Tag Archives: Pema Chödrön

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.

Something Good

1. Wisdom from Isabel Foxen Duke,

YES, I truly, love and accept my body exactly the way it is — I think it’s cute, I think it’s sexy, and I like the way it looks in my clothes. But that doesn’t mean everyone else thinks so.

The unfortunate reality is that while, I choose not to participate in body-shaming, body manipulating activities (like diets), that doesn’t mean other people aren’t, OR that other people don’t think I should.

No matter how “okay” I am with my body personally, I still have to navigate living in an insanely fat-phobic, thin-privileged, diet-culture world. And that will likely continue to be the case until the day I die (although, God knows I’m doing everything in my power to try and change it).

A big part of doing “body image work” means learning how to handle having different opinions about weight, beauty, and/or “health,” than other people. And that’s something that, unfortunately, doesn’t go away.

At the end of the day, accepting our bodies doesn’t mean that life becomes all rainbows and unicorns — it simply means that instead of making the globally pervasive thin-ideal our problem, we start to see it for what it is: society’s problem.

2. The First 5 Most Frustrating Things About Simplicity (plus solutions) from Be More With Less.

3. Good stuff from Alexandra Franzen: Standard Out of Office Messages Are Boring. Try This Instead, and Good Question, and What are you devoted to creating… in the new year? [a worksheet to help you focus & find the right words].

4. A Better Organizational Strategy: Throw Away Everything That Doesn’t Make You Happy.

5. “On the All of It” – Going Om from Marianne Elliott. (Thanks for sharing, Tina).

6. The tiny cost of failure from Seth Godin.

7. Good stuff from Medium: How to live like a motherfucker, How to Write, Tell a four-word story, What Habits Are Best for Creativity?, and On Kindness.

8. The Quickstart Guide to Quitting a Bad Habit on Zen Habits.

9. Let yourself have days to be a perfectly imperfect human being from Brave Girls Club.

10. I Won’t Let You Down by OKGo.

11. Shared on Positively Present Picks: Weekend Do: Rest and Reset and Amy Poehler’s Radical Niceness.

12. 9 Essential Books That Will Transform Your Writing Forever, shared on Tammy’s Happy Links list.

13. The Here Year: Wellness on A Design So Vast.

14. Where Would You Sleep In This 86-Square-Foot Paris Apartment?

15. Wisdom from Krishna Das, “Love is what we are; we don’t get it from somebody, we can’t give it to anybody, we can’t fall in it or fall out of it. Love is our true Being.” Also from Krishna Das,

As far as I’m concerned the only thing we need to renounce is our self-hatred and judgement of ourselves, and our sense of unworthiness, and our sense that we are not worthy of love. This is where we should start. If we could just work with that place a little bit the whole quality of our lives would change.

16. This Woman Set Up An Instagram To Show The Shocking Truth Of Being A Woman Online on BuzzFeed.

17. Wisdom from Dan Pearce,

Share your weaknesses. Share your hard moments. Share your real side. It’ll either scare away every fake person in your life or it will inspire them to finally let go of that mirage called “perfection,” which will open the doors to the most important relationships you’ll ever be a part of.

18. Addiction recovery takes body as well as spirit, a piece about Jennifer Matesa and her new book, (it’s SO good), The Recovering Body: Physical and Spiritual Fitness for Living Clean and Sober.

19. Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Paper. How to Not Cheat on Your Creative Life. from Rachael Maddox.

20. Molly Crabapple’s 15 rules for creative success in the Internet age.

21. Truthbomb #659 from Danielle LaPorte, “Take up space.”

22. Comfortable: 50 People 1 Question.

23. Anne Lamott: “We stuffed scary feelings down, and they made us insane” on Salon, in which she says,

Grief is just so scary. Our grief and rage just terrify us. If we finally begin to cry all those suppressed tears, they will surely wash us away like the Mississippi River. That’s what our parents told us. We got sent to our rooms for having huge feelings. In my family, if you cried or got angry, you didn’t get dinner.

We stuffed scary feelings down, and they made us insane. I think it is pretty universal, all this repression leading to violence and fundamentalism and self-loathing and addiction. All I know is that after 10 years of being sober, with huge support to express my pain and anger and shadow, the grief and tears didn’t wash me away. They gave me my life back! They cleansed me, baptized me, hydrated the earth at my feet. They brought me home, to me, to the truth of me.

24. Wisdom from the Journey of Love deck by Alana Fairchild, (shared by Susannah Conway),

There are many teachers on this path, some humble, some wise, some great companions on your life journey and some who will enter in and out of your life quickly, perhaps imparting a helpful word or teaching you a more challenging lesson about trusting and relying upon your own wisdom. The greatest teacher, however, is Life itself. You can trust your own experiences and know that it is the divine spark within you, the life within you, that is the one true teacher who carries you home in reawakened reunion with the Divine.

25. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

The Buddhist master Shantideva set forth a path for training in spiritual warriorship. In his text The Way of the Bodhisattva, he explains how the bodhisattva or spiritual warrior begins the journey by looking honestly at the current state of his or her mind and emotions. The path of saving others from confusion starts with our willingness to accept ourselves without deception.

You would think that a training whose intention was to prepare us to benefit others would focus exclusively on other people’s needs. But the majority of Shantideva’s instructions entail working skillfully with our own blind spots. Until we do this, we are in the dark about how other people feel and what might soothe them.

26. Wisdom from Susan Piver,

Meditation is more than a technology to employ on the path to success or even health. It is a method for communicating with your own brilliance. It is a way to relate with the mystery of your life. Something, everything, is trying to communicate with you. When we use meditation as a means to instruct our reality rather than listen to it, the magic disappears.

27. Because I Love to Make You Laugh and Why I Failed Nutrition Coaching 101 from Sue Ann Gleason. The video at the end is still making me laugh.

28. Why You Have To Destroy Doubt To Create The Life You Want on MindBodyGreen.

29. none of it was a mistake on Effervescence.

30. Wisdom from Jo Pillmore, “We are not here to be perfect. We are here to be whole.”

31. Free Mandala Workshop from Julie Gibbons.

32. Beautiful Things, River Teeth’s weekly column which “features very brief nonfiction that finds beauty in the every day.”

Glimpses, glimmers, meditations, moments, reflections, refractions, interrupted shadows, river shimmers, darkened mirrors, keyholes, kaleidoscopes, earring hoops, slabs of cracked granite, cracks where the light gets in. Beautiful things.

33. Little Hamster Bartenders Serving Tiny Food and Drinks on Bored Panda.

34. What Has Become Clear from Gerri Smalley.

35. Woman Photoshops Herself Into Her Mom’s Childhood Pictures For Touching Photo Series.

36. Note from the Universe, “If you keep asking ‘May I?’ Jill, I’ll keep asking ‘Will you?’ It’s never been up to me.

37. Holiday Hungers from Rachel Cole.

38. Thrive on Chookooloonks.

39. What It’s Like As a Bartender to Watch Your Awkward Tinder Date.

40. Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ Fits Almost TOO Perfectly With Aerobic Dance Video From 1989. Having lived through the Jane Fonda french cut leotard and big bangs era myself, this made me laugh and laugh and laugh.

41. Wisdom from Galway Kinnell, (shared by Lindsey),

To me, poetry is somebody standing up, so to speak, and saying, with as little concealment as possible, what it is for him or her to be on earth at this moment.

42. Ready as I’ll ever be, from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

43. Where to Begin? Judith Kitchen from Jeff Oaks.

44. The Disease of Being Busy from On Being.

45. After A Death, Should We Get A Dog? Brain Study Signals “Yes.”

46. Navigate Your Life: Anna Guest-Jelley, an interview with Jennifer Louden.

47. Wisdom from Jen Lemen,

i don’t know if this path is for everyone.
i don’t know if it should be.
but if it is for you, i know how incredibly painful it is to pretend otherwise, and how difficult it is to constantly question yourself because you have this pain and this truth pulsing inside you that makes it nearly impossible to blow anything off or to try to be like everyone else.

48. Antonya Nelson’s Ten Writing Rules.

Something Good

1. Wisdom from The Zen of an Aching Heart by Jack Kornfield,

Sometimes suffering the losses and the unexpected betrayals and break-ups that befall each of us becomes the places where we grow deepest in our capacity to lead an authentic and free life. Often by working our way through our difficulties, our ability to love and feel compassion for ourselves and others deepens, along with the wisdom that will help us through similar problems in the future. And learning how to survive our present difficulties is one of the few things that will help us to know the right things to say and do when others whom we love suffer as well.

2. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook, The Most Important Words of My Life and Don’t Live Somebody Else’s Dream.

3. Why I Will Never Use Microsoft Word Again by Jeff Goins.

4. Real Love Is a Choice on Huffington Post.

5. Simplicity is Not a Destination from Be More With Less.

6. Healing for the Inner Good Girl from Mara Glatzel.

7. Wisdom from Anna Guest-Jelley‘s newsletter,

I’ve recently been reading The Endless Practice: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be by Mark Nepo…I wanted to share with you one of the gems from the book that I’m continuing to carry in my heart: “No matter how hard we work, the aim and purpose of practice is not to be done with it, but to immerse ourselves so completely in life by any means that we for the moment, are life itself living. Excellence, if we achieve it, is a welcome by-product of complete immersion. But the reward for practice is a thoroughness of being.”

8. How to train for your writing marathon from Sarah Selecky.

9. My Sweet Lil Fifties Rig, Reborn! from Laura Resau.

10. Raising Geeks from Brittany, Herself.

11. This Humans of New York post, “Before medical school I was really into music.” He has the most beautiful voice, like make you want to cry beautiful.

12. “When I Meander, I Discover”: A Q & A with Dani Shapiro.

13. This Is the Human Behind “Humans of New York.”

14. 22 Perfect Ways To Respond To A Text From Your Ex from BuzzFeed.

15. Wisdom from Mark Van Doren, “The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.”

16. Why I Put Down That Green Smoothie on Elephant Journal.

17. 3 Buddhist Beliefs That Will Rock Your World (And Make You Much Happier!) on MindBodyGreen.

18. Letters to the Living No. 5: On Gentleness, Wrestling with a Wounded Angel.

19. 9 Year-Old Spanish Boy Becomes Young Wildlife Photographer Of The Year on Bored Panda.

20. Natty Valencia Fixes Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.”

21. Wisdom from John Muir, (by way of Jessica Patterson), “Earth has no sorrow that earth can not heal.”

22. Brittany Maynard, 29-Year-Old With Terminal Cancer, Explains Why She’s Delaying Ending Her Life. And sadly, just a few days after I watched the latest video, this: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life.

23. This Upsetting Video Shows One Woman’s Street Harassment In A Single Day, and the parody video, This Is What Walking In New York City As A White Man Looks Like, both on BuzzFeed.

24. Beautiful, brutal wisdom from Isabel Abbott, remember and release: a list of love and letting go and Where Memories Dwell.

25. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Bodhichitta is a Sanskrit word that means “noble or awakened heart.” …It is equated, in part, with our ability to love. It is said that in difficult times, it is only bodhichitta that heals. When inspiration has become hidden, when we feel ready to give up, this is the time when healing can be found in the tenderness of pain itself.

26. A Life Enchanted.

27. Gathering my selves from Susannah Conway.

28. 30 Days To Better Hand-Lettering E-Course, shared on Positively Present Picks.

29. This quote about how being an artist is different from being “a lawyer, scholar, mechanist, typist, scientist, production assistant, or what-have-you.”

30. Pen & Ink, Tattoos & The Stories Behind Them on Medium.

31. all of me from Lisa Field-Elliot.

32. Carolyn’s Lovely, Freeing Eating Guide from Rachel Cole.

33. Maintenance: some notes from Jeff Oaks.

34. Not If, But When from Dani Shapiro.

35. Wisdom from David James Duncan,

If we feel the Unspeakable and then try to speak of what we felt, we sound like fools. But if we feel the Unspeakable and don’t speak, we feel like ingrates. I’m inclined toward gratitude. So, foolishly, I speak.

36. what I think you should eat from seed & feather. I can’t agree more with this:

So what do I think people should eat? Here’s the list.
1. Enough.
2. What you need.
3. Whatever you want.

37. How To Exercise Out Of Self-Love And Not Due To Fat-Shaming. Amen.

38. Which reminds me of some of my favorite lines of poetry from Osho,

Don’t move the way fear makes you move.
Move the way love makes you move.
Move the way joy makes you move.

39. The 9 Most Overlooked Threats to a Marriage from Huffington Post.

40. Susan Piver talking about the four noble truths of relationships. So good.

Something Good

miniaturepeonies1. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club, “Let yourself be a perfectly imperfect human being. Let yourself feel what you need to feel and process your life the way you need to process it. Let yourself BE in all your beautifully imperfect human-ness. And give everyone else the same grace.”

2. Don’t be original; be obvious.

3. 33 thoughts on reading (A manifesto of sorts) from Austin Kleon.

4. Dear Homeless Guy: I Don’t Care If You Buy Crack With The Dollar I Gave You on Medium. The last line of this really has me thinking.

5. Write from a full cup from Alexandra Franzen.

6. Truthbomb #648 from Danielle LaPorte, “I don’t want to change the world. I want to love it.”

7. Permission from Glenda Burgess, (thanks for sharing, Lindsey).

8. reasons for my leaving from lists and letters.

9. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more from Claws Carefully Sheathed.

10. Wisdom from Rachael Maddox, “Maybe the magic that was missing all along was the will to be all the way true to the call of your brilliant heart.”

11. Learning to Measure Time in Love and Loss on The New York Times, Modern Love.

12. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön

Instead of asking ourselves, “How can I find security and happiness?” we could ask ourselves, “Can I touch the center of my pain? Can I sit with suffering, both yours and mine, without trying to make it go away? Can I stay present to the ache of loss or disgrace — disappointment in all its many forms — and let it open me?” This is the trick.

13. 33 Mantras to Quickly Calm Your Stress Response: Because you deserve to live with ease. Sandra Pawula on Medium.

14. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook: Ultimate Forgiveness and Preach.

15. Wisdom from Phillip Moffitt,

The truth is that you will never be absolutely safe. All things change constantly, even what is most precious. You know that you and those you love will die, but not when or how. This is the angst of life, the price of being a conscious human being. It is not a flaw, although many people cannot let loose of seeing it in such a manner. It is just the way life is constructed. When your awareness of this vulnerability is triggered, you can be swept into panic, collapse into depression, or desperately try to distract yourself. One of the values of spiritual practice is that you are able to come to terms with this anxiety in a conscious manner. Your life becomes more integrated because you are no longer trying to deny or avoid what is true.

16. It Happened to Me: I Taught Fitness and Failed a Fat Test from Sadie Chanlett-Avery.

17. Wisdom from Rebecca Lindenberg, “I think there is a general misconception that you write poems because you ‘have something to say.’ I think, actually, that you write poems because you have something echoing around in the bone-dome of your skull that you cannot say.”

18. If People Were Honest About Women’s Bodies from BuzzFeed Video.

19. What Happens When Cross-Species Best Friends Reunite After Five Years? Hint: someone makes a video, I watch it and sob.

20. Wisdom from Adrienne Rich, “All new learning looks at first like chaos.”

21. Wisdom from Geneen Roth, “When you stop shaming and blaming and feeding the desire to be someone else with a different life, the war with food ends as well.”

22. a ghost’s schedule from Marc Johns. I love this so much.

23. Dear Body: I’m sorry for mistreating you on Hello Giggles.

24. 28 Teeny Tiny Wild Mice on Bored Panda.

25. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club, “Is it time to simplify? Instead of being spread in a too-thin layer all over the place, maybe it’s time to pare your life down to the handful of things that mean the most to you. Then let the rest go so that you can give the very best of yourself to the very best things.”

26. An Itty Bitty White Lie from Rachel Cole. Reason #238 why I love her.

27. Awake in the World: Waking Up Without Words — Ikebana by Alexandra Shenpen.

27. Wisdom from Hafiz,

I should not make any promises right now,
But I know if you
Pray
Somewhere in this world -
Something good will happen.

Satya Robyn shared this on Facebook today, and followed it with some wisdom of her own, “Pray, give thanks, ask for help, admit something to yourself or another human being, listen carefully, be kind, eat chocolate, stop blaming, love everything. It all works.”

28. To Hear the Falling World by Jane Hirshfield. (Thanks for sharing, Jessica).

Only if I move my arm a certain way,
it comes back.
Or the way the light bends in the trees
this time of year,
so a scrap of sorrow, like a bird, lights on the heart.
I carry this in my body, seed
in an unswept corner, husk-encowled and seeming safe.
But they guard me, these small pains,
from growing sure
of myself and perhaps forgetting.

29. There’s A New “Marcel The Shell” Video And It’s Freaking Adorable.

30. Wisdom from Sogyal Rinpoche, “Although we have been made to believe that if we let go we will end up with nothing, life reveals just the opposite: that letting go is the path to freedom.”

31. you are your own damn permission slip from Justine Musk. Word.