Something Good

1. Stand Up For Burg! a gofundme campaign to help one of the best people, Amy McCracken, help her dog, the amazing Cheeseburger, get the surgery he needs to be able to get around, to ease his pain. If you want to read about the beginning of their love story, here’s what Amy wrote about the night they met. The love between a girl and her dog is a beautiful thing, (I should know), and the way that love can heal us is priceless.

burg

The Burg, (picture from the campaign page).

2. Good stuff from Seth Godin: Finding your peer group, and The artist who dances on the edge, and How will you choose your next project?

3. August Break, a 31 day photo challenge hosted by Susannah Conway. I’ve done this the past few years and it’s quite fun.

4. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club, on letting go.

What are you willing to let go of today? Life is so much about knowing what to hold on to, and what to let go of — and having faith that it will all work out in the end.

Your heart and your gut know exactly what you need to let go of, even if your brain is giving you all sorts of reasons to clamp your fingers around it. There are seasons and times to have different things, relationships and situations in your life, and then the seasons change and it’s time to let go of many of those things. Change is hard, but change is absolutely necessary.

We’ve all got to let go of old habits, old situations, old behaviors and sometimes even old relationships to make room for what is meant for the next part of our lives. If we just get quiet, get brave, and listen very closely, our hearts will tell us what to let go of. This doesn’t mean it will be easy. It just means that it is what is meant for now.

You can do this. Listen to your heart. Be brave.

5. Memories Do Not Burn from Smashed Picket Fences, (originally shared by Tammy in her Happy Links list).

6. Good stuff on Medium: The power of your writing: why you should write even if you think nobody is reading, and Call me a quitter: Just ask Vince Lombardi, and How a password changed my life, and Why I’m so negative about positivity, and 10 Things No One Tells Women about Turning 40 (thanks for sharing this last one, Lindsey).

7. Maya Stein’s 10-line Tuesday, because of this, and lines like this, “You need more light, not less,” and poems like this:

orientation
Just east of certainty. A little south of courage. A hair’s
width from ease. Clicks away from ready. A turn
or two from acceptance. A shuffle from faith. A set of stairs
from achievement. A riverbed from happiness. A handspan from
peace. A wink away from freedom. A few lines until the poem’s
done. A highway, a night’s sleep, a phone call, a touch, a rotation
of gears away from that certain yes that tells you where you are is
exactly where you need to be. I know, the signs can look as if they’re missing,
and the map so distant and unclear.
But I’m telling you, you aren’t lost. You’re never lost. You’re always here.

8. Mara Glatzel on delight, and more wisdom from yet another of her newsletters, (seriously, why haven’t you signed up for it yet?),

As women, we have a tendency to shrink. As a woman who spent many, many years believing that I had to apologize for my body or my intelligence or my wild spirit, the impulse is still alive and well, living in my muscle memory.

But, so is the restlessness of personal choice and self-responsiblity, of granting myself the permission to be exactly who I am, no matter what the circumstance.

9. A righteous conclusion about easing up on righteousness… from Danielle LaPorte.

10. don’t forget to eat (and knit) and cousin love from SouleMama.

11. Shared by Susannah Conway on her Something for the Weekend list: Small Buddha Head Planter on Etsy and the oon power outlet.

12. Good stuff from Create as Folk: 23 Things You Didn’t Know About My Career and Create as Folk is Seeking Monthly Contributors.

13. Good stuff (as always) from Courtney Carver (author of Be More with Less): The Answer is Less, and Vulnerability is the Core of our Connection, and How to Create Heart Space (and why it’s a big deal), and The Tiny Guide to Parke Diem.

14. Wisdom from Zen Habits: The Painful Beauty of Impermanence and How to Change Other People.

15. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Recently, in a friend’s kitchen I saw on the wall a quotation from one of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s talks, which said: “Hold the sadness and pain of samsara in your heart and at the same time the power and vision of the Great Eastern Sun. Then the warrior can make a proper cup of tea.”

I was struck by it because when I read it I realized that I myself have some kind of preference for stillness. The notion of holding the sadness and pain of samsara in my heart rang true, but I realized I didn’t do that; at least, I had a definite preference for the power and vision of the Great Eastern Sun. My reference point was always to be awake and to live fully, to remember the Great Eastern Sun—the quality of being continually awake. But what about holding the sadness and pain of samsara in my heart at the same time?

The quotation really made an impression on me. It was completely true: if you can live with the sadness of human life (what Rinpoche often called the tender heart or genuine heart of sadness), if you can be willing to feel fully and acknowledge continually your own sadness and the sadness of life, but at the same time not be drowned in it, because you also remember the vision and power of the Great Eastern Sun, you experience balance and completeness, joining heaven and earth, joining vision and practicality.

16. Good stuff from Marc and Angel Hack Life: 20 Habits Happy People Have (But Never Talk About) and 12 Quiet Rituals of Enormously Successful Humans.

17. Good stuff on Chookooloonks: forty-seven and how to live a perfect life in three easy steps, (which might just be one of the most important blog posts of all time).

18. Wisdom from Ann Patchett, “Never be so focused on what you’re looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.”

19. We from Rachel Cole, (also might just be one of the most important blog posts of all time — two on one list!).

20. Vegan Blogger’s Unusual Eating Disorder Shocks Followers.

21. Colbie Caillat – Try. Thank goodness, cause I stop trying a long time ago.

22. Writers at Work, shared by Austin Kleon.

23. Vivid Foods, “joy in a jar.”

24. You Say “Flawed”, He Says “Sexy”: What Men Really Think About Your Body from My Tiny Secrets.

25. Beautiful floral art, shared by The Cool Hunter: Flower Paintings by Thomas Darnell (the peonies! *swoon*) and amazing hanging installations from Rebecca Louise Law.

26. Note from the Universe, “The greatest perk, among countless others, Jill, that comes from loving someone right now, just exactly as they are, instead of waiting for them to change, is that you get to love someone right now.”

27. The truth behind the tweet from Kat McNally.

28. Keep Coming Back on 27 Powers, just one of the 27,000 reasons I will sometimes spontaneously text Laurie to tell her how much I adore her.

29. positive choices: lessons from 4 years of sobriety from Positively Present. And shared on her Positively Present Picks list, An epic guide to developing self-awareness: how to improve your leadership skills by understanding yourself.

30. A recipe for Blueberry Hand Pies, shared in this sweet post by Biscuits and Bobbins.

31. A message about miracles from Brave Girls Club,

Take some time today to see the miracles that have unfolded in your life.

If there was a time when you thought you could not make it ONE more day, and you did — that was an enormous blessing and a grand miracle created just for you.

If there was a time that you thought your heart might just break, and that you would never be the same, but you made it — that was a beautiful miracle of love just for you.

If there was a time you never thought thatyou would reach the goal you had worked so hard for, and you finally did — recognize the miracle inside of that experience.

We never walk alone. Miracles are unfolding every minute of our lives — miracles meant for our joy and for beauty and heart-peace. Take them for what they are meant to be and enjoy your life. Know that the miracles will not stop happening, that you are never alone on your journey.

The miracles are there…reminding you that you are loved.

32. This Human of New York, on Brittnay, Herself, (also a contender for one of the most important blog posts of all time, which if you are keeping score is three in this list!).

33. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Start Loving My 185 Pound Body on Huffington Post.

34. Relax, a beautiful poem by by Ellen Bass,

Bad things are going to happen.
Your tomatoes will grow a fungus
and your cat will get run over.
Someone will leave the bag with the ice cream
melting in the car and throw
your blue cashmere sweater in the drier.
Your husband will sleep
with a girl your daughter’s age, her breasts spilling
out of her blouse. Or your wife
will remember she’s a lesbian
and leave you for the woman next door. The other cat–
the one you never really liked–will contract a disease
that requires you to pry open its feverish mouth
every four hours. Your parents will die.
No matter how many vitamins you take,
how much Pilates, you’ll lose your keys,
your hair and your memory. If your daughter
doesn’t plug her heart
into every live socket she passes,
you’ll come home to find your son has emptied
the refrigerator, dragged it to the curb,
and called the used appliance store for a pick up–drug money.
There’s a Buddhist story of a woman chased by a tiger.
When she comes to a cliff, she sees a sturdy vine
and climbs half way down. But there’s also a tiger below.
And two mice–one white, one black–scurry out
and begin to gnaw at the vine. At this point
she notices a wild strawberry growing from a crevice.
She looks up, down, at the mice.
Then she eats the strawberry.
So here’s the view, the breeze, the pulse
in your throat. Your wallet will be stolen, you’ll get fat,
slip on the bathroom tiles of a foreign hotel
and crack your hip. You’ll be lonely.
Oh taste how sweet and tart
the red juice is, how the tiny seeds
crunch between your teeth.

35. Kacy Catanzaro at the 2014 Dallas Finals | American Ninja Warrior.

36. Even Cancer Couldn’t Keep Me from WDS: 12 Lessons from the 2014 World Domination Summit from Zen Psychiatry.

37. No wedding, no problem: 4-yr-old turns flower girl dreams into a reality.

38. Wisdom from Susan Piver, one of the wisest, most compassionate humans I know,

There is so much to be sad about in this world. Because it is so uncomfortable, we immediately want to turn sadness into what we imagine will hurt less: anger, hopelessness, helplessness. When the wish to help is rooted in anger, it will only create more confusion. And of course, when we feel hopeless or helpless, we take refuge in non-action, which also creates confusion. When we allow sadness, action arises from love.

Be brave. Be sad.

39. Wisdom from Geneen Roth, “Relentless attempts to be thin take you father away from what could end your suffering: getting back in touch with who you really are.”

40. One last piece of wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

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? 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 and where long meaningful conversations are many . . . one that is waiting for you when you are ready to take the steps to get there.

Simplify today, one little thing at time. You can do it. You are loved.

Day of Rest

I spend a lot of time contemplating the impact I’m having. Even when it seems like my stuff is my own and couldn’t possibly matter to anyone else, that I’m isolated and apart, separate, I know that my energy ripples out, that I am connected to everything, everyone, that with every thought, every action, and every breath, I am either generating suffering or easing it.

I have a deep desire to ease suffering, in myself and the world, but sometimes I feel so small, unnecessary and ineffective. I wonder if anything I do makes a difference. But every once in awhile, I am reminded that my effort matters.

The short documentary, “Forest Man,” tells the story of Jadav Payeng. He lives on Majuli Island, essentially nothing more than a large sandbar which is eroding, slowly disappearing. In an effort to stop the erosion, to rehabilitate the land, Jadav started planting trees. He’s been doing so since the 1970′s, and now his Molai Forest has reached 1,360 acres, and is a habitat “for several endangered animals which have returned to the area; a herd of nearly 100 elephants (which has now given birth to an additional ten), Bengal tigers, and a species of vulture that hasn’t been seen on the island in over 40 years.” I am so inspired by him.

You see, kind and gentle reader, each of us has the power to ease suffering. We may think we are small, that what we do can’t possibly amount to making a difference, and yet with discipline and dedication, our actions have power, we can effect change, have an impact. We can create an entire forest by planting one single tree at a time.

Something to consider on this day of rest: Where do you see suffering? What can you do to ease it? Where will you plant your trees? What do you long to save, to rehabilitate, to rescue, to heal?

Gratitude Friday

littleamerica1. A safe, relatively easy trip home.

2. Sleeping in my own bed.

3. My garden out front going crazy. We’ve had lots of rain and that combined with the Colorado sun made my garden explode. There’s lots of weeding to do, but I love seeing it so full and lush.

4. Cooler weather. It was in the high 90s in Redmond our last few days in Oregon, then 104 degrees when we stopped in Idaho, and after a month at the beach with cool weather, that was too too too hot. However, when we hit Colorado, with the storms, it wasn’t getting much over 75, so it’s given us a few days to settle in before it gets too hot.

5. Eric made me a marionberry tart with berries we brought back from Oregon in a cooler.

marionberrytartBonus Joy: Ringo goes back to daycare today and I am going back to my yoga class that I went to for six years straight and have been missing for the past six months.

 

Where I’ve Been Lately

We’ve been in Waldport at the beach almost a whole month now. We have just a few days left and then we’ll pack up and head back to Colorado — the heat, our garden, our own bed, our “normal” life. I haven’t been blogging or even online much while we’ve been here. It’s been a nice break, but I’m also feeling ready to get back.

pieThis morning, while eating some delicious marionberry pie for breakfast after our walk on the beach, I listened to Jamie Ridler’s latest episode of Creative Living with Jamie. Lately she’s done some extra special podcasts, one with Natalie Goldberg and another with Lisa Congdon.

In the intro, Jamie always says “Who knows, one day I just might be talking to you.” Guess what…she did! In today’s episode, Jamie is interviewing me! It was so much fun to talk with her, to contemplate and answer her questions, get to tell my story.

mabelmag

Image by Kat McNally

The other place I showed up is in the first issue of Mabel Magazine. Because we’ve been gone, not home to get our mail, I haven’t looked at the real copy yet, but my friend Kat was nice enough to post a picture of my article on Instagram so I could at least see it. I can’t wait to hold the issue in my own hands. So many of my favorite people contributed.

And for those who have been missing it, just know I’ve already started collecting stuff for the return of Something Good on Monday July 21st. That first post just might be a long one.