Tag Archives: Pema Chödrön

Something Good

1. Building a Mindful New Year Together, a FREE program in which “writers and Buddhist teachers Susan Piver and Lodro Rinzler have invited a collection of accomplished dharma teachers to guide you through the end of one year and into another with mindfulness and awareness, focused on the six priorities that will benefit you most as you lay the ground for what is to come.”

2. Realistic Slogans for Diet Companies from Dances with Fat.

3. What Nourishes You? from Ishita Gupta.

4. Anything Worth Doing is Worth Doing Badly from Laurie Wagner.

5. Wisdom from Tulku Thondup,

If we are serious about fostering world peace, we must first understand, generate, and experience real peace in our own mental stream. Awareness of peace is the foundation and goal of healing ourselves and the world. If our mind, or consciousness, is enjoying the awareness of peace, our everyday life will turn into a life of peace. Whatever we say will resound as the words of peace. Whatever we do will manifest as the expression of peace. Our mere presence will make the hearts of many blossom with happiness and harmony. Then we become one of the true peaceful members of society and a source inspiring others to true peace, too. Our every word and smile will send a genuine message of peace to others, and a true cycle of world peace and joy could be set in motion. So the inspiration of true world peace must take birth in our own heart.

6. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club, “We cannot be brave without being afraid.” Also this, “After we have done all that we can, sometimes it is time to just let something rest…and sometimes that even means to let it go for good.”

7. Truthbomb #691 from Danielle LaPorte, “Get clear on why you’re chasing what you’re chasing.”

8. Questions for Writers on A Design So Vast.

9. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

When things fall apart and we’re on the verge of we know not what, the test for each of us is to stay on that brink and not concretize. The spiritual journey is not about heaven and finally getting to a place that’s really swell. In fact, that way of looking at things is what keeps us miserable. Thinking that we can find some lasting pleasure and avoid pain is what in Buddhism is called samsara, a hopeless cycle that goes round and round endlessly and causes us to suffer greatly.

The very first noble truth of the Buddha points out that suffering is inevitable for human beings as long as we believe that things last—that they don’t disintegrate, that they can be counted on to satisfy our hunger for security. From this point of view, the only time we ever know what’s really going on is when the rug’s been pulled out and we can’t find anywhere to land. We use these situations either to wake ourselves up or to put ourselves to sleep. Right now—in the very instant of groundlessness—is the seed of taking care of those who need our care and of discovering our goodness.

10. this was a good week: introducing the thrive a/v journaling club! from Chookooloonks.

11. Courting the Monster In Your Head (and Under Your Bed), from Jonathan Fields,

“a beautiful example of what can happen when you commit to a process of discovery and openness and vulnerability. When you allow all the assumptions about what you should be to fall away and step into what you are. When you’re willing to share your voice with the world, hold yourself out to be on the one hand, judged, but on the other, embraced and lifted.”

12. A Holiday Joy Up Gift of Days from Hannah Marcotti.

13. Burning through the calories: where the carbs fit for weight management from Drop It and Eat.

14. Practicing Slowness & Being Present on Zen Habits.

15. Daily from Seth Godin.

16. A year in photos: the first half from Susannah Conway. So beautiful.

17. Talking Funny, Jerry Seinfeld, Ricky Gervais, Louis CK and Chris Rock on their creative processes, (shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend list).

18. This quote, shared by Austin Kleon,

The author who benefits you most is not the one who tells you something you did not know before, but the one who gives expression to the truth that has been dumbly struggling in you for utterance. ~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

19. Becoming Real, (shared on Positively Present Picks).

20. Dear Sugar, Episode 1: Meet The Sugars.

21. Raise your hand. Say yes. with Susannah Conway, just one brilliant episode of Tiffany Han’s amazing podcast.

22. Photographer Spends 20 Years Documenting How We All Dress Exactly Alike on Colossal.

23. How to Eat for Holiday Sanity on Eat to Love.

24. The Crossroads of Should and Must on Medium.

25. Wisdom from Hiro Boga,

The central paradox of our being is that we are both boundaried and boundless. Wholeness embraces the entire spectrum of our being, but most of us are more comfortable with one aspect of our selves than with the other.

If you love hanging out in boundlessness, you may find it hard to stay present, get things done or create sustainable success in your everyday life. If you hang out primarily in your boundaried self, your challenge might be a pervasive longing, the emptiness of a heart denied.

Something Good

comfortfood1. Wisdom from Rachel Cole: How to Make Peace with Food and Self-Compassion is a Verb.

2. Go for a Walk from Seth Godin.

3. we just don’t know (and that’s okay) on Your Courageous Life.

4. A new video poem from Shane Koyczan “Heaven, or Whatever.”

5. Breaking Up With Friends on Medium.

6. Unleashing Your Creativity: 17 Tips For Tapping Into The Power Of Your Brain.

7. The Body is Not an Apology website.

8. Blog Trends: Slow Blogging on decor8.

9. Listen, It’s Okay to Be Alone on Christmas from Brittany Herself.

10. i love what i do // 04 an interview with Mara Glatzel.

11. Wisdom from Kris Carr,

When we accept ourselves exactly as we are, in exactly this moment, we shift from living for tomorrow to appreciating today. Being at peace with what is creates a vast and holy space for healing.

Acceptance doesn’t mean giving up, it means that we love and honor ourselves regardless of our circumstances. From that relaxed and receptive space, we rest, renew and gain the clarity and strength needed to create a blueprint for a happy, healthy, abundant life.

12. 22 Pictures That Prove That 2014 Is The Damn Future on BuzzFeed.

13. Lovely ~ UPDATED from The Bloggess.

14. Narrating People’s Lives with Thomas Sanders compilation. Made me laugh.

15. Why I Hated My Word of the Year from Laura Simms.

16. How to Be a Ladyperson at the Holidays: 10 Important Tips. Funny.

17. How To Respond Compassionately To Someone’s Suffering from MindBodyGreen.

18. Fat Loss Tips for the Holidays from Yogi Sadie. Don’t let the title fool you.

19. Taking the Fear Out of Failure from Courtney Putnam.

20. Life in 700 square-feet from Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens.

21. 7 Regular Things All Healthy Couples Do.

22. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

If you have embarked on this journey of self-reflection, you may be at a place that everyone, sooner or later, experiences on the spiritual path. After a while it seems like almost every moment of your life you’re there, where you realize you have a choice. You have a choice whether to open or close, whether to hold on or let go, whether to harden or soften, whether to hold your seat or strike out. That choice is presented to you again and again and again.

23. #decembermoments: an advent calendar. sort of. on Chookooloonks.

24. Artist Transforms Old Paintbrushes Into Delicate Ladies on Bored Panda.

25. Wisdom from Jeff Foster,

Stop trying to change the world.
Love the world.
That changes everything.

26. Swiftamine – Saturday Night Live.

27. Police Deliver Groceries To Struggling Grandma Caught Shoplifting To Feed Family Of 6 on Huffington Post.

28. Shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend list: Fudgy Paleo Beetroot Brownies recipe, and We Never Met.

29. What’s the Best Book, New or Old, You Read This Year? on The New York Times, (shared by Tammy on her Happy Links list).

30. Making Merry on SouleMama. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I want them to adopt me.

31. “Feeling your Feelings” is not the full story… from Isabel Foxen Duke.

Reverb14: Day Six

reverb14withtextProject Reverb prompt: “Where did you spend your money this year?  Did you save it instead?  What, if anything, would you like to do with your finances this year?”

My word for 2014 was “home,” and part of my intention for the year was to focus on staying home, not traveling, and focusing all my various energies on home, which meant no giving financial support to anything that wasn’t “mine.” The year before, I spent a lot traveling and helping, and I needed to “lie fallow” for a season. We did take a vacation, a month in Oregon with the dogs, and we paid off our credit cards, started saving more. I cut back on a few things so that I was spending less, and I tried to buy less books, but I was only marginally successful with that. There were projects and causes that came up that I wanted so badly to help with, but I mostly resisted. Besides our family vacation, the other loophole I allowed for was that if Susan Piver had a writing and meditation retreat at Shambhala Mountain Center, I could go (I’ll be there at the end of the month).

Next year, the places I’d like to focus on financially are: my health and wellness (whatever supplements, food, or other support I need to feel better), fixing up our home (we need a new roof, but it would be nice to finally update the bathroom, put a deck out back and a porch on the front), continuing to stay out of debt and saving money, maybe a few classes or retreats (Feast with Rachel Cole, for sure), and consulting for my “business” (the teaching and such I’d like to offer — feels weird to call it a business, but as such that’s why I need the help of a good accountant and a lawyer who understands how to legally set such a thing up).


Reverb14 prompt: “Biting back. Despite our usually sunny dispositions and dedication to the practice of ‘assuming positive intent,’ we all occasionally find ourselves having to deal with an incredibly unpleasant individual. While I’m sure you always handle it with the tact and finesse for which you’ve become so well known, I’m going to ask you to step outside yourself for just a moment. Think back to such a situation: if the gloves were off, how you really would have liked to have dealt with them?”

I don’t think I can give the answer this prompt requests. Sure, I have some examples, and when I was deep in those situations, I told the people closest to me what I really wanted to say, but I don’t at all feel comfortable airing that sort of thing here, and don’t feel like it would help.

In thinking about how I might answer this question instead, I remembered something Pema Chödrön shares in the first chapter of her book Taking the Leap.

There was a story that was widely circulated a few days after the attacks of September 11, 2001, that illustrates our dilemma. A Native American grandfather was speaking to his grandson about violence and cruelty in the world and how it comes about. He said it was as if two wolves were fighting in his heart. One wolf was vengeful and angry, and the other wolf was understanding and kind. The young man asked his grandfather which wolf would win the fight in his heart. And the grandfather answered, “The one that wins will be the one I choose to feed.”

I feel like answering this prompt directly, telling you what I really wanted to say that one time, sharing what I held back that other time, “taking the gloves off” would be feeding the wrong wolf. Ultimately, the way I handled those situations, with compassion and self-control, at times with silence, was the right thing to do, fed the right wolf, the one who was understanding and kind.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. I am working to stay open, but I get overwhelmed. I’m a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), “a person having the innate trait of high sensory processing sensitivity.” This means that my starting point is raw and tender, no skin, every nerve exposed. What is a normal situation to someone else feels to me like I’ve shown up naked while everyone else holds a knife and yells. Everything seems too bright, too loud, too sharp. Add to that my practice of attempting to remain open no matter what, connected to reality just as it is, and you’ve got a pretty complicated situation.

2. I’m trying to figure out how to have boundaries, how to stay open but somehow protect myself, what it would mean to avoid practicing “idiot compassion” or what I might call “idiot openness.” In Buddhism, “idiot compassion” is essentially enabling, what Pema Chödrön describes as “the general tendency to give people what they want because you can’t bear to see them suffering.” She says,

When you get clear on this kind of thing, setting good boundaries and so forth, you know that if someone is violent, for instance, and is being violent towards you — to use that as the example — it’s not the compassionate thing to keep allowing that to happen, allowing someone to keep being able to feed their violence and their aggression. So of course, they’re going to freak out and be extremely upset. And it will be quite difficult for you to go through the process of actually leaving the situation. But that’s the compassionate thing to do.

3. I’m learning new ways to soothe and protect myself, without numbing out, shutting down, freaking out and running away, or staying and allowing myself to be wounded. It’s complicated and confusing. I make mistakes, get it wrong, but I’m trying, making an effort. As Andrew Boyd said,

Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.

One Wish: That in this life which is such a mix of so much suffering and confusion and aggression, but also so much love and comfort and wisdom, we find a way to be “strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.”

Something Good

Dadd's Gulch, image by Eric

Dadd’s Gulch, image by Eric

1. On Running a Web-based Business by Tammy Strobel.

2. Please ask yourself this question before you choose the “format” for your next product, service, art project, or heart project and How I met the love of my life. {A true story…about what happens when you say what is true} from Alexandra Franzen.

3. Wisdom from Jessica Patterson,

And real healing — of the body, the heart, the mind, and the soul — happens only when we are in the state of rest and digest. That is, when we show up and come into direct relationship with what is, we have a chance to heal into what and who we are really.

4. Good stuff from Bored Panda: 20+ Of The Best Packaging Designs Ever, and Japanese Flip Books Reveal Magical Stories With Negative Space and Secret Chambers, and Russian Miner Spends His Breaks Taking Photos Of Foxes In The Arctic Circle, and Goldfish Tea Bags Will Turn Your Teacup Into A Fishbowl.

5. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook: Time to Write, and Onward, and It Doesn’t Have to Be Easy.

6. Gross national happiness in Bhutan: the big idea from a tiny state that could change the world.

7. It is okay to need a lot of help, wisdom From Anne Lamott on Facebook.

8. The 8-hour rule is bunk: Why conventional wisdom about sleep is stressing us out on Salon.

9. On Doing the Work from Lisa Congdon.

10. sometimes happiness can only emerge from periods of unhappiness, wisdom from Justine Musk.

11. Mom lets her son pick his own outfit, and the results are awesome, especially this:

“For now we will just let him experiment and let him decide when he’s older what he wants,” says Dawn. “I feel like a great deal of the depression and hate in this world comes from children being raised to think who they are and how they feel is wrong, then they grow into broken, confused adults.” Dawn admits that when Kaige first expressed an interest in dressing like a girl, she was terrified — not because it bothered her, but because she feared the way the world would treat her child.

12. A Brief History Of Old Navy’s Troubled Relationship With Fat Women from xojane.

13. The Truth About Marriage, Monogamy & Long-Term Partnership on Elephant Journal.

14. 4 Surefire Ways To Make Your Partner Feel Loved on MindBodyGreen.

15. amy palko: talking about a revolution, an interview with Sas Petherick.

16. The Science Of Simplicity: Why Successful People Wear The Same Thing Every Day.

17. A farewell to Dr. Sophia Yin.

18. Oh, the irony from Kat McNally.

19. devotion (all the ways life gives fire) from lists and letters.

20. trusteeship & coffee art on Chookooloonks.

21. An open letter to Oprah, whose ‘The Life You Want’ tour asked me to work for free.

22. Creative Giant Podcast Episode Four: Become More Mindful with Susan Piver.

23. Burrs, rough edges & tangled mats of hair by Laurie Wagner.

24. Could female self-hatred be the real cause of autoimmune disease? from Sarah Wilson. This made so much sense to me, but many readers misunderstood, so she followed it up with “Female illness is not all in the mind” and 19 other things I’d like you to know about unreasoned e-blowouts.

25. One Hilarious Video Perfectly Sums Up a Big Problem With Western Humanitarianism.

26. 9 strategies for surviving the holidays with an open heart from Gemma Stone.

27. Defining the Well-fed Woman from Rachel Cole.

28. Being Small is the Greatest Escape by Stacy Morrison.

29. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

You build inner strength through embracing the totality of your experience, both the delightful parts and the difficult parts. Embracing the totality of your experience is one definition of having loving-kindness for yourself. Loving-kindness for yourself does not mean making sure you’re feeling good all the time—trying to set up your life so that you’re comfortable every moment. Rather, it means setting up your life so that you have time for meditation and self-reflection, for kindhearted, compassionate self-honesty. In this way you become more attuned to seeing when you’re biting the hook, when you’re getting caught in the undertow of emotions, when you’re grasping and when you’re letting go. This is the way you become a true friend to yourself just as you are, with both your laziness and your bravery. There is no step more important than this.

30. Wisdom from Gertrude Stein,

Everybody who writes is interested in living inside themselves in order to tell what is inside themselves. That is why writers have to have two countries, the one where they belong and the one in which they live really. The second one is romantic, separate from themselves, it is not real but it is really there.

31. We are All This Golden Retriever Spectacularly Bombing an Agility Test.

32. Interesting stuff about Amanda Palmer, There’s More To Asking Than Just Art (a book review), and The Art of Asking Why We Hate Amanda Palmer.

33. Ursula K. Le Guin’s fiery speech, and the overwhelming reaction to it.

34. Short animation describes what drug addiction is like. *sigh*

35. ‘If We Left, They Wouldn’t Have Nobody’ from Story Corps.

36. More wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Compassion practice is daring. It involves learning to relax and allow ourselves to move gently toward what scares us. The trick to doing this is to stay with emotional distress without tightening into aversion, to let fear soften us rather than harden into resistance.

37. Less expensive options for a convertible desk: A Standing/Sitting Desk You Can Afford and Ikea’s New Desk Goes From Sitting To Standing With The Push Of A Button. Obviously I’m not the only one interested in this — look at how much this Kickstarter campaign earned!

38. Do great work. Live great lives. on Medium.

39. What Normal Looks Like on Huffington Post.

40. Groomer Shaves Homeless Dog. What She Found Underneath All That Hair Made My Eyes Tear Up.

41. 10 Great Privileges We Forget to Be Thankful For from Marc and Angel Hack Life. #5 isn’t true for me, but the rest certainly are, and I’m grateful.

Taking Refuge

my meditation shrine

my meditation shrine

The first time I attempted meditation was almost 20 years ago. I was reading Jack Kornfield’s A Path with Heart and books on writing by Zen Buddhist Natalie Goldberg. I was fascinated by the philosophy, the perspective, the practice, and willing to try anything that might help me cope with the difficulty of my life, my emotions and my mind. Even though I found it beneficial, sat regularly for a short time with a Zen meditation group and on my own, the practice didn’t stick. I didn’t even finish reading Kornfield’s book.

I continued to struggle for eleven more years before finding my way back to a cushion. A friend recommended Pema Chödrön’s When Things Fall Apart and mentioned that the local Shambhala Meditation Center had a program coming up I might be interested in, “The Art of Being Human.” I read the book and went to the training, and started to practice in earnest. For two years, one weekend a month I was either attending a retreat or staffing one. I read and studied and practiced. This was the same time I started to practice yoga regularly. Things were falling into place.

And then everything fell apart. I had already been dealing with a difficult work situation, was stressed and in crisis, when my Obi was diagnosed with a treatable but ultimately incurable cancer. At the same time, my friend Kelly was diagnosed with cancer. That summer I went to Shambhala Mountain Center to participate in a longer retreat, Warrior Assembly, the culmination of the two years of training I’d been doing. Not long after I returned home, Obi died. Six months later, Kelly died. Even though I didn’t leave CSU entirely, I effectively quit the job that was so problematic.

Meditation Hall at Warrior Assembly, Shambhala Mountain Center, Summer of 2009

Meditation Hall at Warrior Assembly, Shambhala Mountain Center, Summer of 2009

I was completely heartbroken, utterly lost, so confused. After two years of regular practice, I couldn’t do it anymore. Every time I sat on my cushion to meditate, I fell part, felt so raw, came unhinged and couldn’t stop crying. I was angry — if this practice couldn’t help me feel better when the worst happened, what good was it? I smile to remember it now, that way of thinking about what practice was supposed to do for me. What I understand now that I didn’t then is that my raw and tender broken heart, being able to feel that, experience it, sit and stay with it is exactly the point, not making it “go away” or fixing it like I thought.

Practice starts precisely where we find ourselves, which for many of us is a place of heartbreak, suffering, alienation and doubt. But it is precisely there, within those circumstances, that we start. ~Ryushin Sensei

For at least a year, I tried to find my way back to my cushion. I would practice in fits and starts, but it never seemed to stick. I continued to practice yoga and slowly started to write more regularly. I started taking ecourses and began this blog. I started building a routine, finding a rhythm. And then I found Susan Piver and her Open Heart Project, (OHP). I signed up for her newsletter and started meditating with her. Her wisdom, kindness, and friendship, along with the OHP community, helped me find my way back.

meditating with Susan

The great gift of a spiritual path is coming to trust that you can find a way to true refuge. You realize that you can start right where you are, in the midst of your life, and find peace in any circumstance. Even at those moments when the ground shakes terribly beneath you — when there’s a loss that will alter your life forever — you can still trust that you will find your way home. This is possible because you’ve touched the timeless love and awareness that are intrinsic to who you are. ~Tara Brach, True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart

For the past few years, I’ve been thinking about taking refuge vows. I’ve been telling people for so long “I study and practice Buddhism, but I’m not actually a Buddhist, haven’t taken vows or anything,” that I wondered if I ever would. But I’ve been feeling a longing, a growing awareness — this is my path, I’m committed to it. Like I told a teacher once, “if this doesn’t work, nothing does.” For whatever reason, this is just what makes sense to me. It helps me to live my life, to be in the world, to cultivate kindness and wisdom, sanity. And yet, I have been waiting, for either an opportunity that was close to home or one Susan Piver could attend, because it felt important to me to have her there somehow, since she’s the primary reason I’d be there.

Then I got certified to teach yoga. We studied yogic philosophy as part of our training, meditated, did mantra and kirtan practice, learned various breath practices and the sanskrit names for the yoga poses, read the yoga sutras — and I loved it all, saw so many similarities between it and my tradition, but also became very aware that it wasn’t my path. Yoga is one of my practices, and part of my path as such, but I’m not so much a yogini as I am a Buddhist who does yoga.

Becoming a yoga teacher made it clear it was time to make a true commitment to my path. I searched to see where I might go to take my vows, and saw that the Boulder Shambhala Center was offering the ceremony two days before my birthday. Susan couldn’t be there, but she did write my letter of recommendation. The teacher who would be performing the ceremony had taught at my Warrior Assembly, and when I arrived the night we went to make our official request to make the vow, a friend was leading our meditation session. It was time.

boulderrigden

Boulder Shambhala Meditation Center Main Shrine Room

I asked Susan her advice about taking vows in the weeks leading up to the ceremony, and she said, “Relax. Watch your mind. Enjoy. Relax. Repeat … And remember, you have nothing to prove. This ceremony is to mark something that has already happened.” I tried to remember this as I waited for my interview with Acharya Ferguson (“Acharya” in this tradition basically means “senior teacher”), and even though he’s the kindest person and I’d met him before, I was still nervous. The purpose of the interview is to make a formal request to take the vow and for the teacher to come up with the dharma name you’d be given the day of the ceremony. We were told that he might ask us questions, but might not. The person who went in just before me was talking and laughing with him, and I wasn’t sure what to wish for — if he didn’t ask me any questions, was that good or bad? Part of me wanted him to see me and for my presence to be so vibrant, my true self so clearly embodied and present that he would know just by seeing me. I think I was also afraid if I opened my mouth, I might say something weird because I was anxious and end up with an odd name that didn’t fit, didn’t make sense to me.

In Tibet, children are given a nickname when they are born. This is what everyone calls them until they are old enough to take their refuge vows and receive their adult, Buddhist name. In that culture, everyone given a name uses it. In the West, many dharma students don’t actually change their name, but rather use it as a contemplation. We were told that the name isn’t meant as a compliment or a challenge, but rather something to consider as we practice, intended to offer insight, and that it was entirely up to us whether we wanted to officially change our name, use it in that way. I felt sure my name would be a message, that it would provide me a new understanding of my path. And during my meeting with Acharya Ferguson that night, he did ask me a few questions, and I could see the exact moment he knew the name he’d offer me.

heartgiftOn the day of the ceremony, I focused on Susan’s advice. I relaxed and enjoyed myself. Acharya Ferguson gave a talk in the morning about what it meant to take refuge, and then we did sitting and walking meditation until lunch, contemplating what we were about to do. After a break to eat, we came back and had a rehearsal and then the ceremony itself.

In the Buddhist tradition, the purpose of taking refuge is to awaken from confusion and associate oneself with wakefulness. Taking refuge is a matter of commitment and acceptance and, at the same time, of openness and freedom. By taking the refuge vow we commit ourselves to freedom. ~Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche

The ceremony itself was a funny combination of something like a baptism and a wedding, along with something else entirely. After you take the vow, reciting it three times after performing prostrations, the teacher (referred to in this case as a preceptor) snaps his fingers, and it’s at that moment the vow is made. My favorite moment was that finger snap. It was so simple and yet so definite. My next favorite moment was receiving my dharma name.

As I stood in line, listening to all the other names, I wondered if mine would be so good. Every person’s name seemed so rich, so full of beauty and possibility and wisdom. Every name that was read, I thought “oh, I wish that was mine!” I worried I’d get something that would be awkward or confusing. I’d talked to other people about their names, and listening to them describe their lingering confusion, I anticipated my own.

dharmanameI didn’t need to worry. There’s a rightness to the name I was given. I will continue to contemplate it, but my first thought was an appreciation of the way it married the concept of vastness, openness, emptiness with embodiment, movement, physical expression. I used to long to be a visionary, an oracle, a seer, a prophet of some sort, but I’m understanding more and more than my purpose is to be a container, an embodiment of wisdom and compassion.

You go through this ceremony which is like part baptism and part wedding and you expect to be born again somehow, cleansed or something, a new beginning, but really I’m just back in the heat of my own stew, laughing at how silly I was to think anything was going to be magically changed by it. I have to do the work, show up and practice, it’s up to me and that’s never going to change. This is my path, for sure and for real.

The biggest illusion about a path of refuge is that we are on our way somewhere else, on our way to becoming a different kind of person. But ultimately, our refuge is not outside ourselves, not somewhere in the future – it is always and already here. ~Tara Brach, True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart

Something Good

 

bouldershambhalacenter1. Success Redefined from Rachel Cole.

2. Truthbomb #668 from Danielle LaPorte, “Surprise your doubts with action.”

3. Grace of Beginning, lines from a John O’Donohue poem shared by Erica Staab.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.
Awake your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

4. Rewriting the Book of Belonging: Anne Lamott on the True Gift of Friendship and the Uncomfortable Art of Letting Yourself Be Seen on Brain Pickings.

5. All Good Things from Pugly Pixel.

6. Pulling the trigger, a final post on This (Sorta) Old Life. This happens sometimes, and it’s good to honor it. I’m going to miss it though.

7. A Meditative Moon Salutation from Yoga International.

8. Good stuff from Bored Panda: I Create Installations In Public Spaces To Bring People Happiness, and A Coworker Asked This Guy To Watch Her Plant For 4 Days. Here’s What He Did, and 20+ Mesmerizing Mosque Ceilings That Highlight The Wonders Of Islamic Architecture.

9. {After} thoughts on Wellness by Design.

10. Why Fame Doesn’t Matter, with Dallas Clayton.

11. Recipe for Brussels Sprout Fried Rice from Kris Carr.

12. Good stuff from Buzzfeed: 42 Pictures That Will Make You Almost Too Happy and 40 Inspiring Workspaces Of The Famously Creative.

13. Know where you have power, and where you do not have power, wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

14. Science Says Lasting Relationships Come Down To 2 Basic Traits.

15. “Every year, 750,000 Chinese die prematurely from pollution.” This post includes disturbing images and facts. Maybe just skip this one. It’s not so much “something good” as shocking and heartbreaking, but it was also weirdly helpful to me, inspired me to do better, make better choices.

16. The Next 5 Most Frustrating Things About Simplicity from Be More With Less.

17. The YES Movement on Painted Path.

18. My Plan for a Free and Open Internet from President Obama on Medium.

19. The Experience of Enough an interview with Geneen Roth.

20. Learning To Read Tarot Cards on Free People.

21. I’m Wanting What I Want. You? from Rachael Maddox.

22. Afterlight 1080, “a short hand made film that explores both one’s inherent darkness and one’s inherent lightness.”

23. Austin Kleon: Show your work, video of his talk from Confab Higher Ed 2014, available to watch streaming for two more weeks.

24. The Life Of A Project from Steal Like An Artist. Such a great graphic.

25. Shared on Positively Present Picks list: Love Yourself Pinterest board, and 5 Life Lessons to Learn From Your Dog, and this quote from Nelson Mandela, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.”

26. From Susannah’s Something for the Weekend list, Sausage, Potato, Kale Soup recipe.

27. Shared on Rowdy Kittens’ Happy Links list, Amanda Palmer on the Art of Asking and What Thoreau Teaches Us about Accepting Love on Brain Pickings.

28. From Chookooloonks this was a good week post, A Solar-Powered Glow-in-the-dark Bike Path by Studio Roosegaarde Inspired by Van Gogh.

29. What I Learned From a 30-Day Social Media Detox on Medium.

30. Good stuff from Create as Folk: Purpose Profile: Sarah Selecky, and this shared link to a post on Saray Selecky’s blog, Be grateful for your crazy, active mind, and Quitting Your Job? Don’t Be Dumb.

31. The 10 Most Important Questions You Can Ask Yourself Today from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

32. Wisdom from Terry Tempest Williams, shared in Hannah Marcotti‘s weekly love letter,

For far too long we have been seduced into walking a path that did not lead us to ourselves. For far too long we have said yes when we wanted to say no. And for far too long we have said no when we desperately wanted to say yes. . .

When we don’t listen to our intuition, we abandon our souls. And we abandon our souls because we are afraid if we don’t, others will abandon us.

33. Why You Creating Stuff Matters from Jennifer Louden.

34. The “Breakthrough” Myth from Isabel Foxen Duke, in which she says,

Sanity around food is not something that we achieve once and then never have to think about ever again…sanity around food is a meditation  — a thought pattern — that we practice coming back to again and again, watching that thought pattern feel more natural overtime.

Little by little, our sane thinking patterns become easier to come back to,

Until at some point, practicing our new way of thinking creates grooves in our mind and we don’t have to actively remember anymore, it’s just happening — a new natural way of being takes over.

35. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön, on why to meditate,

Meditation is about seeing clearly the body that we have, the mind that we have, the domestic situation that we have, the job that we have, and the people who are in our lives. It’s about seeing how we react to all these things. It’s seeing our emotions and thoughts just as they are right now, in this very moment, in this very room, on this very seat. It’s about not trying to make them go away, not trying to become better than we are, but just seeing clearly with precision and gentleness… [We] work with cultivating gentleness, innate precision, and the ability to let go of small-mindedness, learning how to open to our thoughts and emotions, to all the people we meet in our world, how to open our minds and hearts.