful, and so destructive to life that human beings should shun it ... as they once shunned bubonic plague.
A writer's heart, a poet's heart, an artist's heart, a musician's heart is always breaking. It is through that broken window that we see the world.
I feel I am a child that's lost its mother. I feel like a calf whose mother has gone off to slaughter.
It's essential that we understand that taking care of the planet will be done as we take care of ourselves. You know that you can't really make much of a difference in things until you change yourself.
The world was almost at the point of forgetting what a fine time people can have helping one another. That people like to work together and to kick back after work and share their experiences. What would happen if our foreign policy centered on the cultivation of joy rather than pain? she thought.
War is a dead end, literally. And, what is more, we simply can't afford it. Not morally, and not financially. How long will it take the citizens of the United States, one wonders, to recognize that the house their country bombed in Iraq is the same one they were living in until it was foreclosed?
I'm getting tired of Harpo, she say. All he think about since us married is how to make me mind. He don't want a wife, he want a dog.
Dear God...I have always been a good girl. Maybe you can give me a sign letting me know what is happening to me.
Humans -- whatever billions we are -- we don't have the control. We are considered expendable, basically.
She standing there looking me straight in the eye. She look tired and her jaws full of air.
I say it's cause I'm a fool, I say. I say it cause I'm jealous of you. I say it cause you do what I can't.
What that? she say.
Fight. I say.
All her young life she has tried to please her father, never quite realizing that, as a girl, she never could.
Even on those days
the news is fully bad.
And all you can do is get out of bed
and failing that
give thanks you have a bed not to get out of.
I imagine good teaching as a circle of earnest people sitting down to ask each other meaningful questions. I don't see it as a handing down of answers.
You really can't be a good artist if you can't say what you really feel. And people may be offended, but, you know, that's how you feel, and that is your right, and that is your gift as well.
What did it mean for a black woman to be an artist in our grandmothers' time? In our great-grandmothers' day? It is an answer cruel enough to stop the blood.
You got to fight them, Celie, she say. I can't do it for you. You got to fight them for yourself. I don't say nothing. I think bout Nettie, dead. She fight, she run away. What good it do? I don't fight, I stay where I'm told. But I'm alive.
Helped are those who live in quietness, knowing neither brand name nor fad; they shall live every day as if in eternity, and each moment shall be as full as it is long.
What I love best about Shug is what she been through, I say. When you look in Shug's eyes you know she been where she been, seen what she seen, did what she did. And now she know.
I'm mad about the waste that happens when people who love each other can't even bring themselves to talk.
Folks crying and fanning and trying to keep a stray eye on the children, but they don't stare at Sofia and her sisters. They act like this the way it always done. I love folks.
Whenever I have knocked, a door has opened. Wherever I have wandered, a path has appeared. I have been helped, supported, encouraged and nurtured by people of all races, creeds, colors and dreams.
The life of my people is to remember forever; each head granary is full. The life of your people is to forget: your thing granaries (museums), and not yourselves, are full.
It's almost unbelievable where we are as a planet because people have been so afraid of rocking the boat, of putting forth what they really believe, and standing with people who need to be stood with.
I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you've found It.
Helped are those who forgive; their reward shall be forgetfulness of every evil done to them. It will be in their power, therefore, to envision the new Earth. -- -- -The Gospel According to Shug.
Be what they do not want:
Be skilled at loving.
Be of good heart.
Be of the world tribe.
How we come into this world, how we are ushered in, met, and hopefully embraced upon arrival, impacts the whole of our time on earth.
The world has changed: it did not change without your prayers without your faith without your determination to believe in liberation and kindness; without your dancing through the years that had no beat.
You a low down dog is what's wrong. It's time to leave you and enter into the creation. And your dead body just the welcome mat I need.
War will stop when we no longer praise it, or give it any attention at all. Peace will come wherever it is sincerely invited.
I am not interested in being a role model, or in fulfilling the expectations of others. I know I am of most use to others and to myself by being this unique self: Nature, I have noticed, is not particularly devoted to copies, and human beings needn't be either.
Well how you spect to make her mind? Wives is like children. You have to let 'em know who got the upper hand. Nothing can do better than a good sound beating. (Walker 2000: 34).
All my life I had to fight... But I never thought I'd have to fight in my own house... I loves Harpo, she say. God knows I do. But I'll kill him dead before I let him beat me.
In each of us, there is a little voice that knows exactly which way to go. And I learned very early to listen to it, even though it has caused so much grief and havoc, and I think that is the only answer.
The good news may be that Nature is phasing out the white man, but the bad news is that's who She thinks we all are.
I had assumed that the Earth, the spirit of the Earth, noticed exceptions-those who wantonly damage it and those who do not. But the Earth is wise. It has given itself into the keeping of all, and all are therefore accountable.
Writing poems is my way of celebrating with the world that I have not committed suicide the evening before.
I don't know if you actually get something out of writing poetry. I think poetry is an autonomous muse that decides to come and sit on your couch.
Honestly, that is the most important thing to me: Can I continue to live up to my own expectations of myself -- and not fall back into slacking?
Helped are those too busy living to respond when they are wrongfully attacked: on their walks they shall find mysteries so intriguing as to distract them from every blow.
As long as the Earth can make a spring every year, I can.
As long as the Earth can flower and produce nurturing fruit, I can, because I'm the Earth. I won't give up until the Earth gives up.
Helped are those whose ever act is a prayer for harmony in the Universe, for they are the restorers of balance to our planet. To them will be given the insight that every good act done anywhere in the cosmos welcomes the life of an animal or a child.
People who work hard often work too hard. ... May we learn to honor the hammock, the siesta, the nap and the pause in all its forms.
It all I can do not to cry. I make myself wood I say to myself, Celie, you a tree. That's how I come to know trees fear man.
America is America. It's a capitalist system. They leaders have enshrined that belief that profit matters more than anything else. The polarization of the society is just the resurfacing of that.
I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it. People think pleasing God is all God cares about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.
For instance: scorpions, vipers, and yellow jackets in paradise? How to accept gracefully the part of GOD that stings!
People will say to you, Oh, you are fearless. That is so not true. We should stop saying that about people. It's a slander, really.
But it ain't easy, trying to do without God even if you know he ain't there, trying to do without him is a strain.
Even with all of the things that are so awful, if you walk into your yard and stay there looking at almost anything for five minutes, you will be stunned by how marvelous life is and how incredibly lucky we are to have it.
The harm that you do to others is the harm that you do to yourself and you cannot think then that you can cause wars in other parts of the world and destroy people and drone them without this having a terrible impact on your own soul and your own consciousness.
'Thank you' is the best prayer that anyone could say.
'Thank you' is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.
Just be what it is that you are, and that is just fine. You don't have to be what you're not in any way. Live that and live that fully, and that is where you discover ecstasy. You can't really have ecstasy as something other than yourself.
All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my uncles. I had to fight my brothers. Girl, child ain't safe in a family of men, but I ain't never thought I had to fight in my own house. I loves Harpo. God knows I do. But I'll kill him dead before I let him beat me.
You don't need organized religion to connect with the universe. Often a church is the only place you can go to find peace and quiet... But it shouldn't be confused with connecting with one's spirit.
We do it because we care. We care that Vincent Van Gogh mutilated his ear. We care that behind a pile of manure in the yard he destroyed his life. We care that Scott Joplin's music lives! We care because we know this: the life we save is our own.
I think us here to wonder, myself. To wonder. To ask. And that in wondering bout the big things and asking bout the big things, you learn about the little ones, almost by accident. But you never know nothing more about the big things than you start out with. The more I wonder, the more I love.
There is a way forward
it is with a broken
but it is our own way
She say, Celie, tell the truth, have you ever found God in church? I never did. I just found a bunch of folks hoping for him to show.
I think I'm led by spirit. I think I'm led by a sense of what is right and what feels good to me -- what I accept, what is joyful, what is positive. I see my mission, in a way, as carrying that forward -- not so much by preaching, but by embodiment.
When life descends into the pit I must become my own candle Willingly burning my self To light up the darkness around me.
It just seems clear to me that as long as we are all here, it's pretty clear that the struggle is to share the planet, rather than divide it.
I know, in my soul, that to eat a creature who is raised to be eaten, and who never has a chance to be a real being, is unhealthy. It's like...you're just eating misery. You're eating a bitter life.
Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn't matter. I'm not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn't make us better, then what on earth is it for.
It is this broken road with pitfalls and sharp turns and unexpected traverses that has brought me joy and adventure.
Helped are those who love the entire cosmos rather than their own tiny country, city, or farm, for to them will be shown the unbroken web of life and the meaning of infinity.
Be nobody's darling; Be an outcast. Take the contradictions of your life and wrap around you like a shawl, to parry stones, to keep you warm.
Be nobody's darling; Be an outcast. Take the contradictions Of your life And wrap around You like a shawl, To parry stones To keep you warm. Watch the people succumb To madness With ample cheer; Let them look askance at you And you askance reply. Be an outcast; Be pleased to walk alone (Uncool) Or line the crowded River beds With other impetuous Fools. Make a merry gathering On the bank Where thousands perished For brave hurt words They said. Be nobody's darling; Be an outcast. Qualified to live Among your dead.
My mother had bought a sewing machine for me. When I went away to college, she gave me a sewing machine, a typewriter and a suitcase, and my mother made $17 a week working as a maid 12 hours a day, and she did that for me.
I gave my archive to Emory University because there's a really dear friend who teaches there, Rudolph Byrd, and he's the editor.
I deeply regret any harm, or any perceived harm, that I may have done to anyone by any behaviour of mine.
I love the women's movement, and I never thought of it as belonging to any particular segment of the population.
I think many people in my community had very different kinds of mothers: they had mothers who acquiesced in the system of male and white-supremacist domination, and my mother never did. She just could not do it. It just wasn't in her.
Howard Zinn was magical as a teacher. Witty, irreverent, and wise, he loved what he was teaching and clearly wanted his students to love it, also.
When I joined the freedom movement in Mississippi in my early 20s, it was to come to the aid of sharecroppers, like my parents, who had been thrown off the land they'd always known -- the plantations -- because they attempted to exercise their 'democratic' right to vote.
We must do everything in our power to cease the behaviour that makes children everywhere feel afraid.
One child must never be set above another, even in casual conversation, not to mention in speeches that circle the globe.
A good model of how to 'work with the enemy' internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet.
We must, all of us, learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise.
Most damage that others do us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion.
I think Americans generally are not used to working very hard, in terms of working for the collective. I think in our country we have taken individualism to its farthest reaches, possibly.
I see myself in all the people in the world who are suffering and who are very badly treated and who are often made to feel that they have no place on this Earth.
I advocate that every woman be a part of a circle, and a circle that meets at least once a month, or if you can't do that, once every two months or every four months.
I live a very secluded life, a very contemplative life and a very meditative one. That is my ideal life.
I know from having had a child, and from having been a child myself, that children will copy you.
I know from having had a child, and from having been a child myself, that children will copy you. So, the best way to get them to read, is to read. The best way to get them to do anything is to do it yourself, and they will absolutely copy you. That way, you don't have to worry about what's supposedly age appropriate, a child will pick something up when the child is ready.
I started writing as a child. But I didn't think of myself actually writing until I was in college. And I had gone to Africa as a sophomore or something -- no, maybe junior -- and wrote a book of poems. And that was my beginning. I published that book.
It's a tragedy, in a way, that Americans are brought up to think that they cannot feel for other people and other beings just because they are different. They think they're different. It's very limiting.
Once you feel loved by the universe, you're already accepted, and you're not really concerned about offending people.
At Sarah Lawrence, I realized that everybody was already what they were going to be. The painters were painting, the writers writing, the dancers dancing. And nobody wore any makeup. The art was uppermost.
Some writers sit down without a thought of what they are going to say, and they go through draft after draft.
You have to give others the opportunity to love who you love. If they don't accept it, it's their loss.
On a spiritual level, it's as though with my sighted eye I see what's before me, and with my unsighted eye I see what's hidden. It's illuminated life more than darkened it.
Part of our tradition as black women is that we are universalists. Black children, yellow children, red children, brown children, that is the black woman's normal, day-to-day relationship. In my family alone, we are about four different colors.
I believe you mother everybody, not in a cloying, hovering way, but taking care of what is around you.