For years, Yoko Ono was known as the one who split up the Beatles.
But for anyone who’s seen the 2021 documentary, The Beatles: Get Back, that rumor has far been overblown. Ono was John Lennon’s partner, lover, and muse, in many ways, but split up the band? No.
As a result, Ono has been enjoying (we hope) a bit of a renaissance. Artists have been covering her songs and many in the press have been speaking highly of her.
But because of the bad opinions of Ono for the past 50-plus years, many don’t know her thoughts on the world at large, on life, love and creativity. So, we thought, let’s explore what the musician and visual artist had to say about those subjects here.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the best 35 Yoko Ono quotes.
1. “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”
2. “Smile in the mirror. Do that every morning and you’ll start to see a big difference in your life.”
3. “You change the world by being yourself.”
4. “Nobody’s life is a bed of roses.” We all have crosses to bear, and we all just do our best. I would never claim to have the worst situation. There are many widows, and many people dying of AIDS, many people killed in Lebanon, people starving all over the planet. So we have to count our lucky stars.”
5. “There’s a long life ahead of you and it’s going to be beautiful, as long as you keep loving and hugging each other.”
6. “Every drop in the ocean counts.”
7. “Healing yourself is connected with healing others.”
8. “I realized that if my thoughts immediately affect my body, I should be careful about what I think. Now if I get angry, I ask myself why I feel that way. If I can find the source of my anger, I can turn that negative energy into something positive.”
9, “The regret of my life is that I have not said I love you often enough.”
10. “The computer is my favorite invention. I feel lucky to be part of the global village. I don’t mean to brag, but I’m so fast with technology. People think it all seems too much, but we’ll get used to it. I’m sure it all seemed too much when we were learning to walk.”
11. “Experiencing sadness and anger can make you feel more creative, and by being creative, you can get beyond your pain or negativity.”
12. “The sky is always there for me, while my life has been going through many, many changes. When I look up the sky, it gives me a nice feeling, like looking at an old friend.”
13. “Distance doesn’t exist, in fact, and neither does time. Vibrations from love or music can be felt everywhere, at all times.”
14. “Nothing is written in stone. So don’t prepare yourself for a long and lucrative career. You might die tomorrow. Your gold holdings might become dust. Just make the music you want to make now and enjoy it.”
15. “When you are suffering, you become more understanding about yourself, but also about other people’s sufferings too. That’s the first step to understand somebody is to understand their sufferings. So then love follows.”
16. “I did not break up the Beatles. You can’t have it both ways. If you’re going to blame me for breaking the Beatles up, you should be thankful that I made them into myth rather than a crumbling group.”
17. “At least I had that, one guy understood me.”
18. “If you have too many quotes from other people in your head, you can’t create. You have to keep your head empty. That’s why I am constantly enjoying the sky, the park, the walk.”
19. “I saw that nothing was permanent. You don’t want to possess anything that is dear to you because you might lose it.”
20. “I trust myself. You need that to survive.”
21. “I admire all people who are trying to be a good power in this chaotic world.”
22. “A lot of things have been thrown at me in life, and I’ve got through it all without a rule book, taking it one day at a time.”
23. “When you are totally depressed, you should try giggling. Just make yourself laugh. Force yourself to laugh.”
24. “True artists are prophets. I don’t want to be that prophetic in that sense because it’s so lonely.”
25. “I think if you give in and accept society’s stereotypes, then you start thinking, ‘I cannot dance till late at night because I’m 70.'”
26. “The thing that would most improve my life is 27 hours in a day. I could meet all my deadlines.”
27. “Please know that being 80 is not a scary thing. When you’re 80, your life is much freer.”
28. “When I speak out against the guns or against the big corporations, some of my friends say, ‘Oh Yoko, be careful.’ These people have all the power.’ But, you know, most people don’t speak out because they are frightened.”
29. “Women are put in a position of feeling embarrassed about their bodies. It’s so ridiculous, but also astounding—we have to always be apologetic about having created the human race.”
30. “This society is driven by neurotic speed and force accelerated by greed and frustration of not being able to live up to the image of men and woman we have created for ourselves; the image has nothing to do with the reality of people.”
31. “My career? I never think of it as a ‘career.’ Art and music and all those things that I’m creating are just part of me.”
32. “When I’m putting some communication out on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, I think that it’s helping me, my brain, you know, because it’s always somehow stimulated by people who are sending things to me. And it works both ways. It’s great. My brain is very happy about it.”
33. “Society tells you that when you’re old you have to retire. You have to defy that.”
34. “I think of John every day. I do try to block it, but December 8th is not the only day I think of him.”
35. “I don’t think you should always stay calm in a tense situation, because you might not ever confront the problem. Maybe it’s better to actually let yourself be tense—and find a solution.”
Photo by JB Lacroix/Getty Images