Category Archives: Fear

Something Good

sundaymorningyoga02Saturday morning, I posted this status update on Facebook:

Dear Creative People of the Internets,
I already have 50+ items for my Something Good list on Monday. Please take the rest of the weekend off.
Love you.
Love,
Me

Apparently, no one was listening. I grouped things together so that it wouldn’t seem so long, but there is so much good stuff this week!

1. Surviving Whole Foods on Huffington Post by Kelly MacLean.

2. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

We’ve got to take time to take care of ourselves. We must. We go and go and go and go and go and wonder why we are tired, depleted and ready to drop, and then some of us take it a step further and punish ourselves for not being able to muster up the energy to keep going. Beautiful friend, please stop and listen to your heart. Please ask it what it is feeling emptied out of. Please ask it what would bring it comfort, joy and rest. Please be kind to your body. Bodies need sleep, solitude, kindness and good food. Souls need sleep, solitude, kindness, and good food. Bodies and souls need to feel connected to the source of everything that is good and true. You are not a machine, a robot, a slave or an object. You are a soul with a body that gets tired. Souls get tired too. Souls need refueling, so do bodies. This does not mean you are weak, useless or less valuable. This means that you are real. Take some time this week to nurture your soul and your body. It must me done. It is the right thing to do. You are too important to wear out, abuse and over-use.

3. Good stuff from Elephant Journal: A Bad Yoga Day, and How to Get Out of Our Own Way, and Am I Too Fat for Yoga?, and The outcome of saving & adopting a dog, and 16 Quotes on Being More & Having Less.

floweralarm4. Good stuff from Twisted Sifter: Picture of the Day: Portland’s Famous Japanese Maple, and Canvas Backdrops Turn Actual Trees Into 2D Artworks, and 25 Pictures of Life Captured by Google Street View, and Snapshots of Life Captured on Google Street View, and a Flickr photo set, Flying over the Tulip Fields.

5. Good stuff from Becoming Minimalist: 10 Tips to Start Living in the Present, and 10 Common Objections to Minimalism, and 7 Life Misconceptions Portrayed in Popular Television Advertisements.

6. Wisdom from Kute Blackson on Facebook, “Living restricted by a commitment you made yesterday that no longer is true today only leads to suffering and stifles your true aliveness.”

7. Creative Costumes of Still-Practiced Pagan Rituals of Europe on Bored Panda.

8. Retired Military Working dog meets his first kitten, super cute video on Dog Heirs.

9. Truthbombs from Danielle LaPorte: “Care more about being precisely who you are than what other people think of you,” and “Self care is a divine responsibility.”

risk your

risk your

10. Note from the Universe: “Happiness arrives not in the absence of problems, Jill, but in the absence of rules about when you can feel it.”

11. Another great Kickstarter project, Everything I Know by Paul Jarvis.

12. Advice For Writing; Or, What I Know So Far, Which Might Actually Be Nothing At All.

13. 27 Reasons Why Parents Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Text.

14. Christina Rosalie shared this poem by Rose Cook on Facebook,

This is a poem for someone
who is juggling her life.
Be still sometimes.
Be still sometimes.

It needs repeating
over and over
to catch her attention
over and over
because someone juggling her life
finds it difficult to hear.

Be still sometimes.
Be still sometimes.
Let it all fall sometimes.

15. Be Brave from ZeFrank.

16. 7 Things Fear has Stolen from You from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

17. 5 more ways to stay creative from Chookooloonks.

18. Dear Ones — So…I’ve been doing a lot of… from Elizabeth Gilbert, in which she says,

People will either read my future books, or they won’t. I can’t control any of that. The only thing I can control is my commitment to pursuing my creative curiosity wherever it leads me, for as long as I am capable of working…I’ll follow that thread of curiosity wherever it wants me to go! Because I’ve never found a better secret to living happily.

19. How to Go On Your Shero’s Journey in 12 Simple Steps from Jennifer Louden.

20. Limits and Creativity: Has Too Little Sleep Got You Reaching for the ‘Do Not Disturb’ Sign? and The Body, Mind, and Space of Self-Care for Creatives — Part 1: The Body from Scoutie Girl.

21. Just one thing – focus on what you love from Christina Rosalie.

22. Vet’s Genius Sense of Humor, “These signs are from the Eau Gallie Veterinary Hospital in Melbourne, Florida. Major points for creativity!!”
purplepetals23. Poem from Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Simple Prayer for Remembering The Motherlode,

We do not become healers.
We came as healers. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.

We do not become storytellers.
We came as carriers of the stories
we and our ancestors actually lived. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.

We do not become artists. We came as artists. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.

We do not become writers.. dancers.. musicians.. helpers.. peacemakers. We came as such. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.

We do not learn to love in this sense. We came as Love. We are Love. Some of us are still catching up to who we truly are.

24. Good stuff from MindBodyGreen: Yoga In The Streets Of New York City (Stunning Slideshow) and 10 Signs You’ve Found Your Calling and 11 Fun Facts About Avocados.

25. This Board Game Aims To Teach Preschoolers How To Code on NPR.

purpleplant26. Good stuff on Upworthy: Watch A Man Playing Piano In His House After The Floods For A Heartbreaking Reason (the most heartbreaking, beautiful thing I saw in relation to Colorado’s recent 1000 year flood), and His First 4 Sentences Are Interesting. The 5th Blew My Mind. And Made Me A Little Sick. (an explanation of why healthcare is so expensive in the U.S.), and People Should Know About This Awful Thing We Do, And Most Of Us Are Simply Unaware, (a heartbreaking, true video that leaves me utterly confused about what more to DO to help).

27.  How I Do It: An Interview with Alexandra Franzen on In Spaces Between.

28. Eat, Pray, Love, Get Rich, Write a Novel No One Expects, a piece about Elizabeth Gilbert from The New York Times.

29. Wisdom from Pam Houston, shared on A Design So Vast, “Life gives us what we need when we need it,” she said.  “Receiving what it gives us is a whole other thing.”

30. 20 Things the Dog Ate by Brian Doyle on Orion Magazine.

31. The Only 9/11 Ad To Ever Get It Right, from the New York City Ballet on BuzzFeed — life is tender and terrible, and this video is so beautiful.

32. Louis C.K. Hates Cell Phones. I shared this yesterday, but I am worried you may have missed it, assumed that it wasn’t for you. If you don’t look at anything else on this list, please watch this video. He manages to distill the most essential Buddhist teaching, the most important thing to know about being human, the most fundamental wisdom about the human condition, into a less than five minute comedy routine.

33. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

34. Wisdom from Anne Lamott on Facebook, in which she says,

I always say the same things: you are loved and chosen , a unique, lovely, wild and slightly screwed up creation. Try to get a little writing done every day–it will help you know and forgive yourself, which is why we are here. Earth is forgiveness school. What you are looking for is already inside you. There is no way to achieve, date, buy or lease anything that will fill up the Swiss cheese holes within. “Figure it out” is not a good slogan.

35. Wisdom from Geneen Roth on Facebook.

36. Goodnight Beautiful Day, an October gift from Hannah Marcotti.

37. 7 Ways to Cultivate a Deep Sense of Love for Yourself on Tiny Buddha.

38. Meet B-Girl Terra, the Flyest Six-Year-Old Dancer Around.

purplepetals0339. This Is Why I Have To Leave by Kristen Forbes. (Confession: I get a little jealous when I read something like this).

40. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

It’s so worth it to do the work to figure out just what it is that brings the sparkle into your eyes. You are different than anyone else who ever came before you and anyone who will ever come after. Your likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses and motivations are unique to you. Try not to get caught up in searching for happiness in someone else’s version of life. You are not like anyone else. It’s okay if your greatest joys come from reading a book, or going for a walk, or talking to a child or hiking a mountain. Not everyone finds joy in running marathons . . . not everyone finds joy in reading books! Find out what really lights you up and then search for more of THAT in your life….even if it isn’t the usual things that the world is telling you that you should want. Just be you, then be true to that YOU. The world needs you in all of your alive-ness. You can’t come completely alive until you know what it is that gets you there, and once you know for sure, OWN it, PROTECT it and EMBRACE it. Search it out and hold on to it. ENJOY IT.

41. BatDad. His wife seems slightly annoyed by this behavior, but I think it is hilarious.

42. Do What You Can In Ten Minutes by Jeff Oaks.

43. Wisdom from Alysia Harris, shared by Justine Musk, “The moment you feel like you have to prove your worth to someone is the moment to absolutely + utterly walk away.”

44. Making Peace with the Past: Entering the Post-Regret Years on Huffington Post.

45. When is the best time to create? by Paul Jarvis.

45. Puppy’s First Visit To The Beach Will Make All Other Dog Photos Out There Irrelevant on Huffington Post.

47. Kid President’s Pep Talk to Teachers and Students!

48. 18 Controversial Facts About Being Fat That You Need To Know on BuzzFeed.

49. Wisdom from Story People, “Some of the stuff I learned early on was useful, she told me, but most of it was obviously meant for someone who was not me.”

50. Are You Ready for the First Ever Self-Love Blogging Carnival? from Anne-Sophie. Seven days of good stuff.

51. Happy World Gratitude Day! 21 stories of love, respect, generosity + over-the-top awesomeness. from Alexandra Franzen.

52. Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Amy Poehler on Hello Giggles.

Something Good

dexterishome

I interrupt this regularly scheduled post for a Dexter update: He’s home! We got to bring him home last night. He’s feeling better, eating small bland meals while his tummy heals, taking medication to help the process, and his nose has stopped bleeding. He slept peacefully last night, went on a short walk this morning, and is taking a break right now in his bed after playing with me and his Little D. I’m so glad to have him home and that he’s feeling better, even as I remain aware that he still has terminal cancer.

Now I return you to your regularly schedule programming…

1. 25 Animals Who Can’t Stop Smiling on BuzzFeed.

2. This from Pema Chödrön, “Choosing to cultivate love rather than anger might just be what it takes to save the planet from extinction.”

3. The Cultivation of Compassion on Elephant Journal.

4. Simply Perfect Food on Be More with Less.

5. 40 Inspiring Workspaces Of The Famously Creative on BuzzFeed. Looking at these revealed that I am drawn to messy, booklined spaces.

6. Recipes I want to try: Avocado Pesto Pasta, Cinnamon Sweet Potato & Kale Delight, how to make chicken stock (and my mum’s chicken soup), Avocado Tempah BLT, and Melissa Clark’s Chicken Curry with Sweet Potatoes.

7. 10 Snack Foods That Have Gone Too Far on HelloGiggles.

8. This, from Henry Miller, “The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself,” i.e. why I don’t need to travel to have a full life.

9. Dog Loves Cat: A Love Story in Letters, a photo essay.

10. This from Tara Brach, “We are born with a beautiful open spirit, alive with innocence and resilience. But we bring this goodness into a difficult world.”

11. 10 Mindful Folks on Instagram to Follow—& Uplift & Awaken your Every Day on Elephant Journal.

12. 10 Signs Your Friend is Toxic from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

13. This from Frederick Buechner, “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” This reminds me of my mantra (so much so, it’s kind of freaky, since I don’t remember ever hearing the his quote before, but it’s so similar): Life is beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible–keep your heart open.

14. Industrial-Edged Chic in Rotterdam. This was first shared by SF Girl by Bay. If I can’t have the converted waffle factory in France, I want to live here. The colors and materials and light of the kitchen are especially dreamy.

15. An Open Letter to Employers on Create as Folk. Amen, Laura Simms.

16. This from Geneen Roth,

Here is my thought for the day: when you’re tired, rest.

I know that sounds ridiculously simple, but I’ve been watching how difficult it is for me to stop. The adrenaline rush of pushing and moving and going past my limits is so familiar. Rest is radical. Stillness. Stopping. Taking five minutes a few times a day to stop everything, breathe, rest. Let out bodies catch up with themselves.

You’re allowed to stop. You’re allowed to rest. You’re allowed to be “unproductive” and not do one thing that looks useful to anyone else. See what happens.

17. This from Your Inner Pilot Light, “Come home, my dear. You keep looking for the answers in books, gurus, therapists, your best friend, or church. And sure- glean what you can from the outside world. But when you find yourself still confused and tired of seeking guidance out there, come back to me. I have the answers, if only you’ll get quiet and listen.”

18. This from Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata, “With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.”

19. The Real You By Tara Sophia Mohr on Maria Shriver’s blog, shared first by Hannah Marcotti. In which Tara writes this,

Can you feel the one deep inside your chest,
who has existed forever?
Who has made a thousand journeys?
Who feels like a comet in the dark?
The inner filament?

I know, no one ever told you.
I know. It wasn’t the name you learned to write at school,
but that one is you.
That one is the real you.

20. Inspiring the Everyday, a blog with lots of yummy looking gluten free recipes, which I first read about on SF Girl by Bay.

21. your daily rock: make art

22. Susannah Conway’s new video on her About page. It’s authentic, real as dirt, reminds me of the videos she makes for her ecourses, communicates so clearly who she is and what she writes about.

23. 36 Awe Inspiring Online Gurus Reveal Their Fears And How They Overcame Them, originally shared by Dani of Positively Present (she’s one of the gurus).

24. Throw and Grow Confetti, also shared by Dani of Positively Present.

25. Top 10 Reasons Why The BMI Is Bogus.

26. A Magical Reading Life: Reading with Intention on the Mojo Lab.

27. From Erica Staab’s 40 Days of Deep Wisdom,

Breathe deeply.
Sink into your soul.
Allow whatever needs to surface to do so without judgement.
Instead of judgement try gentle curiosity.
What does your own deep wisdom have to say today?

28. Making Art Can Be Hard by Mati Rose.

29. In This Fragile Sacred Space, the wonderful Judy Clement Wall on Huffington Post.

30. This from Ram Daas, “we are all just walking each other home.”

31. Triangle Love DIY, a sweet way to design a journal cover, originally shared by Susannah Conway.

Something Good

1. The moment of highest leverage from Seth Godin.

2. I Know I Need This Now Because I Don’t Have Time for It and Enough, wisdom from Marianne Elliott.

3. Do People Know They’re Alive? a beautiful post from Laurie Wagner, and a question worth considering.

4. This quote from Kate Courageous, “Safety is an illusion we invoke, in order to grasp onto another illusion–control,” and this one, “Control is just another expression of fear, after all.”

5. Poetry (the good news and the bad news):

As you unfold as an artist,
just keep on,
quietly and earnestly,
growing through all that happens to you.

You cannot disrupt the process more violently
than by looking outside yourself for answers
that may only be found by attending to your innermost feeling.
~Rainier Maria Rilke

6. Have I told you lately how much I adore Anne Lamott? She posted this on Facebook this week:

But what I believe, and what my moderately left–and right–wing Christian brothers and sisters believe, is that Jesus preached a gospel of radical sacrifice, of giving away everything we possibly can–our time, our money, our prayers–to the have-nots, the same old/same old suffering people of this world, widows and whole nations.

Let us go in peace then, to be people of goodness and service and sacrifice. I keep trying to do better, like most people do, but I don’t have a magic wand. I am learning as I go; and boy, am I humbled by my failings. And “humbled” is always a great place to start anything, from being a better parent, writer, mate; or still, after all these years, trying to save the world.

7. From Pema Chödrön, (who I also adore):

Abandon All Hope and Fear: Hope and fear is a feeling with two sides. As long as there’s one, there’s always the other. This is the root of our pain. In the world of hope and fear, we always have to change the channel, change the temperature, change the music, because something is getting uneasy, something is getting restless, something is beginning to hurt, and we keep looking for alternatives.

In a nontheistic state of mind, abandoning hope is an affirmation, the beginning of the beginning. You could even put “Abandon hope” on your refrigerator door instead of more conventional aspirations like “Every day in every way I’m getting better and better.”

8. He still doesn’t have a name, but boy oh boy is he cute, (by Allison Mae Photography–do yourself a favor and go to her site and see the rest of her pictures for a whopping dose of the super cutes).

9. “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” ~Maya Angelou

10. Photos of Children From Around the World With Their Most Prized PossessionsThe two with just a single stuffed monkey are my favorites.

11. You will be called on to expand. And this is why we practice. a beautiful reminder from Danielle LaPorte.

12. 18 principles for highly creative living from Justine Musk.

13. Foster the Folk: Daria Marie & The purpose of plainness.

14. From SouleMama, baby chicks in teacups, because.

15. “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” ~Confucius, from The Daily Rock on 37 Days.

16. 40 Days of Deep Wisdom, another brilliant offering from Erica Staab, “a free eCourse designed to help you tap into your own inner wisdom.”

17. Shared on this week’s Positively Present’s Picks: Nine Creativity-Sparking Tips from Daring to Live Fully, How to Find Your Purpose on Think Simple Now, and 5 Easy Ways to be Nicer to Yourself on Pick the Brain.

18. Shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend list: How I keep my (natural) beauty routine sane on Simple Mom, Smitten Kitchen, Joy the Baker, Sprouted Kitchen, Super Snack Suggestions from Kate Skinner Nutrition, and this gloriously weird dude and his crystals,

19. How to Make a Major Life-Changing Shift from Stuck to Unstoppable, an interview with Bridget Pilloud on Below Zero to Hero.

20. Oh my, how I adore Zooey Deschanel.

20. What I Know About Fear Now That I’m In My 30s, by Margaret Wheeler Johnson on The Huffington Post.

21. Girl Rising Montage, a documentary with a powerful message–Want to see change? Educate a girl.

21. This explains so much for me, “Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness.” ~Shakti Gawain

22. Find the Others, from Ze Frank.

23. This Dad’s Stamp Of Approval Might Be The Best Thing You See On The Internet All Day. My wish is that every kid has parents like this, is loved like this.

24. I Don’t Like You, but I Want You to Want Me. from Positively Positive.

25. This quote, shared in this post by Hannah Marcotti, “And if you feel free, you feel empowered. And every negative emotion that exists—hear this—every negative emotion that exists is because there is some sense of loss of freedom somewhere in there.” ~Abraham

26. Austerity and the Arts — and George W. Bush on Pop Matters, in which author Josh Indar says,

In the end, I decided that doing art during a recession is about the same as doing art during any other time. You have to believe in it, be open to it, trust it, do it. You have to embrace it as blindly and fervently as a spinning Sufi if you want to get anything out of it.

27. My Amazon bestseller made me nothing on Salon, (in case you are a writer and not depressed enough by the previous article).

But the truth is, there’s a reason most well-known writers still teach English. There’s a reason most authors drive dented cars. There’s a reason most writers have bad teeth. It’s not because we’ve chosen a life of poverty. It’s that poverty has chosen our profession… Even when there’s money in writing, there’s not much money.

28. Susan Orlean on Writing, on Brain Pickings, (in case you are a writer, and that doesn’t change no matter how depressing those past two articles were), in which she advises writers that,

  • You have to simply love writing, and you have to remind yourself often that you love it.
  • You should read as much as possible. That’s the best way to learn how to write.
  • You have to appreciate the spiritual component of having an opportunity to do something as wondrous as writing. You should be practical and smart and you should have a good agent and you should work really, really hard. But you should also be filled with awe and gratitude about this amazing way to be in the world.
  • Don’t be ashamed to use the thesaurus. I could spend all day reading Roget’s! There’s nothing better when you’re in a hurry and you need the right word right now.

29. First Grade Proverbs.

30. Have Faith That Slowing Down Will Be Good for You, on Tiny Buddha.

31. The Big, Scary Thing I Do Every Week, from Life in Z-D.

32. Living with Less. A Lot Less. on the New York Times.

33. Wisdom from Geneen Roth:

If you are waiting to be thin or thinner, to be happy, happiness will elude you no matter what you weigh. If you are waiting to really begin your life until you have success or a relationship or the perfect place to live, you won’t get that sought after joy.

What we want most, what we think we can only have if we meet certain conditions, is to inhabit our lives. To love our sweet lives. And if you believe you need to get “there” to enjoy “here”, the problem is that when you get there, “there” looks very much like “here.” Because wherever you are, you are always here, where you are.

The challenge is to pay attention here. To be alive here. To learn how to wake yourself up here. It’s a habit, this learning to be awake and alive because we are so used to distracting ourselves and deadening ourselves. And we carry this old belief that it’s impossible to do it any other way. But that’s not true. Anyone can learn this. There is so much goodness here, right here, in the middle of our messy imperfect lives, right in this very second, that it turns out that here is, after all, as good as there. (Which is not to say that your body wouldn’t be more comfortable at a different weight or that you wouldn’t feel a sense of satisfaction in success).

When we pay attention, there is nothing missing. It’s all here. And you don’t have to wait to get it, you don’t have to achieve anything to be in it. Will you allow yourself to have the messy imperfect life you have? Will you stop, even if it’s just for today, waiting for your life to begin and realize that it’s already begun?

34. Andrea Gibson: “Letter To A Playground Bully from Andrea (age 8).”

35. Exit 245 – Titanium (David Guetta feat. Sia) [Official Music Video]. I’m a total sucker for glee club music.

36. More good stuff from Brain Pickings: Sorted Books Revisited: Artist Nina Katchadourian’s Playfully Arranged Book Spine Sentences, and The Adverb Is Not Your Friend: Stephen King on Simplicity of Style.

37. From my Inner Pilot Light,

What do you mean it will never happen? How can you say you don’t deserve it? Why would you ever think such things? Let me clear things up, my darling. It will happen. You do deserve it. I was just making sure you really wanted it. Do you?

Yes, please.

38. This quote from Satya,

The trouble with making space is that it might mean you do have to go somewhere unpleasant. You might realise that you really don’t like your job, or that you feel lonely. You might have to admit that you haven’t a clue about what you’re doing. This is the most common reason for keeping our lives nicely filled up. We don’t want to risk falling down into the gap.

40. Desire: A Story, a beautiful post from Sunni on The Daily Breadcrumb.

41. Quote from Oriah Mountain Dreamer, shared on Facebook last week,

It seems fitting tonight to offer a nod to St. Patrick’s Day with a quote from my friend John O’Donohue: “Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey,” from Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom.

42. This quote from Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, “At the deepest level, the creative process and the healing process arise from a single source. When you are an artist, you are a healer; a wordless trust of the same mystery is the foundation of your work and its integrity.”

43. The Still Point of the Turning World, a beautiful reflection on a heartbreaking but beautiful book on A Design So Vast. I really want to read this book, even though I know it will wreck me. Lindsey shares a quote in her post from the book,

This is precisely why grief, like love and any other foundational, deceptively simple human emotion or state of being, is the terrain of artists. And it is a writer’s even more specific job to give voice to loss in whatever ways she can, to give shape to this unspeakable, impermeable reality beneath all other realities.

44. How to do less and live more, from Kris Carr, in which she says, “lately I’ve been wondering if we’re busier than we really need to be.”

45. I’m actually not that busy. a good reminder, a dare from Andrea Scher. I’m in!

There is Only Now

samatgreyrock

Eric took Sam hiking at Greyrock this morning. Dexter had coughed once last night, woke up around midnight and in my sleepy Mom mind was having trouble settling back down, so I got on the couch with him until he fell asleep. Then this morning, he coughed another time. Eric had planned to take him hiking again (they went yesterday), but we decided maybe Dexter shouldn’t go–even though we know that if Dexter had only one day left, he’d choose to spend it hiking rather than resting. Eric took both dogs on a short run before leaving with Sam. Dexter was so energized when they got back, so happy, watching so hopefully as Eric put things in his backpack, I almost changed my mind about him not going, but in the end he stayed with me.

Writing in my journal this morning after they left, I was considering the situation we are in. It was over a month ago when Dexter went on a hike, got a bloody nose, and I felt this same anxiety, thinking “this might be it, the last week, the final days” but I was wrong. What’s hard about a terminal illness is you are ready, waiting for it to be over, and yet you fear the end, wish it would never come. You suffer living with the mantra “he’s dying, he’s dying, he’s dying,” but you also feel a spike of anxiety and despair whenever something shifts, “oh no! he’s dying!”

It came to me in my morning meditation that the only answer is now, in this moment, in staying present. Nothing else works or makes sense–not numbing out, not running away, no method of escape or resistance, no hoping for something different or wishing for something better, no clinging to what’s positive or thinking only happy thoughts and rejecting the rest–you simply have to stay, be here now, live/love in this moment.

Presence and mindfulness and awareness are the only real medicine–the sound of my pen scratching on the paper, the thump and hum of the dryer, the sound of the dog asleep next to me breathing, the warmth and shelter and light, the ink in the pen and the blank pages in the journal and the air in my lungs, my body that remembers to pump and breathe without needing my interference, my bones and muscles doing what they do to keep me upright and writing, my eyes seeing, my brain processing language, knowing what word comes next and how to form it. This is all there is, and even it isn’t solid or fixed or even completely comprehensible. It shifts, gets a bit colder, the dog gets up and leaves, I pause not knowing what to say next. And then, the heat kicks on, the furnace hums, the dryer shuts off, and I know what to do.

dextersknee

I make plans, but they don’t work out. The plan to keep Dexter “safe” by keeping him home with me didn’t ultimately work. He was in the backyard, saw a squirrel and chased it. When I looked outside seconds later, his back end had given out. I didn’t see what had happened, so at first I wasn’t sure if he was having a stroke or something related to the cancer, or if he’d broken something. He continued to try and run after the squirrel, but his back legs wouldn’t cooperate.  His left leg wouldn’t straighten out or hold weight, so we headed immediately to the emergency vet.

Long story short: he’s injured his left knee. It’s either his knee cap, which is in the wrong place, or a tendon. He’s on pain medication for now, with strict orders to take it easy, and we will continue his anti-inflammatory as it’s one of the strongest available. We have a physical therapy appointment in the morning, and will meet to consult with his regular vet. Surgery in Dexter’s case, because of his cancer, just isn’t an option. The reality is, with Dexter’s age (he’s almost ten now) and activity level, something like this was likely to happen at some point, cancer or no cancer.

dexterslungsThere is good news. Dexter feels okay, although it annoys him his leg won’t work. We start physical therapy in the morning and there’s a good chance that will help him feel and function better. And while at the vet, they xrayed his chest, so we know that his cancer hasn’t metastasized to his lungs or heart. And even though I did cry a little, panic, and feel sad, and there was a bit of tenderness, terror in having to take care of it alone (Eric was still hiking, out of cellphone range), I didn’t freak out, I handled it. In the moment, something bad happened, but I knew what to do.

Any good energy you can spare my Dexter, kind and gentle reader, would be much appreciated.

#SmallStone: Day 27

Flight

flockofgeese

Somewhere outside the park, a series of loud cracks, the echos of a shotgun. A flock of geese who just a moment ago were happily resting in one of the baseball fields rises in collective flight, that of both kinds–floating in the air with wings spread wide but also fleeing.

flockofgeese03

The sound of their honking, loud and panicked and fast, excites the dogs, both of them pull and strain against their harness and leads, wanting to go faster, to chase, to catch up. When the geese are directly overhead, the force of their wings against the cold morning air makes them sound like a swarm of gigantic bumble bees.

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One Truth and Three Wishes

I know, it’s backwards: One Truth and Three Wishes. That’s not typically how this works. It’s supposed to be the other way around, three truths and one wish, but there is only one thing that I know for sure today, one thing I can be certain of, and the rest is wishes.
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One Truth: I am tired. I know I say this a lot, but this is different. This is deep in my bones, head to toe, all the way down, all the way in and all over, every part of me depleted: body, heart, mind, spirit. I want to put clean sheets on the bed, clean pjs on my body, turn off the ringer on the phone, shut down my computer, and do nothing but sleep and eat and snuggle with my dogs for days, and if I have any energy at all, that will be for walking and reading. It sounds so dreamy.

It has something to do with the time of year, the end of a teaching semester, the ramp up to the holidays, the lack of light, the cold, everything turning brown and gray, dry and brittle, the promise of snow, a long season of goodbying with Dexter, the coming of a new year, the reflecting and planning and reverbing and emerging. I want to hibernate, to sleep, to rest. I am tired.

Then early today I read a poem from John O’Donohue, and it touched into what I was wishing, longing for, craving–for you kind and gentle reader, for me, for everyone. So here it is, broken down into three wishes.
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1. Wish: “May all that is unforgiven in you be released.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful to walk into the new year unburdened by old grudges, ancient angers, bitter resentments, those old stories about unfairness, betrayal and hurt? Holding on to them, feeding them, keeping them warm and alive has only generated more suffering. I would be much lighter, much happier if I could let these go, surrender them to the wind.

2. Wish: “May your fears yield their deepest tranquilities.” I can also imagine the great relief I would feel if my fears softened, if panic and tension were to ease, if I could surrender to what is, sink into the comfort of reality with an open heart, have confidence in my natural, fundamental wisdom and compassion. I am wishing for this.

3. Wish: “May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future graced with love.” This one especially. I keep reading the line, over and over, feeling every part of me say “yes, please.”

To Come Home To Yourself
May all that is unforgiven in you
Be released.
May your fears yield
their deepest tranquilities.
May all that is unlived in you
Blossom into a future
Graced with love.
~John O’Donohue

#Reverb12: Day 4

reverb12There’s an odd magic happening with the Reverb prompts I’m using. Checking five different lists, one not even from this year, you’d think it would be a random collection of things, but it’s not. As I work my way through, they weave together, connect and support each other, giving a universal answer, telling a single story about the year I’m leaving behind and the one I’m entering into. They reveal things to me I hadn’t considered or seen, give me the space and opportunity to reflect and contemplate. Magic.

Fear

The full prompt is: “When were you most scared? Why? How did you respond? How do you wish you would have responded?” (Author: Mary Churchill).

Two things come immediately to mind: Dexter’s “bloody scare” and the World Domination Summit prefunction of sorts party at Kelly Rae Roberts’s Studio, (I talked about that second one just the other day).

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Before Dexter was diagnosed with cancer, we took him in to have a nasal scope, to rule out something stuck in his nose that might be causing his symptoms, and for a biopsy if they didn’t find a foreign object. It’s always stressful having your dog put under anesthesia, and it’s even more nerve wracking to know that the procedure might find cancer. It ended up being even worse then that, because when they tried to wake Dexter up after, he started hemorrhaging profusely from the biopsy sites (multiple tiny tissue samples that shouldn’t have caused such a bad reaction, but did), and the only way they could stop the bleeding was to sedate him again.

When we went to pick him up later in the day, they wouldn’t let us take him home, and suggested it was probably best if we didn’t try to see him, (we agreed, getting him excited and then leaving him again wouldn’t have helped). We had to leave him with the emergency vet overnight, and when we left him, they weren’t sure what was going to happen, which meant I didn’t know if I’d ever see him again. It was one of the worst nights of my life, and I was so scared I could hardly sleep, couldn’t eat, had to force myself to drink anything, felt sick with worry and panic. Things worked out okay (other than the fatal cancer diagnosis), and we now refer to it as “The Bloody Scare.”

P.S. I forgot to answer the last part of the prompt! I reacted by loving Dexter something fierce when he came home, accepting his cancer diagnosis with grace, so happy to have him back, to see him again after not knowing if I would, that instead of resisting his loss, I opened myself completely to it, grateful for whatever time we would have left together.

Place

The full prompt is: “What places anchored you this year? Or were you in search of new places and spaces to call your own and call home? Describe the place you love and why it means so much to you.”

beachgrassWaldport, Oregon. Half my heart lives there. Every other year, we try to plan a month long vacation there, and the rest of the time, I dream about it, miss it. I’m not sure I could ever again live year round with the gray sky and rain of the Pacific Northwest, but it still is home to me. I love everything about it (in my dreams it is always summer)–walking and walking, hiking, looking for shells and agates, gazing at the sky and listening to the waves, eating good food, taking long naps, renting movies at Waldport Video, being at ease, laughing, spending lazy afternoons reading books or listening to the radio. My heart breaks a little when we have to leave it, but I also love my little house in Colorado, my bed, my studio space, my garden, my routine here and my friends.

Music

The full prompt is: “Did you discover a favourite song or musical artist in 2012? What is it? Where did you discover it? Does it hold any special meaning for you? If you do not listen to music, how about your favourite book or author? Or artist across all mediums?”

My favorite new artist is Yuna. Her voice, style, lyrics, sound all are so spot on perfectly lovely. I wrote all about her when I first discovered her, and shared this video.

Beauty

The full prompt is: “How have your standards of beauty shifted in the past year?”

thanksgivingsky08The shift has been from perfection to wabi-sabi. In our culture, if you are a woman, perfection of body means straight and white teeth, skin that is slightly tan but has no wrinkles or blemishes or scars, all over tone, no cellulite, big boobs and small waist, young and fit, blah, blah, blah. Our homes are supposed to look a certain way, our families and children, our relationships and our work, our lives are suppose to look a certain way. We can never measure up to that standard, so in the last year, little by little, I’ve let it go.

I’ve surrendered to the brilliant mess. Things broken and dirty, old and dying, loved and worn, alive and full of joy, imperfect and impermanent. When I talk about beauty, I mean something more like the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which is all about accepting transience, and about knowing what is beautiful is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. Something is wabi-sabi if “an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing” and this view “nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect,” (Wikipedia entry on wabi-sabi).

Celebrate

The full prompt is: “How are you going to celebrate your self this festive season?”

eyeiI’m going to honor myself. Ask myself what I want, what I need, what I’m craving, what I’m truly hungry for, what I want to stop doing, what I want to let go of. I am going to ask, really listen, respond. I am going to do what the brilliantly compassionate Sunni Chapman suggested on Facebook today, listen to my heart and be truly, madly, deeply alive:

In the quiet of your heart, lies every answer. Take it up with her first. Mind will always offer a second opinion. Thank it for it’s opinion, and go back to the truth that moves you. If it doesn’t move you, it’s not alive… and all you’ve ever wanted to be was truly, madly, deeply ALIVE.