Anaïs Nin’s Profound Quotes on Dreams, Love, Life, and Death

  1. Dreams are necessary to life.
  2. He is not lonely. He is busy.
  3. Passion gives me moments of wholeness.
  4. Good things happen to those who hustle.
  5. People living deeply have no fear of death.
  6. Pain is something to master, not to wallow in.
  7. The only abnormality is the incapacity to love.
  8. When one is pretending the entire body revolts.
  9. Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself.
  10. Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.
  11. We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
  12. What I cannot love, I overlook. Is that real friendship?
  13. Living never wore one out so much as the effort not to live.
  14. Only the united beat of sex and the heart can create ecstasy.
  15. He was now in that state of fire that she loved. She wanted to be burnt.
  16. The personal life deeply lived always expands into truths beyond itself.
  17. My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.
  18. We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.
  19. It’s all right for a woman to be, above all, human. I am a woman first of all.
  20. Had I not created my whole world. I would certainly have died in other people’s.
  21. Each contact with a human being is so rare, so precious, one should preserve it.
  22. I want my eroticism mixed with love. And deep love one does not often experience.
  23. Age does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age.
  24. When you make a world tolerable for yourself, you make a world tolerable for others.
  25. I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing.
  26. The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.
  27. I stopped loving my father a long time ago. What remained was the slavery to a pattern.
  28. I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.
  29. We are going to the moon that is not very far. Man has so much farther to go within himself.
  30. Do not seek the because – in love there is no because, no reason, no explanation, no solutions.
  31. The truly faithless one is the one who makes love to only a fraction of you. And denies the rest.
  32. Whenever you do something that is not aligned with the yearning or your soul—you create suffering.
  33. There are many ways to be free. One of them is to transcend reality by imagination, as I try to do.
  34. I will always be the virgin-prostitute, the perverse angel, the two-faced sinister and saintly woman.
  35. I love the abstract, delicate, profound, vague, voluptuously wordless sensation of living ecstatically.
  36. Life is truly known only to those who suffer, lose, endure adversity and stumble from defeat to defeat.
  37. The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.
  38. And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
  39. How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself.
  40. When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow.
  41. The dream was always running ahead of me. To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it, that was the miracle.
  42. I am like a snake who has already bitten. I retreat from a direct battle while knowing the slow effect of the poison.
  43. I am caught. And he? What does he feel? I am invaded, I lose everything, my mind vacillates, I am only aware of sensation.
  44. Truth is something which can’t be told in a few words. Those who simplify the universe only reduce the expansion of its meaning.
  45. There are two ways to reach me: by way of kisses or by way of imagination. But there is a hierarchy: the kisses alone don’t work.
  46. Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
  47. When others asked the truth of me, I was convinced it was not the truth they wanted, but an illusion they could bear to live with.
  48. I am only responsible for my own heart, you offered yours up for the smashing my darling. Only a fool would give out such a vital organ.
  49. Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.
  50. Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.
  51. Our life is composed greatly from dreams, from the unconscious, and they must be brought into connection with action. They must be woven together.
  52. If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.
  53. She lacks confidence, she craves admiration insatiably. She lives on the reflections of herself in the eyes of others. She does not dare to be herself.
  54. There are only two kinds of freedom in the world; the freedom of the rich and powerful, and the freedom of the artist and the monk who renounces possessions.
  55. The human father has to be confronted and recognized as human, as man who created a child and then, by his absence, left the child fatherless and then Godless.
  56. I will not be just a tourist in the world of images, just watching images passing by which I cannot live in, make love to, possess as permanent sources of joy and ecstasy.
  57. Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.
  58. If what Proust says is true, that happiness is the absence of fever, then I will never know happiness. For I am possessed by a fever for knowledge, experience, and creation.
  59. Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.
  60. It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.
  61. A man fell in love with Jeanne, and she tried to love him. But she complained that he uttered such ordinary words, that he could never say the magic phrase which would open her being.
  62. If all of us acted in unison as I act individually there would be no wars and no poverty. I have made myself personally responsible for the fate of every human being who has come my way.
  63. A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked.
  64. There is not one big cosmic meaning for all, there is only the meaning we each give to our life, an individual meaning, an individual plot, like an individual novel, a book for each person.
  65. Then at certain moments I remember one of his words and I suddenly feel the sensual woman flaring up, as if violently caressed. I say the word to myself, with joy. It is such a moment that my true body lives.
  66. To hell, to hell with balance! I break glasses; I want to burn, even if I break myself. I want to live only for ecstasy. I’m neurotic, perverted, destructive, fiery, dangerous – lama, inflammable, unrestrained.
  67. We are like sculptors, constantly carving out of others the image we long for, need, love or desire, often against reality, against their benefit, and always, in the end, a disappointment, because it does not fit them.
  68. Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.
  69. Man can never know the loneliness a woman knows. Man lies in the woman’s womb only to gather strength, he nourishes himself from this fusion, and then he rises and goes into the world, into his work, into battle, into art.
  70. When he first stepped out of the car and walked towards the door where I stood waiting, I saw a man I liked. In his writing he is flamboyant, virile, animal, magnificent. He’s a man whom life makes drunk, I thought. He is like me.
  71. I with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me innocent or naïve, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.
  72. There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.
  73. I don’t really want to become normal, average, standard. I want merely to gain in strength, in the courage to live out my life more fully, enjoy more, experience more. I want to develop even more original and more unconventional traits.
  74. We efface an hour by passionate love, without twists, without after-taste. When it is finished, it is not finished, we lie still in each other’s arms lulled by our love, by tenderness – sensuality in which the whole being can participate.
  75. Every word you wrote I ate, as if it were manna. Finding one’s self in a book is a second birth; and you are the only one who knows that at times men behave like women and women like men, and that all these distinctions are mock distinctions.
  76. I disregard the proportions, the measures, the tempo of the ordinary world. I refuse to live in the ordinary world as ordinary women, To enter ordinary relationships. I want ecstasy. I am a neurotic—in the sense that I live in my world. I will not adjust myself to the world. I am adjusted to myself.
  77. I am a winged creature who is too rarely allowed to use its wings. Ecstasies do not occur often enough. But I lie. I embellish. My words are not deep enough. They disguise, they conceal. I will not rest until I have told of my descent into a sensuality which was as dark, as magnificent, as wild, as my moments of mystic creation have been dazzling, ecstatic, exalted.
  78. I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.
  79. You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too. No, I think there was too rigid a pattern. You came out of an education and are supposed to know your vocation. Your vocation is fixed, and maybe ten years later you find you are not a teacher anymore or you’re not a painter anymore. It may happen. It has happened. I mean Gauguin decided at a certain point he wasn’t a banker anymore; he was a painter. And so he walked away from banking. I think we have a right to change course. But society is the one that keeps demanding that we fit in and not disturb things. They would like you to fit in right away so that things work now.

anais-ninAnaïs Nin (born Angela Anaïs Juana Antolina Rosa Edelmira Nin y Culmell; February 21, 1903 – January 14, 1977) was an essayist and memoirist born to Cuban parents in France, where she was also raised. She spent some time in Spain and Cuba but lived most of her life in the United States where she became an established author. She wrote journals (which span more than 60 years, beginning when she was 11 years old and ending shortly before her death), novels, critical studies, essays, short stories, and erotica. A great deal of her work, including Delta of Venus and Little Birds, was published posthumously. (from Wikipedia)

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