I first read May Sarton’s journal in the early 80s. I recently reread it and being now closer to the age she was when she wrote it, I had a deeper and richer experience this time. As with all great works of art, they stand the test of time and this is most definitely in that category. Here are but a few of the gems that resonated for me:
It is only when we can believe that we are creating the soul that life has any meaning, but when we can believe it—and I do and always have—then there is nothing we do that is without meaning and nothing that we suffer that does not hold the seed of creation in it.
Here I am at fifty-eight and in this past year I have only begun to understand what loving is … forced to my knees again and again like a gardener planting bulbs or weeding, so that I may once more bring a relationship to flower, keep it truly alive.
If we are to understand the human condition, and if we are to accept ourselves in all the complexity, self-doubt, extravagance of feeling, guilt, joy, the slow freeing of the self to its full capacity for action and creation, both as human being and as artist, we have to know all we can about each other, and we have to be willing to go naked.
For of course one is never safe when in love. Growth is demanding and may seem dangerous, for there is loss as well as gain in growth. But why go on living if one has ceased to grow? And what more demanding atmosphere for growth than love in any form, than any relationship which can call out and requires of us our most secret and deepest selves?
The most valuable thing we can do for the psyche, occasionally, is to let it rest, wander, live in the changing light of a room, not try to be or do anything whatever.
We are aware of God only when we cease to be aware of ourselves, not in the negative sense of denying the self, but in the sense of losing self in admiration and joy.
… if one does not have wild dreams of achievement, there is no spur even to get the dishes washed. One must think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being.
I suppose I have written novels to find out what I thought about something and poems to find out what I felt about something.