Gratitude Friday

1. A safe and relatively easy trip. As soon as Sam got out of the car and into the house here in Waldport, he knew exactly where we were and what to do — it’s his third time here. We didn’t know what to expect from Ringo, since he was only six months old and had never gone on a ride longer than a few hours. He did okay in the car, not great but okay, and is settling in really well. Typically, he can’t settle down in the evening unless we crate him, but he’s only needed that once since we’ve been here. His favorite place to rest is under the dining room table, which was also Dexter’s favorite spot.

echodog032. Food: Three farmer’s markets, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, bay shrimp, Leroy’s Blue Whale buttermilk pancakes, salad and chowder and garlic cheese bread and marionberry cobbler at Mo’s, marionberry jam for sale at the grocery store like it’s not even a big deal, and maple bars, coconut and filbert macaroons, and bear claws filled with marionberry goodness from Depoe Baykery.

depoebaykery3. Long walks on the beach, which is wide and flat and goes for miles. That time when a bald eagle flew right over our heads and this morning when two more were sitting at the top of a tall, wind bent pine tree at Ona Beach. Hiking the Gwynn Creek Trail. Long naps to counterbalance all the walking.

gwynncreek05 4. Two dogs. I’m so much happier with two, even though it’s harder.

ringoandsam5. Visiting Obi’s spot, which will be Obi and Dexter’s spot before we go. It’s a creek they always ran and played in, with a cluster of wild yellow irises and this amazing pine tree at its mouth, and where we scattered some of Obi’s ashes and will Dexter’s too. Next week, it will have been one year since we lost Dexter, almost five since we lost Obi. Sam and Ringo are so much like them, echo dogs, but I love and miss the first two, still feel like I have four dogs somehow.

Bonus joy: How happy Eric was when we drove into town.

Gratitude Friday

1. A safe and relatively easy trip to Oregon. That’s a lot of hours in the car, but it went really well.

2. Ringo being good in the car, mostly. He had trouble when we got too close to cars going in the opposite direction, wanted to herd and yell at them, and by the time we got to the hotel the first day after 10 hours in the car, he was ready to lose his mind he wanted to run and go crazy so bad, but other than that, he did so good.

"Are we there yet?"

“Are we there yet?”

3. An awesome backyard at Eric’s parents’ house where the dogs can run and play. After two days in the car, they needed it so bad.

redmondbackyard024. The best hotel ever, Eric’s parents’ place. A big yard for the dogs, lots of quiet space, HGTV, chocolate cake for dessert and pancakes for breakfast.

5. Feeling like we are on vacation. Oh boy, did I ever need this.

Bonus Joy: Not having to get back in the car right away, but knowing that tomorrow we will be at the beach.

Something Good

Kind and gentle reader, this will be my last Something Good post until Monday, July 21st, and that first one back might be a little light. We are going on vacation, and while I love curating these lists for you, they are a lot of work, and I’d like to make this trip without my computer, so I’m going to take a bit of a sabbatical. In fact, I don’t know if I’ll be posting at all while I’m away, but Eric will have his computer with him, and I love it here so much that I can’t promise I’ll be able to stay away entirely. I’ll miss it, but I also haven’t taken a real break since I started (my very first post was Beginning, posted on September 16, 2011), and for long stretches, I’ve posted something every day — it might be time to rest a little.

1. 100 Day Promise, a new offering from Sandi Amorim. Would you like to make an important promise to yourself and have the support and guidance to follow it through? Sandi is launching a new project that offers just that. I’ve taken part in her communities before, and I am telling you the truth: there is no better guide than Sandi. Her programs have helped me make significant transformations, and, a disclaimer: I adore her. Here’s a post she wrote about the process of the launch of her new project and new site, Lessons from the Birth Canal. P.S. if you sign up before June 13 you’ll also receive a bonus 1-1 session with Sandi!

2. Light Gets In: Living Well With Mental Illness from Esme Wang.

3. To be at the beginning again, knowing almost nothing and, The 5/5 Creative Challenge from Christina Rosalie. Make sure to keep up with her 5/5 posts. They’ve been beautiful so far. She’s an amazing writer.

4. Just the right words. Just the right time. Three stories to inspire you to SAY them. from Alexandra Franzen.

5. The Mindful Leader: The Wisdom of Mindfulness in the 21st Century Workplace with Michael Carroll, a live event at the Fort Collins Shambhala Center, July 12th. I am so sad I’m going to miss it (we’ll still be in Oregon) because I adore Michael Carroll and think he’s doing some of the most important work of our time.

6. Indie Kindred is available for rent online. Like I told Jen Lee, the filmmaker, I was more excited about this than the new season of Orange is the New Black. So good.

7. Leaf art by Lorenzo Manuel Durán. So delicate, so beautiful, so amazing.

8. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön, about having the courage to wait,

When you’re like a keg of dynamite just about to go off, patience means just slowing down at that point—just pausing—instead of immediately acting on your usual, habitual response. You refrain from acting, you stop talking to yourself, and then you connect with the soft spot. But at the same time you are completely and totally honest with yourself about what you are feeling. You’re not suppressing anything; patience has nothing to do with suppression. In fact, it has everything to do with a gentle, honest relationship with yourself. If you wait and don’t fuel the rage with your thoughts, you can be very honest about the fact that you long for revenge; nevertheless you keep interrupting the torturous story line and stay with the underlying vulnerability. That frustration, that uneasiness and vulnerability, is nothing solid. And yet it is painful to experience. Still, just wait and be patient with your anguish and with the discomfort of it. This means relaxing with that restless, hot energy—knowing that it’s the only way to find peace for ourselves or the world.

And this, (thanks for sharing, Erin).

The real thing that we renounce is the tenacious hope that we could be saved from being who we are.

9. Wisdom from Mara Glatzel, in the form of her latest newsletter. If you aren’t signed up yet, you really should.

10. The one simple question that keeps me focused on achieving my dreams from Life is Limitless.

11. A Little Guide to Lighten Your Life and Make Love: mini-mission on Be More With Less.

12. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

There is something wonderful and strange and difficult and painful and amazing about becoming more of who we are. When we stop squeezing our actual soul shape into the shapes of everything else around us just to fit it…and we let ourselves look and feel and BE who we actually are….we feel relieved, but sometimes we also feel profoundly lonely for a while. This is normal, dear girl…and so worth sticking through…

It becomes quite a habit to work so hard at fitting into places where we thought we were supposed to be like everyone else. We work so hard at for so long and sometimes it has been sooooo long that we forgot what we were like before we started doing it. Our soul knows, though.

There comes a day when our soul has just had enough of the squeezing and coloring and carving and polishing we keep trying to do to change it (or hide it!)….and our soul just wants to be authentic and raw and whole and FREE. Our soul wants us to hold hands with it and BE WHO WE ARE. Our soul just wants to be the light that it is…without having to wear a mask or a cape or a shiny veneer of anything at all. It just wants to shine.

Sometimes we feel a bit like a freak when we stop trying to fit in…..don’t let that stop you, dear soul. The more layers we peel off….the brighter we can shine…that stuff is just covering up our light….and the world needs more light. The world needs YOU. YOU need YOU.

You are amazing and unique and wonderful….keep peeling off anything that is covering up all of the you-ness of you. It will be worth it…

13. Someone Put A Camera On A Bird’s Nest… And I’m So Glad Because Watch What It Caught! on Viral Nova.

14. Melissa McCarthy can dress herself on Salon.

“Trying to find stuff that’s still fashion-forward in my size is damn near impossible,” she told the Hollywood Reporter in 2011. “It’s either for like a 98-year-old woman or a 14-year-old hooker, and there is nothing in the middle.”


15. Amazing Resonance Experiment! This totally freaks me out, in the best kind of way. Thanks for sharing it, Susan Piver.

16. The Frustratingly Slow Pace of Making Changes from Zen Habits.

17. The American Dream Is Alive—and It’s Really, Really Tiny. I love what Tammy (the author of Rowdy Kittens and You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap)) has to say about making conscious choices.

18. Sometimes you need a creativity reboot from Susannah Conway.

19. 23 Photos Of People From All Over The World Next To How Much Food They Eat Per Day, shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend list.

20. Jen Lee on Being Seen and Finding Kindreds.

21. Practice is an invitation to the future from Sandi Amorim. She gets it.

Have a wonderful start of the summer, kind and gentle reader!

Gratitude Friday

loungingbrothers051. Ringo and Sam. Lounging or playing in the backyard together. Sam turning from black to red, purple, brown in the summer. How grown up Ringo is getting, while still being a little stinker, a punk, a jerk, a puppy. How little he used to be, and how long ago that seems. That they like each other, get along so well, that Sam makes his boundaries clear but lets Ringo get away with so much. The sounds they make in the night. How happy they are to see me. How Ringo knew he was going to daycare today because I packed his lunch and got out his special collar and how happy he was about it. Both dogs messing up the bed under my writing desk, digging the blankets into a pile, a nest, and how I’ve stopped fixing it, am leaving it that way. The way Ringo talks to you, the barks and growls and whines and sighs constituting an entire language. How sweet Sam is, but also so tough when he thinks he needs to be.

2. Strawberries from my garden. There aren’t many, but they represent the possibility of more if we keep at it.

berries3. Peaches, ripening on the counter, promising pie.

peachespie4. Phase four of our front garden project: get rid of all the grass. Phase one was take out a 45 year old cottonwood tree (it was getting dangerous, so we had to, reluctantly…). Phase two was to put in three raised beds, and phase three was putting in a new front flower bed and a bed for strawberries and a memorial garden. Phase Five will be to paint the house (the green is super faded now that the tree is gone and it gets so much sun), and phase six will be planting lots and lots more flowers and vegetables and fruit.

Doggy angel

Doggy angel

5. My first peony bloom. There were only three this first year, the exact right number, one each for Obi, Kelly, and Dexter.
Bonus Joy: Seeing the contributors page for the first issue of Mabel Magazine, all the familiar and adored faces, including my own.

Contributors photo

Home: a Mid-Year Review

succulent garden on the back step

succulent garden on the back step

In 2013, I traveled a lot, took many ecourses, went to retreats and workshops, funded multiple Kickstarter projects, gave money to various individuals and charities, gave gifts and wrote many thank yous. I was homesick for myself, needed to redirect, spend a little bit of time not giving so much away, to sink into myself, the moment, the place.

My word for 2014: Home. This is the way I explained my choice at the beginning of the year,

This next year, I long for a return home, to feel at home — in my body, my house, my work, my job, my relationships, my life. I long for the sense of comfort, safety, authority, belonging and ease that comes with “home.” I want to nest right where I am, to clear out room, make space, settle in. The process of clearing is related to what Rumi says, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” And it’s not just about me, solitary and alone, but as Ram Dass says, “we are all just walking each other home.”

2014 is now at the midpoint, half way done. Choosing “home” to guide me, as a reminder of how I want to experience my life, has been of great benefit to me. It has also surprised me. I knew it meant literally being home, a return to a simpler way of being, bringing all my resources to focus on this place, it’s physical form and the space inside of me, shelter and shape. What I forgot was that it would also mean confronting the monsters under my bed, the skeletons in my closet, the dirty dishes in the sink.

In 2014. I vowed to:

Inhabit, embody, live IN 2014, be present for my life, be in my body, awake in every moment I can be.

In 2014, I am going to do a lot, even though I always say I’m going to slow down, pace myself. And yet, my intention is to focus more on my experience, how I want to feel rather than what I accomplish, so maybe I could also say that in 2014, I am going to do less.

In 2014, I am going to feel free, more at ease, grounded and centered, loved, joyful and grateful, rested and energized, satisfied.

In 2014, I am not going to diet or weigh myself. I am not going to “should all over myself” or smash myself to bits. I won’t abandon myself, won’t apologize for myself, won’t give too much of myself away.

If I haven’t accomplished all these things, I’ve tried, lived in the intention. Some things that surprised me about choosing “home” as my guiding word:

  • Raising a puppy without help while Eric and I both worked full-time, and starting yoga teacher training, was so much harder than I expected.
  • Committing to no ecourses or workshops or Kickstarter projects, etc., was so much harder than I thought. I wanted to be there, to go and to help.
  • I didn’t realize how much “home” would need me, specifically Eric and Sam and Ringo, my tiny little family. Eric and I have been through some really hard things in the past five years (some that I don’t even talk about here), and our confidence has been shaken. We’ve faced directly that we aren’t in control, can’t fix everything, that really bad things happen all the time to us and the beings we love. We are trying to figure out how to be comfortable in that chaos, how to find joy and ease, a sense of peace when there is so much suffering. And then Sam was mysteriously sick for so long and Ringo has been so much more challenging than we expected. I had to give up a lot, stop doing things, spend way more time here, give more attention to this.
  • Being at home, comfortable in my body has been tough. After years of hating and pushing it, wishing it away, it’s hard to shift to acceptance and love. I’m rounder, softer, take up more space, and I feel judgement burning me as if the house next door were on fire. Old habits, ways of being are sticky and deep, difficult to shift.

All of this, the obstacles and unexpected difficulty, force me to be honest — about who I am, what I want, what I’m doing, what I value. It means saying “no” more often. It means lowering the bar. Letting go, surrender. Staying with the discomfort rather than freaking out and running away, staying awake rather than numbing out. Keeping my heart open.

Something Good

1. Creating a Lovely Morning on Zen Habits.

2. Wisdom from Fr. Alfred D’Souza, a quote shared by Courtney Carver,

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin — real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last in dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.

3. Also from Courtney, on Be More With Less, 3 Simple Ways to Be More Creative (and why it’s important).

4. Eight ways to be (more) here and (more) happy on A Design So Vast.

5. Wisdom from Jessica Patterson,

In my experience, one of the greatest litmus tests of spiritual maturation –that is, how well your practice is working–comes when we bump up against the challenges. Embodying–in thought, word, and deed–what it is you profess to practice/study is easy when life goes according to your plan. But the real measure–and arguably, the greatest teacher–arises from our responses to life’s inevitable disappointments, frustrations, and obstacles. If your response to difficult times is to react (re-act, reproduce) with the same old habitual behavior, based on worn out, old narratives about yourself (or others), then your practice becomes that much more vital; your practice can be what creates space and awareness between the feelings we have and the conclusion we draw about them. If you can remain consciously committed to your center, your Self, when the rug gets pulled up beneath you…and you can be kind and spacious and patient when things don’t go “your way,” you will come to know your progress more honestly than any other time.

6. What in the world is a “blog hop”? from Two Poppies Creative.

7. Green in May on SouleMama.

8. What Happens When You Sing An 800 Year Old Icelandic Hymn In A Train Station? THIS.

9. Wisdom from Maya Angelou, “In the flush of love’s light we dare be brave. And suddenly we see that love costs all we are and will ever be. Yet it is only love which sets us free.”

10. the (sacred) art of breaking yourself open from Justine Musk.

11. Baby’s first LOL.

12. Wisdom from Lao Tzu, “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

13. These 7 Simple Photos Reduced Me To Heartbroken Tears. I Never Saw It Coming. on Viral Nova.

14. Wisdom from Geneen Roth, “Forgiving yourself expresses a willingness to learn from your fragility and your fallibility instead of pretending that they are not there,” and,

Of this I am certain: Something happens every time I stop fighting with the way things are. Something happens to every one of my students when they stop running their familiar programs about fear and deficiency and emptiness. I don’t know what to call this turn of events or the freshness that follows it but I know what it feels like: it feels like relief. It feels like infinite goodness. Like a distillation of every sweet fragrance, every astonishing beauty and every haunting melody you’ve ever heard . It feels like the essence of tenderness compassion joy peace dark starry night dazzling day. Like love itself. And in the moment you feel it you recognize that you are it and that you’ve been here all along, waiting for your return.

15. What hill running, meditation and achieving your dreams have in common from Life is Limitless.

16. A man, a photo and the long search to find the person in it, a story on Sports Illustrated about a picture from Humans of New York.

17. How to Not Go Insane Being an Artist on Indie Kindred.

18. How To Get A Whole Lot Of Sh*t Done In A Day on MindBodyGreen.

19. A Talk with Patrick McDonnell, coauthor of Guardians of Being, (and one of my favorite cartoonists).

20. Yoga with Adriene. I really like her teaching style, and she’s got some great free videos, if you are interested in practicing alone but with instruction.

21. Got Blogger’s Block? Here Are 50 Ways To Kick Its Ass! from Gala Darling, (shared by Britt Bravo on Facebook).

22. 13 Famous Writers on Overcoming Writer’s Block on Flavorwire, (shared by Britt Bravo on Facebook).

23. This is a commercial for Chevy, and it’s pretty sweet.

Gratitude Friday

1. Being able to share my writing, having kind and gentle readers interested in what I have to say, readers who appreciate and share it.

2. Ringo feeling better. We had to take him to the emergency vet on Monday (since it was Memorial Day, our regular vet was closed). He had a wonky belly because he’s a puppy and they eat gross stuff, but he’s doing much better now.

ringopainting3. Sam continuing to do well. Him recovering is one of the best things that has ever happened.

Because this...

Because this…

4. Having our land line disconnected. What led up to it was a total nightmare (line shorting out every time it rained, cops coming to our house twice because the line dialed 911 and hung up as it shorted out, no one who worked for Century Link being helpful or nice or even human, and delay after delay getting it “fixed”), but I’m glad it’s over now.

All the storms are also causing the river to flood.

All the storms are also causing the river to flood.

5. Good friends, online and “in real life.”

Bonus Joy: laughing with Eric, and the first strawberries from our garden.