I read Florence Scovel Shinn’s book (titled as this post is) recently and found a lot of inspiration. Her story itself is fascinating, an illustrator, actress, author and New Thought leader and teacher born in 1871. She was married then divorced (rare for a woman of her time) and in other ways seems like quite a maverick for her time. She feels like a powerful woman with such conviction in her writing.
Here are some of the gems from the book:
On facing fears:
This happens so often! If one is willing to do a thing he is afraid to do, he does not have to. it is the law of nonresistance, which is so little understood. Someone has said that courage contains genius and magic. Face a situation fearlessly, and there is no situation to face; it falls away of its own weight.
Minding your speech:
There is an old saying that man only dares use his words for three purposes: to heal, to bless or prosper. What man says of others will be said of him, and what he wishes for another, he is wishing for himself.
Harmony and nonresistance:
The inharmonious situation comes from some inharmony within man himself…So we see man’s work is ever with himself.
The Chinese say that water is the most powerful element, because it is perfectly nonresistant. It can wear away a rock, and sweep all before it.
Embracing “darkness” by looking towards “dawn”:
One of my students once asked me to explain the “darkness before dawn.” I referred in a preceding chapter to the fact that often before the big demonstration “everything seems to go wrong,” and deep depression clouds the consciousness. It means that out of the subconscious are rising the doubts and fears of the ages. These old derelicts of the subconscious rise to the surface to be put out… It is then that man should hap his cymbals like Jehoshaphat, and give thanks that he is saved, even though he seems surrounded by the enemy.
Many should watch himself hourly to detect if his motive for action is fear or faith.
So often, one goes for one thing and finds another.
One’s ships come in over a calm sea.
Unique self-expression, talents, and contribution/purpose:
There is for each many, perfect self-expression. There is a place which he is to fill and no one else can fill, something which he is to do which no one else can do; it is his destiny!
The thing man seeks is seeking him—the telephone was seeking Bell!