The Art of Integration

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language 
And next year’s words await another voice.”
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets


Quotations are ubiquitous.  Communities dedicated to quotations are thriving across social media channels.  Whether the subject matter relates to business, comedy, fashion or philosophy, there is always a suitable quote that adds an aura of legitimacy and authenticity to the discussion.  Winston Churchill, well-known for his candid wit, once said, “It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.”   My thought is that everyone should read a book of quotations for learning is a life-long quest.  You can always be “more” educated.

I love quotes for they connect me to others, past and present.   Over the years, they have influenced, motivated, and challenged me to see the world from someone else’s perspective.  They have been my invitation to enter a two-way dialogue that requires my involvement.  Only then can I fully integrate the knowledge exchange.  Only then can I add my voice to the conversation that continues to flow through the days, years, centuries.

We lead eventful lives.  In our busyness, it is easy to let others speak for us, thinking they have the superior voice. In doing so, we canonize our lives. May we have the courage to join the dialogue, to offer our thoughts along with others as we move forward in our time line.

Footfalls echo in the memory
down the passage we did not take
towards the door we never opened
into the rose garden. My words echo
thus, in your mind”
T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

37 Replies to “The Art of Integration”

  1. Absolutely beautiful and those verses by T.S. Eliot are remarkable.
    Best regards, Aquileana 😛

    1. Thank you, Aquileana, for your heartwarming comments. Today is World Art Day! Let’s celebrate! 🙂

  2. Lovely post as always, with gemlike quotes, Rebecca. Wonderful photos, I wonder where the first one is from? It looks like a place where I’d love to be right now! 🙂
    Big hug and greetings from the warm and Sunny Rhine Valley

    1. Thank you, Dina! The photos are from our Wales travels last summer. What a wonderful time we had – spectacular scenery, excellent food, generous people! By the way, I just found a couple of books by Paul Auster – “Winter Journal” and “Brooklyn Follies” in audio form. Paul Auster reads his own books. Looking forward to reading them! Thank you again for the recommendation….

      1. I have just read “Winter journal” myself. 🙂 I have never been to Wales, but I hope to get there one fine day. I suppose it ‘s hard to limit oneself, I’d liek to see it all! 🙂
        Have a great new week, Rebecca.

      2. Indeed it is very hard to limit oneself – there is so much to see, read, do, and so very little time. Maybe that is what makes it all the more exciting. This year, the bagpipes are calling….

      3. Really?? May I ask where and when? We’ re there in September… 😃
        ☀️ greetings from Bonn!

      4. How exciting!!!! Destination Scotland!!! We are planning for the last week of August and first week of September!! 🙂

      5. We plan to go to Edinburgh after the last big Bank Holiday in August. 🙂

      6. I will keep in touch!!! Love how the forces of chance and coincidences work… 🙂 🙂 🙂

        “The world is so unpredictable. Things happen suddenly, unexpectedly. We want to feel we are in control of our own existence. In some ways we are, in some ways we’re not. We are ruled by the forces of chance and coincidence.”
        Paul Auster

      7. Good evening, my dear friend Rebecca,
        thanks for your post, great as always! 🙂
        What a pity but we plan to go to Edinburgh a week later. The reason is the August bank holiday in England and Wales on the 25th August. Every year there is big chaos everyewhere because it’s the last big holiday before Christmas and everybody is traveling. As we will come from England by car we avoid the end of August, but there isn’t a bank holiday at the end of August in Scotland (they have it at the beginning of August). And, of course, the last week in August and the first in September everything is more expensive – very high season.
        We would have liked to meet you but maybe another time. I am sure. Why not come to Norfolk next year or when so ever? You are very welcome at our’s.
        I am an Auster fan. I like his style, it’s postmodern reflecting his medium – how to write a text – and at same time his novels are easy to read. Quite often, like in “Moonshine Palace”, you get a little novel within the novel. In some of his work he reminds me on a Gurdjieff teacher I have had years ago.
        I wish you a happy reading 🙂
        Actually Dina just sent me “Sunset Park” and “Winter Journal” – the last two novels of him I hadn’t read yet.
        With a big HUG from Merry Old England

      8. Dear Klausbernd – I started Paul Auster’s “Winter’s Journal” in audio form. It is his voice that is telling the story, richly elegant and full of the breadth and depth of living. I am captivated! And it has come just at the right time for me. I don’t believe in coincidence; it seems that when I need to read or experience something, it comes to me. Perhaps it is merely being open to new ideas and perspectives. It is so easy not to listen to another way, to be fearful of moving in a new direction. And yet, it seems that this is when we are at our very best.

        I see that the bagpipes are calling you as well….

        I want to research Piobaireachd bagpipe music, which is an art music genre associated with the Scottish Highlands. I understand it is closely associated with the Gaelic language, the wire-strung Gaelic harp and the Scottish fiddle. Each piece has a background story. For me, it has a meditative quality. This is one of my favourites!! Big hugs coming back to you from across the way –

      9. Dear Rebecca,
        really interesting! Thanks for this information. I didn’t know anything about the backpipe music and about the Gaelic language neither. After your trip to Scotland you will surely blog about it.
        With lots of love xxx
        Klausbernd and the other 3 of the Fab Four

  3. Language is a communication way of expressing feelings and thoughts; some people are able to use it better than others…
    When you quote, we understand not only a deep knowledge of language but also an emphasis on your feelings and thoughts – and that’s wonderful! And that’s also why your posts (and comments 😉 ) are always so inspiring and constructive.
    Thank you!

    1. Thank you, Ana! Your thoughtful comments are so very much appreciated. I agree, some people are more able to express their thoughts in words, just as some are more able to express their thoughts through painting, music, dance, poetry. Each is a language that offers a way to connect with others. This connection gives significance to our everyday existence, allowing us to expand our horizon, to celebrate our work, to explore our creative talents. It is a powerful force, indeed!!! 🙂

  4. I always love your quotations and how you find a way of connecting them to others. AND I love the way you find connections through your photos as well. This post’s header photo is so beautiful!

    1. Thank you so much, Letizia. I have enjoyed the “quote discussion” because it has allowed me to consider why I use them so often. What I have discovered (and I think that we continue to learn and relearn) is that I do not use them as a substitute for my voice, but rather, as a catalyst for thinking. It is a form of listening to my own thoughts. For example, I am now going to go back to T.S. Eliot and do more research on the “Four Quartets” simply because I read this quote:

      “time past and time future
      what might have been and what has been
      point to one end, which is always present.”

      T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

    1. Ever since I read “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” when I was in high school, I have had a fascination for T.S. Eliot. I’m going to go back and revisit him. I understand that he and C.S. Lewis did not like each other’s work, even though they held each other in high esteem. There is always a great story!!!!

  5. Firstly as you would expect I must comment on the image – Lovely image which lead you right around the bay amplified by an excellent T S Elliot quote and and sound advice life is an endless journey of opportunity and learning – a view I agree with wholeheartedly.

    1. Thank you, Scott for your support and encouragement! I do not consider myself a “photographer” but rather one who wants to remember through the lens of a camera. Since going through my father’s photos that date back to the 1930’s and 1940’s. I was reminded that photos are a witness to a time that has passed. To me, photos bring back the very moment when I “clicked.” What has come as a surprise is that I have a greater interest in other people’s photos because they offer a view into their world.

      By the way, we are off to a Scottish Ceilidh tonight. There will be Gaelic singing and Piobaireachd bagpipes. The bagpipes are calling…

  6. Hi Rebecca:

    I like the title of your post” the art of integration” . I ponder about the term Integration. What does it mean in today’s world? What is the implication? In the U.S. which is made up of immigrants ( anyone who is not natives American is an immigrant or descendent of an immigrant.) . Should these immigrants be expected to mix with everyone in a melting pot? Or should they be respected as an individual with his own cultures and traditions? SF has a diverse population. We as service providers observe and respect different cultures, background and languages. So how can we integrate into the American society without losing our own racial identity and our own heritage? Indeed we need to know the “art” of integration and to be respectful of individualism, cultural diversity….etc. Thank you for a thought-stimulatiing post! It gives us the opportunity to initiate some critical thinking.
    THANK you!

    1. A very interesting perspective and one that is near and dear to my heart. There has always been movement and migration throughout history. Sometimes we think that we invented the word “global” but in many respects humanity has always been global. There is a subtle difference between “assimilation” where people “of different backgrounds come to see themselves as part of a larger national family. and “integration” which suggests coordinating separate elements so as to provide a harmonious, interrelated whole.” (definitions taken from the on-line dictionaries).

      I believe that we are stronger in diversity and that we must support and respect cultures. To do this, we must celebrate and acknowledge that we have much to share. Thank you, my dear friend, for adding depth to this dialogue.

  7. I think a book of quotes is much a like an anthology of poetry or a collection of essays. If you like each piece/quote, you are inclined to find out more. It’s a reference point to another experience, as well as something to be appreciated/or not, as is.

    1. How well said. It is taking the step beyond the words to find the meaning, the context, the voice. Perhaps it is the story-telling aspect that resonates and allows us to add to our experience. Thank you so much for adding to my understanding…

  8. While I appreciate happening across an interesting quote, or pondering those gems that you post :), reading an entire book of quotes by famous people does not interest me at all. I think it’s because I’m tired of the famous being worshipped. Also, if someone adopts a thought by someone else, they might not be motivated to formulate their own. These days, I prefer to listen to the wisdom of the “little people” or my own inner voice. Or the wisdom of just plain silence. 😉

    1. The wisdom of silence is indeed compelling, especially in a world full of noise and confusing messages. As for a book of quotes -well, I confess that I can only read a little at a time because quotes prompt me to more research. There is simply not enough time to learn everything, but it is rather fun trying…

      The inherent risk of quotations is that we honour another voice above our own, thereby limiting possibilities and opportunities to engage.

      Your visits are very much appreciated. Thank you for adding depth and breadth to this discussion…

      1. I can imagine that it must be maddening to have your reading cut off by your curiosity. 😉 Did you ever get a hold of Maiden Voyages? I’d love to hear your take on it.

      2. I am delighted to report that I found Maiden Voyages!!!! Through the Vancouver Public Library. I have placed a hold on in and it should be in my possession within the next week or so. I also found it on Amazon, where it is available for Kindle. Love this new technology!!! I have added it to my 2014 Reading List.

    1. Thank you so much!! I have yet to fully understand T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets.” There is a poignancy that draws me…

      “We shall not cease from exploration
      And the end of all our exploring
      Will be to arrive where we started
      And know the place for the first time.”

      T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

      1. Yes… that is what struck me as well. i want to know more because i am sure there is more to tell. as always, much love. xox

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