Regular Features

There are some regular features on A Thousand Shades of Gray.  They are:

Sunday: Day of Rest

In connection with my effort to cultivate rest in my life, Sundays on A Thousand Shades of Gray are “Day of Rest.” (I’m not very good at it — taking care of myself, slowing down, resting). I’m keeping a sabbath day in my life, a day of prayer and rest, of presence and mindfulness, ease and love, so on these days I’d like to offer you, kind and gentle readers, something that might help you in that same pursuit.

Monday: Something Good.

When I am feeling bad, I will often ask Eric to “tell me something good.” When I need something to hang on to, to make me feel better, something to show me that it’s not all bad. When I am in that dark hole, way down at the bottom, and the mean things with teeth are down there with me–”tell me something good.”

He’s really good at it, because even when all he can think of is “I love you,” it totally works. I mean, how great is it that the person that you picked and who said “yes” eighteen years ago, and knows you better than anyone, knows all the embarrassing and ugly stuff, continues to love you? He usually is able to give me a whole list when I ask him, followed by a hug and “what can I do for you, how can I make you feel better?”

So on A Thousand Shades of Gray, Monday’s feature is: Something Good. I like the idea of gratitude generating joy, and the opportunity my gratitude has to spread joy when I share the good things, so every Monday, I give you a list.

Tuesday: Three Truths and One Wish

I came up with this because I was thinking that I should start some sort of regular, once a week feature on this blog.  Actually, {tinniegirl}, who hosted Blogtoberfest, suggested it in a post.  So one morning, in that space between awake and asleep, an idea appeared: three truths and one wish.

Then I had to figure out what day to post this feature: Monday is typically viewed as the beginning of the week, and Friday as the end.  Then there’s Sunday, the sacred day of rest. “But, today is Tuesday. I want to do it today.” Then I thought: Tuesday = T = Three Truths. Wednesday, the next day = W = Wish.  Tuesday, truth, is now, and Wednesday, a wish, is that future that will come after, what will follow truth.  Perfect. Tuesday it is. And, dear reader, please be aware that this magic math is the only kind I can perform.

Wednesday: Wishcasting

Wednesday here at A Thousand Shades of Gray is “Wishcasting.” This is something I first read about on my heART Exchange art swap partner’s blog, Dryada Journals. When I followed the link to the site of origin, I realized it was Jamie Ridler, a creative living coach whose work I had already admired–just another case of synchronicity, auspicious connection, the universe saying “yes.”

Jamie started a blog devoted to wishcasting and made her first post there on February 14, 2007–Valentine’s Day. On her current website, Jamie Ridler Studios, she’s continued the practice.  She describes it this way, “What would happen if every week you made a wish? What magic might start to stir? Wishcasting Wednesday is a safe haven for wishes, a fertile field in which to plant wish seeds and have them witnessed and tended lovingly. It’s a place where magic begins. Make a Wish: Dare to dream. Every Wednesday here at Jamie Ridler Studios, there will be a wish prompt to inspire you.” And now, every Wednesday on A Thousand Shades of Gray, I use the wish prompt Jamie provides to do my own wishcasting.

Gratitude Friday

This feature is a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

Love Letters

From time to time, I find it necessary to write an open love letter to someone and post it on my blog.

Small Stones

These posts originally started as a 30 day blog posting practice, The River of Stones. The simplest explanation is that this practice leads one to “pay more attention and fall in love with the world.” Each day, you “properly” and fully notice something, sink into the moment and really see and experience it, write it down and share it. Much of what you’ll notice–especially if you are as boring as me (I’m not complaining or apologizing, this kind of life is necessary to my sanity and my art)–is quite ordinary.

The key is to be here, fully connected with the moment, paying attention to the details of ordinary life. By taking care of ordinary things-our pots and pans, our clothing, our teeth- we rejoice in them. When we scrub a vegetable or brush our hair, we are expressing appreciation: friendship toward ourselves and toward the living quality that is found in everything. ~Pema Chödrön

I did this practice every day for the month of January 2012, but found that I really liked it, (and they ended up being some of Eric‘s favorite posts), so still write them when I find or notice one.

What I Learned

This one doesn’t happen as often as the rest, but from time to time I like to pause and think about what I’ve learned, and then share it with you–just so you don’t think I’m a total dummy.

4 thoughts on “Regular Features”

  1. Tina Tierson said:

    Hello, dear Jill -

    Reading your open love letters to three of my favorite people opened up something inside of me. What Andrea did for you, Kelly Rae Roberts did for me, in that her blog was the first I discovered after reading her wonderful book, “Taking Flight.” The first blog I read after hers was Susannah’s and then in rapid order, Marianne Elliott, Andrea, Patti Digh, Jen Louden, Britt Bravo, Christine Mason Miller, Bridget Pilloud, Kelly Letky, recently Laurie Wagner, and if I go on I’ll run out of room! (There are many more, most of whom are on your favorite blogs list!) These incredible women have changed my life completely.

    I took Mondo Beyondo as well, last year, and even though I haven’t accomplished many of my dreams (due to fear I suspect), I was so fortunate in that I was able to meet Kelly Rae and Marianne Elliot, and next month Susannah at Kelly’s studio! I still have so much to work on about myself.

    One thing on my MB list was to write, but even just journaling seems so scary sometimes! I’m on Laurie Wagner’s mailing list and was really excited to disover her on-line course, but just thinking about doing it (as in, “I’ll never do it right”) made me tremble inside. Now, after reading your open letter to Laurie, as well as reviews from Rachel Cole and Kim Ort, as soon as I complete this I’m going to sign up as it starts tomorrow! The fear is still there (is that a “Bingo?”) but I’m going to do it (also scary because I worry about the money, which I do not have much of, but I’m worth it, right?)

    I’m also going to be taking Andrea’s basic photo class, so two classes at the same time is a bit scary too. But writing and photographing are two things that make my heart beat faster, even as I feel “not good enough.” I could never write as beautifully as you and all the other incredible writers, but I guess if I don’t start I won’t know. (I should say that I’ve been told all my life I should write, beginning in 6th grade, but lack that belief myself.) So here I am, on this new path at the age of 67 (YIKES). I’ve actually thought of starting a blog; I’ve even got the name registered, but have never had the courage. Between Laurie’s class, your wonderful blog, and Susannah’s wonderful advice about blogging last week, I may actually get around to making that Mondo Beyonda wish happen!

    So thank you for the extra nudge I needed in order to take Laurie’s class! I’m looking forward to meeting you at Kelly Rae’s studio next month!

    Warmly,
    Tina

    • Aren’t we lucky that there are so many amazing women out there, and that through them we understand that we are also amazing? I’m so glad you are taking Laurie’s class, and Superhero Photo, and that we’ll meet at Susannah’s book event! As long as we are still breathing, it’s never too late to start, and at the very same time, if we never did another thing, we are enough. Much love to you!

    • Oh, and this “I could never write as beautifully as you and all the other incredible writers”…but what you could absolutely do is write as beautifully as you write, as messy and luminous and perfect as you are, because what’s missing in the world is more of you, not more of us.

  2. Tina Tierson said:

    Jill, thank you so much for these lovely replies! Laurie’s class started today and it feels exhilerating and kind of scary both; but I am excited to finally really start doing something! Thank you, too, for your encouragement: “As long as we are still breathing, it’s never to late to start.” And the rest, because it’s only in the last year or so that I’ve really begun to feel that I am enough and it’s ok that I can’t fix the world single-handedly! :-) And your second response just made me cry, so thank you for that. See you soon, and much love back to you! xoxo

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