Day of Rest

strawberries

There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life. ~Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World

Today is my last day of this session of intermediate yoga teacher training. I teach my practicum around noon, and this is the quote I’m sharing at the beginning. The theme of my short, half hour of practice is “opening.” Developing an awareness of effort and ease, contraction and expansion, relaxation and engagement, vulnerability and courage, both in our physical body and our thinking/feeling body. Noticing where we are resisting or clinging, and inviting ourselves to relax, to let go, but also not judging our experience as either/or, good/bad. Allowing all of it, whatever might arise, holding space for it — delighting in the “preciousness of every single moment of our life.”

Gratitude Friday

goldenpinkpeony1. Peonies. Every day I was amazed, watching them shift from bud to bloom and finally to compost, changing color from a deep pink to the palest golden peach.

peonycompost2. Not being any worse. Sometimes when you are sick, this is the best you can hope for. Too bad I don’t get paid sick days during summer vacation.

3. Summer vacation. Finally, finally, finally. The first few weeks are going to be a blur of being sick, healing, and tying up loose ends, but it’s finally here.

When I knew I was really on vacation -- my office was all packed up for the move back into the remodeled Eddy Hall

When I knew I was really on vacation — my office was all packed up for the move back into the remodeled Eddy Hall

4. My tiny family. My three boys.

Sam's safe spot -- he doesn't like it when I cough, but when I go in to use the bathroom, he forgets it was me he's hiding from

Sam’s safe spot — he doesn’t like it when I cough, but when I go in to use the bathroom, he forgets it was me he’s hiding from

My view for most of the week

My view for most of the week

My three boys, couching

All three boys, couching

Ringo hiking at Lory State Park, which looks more like it's in Oregon than Colorado, (image by Eric)

Ringo hiking at Lory State Park, which looks more like it’s in Oregon than Colorado, (image by Eric)

5. HGTV House Hunters. I’ve been binge watching on Hulu and Netflix while I’ve been sick on the couch, in between naps.

Bonus Joy: clean pjs, a hot shower, real cough syrup, Good Earth Sweet & Spicy tea, Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup, onion rolls and butter, planting our garden, naps, friends checking up on me, permission to rest, a comfortable bed in the spare room where I can cough as much as I need to without waking everyone up, how Ringo is learning to cuddle, the internet, email, being able to afford a plane ticket, knowing what I’m worth.

Something Good

Lory State Park, image by Eric

Lory State Park, image by Eric

1. Fuck That! A Manifesto from Gala Darling.

2. More Consensus on Coffee’s Benefits Than You Might Think.

3. How not to talk to people with an eating disorder.

4. A Tiny Hamster And A Hedgehog Had A Tiny Tiki Party Because The Internet Is Amazing.

5. Nepal Earthquake Relief Coalition.

6. A Variety of Unprocessed Foods Cut into Uncannily Precise 2.5cm Cubes by Lernert & Sander.

7. Release Tension in the Psoas. “Our yoga practice is an opportunity to undo this chronic tension, and establish a deep and abiding sense of harmony in the body and mind.”

8. The Secret Life of a Scorpio on Elephant Journal.

9. 23 Brilliant Life Lessons From Anthony Bourdain.

10. Rats try to rescue others in distress, suggesting they feel empathy.

11. How to Get Rid of Clutter You Care About from Be More with Less.

12. In the Garden, May 14 on SouleMama.

13. How to Get Your Spouse on Board for Your Career Change from Laura Simms.

14. 3 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be on Marc and Angel Hack Life.

15. the stylists: little nicki on SF Girl by Bay.

16. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club, two different messages, both ones I needed to hear,

Dear Spread-Too-Thin Girl….

Is it time to pare your life down to the handful of things that mean the most to you, and let the rest go so that you can give the very best of yourself to the very best things…instead of being spread in a too-thin layer all over the place?

Your heart knows when it’s time…and you will have the strength to do it.

And best of all…you will see enormous changes happen in your life when you let the unimportant things go and embrace the things that quietly sustain you and bring you joy.

It may not look like the most glamorous life….but it is one filled with joy, peace and harmony….one where laughter is a welcome and frequent companion…one where worries are few…where long meaningful conversations are many…..one that is waiting for you when you are ready to take the steps to get there.

You can do amazing things with the simplest things. You can have so little and be so happy. You can take small amounts of time and perform life-changing acts.

Is it time to simplify?

Simplify today…..one little thing at time. You can do it.

AND

Dear Wise Girl,

Having a rough day? Stop and take a breath, and remember it’s important to stick to the facts, because we often make things up in our heads that get us into a tizzy that is hard to get out of. Fears are mean little fabulists.

Think about everything you have feared in your life, or even for the last 30 days. Think about what you have feared for the last 24 hours, in fact. Think about the stories that you made up in your head about those fierce fears, about all of the terrible and scary and devastating things that surrounded those fears, about how if those things happened, they would surely ruin your life.

Now think about whether or not ANY of those things came to pass, and whether they really did devastate your life. Sure, some yucky things actually DO happen, but a large majority of our fears are stories that we make up in our heads that never ever happen. Yet we waste SO MUCH TIME on them. Aren’t we silly creatures?

So stick to the facts. And if the facts are harsh and look like they might yield some difficult consequences, think about the WORST thing that could possibly happen, and then ask yourself if you could live through it and be okay. See? YOU CAN! And YOU WILL!!

Because you are a brave, brave girl.

17. On Unplugging from Work & Embracing Adventure from Rowdy Kittens.

18. Dear Writers: None Of Us Know What The Fuck We’re Doing on Terrible Minds. tl;dr:

The Five Constants:
1. Write A Lot (And To Completion)
2. Read A Lot (And Read Critically When You Do)
3. Think About Writing And Storytelling
4. Talk To Writers
5. Go Live A Life

19. A Guy Secretly Filmed His Mom For A Year To Help Her Find A Boyfriend.

20. Practicing Non-Judgment on Zen Habits.

21. Good stuff from Austin Kleon’s newsletter: Dear universe (form letter), and Karr to Syracuse grads: Don’t compare your twisted-up insides to others’ blow-dried outsides and a video of the same speech, and In a Mother’s Library, Bound in Spirit and in Print.

22. Video: 100 years of Aging a Soon-to-be Married Couple.

23. Man Cleans Up Entire River On His Way To Work.

24. The Last Day of Her Life, “When Sandy Bem found out she had Alzheimer’s, she resolved that before the disease stole her mind, she would kill herself. The question was, when?”

25. At the Coffeehouse by Jeff Oaks.

26. Melissa McCarthy has powerful words for image-obsessed Hollywood.

27. The Heart and the Bottle: A Tender Illustrated Fable of What Happens When We Deny Our Difficult Emotions on Brain Pickings.

Gratitude Friday

sheopenendpeony1. Watching this peony open right in front of me. I was sitting at my desk and heard a rustle. I looked over at her, and in slow motion her petals started to uncurl, falling open until I could see all the way into the yellow of her center. It was so amazing, so precious, it’s still hard to believe it actually happened.

2. Sick days. I needed one this week. Actually I probably needed two or three but one was at least enough to keep me going just a bit longer.

3. Opportunity knocking. I have another chance to publish elsewhere (I’ll say more about it later when the details get worked out), and I didn’t ask for it, didn’t seek it out — it came to me. I’m here, doing what I do, and someone noticed and made me an offer. I love it when that happens.

ericreading4. Eric. How he takes care of me and the dogs, goes hiking and running with the dogs, makes me laugh, loves to read, has weird nerdy interests and habits that drive me crazy but are also adorable, how excited he gets to learn a new fact or hear something funny and share it.

5. My boys. Happy, healthy.

lastsnow15 couching03 ringoshardlife samfloodBonus joy: Good Earth Sweet & Spicy Tea, Netflix and Hulu, a hot shower, clean towels, sunshine, bees, bird song, mac & cheese with roasted veggies, naps, a good warm hat, space heaters, radio, and what she looked like when she opened.

What she looked like when she opened, lower left

What she looked like when she opened, lower left

Some Truths and One Wish

peoniesbuddhasandcandy1. Truth: I am obsessed with peonies right now. Just like I do every year around this time, I attempt to drown myself in them. I can’t get enough.

2. Truth: This post usually happens on Tuesday and is only three truths. But this has been a busy week, the last week on my contract, finals week at CSU, and I’m sick so that makes everything harder, and I wasn’t going to write this post at all this week, especially not today when I’m home sick and just want to sleep, but then I remembered…

3. Truth: Five years ago today, Kelly passed away. This day doesn’t pass just like any other. I’m not sure if it ever will. This whole season, the shift from winter to spring, all the blooms and the rain, the flowers and the flooding, reminds me of her, and then that reminds me of Obi, and that reminds me of Dexter. I’m acutely aware of everything I’ve lost, and everything I have because I was so hurt, all the ways I opened up and let life in because I had no other choice — tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal.

4. Truth: I’m sick because I worked too hard, didn’t take care of myself. More than anything I need to learn how to be of service, to give, to be generous and helpful and compassionate without running myself into the ground. I need to figure out how to care for myself as well as I do others, to make sure that it happens so I can keep going.

5. Truth: My life would feel like enough if I truly let myself experience each moment, each breath. For example, I could stay with the joy, the creative energy of learning and putting together yoga classes for yoga teacher training, just that and not project myself into teaching this weekend, worrying about maybe getting sicker, all the things I need to get done in the next few days, etc. — I could be calm, peaceful, at ease, well, content right now. All I need to do is be in this moment, rather than carrying the weight of all the possible moments.

6. Truth: I don’t practice to feel some things and not others, I practice to feel all the things. I want to meet whatever is arising in this moment, be open to all of it, be vulnerable. I put so much energy into resisting, forgetting, running away when it’s so much easier to relax with what is, to be here now. I listened to a Daily Dharma Gathering talk with Koshin Paley recently and he said, “The more I become intimate with old age, sickness, and death… the surprise is I feel more alive and joyful.”

7. Truth: I want the last thing Eric and I say to each other to be “love you.” I insist on it every time we part, so that our last words don’t end up being something like “are you coming home for the dogs?” or “don’t forget your lunch.” It might not work out, but I’m still going to try.

8. Truth: I’m so tired right now I’m about to fall over. So, I think I’ll go finally take a shower and then take another nap.

One wish: Even though the first noble truth is that life is suffering, may we find ways to ease suffering, for ourselves and each other and the world.

Something Good

springsnoweric02

What Spring looks like in Colorado: flooding Poudre River, a little snow, and a lot of green (image by Eric)

Those

Those ropes are what kids use in the summer to swing themselves into the water, which is much lower (image by Eric)

1. A Note from the Universe,

Courageous is the soul, Jill, who adventures into time and space to learn of their divinity. For while they cannot lose, they can think they have, and the loss will seem intolerable. And while they cannot fail, they can think they have, and the pain will seem unbearable. And while they cannot ever be less than they truly are – powerful, eternal, and loved – they can think they are, and all hope will seem lost. And therein lies their test. A test of perceptions: of what to focus on, of what to believe in, in spite of appearances.

2. Good stuff from Alexandra Franzen, How to cleanse your calendar & life: part one [the easy part] and How to cleanse your calendar & life: part two [the hard part], which she introduced in her newsletter this way,

Socrates had it right. Being “busy” may provide a temporary hit of fulfillment, but when your life is choked up with commitments that don’t feel meaningful or energizing, that’s a pretty barren existence. It is difficult, if not impossible, to evolve into the person you want to be when you are so busy and burdened that you can barely breathe.

3. Meditating on Love – a Daily Dharma Gathering event, which happened live yesterday, but the video is available to watch for the next seven days — Susan Piver, Lodro Rinzler, Sokuzan and angel Kyodo williams in a special 4 hour retreat.

4. Beyond Mindfulness, a free online event. “Beyond Mindfulness will feature top thought leaders, social visionaries, and wisdom holders in dialogue with one another, presenting practical teachings for living a more mindful, compassionate life, and leading guided meditations. Presenters and hosts include Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Joseph Goldstein, Kelly McGonigal, Ken Wilber, Rich Fernandez, Rick Hanson, Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, Shastri Holly Gayley, Richard Reoch, Acharya Fleet Maull, Susan Piver, Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown, Lodro Rinzler, Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams and more!”

5. How to Overcome Victim Thinking: 3 Powerful Steps for a Happier Life.

6. Vanity’s Other Name from Rachel Cole.

7. ‘Alone time’ is really good for you. Duh.

8. May You Be Present and Clear from Be More with Less.

9. Bad Responses to Bad Fat Shaming – Starring Keath Hausher and Tony Posnanski on Dances with Fat. And in related news, I Was The So-Called Unhealthy Fat Woman At The Cardinals Game.

10. Good stuff from Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list: Tired of having to wear a thick skin? Try this instead and Shades of Sensitivity.

11. Diet fads are destroying us: Paleo, gluten-free and the lies we tell ourselves.

12. Why diets don’t actually work, according to a researcher who has studied them for decades.

13. 23 Amazingly Ridiculous Things You Can Buy At Anthropologie.

14. Why We Need to Stop Hating Ourselves, Once and For All.

15. An Open Letter To All Of My Friends Who Take Selfies, (shared by Kirsten).

16. Wisdom from Valerie Estelle Frankel, (shared by Jen Louden),

While the hero journeys for external fame, fortune, and power, the heroine tries to regain her lost creative spirit… Once she hears the cries of this lost part of herself needing rescue, her journey truly begins.

17. What’s the Truth About Sugar Addiction? from Eat to Love.

18. Wisdom from Dita Von Teese,

You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.

19. A Photo Essay: A Creativity Reboot on Rowdy Kittens.

20. My Terrifying Tornado Story from Elizabeth Gilbert.

21. 6 Words That Are Guaranteed to End Picky Eating.

22. Why I quit dieting.

23. Cute bunnies working in an office.

24. Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Truth in Nonfiction But Were Afraid to Ask: A Bad Advice Cartoon Essay.

25. Mourning the Death and Celebrating the Life of Dave Goldberg.

26. A Woman Uses Art To Come To Terms With Her Father’s Death.

27. “Mind creates the gap and then the heart crosses it.” Wisdom from Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (by way of Susan Piver),

28. Good stuff from Bored Panda, 23 Before-And-After Photos Of Pets Growing Up With Their Toys, and This Rescued Pet Rat And Dog Are The Best Buddies Ever, and Sad Vacation Guy Wins Second Vacation, Takes His Wife And Baby, Has Much Better Time.

29. How We Grieve: Meghan O’Rourke on the Messiness of Mourning and Learning to Live with Loss on Brain Pickings.

30. Welcome To “Bestie Row”: Lifelong Friends Build Row Of Tiny Houses In The Middle Of Nowhere.

31. This Kid Says A Lot Of Hilarious Sh*t And His Dad Gets It All On Camera.

32. The ‘Painful Personal Toll Lung Cancer Has Taken on My Life’ by Cheryl Strayed.

33. How not to say the wrong thing.

34. Lemon Blueberry Muffin Bread recipe.

35. 8 Body Positive Activists To Put On Your Radar, Because They’re All Badasses.

36. Stephen Colbert shocks South Carolina schools by funding every single teacher-requested grant.

37. In Which I Critique Your Story (That I Haven’t Read) from Terrible Minds.

38. Good stuff on tickld: 25 Of The Best Anti-Jokes Ever. #11 Is Gold. and Little Boy Gives The Best Response Ever. This Man Should Be Ashamed.