Category Archives: Susan Piver

Day of Rest: Self-Compassion

snowwillows

A truce can be called in your inner war. Peace is possible. Your old habits of self-criticism don’t need to rule you forever. What you need to do is listen to the voice that’s already there, even if a bit hidden — your wise, compassionate self. ~Kristin Neff

The theme for the first week of Feast was self-compassion. If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you know this is one of my favorite topics. It started when I went to a new doctor almost two years ago. I’d had crushing, constant fatigue for almost three years and my longtime doctor had tried every test and treatment she could think of, finally suggesting maybe it was time to try a holistic approach, and admitting that was outside her expertise. I found an integrative practitioner who was also certified in internal medicine and made an appointment. After an hour long conversation with this new doctor, one in which I revealed I had an eating disorder, she told me I was obese, tried to put me on a diet that would restrict my calories, not allowing any dairy or gluten or sugar, and recommended I do more cardio. She hadn’t run any sort of tests to rule out an underlying cause and it was clear to me that this was her prescription for every patient, no matter what their issue.

The visit broke my heart a little. I went in with so much hope, and was so honest with her about everything, only to have her offer me the same old story. I was looking for an expert, someone who could fix me, ease my suffering, make me feel better. What she offered was an option I could have found in just about any women’s magazine, in any gym or weight loss program. As a women in this culture, I am constantly bombarded by the message that if I just lost weight, I’d be happy. If I just ate less and moved more, I’d be healthy. If I just got myself into the “normal” range on the BMI chart, I’d be okay.

Even back then, something deep in me knew that was bullshit. The cake is a lie. The afternoon of that appointment, I left for a retreat at Shambhala Meditation Center with Susan Piver. I spent the weekend contemplating my situation, attempting to answer the central question: “how do I heal myself?” With Susan’s support, the magic of the space, the specific practices we did together that weekend, and the community of people in attendance, I came to an answer: self-compassion.

If we think our job here on earth is to fix ourselves, we will keep looking for the broken places. If we believe our job is to be kind, we will keep lavishing love on ourselves. ~Geneen Roth

pinksnowmoon02Self-compassion is the ground of everything. As Rachel says, “Before we can address whatever unrest, misalignment, or longing that has shown up in our life, we must first bring to life a compassionate and loving relationship with ourselves.” If we aren’t already practicing self-compassion, this is where we must start, and where we may find ourselves returning over and over again.

Building a foundation of self-compassion is hard work. I’ve been practicing and studying for almost two years, and I am still such a beginner. I retook Kristen Neff’s self-compassion test again this week, and even though my score had gone up almost a full point, I still fall into the low self-compassion range. One example of how much I’ve changed though is that when I started this process, a result like that would have triggered self-aggression, judgement and criticism. I would have smashed myself to bits for not being better at this, not scoring higher, not evolving faster. Now, I simply notice, work to maintain my curiosity and sense of humor. I might feel disappointed or sad, but I’m not going to make things worse by beating myself up for it.

I did make myself giggle because before I took the test I had to pee, but it was late and I felt like I needed to hurry up and finish, so my first and habitual instinct was to hold it, to wait until I was done with the self-test. Do you see, kind and gentle reader, just how ridiculous that is? I was going to make myself suffer in order to rush my way through a test that would measure my self-compassion. I still have so much to learn. But, as Kristin says,

It does take work to break the self-criticizing habits of a lifetime, but at the end of the day, you are only being asked to relax, allow life to be as it is, and open your heart to yourself.

pinksnowmoonThis same message is repeated over and over again in my Buddhist studies. Pema Chödrön often talks about how meditation practice is simply the act of befriending yourself. She also says,

The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.

In a talk given through the Daily Dharma Gathering about “How to Love Yourself,” Lodro Rinzler talked about the same, saying,

It’s okay to actually look at yourself. It’s okay to become familiar with who you are. And who you are is basically good — whole and kind and strong.

Spending the week contemplating self-compassion, the way I practice it, I noticed how much kinder I am to myself, how far I’ve come, the willingness I have to be gentle and kind and patient — to nourish myself. I also noticed the places where I still have work to do. One thing I realized this week that surprised me is how much I still use self-aggression as a way to motivate myself, a way to make sure “shit gets done.” What’s so silly about that is most of the stuff I’m trying to get done involves helping other people, attempting to ease suffering — but in my approach I’m generating suffering, and that math doesn’t work.

For some reason, we are truly convinced that if we criticize ourselves, the criticism will lead to change. If we are harsh, we believe we will end up being kind. If we shame ourselves, we believe we end up loving ourselves. It has never been true, not for a moment, that shame leads to love. Only love leads to love. ~Geneen Roth

May we all be kind to ourselves today. May we rest if we are tired. May we eat if we are hungry, and savor what we eat. May we ask for help if we need it. May we tell someone we love them, even if the person we tell is ourselves. May we open ourselves to joy. May we allow ourselves to take up space. May we be nourished, both cherished and well-fed. May we notice where we are suffering and lavish that hurt with love.

Something Good

1. The Daily Dharma Gathering from the Open Heart Project. Susan says, “Together with Buddhist teacher and awesome guy Lodro Rinzler, I’m pleased to announce a new program: three months of live meditation sessions Tuesdays – Sundays with some of the most accomplished and wise dharma teachers in the world.”

2. A Beautiful (and Budget-Friendly!) Laundry Room Makeover. As a person who keeps myself too busy, and an introvert who doesn’t have many people over to my house, most of my spaces look more like the before picture. What I like so much about this though is that it makes it so clear that if you put forth just a little effort, you can have a beautiful space. I’d like to be better about that.

3. The Struggle Is Real from Baby Weigel. I’m not a mom, but I love what Aubrey has to say here about the difficult choices we have to make sometimes about the things we love and what we do, how we spend our time. May she have an easy transition back.

4. Elizabeth Gilbert Has a New Book (and We’ve Got the First Look at the Cover!) on the Etsy blog.

8. cArtographies – Crystal Pite, a beautiful, inspiring video which led me to a similarly beautiful and inspiring project, “BC filmmaker and visual artist Brian Johnson profiles 19 BC-based artists, from a variety of disciplines, who are both inspired and challenged by their geographic surroundings.” Too bad the full video can only be watched if you are in Canada — lucky Canadians. You’ve got all the good stuff.

9. The Radiance Sutras, a beautiful text I found by way of this post on Kintsugi Dance.

10. How To Get Your Writing Mojo On from Laurie Wagner.

11. Sharon Salzberg – Metta Hour – Episode 05 – The Eightfold Path.

12. The Splendid Table’s Refried Beans with Cinnamon and Clove, a recipe I found by way of Kirsten’s In the kitchen post. Another good thing from Kirsten this week was her post, Yoga and men.

13. A Yoga Teacher Training Certificate is Just the First Step on Elephant Journal.

14. Here’s Tina Fey And Amy Poehler’s Opening Monologue From The 2015 Golden Globes.

15. Good stuff on Slate: Children Photographed With Their Most Prized Possessions and This Guy Took a Photo Every Time He Saw Someone Reading a Book on the Subway.

16. 25 Ways to Stop Feeling Overworked and Overwhelmed from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

17. unexpected california eclectic on SF Girl by Bay.

18. Wisdom from Rachael Maddox, “Magic is the natural and spontaneous aligned activity that happens on the other side of presence and compassion.”

19. Some things that made me really angry this week: Charlize Theron Negotiates $10M Raise After Sony Hack Reveals Male Costar Was To Be Paid Millions More, and 100 serial rapists identified after rape kits from Detroit Crime Lab are finally processed, and The brutal secrets behind ‘The Biggest Loser.’

20. Self-Taught Chinese Street Photographer Takes China By Storm With His Perfectly Timed Photos on Bored Panda.

21. My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward.

22. Trapped In His Body For 12 Years, A Man Breaks Free on NPR.

23. Ellen DeGeneres Humorously Responds to Pastor Who Accused Her of Promoting the “Gay Agenda” in Hollywood.

24. Quitting Sugar Is Not The Answer.

25. On Stuff by Meghan Genge.

26. Wisdom from Chögyam Trungpa, on how meditation leads to wisdom,

Out of that precision and refinement comes gentleness. You are not just paying attention, but you are also aware of your own pain and pleasure, and you develop sympathy and friendship for yourself. From that you are able to understand, or at least see, the pain and suffering of others, and you begin to develop a tremendous sense of sympathy for others. At the same time, such sympathy helps the mindfulness-awareness process develop further. Basically, you become a gentle person. You begin to realize that you are good: totally good and totally wholesome. You have a sense of trust in yourself and in the world. There is something to grip on to, and the quality of path or journey emerges out of that. You feel you want to do something for others and something for yourself. There is a sense of universal kindness, goodness, and genuineness.

27. 23andMe is a DNA analysis service providing information and tools for individuals to learn about and explore their DNA, ancestry-related genetic reports. I kinda wanna do it.

28. How to set goals & commitments that you’ll actually keep from Alexandra Franzen.

29. Good stuff from Be More with Less: Defeat the Clutter that Defeats Your Purpose and Women Can Be Minimalists Too.

30. Please Don’t Start Meditating (Unless You’re Willing to Change) from Lodro Rinzler. Also from Lodro, A Meditation for Morning Intention.

31. My Accidental Book Deal from Laura Simms. I love this part,

The editor had already reached out to another coach about being the author, but she already had a book in the works and couldn’t take another one on. She recommended me.

That’s it.

Someone recommended me. I’m not close to this person, we’ve never met in person. We’ve exchanged some complimentary words on Twitter. That’s the extent of our relationship. She just thought I’d be a good fit for the book.

And I had almost four years of writing samples on my blog to speak for me. And had released two ebooks on my own. And built a decent social media presence. Of course, there’s that. Let’s not discount all of that work. If luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, then I had done my side of the equation.

So that’s my accidental book deal. The book that showed up when I was just minding my own business, doing the work, and being visible.

32. Good stuff from MindBodyGreen: Benefits of Massage (Infographic) and 10 Signs You’re In A Codependent Relationship.

33. Good stuff from Lion’s Roar: Buddha’s Daughters: An Interview with Insight Teacher Gina Sharpe and George Takei’s six best Buddhist posts.

34. Truthbomb #711 from Danielle LaPorte: “Make choices that liberate you.”

35. The 17 Naughtiest Dogs Of 2014.

36. Trust the Timing of Your Life, wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

37. Blink Now. “The BlinkNow Foundation’s mission is to provide an education and a loving, caring home for orphaned, impoverished and at-risk children.” This organization was founded by a single teenager, who is now Mom to 50+ children she’s adopted. Kinda makes you want to get off your ass, doesn’t it?

38. Sukha on the Squam blog.

39. Authentic Success in the New Year ~ with a little help from Liz Gilbert.

40. Your Turn Challenge, starts today. Read more of the backstory in Seth Godin’s blog post, Getting unstuck (a one week challenge).

41. Photo Battle: Katja Blichfeld vs. Ellen Van Dusen. So fun.

42. Neil Gaiman Shares The Easiest Way To Become A Successful Writer on BuzzFeed.

43. The unofficial comfort foods of every state in America. I wholeheartedly agree with the choices for Colorado and Oregon.

44. Syrup sandwiches and stolen toilet paper: Reddit users describe growing up poor.

45. A Note from the Universe, “All deliberate change, Jill, first comes from denying the logic that most gives you comfort.”

46. The Most Important Question of Your Life from Mark Manson. It’s not what you think.

47. Changing the World, One Word at a Time! | The Queen Latifah Show.

48. This Video Encouraging Women To Be More Active Has Gone Viral on BuzzFeed.

49. The Reason You Make Unhealthy Choices. Spoiler alert: “Self-compassion — accepting yourself without judgment when times get tough — is linked to better health behaviors.”

50. Rowdy Kitten’s Happy Links: From The Good Life to Gratitude. Tammy was one of the contributors to the Self-Compassion Saturday eBook and shared the link on her list this week.

51. The myth of perfection from Susannah Conway.

52. The things we’d rescue from the fire from Judy Clement Wall. The New York Times piece Judy links to is also worth reading, What Would You Grab in a Fire?

53. 19 Badass Instagrammers Who Prove Yoga Bodies Come In All Shapes And Sizes on BuzzFeed. Just one of the reasons Instagram is awesome.

54. When Their Cat Found Baby Ducks, They Never Expected This To Happen. So much cute.

55. Letter from the Birmingham Jail from Seth Godin.

Something Good

1. Feast, “an intensive 3-month program for women who want to come home to themselves, make peace with food, and feast on their lives.” I submitted my application about 20 minutes after Rachel opened, that’s how ready I am for this. She’s taking applications now, but just for this week and there are only 30 spots in this session. Other good stuff from Rachel: Go closer and Doing your best.

2. ZenPen ecourse, “Body-Based Writing for Healing, Transformation, and Personal Growth.” It starts today, so there’s still time to sign up for the latest session.

3. The lists I look at every week for inspiration:

4. Story Swap at the Lyric Cinema Cafe. Looks fun.

5. Wisdom from Clarissa Pinkola Estes,

[W}e all begin the process before we are ready, before we are strong enough, before we know enough; we begin a dialogue with thoughts and feelings that both tickle and thunder within us. We respond before we know how to speak the language, before we know all the answers, and before we know exactly to whom we are speaking.

6. Wisdom from Ralph Waldo Emerson, “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.”

7. This is a little different, something I’m offering to you because I don’t agree with it, but I find it and my disagreement very interesting, worth contemplating: This is why you shouldn’t take people’s Facebook lives seriously.

8. One Model Tried On 10 Different Pairs Of Size 16 Jeans And This Is What They Looked Like on BuzzFeed.

9. Realistic New Year’s Resolutions on The Awl.

10. 10 Ways to Turn Off Your Worries on Psychology Today.

11. The Word from Susannah Conway. We both chose “nourish” as our word this year.

12. Future self, wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

13. Responding to Violence and Insanity (one Buddhist’s perspective) from Susan Piver.

14. Wisdom from Andre Gide, “One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.”

15. 27 Reasons Why I Can Never Be a Writer on McSweeney’s.

16. On Expectations (and the promise of 2015) from Sandi Amorim.

17. Why dreaming big almost cost me my self from Jennifer Louden, who has a gorgeous new website design.

18. My wish for your 2015, a poem from Cynthia Morris, who also has a gorgeous new website design.

19. A Note from the Universe, “I know this may come as somewhat of a shock, Jill, but of your innumerable and extraordinary gifts, one day you’ll consider your present day challenges as the greatest of them all. Trust me.”

20. Margaret Atwood’s charming Reddit AMA.

21. Wisdom from Mara Glatzel.

22. the thrive portraits from Chookooloonks.

23. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club, “life is much too short to ever stick around a person who makes you feel like you are difficult to love.” (Unless of course the person is you, and then you’ve got to figure that shit out).

24. Stop Waiting To Love Yourself Because Of Your Weight on Rebelle Society.

25. Watch Jimmy Fallon learn he totally missed Nicole Kidman’s decade-old come-on.

26. Five things the diet industry doesn’t want you to know in 2015.

27. Overcoming Objections to Body Acceptance from Isabel Foxen Duke.

28. My Indecorous Word of the Year from Laura Simms.

29. belonging to the body from lists & letters.

30. From Addicted Teen to Acclaimed Therapist: The Inside Story on the Good Life Project.

31. A Boy Said She Was Too Ugly To Touch. She Believed It For 10 Years. Here’s What She Has To Say Now. on Upworthy, from Soul Pancake.

32. Why “I am enough” isn’t enough on Life with Lucia.

33. Kill Inner Clutter Before it Kills You on Be More with Less.

34. Commuters push train off man whose leg became trapped between carriage and platform. This is who we are.

35. America, please stop raising assholes on Renegade Mothering.

36. To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This on The New York Times. And a related article that includes the 36 questions the author references, No. 37: Big Wedding or Small?

37. Self-Refinement Through the Wisdom of the Ages: 15 Resolutions for 2015 from Some of Humanity’s Greatest Minds on Brain Pickings.

Day of Rest

Recently I mentioned something I call the “sweet spot.” It’s a concept that for me has its origins in hiking. I started noticing that when we go hiking there is a spot, a moment that comes after miles of hiking, some of which were maybe difficult and even made me want to give up, a moment where/when we reach a vista with a beautiful view, or a spacious clearing under a vast sky, or a particular cluster of rocks or a specific tree or meadow of wildflowers, and I experience this moment of awe, amazement, gratitude. All the hard work is worth it to be able to see this — the sweet spot.

I’m living in a particularly sweet spot in my life right now. To get here I’ve experienced many difficulties, some that I’ve shared here and some I haven’t because they weren’t my stories to tell. At times I wanted to give up. I’m so glad I didn’t. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss this, this sweet spot, this particular magic, this specific moment in time.

I was contemplating yesterday how I sometimes get stuck, when there’s too much to do, so much I want, and I’m frozen in place, can’t seem to do anything. I understand that it’s because the awareness of all the things at once is too much. To be able to get anything done, I need to focus on just one thing at a time, the thing I’m doing right now. To be aware of it all at once is overwhelming, feels impossible, makes me want to give up. I have to break it down into smaller bits — what do I need, want to do right now? That’s it. Just do that one thing.

I read somewhere about a book or a class related to focus or organization or something that recommends an exercise where you set a timer for 30 minutes and clean your toilet. You gather all your supplies ahead of time so during the half an hour, you are only cleaning. For that 30 minutes, the full 30 minutes, you do nothing but clean your toilet, every nook and cranny. The intention is that at the end of that half an hour you have a super clean toilet, as well as a new appreciation for what it means to truly commit to doing something, to being present with it completely, to giving that kind of attention to one thing at a time.

I’ve realized that in order to offer and accomplish everything I wish for, I have to take this sort of approach — one thing at a time. It’s too much to focus on all the changes, all the miles at once. I have to take one small piece and work there, give it all my attention. Then, I move to the next small piece, take the next tiny step. It’s the only way I know how to get anywhere.

All of that effort adds up, and I find myself in the sweet spot. Rachel Cole creates a three month intensive program, Feast, that seems as if it was created just for me. My friend Courtney Putnam offers me a spot in her amazing writing class, Zen Pen. I go on retreat with Susan Piver and I write the opening to the book that’s been worming around in my brain for the past year. In her annual report for the Open Heart Project, Susan announces that one of her goals for 2015 is to offer meditation instructor training and certification. We figure out what is wrong with Sam and are able to help him, which means he’s a much happier dog. Ringo grows up so much, is so much easier to care for, is such a joy. I’m a yoga teacher. I quit working with a trainer and a whole new world of movement opens up for me. I take refuge vows. I stop coloring my hair and clean out my closets. I start cooking more and eating better. I finish the Self-Compassion Saturday eBook and almost 400 copies are downloaded within the first few weeks.

So a reminder for me, and maybe for you as well, kind and gentle reader: Don’t give up. Don’t be overwhelmed by what seems like a vast distance between where you are now and where you’d like to be. Take one small step, and if that’s too much, take a half step. Focus on one thing at a time, one breath. Have faith that all the tiny things, the small parts, the bits and pieces will add up over time. Know that there is a sweet spot, and if you keep moving, no matter how slowly, you will find yourself there. Maybe you are there right now?

Reverb 14 and December Reflections

smileselfieThis morning I put the finishing touches on the Self-Compassion Saturday ebook. If you’ve been keeping score, that project ended one year ago. The ebook is something I’ve been planning to get done for a long time, had promised. I kept setting the intention, a goal, committing to a specific finish date, and that would pass and it still wouldn’t be done. First I thought I’d get it done that first Winter Break, but I was so worn out from the year before and we were getting ready for a new puppy so I decided to take it easy on myself. Then I thought it would be complete before we left for summer vacation, but with a new puppy and me starting yoga teacher training, there was just too much going on. Then I thought I’d finish it before I went back to work in the fall, but the puppy and the training were still so much harder than I’d imagined. Then I decided for sure I’d get it done by the end of the year, trying not to cringe that it would be a whole year later, so late. All of it was a great exercise in self-compassion — I would fail, not beat myself up for it, and begin again.

But in this case done was more like almost done. As I wrapped it up this morning, I realized I would have to go to my CSU office to convert the file to a PDF, and there certainly will be issues with the conversion that I’ll have to address before it’s done, done. Then there’s emailing it to the women involved, and announcing and putting it up on the blog. There are still things to do, but it feels good to be finally this close.

Part of the hold up was that there was another book that wanted to be written. Because it’s about my self-compassion journey, I couldn’t figure out if it was part of this ebook. I kept getting the two confused. In my bewildered state, I couldn’t find my way in, figure out how to start. On retreat with Susan Piver recently, I finally came to some understanding. I wrote the opening of that other book and realized what it was, what it wanted to say, that it was its own thing, another beast altogether. In that way, I was released, able to focus on the ebook without distractions. Plus I had the time off work, the space in my schedule.

Vacation is a difficult place for me. Vacation means time away from my CSU work but not much time away from working, from doing. It’s the time when there is room in my days to be able to focus on all the other things that normally have to wait, get overlooked or ignored. That’s everything from working on a book to cleaning out my closets to taking the occasional nap. For example, I signed up for an online dog training class this summer, and even though it was only five weeks long, we were given access to the materials for six months. That time is almost up, and my plan was to go through them over Winter Break, to collect the information I wanted to save and apply it, spend some extra time working with Sam and Ringo. The desire to do so is tangled up with guilt over the money I spent and have thus far “wasted,” and shame about how “untrained” my dogs are.

vacationcouchingIn the last few days, I’ve been considering the fact that I might need to just let the whole thing go, to give myself a break. It might be time to admit that the expectation I could have perfectly trained dogs by the end of a two week break, along with everything else I did and was planning to do, is a tad unrealistic. I can’t do everything. That might seem obvious, but I struggle with accepting it.

I got an annual blogging report from WordPress yesterday. Apparently I started off 2014 by blogging 34 days straight. I’m ending the year by doing almost the same thing, having blogged almost every day in December, sometimes posting twice. Today is the second to last day for Reverb 14 and December Reflections. I’ve done most of the prompts for both, blogging and posting pictures to Instagram, but when I read the prompts for today, I just couldn’t find the energy I needed to make the effort. This voice in me said “I don’t wanna, do I have to?” and was followed by the glorious realization: no, if I don’t want to, I don’t have to.

So there.

Something Good

1. Pausing for Peace from Rachel Cole.

2. To The Fit Woman At Marketplace Foods on Huffington Post.

3. Illustrator Turns People’s Deepest And Darkest Fears Into Comics and Incredibly Detailed Hand-Cut Paper Art By Maude White and Creative Dad Turns His 3-Year-Old Daughter’s Sayings Into Hilarious Illustrations on Bored Panda.

4. The Pets in My Practice, an opinion piece on The New York Times.

5. Problems Only Book Lovers Understand from BuzzFeed.

6. How Does A Homeless Man Spend $100?

7. A Photo Essay: Succulent Magic on Rowdy Kittens.

8. The First Christmas… from Erica Staab. I know Christmas is over, but this is such a beautiful, important reminder, at any time of the year.

9. The Gift of Generosity from Phillip Moffitt on Dharma Wisdom.

10. 30 Days of Yoga from Yoga with Adriene. FREE! You could also check out her YouTube channel.

11. 25 of The Cutest Parenting Moments In The Animal Kingdom.

12. Building a Mindful New Year with Susan Piver and Lodro Rinzler. We are almost half way through the six days, but there is still so much wisdom available if you want to catch the end of the series.

13. Wisdom from the Dalai Lama, “Once you develop confidence in your own ability, you’ll be able to make a real contribution to creating a better world. Self-confidence is very important. Not in the sense of blind pride, but as a realistic awareness of what you can do.”

14. Wisdom from Elizabeth Kubler-Ross,

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

15. A fun project for people who can’t draw from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

16. Wisdom from Anne Lamott on Facebook.

17. Limbo: an Immigration Story by Brit Hanson.

18. A year in photos: the second half from Susannah Conway. My favorite is still the one of Noah in a pink tutu and boots dancing in front of the circus truck.

19. Your Year in Review: 50 Questions to Help You Reflect, Appreciate and Get Excited for 2015, shared on Positively Present Picks.

20. The Best Part Of Life Is Realizing Why It’s Better That Things Didn’t Work Out.

21. Wisdom from Geneen Roth:

Wanting is different from having. Wanting is in the future. It is based on an idea of what might make you happy in five minutes, tomorrow, next week. But having is here, now. Most of us don’t let ourselves have what’s in front of us, so we’re always wanting more. When you don’t let yourself have what you already have, you are always hungry, always searching, always restless.

So, here’s my suggestion: Let yourself have what you love. One piece of it, one little bit of it, each day. You need to start small so that you don’t overwhelm yourself. If you like chips, take one and sit down by yourself for three minutes. Smell it. Hold it up to the light. Rub it on your lips. Then take a small bite of the chip and notice how it tastes. You might discover that it’s the salt you want and not the rest of it. Or the crunch and not the salt. After you swallow, ask yourself if you want another bite. Be truthful with yourself. Notice if, when you ate that one bite, you were already thinking about the next one… and the next. Notice if, even as you read these words, you are saying to yourself, “I can’t be satisfied with just one little bite.” How do you know until you try?

22. Why I don’t care if you like me — According to Trish on Medium.

23. Goodbye :: Hello from Sue Ann Gleason. So beautiful.

24. The Success Indicator an infographic by MaryEllen Tribby.

Something Good

1. Building a Mindful New Year Together, a FREE program in which “writers and Buddhist teachers Susan Piver and Lodro Rinzler have invited a collection of accomplished dharma teachers to guide you through the end of one year and into another with mindfulness and awareness, focused on the six priorities that will benefit you most as you lay the ground for what is to come.”

2. Realistic Slogans for Diet Companies from Dances with Fat.

3. What Nourishes You? from Ishita Gupta.

4. Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Badly from Laurie Wagner.

5. Wisdom from Tulku Thondup,

If we are serious about fostering world peace, we must first understand, generate, and experience real peace in our own mental stream. Awareness of peace is the foundation and goal of healing ourselves and the world. If our mind, or consciousness, is enjoying the awareness of peace, our everyday life will turn into a life of peace. Whatever we say will resound as the words of peace. Whatever we do will manifest as the expression of peace. Our mere presence will make the hearts of many blossom with happiness and harmony. Then we become one of the true peaceful members of society and a source inspiring others to true peace, too. Our every word and smile will send a genuine message of peace to others, and a true cycle of world peace and joy could be set in motion. So the inspiration of true world peace must take birth in our own heart.

6. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club, “We cannot be brave without being afraid.” Also this, “After we have done all that we can, sometimes it is time to just let something rest…and sometimes that even means to let it go for good.”

7. Truthbomb #691 from Danielle LaPorte, “Get clear on why you’re chasing what you’re chasing.”

8. Questions for Writers on A Design So Vast.

9. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

When things fall apart and we’re on the verge of we know not what, the test for each of us is to stay on that brink and not concretize. The spiritual journey is not about heaven and finally getting to a place that’s really swell. In fact, that way of looking at things is what keeps us miserable. Thinking that we can find some lasting pleasure and avoid pain is what in Buddhism is called samsara, a hopeless cycle that goes round and round endlessly and causes us to suffer greatly.

The very first noble truth of the Buddha points out that suffering is inevitable for human beings as long as we believe that things last—that they don’t disintegrate, that they can be counted on to satisfy our hunger for security. From this point of view, the only time we ever know what’s really going on is when the rug’s been pulled out and we can’t find anywhere to land. We use these situations either to wake ourselves up or to put ourselves to sleep. Right now—in the very instant of groundlessness—is the seed of taking care of those who need our care and of discovering our goodness.

10. this was a good week: introducing the thrive a/v journaling club! from Chookooloonks.

11. Courting the Monster In Your Head (and Under Your Bed), from Jonathan Fields,

“a beautiful example of what can happen when you commit to a process of discovery and openness and vulnerability. When you allow all the assumptions about what you should be to fall away and step into what you are. When you’re willing to share your voice with the world, hold yourself out to be on the one hand, judged, but on the other, embraced and lifted.”

12. A Holiday Joy Up Gift of Days from Hannah Marcotti.

13. Burning through the calories: where the carbs fit for weight management from Drop It and Eat.

14. Practicing Slowness & Being Present on Zen Habits.

15. Daily from Seth Godin.

16. A year in photos: the first half from Susannah Conway. So beautiful.

17. Talking Funny, Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais, Louis CK and Chris Rock on their creative processes, (shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend list).

18. This quote, shared by Austin Kleon,

The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance. ~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

19. Becoming Real, (shared on Positively Present Picks).

20. Dear Sugar, Episode 1: Meet The Sugars.

21. Raise your hand. Say yes. with Susannah Conway, just one brilliant episode of Tiffany Han’s amazing podcast.

22. Photographer Spends 20 Years Documenting How We All Dress Exactly Alike on Colossal.

23. How to Eat for Holiday Sanity on Eat to Love.

24. The Crossroads of Should and Must on Medium.

25. Wisdom from Hiro Boga,

The central paradox of our being is that we are both boundaried and boundless. Wholeness embraces the entire spectrum of our being, but most of us are more comfortable with one aspect of our selves than with the other.

If you love hanging out in boundlessness, you may find it hard to stay present, get things done or create sustainable success in your everyday life. If you hang out primarily in your boundaried self, your challenge might be a pervasive longing, the emptiness of a heart denied.