Category Archives: Meditation

Something Good

1. Meanwhile: An Illustrated Love Letter to the Living Fabric of a City and Our Shared Human Longing to Be Understood on Brain Pickings. I might need this book.

2. 14 Benefits of Mindfulness. {Infographic} on Elephant Journal.

3. Wisdom from Ringu Tulku,

A feeling has arisen in the mind, like a cloud. Like a cloud, it appears and then it disappears, and that’s all there is to it. This time it is sadness arising, the next time it may be happiness, the next time it may be anger, and later it may be kindness. All sorts of things arise, like wildflowers in a spring meadow. All sorts of flowers grow; all sorts of thoughts and emotions arise. They are all okay; they’re nothing special. When we understand what our thoughts and feelings are, and we experience them in this way, we are able to let them come and let them go.

4. In his most recent newsletter, Austin Kleon shared some really good articles about the problematic nature of the assertion that we should all “do what you love”: In the Name of Love, and The Ploughshares Round-Down: Why “Do What You Love” Is Bad Advice, and Do What You Love.

5. Good stuff on Bored Panda: The Winners Of The 2014 Sony World Photography Awards, and Intimate And Playful Dog Portraits By Elke Vogelsang, and The 30 Happiest Animals In The World That Will Make You Smile, and Japanese Photographer Takes Beautiful Sun-Kissed Photos Of Cats.

6. Wisdom from Rainer Maria Rilke,

Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final.

7. Good stuff from MindBodyGreen: 5 Things I Miss About Weighing More Than 300 Pounds, and 10 Things That Will Happen When You Start Pursuing Your Dreams, and 10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Therapy. Also Why I Hate “Bikini Body” Pressure + How To Get Over It For Good, which says “Deprivation has no place in long-term well-being.”

8. More good stuff from Elephant Journal: How to be Productive (an infographic), and 5 Ways You Can Make a Living as a Yoga Teacher.

9. Wow…This 3200 Year Old Tree Is So Huge It’s Never Been Captured In A Single Image. Until Now.

10. How to Get Out of Bed.

11. Nobody Expected This From a Little Girl. What She Was Caught on Video Doing Shocked The World.

12. Good stuff on Viral Nova: A Kindergartner Wrote And Drew The Most Genius ‘How To’ Guide Ever. The Drawings Are Hilarious. and A 31 Year Old Was Sick Of Expensive Rent And High Costs. What He Did Took Guts… But Look Inside. and This Guy Started With Nothing. What He Had Just 6 Weeks Later Made Me Ridiculously Jealous.

13. Garbage Piece from Jeff Oaks. Even his garbage is beautiful.

14. Two beautiful shares from Jessica Patterson,

Boundaries, by Lynn Ungar

The universe does not
revolve around you.
The stars and planets spinning
through the ballroom of space
dance with one another
quite outside of your small life.
You cannot hold gravity
or seasons; even air and water
inevitably evade your grasp.
Why not, then, let go?

You could move through time
like a shark through water,
neither restless or ceasing,
absorbed in and absorbing
the native element.
Why pretend you can do otherwise?
The world comes in at every pore,
mixes in your blood before
breath releases you into
the world again. Did you think
the fragile boundary of your skin
could build a wall?

Listen. Every molecule is humming
its particular pitch.
Of course you are a symphony.
Whose tune do you think
the planets are singing
as they dance?

And

Self-Portrait
by David Whyte

It doesn’t interest me if there is one God
or many gods.
I want to know if you belong or feel
abandoned,
if you can know despair or see it in others.
I want to know
if you are prepared to live in the world
with its harsh need
to change you. If you can look back
with firm eye,
saying this is where I stand. I want to know
if you know
how to melt into that fierce heat of living,
falling toward
the center of your longing. I want to know
if you are willing
to live, day by day, with the consequence of love
and the bitter
unwanted passion of your sure defeat.

I have heard, in that fierce embrace, even
the gods speak of God.

15. 10 Things Highly Intuitive People Do Differently on Huffington Post. I haven’t checked, but this seems like the almost exact same list that was about Highly Creative People.

16. Wisdom from Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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.

17. Happy – Pentatonix (Pharrell Cover). I have a soft spot for acapella groups.

18. How I earned my white belt in desire on Superhero Life. I love how Andrea sees everything in her life as an opportunity to learn, to practice, to transform.

19. Orphaned Baby Rhino Loves To Run With Her Rescuers on Huffington Post. You must watch the video.

20. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert, “If you are looking for your home in the world, here is a clue: It’s whatever you love more than you love yourself. (Addiction and infatuation don’t count! Unsafe neighborhoods in which to build a home!) Identify that worthy thing to love, and abide there.”

21. Wisdom from Richard Bach, “There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.”

22.  Wisdom from David Whyte, “You must learn one thing. The world was made to be free in.”

23. Apple and Poppy Seed Coleslaw recipe. Looks yummy.

24. 10 Things I No Longer Believe About Having a Creative Career (and Being an Entrepreneur) from Michelle Ward.

25. When gratitude is harmful from Danielle LaPorte.

26. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

With the commitment to not cause harm, we move away from reacting in ways that cause us to suffer, but we haven’t yet arrived at a place that feels entirely relaxed and free. We first have to go through a growing-up process, a getting-used-to process. That process, that transition, is one of becoming comfortable with exactly what we’re feeling as we feel it. The key practice to support us in this is mindfulness—being fully present right here, right now. Meditation is one form of mindfulness, but mindfulness is called by many names: attentiveness, nowness, and presence are just a few. Essentially, mindfulness means wakefulness—fully present wakefulness. Chögyam Trungpa called it paying attention to all the details of your life.

27. Wisdom from Joseph Campbell,

People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.

28. 7 Simple Truths about Dressing with Less on Be More With Less.

29. When You Want to Call It Quits Do This Instead… from Dawn Dalili, in which she says,

The escape is temporary. The comfort in going numb is fleeting and often followed by a pain more unbearable than breathing through my fear – it is the pain of living a life that is disconnected from my spirit, my soul, my God, my truth (choose the word that suits you.)

As challenging as it may ever seem to move forward through challenge, I dare say that it’s more challenging to give up. When we give up, our body contracts, our shoulders slouch which closes our hearts, and our energy fades.

30. Sacred Ground from Rachel Cole.

31. Dream Tree from Soul Pancake.

32. ColorHexa. Confession: I have a thing for color tools.

33. From Preacher To Grass Cutter To Earth-Shaking Soul Singer from NPR Music. Watch the video. You won’t believe what comes out of this guy’s mouth.

34. Guy Impressively Sings Katy Perry’s ‘Dark Horse’ In 20 Different Styles (Video) from Huffington Post. The final one, the John Mayer version, is worth the watch.

35. Funny Husky tries to talk other dog into giving her a toy (VIDEO) on Dog Heirs.

36. 5 Steps to Declutter Your Schedule and Live Your Desired Life from Becoming Minimalist.

37. Shared on Positively Present Picks: 17 Things You Suddenly Start Doing When You Get An Office Job, and Canva (another cool graphics tool I can’t wait to try), and 15 powerful side-benefits to living in the present moment, and 25 Bold Ways to Avoid the Trap of Overwhelm.

38. Shared by Susannah Conway on her Something for the Weekend list: her “My Country Home” Pinterest board (I want to go to there), and Porn Burger (warning: if you eat cow, this will make you hungry).

39. How to Put a Toddler to Bed in 100 Easy Steps on Huffington Post.

40. Watch dogs respond to a magic trick.

Life Rehab Resource: Practice

liferehabresourcesDisclaimer: I could write a whole book (and am) about practice, so to imply I’m going to be able to say everything there is to say, or even only the very most important things there are to share about practice in a single blog post is just silly. And yet, this is the life rehab resource that wants to be shared today.

I started thinking about it when I was writing my morning pages. This is a practice I first learned by way of Julia Cameron, who describes it this way,

Morning pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages* – they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind – and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.

She even made a video about the practice.

As I was writing my morning pages today, I was thinking about how they are a life rehab resource I’ve been able to maintain no matter what else is going on in my life. There are lots of other things on my to-do and to-be lists right now that I’d love to be doing but had to give up, temporarily. For example there are stacks of books I want to read, a list of movies I’d like to watch, Nia and yoga classes I’d like to attend, letters I want to send, courses I’d like to design, two books and various essays I want to write, but for now there just isn’t time. But morning pages, those get done every day no matter what. For me, they are like warming up before exercising. It’s the thing I need to do to be ready to write the stuff I plan to share.

Just as Julia describes it, much of what I write as part of my morning pages is garbage — whining and complaining, rants, confessions, anxiety, speculation, disillusion and confusion, lists, “and then he said” nonsense. A record of confusion. It gets it all out of the way, clears a path, makes space for the truth, what needs to be said, wants to be shared — the lotus that pushes its way out of the muck.

morningpages

there is a tattoo of a lotus on the inside of my right wrist to remind me of exactly this

In writing out all the crap I can see how silly it is, how ridiculous I am. It’s the same when you watch your thoughts and emotions arise in meditation, where the instruction is to observe them arise and let them go without getting attached. I realize through sitting practice how much of my life is spent in reaction to my thoughts and emotions, getting triggered and hooked. Someone says something, judgement kicks in, and off I go. A thought arises and I run after it, trying to catch and hold it, turn it into something solid.

A fundamental quality of all practice is the cultivation of observation without attachment. Practice helps me to see the ways I habitually react, sometimes allowing me to interrupt myself and rest in the gap between thoughts/emotions and action. Through practice I contemplate how my habitual patterns and discursive thinking are no longer serving me. In this way, practice helps me to ease suffering. Over time I start to realize how blindly driven I’ve been by my thoughts and emotions, see how empty they actually are, and start to relax, consider other options, access a deeper wisdom and compassion, and employ more skillful means.

For example, on the yoga mat, I observe how in a pose I might criticize myself for not doing it “right.” Maybe I compare myself to the person on the mat next to me who seems to be doing it “better,” or I judge myself against a “perfect expression” of the pose. The thought arises that I’m doing it wrong and I begin to criticize myself. Shame quickly follows and soon I am smashing myself to bits, not really practicing yoga at all. In a final act of aggression, I force my body further into the pose, causing discomfort or pain, possibly even injuring myself.

sundaymorningyogaThe longer I practice, the more I am able to interrupt this pattern. I notice the thought or emotion arise. I pause and am curious about it instead of immediately acting on it. I consider what might be triggering it, notice how it feels in my body, all while trying my best to not start telling myself a story about it. Staying with this, I might understand that my body is unique (in the case of the yoga pose “gone wrong”), and at this particular time this is what is. Maybe my quads are especially tender after lifting weights or doing a lot of walking earlier in the week, or maybe I didn’t get enough sleep the night before and I have less energy. I recognize that the compassionate thing to do in this moment is a slight modification of the pose to maintain alignment and accommodate my body’s current state. My self talk shifts to love for my body, appreciation that I showed up to practice, gratitude that I’m paying attention and working with my body in this way, listening and trusting, being gentle.

Suddenly there is space, ease where before there was struggle. As in yoga, it’s best when writing morning pages — with all practice, actually — to not force or attempt to control, but rather show up with an open heart, be curious about what is, and in this way sink into and allow the truth of the moment.