Tag Archives: Pema Chödrön

Day of Rest: More on Compassion

birthdayorchidsI’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). In Feast it was the focus of our week, and Rachel introduced us to Kate Read and her work at Home for the Highly Sensitive. Kate references research on her site that “compares orchids to sensitive folks and dandelions to hardier people.” The suggestion is that someone who is HSP needs more specialized conditions and care to thrive, is more easily impacted by environmental factors including the energy of other people.

I am an HSP. I only discovered the label, the criteria in the past few years, but I’ve always known something was different about me. Actually what I thought for a long time is that I was simply crazy, confused, broken. I felt things so deeply, struggled with feeling raw and tender. I got easily overwhelmed by other people’s energy and my environment. I was told I was too sensitive and that my perception was wrong so many times that I learned not to trust myself. I looked outside myself to know what was “true” and how I was supposed to react. I let external expectations shape me, my thoughts and behavior.

This isn’t just my problem. Anyone living in a Western culture is potentially handicapped by two core and contradictory beliefs: you are basically bad and you are supposed to be perfect.

We assume that we are born basically bad — imperfect, flawed, broken animals. We come into the world with a black mark on our soul (“original sin”), and we must struggle against this fundamental nature even as we believe we will never be able to escape it, at least not without divine intervention. This belief turns our whole life into a desperate cycle of sin, repentance and penance. Every thought, feeling, and action are subject to judgement. We are keenly aware of when rules have been broken, when punishment is justified. We look for who is to blame and we lash out in increasingly aggressive ways. We pray that someone will save us from ourselves, from the conditions of our lives. We feel helpless, bewildered.

We also assume perfection is the goal of all our effort. It is suggested to us that if we work hard enough we can have perfect relationships, homes, children, bodies, and work. And what we can’t achieve through direct effort, we can buy. The external expectation we’ve internalized is that we can be perfect if we just work hard enough and purchase the right stuff. If we aren’t perfect, it’s our own fault. In this way, (because perfection is actually impossible), we live with a constant sense of not being enough, not doing enough, not good enough. This striving for perfection and falling short also breeds comparison and competition, aggression towards the self and the other.

Either way, we can’t win. The antidote to this dilemma, this confusion, to all of it is compassion. And to cultivate compassion, we must begin with self-compassion. We must befriend ourselves, allow space for all that we are, notice how we’ve internalized the assumption that we are basically bad and the expectation that we should be perfect. We can cultivate an awareness of how we get hooked, to notice this and pause before falling into habitual patterns in an attempt to get ground under our feet.

In a recent Daily Dharma Gathering talk, teacher Angel Kyodo Williams suggested,

The doorway to liberation from the tyranny of mind that rejects parts of ourselves is actually being willing to sit with those parts of ourselves [that make us uncomfortable, that we wish away and try to ignore] and allow ourselves to feel the discomfort, to notice the quality of discomfort, to become aware of where this not being okay with parts of ourselves sits in our body, where it is that we carry it.

So rather than moving away, we make space for ourselves, all that we are. We allow things to be as they are. Angel went on to offer,

Allowing ourselves to feel, connect with, and create space for the parts of ourselves that we are most uncomfortable with, that we feel the most aversion to, gives us the opportunity to lean into love for ourselves and no longer be contracted and held in bondage by those areas that we move away from, and because we move away from them we’re not allowing ourselves to experience our whole lives.

In our fixation with perfection, and our belief that we are basically bad, we lose ourselves, we limit our experience.

The most basic truth, the one thing we all have in common, is that we just want to be happy, to avoid suffering. The problem arises in the ways we attempt to create or capture that happiness, the ways we define happiness. We make attempts to avoid suffering, to get safe and comfortable, and we actually end up generating suffering. We are confused about what will make us happy and how to get there. We get hooked, we get stuck, and end up repeating over and over methods that simply don’t work. We fall into blame, judgement, jealousy, depression, addiction, aggression, craving, competition, and self-aggression. We think that perfection is possible, and get caught up in all the ways we fall short of it. We think we are the problem rather than seeing the standard, the search as the problem. We cut off our connection to our basic goodness, our fundamental wisdom, our natural state, our basic nature which is open and spacious and compassionate.

In a free video introduction offered by Sounds True of an upcoming class with Pema Chödrön, The Freedom to Choose, Pema discusses the traditional Buddhist teachings on “Three Difficult Practices,” which are:

  • Acknowledging that you’re hooked, developing awareness
  • Doing something different — choosing a fresh alternative
  • Making this a way of life

It seems to me that I, that we all can apply these practices to all of it: being an HSP, external expectations of perfection, the internal sense of failure and falling short, our avoidance of the things about ourselves that make us uncomfortable, our bewilderment and confused attempts to find happiness and avoid suffering, the ways we generate suffering for ourselves and others — all of it. We can stay with ourselves and notice. We can allow whatever arises, make space for it. When something comes up and we feel ourselves get hooked, starting to move in the direction of habitual patterns, we can pause and notice this too. Maybe we might even choose to do something different. And if not, we can notice that too, without judgement and with gentleness. And we can keep trying, for as long as it takes. This is practice, this coming back, this not giving up. This can be our life, if we choose it. We can make space for all of it, and as Angel Kyodo Williams suggested, “space is love.”

Something Good

snowmoon1. Miles for Milo: Run or raise $ for Milo’s spina bifida costs. I’ve met little Milo, and it’s no lie that he’s smiley, kind, warm, and adorable.

2. The Bravery To Be Vulnerable: An experiment in #100DaysofVulnerability on Medium.

3. my study of thriving on Chookooloonks. Be sure to check out the gallery.

4. Wisdom from David Deida, “If you are waiting for anything in order to live and love without holding back, then you suffer.” (Thanks for sharing, Lise).

5. In case you missed it the first time I posted, Dear Sugar is back as a podcast.

6. This Man Walks 21 Miles To Work And Back Every Day, And Now Others Want To Lend A Helping Hand.

7. Comedian Tig Notaro on What It Was Like to Perform Stand-Up Topless.

8. Good stuff from Be More With Less: Maybe Variety isn’t the Spice of Life and 7 Things to Consider if You Hate Your Job.

9. The Emotional Milestones of Writing A Novel: A Handy Guide! from Terrible Minds.

10. do you make time for down-time? on the Community Questions column from Mabel Magazine.

11. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club, “When we clasp our hands around things, waiting to let go until they make sense, our hands are too full and can not be open to the things that are waiting for us.”

12. A Biggest Loser Contestant Reveals What We All Already Knew on Nourishing the Soul.

13. Proof that kindness matters on Superhero Life.

14. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

We can put our whole heart into whatever we do; but if we freeze our attitude into for or against, we’re setting ourselves up for stress. Instead, we could just go forward with curiosity, wondering where this experiment will lead. This kind of open-ended inquisitiveness captures the spirit of enthusiasm, or heroic perseverance.

15. PRI, #WomensLives … and me! Yay, Kirsten Akens!

16. The Practice of Ruthless Compassion from Sandi Amorim.

17. Loving Your Body Doesn’t Mean What You Think from Kimber Simpkins.

18. The Price I Pay to Write.

19. Wisdom from Geneen Roth.

Compulsive eating is only the symptom; believing that you’re not worth your own love is the problem. Go for the love. You’ll never be sorry.

20. 9 Things You Should Be Able to Say About Your Life from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

21. My house of belonging from Susannah Conway.

22. Mary Oliver — Listening to the World, a rare interview with On Being, the podcast.

23. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook, Fierce self-accountability and Self-kindness.

24. Please don’t punish yourself from Danielle LaPorte.

25. Photo Battle: Allison McCann vs. Hilary Parker.

26. You Do Not Have to be Good from Julie Barton.

27. New Adventures New Lessons from Tracey Clark.

28. Why You Hate Work on The New York Times.

29. Self-Soothing, a list on PsychCentral.

30. The Things That Get in the Way of Doing on Zen Habits.

31. My Weird Morning Ritual and Why You Need One Too on Medium.

32. cheers to the weekend: saturday morning scones, a yummy looking recipe on SF Girl by Bay.

33. Podcast: TT 008: Tammy Strobel on Life, Creativity and a Tiny House.

34. black bean butternut squash quesadillas + chipotle lime crema recipe.

35. The Happiest States In America In One Map (INFOGRAPHIC).

36. This makes me so angry, a size 12 model being called “plus-size” is going to be the cover model for the next Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She says, “I don’t know if I consider myself as a plus-size model or not,” Lawley, who is represented by Wilhelmina Models, says. “I just consider myself a model because I’m trying to help women in general accept their bodies.” REALLY?! Explain to me HOW exactly you are trying to help me “accept” my body?!

37. This is What Happens When You Decide To Create Your Own Food Security.

38. A mantra from Rachael Maddox, “My fears melt into nothingness in the presence of perfect love. I am love, you are love, we are love. Everything belongs.”

39. Wisdom from Omar Khayy, “Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”

40. Fat is Not a Feeling.

41. Stop Eating. Everything is Bad for You.

42. Words for the Day // No. 57 from Lisa Congdon.

43. Wisdom from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, “Love mixed with space is called letting go.”

44. Kai and his girlfriend Ellen. So cute.

Day of Rest: Self-Compassion

snowwillows

A truce can be called in your inner war. Peace is possible. Your old habits of self-criticism don’t need to rule you forever. What you need to do is listen to the voice that’s already there, even if a bit hidden — your wise, compassionate self. ~Kristin Neff

The theme for the first week of Feast was self-compassion. If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you know this is one of my favorite topics. It started when I went to a new doctor almost two years ago. I’d had crushing, constant fatigue for almost three years and my longtime doctor had tried every test and treatment she could think of, finally suggesting maybe it was time to try a holistic approach, and admitting that was outside her expertise. I found an integrative practitioner who was also certified in internal medicine and made an appointment. After an hour long conversation with this new doctor, one in which I revealed I had an eating disorder, she told me I was obese, tried to put me on a diet that would restrict my calories, not allowing any dairy or gluten or sugar, and recommended I do more cardio. She hadn’t run any sort of tests to rule out an underlying cause and it was clear to me that this was her prescription for every patient, no matter what their issue.

The visit broke my heart a little. I went in with so much hope, and was so honest with her about everything, only to have her offer me the same old story. I was looking for an expert, someone who could fix me, ease my suffering, make me feel better. What she offered was an option I could have found in just about any women’s magazine, in any gym or weight loss program. As a women in this culture, I am constantly bombarded by the message that if I just lost weight, I’d be happy. If I just ate less and moved more, I’d be healthy. If I just got myself into the “normal” range on the BMI chart, I’d be okay.

Even back then, something deep in me knew that was bullshit. The cake is a lie. The afternoon of that appointment, I left for a retreat at Shambhala Meditation Center with Susan Piver. I spent the weekend contemplating my situation, attempting to answer the central question: “how do I heal myself?” With Susan’s support, the magic of the space, the specific practices we did together that weekend, and the community of people in attendance, I came to an answer: self-compassion.

If we think our job here on earth is to fix ourselves, we will keep looking for the broken places. If we believe our job is to be kind, we will keep lavishing love on ourselves. ~Geneen Roth

pinksnowmoon02Self-compassion is the ground of everything. As Rachel says, “Before we can address whatever unrest, misalignment, or longing that has shown up in our life, we must first bring to life a compassionate and loving relationship with ourselves.” If we aren’t already practicing self-compassion, this is where we must start, and where we may find ourselves returning over and over again.

Building a foundation of self-compassion is hard work. I’ve been practicing and studying for almost two years, and I am still such a beginner. I retook Kristen Neff’s self-compassion test again this week, and even though my score had gone up almost a full point, I still fall into the low self-compassion range. One example of how much I’ve changed though is that when I started this process, a result like that would have triggered self-aggression, judgement and criticism. I would have smashed myself to bits for not being better at this, not scoring higher, not evolving faster. Now, I simply notice, work to maintain my curiosity and sense of humor. I might feel disappointed or sad, but I’m not going to make things worse by beating myself up for it.

I did make myself giggle because before I took the test I had to pee, but it was late and I felt like I needed to hurry up and finish, so my first and habitual instinct was to hold it, to wait until I was done with the self-test. Do you see, kind and gentle reader, just how ridiculous that is? I was going to make myself suffer in order to rush my way through a test that would measure my self-compassion. I still have so much to learn. But, as Kristin says,

It does take work to break the self-criticizing habits of a lifetime, but at the end of the day, you are only being asked to relax, allow life to be as it is, and open your heart to yourself.

pinksnowmoonThis same message is repeated over and over again in my Buddhist studies. Pema Chödrön often talks about how meditation practice is simply the act of befriending yourself. She also says,

The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.

In a talk given through the Daily Dharma Gathering about “How to Love Yourself,” Lodro Rinzler talked about the same, saying,

It’s okay to actually look at yourself. It’s okay to become familiar with who you are. And who you are is basically good — whole and kind and strong.

Spending the week contemplating self-compassion, the way I practice it, I noticed how much kinder I am to myself, how far I’ve come, the willingness I have to be gentle and kind and patient — to nourish myself. I also noticed the places where I still have work to do. One thing I realized this week that surprised me is how much I still use self-aggression as a way to motivate myself, a way to make sure “shit gets done.” What’s so silly about that is most of the stuff I’m trying to get done involves helping other people, attempting to ease suffering — but in my approach I’m generating suffering, and that math doesn’t work.

For some reason, we are truly convinced that if we criticize ourselves, the criticism will lead to change. If we are harsh, we believe we will end up being kind. If we shame ourselves, we believe we end up loving ourselves. It has never been true, not for a moment, that shame leads to love. Only love leads to love. ~Geneen Roth

May we all be kind to ourselves today. May we rest if we are tired. May we eat if we are hungry, and savor what we eat. May we ask for help if we need it. May we tell someone we love them, even if the person we tell is ourselves. May we open ourselves to joy. May we allow ourselves to take up space. May we be nourished, both cherished and well-fed. May we notice where we are suffering and lavish that hurt with love.

Something Good

1. Bat Dad videos. He makes me laugh.

2. In the presence of perfect love from Rachael Maddox.

3. Comedian Tig Notaro continues to laugh at cancer in new Sundance documentary. I can’t wait to see this, and the article says she’s also working on a memoir.

4. Kid President’s Guide to Being Awesome, a new book from my favorite president.

5. Watch: Matthieu Ricard says altruism is the solution, a new TED Talk in which “Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard offers his simple solution to climate change, biodiversity loss and global inequality. The problem, he says, is selfishness, and the solution is altruism. It’s a simple — even naïve — idea, but Ricard makes a compelling case that altruism is a real, effective solution.”

6. Cosby: ‘Trust Me.’ How many women need to say this happened to them?

7. Good stuff from Patti Digh: book stack tuesday : the art of asking and balance your power.

8. Good stuff on Medium: Voluntary Mindslaughter: How learning to “Just Sit” can get you through anything, and If Someone Has All Three of These Things, Hire Them, and Wake No More.

9. Plus-size model Tess Holliday busts out of stereotype.

10. Just watch how much the "ideal" body type has changed over 3,000 years.

11. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook: Why sometimes it’s so difficult to be a person, and The Drama Triangle, and The End of Martyrdom.

12. 18 Hilarious Notes To Robbers.

13. Why People Hate Tess Munster (And Other Happy Fat People), brilliance from The Militant Baker.

14. Good stuff from lists and letters: strong medicine and illness: things i have learned in its shadow, and the morning after, when light breaks through the window blinds.

15. Exploding Kittens is the most backed Kickstarter project ever. He asked for $10,000, and with 17 days remaining, he’s already gotten over 5 million.

16. Interview with Wild Mama Carrie Visintainer from Laura Resau. The writing cabin! *sigh*

19. It’s how the light gets in… from The Bloggess. They break our hearts, but we keep letting them in.

20. Teacher And His Students Recreate ‘Uptown Funk,’ Get An A+ In Breakin’ It Down.

21. Good stuff on Bored Panda: I Take Personal Portraits Of Dogs, Cats And Horses, and I Found This Adorable Puppy In An Abandoned Backyard And Brought Her Home, and Artist Spent One Year In The Woods Creating Surreal Sculptures From Organic Materials.

22. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön:

The peace that we’re looking for is not peace that crumbles as soon as there is difficulty or chaos. Whether we’re seeking inner peace or global peace or a combination of the two, the way to experience it is to build on the foundation of unconditional openness to all that arises. Peace isn’t an experience free of challenges, free of rough and smooth, it’s an experience that’s expansive enough to include all that arises without feeling threatened.

23. A Calm, Open Walk Through a Dark & Tangled Mess from Laurie Wagner.

24. Cheap easy. Quality easy. And The Myth of Endurance. from Danielle LaPorte.

25. Doubt’s Foot In Logic’s Door: Thoughts On Anti-Vaxxer Attitude from Terrible Minds.

26. Wisdom from Kurt Vonnegut, (thanks for sharing, Anna),

Be soft.
Do not let this world make you hard.
Do not let the pain make you hate.
Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.
Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be
A beautiful place.

27. Wisdom from Joanna Macy, “You don’t need to do everything. Do what calls your heart; effective action comes from love. It is unstoppable, and it is enough.”

28. Reflections on Overwhelm from Lisa Congdon.

29. Alice Gregory on Finding a Uniform, shared on Rowdy Kittens Happy Links list.

30. Good stuff from Austin Kleon: “How to feel miserable as an artist,” and How to stay alive, and Interview with Unmistakable Creative.

31. Truthbomb #722 from Danielle LaPorte, “Joy is an indicator of deep wellness.”

32. Beautiful natural sculptures made by balancing rocks, shared on Chookooloonks’ This Was a Good Week list.

33. Raise your hand. Say yes. with Laura Simms. Thank you, Tiffany Han for interviewing some of my favorite people. It’s like you’ve created a podcast just for me.

34. 5 Counterintuitive Money Lessons from 2014 from Laura Simms.

35. The OTHER Reason People Binge-Eat from Isabel Foxen Duke.

36. 25 Meaningful Things You Can Do in 30 Minutes or Less from Be More With Less.

37. A Note from the Universe, “Look to what you’re afraid of, Jill, to learn where you can grow.”

38. Sweetness on Faith Tap: Little Girl Sings Old MacDonald’s Farm and Brother and Sister Sing Hero.

39. Colleen McCullough: we’ll celebrate a woman for anything, as long as it’s not her talent. This makes me sick to my stomach.

40. Is this NASA’s best ever official portrait? Coolest astronaut sneaks his dogs into photo shoot.

41. If My Body Could Speak from Kira Elliott. Take out the part about sugar, and my body could have written this.

42. Good stuff from this week’s Positively Present Picks: The Sketchbook Project and Today is not over yet from Alexandra Franzen.

43. Meditation Physically Changes Your Brain’s Gray Matter for the Better, Study Finds.

44. Anne Lamott on How We Endure and Find Meaning in a Crazy World on Brain Pickings.

45. Wisdom from Anne Lamott on Facebook, in which she says,

But Horrible Bonnie would say, Now you get to tell it, because then it will become medicine. Tell it, girl — that we evolve; that life is stunning, wild, gorgeous, weird, brutal, hilarious and full of grace. That our parents were a bit insane, and that healing from this is taking a little bit longer than we had hoped. Tell it.

46. 10 Powerful Ideas that Will Change the Way You Work from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

47. for the love of it on Chookooloonks.

48. Good stuff from Alexandra Franzen: What are you capable of giving? and Your life is a hot date. Show up.

49. Feed Your Soul from Geneen Roth.

50. On Being podcast, Brené Brown — The Courage to Be Vulnerable.

51. Day Jobs & Creative Entrepreneurship from Jamie Ridler.

52. Beijing life in a shipping container.

53. How I Learned to Love Shopping as a Plus-Size Woman with Mary Lambert.

54. Jimmy Fallon Has A Lip Sync Battle With Will Ferrell & Kevin Hart.

55. Evolution is Exhausting. But You Totally Got This. from Meg Worden.

Something Good

1. Sunday sadhana from Kirsten Akens.

2. One of my favorite bloggers has a new space, Rita’s Notebook. I’m so glad she’s back, writing and sharing.

3. Neil Gaiman is doing a book signing in Fort Collins. I am f l i p p i n g out.
neilgaiman4. Man Shows Off Incredible Transformation Of 258 Square Foot Apartment.

5. The 10 Second Rule on How To Rewire Your Brain For Greater Happiness.

6. 8 Toxic Beliefs Most People Think Are Normal and 7 Habits to Start in 7 Days to Guarantee a Year of Happiness from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

7. Please don’t punish yourself from Danielle LaPorte.

8. I intend to soften from Mara Glatzel.

9. Truthbomb #715 from Danielle Laporte, “Forgetting who you are is only a temporary situation.”

10. Still, a site I’m pretty sure I shared before, but was reminded of by Susannah Conway and felt it was worth sharing again. Susannah also shared this post, Delilah S. Dawson: 25 Writing Hacks From A Hack Writer, and a link to this interesting site, My Morning Routine, on her Something for the Weekend list.

11. Technology Has Made Life Different, but Not Necessarily More Stressful.

12. live a story of wholeness from Patti Digh.

13. A lesson in finding joy and letting go on Medium.

14. Make Your Heart a Bigger Container from Meg Worden.

15. A Life Apart: The Toll of Obesity. A cautionary tale, but not for the reasons people might think. People most likely would assume it should caution you to eat less, exercise more, not be overweight, but really it should caution you to be more compassionate.

16. Mary Oliver on What Attention Really Means and Her Moving Eulogy to Her Soul Mate on Brain Pickings.

17. What My Yoga Therapist Taught Me About My Food Cravings.

18. Bruce Farrer, thank you for inspiring us | WestJet Above and Beyond Stories.

19. Twelve Habits of Happy, Healthy People Who Don’t Give a Shit About Your Inner Peace.

20. I Stood Up to a Fat-Shaming Bully on a Train Because I’m Tired of Fighting for the Right to Exist.

21. Gone Hiking, a tragic, beautiful story.

22. Masters of Love: Science says lasting relationships come down to—you guessed it—kindness and generosity.

23. See How Much the “Perfect” Female Body Has Changed in 100 Years (It’s Crazy!)

24. On Art and Life from Dani Shapiro, in which she shares wisdom like this,

To love is to risk heartache. To live is to withstand loss. At some point, we all suffer.

And this,

This isn’t a choice – it’s a way of being. Nobody becomes a writer who doesn’t have to.

25. 1000 Voices for Compassion: Are You In? from Flingo. I’m in.

26. Why Everyone Seems to Have Cancer on The New York Times, which says,

As people age their cells amass more potentially cancerous mutations. Given a long enough life, cancer will eventually kill you — unless you die first of something else. That would be true even in a world free from carcinogens and equipped with the most powerful medical technology.

27. Parents Share Their 3-Year-Old Daughter’s Quotes To Make The World Smile on Bored Panda.

28. The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think.

29. Grey Gardens Is Summer Rental for $250,000.

30. He’s Tormented By Bullies Until He Does THIS, And Teaches Everyone A Valuable Lesson.

31. What does it mean to be fit? from Yogi Sadie.

32. Baby Tortoises Found On Galapagos Island For First Time In Over 100 Years.

33. I love not writing books. Anne Lamott on Facebook.

34. A Letter to the Future From Kid President.

35. Root Down and Grow. One of my favorite humans has a new space, both on the ground and online, and they are both beautiful — as they should be, as they are manifestations, embodiments of her.

36. Why Do So Many Entrepreneurs Hate Their Lives? from Jonathan Fields.

37. How To Stop Making A Big Deal About Your Problems, Pema Chödrön on MindBodyGreen.

Something Good

Image by Eric

Image by Eric

1. Feast with Rachel Cole. I can’t wait to get started. I’m so ready.

2. Transformation, and Against Fearlessness, wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

3. happy 10th birthday, 37days! from Patti Digh.

4. The Death of the Artist—and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur from The Atlantic.

5. Uncertainty is not the same thing as risk from Seth Godin.

6. Swallowing your words, paying rent in hell, and maintaining appearances. Why we make (unhealthy) compromises from Danielle LaPorte.

7. Universal Letter Writing Week: January 8 – 14, 2015 hosted by Alexandra Franzen.

8. Wisdom from Kavita Ramdas,

We need more women that are so strong they can be gentle, so educated they can be humble, so fierce they can be compassionate, so passionate they can be rational, and so disciplined they can be free.

9. Take A Look Inside This Luxury, 280 Square Foot ‘Tiny House’ In Oregon. And, This Gorgeous Zen-Like Tiny House Spans Generations.

10. Wisdom from Curvy Yoga.

11. YOU Are Not Your Food Plan from Sue Ann Gleason, an older post that is worth another look.

12. Savor from Just Lara, also an older post that is worth a read.

13. Diet Culture: An Introduction & Condemnation. Word.

14. 2014: The year in review from Susannah Conway.

15. Roundup: Books for the soul from The Chicago Tribune. I especially like the part about Anne Lamott.

16. 2015 Resolution For Writers: Be Big (And Then, Be Small) on Terrible Minds.

17. Six ways of compassionate living, (also known as the six Paramitas), wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Generosity. Giving as a path of learning to let go.
Discipline. Training in not causing harm in a way that is daring and flexible.
Patience. Training in abiding with the restlessness of our energy and letting things evolve at their own speed. If waking up takes forever, still we go moment by moment, giving up all hope of fruition and enjoying the process.
Joyful enthusiasm. Letting go of our perfectionism and connecting with the living quality of every moment.
Meditation. Training in coming back to being right here with gentleness and precision.
Prajna (or transcendent wisdom). Cultivating an open, inquiring mind.

18. A wonderful Zen koan: Student: “I’m reaching for the light, please help me.”
Teacher: “Forget about the light. Give me the reaching.”

19. Learning To Love Your Life, As It Is, from Mara Glatzel.

20. The 4 Things I Learned On A 10-Day Silent Meditation Retreat on Thought Catalog.

21. I Come to This Year, a poem from Jonathan Fields.

22. A touch of joy for your New Year from Jamie Greenwood.

23. A wonder-filled new year from Christina Rosalie.

24. New Year’s Wishes and gifts from Neil Gaiman.

25. New Year, Not-New Me by Stacy Morrison.

26. Bad Luck of Random Mutations Plays Predominant Role in Cancer, Study Shows. Next time I hear someone say stress or using plastic containers or eating dairy causes cancer, instead of punching them in the face I’ll give them the link to this. (Confession: having lost loved ones to cancer, it makes me so mad when I hear anyone trying to assign blame solely to the choices people make — even though I understand they do it to feel safe because it would mean all they have to do to avoid the hell that is cancer would be to make the “right” choices, because it would mean we can control what happens to us).

27. On becoming silent… from Erica Staab.

28. Good stuff from Austin Kleon: My morning routine and How to read more.

29. Wisdom from Geneen Roth,

I’d spent so many years believing that when I lost weight, I would turn into a different person — an easygoing, thick-haired, long-legged, Angelina Jolie type — that it took me awhile to get used to the thinner version of the same old me. But then I realized that I had a life that no one else could have. I stopped writing poetry (which I was terrible at) and started writing what only I could write — my books about emotional eating from a personal perspective. When I gave up wanting to have a life that wasn’t my own, I was able to grow into the life that was already mine, waiting for me to see, inhabit, and live it.

Try this experiment: Instead of waiting to be thin to be happy, try being happy right now. Live as if you were already thin, as if you liked yourself, as if you chose to have the life you have right now.

My bet is that you will discover the real It thing: the riches of your own life that were yours all along.

30. Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying on The Rumpus. Heartbreaking, but so beautifully written and honest — the best kind of writing.

31. Gracias a La Vida (Cover) by Daniela Andrade. Such beautiful lyrics.

32. 6 Quotes & Images to Inspire Simplicity from Be More With Less.

33. Photo Doggies for Anthony, a really easy way to send someone who needs it some love.

34. Tweeting my way through the Himalayas by Paul Jarvis.

35. A Tragic Death Leads to a Nonprofit to Help Rescue Stray Pine Ridge Dogs. I love Pine Ridge kids. I love Pine Ridge dogs. I love helping both. Jayla Marie Rodriguez died on my birthday. This breaks my heart, but gives me a way to help, and I’m grateful for that.

36. 10 Ways to Say ‘No’ That Won’t Damage Business or Relationships.

37. Becoming One With Dharma by Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche.

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.