Category Archives: Susan Piver

Trust in Basic Goodness

In the Open Heart Project Sangha, our recent topic for contemplation and discussion has been basic goodness. I’ve written about it here before, but this morning I was reminded of something else I wrote that I want to share with you — specifically because I was thinking about how self-compassion begins with trust in basic goodness. Over a year ago now, my friend Joy put together a 30-day ecourse, called Illuminate Your Heart Whispers: 30 Days of Love Prompts. She invited me to contribute, and I wrote the following about basic goodness.


basicgoodnessskyMy mission in life is to ease suffering, in the world and in myself. My method is trust in basic goodness. My practice is knowing that I am basically good, resting in this truth, and living with this understanding at the heart of everything.

“Basic goodness is our inherent wisdom and compassion, the fundamental nature of all sentient beings. We all possess basic goodness — genuine openness, intelligence, and warmth. Basic goodness is whole and complete, as it is. It is unconditional and does not depend on our accomplishments or fulfilling our our desires,” (Chogyam Trungpa). It is not something we own, or can generate or earn — it simply is.

I am already whole, all of us are — this is basic goodness. I am not a problem to be fixed, or a project to take on, and neither are you, nor anyone else. You are not — no matter what advertising, religion, culture, or that little meanie with sharp teeth that lives in the dark might say – you are not basically bad, you are not unworthy or unlovable.

Certainly, we also might be confused, hurt, discontent, and lost in delusion, and we often cause suffering from this state, but our fundamental nature is always there, intact and available. Our basic goodness is like the sky, clear blue and spacious and enduring — everything else is simply the weather.

You have basic goodness, a deep wisdom and compassion, available to you every moment. It’s right there inside, waiting all the time. No matter what mistakes you have made or bad luck you have, it remains, it cannot be used up or smashed to bits, no matter how hard you might try, how violently you resist, how fast you might run, no matter what happens to you.

Basic goodness is what is precious about each and every one of us. It is what makes us shine and sparkle, what fuels love and right action and great work. It is medicine and magic and maitri, (“loving-kindness”). It is the only thing that is unchangeable, unconditional.

Basic goodness is freedom. “If you are ever going to be free, you must be willing to prove to yourself that your inherent nature is goodness, that when you stop doing everything else, goodness is there,” (Cheri Huber).

You are who you are, you are basically good and you can’t change that, no matter how you try. Certainly, you can change habits or opinions or affiliations or memberships or addresses or hairstyles, but that fundamentally true part of you, that collection of love and wisdom and dirt and breath and blood is basically good, and in a way that is you as only you can do it. It is the best, most brilliant you can give, and the most brave you can be.

It’s such good news, no one believes it. – Chogyam Trungpa

Take a moment with me right now to pause and rest in basic goodness. Right now, in this very moment, place your hand over your heart, feel the warmth there, the beating of your heart, the rise and fall of your breath, and say “I am basically good.” Notice if any resistance arises as you say those words. Be curious about that, but gentle. Take a deep breath and say it again, “I am basically good.” Rest in the deep knowing that this is true.

We can love and accept ourselves, our reality, exactly as we are and exactly as it is. No need for self-improvement or change, no need to earn this. We can simply drop the trying and accept ourselves, exactly as we are. It takes courage to trust in basic goodness, to believe that it is our fundamental state, to believe so of others, but if we can it is the path to freedom and love. Relax completely into who you are, aware in each moment of your basic goodness, your natural wisdom and kindness, and in this way you will be of benefit both to yourself and the world.

My meditation instructor, Susan Piver, has shared a mantra that I would like to offer to you as you develop your confidence in basic goodness. It goes like this:

I am basically good.
All beings possess such goodness.
Knowing this, my heart opens.
When my heart opens, the world changes.

I invite you, kind and gentle reader, to join me, in trusting and resting in basic goodness, in keeping our hearts open. In this way, we can ease suffering, in ourselves and in the world.

What I Don’t Want to Talk About

It’s been a tender morning for me. Ringo woke us up around 3 a.m., with that heaving and gagging that every half asleep parent knows will result in the need for a change of bedding. He threw up a wad of grass wrapped around a small rock, probably eaten when he dug a big hole outside at daycare yesterday, (he had help apparently, and they still adore him). I’m struggling right now with issues relating to the dogs, health and training specifically, some of which is Eric and I’s shared struggle (sometimes our struggle with each other) and some of which is mine alone.

Eric took the dogs hiking, so I’ve been by myself all morning, and yet not alone but rather in relationship with so many people, their wisdom and their suffering.

robinwilliamsrollingstonecoverI started my morning reading a recent Rolling Stone article about Robin Williams. In it, Tom Hanks says, “He had wisdom born of all the burns and scars of his life, and he was funny about it.” Revisiting that loss reminded me of another.

perfectpuppyI bought this book in the weeks before we got Ringo, firstly because of the Cattle Dog Lucy who’s the main subject, in so many pictures throughout. Truth be told, this book kind of made me feel like crap about myself, but reinforced what I was learning about the shift in dog training to positive methods, offers good strategies and sound advice.

The author Dr. Sophia Yin committed suicide this week at 48. She was a pioneer of the humane training movement. Both Sophia and Robin were healers in their own fields, her through her vet care and by helping people build good relationships with their pets, him through entertainment and laughter. I’m contemplating this morning how you can do so much good in the world and still suffer so deeply you can’t see a way through it.

After writing my morning pages, I took a shower and sat to meditate. After that, I watched the first video from Susan Piver for her newly launched Open Heart Project Sangha, which was all about basic goodness, what she calls “square one.”

For some reason, as Susan was talking about basic goodness, I remembered scrolling through my Facebook feed and seeing a picture of a cute fuzzy puppy with the caption, “Ready for a cuddle now.” I was shocked, surprised by my reaction, which wasn’t an immediate softening, no sense of “awww, how cute,” but rather a sense of dread, the thought that “one day that sweet fuzzy is going to break someone’s heart into a million pieces.” You know you are in a rough, tender place when the picture of a cute puppy, rather than making you feel warm & fuzzy, comforted and soothed, instead reminds you of loss, grief, and suffering.

Baby Sam

Baby Sam

Susan ended her dharma talk on basic goodness by sharing that she recently asked Tara Brach, “How is it possible to bear walking through this world in an open state?” This is an important question, because as Susan said herself, we all wonder how, “How am I supposed to walk through this world with an open heart when it’s such a crazy world, when it’s so hard and there are so many things that are so friggin’ painful that I feel like I might literally die if they touch me?”

Tara’s answer was simply “sangha.” The simplest definition of sangha is “community.” We can’t do it alone, and having a community, a place to belong where we can be genuinely ourselves, connect with others, find support, be in relationship, and as Susan describes “together and separately…dare to have confidence in basic goodness” is essential to being able to keep our hearts open, to be able to withstand what’s hard and feel the full wonder of what is beautiful.

I’m guilty of isolating myself. Of disconnecting, shutting down, spending too much time in my own head and by myself. Some of this is time I genuinely need to recharge, to rest and restore, but some of it isn’t so healthy. I get confused, think it’s up to me to solve every problem, to control and fix everything, that there is no help. I can easily sink into despair. I’ve had my own thoughts of suicide. I know there are some people who don’t want to believe that, who would reject and dismiss it, and I don’t feel entirely comfortable confessing it, but it’s true.

My life rehab started with the simple wish to “be a better friend to myself.” Not to be a better person, not to become successful or accomplish things and make stuff, but to practice maitri — loving compassion towards the self. I have a strong sense that right now that means two things: to accept help, to seek out connection and community, and to be gentle with myself.

kitchenbasicgoodnessI started to practice this open gentleness right after I finished Susan’s video. I went into the kitchen to make myself some French Toast. When I reached for the bowl, I noticed the greenness of the green, the way the light reflected off the smooth edges, how much it reminded me of jade. Then, the plate with its branch and buds, how it is square and round at the same time. Both of them sitting side by side on the countertop I chose over ten years ago because it reminds me of rice paper. I got out the bread, dense and whole and heavy with seeds. When I was done cooking my toast, I scrambled the remaining eggs to give to the dogs later and washed the pan. I noticed, let things touch me, was softened by the wholehearted effort I put towards nourishing myself.

It’s a start.

The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. ~Pema Chödrön

Something Good

1. Playing the Odds from Rachel Cole. If this seems confusing when you first read it, I beg you to keep reading it, over and over, until it starts to make sense. It’s such an important shift, revolutionary.

2. Square One from Susan Piver, her message for the Open Heart Project in which she talks about basic goodness, saying it is, “Something real, something gentle, something fierce.”

3. Wisdom from Alexandra Franzen, from her most recent newsletter, “If you can help even just one human being to feel stronger, braver, safer, more connected, more hopeful, more informed, more inspired, or more loved through your words… you have done a great service.”

4. Fuji in a Trash Bag: A non-hiker’s guide on how not to climb a mountain on Medium.

5. Technology hasn’t Changed Us. Things haven’t changed as much as you might think. on Medium.

6. So much wisdom from Pema Chödrön, a list of links to various articles she’s written.

7. These Ladies Stood In Front Of An Interactive Mirror Without Knowing What To Expect. So sweet.

8. Wisdom from Isabel Foxen Duke, “Why would you choose the perception of reality that makes you feel bad, when you could just as easily choose what makes you feel good?”

9. How to Get Unstuck, wisdom from Andrea Scher.

10. What Keeps Me Awake at Night, a list from Laurie Wagner.

11. Wisdom from Don Miguel Ruiz, “Death is not the biggest fear we have. Our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive—the risk to be alive and express what we really are.” (Thanks to Sandra for sharing).

12. Truthbomb #630 from Danielle LaPorte, “Stillness requires courage.” And, Truthbomb #631, “Have a conversation with the aching.”

13. The Path of Pausing, more wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

The primary focus of this path of choosing wisely, of this training to de-escalate aggression, is learning to stay present. Pausing very briefly, frequently throughout the day, is an almost effortless way to do this. For just a few seconds we can be right here. Meditation is another way to train in learning to stay, or, as one student put it more accurately, learning to come back, to return to being present over and over again. The truth is, anyone who’s ever tried meditation learns really quickly that we are almost never fully present. I remember when I was first given meditation instruction. It sounds so simple: Just sit down, get comfortable, and bring light awareness to your breath. When your mind wanders, gently come back and stay present with your breath. I thought, “This will be easy.” Then someone hit a gong to begin and I tried it. What I found was that I wasn’t present with a single breath until they hit the gong again to end the session. I had spent the whole time lost in thought.

Back then I believed this was because of some failing of mine, and that if I stuck with meditation, soon I’d be perfect at it, attending to each and every breath. Maybe occasionally I’d be distracted by something, but mostly I would just stay present. Now it’s about thirty years later. Sometimes my mind is busy. Sometimes it’s still. Sometimes the energy is agitated. Sometimes calm. All kinds of things happen when we meditate—everything from thoughts to shortness of breath to visual images, from physical discomfort to mental distress to peak experiences. All of that happens, and the basic attitude is, “No big deal.” The key point is that, through it all, we train in being open and receptive to whatever arises.

14. You are Imperfect and Needy. I Love That About You. wisdom from Mara Glatzel.

15. Holy wow, this Note from the Universe, “Jill, do you know what’s a 1,000,000 times better than getting to the top the mountain? Getting there, after having been lost.”

16. The Koshas: 5 Layers of Being from Yoga International.

17. Wisdom from Gloria Steinem, “In depression you care about nothing. In sadness you care about everything.” (Thanks for sharing, Susan).

18. Mary Lambert “Secrets” (Stank Remix) // Hits 1 // SiriusXM. “Seriously, guys. I told you I don’t hold anything back.”

19. Street Art Spotter: Dallas Clayton Spreads Good Vibrations Across L.A.

20. The World’s Simplest Learn to Run Program.

21. Wisdom from Rumi, “Oh my friend, all that you see of me is just a shell, and the rest belongs to love.”

22. Wisdom from Lodro Rinzler, “In the Buddhist context, giving up means that you are surrendering everything that is holding you back from experiencing reality in a direct and pure manner.”

23. Shared on Chookoloonks’ This Was a Good Week: Slow & Steady, and My Jam.

24. Sam Pepper Exposed. This makes me so angry, but I’m so happy people like her are making videos like this.

25. Breaking the Pattern of Feeling Unworthy and KEY to Self-Esteem from Kute Blackson.

26. Wisdom from Galway Kinnell, (shared before, but so worth doing so again),

We’re all seeking that special person who is right for us. But if you’ve been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there’s no right person, just different flavors of wrong. Why is this? Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way. But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness. And it isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems–the ones that make you truly who you are–that we’re ready to find a lifelong mate. Only then do you finally know what you’re looking for. You’re looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person–someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, “This is the problem I want to have.”

27. This Converted Cave in France Cost $1.35. I want to go to there.

28. Wisdom from Buddha, “Three things cannot be hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” (Thanks to Positively Present for sharing).

29. Shared on Susannah’s Something for the Weekend list: Mary Oliver on the Magic of Punctuation and a Reading of Her Soul-Stretching Poem “Seven White Butterflies” and Lena Dunham gives great advice.

30. Shared on Susannah’s Something for the Weekend list last week: 10 of the best first date questions…possibly ever (Alexandra Franzen is the queen of prompts), and Lisa Congdon on Creative Evolution (Episode 3 of Tiffany Han’s new podcast, “Raise Your Hand. Say Yes.”), and Thai Chicken Chopped Kale Salad recipe.

31. Wisdom from Nayyirah Waheed,

the becoming | wing
be easy.
take your time.
you are coming
home
to yourself.

32. Wisdom from Clementine Paddleford, “Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.” (Thanks to Amanda for sharing).

33. A Sweet List of Things to Remember on Rebelle Society.

34. How Neil Gaiman Stays Creative In An Age Of Constant Distraction.

35. “You Don’t Get What You Wish For; You Get What You Believe,” wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

36. Freedom in 704 Square Feet. *swoon*

37. Mod Kitchen Furniture DIY from This (sorta) Old Life. I love this kitchen, the space and the light.

Something Good

ericaspens05

image by Eric

1. Stop Fighting Food by Isabel Foxen Duke.

2. Unfiltered thoughts on a Sunday morning from Paul Jarvis.

3. Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project, because this, Who would you be without that thought?, and especially this, On 9/11…and 9/12.

4. 22 Harsh Truths that Will Jolt You Awake from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

5. Truthbomb #628 from Danielle LaPorte, “Blessing. Curse. It’s your call.”

6. 5 Tips for Butchering Your Life (So You Can Finally Live) on Elephant Journal.

7. IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Wrote An Article About Marriage, And All Anyone Noticed Is That I’m Fat on xojane.

8. Good stuff from Huffington Post: And So There Must Come an End, and A Dog’s Advice to Humans in Photos, and 15 Incredibly Talented Tattoo Artists You Should Follow On Instagram Right Now.

9. Yoga Journal’s “Body Issue” Rebranding: Encouraging, Disturbing, Contradictory by Carol Horton.

10. Funny stuff from McSweeney’s: A Generic College Paper, and So You Want to Get Into an MFA Program: A Decision Tree, and From The Complete Guide to the Care and Training of the Writer in Your Life.

11. Janine’s Story of Hope and Healing. Sometimes, we need a ritual, a ceremony to mark the letting go.

12. 20 Free Essays & Stories by David Sedaris: A Sampling of His Inimitable Humor from Open Culture.

13. Navigate Your Life: Sarah Selecky from Jennifer Louden. Such a great series.

14. Be stubborn from Sarah Selecky.

15. Words for the Day :: No. 41 from Lisa Congdon.

16. True Stories Series: Meet Andrea Scher from Laurie Wagner.

17. Postcards for Ants: A 365-Day Miniature Painting Project by Lorraine Loots on Colossal.

18. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook: Integrity, and Your Fear is Boring.

19. Good stuff on Bored Panda: Writer Creates “Color Thesaurus” To Help You Correctly Name Any Color Imaginable, and Illustrator Creates Doodles That Interact With Their Surroundings, and Dog Owner Creates Fun Illustrations With His Bull Terrier.

20. The Mind and the Heart from Jack Kornfield.

21. Wisdom from Paolo Coelho,

Have courage. Open your heart, and listen to what your dreams tell you. Follow those dreams, because only a person who is not ashamed can manifest the glory of God. There is no sin but the lack of love. Have courage, be capable of loving, even if love appears to be a treacherous and terrible thing. Be happy in love. Be joyful in victory. Follow the dictates of your heart. Meet obligations in life. But obligations never prevented anyone from following their dreams.

22. It’s Like They Know Us: “Relax on your pristine white couch and enjoy these realistic depictions of motherhood.”

23. Good stuff on Be More With Less: Declutter and Downsize to Create a Life with Room for What Matters Most and What to Consider When Sharing Your Life on the Internet.

24. Good stuff on MindBodyGreen: Vegan Coconut Bliss Balls That Will Wow Your Taste Buds, and An Open Letter To Anyone Thinking About Trying Yoga, and Is Your Heart Chakra Blocked? Here’s How To Open It.

25. Here’s What Happens When You Give Play-Doh To A Bunch Of Adults on BuzzFeed.

26. Singing together: Lifting one another up on Visible and Real.

27. Watch As A Straight Man Tears Up At The Answers To His Question: Is Being Gay A Choice?

28. Alan Watts discusses Nothing. (Thanks for sharing, Mark).

29. A NYC Bartender’s Powerful Open Letter To The Hedge Funder Who Allegedly Grabbed Her Ass.

30. Control, Letting Go, and Finding Ease from Ishita Gupta.

31. Raise your hand. Say yes. (the podcast is here!) from Tiffany Han.

32. Good stuff on Create as Folk: A Heartbreaking Simple Truth (and what to do about it) and Purpose Profile: Super Love Tees.

33. To the humans wondering why I’m always late on Renegade Mothering.

34. Life, Legacy and the Final Episode of GLP TV???

35. Buddha Statue Brings Peace to Oakland Neighborhood.

36. 25 Famous Women on Childlessness.

37. Two elements of an apology from Seth Godin.

38. 7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose from Mark Manson.

39. The Magic of Mandalas Blog Hop from Andrea Schroeder.

40. Fall Equinox Brings Kali and the Burning of the Old Self on Rebelle Society.

41. Dancers Follow A 2-Year-Old’s Dance Routine. (Thanks for sharing, Susan).

42. The happiest baby wombat in the world.

43. Wisdom from Mary Oliver,

The Writer’s Almanac once asked me, “What does loving the world mean to you?” Loving the world means giving it attention, which draws one to devotion, which means one is concerned with its condition, how it is being treated. I still believe that’s true.

44. Wisdom from Rilke,

This is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

45. Wisdom from Anita Krizzan,

When you just sit in silence
the wind blows through you,
the sun shines in you
and you realise you are not your body,
you are everything.

46. Almost there from Kat McNally.

47. Everything is changing for us (& how it could change for you too) on Writing Our Way Home.

48. Why Absolutely Nothing is Wrong With Your Highly Sensitive Personality on Medium.

49. Wisdom from Erica Jong, “The trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk more.” (Shared by Positively Present).

50. How To Love Yourself (and sometimes other people) – Podcast Episode No. 50, a dharma talk by Lodro Rinzler.

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.