Three Truths and One Wish

beachgrass1. Today is gray and cold, kind of miserable. After a couple days of blue sky and almost too hot, it’s making me feel a little down — thus this picture of clear skies over the ocean from one of our summer trips. If I stare at it long enough I can almost hear the waves.

2. Sometimes the most difficult thing about meditation is keeping your seat. Today I spent most of the time resisting the urge to quit, wanting to get up, run off, go somewhere else, do anything other than sit there, but I didn’t. I stayed.

3. I’m spending part of my Spring Break doing all the things I’ve been avoiding. They are things that have to be done, like getting an eye exam and taking the dogs to the vet, but they aren’t what I’d call fun or relaxing.

One wish: That we can meet whatever might arise for us with an open heart.

Something Good

1. Good stuff from Marc and Angel Hack Life: 7 Things to Remember When You Feel Discouraged and Defeated and 10 Courageous Ways to Live Life Without Regrets.

2. Good stuff from Derrick Clifton: 10 Celebrities Who Had the Perfect Response to Fat Shaming and Kelly Clarkson’s Response to Criticism of Her Weight Deserves a Standing Ovation.

3. Wisdom from John Lubbock:

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.

4. Classic Vegan Caesar with Avocado & Chickpeas recipe. Looks yummy.

5. Bill Murray’s Dharma Talk on What It’s Like to Be You.

6. Why I stopped giving a shit about my size.

7. Questions of Priority on Zen Habits.

8. Good stuff from Be More With Less: The Life Altering Practice of Making Cuts and The Challenge of Not Doing.

9. 3 Ways to Responsibly and Compassionately Respond to Panhandling.

10. 39 Stunning Images Of Women At Work All Over The World.

11. Pieces about Lisa Bonchek Adams on The New York Times: Lisa Bonchek Adams Dies at 45; Chronicled Fight With Breast Cancer and Remembering Lisa Adams.

12. After decades in prison, first day outside a shock for Colorado parolee, the first in a five-part series on former inmate Kevin Monteiro and the state’s parole system.

13. How I learned to live in my body from Susannah Conway.

14. how to dismantle the patriachy from Sas Petherick.

15. From Jamaica to Minnesota to Myself on The New York Times Magazine.

16. Telling Them a Story from Laurie Wagner.

17. The Side of the Oklahoma Racist Frat Story That Nobody Is Talking About.

18. Good stuff on Medium: Why Work Is Broken: The Changing Face of Vocation and Why It Matters, and I’m Not Pregnant, and Why I Live At The P.O.

19. Kids Are Super Ultra Mega Fucking Weird on Terrible Minds.

20. 3 Reasons Your Employees Hate Their Jobs.

21. Dutch students can live in nursing homes rent-free (as long as they keep the residents company).

22. Good stuff on Bored Panda: Rescued Magpie Becomes Lifelong Friend With The Family That Saved Her Life and Urban Treehouse Uses 150 Trees To Protect Residents From Noise And Pollution.

23. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön:

In the early seventies a friend kept telling me, “Whatever you do, don’t try to make those feelings go away.” His advice went on: “Anything you can learn about working with your sense of discouragement or your sense of fear or your sense of bewilderment or your sense of feeling inferior or your sense of resentment—anything you can do to work with those things—do it, please, because it will be such an inspiration to other people.”

That was really good advice. So when I would start to become depressed, I would remember, “Now wait a minute. Maybe I just have to figure out how to rouse myself genuinely, because there are a lot of people suffering like this, and if I can do it, they can do it.” I felt a sense of interconnectedness. “If a schmuck like me can do it, anybody can do it.” That’s what I used to say, that if a miserable person like me—who’s completely caught up in anger and depression and betrayal—if I can do it, then anyone can do it, so I’m going to try.

24. the ripple effect, redux from Chookooloonks.

25. Baby Steps from Jeff Oaks.

26. Homeless Former U.N.C. Player Balks at Efforts to Help Him from The New York Times.

27. Wisdom from Jiddu Krishnamurti, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

28. Confessions of an Uneducated Queer, by Lauren Zuniga.

29. Ellie Goulding – Take Me to Church (Cover).

30. Ebola Survivor Ashoka Mukpo: “I Knew I Had to Practice” on Lion’s Roar.

31. Diet doesn’t cure disease. And it’s irresponsible to say otherwise from Sarah Wilson.

32. Paul Kalanithi, writer and neurosurgeon, dies at 37 and his essays How Long Have I Got Left? and Before I Go.

33. Good stuff from Tiny Buddha: 52 Ways to Tell Someone You Love and Appreciate Them and 40 Ways to Give Yourself a Break.

34. Make Yourself Comfortable from Rachel Cole.

35. Finding Your Personal Magic (and Mine) on The Mojo Lab.

36. How to Use Your Work to Get a Better Life from Laura Simms.

37. What Yoga Taught Me About the Balanced Life on The New York Times.

38. The Problem With ‘Fat Talk’ on The New York Times.

39. 10 things I learned while writing my last book from Austin Kleon.

40. Shared on Susannah’s Something for the Weekend list: Frittata Two Ways + New Zealand and 23 Things Only People Who Love Spending Time Alone Will Understand.

41. Good stuff from Dances with Fat: Say Something Sunday – Fat Joke Edition and Body Shaming Baby Onesies.

42. Water For Elephants Author Sara Gruen Reflects On The Life Of A Writer.

43. Wisdom from Anne Lamott, “I decided that the most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do was to show up for my life and not be ashamed.”

44. Double and half (freelancer math) from Seth Godin.

45. Good stuff from Alexandra Franzen: Your reasons will always win the battle, and Email guidelines for the world, and Gold Interview with Alexandra Franzen.

46. #36: Food Sanity, a podcast interview with Isabel Foxen Duke.

47. Wisdom from Eve Ensler, (thanks for sharing, Kirsten),

I was raised in America. All value lies in the future, in the dream, in production. There is no present tense. There is no value in what is, only in what might be made or exploited from what already exists. Of course the same was true for me. I had no inherent value. Without work or effort, without making myself into something significant, without proving my worth, I had no right or reason to be here. Life itself was inconsequential unless it led to something. Unless the tree would be wood, would be house, would be table, what value was there to tree?

48. What Keeps Me Up at Night (and It’s Not My Bladder) by Lisa Sadikman.

Day of Rest

The Heart of Things by Christina Rosalie

The Heart of Things by Christina Rosalie

I bought this piece during Christina Rosalie’s recent Celebrate Spring! studio sale. She’s one of my favorite writers and I adore her art. I’d tried in past studio sales to buy something, but I was never quick enough. By the time I would look at what she was offering, find my favorite, someone else had already claimed it. When I saw this one — the bird in flight, the quote on the bottom, the colors — I knew it was my favorite, but it was listed first so I thought for sure it would already belong to someone else. I was so surprised when I clicked on it and saw that no one had claimed it yet. I refreshed the page a few times because I couldn’t believe it. Once it sunk in that no one else had picked it, I left a comment: Me please. <3

“Magic through the heart.” I love that so much. I asked Christina what kind of bird it is, but she hasn’t told me yet, and I’m glad. I guessed it’s a sparrow, with that little body and the shape of its head, but I’ve never seen a blue one. I did some research this morning to see if it might be a real sparrow or simply an artistic representation, or another bird altogether. First I searched for blue birds, then for blue sparrows, and what I found is a sweet little mystery. There shouldn’t be blue sparrows, and yet they’ve apparently been spotted in both Australia and Canada — but no one can explain them. I found a few articles about the mystery, Blue sparrow mystery: Unique bird confounds experts and Brown Bird Blue: Unique, Never-Before-Seen Color Mutation Amazes Experts and The Riddle of the Blue Sparrow…, along with a few pictures.

The world is such a magic, mysterious place. We think we know, but we don’t know anything, can’t explain how such things can happen or exist. Simply by paying attention, noticing, being curious and patient, you discover the most interesting things. Sometimes it’s a thing entirely new, like a bird the color of the ocean that no one can explain, and other times it’s remembering, like hearing the sound of the birds in the early morning of spring and realizing for the first time how quiet the mornings had been all winter — either way, it feels like waking up.

Gratitude Friday

juicyspring1. Spring. Bird song in the morning, crocuses blooming, 2 for $5 bundles of daffodils at the grocery store, driving with the windows rolled down, sitting on the back step in the sun while the dogs lounge on the patio.

2. Spring Break. Yes, I could have included this as an item in my list of all things Spring, but it deserves its own listing all by itself — it’s that good. And today is the best, the Friday before Spring Break. I feel giddy and so hopeful that the time mostly away from work will allow the space for some rest and ease.

3. My boys, sweet Sam and Ringo Blue. Have I told you lately how much I love my dogs? We haven’t started Sam’s elimination diet yet to try and figure out exactly what he’s allergic to, but even just switching him to a salmon based primary food has made a big difference. I’ve also been noticing how much more he trusts us now, how much more relaxed he is as a five year old. He’s always been a sensitive dog, so even though he’s been with us since he was around 10 weeks old, it took him some time to be totally comfortable — although he still thinks the washing machine is an evil monster and hides in the bathroom when it’s on. Ringo Blue’s foot is almost completely healed. He’s even been able to run around crazy in the backyard a few times even though it’s muddy right now with the snow melt. He went through a few weeks of hardcore puppy terrible twos recently, but he has been really good for the past few days so I’m hoping that bad boy Wolverine thing isn’t something that will stick.

canwegosam ringowaiting4. Yoga. I’m teaching three classes next week, but to three different groups, so I’m going to plan one new class and then get to practice it three times.

5. TV that makes me laugh. This week it was Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and New Girl and Friends, which Eric and I have been binge watching since Christmas — I had forgotten there were 10 seasons of it! The Mindy Project sadly has been doing that thing all sitcoms seem to do eventually where they hit a season in which the comedy turns mean and the characters get weird not in a good way.

Bonus Joy: an email I was worried to send that got a good response, lemon, sweet potato, finally starting to adjust a little to the time change, the Open Heart Project Sangha (this month’s topic is genuine transformation and it’s so good!), Feast, finally mailing some things that had been in my “mail this” pile for far too long, permission to trust myself, laughing with my interns, getting out some of the strawberry jam I made this summer and realizing it really isn’t that bad, french toast with strawberries and jam for dinner.

Three Truths and One Wish

The view from here

The view from here

1. Truth: I woke up this morning and thought today was tomorrow. I was absolutely sure it was Wednesday. I didn’t want to go to yoga, contemplated staying in bed, sleeping in instead. I rallied, like I always do, and it wasn’t until I was standing in the kitchen making myself a half cup of coffee that I realized it was Tuesday. It wasn’t a yoga morning but rather my turn to walk the dogs. Daylight Savings Time, this time around meaning the loss of a whole hour, takes me at least a week to recover from.

2. Truth: Cultivating awareness is so important. I have been noticing lately how much damage we do by not being able to even see ourselves. We act out, our decisions clouded by confusion, complaining and blaming, being irritated and aggressive, generating so much suffering. We are so caught up in our story about what’s going on, we don’t even know what’s really happening.

3. Truth: There is joy, comfort in the smallest of things. A pop song on the radio with silly lyrics that makes you want to move, sharing food with someone, blue sky, a moment of quiet, the sweetness of a raspberry, the tartness of a lemon, the first purple crocus of the year, a dog sigh, the love note left on the counter. It’s right there, all you have to do is look, open yourself to it, allow it to touch you.

One wish: That even in the depths of our suffering, in moments of confusion and bewilderment, we can return to awareness, we can see and experience what is really going on, and we can connect with basic goodness.

Something Good

Mount McConnel Trail, image by Eric

Mount McConnel Trail, image by Eric

1. Alina Baraz & Galimatias, who I’ve been listening to a lot lately.

2. Wisdom from Jessica Patterson, “If you’re only willing to scratch the surface, you will never satisfy the itch.”

3. A Whole Decade from Brittany Herself.

4. Good stuff on Tricycle: The Mindfulness Solution and Guided Meditation with Venerable Pannavati.

5. 9 Great Yoga YouTube Channels.

6. Medicating Women’s Feelings on The New York Times.

7. List of Emoticons for Facebook, something I use quite a bit.

8. Watch These Young Girls Recite Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman”… It’s Awesome.

9. Andrea Gibson performs The Nutritionist.

10. She Hasn’t Changed Her Home For 72 Years. When You See What’s Inside, Your Jaw Will Drop!

11. I love myself enough to do what it takes (to get well)- PART 1 of a series about adrenal fatigue, chronic hives, hormone imbalance, weight gain, emotional healing, etc. etc. etc. from Melody Ross of Brave Girls Club.

12. On Knowing Our Own Minds from Dani Shapiro. “Our most creative thoughts and ideas spring from a ritualized dream time. In the absence of this dream time we become mechanized, robotic, detached from our inner lives.” Word.

13. Fuck the lie that we can have it all from Renegade Mothering.

14. Something Wild from Sunni Chapman.

15. Tiny Beautiful Things on Call Me Ishmael.

16. Things Black Men Are Tired Of Hearing.

17. Douglas Adams made me a writer: Neil Gaiman salutes his friend and inspiration.

18. Kindness Blog, “Kindness Images, Videos, True Life Stories, Quotes, Personal Reflections and Meditations. Because Kindness Changes Everything.”

19. Wisdom from the 17th Karmapa,

Sometimes when we practice dharma we think that we need to show some sort of external or physical sign of it. We pay a lot of attention to the rituals and these actions of our body and speech. This is practicing dharma when we’re focusing outside. But instead what we need to do is turn our attention inwards. We need to see whether what we’re doing is functioning as an antidote to the afflictions or not. We need to see whether we are taming our mind or not. We need to see whether our mind is improving, getting kinder, or not. If we don’t look at it in this way then there’s no benefit to doing these actions – we think that we are trying to do the dharma, but actually we are just making a show with our body and speech. We are putting on appearances, and that’s all we really take an interest in. And the moment that happens, this becomes spiritual materialism.

20. Good stuff on Medium: A world without advice, and Cabin Fever (P.S. I’ve seen the documentary mentioned at least four times), and I Know the Rules- I Just Don’t Care, and Parenting Advice: Don’t Kill Them.

21. Wisdom Pema Chödrön, from her book The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World,

Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.

22. Their Dying Wishes on The New York Times.

23. You Will Survive from Jack Kornfield.

24. I Eat in the Light Now from Curvy Yoga.

25. A World Gone Mad from Rachel Cole.

26. #continuouspractice – A month and a half in {with a message} from Visible and Real.

27. chocolate chocolate-chip cake, redux: the gluten-free edition on Chookooloonks.

28. UC Berkeley Students Hold Teach-In for Their Racist Professor.

29. Jessamyn Stanley talks about life, yoga as therapy, and internet love and hate on Body Positive Yoga.

30. An Open Letter to Kid Rock About the Word ‘Gay’ on Esquire.

31. A Beautiful Thing on Just Lara.

32. The Real World of the Writing Life on The Missouri Review.

33. He is black. He is privileged. And all of that concerns his parents.

34. The Man Who Snuck Into the Ivy League Without Paying a Thing.

35. Neil Gaiman’s ‘Trigger Warning’, a Sunday Book Review on The New York Times.

36. One Man Holds a PATENT That Could Crush MONSANTO and Change The World.

37. 15 People From Around the World Next to the Amount of Food They Eat Each Day.

38. Spring Breaks from Jeff Oaks.

39. Reexamining the Reblog.

40. Mary Lambert on Embracing Sanity, Remaking ‘Jessie’s Girl’ for Lesbians from Rolling Stone.

41. The Futility of Always Pushing Myself to Be More on Zen Habits.

42. Shared on this was a good week from Chookooloonks: Highlights from Apple’s Favorite Photos Shot with iPhones, and Blue – Color//Colour Lovers, and 22 Contemporary Authors You Absolutely Should Be Reading, and a time lapse of a cactus blooming.

43. Good stuff from Austin Kleon: Interview on the Stacking Benjamins podcast and The So What? Test.

44. Shared on Happy Links: this Instagram account of illustrator Ann-Mari Reigstad.

45. Deaf Man Told To “Look Over There.” When He Does, You’ll Bawl Like A Baby!

46. Navigate Your Life: Chris Zydel from Jennifer Louden.

47. Time lost and found from Anne Lamott.

48. Teachers, are you accidentally shaming your students? How to Make Yoga Class More Inclusive by Amber Karnes.

49. 9 Ways to Feel Less Stress When Life Gets Crazy Busy from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

Day of Rest

The sunrise,the moon, and one of my favorite trees on our walk this morning.

Find a bit of beauty in the world today. Share it. If you can’t find it, create it. Some days this may be hard to do. Persevere. ~Lisa Bonchek Adams

Lisa Bonchek Adams died Friday night, at home surrounded by her family. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006 when she was 36 years old. In 2012, she learned that her cancer had metastasized to her lymph nodes and bones. She was a blogger and active on Twitter, where she wrote about living with cancer. She was honest about her experience in the hopes it might help others, was an advocate for herself but also for others through her Memorial Sloan-Kettering research fund. She left behind three kids and a husband, the most adorable Corgi, a gorgeous garden, and many people who love her.

I didn’t know Lisa personally, but I know some of her friends, followed her, read her blog and her tweets, was encouraged by her, and wished her the best. I was wishing so hard that she’d get to see another spring, but also knew she’d been very sick recently, was struggling. She reminded me so much of Kelly. And Ann. And Heather. And because that gets me thinking about cancer, I can’t help but revisit the loss of my Obi and sweet Dexter too.

Every death reminds me how important it is to show up for my life, to keep my heart open, to all of it — tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal. It inspires me, encourages me to keep going, to not give up. Just two weeks ago, Lisa tweeted, “Make the most of this day. Whatever that means to you, whatever you can do, no matter how small it seems.”

That’s my plan for this day of rest, to “make the most of this day.” That’s going to mean some remembering, some grief and sadness, but also deep gratitude. I’m going to do the laundry, sweep the floors, change all the clocks, make a salad, and whatever other chores there might be. I’m also going to read and listen to a dharma talk from Susan Piver, spend some time with Eric and take another long walk with the dogs. I’m going to be gentle with myself, and with others. I’m going to do the best I can, “no matter how small it seems.”