Category Archives: Jen Lemen

Something Good

1. I already shared this yesterday, but it’s so good, I want to make sure you didn’t miss it, NPR First Listen: Tycho, “Awake,” a beautiful album.

2. Don’t Quit, from the Fearful Adventurer.

3. Sou Fujimoto’s Tree-Inspired Tower Sprouts Balconies Like Leaves.

4. finding yourself: a workbook from Positively Present.

5. 8 Lessons from Small Space Living from Be More With Less.

6. Interview with folk rock singer-songwriter Jonatha Brooke.

7. Unloved.

8. Wisdom from poet Andrea Gibson, “Everyone’s chest is a living room wall with awkwardly placed photographs hiding fist-shaped holes.” And because I love it and it’s been awhile since I shared it, more beautiful from Andrea, “A letter to my dog: exploring the human condition.”

9. Wisdom from Tulku Thondup,

Generally, we go through life with little awareness of what we are doing, let alone the peaceful and joyful nature of our lives. We mostly think about the past and dream about the future while missing what is happening right now, in this moment. If we are not aware, we are not fully living. We are like sleepwalkers or zombies. To be alive and healthy, we need to wake up. In Sanskrit, the root of the word Buddha is ‘‘to be awake.’’ That is what true healing is, an awakening. As with a flower growing up from the ground and opening its petals in the sunlight, the process is generally quite gradual. Sometimes our spiritual growth seems slow and uneven. We can take a step backward or be filled with all sorts of doubts. We need to remind ourselves that the healing path is the right one to take.

10. desiderata on Chookooloonks, Karen Walrond’s blog, sharing the poem of the same name, which reminded me of this line, “With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.” She also has a great list of links on her latest “This was a good week” post. My favorites were these wedding photos (this whole site, all his pictures are magic, the way they capture love and relationship, humanness and connection), and this is 50, (which is only four years away for me!).

11. Wife And Mother: “You’d Never Suspect My Junkie Past” from NPR. The last lines are amazing…

I feel no shame when I say I’m a recovering addict. The battle has made me a warrior. As someone lucky to survive, I want to tell others not to give up. Life can be pain and suffering, but numbing that pain also numbs the love that heals it.

12. Note from the Universe, “Jill, fear just means you’ve forgotten how deeply you’re loved, how safe you are, and that happiness will return, like you’ve never known it before.” Yes, please.

13. 4 Reasons to Love the Body You Have on the Yoga Journal blog.

14. Jen Lemen still posts on Hopeful World, but I miss her old blog. I ran across this part of a poem from her, saved as a note on my Facebook page.

Love Will Find You Out
At the end of your unraveling,
you will look down and see your own feet
that have carried you so, so far
and you will decide for once that it is okay
to sit down
to rest
to hold out your hands
to lift up your head
to open your heart
to the possibility that you were never alone after all
not for one minute

That Love was right there
in her terrible silence
not quite sure how to say it so you would believe her
that you were a thing of rare beauty on the earth
That She still has your macaroni necklace
That She’s been following you around,
making maps of all the places you’ve been lost,
so you’d know how to get back when the time came
to put it all to rest.

See what I mean?

15. Read this, next time you want to give up on making a difference from Marianne Elliott. This is an older post, but it’s worth rereading — again and again.

16. Wisdom from Kris Carr on Facebook,

It’s possible to seek from a place of fullness rather than lack, excitement rather than fear. To know that even though you may be confused about a particular topic, you’re not incapable.

You’re not a project to be checked off and accomplished. Your deep capacity to heal and grow is always present. Always. You don’t need a book or a doctor or a shaman to guide you. You just need to know how to go home to yourself on a daily basis.

17. How Many Of These Do We Get? by Justine on Allowing Myself.

18. Intimate portraits spotlight shelter animals and the humans who love them, an article about one of my favorite projects, Why We Rescue.

19. 32 Truths Every Adult Should Know on Elephant Journal. This list made me giggle.

20. Wisdom from Shanti Zimmermann, “I have yet to meet a body that doesn’t love its person.”

21. Less show. More soul. from Jonathan Fields.

22. Wisdom from Danielle LaPorte, “Art is about self expression. Sharing art is about being of service.”

23. Sometimes you don’t need a budget from Seth Godin.

24. From Brave Girls Club,

Your heart knows what step to take next. It may not know what step to take after that, but it does know exactly what to do next. Take it day by day. Take the step today that your gut is telling you to take. Tomorrow, take another step. Sometimes….all we can do is what we can do today. Sometimes all that we can do is what we can do in THIS MINUTE. Please don’t get caught up in the feeling of overwhelm that comes when we try to figure out what to do next month, next year, in 5 years. Sometimes all we know is where we are supposed to be moment by moment, and that is 100% ok.

25. These 16 Fluffy Animals Will Make You Say Awww on Bored Panda.

26. Newsletter from Mara Glatzel, “The Only Thing on My Bucket List this Year.”

27. Weightless Again: In her suicide note, my sister spoke of not wanting to be a burden on Purple Clover, which ends this way,

We play triage all the time, tending to the sickest one first and hoping that death doesn’t overtake the rest. We take each other at our word: I assume you’ll tell me if you’re so down you want to die, and I’ll try and convince you that the weather will change if you wait long enough. For her I think it never stopped raining.

28. It’s Too Much For Them: Grandmothers Reading Lyrics To Beyonce’s New Song. I am also confounded by these lyrics, so this made me laugh.

29. Wisdom from Vincent Van Gogh, “I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”

30. This poem by Kasey Jueds, first shared with me by Laurie Wagner and recently shared again by Sherry Richert Belul, reminding me of why I say my practices are writing, yoga, meditation, and DOG.

Claim

Once during that year
when all I wanted
was to be anything other
than what I was,
the dog took my wrist
in her jaws. Not to hurt
or startle, but the way
a wolf might, closing her mouth
over the leg of another
from her pack. Claiming me
like anything else: the round luck
of her supper dish or the bliss
of rabbits, their infinite
grassy cities. Her lips
and teeth circled
and pressed, tireless
pressure of the world
that pushes against you
to see if you’re there,
and I could feel myself
inside myself again, muscle
to bone to the slippery
core where I knew
next to nothing
about love.
She wrapped
my arm as a woman might wrap
her hand through the loop
of a leash-as if she
were the one holding me
at the edge of a busy street,
instructing me to stay.

31. Wisdom from Cynthia Occelli,

For a seed to achieve it’s greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, it’s insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.

32. Sarah Kay & Phil Kaye “When Love Arrives.”

33. When the dog stays at home alone.

 

Something Good

For those of you who are new to my blog, here’s the story behind my Something Good posts: When I am feeling bad, I will often ask my husband Eric to “tell me something good.” When I need something to hang on to, to make me feel better, something to show me that it’s not all bad. When I am in that dark hole, way down at the bottom, and the mean things with teeth are down there with me –”tell me something good.”

He’s really good at it, because even when all he can think of is “I love you,” it totally works. I mean, how great is it that the person that you picked and who said “yes” almost 20 years ago, and knows you better than anyone, knows all the embarrassing and ugly stuff, continues to love you? He usually is able to give me a whole list when I ask him, followed by a hug and “what can I do for you, how can I make you feel better?”

So on A Thousand Shades of Gray, Monday’s feature is: Something Good. I like the idea of gratitude generating joy, and the opportunity my gratitude has to spread joy when I share the good things, so every Monday, I give you a list.

Here’s this week’s list:

1. 5 Plants You (Almost) Never Have to Water on House Logic.

2. Stunning Self-Portraits by a 14-year-old Photographer on Bored Panda.

3. Diana Fayt’s Painted Rocks (& Other Lovely Things) from Lisa Congdon.

4. Be Brave: A Poem-Film for Anyone Asking for Courage to Create from Jeffrey Davis.

5. Cute Pets in Windows from Bold Italics, originally shared by Rachel.

6. Reflections on Fearlessness and Best Links (May), a great list of good stuff from Sandra at Always Well Within, (confession: one of my posts is on the list).

7. Reason to Forgive | DubStep, video of a 12 year old who is an amazing dancer.

8. You’re not needy. You’re starving. from Rachel Cole. Amazing.

9. Out of the water from Lisa Bonchek Adams.

10. Patrick Stewart Speaks About His Childhood, Domestic Abuse and PTSD. The woman involved in this specific moment wrote about it on her blog as well, Let me tell you a thing, about an amazing man named Patrick Stewart.

11. This message from Brave Girls Club came just when I needed it,

Dear Sweet Girl,

You don’t have to have special permission to take a break, you know. You have done enough. When you are tired, and weary and feeling worn out, you need to be kind to yourself and take good care of your body and your spirit.

Please be good to yourself, beautiful friend . . . the world is not the same without the best of you. The people that you love the most have better lives because of you and the people you have not even met yet will have enriched lives because of you.

Your life will be better, happier, more effective, more efficient and more meaningful if you stop and take care of yourself. No more putting guilt trips on yourself or letting anyone else do it. No more working yourself so hard that you can’t even feel anymore . . . it’s time to REALLY nurture and take care of yourself. You are a gift to the world, please take care of YOU. Today’s a great day to start.

12. There’s Just No Time from Paul Jarvis, shared by Laura of Create as Folk.

13. Rijks Museum Free Hi-Res Art Downloads shared by Pugly Pixel.

14. Introducing Prancercise, just silly enough to be kind of awesome.

15. Be the Giver from Danielle LaPorte.

16. 9 Rules for a Simpler Day from Zen Habits.

17. What is Your Gift to the World? on Scoutie Girl.

18. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Tigers Above, Tigers Below: There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs, and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.

Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life, it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.

19. 7 Things You Need to Stop Doing Every Day from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

20. Make Me: Fabric Gift Bags from Decor8.

21. Celebrate and Embrace Ventures and Adventures from Be More with Less.

22. Her Lilac Jacket on SouleMama. The sweetest pictures! This one is my favorite, (her little hand!).

23. Racists Very Upset Over Interracial Family in Cute Cheerios Commercial. The little girl in this commercial is super cute. Someone posted on Facebook last week about this and added, “Whomever has a problem with this better just go buy a white hood right now and be honest with yourself.” I couldn’t agree more.

24. it’s complicated from Sas Petherick. *sigh*

25. Inside the Paris apartment untouched for 70 years: Treasure trove finally revealed after owner locked up and fled at outbreak of WWII.

26. Your Daily Rock from Patti Digh: your daily rock : what would love do?, and your daily rock : just breathe, and your daily rock : you are enough.

27. Name-calling Has Its Place: BED is Now Named as a Distinct Eating Disorder. So what’s in it for you? from Drop it and Eat.

28. Another Origami Fox from How About Orange. I wish I was better at this. I’d be making some of these, (shared by Positively Present).

29. This quote, People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. ~Iris Murdoch

peoniesonmydesk02

30. Google Poetics, (shared by Positively Present). “This blog started collecting Google Poems on October 2012 and is run by its founder Sampsa Nuotio and curator Raisa Omaheimo. Google Poetics is born when Google autocomplete suggestions are viewed as poems.” I could get lost in this site for a very, very long time. For example,

pain is temporary
pain is weakness leaving the body
pain is inevitable suffering is optional
pain is love

Or,

I am a disco dancer
I am a dwarf and I’m digging a hole
I am a dynamic figure
I am a dreamer

Pure awesome.

31. Patti Smith, We all have a creative impulse, shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend list. The site where this video is posted, Channel Louisiana, has lots of other really cool stuff, if you want to get lost for a little while and haven’t already spent all your time on Google Poetics. Also on Susannah’s list this week was What’s Inside Our “Going Out” Bags.

32. Humans of New York. I’ve shared this site before, but it’s so good, I want to share it again in case you missed it the first time. You can also follow them on Facebook.

33. Issa Rae: Own Your Awkward on The Conversation.

34. From Rowdy Kittens’ Happy Links post: A Revolution of Contentment by Sandra Pawula on the Bridgemaker, and Chic Tiny House in Omaha Nebraska on Air BnB, (the loft beds in tiny houses always make me think of sleeping in a tree house — magic).

35. My Dentist Was Made To Believe I Was Dead And It Made Me Realize Why I Shouldn’t Kill Myself And You Shouldn’t Either on xojane.

36. This wisdom from Marianne Williamson, “The kind of rest you seek you will find not from sleeping but from waking.”

37. This Poster Might Just Change Your Life. by Nicole Duncan on Elephant Journal.

38. This wisdom from Lama Christie McNally, The Tibetan Book of Meditation,

Tibetans say we should do our meditation practice “as if our hair was on fire.” We should have the same urgency to get out of this pain filled place as someone who has just woken up in a burning, smoke filled house. But it’s hard- all the distractions of this life keep stealing away our time and our mind. We keep telling ourselves, “I’ll meditate later.” Then one day you look up and realize life has passed you by, the time is gone, and it’s too late.

39. This wisdom from Jen Lemen, “I don’t want to be famous or popular or known for anything other than that I was deep and wise and had a soul that was wildly beautiful, full of mercy and light.”

40. Amanda Palmer on Creativity as Connecting Dots and the Terrifying Joy of Sharing Your Art Online and Be All Your Selves: Joss Whedon’s 2013 Wesleyan Commencement Address on Embracing Our Inner Contradictions on Brain Pickings.

41. Quotes shared by Justine Musk, You cannot truly enjoy life through your mind…It’s through the heart + the body that we get to party,” (Kagiso Msimango), and “There’s nothing more powerful than a woman who has met the truth inside her. Nothing,” (Meggan Jane Watterson).

42. Are Children Natural Vegans? by Sara Crolick on Elephant Journal.

43. This quote from Cheryl Stayed, “That silence is such a beautiful thing. It’s like the stars at night in the great alone and you there beneath them, saying thank you.”

44. Karma and Smartphones: How to Use Technology From a Buddhist Perspective, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche on Huffington Post.

45. Dog People Problems, from Reddit.

goodmorning

46. 2 year old problems: cinnamon rolls aren’t instant, from Reddit.

twoyearoldproblems

47. Wisdom from Chogyam Trungpa,

Meditation is not a matter of trying to achieve ecstasy, spiritual bliss, or tranquility, nor is it attempting to be a better person. It is simply the creation of a space in which we are able to expose and undo our neurotic games, our self-deceptions, our hidden fears and hopes.

48. Father and 2-year-old boy sing Beatles’ ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ in viral hit.

49. Let go … again, still, more from Lindsey on A Design So Vast.

50. The Pros and Cons (But Mostly Pros) of Adopting a Shelter Dog on Hello Giggles.

51. you are worthy. from Liz Lamoreux.

52. Feeding the Right Wolf, with Marianne Elliot on Sacred Circle.

53. The Big Book Giveaway! from Susannah Conway. This is a great set of books, some of my favorites! You should totally enter this, (but just know, I plan on winning the Book Bomb).

bigbookgiveaway

P.S. I think this might officially be the longest Something Good list e v e r.