Art in Action: A Dozen Quotes on What Real Strength Is

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Art in Action is a weekly post: a simple, practical guide to applying the ideas and principles in the Focus Pocus posts to your body and life. As always, I love to hear from you about how you use them and how you translate the ideas into action.

In my post, What is Strong?, I suggest that embodied strength is a combination of cultivating and valuing a variety of skills, balance and easeful transition, and kind treatment of the most vulnerable. Below are 12 quotes to inspire you to expand your idea of strength.

1. Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go. ~ Hermann Hesse

2. Only the weak are cruel. Gentleness can only be expected from the strong. ~ Leo Buscaglia
2a. There is nothing so strong as gentleness, and nothing so gentle as strength. ~ Leo Muir

3. True strength is delicate. ~ Louise Berliawsky Nevelson

4. The quality of strength lined with tenderness is an unbeatable combination…. ~ Maya Angelou

5. If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once a week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would have thus been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature. ~ Charles Darwin

6. Patience and time do more than strength or passion. ~ Jean De La Fontaine

7. The very strength that protects the heart from injury is the strength that prevents the heart from enlarging to its intended greatness within. ~ Kahlil Gibran

8. By nature we have no defect that could not become a strength, no strength that could not become a defect. ~ Goethe

9. He knows not his own strength that hath not met adversity. ~ Ben Jonson

10. Although men are accused of not knowing their own weakness, yet perhaps few know their own strength. It is in men as in soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold which the owner knows not of. ~ Jonathan Swift

11. Where there is no struggle, there is no strength. ~ Oprah Winfrey

12. We can learn the art of fierce compassion – redefining strength, deconstructing isolation and renewing a sense of community, practicing letting go of rigid us-vs.-them thinking – while cultivating power and clarity in response to difficult situations. ~ Sharon Salzberg

What are your favorite quotes about strength? Share them in the comments below or at the Focus Pocus Facebook page.


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