Author Archives: jillsalahub

Something Good

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

1. The homeless man who turned his life around by offering book reviews instead of begging. “You don’t have to be rich to save the world,” Philani Dladla, The Pavement Bookworm. The foundation he started is really cool.

2. Students protesting Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home”: How clinging to “Christian moral beliefs” can end an education before it even begins on Salon. “Liking is not learning, of course — and learning is not always comfortable.” And in related news, Alison Bechdel Would Like You to Call It the “Bechdel-Wallace Test,” ThankYouVeryMuch.

3. A Question of Prosperity from Meghan Genge in which she considers what it means to feel prosperous.

4. Open Letter to Native College Students.

5. It’s Not Just ODU Students Putting Up Offensive Signs About Freshman Girls. Not something good so much as something you should know about. I wonder what the parents of these young men think about this? What do their mothers think?

6. Why America Needs a Slavery Museum. I’m still surprised there is currently only one.

7. Modern ‘train-nomad’ chooses to live on trains instead of renting. In related news, I secretly lived in my office for 500 days.

8. Hurricane Katrina happened ten years ago. It’s just as devastating ten years out. These Are The Forgotten Images Of Hurricane Katrina, and The 85 Most Powerful Hurricane Katrina Images, and This American Life 565: Lower 9 + 10, and 10 Years After Katrina.

9. 10 Successful Entrepreneurs on the Worst Advice They Ever Received.

10. 100 Cameras Were Given To Homeless In London And The Result Left Everyone Speechless.

11. 30 Reasons Why I Write by Jon Westenberg. Things like, “There’s no despair that can’t be held at bay with words,” and “My writing is my own roadmap – it helps me find my way.”

12. why dinner was late last night from SouleMama. It’s a beautiful reason.

13. I’m Sorry I Didn’t Respond to Your Email, My Husband Coughed to Death Two Years Ago.

14. The Greatest Commencement Addresses of All Time on Brain Pickings. I know it’s not the right season for this as most students are just going back to school not graduating, but if you want some serious inspiration this is the place.

15. Wisdom from Jessica Patterson,

If you want to know real freedom, you must learn forgiveness. That doesn’t mean collapsing boundaries or giving up or giving in. It doesn’t mean going back. It doesn’t mean absolution or sweeping things under the rug. It means you let go of grasping–and that which has a grip on you. It means reclaiming your own inner sanctuary and ushering out what’s crowding your space. Let go of the need to be right, to be in control, to be understood, to be certain. Let go of what has distracted you from the grace of each moment–your birthright, your presence.

16. No, I Am Not Crowdfunding This Baby (an open letter to a worried fan) by Amanda Palmer, a beautiful contemplation of the tenderness and terror of being a mother and an artist.

17. Boy, 13, Keeps Father Alive After He’s Badly Hurt by Falling Boulder. May we all have someone like this to help when we need it.

18. Brave Girl University is open for enrollment. It is “a one-stop gathering place for learning, growing and becoming, through hundreds of classes taught by dedicated teachers who offer soulful ways to make life better, happier and more authentic for every woman. From painting to gardening to meditation to relationships and much more. . . access it ALL for just $24.95 per month.” I’ve taken classes with many of these teachers, and am amazed by what a good deal this is.

19. Good stuff from Dances with Fat: What If I’m Not Happy With My Weight, and George Takei and Why I Can’t Take a Joke, and Telling Truth to Power.

20. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

If something isn’t getting you closer to your heart’s most precious goals, if it isn’t making your most important relationships stronger and more valued, if it is not helping you grow and making your heart sing, maybe it’s time to think about letting it go.

If you will listen very very very closely, you will know for sure what to hold on to…and what to let go…and where to spend your precious minutes and energies.

And this,

You know SO much more than you think you know. Each of us was born with a lovely inner compass…it’s there to guide us. We must tune out almost every voice around us to be able to focus on what this inner voice tells us is true for our own lives.

Please don’t give any heed at all to the useless opinions of others, beautiful friend. Act for yourself. Face your own truths…then act on your own truths. Plug your ears when there are annoying, loud, negative voices that have no business giving you opinions about your own life. Turn off the confusing lies, and be brave enough to tune in to that inner voice that speaks your truth. Those feelings in your gut are your deepest wisdom, and you will recognize the voice of truth by the warm and peaceful feelings it brings.

21. 7 Simple Ways to Soothe Your Soul from Be More With Less. “Sometimes your soul needs time to just hang out with your heart, and your truth.”

22. I Had a Baby and Cancer When I Worked at Amazon. This Is My Story.

23. The Monk Manifesto: Seven Principles for Living with Deep Intention. I had never heard of this before Erica Staab posted about it on her blog. It is “a public expression of your commitment to live a compassionate, contemplative, and creative life.” I think if one were to live according to this manifesto, they would be ridiculously happy, completely content. Or maybe that’s just me.

24. 85 Percent of What We Worry About Never Happens. I heard once that “worrying is like praying for what we don’t want to happen.” This article gives yet another reason why worry is wasted.

25. Good stuff from Austin Kleon’s newsletter: I’ve Spent A Lifetime Building a Mighty Network. Here Are My Secrets., and Marshall McLuhan on writing, and The Steal Like An Artist Journal (I want).

26. Sarah Silverman just life-coached everyone who’s felt undeserving. Such a cool perspective. (video)

27. Write Anyway: October, a workshop with Janelle Hanchett. Sometime I really want to do one of these.

28. Good stuff Alexandra Franzen shared in her newsletter: The “Grocery List” Method To Writing Your Bio. (So Easy. For Real.), and Ask Alex & Ellen: I got rejected and now I want to give up. How can I get motivated again?, and What Does The World Need More Of In Order To Heal?, and a podcast interview Alexandra Franzen on Changing with Grace and How To Be More Intentional With Your Time.

29. Shared on Positively Present Picks: Living Your Dreams Will Piss People Off. Do It Anyway., and this quote from Oprah Winfrey, “I believe that every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear.”

30. Good stuff from Susannah’s Something for the Weekend list: The unconscious quality of judgment. And Mötley Crüe, and Annapurna Woman Susannah Conway, (this whole interview series is really great), The Pep Talk Generator, and Things That Will Happen If I Don’t Take My Phone Out Right Now, and Raise Your Hand Say Yes with Lisa Congdon on Passion Projects.

31. Wisdom from Aimée Reed, by way of The Pep Talk Generator mentioned above,

“Anything that doesn’t take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing” — Cormac McCarthy. We all have to do things we don’t like in pursuit of our goals and dreams. However, if you are doing something that doesn’t directly correlate to you achieving them, then stop. Immediately. In reality, we have but a minute on this earth. Work, live, take chances, love, eat, argue, make mistakes, fight, and screw like you have 30 seconds left on the stopwatch.

32. Where Children Sleep, a photo series from James Mollison, “stories of diverse children around the world, told through portraits and pictures of their bedrooms.”

33. When Doing Yoga by Yourself from Bad Yogi.

34. 8 Things I Learned from 10 Months Unplugged on Elephant Journal.

35. Veruca Salt has a new album coming out.

36. Fundraising page for one of my favorite bears who’ll be doing the Out of the Darkness Walk, raising money for The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

37. Brene Brown on embracing failure, setting boundaries and living through grief: “It is an act of compassion to love yourself.”

38. 4 Questions that Will Change Your Attitude (When You Can’t Change Anything Else) from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

39. On The Subject Of Your Discouragement on Terrible Minds.

40. Viral Photo Of Syrian Refugee Prompts Strangers To Give Him ‘A New Life.’

“Start Here Now”: a book review

bookreviewThis morning I finished Susan Piver’s new book, and felt immediately compelled to write a review. I posted it, but wanted to share it here too.

Start Here Now: An Open-Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation by Susan Piver is brilliant. It’s an easy to digest overview of the practice of meditation, just what a reader would need to begin, but also includes a wealth of resources to support deepening the practice. The book includes what meditation is and is not, gives an overview of various types of meditation, discusses the obstacles to mediation, and considers how the practice impacts specific aspects of one’s life. The book also provides an easy to follow seven day meditation challenge to help the reader get started, along with a plan for a weekend meditation retreat at home. The other resources made available are extensive – online materials created specifically as companions to the book, three different appendixes (an F.A.Q, a list of important figures in the Buddhadharma, and other resources, including books and in person support for the practice), and of course, the Open Heart Project.

This book follows in the tradition of the best dharma books, ones like Pema Chödrön’s When Things Fall Apart and Sakyong Mipham’s Turning the Mind into an Ally. One way it does so is that each chapter is relatively short and to the point, clear and direct. One doesn’t need a lot of time to be able to read a chapter, and there is plenty in each chapter to keep one in contemplation for some time. And, it would be easy after having read the book from beginning to end the first time, to go back and consult it a chapter at a time, in no particular order, as each one stands alone in the wisdom it communicates at the same time as it adds to the whole of the book. I know I will come back to this book again and again, flipping directly to the chapter I need, as a reminder, as inspiration.

This book is perfect for someone new to the practice of meditation. However, I’ve practiced meditation for nine years, the last three with Susan’s direct instruction, and I found myself underlining multiple somethings on every page of this book.

The foundation of this book is Susan Piver’s many years of practice and teaching, and it is infused with her love of the practice and her students. She ends the book by sharing her personal story of how she made her way to meditation. The story of her own life, how she found her path is an inspiration. Her good nature, wisdom, kindness, and sense of humor fill the book with genuine warmth. To read this book, to make use of the resources offered truly is to have your very own personal meditation instructor. Susan Piver makes the practice of meditation accessible, possible, and even desirable.

#AugustMoon15: Day 15

heartfeelslightHiking, walking on the beach, sitting in the backyard with the dogs, reading, writing, cooking, all the laundry folded and put away, meditating in my own space, practicing yoga, stretching, long walks with the dogs, laughing with Eric, the yellow breasted birds in our garden, the hummingbird nest we found that one time, things lost being found, the offer of help, suffering eased, summer vacation, payday, a new bathroom, clean pajamas, how warm and soft and sleepy I feel after a hot bath, spontaneous napping.

#AugustMoon15: Day 14

holdingabook When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön. I first read this book when a friend recommended it to me about nine years ago. It was at the beginning of my meditation practice and Buddhist studies, and somehow I hadn’t yet read anything by Pema. I’ve since read almost everything she’s ever written, taken online courses and done virtual retreats with her, and once was lucky enough to see her speak in person. She is one of my heart teachers. The story of her own life, how she found her path is an inspiration to me. Her wisdom and her kindness are such a comfort. But more than anything it’s her sense of humor that cheers me, encourages me.

I come back to this particular book again and again. As a whole, it does such a good job of explaining the path. I also love that each chapter is short enough, complete enough that you can sit down and start anywhere, pretty quickly read a chapter and get so much out of it. I often read one just before I meditate, let the wisdom sink in while I sit on my cushion. The personal message for me of this book is “get over yourself, you are wonderful,” which might seem like a contradiction to some, but to me it is the most fundamental truth. I flipped through it this morning to try and find a quote to share, but I’ve underlined something(s) on every single page and there are just too many to pick only one.

Gratitude Friday

orangeandred1. Our garden, and all the other gardens feeding us. This is one of my favorite times of the season — strawberries, watermelon, peaches, and tomatoes tomatoes tomatoes.

startherenow022. Start Here Now: An Open-Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation, Susan Piver’s new book. It’s so good. She’s so good at this, the writing and the teaching and the practicing. I’ve been meditating for nine years now, three of those with Susan’s direct instruction, so even though I know some stuff, I am underlining the crap out of this book.thirdflooreddy3. Settling back into work at CSU. It is so hard to juggle everything I’m responsible for when I’m also on contract there, but so far I’m managing. Can’t wait to get my office prettied up again, to be all the way moved back in.

recipes4. Good recipes, good food. One of the prompts for August Break this week was “favorite recipe.” My response was: How do I choose just one? Roasted tomato soup because I’d never made soup before, it was so easy and delicious, and the tomatoes and basil were from our garden. Chocolate chip cookies with toasted walnuts because they are so good and make Eric so happy. Glazed lemon zucchini bread (which really is cake) with double zucchini and extra glaze and raspberries if you have them, because, and the perfect thing to take to a potluck. And for eating, because I’ve never made crust (and Eric is so good at it, why should I), fruit pie — marionberry, blackberry and raspberry, apple, strawberry, and peach.

bathroombuddies5. These two goofballs. You never have to use the bathroom alone with these two clowns, who think everything the humans do is interesting and want to come along, hang out — except when the humans are on the devices, computers or phones or tvs, because that is just straight up boring. This was Sam and Ringo “helping” me take a bath, although Ringo was just as interested in engaging Sam by playing the “look at the awesome toy I have, don’t you want to try and steal it from me?” game.

Bonus joy: Comedians (seriously, how cool is it that some people make it their profession to make us laugh?), good books and my Kindle making it so easy to get and read them, paper copies of good books I can hold in my hands and underline with a pencil, clean cool drinkable water, laughing with Eric, people who know how to fix our stuff and are fair and honest, the funds to be able to hire those people, knowing that the same stupid hangnail I get on my thumb every year about this time always heals, a physical therapist willing to give me a pep talk when I tell her I am officially frustrated, the flock of tiny yellow breasted birds that are so in love with our sunflower patch, sunflowers that are supposed to be 8-10 feet tall growing to 12 feet, breakfast burritos from La Luz, really good friends.

#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.