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This is the Brain Pickings midweek pick-me-up: Once a week, I plunge into my fourteen-year archive and choose something worth resurfacing and resavoring as timeless nourishment for heart, mind, and spirit. (If you don’t yet subscribe to the standard Sunday newsletter of new pieces published each week, you can sign up here — it’s free.) If you missed last week’s edition — John Steinbeck on good and evil, the necessary contradictions of our humanity, and our grounds for lucid hope — you can catch up right here. And if you find any solace, joy, and value in my labor of love, please consider supporting it with a donation – over these fourteen years, I have spent tens of thousands of hours and tremendous resources on Brain Pickings, and every little bit of support helps keep it – keep me – going. If you already donate: THANK YOU.FROM THE ARCHIVE | Vincent van Gogh on Art and the Power of Love in Letters to His Brother“You can only go with loves in this life,” Ray Bradbury memorably proclaimed. Whether love be bewitching or tormenting, whether pondered by the poets or scrutinized by the scientists, one thing is for certain — it is art’s most powerful and enduring muse, fuel for the creative process more potent than anything the world has known. A poignant testament to this, and a fine addition to history’s most beautiful reflections on love, comes from the visionary Vincent van Gogh (March 30, 1853–July 29, 1890) in My Life & Love Are One (public library) — a slim 1976 treasure that traces “the magic and melancholy of Vincent van Gogh” by culling his thoughts on love, art, and turmoil from his letters to his brother Theo, which were originally published in 1937 as the hefty tome Dear Theo: The Autobiography of Vincent van Gogh. The title comes from a specific letter written during one of the painter’s periods of respite from mental illness, in which he professes to his brother: “Life has become very dear to me, and I am very glad that I love. My life and my love are one.”In one letter, Van Gogh extols the grounding, self-soothing quality of love’s intrinsic wisdom:2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngEveryone who works with love and with intelligence finds in the very sincerity of his love for nature and art a kind of armor against the opinions of other people.It was certainly an armor he needed — he lived his life in poverty, and the residents of the town where he settled in his final years petitioned to have him evicted from the artist commune he shared with Paul Gauguin and two other artists, on account of his madness. He soon moved into an asylum, where he continued to paint. Another letter to Theo rings with the paradoxical poignancy of desperation and resilience:2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngWhat am I in the eyes of most people? A good-for-nothing, an eccentric and disagreeable man, somebody who has no position in society and never will have. Very well, even if that were true, I should want to show by my work what there is in the heart of such an eccentric man, of such a nobody.vangogh.jpg?zoom=2&w=680‘Self-Portrait with Straw Hat’ by Vincent van Gogh, winter 1887/1888And what a heart it was. In a different letter, Vincent relays to Theo the consciousness-expanding capacity of love — which Kierkegaard so eloquently captured — at the dawn of a new love affair:2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngSince the beginning of this love I have felt that unless I gave myself up to it entirely, without any restriction, with all my heart, there was no chance for me whatever, and even so my chance is slight. But what is it to me whether my chance is slight or great? I mean, must I consider this when I love? No, no reckoning; one loves because one loves. Then we keep our heads clear, and do not cloud our minds, nor do we hide our feelings, nor smother the fire and light, but simply say: Thank God, I love.To be sure, Van Gogh has the prudence to recognize that friendship is at least as great a gift as romantic love. In another letter, he tells Theo:2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngDo you know what frees one from this captivity? It is every deep serious affection. Being friends, being brothers, love, these open the prison by supreme power, by some magic force. Where sympathy is renewed, life is restored.And in another still:2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngLove a friend, love a wife, something, whatever you like, but one must love with a lofty and serious intimate sympathy, with strength, with intelligence, and one must always try to know deeper, better, and more.This all-inclusive approach to love — this casting of a wide net of affections — is something Van Gogh believed wholeheartedly, and something Ray Bradbury would come to echo a century and a half later in telling aspiring writers, “I want your loves to be multiple.” Vincent writes to Theo:2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngIt is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done!And later:2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngThe best way to know God is to love many things.Van Gogh sees the human capacity for love as integral to the creative process:2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngIn order to work and to become an artist one needs love. At least, one who wants sentiment in his work must in the first place feel it himself, and live with his heart.secretmuseum_vangogh1.jpg?zoom=2&w=680Van Gogh’s first sketchbook from The Secret MuseumIndeed, it is this capacity for love — for living from one’s heart — that sustains the artist through struggle and rejection. In another letter, Van Gogh writes:2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngI believe more and more that to work for the sake of the work is the principle of all great artists: not to be discouraged even though almost starving, and though one feels one has to say farewell to all material comfort.For Van Gogh, this heart-first approach to art and life was the root of all that is worthy. In another letter to Theo, he articulates what might well be his deepest underlying credo:2e292385-dc1c-4cfe-b95e-845f6f98c2ec.pngDo you know that it is very, very necessary for honest people to remain in art? Hardly anyone knows that the secret of beautiful work lies to a great extent in truth and sincere sentiment.Though long out of print, surviving copies of My Life & Love Are One are still findable and very much worth the hunt. Complement it with a peek inside Van Gogh’s never-before-revealed sketchbooks, then revisit Susan Sontag on love.FORWARD TO A FRIEND/READ ONLINE/donating=lovingEvery week since 2006, I have been pouring tremendous time, thought, love, and resources into Brain Pickings, which remains free and is made possible by patronage. If you find any joy and solace in my labor of love, please consider supporting it with a donation. And if you already donate, from the bottom of my heart: THANK YOU. (If you’ve had a change of heart or circumstance and wish to rescind your support, you can do so at this link.)monthly donationYou can become a Sustaining Patron with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a Brooklyn lunch. one-time donationOr you can become a Spontaneous Supporter with a one-time donation in any amount.Partial to Bitcoin? You can beam some bit-love my way: 197usDS6AsL9wDKxtGM6xaWjmR5ejgqem7RELATED READING:Gauguin’s Stirring First-Hand Account of What Actually Happened the Night Van Gogh Cut off His Own Ear* * *Legendary Cellist Pablo Casals, at Age 93, on Creative Vitality and How Working with Love Prolongs Your Life* * *Nicole Krauss’s Beautiful Letter to Van Gogh on Fear, Bravery, and How to Break the Loop of Our Destructive PatternsALSO:Vintage Science Face Masks Benefiting the Nature Conservancy

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1-Sentence-Summary: You’ll See It When You Believe It shows you how to discover your true, best self by revealing how to use the power of your mind to find peace with yourself, the people around you, and the universe.

Read in: 4 minutes

Favorite quote from the author:

You'll See It When You Believe It Summary

Self-improvement is a popular topic these days. It makes sense, too. we’d all like to become happier, slimmer, and better all around. Unfortunately, as you’re well aware, even though you put in the work, it doesn’t usually lead to fulfillment.

But that’s not your fault. It’s simply a matter of focusing on changing the wrong things. The truth is, you can’t be significantly happier just by getting a toned body or a new job.

Trying to change your life with these external sources of happiness won’t work. That’s because real joy comes from within yourself. The personal growth you seek really begins with changing your mind.

Wayne Dyer’s book You’ll See It When You Believe It: The Way to Your Personal Transformation will teach you every step you need to make this metamorphosis happen. It teaches how to let go of what’s holding you back and tap into the true source of change for the better.

Let’s learn as much as we can from Dr. Dyer in just 3 lessons:

  1. For true self-improvement, focus on changing your mind instead of your outward appearance or lifestyle.
  2. Your thoughts are the gateway to making your biggest dreams become reality.
  3. Break the invisible and false boundaries you set for yourself by believing that your achievements have no limits.

Are you excited for a new, more fulfilling life? Let’s dig right in and get to discovering how to make it happen!If you want to save this summary for later, download the free PDF and read it whenever you want.

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Lesson 1: Forget about changing your lifestyle or appearance, true self-improvement comes from expanding your mind.

Most people get excited about changing themselves every year and set goals. Usually, that means trying to get healthier. Just consider how just mentioning the word “goals,” makes you think of weight loss.

This leads to gyms full of people trying to lose weight or get fit, at least for a couple of weeks. When we do this, we not only fail to reach our desired result, we also fail to focus on the most important part of improving ourselves-our mind.

When I say “think of a person” you consider the sight of their body, right? But if we only think of people as a group of bones and organs, everyone is exactly the same. The reality is, we’re each far more than what we can see with the eye.

Your body is only 1% of who you are. You can’t see, touch, or smell the 99% of your personality that’s made up of your thoughts and feelings. This is the only place where true, deep, and lasting personal development is possible.

Instead of trying to set goals to go to the gym more often, look for ways you can take your mind for a daily workout. Trying to improve your thoughts will have a far greater impact on the growth you’re looking for.

There will always be a limit to how fast you can run or how much weight you can lose. But the potential progress within your higher consciousness has no bounds.

Lesson 2: To make your biggest dreams become reality, focus first on nourishing your thoughts.

Look around you. What do you see? Where do you live? What are you doing every day? Take a close look and consider it all. Everything you have, do, and are, is the result of a thought you once had. 

Your career, for example, is the result of a thought you had to pick a certain major in college. You had the idea to apply for the job you’re in, which is why you’re there. 

The root of all life experiences and changes is thoughts. If you want a different life, one where your wildest dreams are reality, you need to focus on improving your thinking. Doing that takes just a few simple steps. 

First, identify how everything you can do will originate from a thought first. The vision you create in your brain is the beginning of getting what you want. So focus on what you desire.

The next step is to start believing that everything you need to make your desired future happen already exists. It’s all there, you only need to discover how to use it.

After that, will your thoughts to become reality. You need the resolve to move or quit your job, for instance.

Last comes letting go of the fear of failure. Realize that as long as you’re willing to work for the future you want, you can never fail.

Lesson 3: Believe that your achievements have no limits to break through your invisible boundaries and reach your full potential.

Would you say that you’re dedicating your life to what you love? The sad truth is that your job probably isn’t something you’re crazy about. It only places limits on what you can do, wear, and become. 

Your job restricts your freedom, and that’s no fun. But how did you get here in the first place?

The problem is that you have a scarcity mindset. This means focusing only on what you lack in life instead of what you have. 

One of the most common manifestations of this mentality is in phrases like “I’ll be happier when I have [blank].” You can probably already think of something you’re filling in that blank with, whether it’s money, time, or something else.

The job you’re in makes you unhappy because you have a scarcity mindset around money, for example. You’re simply afraid you won’t have enough financial security without your awful job, so you keep it and limit yourself.

Stop limiting what you can achieve with a scarcity mindset. Instead, have an abundance mentality by focusing on the endless possibilities around you.

Recognize that the universe is infinite and so is your mind. Nothing is impossible, and all it takes is belief to make your dream life become a reality.

Start by being grateful for everything you have. You’ll soon realize that there isn’t much scarcity in your life, so you might as well start focusing on abundance!

You’ll See It When You Believe It Review

I love books about the power we all have to build a happy, fulfilling life with just our minds. You’ll See It When You Believe It is a powerful reminder of how real joy in life comes from within, not outside ourselves. I’m excited to start using the principles I learned in this book to make every day more exciting and productive!

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Who would I recommend the You’ll See It When You Believe It summary to?

The 57-year-old who watches too much news and bases their happiness on world events, the 31-year-old that tries to improve themselves but doesn’t ever feel fulfilled, and anyone that wants some inspiration to get up and change their life.

The post You’ll See It When You Believe It Summary appeared first on Four Minute Books.Keep learning,
-Nik

If- by Rudyard Kipling


If—

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

If— BY RUDYARD KIPLING


If—

BY RUDYARD KIPLING

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,

And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

W.O.T.D.


WORD OF THE DAY
Terraqueous
ter-AY-kwee-əs
Part of speech: adjectiveOrigin: 
Latin, mid 17th century
1Consisting or formed of land and water.
 
Examples of Terraqueous in a sentence “The terraqueous landscaping gave the garden an otherworldly atmosphere. ” “She had to step very carefully while navigating the terraqueous path.”