Quotes: Quiet Your Mind and Follow Your Heart

I will not die an unlived life.

I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.

I choose to inhabit my days to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible,

… to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. ~Dawna Markova

If you’ve been reading this blog for long, you know that I love quotes! I’m always thrilled to find a small kernel of eternal truth that has been boiled down to just a few memorable words. That’s not a common skill and so finding a quote that truly moves you is a wonderful thing. I would go so far as to say that it can be life-changing and life-guiding tool. At least it has been that way for me.

The quote above is my all-time favorite quote and the one that has changed my life more than any other. For the next few Sundays I want to talk about it line-by-line and see if maybe you can’t find some value in it as well, but in today’s post I want to talk about how I use a quote to guide and change my life.

I am a person who has always lived in my head and compulsively overthinks everything. There is nothing wrong with being wise and thinking things through, but most of my life I’ve lived so much in my head that I lost all connection to my heart or my instincts. I believe that is true of many of us in modern society.

Are you living a balanced life? Do you follow your heart or your head?

Are you living a balanced life? Do you follow your heart or your head?

Each of us is born with basic instincts given to us by evolution, nature and God. We have them to lead and guide us into a long and successful life by helping us to avoid danger and finding the things that are good for us in life. But 10,000 years ago we abandoned our hunter-gather ways and adapted agriculture as a lifestyle. The result was the rise of civilization and cities and our near total disconnection with nature and our roots.

The problem is you can’t just walk away from millions of years of evolution and not expect there to be unexpected consequences. For all those millions of years of human, pre-human and primate evolution we were totally reliant on our:

  • Senses
  • Instincts
  • Connection with Each Other
  • Connection to Earth and Nature
  • Imagination and Creativity

I believe that the sum total of those things is an undefinable something that we commonly call our “heart” or “soul”; the thing that makes us Human Beings. We evolved over millions of years to have that “soul” dominate and control our lives–and that has NOT changed in the last 10,000 years of the development of civilization.

We still have that same heart and soul our ancestors took so long to evolve but most of us use it so little that it has atrophied and we’ve lost touch with it. I’m one of those people. I live so much in my head that my instincts, senses, heart and soul have withered and shriveled from lack of use. But humans aren’t intended to live by their intellect alone without the heart and soul. Our minds are too puny and limited to be adequate guides to a full and satisfying life.

Civilization has taken over guiding our lives for us and has set up rules and regulations for us to live by so they determine the quality of our lives and not we ourselves. As we try to live by our minds–which are controlled by society–the inevitable result is a miserable life.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”- Commonly attributed to Albert Einstein

You may write in and tell me how great civilization and science is, but the facts tell a different story. The consequences of our choice to live in our head and the resulting complete disconnection to nature, heart and soul are rampant in society:

  • Depression (and prescriptions for anti-depressants) are at epidemic levels.
  • Alcoholism and drug addiction are rampant.
  • We are the safest people who ever lived, and yet most of us live in constant, neurotic fear.
  • Diseases caused by stress are killing us.
  • Suicide (especially among the young) is increasing.
  • Family and marriage is breaking down and we are becoming incredibly isolated and alienated from each other.

Many of us who avoid those tragedies are still living lives of quiet desperation, enduring life and not enjoying it.


A long time ago I made the decision I had no choice but to change my life. Life as I had been living it was no longer tolerable and it had to change or I wasn’t going to survive. I got involved in a program that gave me a specific plan and program to live my life by and the cornerstone of putting it in place was simple, short sayings that I was to live my life by. Because I was desperate for change, and I believed this program would work, I tried it. I started using these simple sayings to guide and direct my life.

When my mind went crazy and the committee in my head started to fight and argue and drive me crazy, I simply turned to a simple little saying and refused to listen to anything else my pea-brain had to say about it. After doing everything I could for a year to reject my brain and live by my heart and soul, I was a changed man. I was totally changed.

As a result, I developed these little sayings for myself that are now the underpinnings of my life:

  • I’m not smart enough to run my own life.
  • Every bad thing in my life came from me. Every good thing in my life came from a Higher Power.
  • I don’t know much, and most of what I think I know is wrong.
  • The more certain I am that I am right, the more likely that I am totally wrong.
  • I can be right, or I can be happy. I can rarely be both.

After many years of repeating those ideas to myself, I have come to believe at a deep level that I can’t trust myself or my thoughts; instead I try to trust the collective wisdom of the human race. That’s a lofty sounding idea, but how could I make it practical in my life? I decided to keep doing what had worked up till then and use timeless, proven quotes that spoke deeply to my heart. When I am unsure of my course, or which way to go, I pull out a trusted quote or an example of someone I have confidence in and follow them.

For example, the idea of jumping out of an airplane was planted in my mind when I read of President Bush skydiving on his 70th, 75th and 80th birthdays. Then when the day came that I was standing in hanger and I either signed up to jump or I didn’t, I pulled out this, my favorite quote:

“I Will Not Die An Unlived Life.”

This little quote says in a seven profound words a truth that many volumes of books have been written about (Elizabeth Kubler-Ross built a career on finally revealing this truth to civilized people who had lost it). It is a truth that I think is the single most important truth humans can have and yet most modern people refuse to face. With this quote ringing in my ears, I signed up to return the next day and jump out of an airplane.

I don’t know what quotes you should use, only you can decide that, but I do believe that your life will be improved if you would find some quotes that inspire, motivate and empower you to a fuller life. I recommend this quote to each of you, and in the next few posts we’ll explore it’s powerful meaning together.

I will not die an unlived life.

I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.

I choose to inhabit my days to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible,

… to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. ~Dawna Markova



I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.