Category Archives: Susan Piver

Something Good

watermelon

This is in my garden, seriously…

1. What do you do when the trolls come marching in?, wisdom from Paul Jarvis.

2. Behind the scenes of this post from Judy Clement Wall.

3. Finding the courage to transform your life, from Caroline Leon of Life is Limitless.

4. The Imaginary World Of…, Keri Smith’s new book.

5. This post on 3x3x365, especially the part about Burg the wonder dog.

6. He Had No Idea He Was Being Recorded Dancing With His Dog on Viral Nova. I bet Eric does this with the dogs when I’m not around.

7. What do you know for sure?, and The Creativity Conversation Continued, wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

8. Lisa Congdon Words for the Day :: No. 35.

9. Wisdom from Marianne Elliott on Facebook, “Your home yoga practice is where you find out what really works for you, and what doesn’t. But, maybe above all else, home yoga is where you begin to rebuild your own trust in yourself, your body and your innate wisdom. And very little is more important, and more powerful than that.”

10. Wisdom from Rilke, (thanks for sharing, Sherry).

Sometimes blocked in,
sometimes reaching out,
one moment your life is a stone in you,
and the next, a star.

11. Good stuff from Be More With Less: Jumping Gently Into Minimalism, and If Life Were Simple, and especially this, How to Really Take a Day Off.

12. Be careful what you wish for… it just may come true!!! on Diamonds in the Sky with Lucy.

13. Love, Curvy Yoga – Episode Ten: An Interview with Susan Piver, Anna Guest-Jelley’s podcast, two of my favorite women talking about some of my favorite things.

14. Less internet – but more of what? from The Art of Simple.

15. What Your Random Jobs Have in Common on Create as Folk.

16. Conversation with Lisa Congdon (Art Inc.) on art & lemons in which Lisa talks about her new book, which I need.

17. 11 vegetarian snacks to help you avoid the vending machine, some yummy recipes.

18. lisa congdon: a studio visit and a brand new book from SF Girl by Bay, because you can never have enough Lisa Congdon.

19. Lower Your Standards from Jennifer Louden. I’m loving this particular series from her, a Queen Jenny Bee wisdom primer.

20. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön, “If we really knew how unhappy it was making this whole planet that we all try to avoid pain and seek pleasure — how that is making us so miserable and cutting us off from our basic goodness — then we would practice as if our hair were on fire.”

21. Take a Deep Breath from Mara Glatzel.

22. Truthbomb #605 from Danielle LaPorte, “You are the temple.”

23. Good stuff from Chookooloonks: this was a good week (& the philosophy behind it) and respite.

24. Simple Living – Does it Have to be All or Nothing? from Slow Your Home.

25. Fudgy Vegan Chocolate Brownies, a recipe from Kris Carr.

26. regular people answering hard questions: stacy morrison on Angiecat.

26. My embarrassing picture went viral on Salon.

27. Simply Genius: Nick Offerman Reads Reddit’s ‘Shower Thoughts’ on Hello Giggles.

28. Good stuff from Renegade Mothering: I thought age 4 would be better. I was wrong. and We don’t start with needles in our arms. (Watch her read this essay at BlogHer ’14. She said this about the experience,

So I was honored to be chosen as a 2014 “Voice of the Year” by Blogher for the piece “We Don’t Start with Needles in our Arms.” Here I am reading it. Moments before I went on stage, Arlo had a blow out and I thought maybe I had poop on my fancy clothes. As I changed him on the floor backstage I thought “This is some hardcore parenting right here.” Moments after I got off stage, people started coming up to me, telling me about their alcoholic brother mother sister friend student and I thought “What a life, all of this. Thank you.”

29. What’s In A Body Type? from Sunni Chapman.

30. Summer Homes + Anne Black Ceramics on decor8. The summer home made me *swoon*

31. The Lies Your Mind Tells You to Prevent Life Changes on Zen Habits.

32. This, everything about this. A picture that Susannah Conway took of her nephew on a visit to the circus. He’s a magical kid, and the image just screams “be yourself.”

33. A really important quote shared by Austin Kleon, about the difference between humor and depression.

34. What Your Junk Drawer Reveals About You, shared by Tammy on her Happy Links list.

35. Shared on Positively Present Picks: Why doing less actually makes you more successful (and how to do it without hurting your productivity) and 5 Ways to Live in the Moment.

36. Shared on Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list, The Life Changing Crackers, which led to The Life-Changing Loaf of Bread.

37. Wisdom I’ve shared before, but just saw it again and it’s worth resharing,

Six Words of Advice – by Tibetan teacher, Tilopa

Let go of what has passed.
Let go of what may come.
Let go of what is happening now.
Don’t try to figure anything out.
Don’t try to make anything happen.
Relax, right now, and rest.

translation by Ken McLeod
Quoted in Tara Brach’s guided meditation: Emptiness Dancing

38. More wisdom from Pema Chödrön, “It’s important to hear about this in-between state. Otherwise we think the warrior’s journey is one way or the other; either we’re all caught up or we’re free. The fact is that we spend a long time in the middle.”

39. Navigate Your Life: Sarah Selecky from Jennifer Louden.

40. Mary Lambert has a new album coming out in October!!! The first two songs that have been released are so so so so so good.

41. The Spiritual Art of Saying No from On Being, which ends with,

You say no so you can say yes. It’s sad in the way that all limitations are, but also liberating. You are human and finite and precious and fumbling. This is your one chance to spend your gifts, your attention, most importantly your love, on the things that matter most. Don’t screw it up by being sentimental about what could have been or delusional about your own capacity. Have the grace to acknowledge your own priorities. Prune and survive.

Something Good

1. Stand Up For Burg! a gofundme campaign to help one of the best people, Amy McCracken, help her dog, the amazing Cheeseburger, get the surgery he needs to be able to get around, to ease his pain. If you want to read about the beginning of their love story, here’s what Amy wrote about the night they met. The love between a girl and her dog is a beautiful thing, (I should know), and the way that love can heal us is priceless.

burg

The Burg, (picture from the campaign page).

2. Good stuff from Seth Godin: Finding your peer group, and The artist who dances on the edge, and How will you choose your next project?

3. August Break, a 31 day photo challenge hosted by Susannah Conway. I’ve done this the past few years and it’s quite fun.

4. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club, on letting go.

What are you willing to let go of today? Life is so much about knowing what to hold on to, and what to let go of — and having faith that it will all work out in the end.

Your heart and your gut know exactly what you need to let go of, even if your brain is giving you all sorts of reasons to clamp your fingers around it. There are seasons and times to have different things, relationships and situations in your life, and then the seasons change and it’s time to let go of many of those things. Change is hard, but change is absolutely necessary.

We’ve all got to let go of old habits, old situations, old behaviors and sometimes even old relationships to make room for what is meant for the next part of our lives. If we just get quiet, get brave, and listen very closely, our hearts will tell us what to let go of. This doesn’t mean it will be easy. It just means that it is what is meant for now.

You can do this. Listen to your heart. Be brave.

5. Memories Do Not Burn from Smashed Picket Fences, (originally shared by Tammy in her Happy Links list).

6. Good stuff on Medium: The power of your writing: why you should write even if you think nobody is reading, and Call me a quitter: Just ask Vince Lombardi, and How a password changed my life, and Why I’m so negative about positivity, and 10 Things No One Tells Women about Turning 40 (thanks for sharing this last one, Lindsey).

7. Maya Stein’s 10-line Tuesday, because of this, and lines like this, “You need more light, not less,” and poems like this:

orientation
Just east of certainty. A little south of courage. A hair’s
width from ease. Clicks away from ready. A turn
or two from acceptance. A shuffle from faith. A set of stairs
from achievement. A riverbed from happiness. A handspan from
peace. A wink away from freedom. A few lines until the poem’s
done. A highway, a night’s sleep, a phone call, a touch, a rotation
of gears away from that certain yes that tells you where you are is
exactly where you need to be. I know, the signs can look as if they’re missing,
and the map so distant and unclear.
But I’m telling you, you aren’t lost. You’re never lost. You’re always here.

8. Mara Glatzel on delight, and more wisdom from yet another of her newsletters, (seriously, why haven’t you signed up for it yet?),

As women, we have a tendency to shrink. As a woman who spent many, many years believing that I had to apologize for my body or my intelligence or my wild spirit, the impulse is still alive and well, living in my muscle memory.

But, so is the restlessness of personal choice and self-responsiblity, of granting myself the permission to be exactly who I am, no matter what the circumstance.

9. A righteous conclusion about easing up on righteousness… from Danielle LaPorte.

10. don’t forget to eat (and knit) and cousin love from SouleMama.

11. Shared by Susannah Conway on her Something for the Weekend list: Small Buddha Head Planter on Etsy and the oon power outlet.

12. Good stuff from Create as Folk: 23 Things You Didn’t Know About My Career and Create as Folk is Seeking Monthly Contributors.

13. Good stuff (as always) from Courtney Carver (author of Be More with Less): The Answer is Less, and Vulnerability is the Core of our Connection, and How to Create Heart Space (and why it’s a big deal), and The Tiny Guide to Parke Diem.

14. Wisdom from Zen Habits: The Painful Beauty of Impermanence and How to Change Other People.

15. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Recently, in a friend’s kitchen I saw on the wall a quotation from one of Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s talks, which said: “Hold the sadness and pain of samsara in your heart and at the same time the power and vision of the Great Eastern Sun. Then the warrior can make a proper cup of tea.”

I was struck by it because when I read it I realized that I myself have some kind of preference for stillness. The notion of holding the sadness and pain of samsara in my heart rang true, but I realized I didn’t do that; at least, I had a definite preference for the power and vision of the Great Eastern Sun. My reference point was always to be awake and to live fully, to remember the Great Eastern Sun—the quality of being continually awake. But what about holding the sadness and pain of samsara in my heart at the same time?

The quotation really made an impression on me. It was completely true: if you can live with the sadness of human life (what Rinpoche often called the tender heart or genuine heart of sadness), if you can be willing to feel fully and acknowledge continually your own sadness and the sadness of life, but at the same time not be drowned in it, because you also remember the vision and power of the Great Eastern Sun, you experience balance and completeness, joining heaven and earth, joining vision and practicality.

16. Good stuff from Marc and Angel Hack Life: 20 Habits Happy People Have (But Never Talk About) and 12 Quiet Rituals of Enormously Successful Humans.

17. Good stuff on Chookooloonks: forty-seven and how to live a perfect life in three easy steps, (which might just be one of the most important blog posts of all time).

18. Wisdom from Ann Patchett, “Never be so focused on what you’re looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.”

19. We from Rachel Cole, (also might just be one of the most important blog posts of all time — two on one list!).

20. Vegan Blogger’s Unusual Eating Disorder Shocks Followers.

21. Colbie Caillat – Try. Thank goodness, cause I stop trying a long time ago.

22. Writers at Work, shared by Austin Kleon.

23. Vivid Foods, “joy in a jar.”

24. You Say “Flawed”, He Says “Sexy”: What Men Really Think About Your Body from My Tiny Secrets.

25. Beautiful floral art, shared by The Cool Hunter: Flower Paintings by Thomas Darnell (the peonies! *swoon*) and amazing hanging installations from Rebecca Louise Law.

26. Note from the Universe, “The greatest perk, among countless others, Jill, that comes from loving someone right now, just exactly as they are, instead of waiting for them to change, is that you get to love someone right now.”

27. The truth behind the tweet from Kat McNally.

28. Keep Coming Back on 27 Powers, just one of the 27,000 reasons I will sometimes spontaneously text Laurie to tell her how much I adore her.

29. positive choices: lessons from 4 years of sobriety from Positively Present. And shared on her Positively Present Picks list, An epic guide to developing self-awareness: how to improve your leadership skills by understanding yourself.

30. A recipe for Blueberry Hand Pies, shared in this sweet post by Biscuits and Bobbins.

31. A message about miracles from Brave Girls Club,

Take some time today to see the miracles that have unfolded in your life.

If there was a time when you thought you could not make it ONE more day, and you did — that was an enormous blessing and a grand miracle created just for you.

If there was a time that you thought your heart might just break, and that you would never be the same, but you made it — that was a beautiful miracle of love just for you.

If there was a time you never thought thatyou would reach the goal you had worked so hard for, and you finally did — recognize the miracle inside of that experience.

We never walk alone. Miracles are unfolding every minute of our lives — miracles meant for our joy and for beauty and heart-peace. Take them for what they are meant to be and enjoy your life. Know that the miracles will not stop happening, that you are never alone on your journey.

The miracles are there…reminding you that you are loved.

32. This Human of New York, on Brittnay, Herself, (also a contender for one of the most important blog posts of all time, which if you are keeping score is three in this list!).

33. How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Start Loving My 185 Pound Body on Huffington Post.

34. Relax, a beautiful poem by by Ellen Bass,

Bad things are going to happen.
Your tomatoes will grow a fungus
and your cat will get run over.
Someone will leave the bag with the ice cream
melting in the car and throw
your blue cashmere sweater in the drier.
Your husband will sleep
with a girl your daughter’s age, her breasts spilling
out of her blouse. Or your wife
will remember she’s a lesbian
and leave you for the woman next door. The other cat–
the one you never really liked–will contract a disease
that requires you to pry open its feverish mouth
every four hours. Your parents will die.
No matter how many vitamins you take,
how much Pilates, you’ll lose your keys,
your hair and your memory. If your daughter
doesn’t plug her heart
into every live socket she passes,
you’ll come home to find your son has emptied
the refrigerator, dragged it to the curb,
and called the used appliance store for a pick up–drug money.
There’s a Buddhist story of a woman chased by a tiger.
When she comes to a cliff, she sees a sturdy vine
and climbs half way down. But there’s also a tiger below.
And two mice–one white, one black–scurry out
and begin to gnaw at the vine. At this point
she notices a wild strawberry growing from a crevice.
She looks up, down, at the mice.
Then she eats the strawberry.
So here’s the view, the breeze, the pulse
in your throat. Your wallet will be stolen, you’ll get fat,
slip on the bathroom tiles of a foreign hotel
and crack your hip. You’ll be lonely.
Oh taste how sweet and tart
the red juice is, how the tiny seeds
crunch between your teeth.

35. Kacy Catanzaro at the 2014 Dallas Finals | American Ninja Warrior.

36. Even Cancer Couldn’t Keep Me from WDS: 12 Lessons from the 2014 World Domination Summit from Zen Psychiatry.

37. No wedding, no problem: 4-yr-old turns flower girl dreams into a reality.

38. Wisdom from Susan Piver, one of the wisest, most compassionate humans I know,

There is so much to be sad about in this world. Because it is so uncomfortable, we immediately want to turn sadness into what we imagine will hurt less: anger, hopelessness, helplessness. When the wish to help is rooted in anger, it will only create more confusion. And of course, when we feel hopeless or helpless, we take refuge in non-action, which also creates confusion. When we allow sadness, action arises from love.

Be brave. Be sad.

39. Wisdom from Geneen Roth, “Relentless attempts to be thin take you father away from what could end your suffering: getting back in touch with who you really are.”

40. One last piece of wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

You can do amazing things with the simplest things. You can have so little and be so happy. You can take small amounts of time and perform life-changing acts.

Is it time to simplify? Is it time to pare your life down to the handful of things that mean the most to you, and let the rest go so that . . . you can give the very best of yourself to the very best things . . . instead of being spread in a too-thin layer all over the place?

Your heart knows when it’s time, and you will have the strength to do it. And best of all you will see enormous changes happen in your life when you let the unimportant things go and embrace the things that quietly sustain you and bring you joy.

It may not look like the most glamorous life, but it is one filled with joy, peace and harmony . . . one where laughter is a welcome and frequent companion . . . one where worries are few and where long meaningful conversations are many . . . one that is waiting for you when you are ready to take the steps to get there.

Simplify today, one little thing at time. You can do it. You are loved.

Something Good

Image from this morning's walk. Spring in Colorado can be confusing...

Image from this morning’s walk. Spring in Colorado can be confusing…

1. Rearranged from Kat McNally. Like I told her, she’s half way around the world and the details of her daily life are so different, but ever since I discovered her, I’ve felt like she’s my mirror. And this, the idea of being “rearranged” feels so spot on. Dear Universe, I don’t care how you arrange it, but please let me be able to one day tell Kat to her sweet face how much I adore her. Love you. Love, Me.

2. 100 questions to inspire rapid self-discovery . . . . . . (and spark your next talk, date, blog post or book.) from Alexandra Franzen.

3. What I Wish I Knew Before Becoming A Yoga Teacher on MindBodyGreen.

4. Thoughts on HugDug and “Don’t do what I said, do what I meant” from Seth Godin.

5. Practice: Embodying Your Curvy + Beloved Body, a class taught by two of my favorite women: Anna Guest-Jelley and Vivienne McMaster.

6. This Rumi poem, shared by Christa Gallopoulos.

Water, stories, the body
all the things we do are mediums
that hide and show what is hidden.

Study them
and enjoy this being washed
with a secret we sometimes know
and then not.

7. Truthbombs from Danielle LaPorte, “You’re having an effect,” and “You’ll do it when you’re ready.” P.S. I love how I collect these to share with you and never see the connection between them until I copy and paste them into a post, see them together. It’s a weird sort of magic.

8. Wisdom from Geneen Roth,

What do you believe would happen if you allowed yourself to feel your feelings instead of avoid them or swallow them with food?

Where in your body are your feelings located? What color are they? What texture? What shape? If you don’t know, take a wild guess. Assume you’re innately sane, extraordinarily wise, and your job is to ask questions. You don’t have to manufacture answers. They have been there all the time, sleeping under the brown grocery bag of your broken heart, but you haven’t looked.

Every time you feel stuck, every time you think you know why you are doing something, but you can’t seem to make yourself do it differently, write a dialogue with yourself.

Be open to the outcome. Assume nothing. Be ready for anything. You will be constantly surprised.

And this,

To discover what you really believe, pay attention to the way you act—and to what you do when things don’t go the way you think they should.

Pay attention to what you value. Pay attention to how and on what you spend your time. Your money. And pay attention to the way you eat.

You will quickly discover if you believe the world is a hostile place and if you need to be in control of the immediate universe for things to go smoothly. You will discover if you believe there is not enough to go around and if taking more than you need is necessary for survival. You will find out if you believe that being quiet is unbearable, if being alone means being lonely. If feeling your feelings means being destroyed. If being vulnerable is for sissies or if opening to love is a big mistake.

And you will discover how you use food to express each one of these core beliefs.

9. A poem from the Dalai Lama, “Never Give Up.”

No matter what is going on
Never give up
Develop the heart
Too much energy in your country
Is spent developing the mind
Instead of the heart
Be compassionate
Not just to your friends
But to everyone
Be compassionate
Work for peace
In your heart and in the world
Work for peace
And I say again
Never give up
No matter what is going on around you
Never give up

10. Drawing Eyebrows on Babies Will Not Disappoint You on Don’t Poke the Bear.

11. The re-education of Sarah McLachlan.

12. 271 Years Before Pantone, an Artist Mixed and Described Every Color Imaginable in an 800-Page Book on Colossal.

13. Ditch the Diet Rules: Listen to Your Body for Optimal Health on Greatist.

14. The World Can Be Better – Kid President Songified

15. I’m Sorry. I Can’t Read Your Blog Right Now on A Deeper Story.

16. Wisdom from Chögyam Trungpa,

The Buddhist approach is: Just do it, on the spot, rather than reliance on the great white hope that something just might happen, and therefore, we should push toward it. The Buddhist approach is not really based on hope. It’s based on just sitting and doing it on the spot. Then a person’s mind begins to take a turn more toward experience, rather than faith alone.

17. These 27 People Are All Awesomely Clever… And Maybe A Little Jerky. LOLOL. on Viral Nova.

18. A Living Worth Scraping on Elephant Journal. I always feel like articles like this need a disclaimer, or a post script that explains that while this is true, that it would be lovely if people did work they love, someone also has to clean up —  take out the trash, pick up the poop, clean the bathroom, change the diapers — and that we all need to pitch in and help keep things together, even when that sometimes requires we do things we don’t really “like.”

19. Good stuff on BuzzFeed: Look What Two Art Students Leave On A Classroom’s Chalkboard Every Week and The 100 Most Important Cat Pictures Of All Time.

20. “All Of Me” Gets A Vintage Soul Cover You’ll Listen To On Repeat on Huffington Posts. It’s a really good cover.

21. 4 Tips On Creativity From The Creator Of Calvin & Hobbes on Fast Company.

22. Wisdom from Harry Emerson Fosdick, “Hating people is like burning down your own house to get rid of a rat.”

23. Wisdom from Karen Maezen Miller on Facebook,

Once you hear the Dharma, it ruins you for non-Dharma.

And,

The problem is not that we are hurling ourselves into the unknown. We are always hurling ourselves into the unknown. The problem is that we think otherwise.

24. Susan Piver on compassion, “Compassion is the ability to hold both love and pain in your heart, simultaneously.”

25. On Being podcast: Joan Halifax — Compassion’s Edge States and Caring Better.

26. Wisdom from Mara Glatzel, “You are a worthy contender for the life that you are yearning for, but the only one who can truly grant you the permission to live it, is you.”

27. 30 Lessons from the ♥ Your Community Blog Tour on Yogipreneur.

28. When I am Among the Trees, a poem from Mary Oliver.

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.,/p>

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

29. What People Say When Asked To “Tell The World Anything” on Huffington Post. “The producers of a recent video series place a single camera in a public part of New York City — Washington Square Park, in this case — and hang a sign telling people to ‘Tell the World Anything.'”

30. 10 Things to Add to a Simple Life on Be More With Less.

31. Me & You, an animation from Story Corps.

32. Her Girlfriend Never Tells Her How Her Day Went. I Wouldn’t Either If This Was How My Days Ended., a beautiful and personal tribute to nurses on Upworthy.

33. Ten Steps for Creating a Personal Mandala on Elephant Journal.

34. Dallas Clayton Merchandise.

35. Anne Lamott on Mother’s Day.

36. Lessons from a Zen Garden by guest blogger Karen Maezen Miller on New World Library.

37. 28 Abandoned Structures Still As Vibrant As The Day They Were Deserted on Huffington Post.

38. Good stuff on Medium: The Gluten-Free God Is a False God and Finishing School: Why the hazing rituals of graduate school aren’t worth the trouble.

40. The whole Mother’s Day enchilada on Superhero Life.

41. Shared on Rowdy Kittens Happy Links list: Meditation: Heart Advice from 3 Exceptional Women, and How to Become a Writer, and Blogger Pulls Off $30,000 Sting to Get Her Stolen Site Back.

42. Let Go of Shoulds and Stress and Let Yourself Do Nothing on Tiny Buddha. A Week of Being sounds wonderful…

43. Feel your life while you’re in it, a beautiful quote shared on A Design So Vast.

44. An Animated Ode to What a Dog Can Teach Us About the Meaning of Life on Brain Pickings.

45. Which reminds me of this, GoD And DoG by Wendy J Francisco.

46. Sales advice from the world’s crappiest salesperson (aka: me) from Paul Jarvis.

47. 5 Little Things That Make My Life A Million Times Better on Thought Catalog.

48. Who would you be if you didn’t hold back? from Ronna Detrick.

Life Rehab Resource: Practice, Part Three

liferehabresourcesAfter writing the first two posts about practice, I started thinking about what practice actually means to me. What is it? Here’s what I came up with, in no particular order.

  • Regular, ongoing, routine. Working with the same thing repeatedly over time, coming back to it again and again. Compulsory, something you show up for no matter what. I’ve heard it described as digging a well — you don’t dig for a bit in one area and then move to another spot of ground and start to dig again, but rather you keep digging in the same spot until you hit water.
  • Without agenda. Cultivating an attitude of nonjudgement and nonattachement, you drop criticism and striving. You stop comparison with other or self — past, present, or future. Let go of both fear and hope. Show up with an attitude of open curiosity, without evaluation, dropping any story you have about what’s occurring.
  • “Only don’t know.” Have a beginner’s mind, again that sense of open curiosity, like a wobbly, awkward toddler learning to walk. As Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki said, “In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert’s mind, there are few.”
  • Skillful means. The intention to learn, to transform, to develop mastery and wisdom.
  • Mindfulness of the present moment. Connection to and curiosity of your immediate experience. Your mind and body in the same place, at the same time.
  • Done from love, in pursuit of joy. In Austin Kleon’s new book, Show Your Work, he defines being an amateur, a state we cultivate in practice, this way, “the enthusiast who pursues her work in the spirit of love…regardless of the potential for fame, money or career.”
  • “Not too loose, not too tight.” Learning to continually balance your effort with ease. “Wobble turns to sway and sway turns to balance. Never get too comfortable, relax where you are.” Pema Chödrön describes it this way,

    My middle way and your middle way are not the same middle way. For instance, my style is to be casual and soft-edged and laid-back. For me to do what usually would be called a strict practice is still pretty relaxed, because I do it in a relaxed way. So strict practice is good for me. But perhaps you are much more militant and precise. Maybe you tend toward being tight, so you might need to find out what it means to practice in a relaxed, loose way. Everyone practices in order to find out for him- or herself personally how to be balanced, how to be not too tight and not too loose. No one else can tell you. You just have to find out for yourself.

  • Making friends with yourself. Spending time with, being gentle and present, observing without judgement, showing up no matter what. My friend and meditation instructor Susan Piver describes it, in the context of meditation, this way,

    I encourage you to relax self-judgment, especially when it comes to your meditation practice. Our practice, rather than trying to get meditation “right,” is about relaxing with ourselves just as we are. Instead of critiquing our every move, we extend the hand of friendship. This, it turns out, is the way to find our innate, pre-existing wisdom which is always there.

  • Obstacles are path, are practice. They aren’t simply something to be removed. “What stands in the way becomes the way,” (Marcus Aurelius). What arises is what you work with.
  • Post practice is also practice. What you learn, what you are working with, who you are follows you off the cushion, mat, page, leash. Eventually you realize it’s all practice.
  • All dharma (truth), all practice instruction can be distilled into one word, a single concept: relax. Soften, be gentle, slow down. Go ahead and try to stump this one, disprove it — so far, I’ve failed.
  • Keep your heart open, no matter what. Beautiful or brutal, tender or terrible.
  • Practice is clearing a space, experiencing spaciousness and clarity.
  • Transforming habitual patterns and discursive thinking, changing or removing that which no longer serves.
  • Preparing for death. Cultivating an awareness of impermanence, peace with this state, practicing nonattachment, letting go, surrender.
  • Seeing reality naked, stripped of it’s storyline, of our agenda.
  • Cultivating confidence and courage. As Susan Piver defines it, “Confidence is the willingness to be as ridiculous, luminous, intelligent, and kind as you really are, without embarrassment.”
  • Surrender. Giving up perceived control and habitual resistance, awareness and acceptance of “this is what is, now.”
  • Being in relationship. With ourselves, with our suffering and that of others, with our shared experience, with reality, with basic goodness — fundamental wisdom and compassion.
  • Showing up is essential. Stop waiting for something to happen and just happen. Take your seat. Begin. Let go and begin again. Start over. Take the “half step that will change your life.” According to Susan Piver, the number of fresh starts available to you is infinite.
  • What you practice is your choice, specific to you. For me it’s yoga, meditation, writing, and dog. For others it’s running or ikebana or parenting. As long as it embodies the qualities of practice, it is practice.

Do you see, kind and gentle reader, why I said I could write a whole book about practice? ♥

Something Good

hellosnow

“Good morning, Snow.” ~Ringo Blue

1. Tara Brach Reads from Mary Oliver’s “Dog Songs” on Brain Pickings.

2. Free mandala class part 1: Introduction and Doodling in a circle from Louise Gale. Oh how I’d love to spend some time sinking into this practice.

3. Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth an American Masters film available on PBS.com

4. 10 Cozy Reading Nooks shared on Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list.

5. This Moment and Fear is the Root of Your Problems from Zen Habits.

6. 3 steps for achieving sophrosyne on Positively Present.

7. Baby Acting Crazy? It’s Probably a Case of JBBB on Huffington Post, which shares this wisdom,

Some parenting books are useful, but the danger of too much information is giving parents the impression that there’s very much that’s in their control.

And

It’s probably just a matter of convenience, but it truly helps me to remember that babies and young children are, basically, tiny insane people who make absolutely no sense.

8. In related news, 3-Year-Olds Are A**holes, also on Huffington Post.

9. Two beautiful pieces from Andrea on Superhero Life: Underneath the mess everything is marvelous. I’m sure of it. and Important-er than a diaper.

10. “We have art in order not to die from the truth.” ~ Nietzsche

11. Good stuff from Be More with Less: Permission to be Unsexy at Least 100 Times a Day and 3 Dire Reasons to Simplify Your Life.

12. I adore Jeff Oaks, specifically for things like this, “Be kind to yourself. It’s hard to be without a book to your name. It’s hard to feel left out of conversations by people you look at your name and move on. It has nothing to do with your worth. They have their own issues.”

13. This 4-Year-Old Makes Paper Dresses With Her Mom — And They Keep Getting More Amazing on Huffington Post.

14. Shared by Lindsey on her latest Things I Love Lately list: Clinging to Each Other, We Survived the Storm and The Moment Is Now.

15. The Greek Island Fantasy from Jen Louden.

16. 16 Habits Of Highly Sensitive People on Huffington Post. The only one I disagree with is the last one should have a work from home option.

17. Southern Corn Cakes recipe on My Mother’s Apron Strings. Look so yummy.

18. What Happens When You Put Two Pit Bulls In A Photo Booth from Bored Panda.

19. What This Dad Did Is Awesome! I’m On His Side…

20. This Couple Spotted An Old Can While Walking Their Dog. You Will NEVER Guess What Was In It. Why doesn’t this kind of stuff ever happen to me?

21. creativeLIVE free course: Become a Better Communicator with Susan Piver.

22. 21 Truths About Meaningful Work from Create as Folk.

23. Binge Trance: Interrupted from Geneen Roth, which says “Live as if you deserve to be here, regardless of what you have just eaten. And know that every time you remind yourself that you belong here, regardless of what you weigh, you are speaking the truth.”

24. From MindBodyGreen: Vegan Cookie Dough Balls recipe and 10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Yoga.

25. Here’s How Ann Handley (the World’s First Chief Content Officer) Writes on Copy Blogger, in which she says, “My most productive time of day seems to be between 10 a.m. and 10:20 a.m. every morning: I’m still caffeinated from the morning and not yet distracted by thoughts of lunch.”

26. Mary Lambert’s Tips For Staying Positive (Even On Really Bad Days) on BuzzFeed.

27. Wisdom from Isabel Foxen Duke, “What if the answer to feeling badly about yourself wasn’t losing 10lbs; what if the answer to feeling badly about yourself was a shift in perception?”

Something Good

ericlongwinter031. Time to Thrive, transcript of speech given by Ellen Page on Huffington Post, in which she says,

You’re here because you’ve adopted as a core motivation the simple fact that this world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another. If we took just 5 minutes to recognize each other’s beauty, instead of attacking each other for our differences. That’s not hard. It’s really an easier and better way to live. And ultimately, it saves lives.

Then again, it’s not easy at all. It can be the hardest thing, because loving other people starts with loving ourselves and accepting ourselves.

2. Wisdom from Lodro Rinzler, “Gentleness to oneself is the foundation of the entire meditative path.”

3. How “Fearless” is the new perfectionism from Your Courageous Life.

4. Let thanks land from Jonathan Fields.

5. A Photo Essay: The Lone Tree from Tammy at Rowdy Kittens.

6. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

The crazy life is oh so tempting….ohhhh sooooo tempting. It is tempting to go go go and prove prove prove and seek seek seek for apPROVE-al, isn’t it? It is tempting to do what everyone else is doing…and to make it shiny and sparkly and perfect and wonderful and to sacrifice anything and everything to make it so. It is oh-so-easy to get caught up in the competition…in the comparing…in the craziness of what it *seems* like everyone else is doing.

Beautiful friend…pay attention very closely to how you feel when you are giving in to this kind of temptation. Pay attention to how it feels to go faster than you really have strength to go….to prove that you are just as good, or just as wonderful, or just as talented. Pay attention to how it feels to constantly seek for the approval of others. Pay attention to how it feels to enter into the competition…to compare your life with the life of others. If it doesn’t feel good, any of it…….it’s time to evaluate it all.

Sometimes we get so caught up in this way of living that we forget that there is another way to live. There really is another way to live, beautiful soul. We don’t have to enter in to the crazy life…and even when we do….we really can walk away.

It is worth the hard decision of turning around and walking away from a crazy life that doesn’t make sense. It is always always always worth it to go where the peace is….where the best stuff is…….where we can just BE and not feel like we have to BE ENOUGH. We are ALL already enough.

Go where the peace is, sweet girl. You were always meant to have peace.

7. How an On-Air Panic Attack Improved My Life by Dan Harris.

8. Wisdom from Kris Carr, “Confidence and self-reliance come from a deep trust in yourself. You know that you’ve got your back and that no matter what, you will not abandon yourself.”

9. Wisdom from Meryl Streep, “This is your time and it feels normal to you, but really, there is no normal. There’s only change and resistance to it and then more change.”

10. Artist Turns Fellow Train Passengers Into Funny Cartoon Characters with His Post-It Note Doodles.

11. Remembering Maggie Estep from Neil Gaiman.

12. What I won’t and will miss, a list from Norah Ephron.

13. Uncommon Advice to Heal a Broken Heart, Susan Piver on Huffington Post.

14. College Students Scared Straight Prank. I don’t want to laugh, but I can’t help it.

15. A Lost Dog Story from Mark Hass.

16. Wisdom from Henry Miller, “Let us do our best, even if it gets us nowhere.”

17. Truthbombs from Danielle LaPorte: “Be willing to start over” and “Start leaving what you want to leave. Your future is waiting.”

18. More wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

Dear Sensitive Girl,

Your soul is whispering something to you. Slow down so you can hear it.

You know what do to…..your heart is smart, and it is telling you in a million different ways. You can trust it.

You know exactly what to do….you really do. Listen to those whispers….they are leading you toward all that is good and right for YOUR life.

You are so brave, you are so wonderful, you are so on track.

You are so loved.

xoxo

19. The story of Owen and Haatchi on Viral Nova.

20. An Awesome Book of Love, “Yael Staav’s poignant and emotional interpretation of Dallas Clayton’s celebrated storybook, An Awesome Book of Love, shows us that love is truly humanity’s greatest gift.”

21. Jump Off the Busy Train for a Simpler, More Passion-Filled Life on Tiny Buddha.

22. The Complete Guide to Not Giving a Fuck on Medium.

23. On Softening to Pain on Zen Psychiatry. Since I read this, I can’t stop asking myself this question, “How can I soften into this?”

24. Warning: Do not read this if you enjoy clinging to excuses that prevent you from making art, moving forward + doing wonderful things from Alexandra Franzen. No more excuses.

25. A story from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook that will make you think.

26. Rachel Cole’s 5 Essentials for a Passionate, Well-Fed Life on The Kitchn.

27. Laurie Wagner on breaking a love affair with the screens that fuel our lonely habits on Flourish. P.S. There’s still time to sign up for her ecourse, Telling True Stories.

28. Should spiritual teachers be paid? from Susan Piver. (Recognize that shrine? It’s on my writing desk.) According to the logic of the original email, it would suggest that doctors and teachers shouldn’t be paid either, that if you are fulfilling a need you shouldn’t be compensated. I don’t buy it.

Something Good

image by eric

image by eric

1. Telling True Stories with Laurie Wagner. One of the aspects of story telling that I value most is when a writer digs into the material of their real lives and shares from that true and beautiful place. If you’re wanting to strengthen that vibrant muscle of honesty in your own story telling, consider signing up for Telling True Stories, a 5-week online writing course which starts on March 3rd. I recommend this course and this woman with my whole heart.

2. Kayden + Rain, a little girl experiences rain for the first time.

3. A 21 Day Open Heart Immersion: Live in Love, another amazing offering from the brilliant and kind Susan Piver.

4. The Smoke and Mirrors Behind Wheat Belly and Grain Brain on Forks Over Knives.

5. Neil Gaiman reads Green Eggs and Ham.

6. Cool stuff from Viral Nova: Sometimes The Simplest Photos Are The Most Eye-Opening. These Ones Say So Much. and This Fairly Normal House Is For Sale In The UK. But It’s What’s Out Back That Has Everyone Talking. and I Couldn’t Believe What This Guy Was Making For His Unborn Child. But By The End… WOW.

7. I love Kid President.

8. 22 Supremely Perfect Photobombs.

9. Campers save dog lost in woods and save him a second time when his owners abandoned him on Dog Heirs.

10. In Just 2 Minutes, This Video Will Make You Feel Silly For Ever Having Doubted Yourself on Huffington Post.

11. A Funny Video That Makes You Never Want To Fall For This Natural Lie Again from Upworthy.

12. What Career Should You Actually Have? a quiz from BuzzFeed. (I got “writer”).

13. The (delicious) truth about getting older from Susannah Conway on her 40th birthday. She shares a series of posts by other women as well. Some of my favorites were top 10 reasons why being 40-something rocks and What 41 years have taught me and You are beautiful and the art of getting older, posing with snakes + playing with fire.

14. From Good Life Project, “We Asked 29 Change-Makers One Simple Question. Their Answers Would Transform the Way We Live Our Lives. Here’s What They Told Us…”

15. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Listening to talks about the dharma, or the teachings of Buddha, or practicing meditation is nothing other than studying ourselves. Whether we’re eating or working or meditating or listening or talking, the reason that we’re here in this world at all is to study ourselves. In fact, it has been said that studying ourselves provides all the books we need.

Maybe the reason there are dharma talks and books is just to encourage us to understand this simple teaching: all the wisdom about how we cause ourselves to suffer and all the wisdom about how joyful and vast and uncomplicated our minds are—these two things, the understanding of what we might call neurosis and the wisdom of unconditioned, unbiased truth—can only be found in our own experience.

16. 10 Life Coach Tips For A Killer 2014, a list from Rachel Cole.

17. 25 Things You Need to Stop Wasting Time On from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

18. Ron Swanson’s 7 Best Statements About Life from Hello Giggles.

19. collaborations with nature on random weaving. So beautiful.

20. The Risks Worth Taking from Austin Kleon.

21. “To love another person is to see the face of God.” —Jean Valjean, Act II, Les Misérables, love scripts from Alexandra Franzen.

22. Are you hanging by a thread? from Danielle LaPorte. I need to hear this so badly this week (month, year…).

23. The Happiest Animal on Earth.

24. Hopeful news flash! We can’t beat ourselves up into being peaceful. So please stop. from Susan Piver.

25. your daily rock : let kindness rule and your daily rock : let your self be awed.

26. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

27. An Open Letter To Anyone Thinking About Trying Yoga on MindBodyGreen.

28. Wisdom from Dallas Clayton on Facebook.

image by dallas clayton

image by dallas clayton