13 Quotes that Could Change Your Life (Part I)

rumiAlmost 800 years ago, a Sufi mystic and poet lived and penned the wisdom of his age. In the Muslim world he’s known as Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, but in the English speaking world he’s known simply as “Rumi.”

As with all people whose words have had the heaviest influence on social consciousness, Rumi’s wisdom crosses the lines of culture, religion and time. You don’t have to care that he was Persian, Muslim, from the 13th century or a mystic. His words and poetry resonate so strongly with universal ‘truths’ that he’s become one of the most famous poets in America.

All 13 life-altering, paradigm-shifting quotes are Rumi’s. Even if you’re highly familiar with Rumi’s writings, while you read them pretend God is talking to you. Or the universe. Or, the divine part of yourself. Or whatever you listen to that taps the most intimate, connected part of who you are. The treasure of Rumi’s message has to be deeply felt and integrated. (Otherwise it’s just Quote-of-the-Day material.)


I. “Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

II. “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”

I’ve held some pretty arrogant, self-congratulatory beliefs in my life. (I’m probably holding a bunch right now, but life has yet to bitch-slap them from me as it has with the ones I already know about from the past.)

One of those beliefs had to do with how awesome I was to avoid relationships that came with any sort of complication. For example, dating a man with kids was a total deal breaker for me. I wasn’t going to let anything gum up my streamlined and simple life. I reflected this back at myself as a sign that I was highly developed. But here’s where the real bullshit belief showed up – while I never would allow myself to get involved in something sticky, even if I DID I would be super awesome at managing it.

Then I fell in love with a man with two kids and a less than amicable relationship with his ex-wife. It was basically the picture of complicated, and as I watched their messy custody battle unfold I found myself becoming angry, resentful and filled with spite at people I hadn’t even met. I was doing things like wishing for them to hit rock bottom. Sickness, poverty… the formula for misery. I was so righteously indignant I had decided my behavior was altruistic, because I felt that if they just ‘got theirs’ they would ‘learn their lesson’ and become better people for it on the other side.

Oh, the irony.

It was an intense but short ride. At one point Joel said, ‘Maybe they’re there to teach us something important about ourselves. To grow in a way we couldn’t otherwise.’

Joel had tapped into wisdom that been penned 750 years before. Or, in the words of Rumi, “Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.”

Suddenly, people who I had at one point casually “wished death” upon now became people I couldn’t live without. They were giving me an extraordinary gift, and I realized I was the one that was ‘getting mine’ and ‘learning my lesson’.

I’ve found a whole new level of Zen about the entire thing. Of course, I’m still on the journey and there are still moments that make me homicidal. As a person who had previously sold everything and paired her life down to two suitcases, this new level of logistical hassle that has entered my life can be overwhelming and maddening. But it’s also teaching me a whole new level of acceptance and finding happiness in something I would otherwise have considered a pain in the ass.

Rumi’s words on growth are the kind of reminder that needs to be in front of us all the time. I’ve written them on a 3×5 card and put it on my bathroom mirror. Each rub polishes. And I actually do feel kind of shiny about the whole situation.

Who occupies the space in your life of the villain? Who inspires ‘righteous indignation’ in you? And what would it take to make you see them as a ‘guide from beyond’, a way to polish you into becoming a better you?

Live Deliberately and with Boldness

III. “Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”

IV. “Let yourself be drawn by the stronger pull of that which you truly love.”

V. “Forget safety.

Live where you fear to live.

Destroy your reputation.

Be notorious.”

This is a subject near and dear to my heart. I’ve noticed that while my coaching clients come to me for a variety of stated reasons, they almost always want to know themselves better in order to know what to do with their lives. We live in a world that efficiently creates boxes and labels for us to step into and we’re told that stepping into them is how we become good citizens. There are not a lot of alternatives presented to us, and at some point we pick up that the desire to live an extraordinary life is something other, cooler people do but not you. The internal permission needed to take steps toward an extraordinary life get snuffed out, and suddenly you find yourself in one of those boxes slapped with one of those premade labels.


heros-journeyRumi’s words remind us that there is an alternative. You are the hero of your own story. You can fall in love with a passion, a purpose or a mission and let yourself be pulled by it. And, most powerfully, stop living by fear. This is especially powerful in the safety-obsessed culture that permeates the developed world. Raised by helicopter parents, fed a steady diet of apocalyptic predictions to boost news entertainment ratings, and litigated into believing that any personal pain or hurt should be compensated with someone else’s money, we have become so paranoid and safety obsessed we barely leave our dead-bolted houses. And this translates into a fear of being judged by our neighbors, a deep seeded call back to the time that getting ‘kicked out of the tribe’ actually could mean death. And we’ve become so acclimated to this feeling of fear we don’t notice how shallow our breath has routinely become.

Well, forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious.

Rumi knew that only in this way would we be able to haze to the ground our fear of our neighbor’s opinion, of life itself. If you know you were made for something bigger GO LIVE IT. As far as anyone has proof of it, we only appear to get one go-around at this thing called life. Don’t let fear of it keep you from living it to its fullest.

Unfold your own myth.


p.s. How are you going to embrace growth and live deliberately and boldly? Let me know by dropping a comment! And look for 13 Rumi Quotes that Could Change Your Life Part II.

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Showing 44 comments
  • Mike

    This was really good. I like,
    “Live where you fear to live.

    Destroy your reputation.

    Be notorious.”

    The part about wishing some one would “get theirs”, that is such a trap. I hope I don’t have to learn that again.

    Thank you Antonia

  • Live quotes

    Amazing sayings, keep great work

  • Pam

    Antonia… Thank you so much again…As im reading im in complete laughter! Not because i think this is all BS, but because it’s true and simple! Yet hard to do or apply for some… I am a firm believer in thinking for one’s self. And have always went against the grain and have been ridiculed for it! Being forced to be stuck in that box and labeled, never sat well with me. I’ve always challenged my teachers to the point of being a thorn in their sides from a very young age.If there is that saying “there’s more than one way to skin a cat”… Then suffice to say there is more than way to doing anything! But it seems when free thinking people test this theory…We’re quickly labeled trouble makers, psychos and dreamers that should be kept from society and put in looney bins and drugged up 24/7. So that we don’t poison the minds of other people to be free thinkers in the world! Wow what a concept?! 🙂 Imagine a world where this is possible without a government or religious sect dictating to us how we should live or think?! Imagine the possibilities of a world of free thinkers where all were valued, respected and has the potential to be great and do great things?! It is possible!!! The awakening has begun now ,all that needs to be done is just tweak the way one thinks… I am renewed! Thank you!!!

  • Archie McKerrell

    Thank you Antonia. I love Rumi. “Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” I am so grateful for having learned so much from someone who was an expert at pushing my buttons!

  • david

    never mind…just googled it. Pretty funny!

  • david

    what does ‘helicopter parent’ mean….?

  • Joan Powell

    Thank you for your words of wisdom, I will certainly
    try and enforce them. Joan

  • Kat

    I’m loving your Rumi Wisdom. Keep it comin!

    Insightful & enlightening

  • Mario

    Thank you, Antonia, for such a beautiful text!

  • Ginny

    Interesting………remember, people say and do things for themselves. We need to ask ourselves what is their intent?

    • krishan sharma

      I am quite curious as to how someone can do anythinng for you, so far nobody has done anything for me…

  • Jevaughn

    Brilliant, what a brilliant post Antonia. As a certified quote-junkie I say thank you/gracias/merci/danke schoen for sharing these along with your excellent commentary. I never heard of Rumi before and I thank you for the introduction. I am striving to read words like these everyday to remind myself to live by their principles daily. Instead of making up something more to say I’ve decided to share some quotes I have saved that I think mesh nicely with the ideas/truths covered here. Here goes:

    “I am grateful for the idea that has used me.” – Psychologist Alfred Adler

    “I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply ALL my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy.” – Og Mandino

    “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

    “Abandon certainty! That’s life’s deepest command. That’s what life’s all about. We’re a probe into the unknown, into the uncertain…” – character “The Preacher”, from the classic novel by Frank Herbert, Dune 3: Children Of Dune

    “It is the Law that any difficulties that can come to you at any time, no matter what they are, must be exactly what you need most at the moment, to enable you to take the next step forward by overcoming them. The only real misfortune, the only real tragedy, comes when we suffer without learning the lesson.” – Emmet Fox

    “When you have in your life something that you don’t think is “good”, it FORCES YOU to really, clearly define and FOCUS on what you WANT. You have the BEST opportunity to create things in your life when things are not going well. You also have the best opportunity to focus on those things and create more of it; the bad stuff.” – Kevin Trudeau

    Peace & Victory,

  • Suzanne

    wisdom well beyond his time and definitely food for thought today when we live in fear of live itself. A leaf from the old and wise could serve us all well. Thank you for sharing.

    Peace and be well

  • Xiomara

    Thank you for sharing these quotes with us. They really, made me think about myself.

  • G

    I think I’m missing something, I only see 5 quotes?

  • Be

    Im glad I read these,

    I have had a very challenging day – I’m seeing it as a sign that I have finally broken habits and my life is changing so the universe was just throwing in a few old spanners to see if I would fall apart and revert to form.

    Not so – but the people domanage to irritate me and now I see that it is just some extra polishing!!

    Thankyou for helping me put light on a recurring issue, may it now resolve and thankyou for sharing the other 3 quotes to remind me to stay on course and disregard what anyone negative may say!


  • Chohan

    Dear Antonia, you are working in the service of strife stricken humanity. Please continue showing the right path and the right direction. We pray for your prosperity and long life.

  • marie carr

    Thank you Antonia for another great read. I see you are falling in love with Rumi, I did too many years ago, such beautiful poetry, I could never tire of reading his beautifull thoughts.
    Whenever I am angered by another, whenever I struggle with anothers comments or hurtful remarks, I think back to the teachings of ” A Course In Miracles” which teaches that the world we see is nothing but a projection of our own mind, that there is no world outside of us.So whatever you see in another is only a reflection of your own mind, if it were not so, you would not recognise it, whatever you see in another is what is in you! otherwise you could not recognise it. So it is the Mirror image we have to look at.
    Much love x0x

  • MsR

    Beautiful! I love the combination of caring and daring!

  • Valerie

    That’s fantastic I love these quotes especially the one about the mirror, that entered straight into my heart. I have put both quotes on my fridge I can’t wait for the rest!

    Thank you for this lovely gift, both my husband and I can use this in different ways.

  • Janice

    Love love love Rumi … thanks for posting these beautiful quotes. He has been my favourite poet for a while. My favourite Rumi quote is “outside ideas of right doing and wrong doing there is a field. I will meet you there.”

  • sven

    I like the articles you write. Never red about Rumi..but intresting to connect with. Thx.

  • Jeanne

    Our soul is fluid and healing in nature; we must allow it to inundate and flow through whatever we encounter. therefore we heal others and continue our own healing as well.

  • Malcolm Manby

    “If you carn’t look at the bad, you will never find the good”

    “Without influence, credibility, or force, any nickles, cents and dimes, STOP your thoughts of love, from springing out of your mind”

    “Quantum physics and small things not seen, are like from within the magic miracle beam”
    “The golden silence of love is not heared or seen like thoughts, that give, build, create and answer the secrets not taught”

    “To remove all the darkness from within is a power of life and light, to show the way that leads anyone to strength of will, to win the fight” Quotes of Your truly Malcolm Manby.

  • André

    It is the only truth: Let the fire and light, enlighten within yourself in order to fully express, feel and enjoy your true self and if you want to connect, substitute your light into others and be united

  • Lorne

    Takes me back to university days!!!

  • Reply

    My problem is not so much in acknowledging this wisdom as in putting it into practice. That is, I see the words, I nod and say, yes, those are right and true, and then do nothing about them.

    However, I have found that, if I have patience, I ultimately let those words sink into my soul. Some time down the road I start practising them. Then I say, how did that happen? What moved me to be so wise? Often I don’t even remember. Sometimes I do. It doesn’t really matter, because I will turn out as I choose and will attract my guides by my choice.

  • David Bourke

    Rumi also wrote this:

    “If thou has not seen the devil, look at thine own self.”

    • Gord

      I concur 🙂

  • Kelly

    Absolutely awesome. I cannot wait to see part two. I love this particular collection of quotes all together. It gives me some power and clarity in this day. Thank YOU!

  • Nidia

    Rumi was very wise. Thank you for telling me about him. When you talk about your life, your beliefs, you use a few words that are not very pleasant to read . I am not going to write them,but you should try to avoid using them in the future, so decent people reading your articles will be very pleased.

    • kathleen

      History is never written about well-behaved women.
      Thank you for your courage,strength, & integrity to speak your mind.
      Your frankness made me read the entire article.
      Love your way…

  • Daniel

    I walked past a mirror this week and I almost saw myself—for the first time!
    No it doesn’t need cleaning, the person looking into it does.
    well, I am on my way —it’s early days but the direction is true.
    And may I leave this for you–

    Beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing
    there is a field,i’ll meet you there.
    When the soul lies down in that grass,
    the world is too full to talk about.
    Ideas, language, even the phrase—each
    other—does not make sense.

  • Charis

    All excellent reminders! I have spent my life with a lot of resentment and unexpressed anger. I have healed a lot but it doesn’t take much for me to be snatched back to the past and reminded that old wounds still exist. I think I will make this a matter for my journal. Who hurt me in the past and what did it teach me?

    I had to chuckle about you refusing any relationship with kids involved. You must’ve thought I was insane for marrying someone with a kid. 11 years later, I know I have made a difference in his life. Those kids will benefit from having you as a stepmother and you will benefit too 🙂

    • Melissa Curran

      Charis – I couldn’t agree with you more! In your first paragraph, you expressed some thoughts and feelings that I couldn’t put words to. I try so very hard to stay out of the past and to release all the old hurts and anger, but it is easy to be “snatched” right back into the black hole.

      I’m so happy you were able to make a difference in someone’s life – good for you for taking on this journey.


  • Beth

    I love the image of the woman with the wind behind her.. urging her on her way…

  • Janet

    I now am saying let it go when people say things that bug me its only their opinion and its helped a lot unless its really really important usually things pass if we keep our mouths shut …..

  • Ann Marie

    Encouraging & Inspiring..

  • Rune

    Truly eyeopening indeed!!

  • Sharon

    So true! Perception……truly a gift in itself…….if done so wisely!!! Thanks for sharing. Good Job!

  • Thomas

    Lovely Ruminations! Love your honesty. As for being focused on growth, only to meet your shadow aspects more and more, well I’ll just say, the longer you live, the more sh** you make 🙂 Just remember farmers put in on their fields to make the crops grow..

  • Barbara


  • Jennifer

    Thank you for sharing. I took criticism and narrow mindedness from family members too seriously; let them get under my skin. It’s a process, but I’m beginning to have faith in myself. Rumi is awesome! His quotes always help me get inspired!



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