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Alexandra Stoddard

  • Life is not a dress rehearsal. Instead of rushing through our lives to get somewhere — instead of saving up real living for after — I think it's important to remember that each single day is all we have. Single days experienced fully add up to a lifetime lived deeply and well.

  • We learn about others when we are with them; when we are alone and silent we discover things about ourselves.

  • Creating daily rituals — making daily tasks into times of enrichment through planning and special personal details — is a way to live a richer, more satisfying life. ... I've become convinced that only by paying careful attention to the simple details of daily tasks and to our immediate surroundings can we live vitally and beautifully all the days of our lives.

  • A diary helps build up the muscles of your personality.

  • Puttering is really a time to be alone, to dream and to get in touch with yourself. ... To putter is to discover.

  • The bed is our ultimate security blanket.

  • Sharing is a habit; it improves with practice.

  • Memories are fifty percent of life!

  • Creating meaningful personal rituals throughout the day eliminates the dullness of routine, enriches and elevates the events of our lives and at the same time comforts us.

  • Rituals create moments where living becomes art.

  • There are no beginnings or endings, only movement.

  • All creativity is based on trial and error. Take chances. Extend yourself. Dare.

  • Style is the outward expresion of your inner self.

  • When you are genuine, you are never wrong.

  • Unlike a scheduled visit or a letter you can read at your leisure, a telephone call is always an interruption.

  • Look at a problem as an opportunity, not a disaster.

  • Leisure is to life what water is to fish.

  • An inspired letter can be as riveting as a stare. It can move us to tears, spur us to action, provoke us, uplift us, touch us. Transform us. When written from the heart, letters are dreams on paper, wishes fulfilled, desires satisfied. Letters can be powerful.

  • Unlike the phone, a letter is never an interruption. A letter doesn't require immediate attention; it can be saved for the appropriate time and place and savored.

  • What a treat to receive a letter from a friend! Eighteenth century revived! When I do find one, I hold my treasure lightly and wait until I have a quiet moment alone before I open it. I hate to dilute the anticipation and appreciation of someone's thoughts and feelings by facing them when I'm distracted. Someone has taken time to focus on me, even if only for a moment. I feel touched and want to savor the all-too-rare experience.

  • Letter writing allows us to be alone yet connected.

  • Once you know the difference between all right and exceptional, all right no longer seems good enough.

  • Nature teaches us that beauty doesn't have straight lines and everything bends and moves in graceful ways. When we act naturally we are never awkward nor do we make fools of ourselves.

  • We all have neighbors. Greet them on the sidewalk or in the elevator, but try not to peer through their windows. Windows are to look out from, not into.

  • You will have energy to burn once you pursue your enthusiasms with passion.

  • We gain energy by expending energy. We have to use our lifetime as we go along. Each day offers a wealth of opportunity for more vitality, more heart.

  • We gain energy from being free to do those things we chose to do. We never tire when we are working on our projects. Energy is emotional to a large degree.

  • ... to make real choices is never painless. Whether to have fish or chicken for dinner is not a choice. ... choices are not preferences. Choices are serious and often have significant repercussions.

  • Procrastination results in apathy, discouragement, and depression.

  • There is no magic tomorrow; we can think things through rationally today.

  • Realism, never perfection, is the key to wise choice-making.

  • We will never lose if we define and redefine ourselves after each failure.

  • Both as a technique and an art, 'no' lies at the heart of an effective personality.

  • Once you have decided what you wish to do, what you believe is the right thing under the circumstances, 'no' allows you to weed out what is redundant, excessive, inappropriate, or conflicting.

  • It is what I don't do that gives me the freedom to do what I wish.

  • ... it's much easier to get yourself into something than to get out of it ...

  • We don't choose our parents, but once we've become adults we have the choice of how we are going to react to them.

  • Anger toward a mother or a father, no matter how excusable, ultimately becomes an expression of self-loathing.

  • There is never a perfect choice but there are wise and wonderful and sensible choices.

  • Our choices tell our story.

  • Tea. Say the word and begin to breathe deeply.

  • Tea provides us with one gate to the infinite.

  • Tea is a way to live more deliberately.

  • Tea helps a soul to ripen.

  • Tea is a blessing in disguise.

  • Technology, while providing us many advantages, encourages us to race through our days so that we no longer know what we'd do if we were to slow down. Labor-saving devices seem not only to have failed to enhance the quality of our lives and free up more time, but get between us and the immediate, sensory pleasure of life and increase the pressures on us to do more. Many of us feel cut off from life's blessings, from our neighbors, from the wonders of nature, and from a sense of our own significance in the scheme of things. Modern life leaves us feeling spiritually starved.

  • ... there is a generosity of spirit in a village often missing when the human scale is lost.

  • Village life is rich in meaning because everything that happens with it is of consequence. A loss to one is a loss to all.

  • Village life has an intimate scale. Here people feel connected, knowing that they matter to each other.

  • Today, we have less and less of a sense that people count; we have greater respect for technology than for the people who create it.

  • ... there is no problem that doesn't have within it the seeds for its solution.

  • Thanks to technology and labor-saving devices, the easier things are to do, the more compelled we are to cram in more.

  • ... though we can populate our kitchens with more gadgets than ever before, fewer and fewer people today are sitting down to a home-cooked meal.

  • When an object is made by skilled hands, it has a soul that is felt.

  • Home is our little corner of eternity.

  • Art is about human growth. Keeping this growth process alive in ourselves both by making art and by looking at art is a wonderful way to keep us alive to life and to deepen its meaning.

  • Real life has a tendency to interfere with our drive to be efficient.

  • In solitude, we're liberated to be the persons we truly are ...

  • Family is the source of life's most profound blessings.

  • Rituals are a wonderful way to build a sense of continuity.

  • Respect for each other is at the heart of maintaining balance in a family. If we cannot accept each other's ways we risk losing each other entirely.

  • I used to think if I love someone, they feel it. Now, I've come to discover, no one feels loved enough. By telling someone you love them, over and over, this has an accumulative power.

  • Celebrations enlarge my capacity for joy.

  • Traveling is a feast for the senses.

  • Color is spirit made visible.

  • How we use time defines us.

  • Of all the qualities of a gracious life, appreciation is the most essential. When we're conscious of all the good and beautiful things and people in our lives, not judging, but living in continuous gratitude, we're free to connect with the great, timeless truth. When we show appreciation, we're recognizing the divinity within us, our true identity.

  • We never outgrow our love for presents.

    • Alexandra Stoddard
  • Home can and should be the place where we get in touch with our individuality, our true nature. Home can and should be a place where we regularly experience our most sublime emotions.

  • Our home is an autobiography, a journal, a scrapbook of our past, our present, and future dreams.

  • If we love our objects and they bring us emotional comfort, they are no longer inanimate.

  • Art gives our daily lives significance.

  • Although I believe all ways of knowledge are important, I favor intuition because it is pure, direct, and true.

  • The only perfection on earth is the perfection of the present moment.

Alexandra Stoddard, U.S. writer, interior designer, lifestyle philosopher

Full name: Alexandra Johns Stoddard.