Author Archives: jillsalahub

Three Truths and One Wish

Ringo and Sam each have their own style of couching

Ringo and Sam each have their own style of couching

1. Truth: I am allowing myself to be too busy. Even though I said I wouldn’t be busy this semester, was going to stop doing that, here I am. I’m over scheduled, over committed, trying to do too much. There’s no space, no gaps, no room to breathe and be still.

2. Truth: Too busy is so harmful. My health suffers, my relationships become difficult, work is a challenge, and my thinking is confused. I start taking shortcuts and am no longer doing my best, for myself or anyone else. I skip the gym, don’t get enough sleep, eat crap without thinking. I feel bewildered. I am unable to prioritize and have a constant nagging feeling that I’m forgetting something. In this compromised state, I don’t stop until I get to the point of total overwhelm.

3. Truth: I need to slow down. Take care, pace myself, check myself before I wreck myself. Luckily most of the things I do aren’t that important in a global sense. If I have to give something up or it takes longer to be finished, probably no one will die as a result.

One wish: When we find that we are too busy, that we can’t keep up and are running ourselves into the ground, may we pause, find some stillness and space, notice where we are and be gentle. May we know deep in our bones that even if we did nothing at all, we’d still be enough.

Something Good

1. Good stuff from Brain Pickings: The Velveteen Rabbit, Reimagined with Uncommon Tenderness by Beloved Japanese Illustrator Komako Sakai and The Well of Being: An Extraordinary Children’s Book for Grownups about the Art of Living with Openhearted Immediacy.

2. Sorry confusion from Seth Godin.

3. Shared by Austin Kleon in his weekly newsletter: Credit is always due, and A meditation teacher on surviving a plane crash, and the horrible consequences of addiction — Harris Wittels, Television Comedy Writer, Is Dead at 30, and RIP Harris Wittels. 1984-2015.

4. I Am A Dad With Stage 4 Lung Cancer, And Here’s What I Know Now. Oren died on Saturday.

5. Wisdom from Jonathan Fields, “Build things that speak louder than you ever could.”

6. Audience growth, from Paul Jarvis, in which he shares this wisdom,

You may think that developing your own unique voice is easy, since, hell, it’s your voice. Sadly, this is not the case, especially in writing. Finding your voice takes work. It’s part internalization, part confidence, and part a damn lot of practice. I’m not sure developing your voice as a creator is something you can ever completely win at—you have to continually check in with yourself to see if it consistently aligns.

7. ‘Imitation Game’ Writer Graham Moore Wanted To ‘Say Something Meaningful’ During Oscars Speech.

8. Neil Gaiman + Amanda Palmer perform I Google You.

9. Good things from Terrible Minds: In Which I Answer Why Adults Read So Much Young Adult Fiction and The Social Media Rules That Govern My Slapdash Online Existence.

10. New Study Shows Marijuana Is 114 Times Safer Than the Deadliest Legal Drug in the U.S.

11. Where Do Our Stories Come From? by Laurie Wagner.

12. Good things from Zen Habits: You’re Not Doing Life Wrong and Getting Lost in Just Doing.

13. Let Me Fix That For You: A Dramaturge Explains What’s Wrong With Patricia Arquette’s Speech.

14. Writing Workshop Is Not Group Therapy on Brevity.

15. Good stuff about yoga on Elephant Journal: On Being Fat, Yoga Teacher Training & the Right to Be Happy and Why I Quit Teaching Yoga & Hope to Never Go Back and What Nobody Tells You About Yoga.

16. Wisdom from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, (thanks for sharing, Lise),

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

17. Wisdom from Louis C.K., (thanks to Meg Worden for sharing),

Self-love is a good thing but self-awareness is more important. You need to once in a while go “Uh, I’m kind of an asshole.”

18. Why It’s So Wrong—But So Right—To Sleep With Your Pets.

19. How to Spot A Narcissist and Walk Away on MindBodyGreen. I worked for a narcissist for seven years and walking away was one of the best things I ever did for myself.

20. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

The main thing about this practice and about all practice is that you’re the only one who knows what is opening and what is closing down; you’re the only one who knows. There’s a slogan: “Of the two witnesses, hold the principal one.” What it’s saying is that one witness is everybody else giving you their feedback and opinions (which is worth listening to; there’s some truth in what people say), but the principal witness is yourself. You’re the only one who knows when you’re opening and when you’re closing. You’re the only one who knows when you’re using things to protect yourself and keep your ego together and when you’re opening and letting things fall apart, letting the world come as it is—working with it rather than struggling against it.

21. the bohemian life on SF Girl by Bay. I love this look, the wood and the greenery, the styles and the colors.

22. Revenge Porn Dude Wants His Personal Info Removed From Internet Lolol.

23. Stay on Your Surfboard from Kate Read.

24. Wisdom from musician Alexi Murdoch,

First you must free yourself from the idea of your voice. From the very sound of it. You must throw off the yoke of familiar language. The habits of rhythms and structures that are familiar. They are limitation. You have to expel even your greatest teachers. They too have become an obstacle to your freedom. But most of all you have to be honest. You have to be yourself. You have to be fearless — no, more than that — you have to be mindless of whatever might be the consequences of being so. Only by this way will you arrive at true revelation.

25. The Death of a Dream (Body) from Sunni Chapman.

26. RAISING ZAY: A family’s journey with a transgender child.

27. I know a mama who. (Thanks for sharing, Rachel).

28. Ben Merrell, a local tattoo artist who does beautiful work. I know where I’ll be going for my next session.

29. Poodle Science.

30. A blessing written by Jan Richardson,

That our receiving may be like breathing: taking in, letting go.
That our holding may be like loving: taking care, setting free.
That our giving may be like leaving: singing thanks, moving on.

31. Maryland Sanitation Truck Driver Called Hero for Helping Homeless Families.

32. Changing the Culture from Rachel Cole.

33. Alt Summit :: Keynote Address from Lisa Congdon.

34. Good stuff on BuzzFeed: Watch Black Men From Age 5 To 50 Respond To The Word “Police” and 17 Times Fitspiration Was Wrong, So We Fixed It.

35. IT HAPPENED TO ME: My Fitbit Reignited My Eating Disorder.

36. 15+ Before-And-After Photos Of Cats Growing Up on Bored Panda.

37. Why Co-Sleeping is No-Sleeping.

38. I am grateful, now fuck off.

39. Down In The River To Pray by Allie Feder & Ben Stanton. I bought a copy and can’t stop listening to it.

40. I’LL TRY ANYTHING ONCE: I Quit the Gym for Free YouTube Workouts.

41. Warning: “Hanging in there” is destroying your health.

42. Just a few reasons why we’re so excited for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”

43. Busy Is a Sickness.

44. The Staggering Bullshit of “The Secret” by Mark Manson.

45. The 9 Things No One Tells You About Scattering Ashes.

46. The Subtly Offensive Phrases We Need To Stop Saying.

47. Your Difficulties Are Your Path from Jack Kornfield.

48. A blessing from Ronna Detrick.

Dear One:

There are times in which you just have to do what you know to be right, what your intuition tells you, what you can clearly discern as the right course of action. Trust-trust-trust that you know what you’re doing. And let everything else go – every fear, every anticipated reaction, even every expected risk and certain cost. It’s all going to work out.

I’m sure of this because I am Abigail and you are my daughter, my lineage, my kin.

49. Here’s your permission slip to embrace slow from Yogi Sadie.

50. My First Night Homeless on Medium.

51. The Joy of Books isn’t in Ownership from Be More With Less.

52. If Reporting A Robbery Was Like Reporting A Rape.

53. Finding Joy in My Father’s Death by Ann Patchett.

54. A new kind of burlesque.

Day of Rest

My heart and mind have moved in and out of a state of anxiety and discomfort this week. I’ve felt confused and disappointed, bewildered and depressed. I have witnessed a lot of conflict, both internal and external.

  • I watched as a poet schooled people, specifically white people, on how to (and not to) engage with her work. It was painful to read, to dig deeper and see the comments, to know that I was in no way prepared to understand or take part in such a discussion.
  • Another conflict arose around the sharing of one artist’s work by another without credit being immediately given, with the original artist sharing exactly why the situation was problematic. I see this so often, when something could easily be searched, the original author discovered and credited, but we don’t take the time, don’t take it seriously enough.
  • Someone who recently left his teaching position in an MFA program wrote Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One, to which Chuck Wendig wrote a rebuttal, An Open Letter To That Ex-MFA Creative Writing Teacher Dude. Everything about this discussion makes my heart hurt.
  • People argued over the color of a dress, and then many others complained about them wasting time on the issue when there were so many more important things to be thinking and arguing about.
  • A woman who called herself the Wellness Warrior died and a cancer surgeon wrote this article reflecting on her death. The whole thing hurts, is so confusing.
  • MindBodyGreen published this article, 5 Reasons To Eat Gluten (Funny), (I didn’t find it funny at all, less so because it’s written by an author who thinks sugar is evil and claims to have cured her thyroid disorder through her good choices) AND they also published 5 Red Flags That Show You’re Taking Healthy Eating Too Far, which essentially says the exact opposite as the other article. I like this website, but the contradictory information they publish can be so confusing.
  • A writer whose work normally leaves me so inspired, so encouraged, is offering a new program, “not a diet but a DO IT,” and everything about it feels so wrong, makes me so sad. It also just so happened to be National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.
  • I continued to fight with myself about Ringo’s injured toe — thinking I had maybe made a mistake not taking him to the vet when it first happened, unsure if it was going to heal, worried it would get infected, watching how I obsessed over needing to be right and in control. When I wasn’t fussing about that, I was worried I’d have to cancel my Saturday morning yoga class again due to weather, and I was a little relieved by the possibility, which I immediately felt guilty for.
  • I seem to be hellbent on running myself completely ragged — Feast, the Open Heart Project, the Daily Dharma Gathering, teaching yoga, more yoga teacher training, reading all the books, practicing, studying, blogging, a demanding job that keeps asking for more, a body that is tired tired tired, a mind and heart that are bewildered.

I know that for many people, most of these conflicts would be intellectually interesting but not have a real impact. Many other people can observe these things from a distance, manage to not take them personally. I’m not like that. I’m porous. When there is discord, I’m like a tuning fork that responds, echoing the pain from somewhere deep inside of me. When I was feeling at my worst this week, had sunk down to that place of “why should I even bother?”, I saw this. A sweet little short film that captured exactly what it can feel like to be me.

I need to check myself before I wreck myself. I am attempting a major shift to a whole new paradigm, and I need to be gentle with myself. This is going to take time. I remind myself that there are three stages to knowing: first you know something intellectually, then you feel it, and then, finally, you embody it. I have to remind myself how deeply worn the groove is of my habitual patterns, deep ruts worn into my brain, a connection between first thought and action that is lightning speed, and to interrupt it would be like trying to get off a a roller coaster half way through the ride. It’s such a long process to shift things and it’s easy to get impatient, to feel like it’s never going to happen.

The best I can do for now is to try and keep from generating more suffering. I can continue to practice, to simply be with myself and allow things to arise without an agenda. Rest in the moment, relax into basic goodness. Rest, relax, release, surrender. May we all be gentle with ourselves, kind and gentle reader, as we do the things that are not simple, not easy, but still so important.

Gratitude Friday

1. Quiet. Time and space, stillness.

2. Ringo’s toe healing. It’s been tough to keep his activity so restricted, especially when there’s a yard full of snow to run in, but he’s been such a good patient. It’s also given me the opportunity to really work with the anxiety I have around the dogs being hurt or sick, the ways that I make myself suffer and struggle, worrying about doing the right thing, not making a mistake, trying to control things. It’s been so uncomfortable, but also so helpful.

restriction3. Snow. It’s restricted my movement and I am feeling ready for winter to be over, but I also know it will soon be over, so I’m also appreciating it while it is here. I walked the dogs for two hours yesterday morning in 17 degrees while it was snowing, and it was more beautiful than miserable.

4. Pay day. I am so lucky to have a job, to be able to pay my bills and tuck some money aside, to have the luxury of spending a little on things that aren’t really necessary.

5. My brother. It’s his birthday today. I came from a big extended family, but only have one true sibling. I’m so grateful for him.

meandchris02Bonus joy: Gortex, wool, down, snow tires, heat, feeling like I know what I’m doing, making someone laugh, laughing with Eric, kale salad, chocolate mini muffins, having things work out, losing my keys and then finding them, a good hat, birds, foxes, dog sighs, cancelled plans, taking it slow, reading, eating when I’m hungry, water, how our bodies can heal without needing us to take charge of the process, sleep, tears, the beach, long walks, warm slippers, grapefruit juice, practice.

Three Truths and One Wish

From our walk this morning

From our walk this morning

1. Truth: I generate my own suffering. When I think about any problem I have, distill it down to its most essential and most fundamental quality, I can clearly see that it is resistance, disappointment, a rejection of reality — this is what makes me suffer, and it is of my own making. I choose how to think about and respond to what arises, and I don’t always make the best choices.

2. Truth: I get upset about the possibility of making a mistake. I try so hard to prevent it, get obsessed with how to fix whatever is “wrong,” can’t stop looking for ways to prevent complications, spend way too much time preparing and worrying, am constantly second guessing myself, and fall into an utter panic when I think I’ve messed up or made the wrong choice and somehow caused more suffering.

3. Truth: The only antidote is self-compassion and surrender. I can trust myself to do my best. I can forgive myself when things go wrong. I can let myself off the hook. I can be with my own pain, gentle and open. I can remember that life is part preparation and part letting go. I can relax.

Another one from our walk this morning

Another one from our walk this morning

One Wish: That I know deep down in my bones that I can’t control everything. That I find ease in that awareness. May all those like me soften, be gentle with themselves, ask for help when they need it, let go of any expectation of perfection, and may we all surrender to our experience just as it is — tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal.

Something Good

1. Wisdom from Danielle LaPorte on Facebook,

Want to get unstuck? Maybe it’s time to stop analyzing it.

You can work out your family of origin issues, and neuroses, and past life traumas with your shrink or your shaman. You can talk talk talk it out all day long (I know, I’ve done it). You can trace the cause of your wounds and why you’re so stuck. But at some point, eventually, who cares WHY you’re stuck. Instead of focusing on how you got to where you are, you’ve got to shift your attention to where you’d rather be.

I’ve had at least a thousand conversations about success and desire. And I’ve noticed that when someone starts over-explaining WHY they’re stuck, it can be an indicator that they’re not 100% interested in getting unstuck. Recapitulating the past can provide a lot of comfort and confirmation. But…

Too much analysis can create paralysis.

As the saying goes, “Who cares why the elephant is standing on your foot? Just get him off.”

When I worked one-on-one with strategy clients, I began starting our session with this: “I’m asking you, for this hour together, to try to not talk about your past. We’re here to create your future, let’s just declare that the past has little bearing on where you want to go.” Some folks squirmed, could barely resist slipping into old stories. Some people were like, “What a great idea. I’m so tired of my story. Let’s move forward!”

Sometimes you can’t see why you were stuck until after you get unstuck. Hindsight and high-sight solves a lot of mysteries. In the mean time, you’ve got a new story to write, and it looks nothing like your past.

2. 6 life lessons from 6 years of blogging on Positively Present.

3. An apparently hungover Jimmy Fallon talks about the ‘epic’ SNL 40 after-party.

4. 34 Stunning Photos That Dispel the “Yoga Body” Myth.

5. You Have a Right to Refuse to be Weighed from Be Nourished.

6. The Source of Contentment on Zen Habits.

7. chinos are my kryptonite from Sas Petherick.

8. Patti Smith on The Biggest Misconception About Her.

9. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert: Own Your Shit and The Best Thing You Can Do For Yourself — And All The Women Around You.

10. Be Kind, James Martin describes three simple ways you can be nicer to others this Lent.

11. Aka On Aloha.

12. Good stuff on Elephant Journal: All-Natural Yoga Mat Cleaning Recipe and 14 Creative Ways to Love Ourselves.

13. My favorite quotes on A Design So Vast.

14. My Own Life, Oliver Sacks on Learning He Has Terminal Cancer.

15. Anne Lamott On The Really Hard Parts of Being Human. She tells the truth and through some sort of magic makes me feel okay about it.

16. Wisdom from an anonymous stranger, “The act of improving lives in the world is in no way inferior to the act of adding lives to the world.” (Thanks for sharing, Andrea).

17. Russian Photographer Captures The Cutest Squirrel Photo Session Ever on Bored Panda.

18. Wisdom from Geneen Roth: On Beauty and The Naked Now.

19. When you’re blue … Find a sliver of light within the darkness from Sherry Richert Belul.

20. Actress has perfect response to body-shaming movie critic.

21. All Good Things on Pugly Pixel.

22. From Pugly Pixel’s Links Loved list: You’re doing a really great job, and TEDxConcordiaUPortland – Cheryl Strayed – Radical Sincerity, and The Elements of HTML.

23. Another New Rape Suit Against Bikram Choudhury Makes It the Sixth, and It Keeps Getting Worse.

24. Premiere: Ingrid Michaelson’s “Time Machine” Video Gets Gloriously Hijacked By Rainn Wilson And Donald Faison.

25. On Getting Older from Lisa Congdon.

26. Buddhism A-Z: Your Basic Buddhist Library.

27. 3-Year-Old Taekwondo Devotee Recites Student Creed, Slays Us With Cuteness.

28. A Body Story from Meg Worden.

29. 1000 Voices Speak for Compassion, a page with links to all the posts written for this project.

30. “Oh, Kristen Wiig, why can’t you be in EVERY movie?”

31. CT Scan of 1,000-Year-Old Buddha Statue Reveals Mummified Monk Hidden Inside.

32. Calm.com

33. bohemian beach vibe on SF Girl by Bay. Why doesn’t my crappy, old, beat up stuff look this good?

34. A common “intuitive eating” pitfall from Isabel Foxen Duke.

35. The trolls inside from Seth Godin.

36. 300 awesome free things: A massive list of free resources you should know. (Thanks for sharing, Jen).

37. Patricia Arquette’s Oscar speech on wage equality just won ALL the awards.

Day of Rest

daring to ask.
to wake up the want, heed the hunger, make an alter of your heart.
yes, there is the showing up and doing the work and walking forward without certainty. it’s not a promise or assurance of a plan. but in the presence of the opening and the choosing, there is this chance to also just own up and ask for what we really want. specific. clear. direct. (because the answer just might be yes.)
so here we go. ask.
~‎Isabel Faith Abbott