Sunday, April 5, 2009

From The Intimate Journal of George Sand

Year: 1836
"When mental sickness increases until it reaches the danger point, do not exhaust yourself by efforts to trace back to original causes. Better accept them as inevitable and save your strength to fight against the effects.

"Try to find the immediate daily causes of these crises, Observe what you are doing or thinking to bring them on. In that way you may prevent them, or at least diminish their force.

"When your mental state is normal, try to realize that the delirium is bound to recur. Then when you are delirious, strengthen yourself by the certainty that you will recover your mental poise.

"Do not allow yourself to be the dupe of your sick state of mind.

"Take care of your bodily health. Eat little at a time and eat often. If your body is accustomed to tonics, take them faithfully. If you are not used to them, do not acquire the habit.

"Do not allow yourself to cry. Tears are debilitating. They are followed by exhaustion and other extreme reactions. The only tears that should not be restrained are those of tenderness and compassion.

"Above all, above everything, never give way to feelings of anger and vengeance. They are wasteful expenditures of strength."

"Human nature is fundamentally good. Yet in spite of our natural goodness, there are times of stress when we are possessed by rage, and we imagine that by yielding to pent-up emotion, we relieve the intensity of our suffering."

"The truth is that anger creates anger, just as tears produce more tears. Good and evil cannot be eradicated from our natures. But we can, if we will, repress the evil and express the good.

"When vengeance has been overcome by mercy, the softened mood that follows brings a tranquil happiness that is the recompense of victory. It comes from God. Let us accept it and have no fear that we may feel it to excess.

"Alas, how seldom we give ourselves the pleasure of rejoicing in ourselves.

"Without counting too much upon our strength, we must be confident that strength is in us.

"Pray often and humbly, with hope but no certainty that prayer will be answered. For prayer that is merely a demand is no more praiseworthy than the impulse to drink when we are thirsty.

"Who has not desired intensely to be delivered from suffering? Who has not cried out in agony: Lord, Lord, hear my prayer! Is mere distress reason enough to be heard? If answer to prayer were automatic, we would never allow ourselves to suffer. There would be no reason for doubt and no merit in faith.

"God is not a force outside of us. Nor is He a shining luminary lifted above the skies. Nor is He, in any special sense, the consecrated bread in the chalice of gold.

"God is the sun and the skies and the gold of the chalice. He is the bread. He is all the elements of earth. He is the heart of man. He is in us and outside of us. We are in him and never outside of Him. He is universal spirit. He reveals Himself in man, whom He animates with His breath and whom He sometimes enfolds in His love.

"Seek God in man, for as we seek Him there, the more transparent the veil of flesh becomes and the more perfectly we learn to find Him there.

"But we seek Him so seldom and so stupidly that we lose all consciousness of God and of ourselves.

"If we hold ourselves receptive to the life of spirit, we shall sometimes feel in the depths of our being that mysterious closeness of self and not-self which attests the presence of God in man.

"Forgive, forgive the one who has injured you, for the time may come when you will do your own soul an even greater injury, and you may not be able to forgive yourself.

"Do not despise weakness in a fellow-being, for you who are strong to-day may awake to-morrow to find yourself weaker than your friend.

"Our heaped-up wisdom is not a permanent dwelling place in which we may safely go to sleep. It is a temporary abode in which it behooves us to keep awake, for every day that passes sees at least one stone fall away from the walls we have builded, and at the slightest wind the entire edifice may crumble to the ground.

"We do not know what awaits u. Let us learn, then, to dominate the present, or we shall not be able to endure what the future will bring."

George Sand (1804-1876) was an amazing author, personality, and all-around woman. She earned as much notoriety for her Bohemian lifestyle as for her written work. Born Aurore Dupin, she was the most famous woman writer in 19th-century France. A prolific and iconoclastic author of novels, stories, plays, essays, and memoirs, she represented the epitome of French romantic idealism. She demanded for women the freedom in living that was a matter of course to the men of her day. George's first independent novel, Indiana, the story of an unhappy wife who struggles to free herself from the imprisonment of marriage (explicitly called a form of slavery), made her an overnight celebrity. Subsequent novels, such as Valentine and LĂ©lia, astounded readers with their frank exploration of women's sexual feelings and their passionate call for women's freedom to find emotional satisfaction. In the eyes of many critics, George's masterpiece is her autobiography. Though she was a brilliant writer, she was perhaps most famous for her personality and lifestyle.

Quotes by George Sand:

• "Liszt said to me today that God alone deserves to be loved. It may be true, but when one has loved a man it is very different to love God."

• "One is happy as a result of one's own efforts, once one knows the necessary ingredients of happiness — simple tastes, a certain degree of courage, self denial to a point, love of work, and, above all, a clear conscience. Happiness is no vague dream, of that I now feel certain."

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