Something Good

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1. Why You Need to Stop Bragging About How Busy You Are from Fast Company.

2. The Not List from Rachel Cole. Rachel has a new Intuitive Eating Guided Reading Group starting in mid-May.

3. From Seth Godin: “How do I get rid of the fear?” and The bottomless pit of pleasing strangers and They’re your words, choose them.

4. Show Your Work! – SXSW Interactive 2014, a talk by Austin Kleon.

5. Here Are The 31 Best Incidents Of Irony Ever Photographed. #9 Must Be Some Kind Of Cruel Joke. from Viral Nova.

6. Jeff Oaks is on a break from teaching, so he’s writing all kinds of good stuff. For example, Writing/Dreams and April: some notes.

7. 10 Ways to Own Less from Be More With Less.

8. A Magical Miniature World Of Snails By Vyacheslav Mishchenko on Bored Panda.

9. Kids From All Around The World Show Off Their Favorite Toys In Disarming Photo Series on Huffington Post.

10. Open Letter to Dr. Oz from be nourished.

10. Mabel Magazine, “is a print magazine that is here to tell real stories about making a living and creating a life.” I have a piece in the first issue, the theme of which is “beginnings.” I think Mabel’s going to be a good thing.

11. 27 Hysterical Haircuts. #6 Made Me Cringe. on the San Francisco Globe. We all do such silly things sometimes.

12. 10 Ways to Do What You Don’t Want to Do on Zen Habits.

13. Heartwarming Thai Commercial – Thai Good Stories By Linaloved. Of everything on this list, this just might be the very best.

14. How a Rescue Dog from Taiwan and Baby Boy from LA became Best Friends on Twisted Sifter.

15. The Worst Thing That Can Happen Rarely Does from Chris Guillebeau.

16. Shared on the Chookooloonks This Was a Good Week list: Artist Rachel Sussman Photographs the Oldest Living Things in the World before They Vanish and the teeniest, tiniest.

17. A sweet Easter poem from James Broughton, “Easter Exultet.”

Shake out your qualms.
Shake up your dreams.
Deepen your roots.
Extend your branches.
Trust deep water
and head for the open,
even if your vision
shipwrecks you.
Quit your addiction
to sneer and complain.
Open a lookout.
Dance on a brink.
Run with your wildfire.
You are closer to glory
leaping an abyss
than upholstering a rut.
Not dawdling.
Not doubting.
Intrepid all the way
Walk toward clarity.
At every crossroad
Be prepared
to bump into wonder.
Only love prevails.
En route to disaster
insist on canticles.
Lift your ineffable
out of the mundane.
Nothing perishes;
nothing survives;
everything transforms!
Honeymoon with Big Joy!

18. being enough from Pia Jane Bijkerk.

19. Opening the Creative Channel with Andrea Scher and Laurie Wagner on Simply Celebrate.

20. Truthbombs from Danielle LaPorte: “Put down your shield and stand in the rain of blessings,” and “You will always be too much of something for someone. Be yourself anyway.”

21. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Many of our escapes are involuntary: addiction and dissociating from painful feelings are two examples. Anyone who has worked with a strong addiction—compulsive eating, compulsive sex, abuse of substances, explosive anger, or any other behavior that’s out of control—knows that when the urge comes on it’s irresistible. The seduction is too strong. So we train again and again in less highly charged situations in which the urge is present but not so overwhelming. By training with everyday irritations, we develop the knack of refraining when the going gets rough. It takes patience and an understanding of how we’re hurting ourselves not to continue taking the same old escape route of speaking or acting out.

22. Wisdom from Mara Glatzel, a practice,

Take a moment to sit comfortably. Plant your feet on the floor. Settle into your breath, slowly and intentionally.

Feel into your body as you run your mind over the content of your day – your schedule, your obligations, your desire for self-care.

Where are you craving for permission?

Let any answer that comes guide you into your day.

Let it be simple, but follow through.

Know that every time you pause, take stock, and move forward with your own spirit, heart, and need in mind, you are working to feel a little more at home in your life.

23. Watching these two old women fly for the first time is pure gold on Sploid.

24. Wisdom from A Conversation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Parabola, in which he says,

…if you utilize obstacles properly, then it strengthens your courage, and it also gives you more intelligence, more wisdom. Because there is obstacle, you make attempt; so have to think, have to try something. Have to try certain way; so this gives strength and also wisdom and intelligence. If you use them in wrong way, then discourage, failure, depression.

25. The Metric of More from Paul Jarvis.

Life Rehab Resource: Nature

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liferehabresourcesI’ve learned a lot from teachers, from practice and study, but the one place that continually amazes me with its wisdom: nature. I’ve often said that for me, going hiking or on a long walk, climbing up a mountain or standing on the beach, or even just sitting in my backyard is like church, especially if there’s a dog or two with me. There’s just something about the ground, the sky, the trees and rocks and dirt and blooms and bird song, that makes it easy to understand what otherwise is confusing, complex. There’s a quiet, a spaciousness that allows contemplation and insight, fosters contentment.

magicforestI can’t be in a place like this and be distracted. I am grounded in my own body, my own breath, present for each step. It’s a particular kind of magic, medicine.

When I realized Kelly was actually going to die, nature comforted me. She’d been sent home from the hospital, hospice was there, her body failing her, but somehow I still hoped for a miracle, my faith equaling how much I wanted her to live. But when her husband posted on Facebook that she’d slipped into a coma, there was nothing left to hold onto, no plans for “when she got better.” Rather than “the thing with feathers,” hope was the thing that had flown away. I felt utterly hopeless, helpless. I was in Colorado and Kelly was in Kentucky. There was nothing I could do, no phone call or visit to make. There was only waiting for the final word, the news that she was gone.

My front flowerbed had been neglected for months. With the latest update, hope’s departure, I went out and got on my knees in the dirt, pulling weeds, trimming and clearing. It was as close to praying as I could get, reminded me that even as things die, life continues, things turn green and bloom.

This morning when we were walking, Eric said “look at how much greener it is where it burnt.” A whole area had been cleared by fire and was growing back, a riot of green next to water still black with ash. Whether on purpose or accident it doesn’t really matter, space was made, new growth happened. We get so upset, often rightly so, when we lose something we love, but sometimes the worst thing that could ever happen is also a catalyst for growth.

It reminds me of that haiku by the Japanese poet Masahide, “Barn’s burnt down — now I can see the moon.” Losing Obi and Kelly, and then Dexter, were some of the worst things that ever happened to me, and yet that the depth of suffering, the weight of that sadness, caused a shift — woke me up. I am stronger, more content, have more to offer now.

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift. ~Mary Oliver

Nature constantly brings me back to these truths. That nothing is ever really lost, even amidst the ongoing and sometimes catastrophic change. That the waves will keep coming, that they will knock you down, but you must keep getting back up or drown, that if you keep going it might get easier. That there is a season for everything. That death is real, happens to all of us, all of it. That after the longest, coldest, darkest winter, the blooms and fruit return. That even though there are tigers above and tigers below, we can taste the sweetness of a strawberry in this moment.

And, basic goodness is real, it exists and is fundamental. When we saw the above patch of grass, Eric said “each blade has a drop on it,” and it made me think about how each one of us has the same basic nature. Both yogic philosophy and Buddhism talk about this essential goodness, this natural state of vast openness. Certainly we get confused about it, act as if it’s not true, generate so much suffering, but that doesn’t change the fact that “each blade has a drop on it.” You can call it love or compassion or divinity or wisdom, but it’s there — in all of us, in every thing.

Nature is the place I see this the most clearly. I think about how an apple tree doesn’t question what it has to offer, rests in its genuine and natural wholeness. It stands as it is, takes on the nourishment available to it and produces fruit. It never asks “is this apple good enough” or “maybe I should make peaches instead,” it just is. And when it’s time to let go of its fruit, and later its leaves, it lets them go. There’s no clinging or attachment or fear, there is simply surrender.

Nature provides both space and wisdom. If I show up and pay attention, there is so much to learn, such sanity and intelligence, so much support and comfort. In that connection, that relationship, I can slow down, find clarity, breathe.

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