Author Archives: jillsalahub

Something Good

oldtownalley1. This American Was Shocked When His Facebook Post About England Went Viral. “A few weeks ago he visited England, and he decided to share his observations on Facebook.” This list is both interesting and funny.

2. Wildlife is absolutely thriving at Chernobyl disaster site.

3. Living a Full Life, a dharma teaching from Natalie Goldberg. “A writer, for better or for worse, gets to live life twice.”

4. This offensive photo sparked a whole lot of love for the boy who deserved better.

5. It’s here and it’s being claimed “The first zero-waste grocery store in the world.”

6. Nutritower is a vertical farm for your tiny condo.

7. The Just F*cking Journal Class: October 12th-16th. “5 days. 5 fresh prompts. 5 ways to get present with YOU.” This is a great opportunity, a great practice — FREE.

8. Wisdom from Mara Glatzel, on the page for her The Deep Exhale offering, something I needed to hear so badly I signed up for it,

When we are well-rested, well-nourished, and well-loved we are able to show up in the world to do the work that we were put on the planet to do with ease and grace. It really is that simple and yet, so many of us tie ourselves up in knots believing that working hard(er) is the only way forward.

9. Begin Again: How Yoga Unlocks the Writer Within from Dani Shapiro, in which she says,

The writing life is painstakingly slow. We toil invisibly, tearing our hair out, steam escaping from our ears, our hearts frozen in fear, our poor small selves so full of the tension of what we hope to express and the impossibility of ever getting it exactly right. It’s just about unbearable, which is why we look to our totems to help us along the way. But perhaps the wisdom we crave isn’t to be found inside those objects we imbue with magic and meaning. Perhaps—just perhaps—to quote Woolf once more, “We are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself.”

10. Squirrel Rescued After Hurricane Becomes Family’s Cutest Member. A squirrel named Jill.

11. The True Secret of Writing: A Talk With Natalie Goldberg, wisdom from one of my favorite teachers.

12. #3bravethings : Have You Done 3 Brave Things in 2015 Yet? from Diana Dellos.

13. Money Talks with Jill Salahub I love the Money Talks series on Mabel Magazine with the lovely Sherry Richert Belul, and was so happy when she asked me to take part. It’s so timely, because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I make my living.

14. The Simple Technique that Changed My Life on Elephant Journal. This article explains why I meditate better than almost anything I’ve ever read.

Our tendency at grasping for the next thing to fill a hole that we perceive in our being is demonstrated in our thoughts during meditation practice. By cutting the pattern of discursive thought we learn to relax and just be. We can actually sit and be content. But, we’re not doing all of this to just be good little meditators, or to have short reprieves during our day from our constant state of anxiety and dissatisfaction. We’re doing this during our sitting time so that it begins to affect our entire life.

15. The corporatization of higher education: With a system that caters to the 1 percent, students and faculty get screwed. I could only read this in short doses. It’s so true, so disappointing, that it makes me feel sick.

This exploitation of low-wage faculty is part of what’s known as the corporatization of higher education. Increasingly, both public and private colleges are being run on the cost-cutting model of American business. Which presents a burning question: If faculty are being paid less, class sizes are growing and tuition is higher than ever, where is the money going?

16. Dog Refuses To Leave The Side Of Man Who Saved Him From Flood. This story had me in tears.

17. This Is What You Should Eat. Any Questions? This is so great, highlights how hard it can be to know what to eat when we listen to something other than our own body, our own inherent wisdom. And, it’s funny at the same time.

18. Instead of a ‘dislike’ button, Facebook tests new set of reaction emojis.

19. Mom’s Viral Facebook Post Offers Powerful Message After Miscarriage, “Scars tell stories. Scars mean survival. Scars mean you showed up for the fight instead of running from it.”

20. Awake in the World, 2nd Annual Online Free Event, November 4th – 8th. Last year this was great, and this year promises to be the same. So many great teachers.

21. Raise Your Hand Say Yes with Austin Kleon. A great podcast, a great guest.

22. The Brutal Economics of Being a Yoga Teacher.

23. Good stuff from this week’s Positively Present Picks list: 25 Hilarious Tweets That Perfectly Capture Your Feelings About Animals, and 5 Positive Reasons for Saying No, and The Two Best Ways to Uncover Your Truth.

24. Austin Kleon on Mary Karr’s new book, The Art of Memoir.

25. the shutterbugs: kate holstein on SF Girl by Bay. Such dreamy pictures. I clicked through to her full website and got lost in it.

26. 5 Ways to Manage Stress at Work, some great tips from Laura Simms, who is also offering Your Career Homecoming Training Series videos for FREE on her new website.

27. The Crossroads of Should and Must. “This is a story about two roads — Should and Must. It’s a pep talk for anyone who’s chosen Should for far too long — months, years, maybe a lifetime — and feels like it’s about time they gave Must a shot.” This post ended up inspiring a book that I really want to read.

28. Why you should stop saying should on Positively Present. Stop shoulding all over yourself.

29. Wisdom from Anam Thubten,

If we were asked to be free right now, to jump into the sea of love in this very moment, we might turn our attention inward and try it, and it may not work. Why? Because of a hindrance, a block. That block is the very sense of “I am” that is the false image of who we are. It is the shell that is veiling, covering our true nature. So the goal of all spiritual endeavors is to actually realize the enlightened part of who we are, not sometime in the future, but right now.

30. Wisdom from Kiki Smith,

Just do your work. And if the world needs your work it will come and get you. And if it doesn’t, do your work anyway. You can have fantasies about having control over the world, but I know I can barely control my kitchen sink. That is the grace I’m given. Because when one can control things, one is limited to one’s own vision.

31. The Geography Of Sorrow: Francis Weller On Navigating Our Losses.

32. Claritude from Jena Schwartz.

33. Breathe, an eleven week, (self-directed), deep breathing, creative recovery retreat for your spirit with the lovely Julia Fehrenbacher.

34. A dirty secret called grief. “After her mother’s death, Kiran Sidhu found she was expected to ‘move on’ with such bewildering haste that her only option was to conceal her sorrow.”

Day of Rest

workshopreflectionThis morning I’m reflecting on the workshop I facilitated yesterday — Wild Writing, Crazy Wisdom. It was beyond full, (I had to turn someone away!), and there was only one flyer left on the board, so any fear I had about there being no interest was dispelled. I got there half an hour early, a bit later than I’d planned because a friend and her girls had stopped by to get pumpkins (we had a mini pumpkin patch in our front garden), but that still left me plenty of time.

It turns out earlier wouldn’t have been better anyway because there was a class in the big room until 1 pm, and that’s where all the extra props we needed are stored, so I couldn’t set much up without them. There were also additional obstacles. The teacher training group that was at lunch until 1:30 pm (start time for my workshop) had left all their gear in the room I was using, and the class that was supposed to finish at 1 pm lingered until 1:10 pm, so it was a mad scramble to move everything around and get set up. Thankfully, one of the teacher trainees was there eating her lunch and was nice enough to help me clear out the room. It was a warm day, I was running around and was hot. And finally, I realized the music player in that room was only an iPod docking station, so the cds I brought weren’t going to work, I’d have to use my phone, and the only outlet was across the room from my mat.

So I was a bit flustered to start. And yet, it was a good thing. I didn’t have a chance to make things precious, to have it all set up perfectly, to be ready and waiting, to be still and have time to get nervous, to think too much about how it all might seem to those arriving.

The thing I noticed as I was preparing, that morning and in the days before, was that I didn’t need to do a lot of prep. I made an outline so I could be sure to stay on track for time, I had my yoga sequence outlined, had picked a few quotes from some of my favorite practice books, and had the prompts for our writing sessions ready. But other than that, I didn’t plan beyond thinking about it. I felt confident that I knew what I was doing. I could teach this from my heart because this is what I know, what I study, what I practice, what I do, what I love. I can talk authentically and on the spot about all of it because of the foundation I’ve built for it in my own practice.

My intention for the workshop was to create an experience where people could uncover some meaning, open up in a safe space, and be fully present without feeling overwhelmed. I also for myself wanted to experience ease and joy. And as I told the women who attended, underlying all that was my intention to not fuck it up. And I didn’t. I know, because this is some of the feedback I got, (shared with permission):

This afternoon feels really pivotal for me. Any workshop that incorporates getting in touch with one’s own heart is of great value. I also really appreciate the easiness in which you allowed the class to relax right out of the gate.

Safe, welcoming and inspiring class.

If you need a day to focus and jumpstart your writing practice, this is for you.

It was a great experience in just letting go of demands & expectations of my writing. Jill created an atmosphere that felt safe & comfortable & so I felt free to just let it all out.

See. I didn’t fuck it up. Even so, there are a few things I’ll do differently next time. I will use the bigger room so we have more space. I’ll try a few other times, like Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon, or maybe even a weekday. There will be a snack break, in addition to the other breaks we took. I’m also considering a short discussion at the end of the writing sessions to debrief, talk about what that experience was like, talk about why the practice of wild writing and sharing what we write without commentary is so important. I also want to offer a modified version that’s just the meditation and writing, without the yoga or with a much shorter practice.

I was totally wired when I left the studio last night, but crashed as soon as I ate dinner, and feel slightly hung over this morning. I’d love a full day of doing absolutely nothing, but I’m never very good at that. Instead, I’ll finish this post, go to yoga, work on my Something Good list, and dive into Unfold and The Deep Exhale, which will be restorative in a whole other way.

I’m thinking a lot today about how I’m shifting making my living. Paul Jarvis wrote a really great piece last week about the subject, and his opening line is still rattling around my brain, “Are you looking to make money selling things or are you looking to make the world a better place with what you make?” This was very timely because just after I read it, I found out that Wanderlust was no longer going to pay me for my Something Good list on their site. It was a tiny amount of money, and if they’d asked me initially to share the list on their site simply for the exposure, I would have most likely agreed, but being paid and then not felt different. It sucks, actually. And yet, after thinking about it, I’m going to continue sharing the list there, because ultimately what I want is for more people to see it, for more people to have access to what I’m doing because it might be helpful to them.

I know all the arguments for why I shouldn’t continue. They are good, valid arguments made by people much wiser than myself. And yet, I want to continue to make this offering, paid or not. I want to reach people more than I want a reward. It’s interesting, because when I determined what I wanted to do instead of working at CSU, I thought I would just do it. Sure, I’d have to figure out a bunch of logistics, but I thought the shift would be clearer — stop doing this to do that instead. Now it doesn’t seem so simple. It isn’t a choice between two things. It’s a web of things and I’m not entirely sure how exactly to weave them all together in a way that affords me the life I want. And I’m realizing, after so long of thinking what I wanted was to be successful and popular, that I have no interest in being “Oprah-fied.” I want to be authentic and for my life to be simple. I want to ease suffering, in myself and in the world. I want a life that is small, but deep and wide.

Gratitude Friday

weddingus1. 22 years. I’d still chose him, still do every day. I’ve blogged about it on this day the past two years, first on our 20th anniversary, and then on our 21st. He’s still my favorite.

2. Yoga. As I work to heal my foot, to cope with the overwhelm of returning to work at CSU, to enjoy moving my body and being outside on the days it’s nice enough to practice on the patio, yoga is such a gift.

3. Talking to my mom on the phone, getting an anniversary card from her in the mail. I teased her when I emailed her recently after not hearing from her for a bit that she needed to send me a message so I knew she was still alive since she doesn’t have a blog I can check or a smartphone I can text her on. We have an ongoing conversation with each other in our heads every day, but it’s nice to talk for real sometimes, even as much as we both hate talking on the phone.

4. Chew time with the dogs. They get a treat they love and I get to relax in a lawn chair. It’s a win/win.

Distracted for a minute by the dad doing something in the kitchen

Distracted for a minute by the dad doing something in the kitchen

Done with his treat and back to patrolling the yard

Done with his treat and back to patrolling the yard

5. Walking two miles. Y’all have no idea how hard this foot injury has been on me, not being able to go on the walks with the dogs (we go six miles in the morning, 2-3 in the afternoon). My foot is strong enough now that I’m starting to build my endurance back up, and even though it was tender and I had to ice it yesterday after two miles, it’s starting to feel possible that this thing could get all the way better.

Bonus joy: yoga on the back patio, Tricks and Games class with Ringo, Wild Writing class, clementines (reminding me that there’s still fruit, even in the fall and winter), Booktober (an Instagram challenge I’m doing), ordering a new camera, another person signed up for my workshop, being cold (I know, I’ll be complaining about it in no time, but for now it’s kind of awesome), the turning leaves, all our pumpkins, still a few grasshoppers and birds in the front garden, finally getting my hair cut after almost a whole year.


Three Truths and One Wish



1. Truth: Trying to make money from my art, from what I love to do, can be confusing and frustrating. It seems like unless you are a celebrity yoga teacher or have a best selling book, the reality is that being a teacher and a writer aren’t very lucrative careers. I don’t get paid much (if anything) to begin with, even when I set my own price (which I’m honestly not very good at), and then I might have to pay to rent space and advertise, and a portion of what’s left after that goes to taxes, so there’s not much left in the end.

2. Truth: This could be a deal breaker. If I don’t figure out how to cobble together a reasonable income from that work, I won’t leave my job at CSU and devote myself to it fulltime, at least not for awhile, at least not while I keep finding reasons to stay for just a little longer — until the bathroom remodel is done or we buy a new car or we take that trip. Sometimes this makes me feel desperate, trapped, and sad. Sometimes it makes me want to give up.

3. Truth: Trying to do this as a “crossfade” is exhausting.  Laura Simms talks about the crossfade a lot, that time when you are still working your current job while also trying to grow your new career, so you essentially are doing two jobs. I feel some days like I’ve got three jobs, and then there’s the laundry, and bills that need paid, and my floor is covered in dog hair and the toilet needs cleaned and my dogs are bored and I can’t remember the last time I flossed my teeth and I really want to go to the gym if only I had the time or the energy — and that doesn’t even include the things I want to do because I love them, like read a book or watch a movie or take a nap or hang out with my husband.

One wish: That some how, some way, I can find the means and the magic to make it work. That we all can slow down, simplify things, and feel rested and nourished and satisfied with our lives, however we might choose to spend our days. That no matter how confused or tired or disappointed, we don’t give up.

Something Good

fallcolorSo great to be partnering with Wanderlust to share this list with a larger audience.

1. Kindness Project 51-51-51 on Simply Celebrate. My dear friend Sherry is doing another kindness project, “I will send 51 notes to 51 strangers in 51 days. Do you know someone who is lonely, grieving, disappointed, or blue? Someone who needs a boost? If so, please email me and tell me a tiny bit about their story, why you love this person, and their snail mail address. Also, let me know if you want their letter to be anonymous from the universe or from me on your behalf.” Sherry’s got big love to give. All you need to do is let her know where to send it.

2. Dear Retailers: Screw You, a letter from a woman who’s been both “normal” and “plus” sized.

3. 5 Things to Remember When Someone You Love is Depressed from Marc and Angel Hack Life. So important.

4. Homeless Find New Life Working at 22-Acre Organic Farm and Restaurant. What a great project.

5. The Devil’s Food Cake Recipe That Everyone Should Have. I’m certainly willing to test this out.

6. 5 Things I Know About The Path from Momastery.

7. Memories Of A Maybe Angel In ‘Don’t Suck, Don’t Die.’ This sounds like something I’d want to read.

8. One of America’s most beloved authors reveals her ‘number one life hack’ for lasting relationships. Really good relationship advice from Brene’ Brown.

9. The Elephants Always Line Up To Hug This Old Lady.

10. 16 Poses to Ease Back Pain from Yoga Journal. These are some of my very favorites. Back pain or not, they just feel good.

11. Armed with a Sharpie and rocks, this guy is lifting people’s spirits every day. I love stories like this, people who are driven to make stuff for no other reason than to cheer people up, cheer people on.

12. On Failure, and Not-Failure from Emily McDowell. “TL;DR: Social media is a lie and I fail all the time. But it turns out failure is kind of a lie, too.” I’m so glad that the failure narrative is so popular right now. It makes me feel like I’m in really good company.

13. Wisdom from Friedrich Nietzsche, as shared on Brain Pickings, “There is no way to help any soul attain this happiness, however, so long as it remains shackled with the chains of opinion and fear.”

14. Teddy Bear the Porcupine’s Halloween Feast. This is from a few years ago, but it’s worth watching at the beginning of every fall.

15. 15+ Cats That Don’t Care About Your Personal Space on Bored Panda.

16. Tina Fey cracks up playing LaTina Fey. Thanks Billy Eichner.

17. Little Bird, keeping me entertained on my day off, a video on Facebook from Leanne Guzzwell that’s gone viral. And for good reason: so cute! It makes me want to jump around.

18. The best self-love resources, a really great list from Positively Present.

19. SUSDAT from Seth Godin. “Show up, sit down and type.”

20. How Making Art Changes Your Life and Why You Can’t Make it for That Reason, brilliance from Jen Louden.

21. Brave Enough on A Design So Vast.

22. Choose One Thing to Simplify Your Life (just one) from Be More With Less. I’ve been working with the idea of focusing on just one thing at a time, wanting to simplifying my life, so this list is a great help, and Courtney as always is a great resource. My favorites are #11, #13, #17, and #20.

23. The One Secret Thing All Successful People Do. LOVE it.

24. 11 Things Highly Creative People Sacrifice For Their Art. I wish I were brave enough to do all 11. What’s crazy is that I know if I did, I’d be happy, so what is stopping me?! Also interesting about this list is that it’s actually applicable to more than just artists. It could easily be reframed as a list for all humans who want to live their life fully awake and completely in it.

25. When acceptance isn’t for you, a recent newsletter from Anna Guest-Jelley of Curvy Yoga.

26. You’re Not Too Tired To Create. You’re Too Distracted. Oh, snap!

27. 200 Key Sanskrit Yoga Terms from Yoga Journal.

28. Learning to Die. “My mother taught me many things, including, in the end, how to die.”

29. 19 Banned Books That Actually Changed Your Life from BuzzFeed.

30. 11 Charts That Will Speak To Everyone Who Fucking Loves Sleep from BuzzFeed. *gigglesnort*

31. Self-Taught Polish Artist Uses Fallen Autumn Leaves As Canvases For Her Paintings on Bored Panda.

32. Painter Flora Bowley’s new website is so pretty. I especially love her new Studio Diary series. Each month she’ll explore a different theme through a series videos, written prompts, etc. She’s offering the first month free. The theme is Awakening, and you can access it here — it includes a welcome video, mini painting lesson, real time painting demo, a chat with artist Kelly Rae Roberts, a Q & A with Flora, a guided meditation, a conscious movement session with Lynzee Lynx, smoothie recipes from Shannon Sims, etc. Did I mention this first month is FREE?!

33. Where the children sleep, a heartbreaking series from Magnus Wennman, winner of two World Press Photo Awards and fourfold winner of Sweden’s Photographer of the Year Award, who has met refugees in countless refugee camps and on their journeys through Europe this year.

The war in Syria has continued for almost five years and more than two million children are fleeing the war, within and outside of the country borders. They have left their friends, their homes, and their beds behind. A few of these children offered to show where they sleep now, when everything that once was no longer exists.

34. The Glass Is Already Broken from Adreanna Limbach. “Embracing impermanence can help us develop a deeper appreciation for every day and fill our lives with reverence.”

35. Girl Skulks Into a Room. This is a great read. Just trust me and click the link.

36. Daylight Saving – Movie Trailer. Hilarious.

37. Five Days In The Life: Single, Minimum-Wage Fast Food Working Mom in Chicago.

38. Orphaned Raccoon Rescued By Family With Dogs Thinks She’s A Dog, Too. Pumpkin the Raccoon is my new favorite Instagram account — stupid cute, (someone or something that is so attractive it disrupts your ability to intelligently process information while looking at it, something so unbelievably cute it makes you stupid). And, I think Ringo might be part raccoon.

39. 12 Tough Truths About Great Relationships from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

Day of Rest

image by Eric

image by Eric

I’m feeling sad and a little angry this morning, confused. One friend’s sweet dog was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that can be very painful, so young that I still think of him as a puppy. Another person I adore had surgery yesterday because her cancer is back. Someone else I love and who deserves to be happy, to stay happy, is getting a divorce. Another friend had a garage sale to try and make some money for next month’s rent. Someone else I can’t imagine losing is drinking herself to death. And I don’t even want to talk about all the stuff in the news right now. The thing we all want is to be happy, comfortable, at peace, safe, and yet it seems so hard to get there, to stay there.

Buddhism would say that’s the root of our suffering: the longing to not suffer, the desire to escape it. It’s a real Catch 22 — we long to not suffer, but the circumstances of living are such that suffering is our fundamental experience, so in the end it’s the wanting to not feel pain that causes it, keeps us caught in the cycle of suffering. In an email yesterday, Susan Piver shared a quote from Chögyam Trungpa’s book, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior that makes the whole thing a little less confusing, more workable.

Discovering real goodness comes from appreciating very simple experiences. We are not talking about how good it feels to make a million dollars or finally graduate from college or buy a new house, but we are speaking here of the basic goodness of being alive — which does not depend on our accomplishments or fulfilling our desires. We experience glimpses of goodness all the time, but we often fail to acknowledge them. When we see a bright color, we are witnessing our own inherent goodness. When we hear a beautiful sound, we are hearing our own basic goodness. When we step out of the shower, we feel fresh and clean, and when we walk out of a stuffy room, we appreciate the sudden whiff of fresh air. These events take a fraction of a second, but they are real experiences of goodness.

If we are willing to take an unbiased look, we will find that, in spite of all our problems and confusion, all our emotional and psychological ups and downs, there is something basically good about our existence as human beings. We have moments of basic non-aggression and freshness…it is worthwhile to take advantage of these moments…we have an actual connection to reality that can wake us up and make us feel basically, fundamentally good.

This is in no way suggesting that we simply “stay positive.” Rather it’s suggesting that in our confusion, we don’t allow our suffering to make us blind to what is good, that we notice and pay attention to everything — the yellow of the leaves, a sip of clean water, even the feeling of sadness that arises when something difficult happens to someone we love because we love them and we long for them to be happy and safe. As always, this makes me return to the one thing that makes the most sense to me: life is tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal — keep your heart open.

That they loved…

twoIn my Wild Writing class yesterday, Laurie offered “On the Lemur” by poet Lisa Jarnot as a prompt. The line I chose to work with was “That they loved…” When I read what I’d written, Laurie said it could be a blog post, and because I trust her and also liked what I wrote, I’m sharing it with you here, kind and gentle reader.

That they loved to yell at the garbage trucks, the people with dogs walking down our street, the cats in our yard, the delivery trucks — the UPS and the FedEX, both with the same squeaky brakes. That they loved to bark and bark until they were just barking at each other or barking at nothing, or just barking so I’d tell them to come inside and they’d be so happy when they listened to me and shot back in as fast as they could go through the dog door that I’d give them a cookie in thanks. That they loved to sleep when I didn’t need them to but the second I needed quiet, needed for them to settle down, they would explode in a burst of noise. That they loved how that felt, that surge of energy, that feeling that if the people or vehicles or animals left they knew it was because of the noise they’d made and they felt success, again. That they loved to check every inch of the yard to see who’d been where, peed on what. That they loved to go back to sleep after breakfast, leaving me quiet time to meditate and write before having to leave the house on the long walk, which starts now in the dark and apparently there might be bears so we need to be awake, alert, ready, aware. That they loved watermelon and carrots and blueberries and frozen green beans and the skin off the smoked salmon. That they loved getting ready, getting to ride in the car, hanging out in the back yard or on the couch. That they loved even getting to go to the vet because they got cookies and Dr. Mulnix always told them how good they were but now he’s gone, not retired like he’d planned but gone gone and I’m afraid to go back, afraid the first time we go and he’s not there, that in the knowing why I won’t be able to stop myself from crying. That they loved that dumb fighting game they play where they lie on the floor and knock their teeth into each other, slobbing all over each other’s heads, getting dog hair everywhere. That they loved. That they loved has saved me, again and again, and will keep doing so as long as they do.