The plum is for courage

A Japanese friend explained to me... "the plum [is] for courage because the plum puts forth blossoms while the snow is still on the ground."

To live in grace

I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact — to borrow from the languages of the saints — to live "in grace" as much of the time as possible.

Physical solitude does not separate us from others, but spiritual isolation

For a full day and two nights I have been alone. I lay on the beach under the stars at night alone....Beauty of earth and sear and air meant more to me. I was in harmony it, melted into the universe, lost in it, as one is lost in a canticle of praise, swelling from an unknown crowd in a cathedral. I felt closer to humankind, too, even in my solitude. For it is not physical solitude that separate us from others, not physical isolation, but spiritual isolation.