Tag Archives: Julia Fehrenbacher

Something Good

Lory State Park, image by Eric

Lory State Park, image by Eric

So great to be partnering with Wanderlust to share this list with a larger audience.

1. December Reflections with Susannah Conway. “This project has no real rules – the idea is to simply take a photograph every day(ish) for the whole of December. That’s it. Pause, look around you and shoot what you see. Reflect on how the year’s gone down. Enjoy a bit of mindful creativity in the run up to the new year.” 31 photo prompts, three ways to share your pictures. I’m in!


2. An Ancient Chinese Ginkgo Tree Drops an Ocean of Golden Leaves. This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

3. 29 Playlists To Listen To When Everything Sucks. I haven’t listened to any of these yet because I can’t stop listening to Adele’s new album, but when I do, I will.

4. F*ck That: A Guided Meditation. This has been floating around for a bit, and I finally listened to it. *gigglesnort*

5. How Lowering Your Standards Leads to Greatness from Jen Louden. I’m always open to lowering the bar. In this post, Jen gives us permission.

6. You are Allowed, from Mara Glatzel’s latest newsletter. This is the kind of thing you should print out and hang on the fridge. Click the link she includes to hear her read the list to you, close your eyes and listen to all the things you are allowed. And when you are done, go sign up for her newsletter for more of this sort of goodness.

7. A Little Guide for More Comfort and Joy from Be More With Less. Courtney consistently writes things I have to share. I feel like she’s a version of me, wiser and more compassionate with a simpler more fulfilling life, some years down the road sending me messages from my possible future, reminding me to not give up, to keep trying.

8. Body Gratitude Print Out for the Holidays from Curvy Yoga. What a great practice.

9. How to be generous from Danielle LaPorte. It’s funny to me how the antidote to poverty mentality, a feeling of scarcity, is to give more away, to let things go, to have less, to be more generous.

10. Breathe, an offering from the wonderful Julia Fehrenbaucher, “an eleven week, (self-directed), deep breathing, creative recovery retreat for your spirit.”

11. The Biggest Legal Mistake Freelancers Make from Paul Jarvis.

12. How To Read A Book. I developed a bad habit of reading multiple books at a time while I was in graduate school, but according to this list, that means I’m doing it right.

13. Two Dog Pals Separated At The Shelter End Up In The Same Loving Home. This makes me so happy. And, I have a serious crush on Mr. Riley!

14. I Quit My Boring Office Job To Start Making Mini Paintings On Recycled Wood. I’m glad. She makes some beautiful things.

15. I Doodle Introvert Comics To Express How I Feel. Love these! Her website is great too.

16. Scientists now think that being overweight can protect your health. Oh, snap!

17. #whatayogilookslike: Spotlight on Laura Sharkey.

18. Why this woman’s “badass undie” selfie is starting a viral movement.

19. Adam Kurtz, a great artist interview on Lisa Congdon’s blog.

20. ‘You Can’t Prepare Yourself’: A Conversation With Adele. Because, I’m obsessed.

21. Jimmy Fallon, Adele & The Roots Sing “Hello” (w/Classroom Instruments). Seriously: my brain = all Adele, all the time. Her voice here gives me goosebumps.

22. Sensitive-The Untold Story, a documentary.

23. Move Over Turducken, PIECAKEN Is The Dish To Beat This Thanksgiving. I don’t know how to feel about this…

24. 75 inspiring gratitude prompts from Positively Present. These would be great journal prompts or conversation starters.

25. December Encouragement Notes from Esmé Weijun Wang. This is a free offering. “I’m making this because I think we all need a little extra push and a little extra comfort in December, and because I’m grateful to all of you who make this online space something to be excited about.”

26. What is Literature for?

27. The World Will Be Saved By Waffles, a beautiful post by Erica Staab, which she ends with, “When we can offer a soft place to land for those we love, when we can share with one another our little acts of love, we light up the world. And we could all use a little more light in the world.”

28. Chronic Dieting: The Socially Acceptable Eating Disorder. I lived this, could have written this post, but since I didn’t, I’m so glad Caroline Dooner did.

29. The Real Difference Between Artists and Everyone Else. Spoiler alert: “Making things makes you an artist.”

30. My sister is a heroin addict. This isn’t my exact story, but I’m living a version of this and it sucks.

31. Pet Every Single Dog. This event on Facebook is so perfect. I’m in!

32. Flora Bowley’s Bloom True ecourse. “Enjoy 25% off my five-week, deep dish, transformational, painting course now through December 1st, and savor the freshly designed course at your own pace for one full year. You can also give this as the most rocking gift ever! Use coupon code: btgratitude to receive your discount.”

33. 24 Tweets That Will Make Every Nurse Laugh Out Loud.

34. World’s Largest Spice Company to Go Organic and Non-GMO by 2016. Cool.

35. Wisdom from Jeff Foster, “Heaven is this moment. Hell is the burning desire for this moment to be different. It’s that simple.” It’s also that complicated.

36. The Power in Writing About Yourself.

37. Love List Selfie, a little project and short interview I did with my dear friend Sherry Richert Belul.

38. Dharma of Writing Group a great offering from Susan Piver and Kate Lila Wheeler.

The Dharma of Writing is an ongoing two-hour online monthly gathering designed to help you enter your own writing with the support and companionship of other writers…At each session, we will practice meditation together and then actually write. Each person will work on his or her own project with the quiet, supportive companionship of writers all over the world. We will convene using the video conference platform, Zoom. Sessions will be recorded and links sent to all, so if you can’t join live you can still participate.

39. Wisdom from poet Andrea Gibson, (thanks to Jessica for the original share),

Just to be clear
I don’t want to get out
without a broken heart.
I intend to leave this life
so shattered
there better be a thousand separate heavens
for all of my separate parts.

40. This Man’s Wife Cries About Absolutely Anything So He Started Writing The Reasons Down.

40. Neil Gaiman and Georgina Chapman – Donate to UNHCR – UN Refugee Agency. “Together with UNHCR, international best-selling author, Neil Gaiman, and co-founder and designer of Marchesa, Georgina Chapman, are developing a storytelling project highlighting the Syrian refugee crisis.”

41. Couple Lets Their Dog Film Their Wedding And The Result Is Better Than Most Wedding Videos.

42. How to get out of a rut. Good advice.

Something Good

oldtownalleySo great to be partnering with Wanderlust to share this list with a larger audience.

1. This American Was Shocked When His Facebook Post About England Went Viral. “A few weeks ago he visited England, and he decided to share his observations on Facebook.” This list is both interesting and funny.

2. Wildlife is absolutely thriving at Chernobyl disaster site.

3. Living a Full Life, a dharma teaching from Natalie Goldberg. “A writer, for better or for worse, gets to live life twice.”

4. This offensive photo sparked a whole lot of love for the boy who deserved better.

5. It’s here and it’s being claimed “The first zero-waste grocery store in the world.”

6. Nutritower is a vertical farm for your tiny condo.

7. The Just F*cking Journal Class: October 12th-16th. “5 days. 5 fresh prompts. 5 ways to get present with YOU.” This is a great opportunity, a great practice — FREE.

8. Wisdom from Mara Glatzel, on the page for her The Deep Exhale offering, something I needed to hear so badly I signed up for it,

When we are well-rested, well-nourished, and well-loved we are able to show up in the world to do the work that we were put on the planet to do with ease and grace. It really is that simple and yet, so many of us tie ourselves up in knots believing that working hard(er) is the only way forward.

9. Begin Again: How Yoga Unlocks the Writer Within from Dani Shapiro, in which she says,

The writing life is painstakingly slow. We toil invisibly, tearing our hair out, steam escaping from our ears, our hearts frozen in fear, our poor small selves so full of the tension of what we hope to express and the impossibility of ever getting it exactly right. It’s just about unbearable, which is why we look to our totems to help us along the way. But perhaps the wisdom we crave isn’t to be found inside those objects we imbue with magic and meaning. Perhaps—just perhaps—to quote Woolf once more, “We are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself.”

10. Squirrel Rescued After Hurricane Becomes Family’s Cutest Member. A squirrel named Jill.

11. The True Secret of Writing: A Talk With Natalie Goldberg, wisdom from one of my favorite teachers.

12. #3bravethings : Have You Done 3 Brave Things in 2015 Yet? from Diana Dellos.

13. Money Talks with Jill Salahub I love the Money Talks series on Mabel Magazine with the lovely Sherry Richert Belul, and was so happy when she asked me to take part. It’s so timely, because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I make my living.

14. The Simple Technique that Changed My Life on Elephant Journal. This article explains why I meditate better than almost anything I’ve ever read.

Our tendency at grasping for the next thing to fill a hole that we perceive in our being is demonstrated in our thoughts during meditation practice. By cutting the pattern of discursive thought we learn to relax and just be. We can actually sit and be content. But, we’re not doing all of this to just be good little meditators, or to have short reprieves during our day from our constant state of anxiety and dissatisfaction. We’re doing this during our sitting time so that it begins to affect our entire life.

15. The corporatization of higher education: With a system that caters to the 1 percent, students and faculty get screwed. I could only read this in short doses. It’s so true, so disappointing, that it makes me feel sick.

This exploitation of low-wage faculty is part of what’s known as the corporatization of higher education. Increasingly, both public and private colleges are being run on the cost-cutting model of American business. Which presents a burning question: If faculty are being paid less, class sizes are growing and tuition is higher than ever, where is the money going?

16. Dog Refuses To Leave The Side Of Man Who Saved Him From Flood. This story had me in tears.

17. This Is What You Should Eat. Any Questions? This is so great, highlights how hard it can be to know what to eat when we listen to something other than our own body, our own inherent wisdom. And, it’s funny at the same time.

18. Instead of a ‘dislike’ button, Facebook tests new set of reaction emojis.

19. Mom’s Viral Facebook Post Offers Powerful Message After Miscarriage, “Scars tell stories. Scars mean survival. Scars mean you showed up for the fight instead of running from it.”

20. Awake in the World, 2nd Annual Online Free Event, November 4th – 8th. Last year this was great, and this year promises to be the same. So many great teachers.

21. Raise Your Hand Say Yes with Austin Kleon. A great podcast, a great guest.

22. The Brutal Economics of Being a Yoga Teacher.

23. Good stuff from this week’s Positively Present Picks list: 25 Hilarious Tweets That Perfectly Capture Your Feelings About Animals, and 5 Positive Reasons for Saying No, and The Two Best Ways to Uncover Your Truth.

24. Austin Kleon on Mary Karr’s new book, The Art of Memoir.

25. the shutterbugs: kate holstein on SF Girl by Bay. Such dreamy pictures. I clicked through to her full website and got lost in it.

26. 5 Ways to Manage Stress at Work, some great tips from Laura Simms, who is also offering Your Career Homecoming Training Series videos for FREE on her new website.

27. The Crossroads of Should and Must. “This is a story about two roads — Should and Must. It’s a pep talk for anyone who’s chosen Should for far too long — months, years, maybe a lifetime — and feels like it’s about time they gave Must a shot.” This post ended up inspiring a book that I really want to read.

28. Why you should stop saying should on Positively Present. Stop shoulding all over yourself.

29. Wisdom from Anam Thubten,

If we were asked to be free right now, to jump into the sea of love in this very moment, we might turn our attention inward and try it, and it may not work. Why? Because of a hindrance, a block. That block is the very sense of “I am” that is the false image of who we are. It is the shell that is veiling, covering our true nature. So the goal of all spiritual endeavors is to actually realize the enlightened part of who we are, not sometime in the future, but right now.

30. Wisdom from Kiki Smith,

Just do your work. And if the world needs your work it will come and get you. And if it doesn’t, do your work anyway. You can have fantasies about having control over the world, but I know I can barely control my kitchen sink. That is the grace I’m given. Because when one can control things, one is limited to one’s own vision.

31. The Geography Of Sorrow: Francis Weller On Navigating Our Losses.

32. Claritude from Jena Schwartz.

33. Breathe, an eleven week, (self-directed), deep breathing, creative recovery retreat for your spirit with the lovely Julia Fehrenbacher.

34. A dirty secret called grief. “After her mother’s death, Kiran Sidhu found she was expected to ‘move on’ with such bewildering haste that her only option was to conceal her sorrow.”

Self-Compassion Saturday: Julia Fehrenbacher

As promised (threatened?), this week’s post is unique, it’s a video of me and my dear friend Julia Fehrenbacher talking about self-compassion. When I invited her to be a part of this series, she was teaching the first session of her ecourse, Getting Naked, (an online SoulClass, “Shed the excess. Come back to YOU.”), and we decided the conversation would be something she could share with the class as well. Those of us in her course were the first audience, but I also wanted to share it here, for three very specific reasons.

  1. It is an important, genuine conversation.
  2. As a video, for some you it will be the first time you’ve seen me “live,” moving and talking. *gulp*
  3. There is still time to register for the next session of Getting Naked and I wanted you to see the kind of loving presence that Julia offers as a teacher. This video is just a tiny sample of how she shows up for her students, for life.

Julia-FehrenbacherSome back story: I don’t remember exactly how I first found Julia’s blog (sorry, I know this happens a lot — I blame the particular magic of the internet), but do know that one of the first things we did together was 41 6-word days, which was hosted on Judy Clement Wall’s old website, A Human Thing. I immediately adored Julia’s honesty and her kindness, her willingness to be vulnerable, and over time have only grown to love her more. I was lucky enough to meet her, (read more about Julia and the first time we met in my open love letter to her), and she’s even more wonderful in person.

Making this video was a lesson in self-compassion for both of us. First, the conversation was actually almost an hour long, but there was a technical glitch about 20 minutes in so that the rest of the video had no sound. This was initially so upsetting for Julia, who tried so hard to fix it, to figure it out. I told her after I first saw it, “I’m not worried about this AT ALL. We got so much good stuff there, and maybe it’s even better that it’s shorter? The place to stop at isn’t as tidy as you might like it to be, but it’s still good,” and in the end, Julia saw it as “an opportunity for SURRENDER/self-compassion.”

This video, this conversation for me was a particular sort of medicine. As I told Julia, “something magic happened for me watching it — I really saw myself, not in that self-critical, shamed way I usually look, but really saw that I’m pretty okay. I was thinking as I watched it about how my students and people I work with usually really like me, and I could see why. That was an extra bonus gift I wasn’t expecting.” When I watch it now, I can smile at the way I was so obsessed with peonies at the time that I had to have them in the shot, don’t have the best spot for making a video figured out yet and really wanted something beautiful in the frame with me, how they took up half the screen like a silent third party in our conversation.

peoniesonmydeskBefore sharing the video that first time, Julia and I attempted to summarize what came after the sound cut out. Julia said, “the part where we cut off is right where you are saying that it’s people’s quirks that make them that much more lovable,” and I remembered,

What follows that is more discussion about how an aspect of self-compassion means discovering your own weird, being exactly who you are and knowing that is the foundation of your strength and what you have to offer, and rather than rejecting what isn’t perfect or what is flawed or wrong or broken or not good enough, you practice acceptance and gratitude for who you are and everything that is.

Then we talked more specifically about how each of us practice self-compassion: getting into nature, creating art, writing (one aspect of this being morning pages, in which you do a “brain dump” just writing whatever comes up, what ever shows up, whatever is really there, without judgement or editing), yoga, meditation, etc. We also talked about how it is so important to just show up, not try to control things, allow what wants to happen, to make the offering and then move on to make the next offering, to trust the process and be present.

I don’t know about you, kind and gentle reader, but I think this video, this conversation was the most perfect kind of brilliant mess. I am so grateful to Julia for creating it, for inviting me to do it and letting me share it, for having this conversation with me. It was a really big deal for me to make a video and share it with you all, and I’m so glad it was Julia who helped me do so. To find out more about Julia, to connect with her:

Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Jamie Ridler.

P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning. Or make your way through all the posts tagged Self-Compassion Saturday.

Day of Rest

My sweet friend Julia shared this poem last week, and it was so perfectly timed for me, the reminder that worry is like praying for what you don’t want to happen, that it is counterproductive and even destructive, and at its most innocent it comes to nothing, so it’s okay to let it go, to open up and sing. I thought maybe you might need the reminder too, kind and gentle reader.

I Worried
Mary Oliver

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

Wishcasting Wednesday (on a Thursday)

What Do You Wish to Savour?

…my mornings. I get up at 4:30 a.m. and for the first hour or two, my only responsibility is to feed the dog. I pull a tarot card, meditate, write, check my email, Facebook, Instagram, maybe read or write a blog post — time just for me, to practice and contemplate.

…time alone with Sam, having just one dog, just him for a brief time.

…my yoga practice, as I continue to direct compassion towards my body, to be present with it, as I prepare to start teacher training.

…my mediation practice, to relax into that vast, open space, to trust that is always there, always available and accessible.

…my writing practice, the opportunity to go deeper, to more fully experience and understand, to open my heart.

…the transition between seasons, summer to fall, even as I chant “it’s too hot” to remember this time is passing, to notice that things are manifesting their final foliage, blooms and fruits.

…the plenty from my garden, this time of so many tomatoes and cucumbers that we can’t possibly eat them all ourselves, the temporary sweetness of their full, fresh flavor.

…the opportunities coming, the chance to spend time with amazing teachers and good friends.

…each task, seen through until its completion, rather than rushing past some of the details to hurry to the next thing.

…the abundance that is my life now, how simple and small, how deep and wide, how perfect.

Like my dear friend Julia wrote in a recent poem, I wish to savour this life, this experience, and to

Slow way down
get close and closer
listen like crazy
to your life

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: My body carries a deep wisdom, if only I would listen. And, if I refuse to listen, it will get louder and louder until I can’t ignore it anymore. This became very clear to me this weekend. I spent Sunday morning first in Urgent Care and then the ER. I’d been having chest pains and my jaw hurt for a few days (my body’s gentle nudging that got louder) and I knew that something about it wasn’t right, that I hadn’t just pulled a muscle or something.

It turns out that the sack of fluid around my heart was inflamed — Pericarditis triggered by an infection I’ve been struggling with, (which I was also trying to ignore instead of attend to). It’s completely treatable (steroids and rest), workable, okay, and yet it’s taught me that I really have to trust myself (specifically my body), that I need to listen, to show up, be present, to honor the wisdom available to me. I knew something wasn’t right, my body was telling me in the gentlest but most insistent way, and even though it seemed at first like I might be overreacting, I needed to get help.

My body knows. It knows how much to sleep, how to move, what to eat. If something I eat or do doesn’t work, isn’t agreeable, my body gives me the exact information I need to consider a different choice next time. It is directly connected to reality, this moment, through five powerful senses. It is constantly collecting information and making adjustments — heart pumping and lungs breathing with no need of my intervention, my control, my opinion.

A further sign of health is that we don’t become undone by fear and trembling, but we take it as a message that it’s time to stop struggling and look directly at what’s threatening us. ~Pema Chödrön

2. Truth: I can trust myself, my physical body, my intuition, my hunger, my longing, my desire, my suffering, my dreams, my fundamental sanity, my innate wisdom and compassion and power, even my emotions and thoughts are allowable and of value. I don’t have to reject, run away, deny, or hide.

We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves—the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds—never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake. ~Pema Chödrön

3. Truth: I am so grateful there are people to help, to keep me company as I stumble my way through, poets and artists and healers and friends and family and soft animal bodies, all of us messy but brilliant, clinging to each other on a boat that is guaranteed to sink, making each other laugh and offering comfort even as we crash and burn. Every single person I encountered in my time in various medical units this weekend was so kind and wise, wanting to help me, to help, and in the aftermath, I’ve been offered so much love from the people I am lucky enough to know. I mean it, dear people, this life is fucking brilliant, we are, (I’ve had to stop typing this paragraph twice to cry — is this what “Roid Rage” feels like?).

One wish: That we can continue to ask ourselves, in each moment, the question shared by my dear friend, poet and teacher, the amazing Julia Fehrenbacher, in her ecourse Getting Naked: “what would love do?” (this question has the power to change everything — you, your life, the world), and the additional wish that we have the courage to live the answer.

Gratitude Friday

1. Lee Martinez Park. Birds singing, mad with love for Spring. How green everything is getting. A lone goose gliding across the pond, a heron standing in the river waiting for a fish. Baby animals, including a litter of fox kits and a new baby cow at the Farm, (that I can’t get a good picture of yet, because whenever I get close enough, my dogs start barking at her, and I don’t want her to learn to be afraid of dogs, or suggest to my dogs that it’s okay to bark at babies).

2. Clarity and compassion. Being able to take a pause, a deep breath when I am confused, to contemplate and write, to look around and consider, to take a long walk, and through these things, with faith in my own truth and wisdom, I know.

3. A life partner. Someone to share the sadness and anxiety with, along with the joy. Someone who is all in, trustworthy, patient, smart, funny, and an introvert like me, happy to be at home with our dogs, sitting in the backyard with a book, or taking a long walk. Someone who likes to watch PBS shows about museums, but also loves Flo Rida as much as I do. Someone who doesn’t mind eating at the same three or four restaurants time and time again. Someone who will clean the bathroom, wash the dishes, and mow the lawn. Someone who loves me and thinks I’m awesome even when I’m being kind of awful. Someone who will send me pictures of my dogs while I’m at work, who leaves love notes for me on the kitchen counter, signing his name in case I wonder who it’s from. He’s my favorite.

20 years ago

20 years ago in our first backyard

4. Getting Naked, the ecourse. Specifically I am grateful for the lyrical, loving energy of our teacher and my friend, Julia Fehrenbacher. Yet again, she’s created a beautiful thing, sent light and love and wisdom out into the world.

5. A spoonful of crunchy peanut butter and a sweet crisp apple. If there is a better snack, I don’t know what it is.

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter. This past Sunday, Eric took Sam hiking, so Dexter and I walked to Lee Martinez Park. We forgot the Colorado Marathon was happening, that there would be so many runners on the Poudre Trail. The one time we had to cross over, stay on the trail for a few minutes to get to the path on the other side, we were running with everyone, and we both think that for those few moments, we were winning.