Author Archives: jillsalahub

#AugustMoon15: Day 13

warmthofthesunHow lucky I am. To be here in the backyard with the dogs, nowhere to go, nothing to do. Feeling joyful as I watch them play together. Not that long ago this seemed impossible, that Sam would ever be well enough, Ringo mature enough that they would play, be let to play, that it would be enjoyable to relax and watch them. When you have two dogs it feels like a blessing when they like each other, want to hang out and play. It feels like the best kind of luck.

Also there are tiny white moths dancing around the broccoli plants, which have gone to flower. Watching our garden also gives me such joy, the fruit it bears for us but also the way it creates a tiny universe, a whole little ecosystem of flying and crawling and secret things. There are tiny yellow breasted birds who love the sunflowers and yesterday morning I counted a flock of ten hopping around chattering at each other. It made me stupid happy.

#AugustMoon15: Day 11 & 12

brighteststar

litupfrominsideThese prompts seem to have only one possible answer, and it’s the same: me. And yet, not me exactly. Always have been the brightest star in my sky and lit up from within? — Me, but not who I am rather who I could be, or more exactly not who I think I am but rather who I really am under all the road dust and confusion. The genuine, authentic, actual me.

There’s a suggestion made in Buddhism that enlightenment isn’t something we get, earn, or attain but instead something we remember, relax into, something we already are underneath all the nonsense and noise. We are already enlightened, wise and compassionate beings, we’ve just forgotten, are confused about our true nature. The more I study and practice, the more I see how this might be possible. Maybe all it takes to become that fully realized, bright, lit up version of myself is to accept that is already who I am.

#AugustMoon15: Day Nine

luminousIt was somewhere midway through Shambhala Warrior Assembly, an intense ten day retreat I attending in the summer of 2009. We had just been taught a type of calligraphy practice particular to this lineage. We were in the meditation hall, which was a huge canvas tent (at least as big as my entire house) set on some of the most beautiful land at Shambhala Mountain Center. We were spending time practicing on our own, going through the process over and over, our tongues and fingers smudged black with ink. It was mostly silent except for the sound of the brushes and the crackle of the paper. Like the best moments of practice, I felt both intensely focused and completely relaxed. I paused for a moment and looked up, looked around at the others practicing with me, noticed how the light of the afternoon had turned the inside of the tend golden. I felt more present than I could remember having ever felt — “To remain present, we notice and let go almost simultaneously.” In that moment, I felt luminous.

Something Good


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

1. Wisdom from Paul Jarvis, from his Sunday Dispatch Apples to Elephants, “Everyone’s life is filled with fuck-ups, mistakes, disasters but also amazing beauty.”

2. Choosing to stop your addiction on The Washington Post.

But, in fact, addicts can and do stop. And according to Marc Lewis in “The Biology of Desire,” this reveals a basic problem with the medicalization of addiction. “People choose to stop when they have suffered more than enough,” he writes. “And when circumstances lend a hand. And when the possibility of self control becomes as attractive — more attractive — than any other possibility, including temporary relief.”

3. The Many Faces of Kristen Wiig, a hilarious video compilation from People.

4. This amazing picture from Elephant Green. I want to go to there.

silenceelephantgreen5. Start Here Now: An Open-Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation, Susan Piver’s new book, a wonderful guide to starting and sustaining a meditation practice.

startherenow6. Roasted Tomato Soup recipe. I made three batches this weekend because our garden is producing so many cherry tomatoes right now. It was super easy and delicious. If we didn’t eat it up so fast, I suspect it would freeze really well too, for later in the year when the fresh tomatoes are all gone. I also want to try this, Crispy Chickpea Kale Salad recipe.

7. The 7 Types Of Girls You Date from BuzzFeedYellow.

8. Whine About It, a new short video series where BuzzFeed writer Matt Bellassai gets drunk at work and complains. I love this so much. I think Matt Bellassai is my spirit animal.

9. Things You Should Make, Not Buy. “From marinara to mustard, more than 20 recipes for dishes and pantry staples that are so much better homemade.”

10. Have You Cut the Cable Cord? We did a few years back, have a computer hooked up to our tv and use the internet to watch Netflix and Hulu, which allows for more intentional watching, even when it’s binge watching.

11. The Adorable Tiny Dancer In This Insurance Ad Will Absolutely Make Your Day. It’s true.

12. A Couple Did A Newborn Photo Shoot With Their Dog To Stop People Asking About Babies.

13. “Am I Too Fat for Yoga Class?” on Wanderlust.

14. How to Age Gracefully – CBC Radio WireTap. “People of all ages offer words of wisdom to their younger counterparts in this WireTap farewell video, from CBC Radio One.”

15. Surviving The Loss Of My Beautiful Daughter Tess.

16. Sandra Bland’s Legacy: The Website for Women She Helped Found Launches Today.

17. Lesbian Cartoonist Alison Bechdel Countered Dad’s Secrecy By Being Out And Open.

18. The Inner Light of Creativity: Vivian Gornick on How One Blossoms into Being an Artist on Brain Pickings.

19. 7 Things to Remember If You’re a White Person Dating a Person of Color.

20. Romanian City Gives Free Bus Rides To Passengers Who Read Books Inside.

21. Good stuff from Dances with Fat: A Little Inspiration, and Lessons from a Salad Bar, and The “Healthiest Possible Body” Myth, and That Sad Little Fat-Shaming Photoshop Project.

22. The HAES® files: Fit or Fat – Can You Be Both?

23. You Really Should Be Skinnier.

24. Truthbomb #866 from Danielle LaPorte, “Your voice is your liberation.”

25. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

To love is so easy — to judge is so NOT. To be loved is so beautiful — to be judged is so NOT. Aren’t we so lucky that it is not our job to judge others? Wouldn’t it be so hard if we were assigned to pick each other apart and decide which parts are good and which parts are bad and how someone should be living their life? or raising their children? or how someone should vote? or what they should be doing for a job? or how they should wear their hair or how much they should weigh or where they should live or how they should dress or how they should behave? Aren’t we so fortunate that the job of judging others does not fall on us?

And aren’t we so very very very lucky that our biggest job is just to LOVE each other and to decide FOR OURSELVES how WE will each live individually — how we will behave, how we will wear our hair, how we will raise our children, how we will vote, how we will live our lives, what we will do for a career, who we will spend our life with. And then WE get to live with those decisions—

Our job when it comes to each other is only to LOVE…in spite of our differences and in spite of the fact that we sometimes do not understand each other. Aren’t we just so darned lucky??? What a beautiful thing that our greatest job as fellow human beings is simply to love each other — fully and completely. What a beautiful and perfect world.

Let’s do it. YOU are loved.

26. 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs, a link originally shared by the amazing Alexandra Franzen, who is on the list, as she should be. She also shared some great stuff on her blog recently, Is it possible to run a business without using social media?, and Why I do not use social media anymore.

27. Learning to Say Goodbye from Jennifer Louden.

28. Everyday Icon: The Creative Couple, a great interview with the amazing artist Lisa Congdon and her wife Clay Walsh, Lisa’s Head of Marketing and Operations, in which they talk about “working together as a married couple to grow Lisa’s brand.”

29. TV reporter makes kid cry when she asks him about first day of school. “A reporter at KTLA made a 4-year-old boy cry when she asked him about his first day of pre-kindergarten.” This is just about the sweetest thing ever. I kinda don’t want Andrew to ever grow up.

30. Jimmy Carter has cancer. It’s so sad, but the way he’s handling it only makes him that much more inspiring: Jimmy Carter on His Cancer Diagnosis and Jimmy Carter Dedicating The Rest Of His Life Fighting For Women’s Rights.

31. Brave Heart, best-selling author Brené Brown on the risks and rewards of daring greatly on Texas Monthly. If you don’t know much about Brene’ Brown, she was recently featured on A Person You Should Know, where they shared lots of great links.

32. I’m on a semi-starvation diet, why am I so hungry?, a question answered by The Fat Nutritionist.

33. AMA on Reddit with Chuck Wendig of Terrible Minds.

34. Exposed: The sick truth behind the great ‘wellness’ blog craze taking social media by storm and one online star battling a secret fitness addiction.

35. Shared on Chookooloonks this was a good week list, My Garden Photography & a Garden Tour. Such a beautiful space.

36. When You Struggle with Imposter Syndrome and Self-Doubt from Be More With Less.

37. Why We Create Pain from Laura Simms, in which she contemplates the way we sometimes hold on to pain instead of trading it for freedom.

38. 30 Quick Stories that Will Make You Think Differently. Bite sized bits of dharma from Marc and Angel Hack Life that hit you right in your tender spot.

39. someone you should meet: courtenay on Chookooloonks.

40. Good stuff shared by Austin Kleon on his weekly newsletter: On the virtues of brevity in writing, and The British Library Puts 1,000,000 Images into the Public Domain, Making Them Free to Reuse & Remix.

41. The Elephant Whisperer Of Chiang Mai. “Her relationship with these gentle animals prove that love comes in all shapes and sizes.”

42. money talks with Patti Digh with Sherry Belul on Mabel Magazine.

43. 9 Ways to Make Your Days Simple Again on Marc and Angel Hack Life.

44. Wisdom from Rob Nairn’s book, Living, Dreaming, Dying,

Awareness of the thought process at the moment of an impulse arising is what makes freedom from thought possible, because when the mind is only at the stage of an impulse arising, the energies haven’t fully engaged. There is an almost impartial quality about the energy of the impulse. When it is driven into specific thought, the situation changes and it becomes “my thought with my feeling, therefore me.” This is what is meant by being caught in the thought. The inner energy has transmuted from being something relatively neutral and therefore not very important or compelling into something entirely personal and therefore extremely important and compelling.

45. Sooner or later, the critics move on from Seth Godin.

46. The Process Monkey Asks: What Is Your Writing Process? on Terrible Minds.

Day of Rest

skyfeathersMy mom emailed me yesterday and told me my second grade teacher died. I was a lucky kid. I grew up in a really small town in a rural area of Oregon, but was part of a really big family. My mom is the second oldest of 12 kids and my grandparents had a farm. We all lived near each other and spent a lot of time together. I was as close to my cousins as most people are with their siblings. I grew up with kids whose parents had been friends with my parents growing up. Except for the first few years, I lived in the same house until I moved out at 18. I joke that it was as close to growing up in Mayberry as you could get.

For being a small rural town, I had an amazing school with incredible teachers. Mrs. Simmons was one of the best. We did a lot of writing and creating in her class, took lots of fun field trips, and she was so encouraging, calling me her “little author.” There was a loft bed in the corner of the classroom painted to look like a tree. I spent many hours there reading — I was working my way through the entire library, book by book. It was that same year that I learned that being a writer was a job, one I could grow up and have. Once I knew that, I knew who I was.

I was lucky enough to run into Esther a few years ago. I was home visiting, and as my mom and I came out of the post office, there she was. My mom said hello to her and something like “do you know who this is?” as she gestured towards me and I smiled. To me she looked almost exactly the same, older sure but totally recognizable, but for her it must have been so strange, this little girl she used to know standing before her suddenly a woman in her 40s. I got to tell her that I’m a teacher and a writer, and she seemed so pleased by that. I’m so sad she’s gone, but glad I got to see her again, and hope that she knew the good she’d done, for me and all the other kids lucky enough to be her students, to be taught and loved by her.

I knew as a six year old I wanted to be a writer. I was so sure, and it’s all I’ve ever wanted, but it’s taken a really really long time to land. This morning I was listening to an episode of Elizabeth Gilbert’s new podcast, Magic Lessons. She was talking about being a late bloomer, and mentioned something poet Sharon Olds said, “I was a late bloomer. But anyone who blooms at all, ever, is very lucky.” I’ve spent a lot of time beating myself up for “wasting” the years between second grade and 43, but I got it all wrong. I am so lucky to have ever bloomed at all.