Tag Archives: Art

Something Good

ericmoonoverriver02

image by Eric

1. Loyal dog won’t forget his best friend on Dog Heirs. *sob*

2. House Rule: In These Bodies We Dance from Brittany, Herself. I love the picture at the end. This is what joy looks like.

3. mary jo hoffman :: still from Lisa Congdon. So beautiful.

4. Meet Darcy, The Most Famous (Flying) Hedgehog On Instagram from Bored Panda. So cute.

5. 27 Days: Writing Prompts to Grow Your Powers, for FREE! Here’s an excellent gift you can give YOURSELF for the holidays, 27 Days: Writing Prompts to Grow Your Powers, Laurie Wagner’s 27 Day writing prompt program delivered daily to your inbox. It’s a simple way to keep your writing practice alive during the holidays, and an excellent opportunity to start a practice if you don’t have one. You’re welcome.

6. Architect Bypasses Mortgage Payments, Builds a Tiny Home on My Modern Met. My obsession with tiny houses is not that I want to live in one, (my house is only a little over 1000 square feet, so I’m in a pretty small space already), but that I want something like this in my backyard, to use as a studio, class, guest space.

ericmoonoverriver7. 9 ways to cope with loss during the holidays from Positively Present.

8. Maybe there is really only ONE story in life – the story of learning to be real on Unabashedly Female. (P.S. I haven’t watched the video at the end).

9. How ‘hygge’ can help you get through winter.

10. Mom’s memory lives on in sweet dad, daughter photos.

11. ‘Tis The Season To Be… Mindful on Huffington Post.

12. From Patti Digh: your daily rock : go forward and your daily rock : tell it like it is and your daily rock : burn those jeans! and your daily rock : live like you are dying.

13. Nathan loves Bella….(sweet little boy loving a special pitbull), a CNN iReport.

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image by Eric

14. what if girls were rewarded for being authentic instead of being thin? from Justine Musk.

15. Indoor S’mores on Dessert for Two. Oh my…

16. ‘Christmas Jammies’ Rockets Holderness Family To Viral Video Fame on Huffington Post.

17. 139. BRENÉ BROWN: The Woman in the Arena from Zen Pencils.

18. Magical Photographs Follow the Lives and Friendship of Two Argentine Girls on Feature Shoot.

19. What I’ve Been Reading: 2013, a great list from Marianne Elliott.

20. The Daring Interview Series: Meet Elizabeth Gilbert from Brene’ Brown.

21. When is the best time to create? from Paul Jarvis.

22. Good stuff from MindBodyGreen: 10 Ways To Scare Your Friends & Family Away From Yoga (Funny) and Want To Find Your Purpose But Have No Idea What It Is? Read This.

23. Stuff to think about from Austin Kleon: On the “death” of blogging and Forget setting goals and commit to a process.

image by Eric

image by Eric

24. The Year’s Best Books on Writing and Creativity from Brain Pickings.

25. Gift to the Soul: The Space of Presence, Tara Brach on Huffington Post, in which she says,

When we’re speeding along, we violate our own natural rhythms in a way that prevents us from listening to our inner life and being in a resonant field with others. We get tight. We get small. We override our capacity to appreciate beauty, to celebrate, to serve from the heart.

26. Want To Quit Blogging? Read This First! from Gala Darling, in which she says,

A blog isn’t just a blog: it is a chronicle of your life, and just like your soul, it is constantly evolving.

27. Short answers to big questions from Alexandra Franzen.

28. 10 Artists You Should Have Known In 2013 from NPR.

29. 5 Lies You Were Told about Grief and A Self-Made 12-Step Program for Living an Authentic Life from Rebelle Society.

image by Eric

image by Eric

30. Wisdom from Kris Carr on Facebook,

Fear contains powerful messages. When we’re courageous enough to be with what scares us, we can awaken our intuition and create a new path for healing. Whether you’re worried about getting sick, you’re currently dealing with a health issue, or you’re scared and struggling in other areas of your life, don’t judge your fears, invite them to tea.

It’s common to belittle our fears and try to pre-maturely cleanse them away. But just because we’re afraid, doesn’t mean we’re toxic or failing or falling off the spiritual wagon. Fear is one of the many colors in our emotional palette, and it’s often there for a reason. There’s nothing weak or less evolved about being frightened. And guess what, you’re not alone. We’re all scared. No one is fearless.

31. Wisdom from Rumi,

Be crumbled.
So wild flowers will come up where you are.
You have been stony for too many years.
Try something different.
Surrender.

32. Family Gatherings: The Ultimate Mindfulness Training Ground from Zen Habits.

image by Eric

image by Eric

33. Me, the universe, and Javier Bardem from Judy Clement Wall.

34. 3 Ways to Prepare for Career Change on Create as Folk.

35. All feelings are mutual on Superhero Life.

36. 15 Best Photos of the Day of 2013 on Tree Hugger.

37. Wisdom from Rilke,

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.

38. Teachers, writers, speakers: On confidence and owning your true authority from Susan Piver.

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image by Eric

39. Wisdom from Cheryl Strayed,

Nobody’s going to do your life for you. You have to do it yourself, whether you’re rich or poor, out of money or raking it in, the beneficiary of ridiculous fortune or terrible injustice. And you have to do it no matter what is true. No matter what is hard. No matter what unjust, sad, sucky things have befallen you. Self-pity is a dead-end road. You make the choice to drive down it. It’s up to you to decide to stay parked there or to turn around and drive out.

40. 34 Examples of Installation Art That Don’t Suck on Your Daily Media.

41. How to Visit Your Family Without Going Crazy on Purple Clover, which shares these quotes,

“How shall the heart be reconciled to its feast of losses?” asks Stanley Kunitz in a poem.

and

Thomas Merton, the great Benedictine monk, captured this paradox succinctly. “Prayer and love are learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible and heart has turned to stone,” he wrote.

42. An Elderly Couple Took The Same Photo Every Season. But Nothing Could Prepare Me For The Last One on Viral Nova.

image by Eric

image by Eric

43. 8 Ways to Encourage a Meaningful New Year on Be More With Less.

44. In Marriage, Beware of Big Boxes on Modern Love from The New York Times.

45. Fortyhood: Why You’re Too Old to Have a Baby After 40 on Huffington Post.

46. Wisdom from Roy L. Smith, “He who has not Christmas in his heart
will never find it under a tree.”

47. friday’s confession: I’m slowing down. from Tiffany Han.

48. Belka (Alaskan Malamute/Siberian Husky), our 20 day old pup howling.

49. Shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend list: Life from One Foot Up by Derek (which made me realize Fray is back online), and Quinoa & Brussels Sprout Salad recipe, and Favorite Job Interview Questions, and this video, ‘Female Freedom Has an Expiration Date’ – Being 35 and Single,

50. This Post Secret card.

51. The Answer to All Your Questions…the First Four Words You See Describe You on Elephant Journal. My words were passionate, peaceful, thoughtful, and genuine.

52. 10 Things You Can’t Do AT CHRISTMAS While Following Jesus and 10 Things You Can’t Do While Following Jesus from The God Article.

53. What You Believe About Homosexuality Doesn’t Matter from In the Parlor, which says,

So whatever you believe about homosexuality, keep it to yourself. Instead, try telling a gay kid that you love him and you don’t want him to die. Try inviting her into your church and into your home and into your life. Anything other than that simply doesn’t matter.

54. Homage To Rae Kline, My First Yoga Teacher on Recovering the Body.

55. A Bundle of Joy and Peace: 21 Inspiring Quotations from Thich Nhat Hahn from Always Well Within.

56. Wisdom from Sakyong Mipham, “Open hearts, kindness, and care – these are our most precious gifts.”

57. More wisdom from Rumi, “Don’t think the garden looses it’s ecstasy in winter. It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous.”

image by Eric

image by Eric

58. iPersonic Personality Test. My result was “The Good-natured Realist” which was pretty accurate.

59. 10 Things Food Banks Need But Won’t Ask For.

60. I Don’t Know Where The Rich People Are Who Lived Here, But What They Left Behind Is Frightening on Viral Nova.

61. Heartwarming Photos of SF Zoo’s New Baby Gorilla and Her Doting Grandmother from The Modern Met. There is almost nothing cuter than a baby gorilla.

62. 12 Easy Ways to Make Life Simple Again from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

63. “In an abundance of caution” from Seth Godin.

64. Truthbomb from Danielle Laporte, “Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?”

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image by Eric

Something Good

Frozen City Park Pond

Frozen City Park Pond

1. Let’s make some magic in 2014, Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead workbook.

2. My Word of the Year for 2014 and The Importance of Outtakes! from Vivienne McMaster. She also wrote a wonderful guest post for Rachel Cole.

3. Wisdom from Danna Faulds,

Despite illness of body or mind,
in spite of blinding despair or
habitual belief, who you are
is whole. Let nothing keep you
separate from the truth.

4. Puppy reunited with his dad after being found under rubble 9 days after tornado destroyed home on Dog Heirs, (and his name is Dexter). Every time you read a story like this, the dog’s person always says something like this one did, that he’d lost everything but he was okay because he’d found his dog. When disaster strikes, we don’t care so much about our stuff, we just want our dogs (people, other pets) to be okay.

5. Good stuff from Viral Nova: A Retired Mathematician Found A Rotting Cabin From 1830. What He Did With It Is Perfection. and Here Are The 28 Cutest Things That Have Ever Happened. #20 Made My Entire Year. and See That Tiny Entrance? A Guy Just Went Down There… And You Gotta See What He Found. and This Little Terrier Got That Rottweiler Pregnant. And You’re Gonna Want To See Their Puppies, Trust Me.trust ME, they are stupid cute!

6. Good stuff from Marc and Angel Hack Life: 12 Lies People Love to Tell You and 7 Smart Ways to Deal with Toxic People.

7. Good stuff from Chookooloonks: finding peace and announcing create.2014!

8. Wisdom from Mark Nepo, “No matter how we study or analyze or hone our skills, the greatest teachers have always been love and suffering.”

9. Desire: Hedonism or Happiness? from Jonathan Fields, in which he says,

Sometimes I still need to do the things I hate doing. The things that don’t let me feel the way I want to feel. I don’t entirely buy the fact that if the ride doesn’t feel the way you want to feel at every step along the journey, there’s something wrong.

Especially as a maker, a creator, an entrepreneur. There are times you need to do what you’re least called to do until your endeavor is far enough along to generate the cash, resources, story, energy needed to pay people to do the things that light them up, but empty you out.

10. Marc Johns calls this one life as a tennis racket, but I think you could just call it “Life.”

11. Wisdom from Tulku Thondup,

When I talk about peace, people sometimes mistakenly think that this means detaching yourself from the stream of life. They view peace as if it were something strange, maybe a numbed or sleepy feeling, or being spaced-out and in a different mental zone. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You can be ‘‘peaceful’’ when you are asleep, but that is only the absence of consciousness. The way to truly heal your life is to be awake to its simple joys and to develop an open, welcoming attitude toward all your activities and encounters with other people. You should enjoy yourself and be fully engaged in what you do.

Notice when you feel open and peaceful. Be aware of any feeling of freedom. Awareness is the key. If you are aware of peace, it has a chance to become part of your life. When you feel peaceful, enjoy it. Don’t force your feelings or chase after them or stir up false excitement. There’s no need to grasp. Simply be aware and let the feeling blossom and open. Allow it to expand. Stay with any positive feeling; allow your mind to relax in it. You may find your body feeling peaceful, too. If your breathing feels more relaxed, or you feel a sensation of warmth, pause to notice that as well and enjoy it.

12. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Our habitual patterns are, of course, well established, seductive, and comforting. Just wishing for them to be ventilated isn’t enough. Mindfulness and awareness are key. Do we see the stories that we’re telling ourselves and question their validity? When we are distracted by a strong emotion, do we remember that it is part of our path? Can we feel the emotion and breathe it into our hearts for ourselves and everyone else? If we can remember to experiment like this even occasionally, we are training as a warrior. And when we can’t practice when distracted but know that we can’t, we are still training well. Never underestimate the power of compassionately recognizing what’s going on.

13. Artist Creates Elaborate Non-Photoshopped Scenes in Her Small Studio, amazing and beautiful.

14. Real-Life Fox And The Hound Best Friends Will Melt Your Heart on BuzzFeed. This dog reminds me so much of Dexter.

15. How to Love and be Loved, by a dog on Storyline.

16. before the beginning by Sas Petherick.

17. The 2013 Holiday Gift Guide – Part Three from Rachel Cole.

18. 2013 Meaningful Gift Guide from Create as Folk.

19. Sometimes You Just Need a Snack and a Nap from Curvy Yoga.

20. Kid President’s Holiday Gift Guide.

21. A legacy of Mandela from Seth Godin. My favorite line is, “If you don’t require the journey to be easy or comfortable or safe, you can change the world.”

22. “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”
~Chinese Proverb

23. Good stuff from MindBodyGreen: Why I Don’t Recommend A Vegan, Raw, Paleo Or Gluten-Free Diet and 25 Questions To Ask Yourself Before The End Of The Year and 4 Things Women Need To Stop Apologizing For.

24. Artist weaves delightful ‘bio-sculptures’ & animal habitats out of wood on Tree Hugger.

25. Brené Brown on the Courage to be Vulnerable on the On Being podcast.

26. your daily rock : listen to your life

27. Man’s snow storm ‘bread and milk’ freakout goes viral.

28. Wisdom from Tama J. Kieves

Do not believe your fear. You will not be stuck forever. Things will shift. The way will open. This is a Universe of Love. The only reason it’s hard to trust is because you keep caressing your anxiety instead of moving forward. Take the steps you can take. The light always emerges.

29. The Why We Rescue project is complete, all 50 states are up. This project is one of the best things of 2013.

30. Keep Your Day Job, advice from Austin Kleon.

31. What are you building in the New Year? (Get it down on paper. Start here.) from Alexandra Franzen.

32. From Positively Present Picks: 33 Unusual Tips to Being a Better Writer, (I don’t necessarily agree with all of these), and Spending Time with Some Difficult People over the Holidays? Consider These Tips. and A Beautiful Mess photo app.

33. Give the Gift of Self-Compassion, another post about the Self-Compassion Saturday series.

34. Another round of ZenPen the ecourse is open for registration.

Something Good

Sundancer, by Mark Wagner. Box it sits on was made by his dad and painted by his mom.

Sundancer, by Mark Wagner — box it sits on was made by his dad and painted by his mom.

1. The above painting by Mark Wagner, an amazing artist and a good man. I sat across from this painting when I was at 27 Powers on retreat a few weeks ago, having fallen immediately in love with her.

2. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert, In Defense of Loneliness and Quote of the Day.

3. Our first date was the last day of his life, a tragic and beautiful piece.

4. Kindness Matters on Kind Over Matter. It’s this sort of thing that makes me say one of my practices is dog, and I would hope if I were in the same situation, I could find my way to the same choice.

5. How to Get Flat Abs, Have Amazing Sex and Rule the World in 8 Easy Steps on Huffington Post.

6. How to Let Your Purpose Find You on Harvard Business Review. I’m sharing this because step one is, “Be uncool enough to love.”

???????????????????????????????7. 10 Things to Really Like About Getting Older on Purple Clover.

8. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Type and Stress Heads. I’m an INFJ.

9. Sorry: “working on a novel” is not a business model. A loving reality check — and 26 ways to actually make a living as a wordsmith. from Alexandra Franzen.

10. Audit Yourself to Improve Your Circumstances from Chris Guillebeau.

11. Good stuff from MindBodyGreen: 10 Ways to Live to be 100, and 72 Uses For Simple Household Products To Save Money & Avoid Toxins, and A 5-Year-Old Called Me Fat And Changed My Perspective, and Change Your Life in 2 Seconds.

12. Tonight You Belong to Me (Cover) – Me and my 4 y.o., the sweetest video. May we all have someone who will give us a song to sing when we are scared or worried, even when what we are afraid of isn’t real — especially then.

13. Melissa Carroll’s Technicolor Dream on Narrative.ly.

14. Jimmy Fallon making me smile: Jimmy Fallon’s Latest Lip Sync-Off Was Actually Epic and “#Hashtag” with Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake.

15. From Justine Musk‘s newsletter:

I believe in that place where, as Frederick Buechner once put it, “your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” It’s our quest as individuals to find it: acquiring wisdom along the way, overcoming obstacles (a.k.a “character-building experiences”), letting go of the stuff that no longer serves us so we can evolve into the artists that we need to be and grow a life that feels truly ours.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, a VC, a stay-at-home mom, a yoga teacher, an accountant, an online entrepreneur, a student…or just a seeker of meaning and mystery.

The goal is the same: to live deep, and die empty, as my friend Todd Henry likes to say. Don’t go to your grave with your soul’s work still inside you.

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16. For the Love of Podcasts, a really great list on Scoutie Girl. Also from Scoutie Girl, The Body, Mind, and Space of Self-Care for Creatives — Part 2: The Mind.

17. A Weightless Year from Rachel Cole.

18. Daily Truthbomb from Danielle LaPorte, “You don’t have to believe in that.”

19. Wisdom from Finn Butler, shared by Laura Simms in her Create as Folk newsletter,

Everyone who terrifies you is sixty-five percent water. And everyone you love is made of stardust, and I know sometimes you cannot even breathe deeply, and the night sky is no home, and you have cried yourself to sleep enough times that you are down to your last two percent, but nothing is infinite, not even loss. You are made of the sea and the stars, and one day you are going to find yourself again.

20. Emerging Women Livestream 2013, A FREE, Four-day Video Event to Empower Women Around the World. Some of my favorite women are going to be speaking.

21. Writing as Dog. Word.

purplepetalalley-e137942051019322. One cute thing, Cute Corgi puppy excited to play with new toy (VIDEO), and one sad thing, Emotional farewell between loving man and his first dog, (Gracie had the same kind of cancer Dexter did), from Dog Heirs, one of my new favorite websites.

23. KID PRESIDENT CHALLENGE: Spread Joy!

24. Wisdom from the Dalai Lama,

Some people consider the practice of love and compassion is only related to religious practice and if they are not interested in religion they neglect these inner values. But love and compassion are qualities that human beings require just to live together.

25. attention: emotional amoebas – find your edges from Sas Petherick.

26. your daily rock : go directly to the source.

27. Have I told you lately how much I adore Mary Oliver? Here’s another reason why, from Parker Palmer: “A couple of years ago, I was lucky to hear Mary Oliver read her poetry. After the reading, someone in the audience asked her, ‘What is the purpose of beauty?’ Her simple but remarkable answer was, ‘We need beauty because it makes us ache to be worthy of it.’”

28. 20 Images That Prove Kids Are Weird from Pleated Jeans.

29. Shared by Tammy in her Happy Links list on Rowdy Kittens: Worthy on The Minimalists, and Ebb and Flow from Courtney Carver, and Overcoming Writer’s Block on Medium.

30. Good stuff from Tiny Buddha, Where True Happiness Comes From: How We Gain by Having Less and 6 Tips to Release Anxiety to Feel Calm and Free.

Something Good (Part Two)

oaklandbayviewAs promised, here’s Part Two of the list.

1. What Work Do Millenials Want to Do? by Lodro Rinzler on Huffington Post.

2. 8 Truths to Getting Unstuck and Reclaiming Your Freedom from Deva Coaching.

3. Looking to start a yoga practice, need a teacher but don’t want to leave the house? Yogaglo might be worth checking out.

4. Taped Rai – Shadow of The Sun, such a beautiful song.

5. I’ve Gained Weight. Now What Am I Gonna Do? from Drop It and Eat.

6. How To Find Your Calling on MindBodyGreen.

7. The Best Examples of Street Art from 2012. I may have shared this before, but it’s cool enough to do it again.

8. 10 Inspiring Bookshops around the World. This is what’s known in my tribe as book porn.

9. Wisdom from Rumi, “I have been a seeker and still am, but I stopped asking books and the stars. I started listening to the teaching of my soul.”

10. Kid Recites Bible – Then Busts Out George Strait During Pre-School Graduation. Right on, little dude.

harbor11. Good stuff from Be More with Less: I Want to Punch Perfection in the Face and 6 Blogs to Inspire Simplicity and Minimalism.

12. Less Clicking, More Making from Marc Johns.

13. Feeling drrrrrained by emails, blogs, newsletters — the whole Internet? Take back your power. from Alexandra Franzen.

14. The Shero’s School for Revolutionaries with Jen Louden. Lots of wisdom from lots of good people, for free.

15. Important questions from Ram Dass,

Ask yourself: Where am I?
Answer: Here.

Ask yourself: What time is it?
Answer: Now.

Say it until you can hear it.

16. I Am A Yogi on MindBodyGreen.

portofsanfran17. Good stuff from Marc and Angel Hack Life: 7 Miserable Choices You Make Too Often and 9 Things You Do NOT Need to Be Happy.

18. ten-to-go: in the kitchen, on SF Girl by Bay. Beautiful and yummy kitchen items.

19. Truthbomb from Danielle LaPorte, “You have what you need.”

20. 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…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, 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 a time. You can do it. You are LOVED.

oaklandbayview0221. A poem from Rainer Maria Rilke, Go to the Limits of Your Longing,

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Embody me.

Flare up like a flame
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

sanfranbridge0222. 10 Things You Should Do Every Day, on Elephant Journal. Again, I’ve shared this before but it’s important enough to take another look.

23. The Art of Decluttering on MindBodyGreen.

24. Me, Myself, & I from Rachel Cole.

25. Note from the Universe,

Nobody, Jill, is who they are based upon one decision, one day, one path, one chance, one relationship, or one anything else. Every day is brand new and opportunity never stops knocking.

26. Perspective from Dawn Dalili.

27. Can I Feel Your Soul Through Your Work? from Jonathan Fields. Word.

28. Everyday Icons: The Writer, an interview with Alexandra Franzen, and a follow-up blog post, Yet another (astonishingly simple) way to write your own bio.

berkeleymural29. Your Story Matters, in which Jen Louden references the workshop we did together this weekend, and makes an incredibly important point — maybe the most important point of all.

30. 8 Creativity Lessons from a Pixar Animator on Zen Habits.

31. Neil Gaiman’s Advice to Aspiring Writers on Brain Pickings.

32. A Chat with Inspired and Unstoppable Tama Kieves on The Mojo Lab.

33. the art of thinking highly of yourself by Justine Musk.

berkeleymural0234. Woman Secretly Filmed Dancing at Bus Stop Lands Prestigious Theater Gig on Gawker. This video makes me all kinds of happy. The fact that it has a happy ending is a bonus.

35. I am buying Sam an elephant, and here’s why: No Friendship Can Compare To This One Between A Dog And An Elephant on Buzzfeed and Elephant and dog best friends love playing in the water together (VIDEO).

36. Tears, Tails, Dickey and Duane from Susan Piver. Just one more reason I love her.

37. San Francisco Adventures! from Vivienne McMaster.

Self-Compassion Saturday: Kristin Noelle

I am so pleased to be introducing you to Kristin Noelle’s perspective on self-compassion today, kind and gentle reader. She is every bit as kind and gentle as you, is the most generous, warm-hearted person. Time and time again she has offered me inspiration and comfort, freely and without ever having met me. Just yesterday, she made a video Trust Note that was exactly what I needed to hear.

Kristin describes herself this way, “I’m a trust coach. I write, speak, teach, make art, and listen deeply, all to help trust grow,” because “I see trust as our world’s most potent source of transformation.” She describes her Trust Tending work as “nourishing Life beyond fear.”

KristinNoelle1. What does self-compassion mean, what is it? How would you describe or define it?

When I think of self-compassion, I often hear in my mind a line from Sarah McLachlan’s song “Adia”: We are born innocent. And then further, We are *still* innocent. We make messes of things absolutely, and hurt ourselves and one another in all sorts of ways. But at heart, I believe we’re each, given our genetic make-up and life experiences, doing the best we can.

The more closely I look at the harm we cause and the messes we make, the more I see scared, childlike parts of us just responding like children do. Which elicits something so different than judgment for me. I feel sadness about the fear, and sometimes anger at all that causes fear to take root. But my basic stance toward those scared, childlike parts is kindness.

Self-compassion is me extending this kindness, and this confidence in my core innocence, to my own self – even when I wish my feelings or actions or nature could be different.

whocanfathom

art by Kristin Noelle

2. How did you learn self-compassion? Did you have a teacher, a guide, a path, a resource, a book, a moment of clarity or specific experience?

In my early twenties (I’m nearing 40 now), I suffered the loss of my childhood faith. By that I don’t mean faith *in general*, but a particular worldview I’d known and been devoted to since childhood. That loss so befuddled family, friends, and mentors, that I found myself, quite shockingly to my good-girl self, making a choice between maintaining the approval of so many I cared about, and honoring my own soul. I chose the latter.

Something about that experience cracked me wide open. It was so unexpected and painful, and preceded by such pure-hearted devotion, that I felt like my eyes got totally remade. Instead of the lines I’d previously seen around “good” and “bad”, “holy” and “profane”, I started to see the childlike innocence in everyone around me: in myself, as I pursued truth and integrity the best ways I knew how; in those around me at the time, whose religious identities and experiences caused them to think me gone astray; in those who had no context to understand or appreciate the misery my loss of faith was causing me.

I more readily saw with eyes of compassion than ever before.

Through that time and all these many years since, many authors and teachers put words to this deep innocence I started to see, deepening my sense of it. These included poets David Whyte and Mary Oliver; novelists Shusaku Endo, Chaim Potok, Paulo Coelho, Sue Monk Kidd; memoirists Etty Hillesum, Will Campbell, Karen Armstrong, Anne Lammott, Rachel Naomi Remen; philosophers Rene Girard, Jacque Ellul; psychologists/psychotherapists Carl Jung, Richard Schwartz, Carol Dweck; Buddhist/spiritual teachers Pema Chodron, Jack Kornfield, Adyashanti, Meher Baba.

I’m sure I’m forgetting more folks who have shaped me deeply.

art by Kristin Noelle

art by Kristin Noelle

3. How do you practice self-compassion, what does that experience look like for you?

Self-compassion takes many forms for me, but I think they all begin with consciousness – getting conscious of judgmental, critical, or shame-based thoughts about myself. The more I practice awareness, even when I don’t follow up on that awareness with self-kindness, the more I feel myself changing. I feel much more resilient now than I was five or ten or even one year ago, for example – much more able to shift out of non-compassion and into compassion once I notice myself lacking it.

I consider thoughts like, “Huh. I’m being critical of myself right now,” totally worth celebrating.

art by Kristin Noelle

art by Kristin Noelle

4. What do you still need to learn, to know, to understand? What is missing from your practice of self-compassion, what do you still struggle with?

I struggle to accept my pace a lot – related to goals around work, goals around my yard and home, changes I’d like to make in habits and relationships. My pace feels slower than I’d wish it to be. I imagine myself looking back on the me of today with so much compassion for the shame I feel around that, and the suffering that my impatience with myself causes me.

kristinselfieI don’t know about you, but I feel calmer, more peaceful simply reading Kristin’s answers, looking at her art, seeing her kind smile — this is the impact her work, her presence, her offerings always have on me, and why I am filled with so much gratitude and love for her, today and always. To find out more about Kristin, to connect with her:

Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Anna Guest-Jelley.

P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning.

Something Good

1. Can We Gain Strength From Shame? Brene’ Brown on NPR.

2. What if forgiveness isn’t about forgiving? Thoughts on consciously relating to people who have hurt you. from Danielle LaPorte.

3. Danielle LaPorte Daily Truthbomb: “Forget about being impressive and commit to being real.”

4. Part of a community… from Seth Godin.

5. Shifting Tides by Dani Shapiro on Positively Positive.

6. A Letter From Fred by Green Shoe Studio, “A short documentary telling a poignant story of life, love and music.”

7. Wisdom from Elizabeth Berg on Facebook,

I just heard from a woman who was in my Chicago workshop. She greatly improved an essay she wrote by taking the risk to go deeper, then deeper still. She got to a truth she’d been hiding from, and it made all the difference. It was painful for her to write and to read aloud, but we all were stuck with the beauty of what she did, and even though we had not been through what she described, we resonated to her words. I think that’s because we’re all struggling with one thing or another here on planet Earth, and when we read about someone telling the truth about what they’re struggling with, it makes us all feel better. The Beatles were right when they said all you need is love. And I believe that part of love is telling the deepest truths about yourself, at least to yourself. It’s not easy. It’s something that for most of us is always a work in progress. But it’s worth it to try.

I get the image, sometimes, of all of humanity on a spaceship, in deepest darkness. But in the spaceship, the light is on, because of what we mean to and do for each other. And in that vast darkness, the light travels far.

8. Official video for Mary Lambert’s She Keeps Me Warm.

9. The perfectionism cure from Everyday Bright, “In this short video, I reveal the surprisingly simple method my daughter came up with to help us both overcome our perfectionism. I talk about how we eventually became comfortable with risk and, more importantly, with ourselves.”

10. 10 Times Calvin And Hobbes Broke Your Heart on BuzzFeed.

11. Ideaphoria: How to Enjoy The Wild Ride of Your Creativity on Scoutie Girl.

12. Got a big dream? Start with one room. from Alexandra Franzen.

13. How To Tell People What You Do — And Be Remembered on Forbes.

14. 6 Powerful Truths to Start Telling Yourself and 8 Things Unhappy People Refuse to Admit from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

15. The Five Languages of Body Love from Rachel Cole.

16. Chat & Chew with Kate Northrup – Money: A Love Story on KrisCarr TV.

17. Interview with Andrea Scher, by Carolan Deacon.

18. Unravel Yourself: Rachel W Cole on Inner Wisdom and Authenticity, an interview with Rachel on Achieve the Impossible.

19. Awesome free event from Omega: FIND YOUR OWN STRENGTH, Live Stream Event with Elizabeth Lesser in Conversation with Brené Brown and Joan Halifax Roshi, September 20, 2013, 8:00pm – 9:30pm.

20. Tig Notaro On Going ‘Live’ About Her Life on NPR, an older interview with one of my favorite comediennes. She’s coming to Boulder in December.

21. random thoughts: the need for analog on Chookooloonks.

22. Moments on Mystic Vixen, (it was her dog Henry I was talking about yesterday).

23. A Tiny Poem to the World from Kid President.

24. Rescued pit bull works as a therapy dog.

25. Read this, next time you want to give up on making a difference, from Marianne Elliott.

26. From Elephant Journal: The Cutest Damn Wedding Video, Ever, and “This is a young girl who wanted her picture taken with her makeshift hula hoop, playing at a dark & depressing charcoal factory in Manila. Hope is everywhere,” and Instructions for a Bad Day, and Eulogy for an Abandoned Black Dog.

27. The Last Séance by Deborah Thompson.

28. 20 Marriage Tips Everyone Needs to Know, written by a guy who just got divorced.

29. Why you shouldn’t be a writer by Rebecca Dickson.

30. 10 Ways to Create a Meaningful Ceremony from Pixie Campbell.

31. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

32. Ten Tough Truths About Cancer from the Atlantic.

33. From Happy Links on Rowdy Kittens, Where Bloggers Blog.

34. Bill Watterson’s Uplifting Advice To College Grads, Illustrated In ‘Calvin & Hobbes’ Style. on Huffington Post.

35. On Not Feeling Alone from Lisa Congdon.

36. Wisdom from Nancy D. Solomon, “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.”

37. The Pursuit Of Bravery from Method & Scribe on Vimeo, (shared by Brave Love on Facebook).

38. From Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list,

And,

40. Collaborating with a 4-year Old on the busy mockingbird.

41. “Downton Abbey” Season 4 Trailer Is Here! on BuzzFeed.

42. Into the Woods, a beautiful picture I saw on Reddit.

Self-Compassion Saturday: Courtney Putnam

I am posting late today, kind and gentle reader. I went hiking with my boys this morning, a long and quiet time together, space and silence that I sorely needed. This post was waiting for me to write it, but I knew that if anyone would understand the choice to be out in the green instead, it would be my dear friend Courtney Putnam.

I haven’t actually met Courtney in person, and yet she’s one of my favorite people, a true friend. A few years ago, a piece of her art was selected for the cover of a reader being used in the English Department at Colorado State University, and the Composition Program director at the time, friends with Courtney’s mom, told me, “you and Courtney need to know each other.” We became friends on Facebook, and the connection was immediate and true. We have lots in common, but more than that, Courtney is pure magic, pure medicine, full of courage and love and joy.

Courtney describes herself this way, “Solopreneur of Rising Bird Healing Arts in Seattle, WA. Massage therapist, Reiki Master, Intrinsic Coach®, artist, writer, teacher,” a Creative Healing Artist.

I told her when she emailed her responses to these questions, “As with every interaction, every time we connect, every time you touch or encourage or inspire me or make me smile, I feel the deepest longing, make a wish that we were closer, that some day, some day…” Some day we will meet, have a long conversation over tea, but for today I am so happy to share her perspective on self-compassion with you, a thing both powerful and gentle.

courtneyom1. What does self-compassion mean, what is it? How would you describe or define it?

I love that the word “compass” is nestled in that word compassion. So is the word “passion.”  In self-compassion, the compass points to yourself; the passion for self-understanding is part of our mission. Self-compassion is self-love, self-empathy, self-mercy. Self-compassion is the act of saying YES to yourself, of sending the message “I matter,” and of experiencing self-love even when self-loathing has the louder voice.

For me, self-compassion is making room for all that I am, even with my struggles, illnesses, challenges, pain, and insecurities. Self-compassion says, “That’s okay, I still love you” to pain even when pain writes me a letter that says, “Dear Courtney, I hate you. Yours, Pain.”

TrustYourself by Courtney Putnam

TrustYourself by Courtney Putnam

2. How did you learn self-compassion? Did you have a teacher, a guide, a path, a resource, a book, a moment of clarity or specific experience?

The human body has been my primary teacher in my journey with self-compassion. The body forgives us, doesn’t hold grudges, and is constantly working to create equilibrium for us. It does this naturally, innately, and autonomically. We don’t need to ask our bodies to work on our behalf: it does so with complete humility and love.

I have been a bodywork practitioner for over eleven years, and I have had the honor of working with people and their amazing, wise, truth-telling bodies. What I have learned is that the body we inhabit knows only self-compassion and self-acceptance, even though our minds often don’t. We can be very hard on our bodies – not only in how we ask a lot out of them physically, but also in the way we think about and talk to them.  And we can ignore the messages of the body completely, which makes the body’s self-healing/self-compassion system have to work harder.

ScarMatrix by Courtney Putnam

ScarMatrix by Courtney Putnam

The body is a barometer for how we are doing and in my work I see the deep interconnection between the mind and body. Our bodies want to be acknowledged. It’s a very simple process, but sometimes hard to do because we have so many thoughts and feelings in the way – worry, anxiety, self-loathing, grief, sadness.

Here’s an example of how self-compassion is my teacher and guide during my sessions:

When there is tension or pain, I place my hands where I feel stuckness and I ask my client, “What is here?” or “What is it like for you right in this spot?”

I hear answers like,  “My grief lives here. It’s spreading like wildfire. It’s red. Burning, burning.”

I ask: “What does this spot want?  Listen.  Allow the messages to come….”

Client: “It wants air, moist cool air. It wants to cool down. It wants me to cool down. My grief needs room to breathe. It doesn’t like being contained in the fire.”

Me: “Let’s give this place cool, moist air then, okay? Imagine your next breath is cool air filling your whole chest, soothing everything.” [I place my hands on my client’s diaphragm and ribs.]

Client: [She breathes a few times. The body receives the acknowledgment of the pain, of the hot grief, the constriction -- and in response to the attention and intention, the breath deepens, the heart opens. Tears flow.] “I have more room now. The red is turning green with pink on the edges.” [Another big breath surfaces naturally.]

Me: “Now what does this spot in your body have to tell you? What are you noticing?”

Client: “I hear ‘Thank you’ coming from the grief. And the grief isn’t burning through me. It’s more like it’s flowing like a river. It’s cooler, softer.” [My client’s body whole body softens.] “I also hear that I’m okay, even with this grief, right in this moment I am okay.”

LetEverythingGo by Courtney Putnam

LetEverythingGo by Courtney Putnam

The body loves to be heard and our act of listening deeply and asking what our bodies want or need to tell us is self-compassion embodied.

Compassionate transformation happens when we notice + ask what is needed + listen + breathe in what is needed.

3. How do you practice self-compassion, what does that experience look like for you?

My self-compassion practice has many incarnations, including …

… asking my body what it needs and then obliging its request

… dancing to KC and the Sunshine Band in the living room wearing sequins and feathers

… napping with  my cat Selkie (in the middle of the day, even when it is beautiful out)

courtneyandselkie

Courtney and Selkie

… crying while creating mixed media collages and listening to Sigur Ros

… writing YOU ARE OKAY in dry erase marker on my bathroom mirror

… reciting these mantras when I feel anxious: “ride the wave, it will pass” and “just be with it, don’t resist”

… saying “no” to going to an event or party

courtneygrateful4. What do you still need to learn, to know, to understand? What is missing from your practice of self-compassion, what do you still struggle with?

Oh goodness, there are oceans and caverns and mountains I still need to learn when it comes to self-compassion.  For starters, it is much easier for me to help others with self-compassion than it is to help myself.  Helping my clients, my friends and my family with self-love and self-healing comes naturally, but when it comes to my own self-nurturing, I have to work at it.  I know a lot of people in the helping professions would agree with me on this. We often give and give and neglect to receive. We can fray at the edges, feel the weight of other people’s problems, and exhaust ourselves. We neglect to ask for help or to take the time to give ourselves the same attention we give to others.  I have to be very attuned to my own body’s messages – and learn to take breaks, say “no,” or ask for support from others. As of this writing, I am giving myself a huge helping of self-compassion: I am taking a summer sabbatical from my bodywork practice to recharge, recalibrate, and soak up some self-nurturing time. I hear my body gently whispering yes yes yes.

courtneygentleI am so filled with gratitude and love for Courtney, for taking the time to share her responses, for doing the work she does, for being just who she is. As I told her, I so needed to hear her talk about the body being connected to the practice of self-compassion, and when I read this the first time, “We don’t need to ask our bodies to work on our behalf: it does so with complete humility and love,” it made me have to pause and cry a little.

To find out more about Courtney, to connect with her:

Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Tammy Strobel.

P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning.