Tag Archives: Videos

Gratitude Friday

This post is a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. Fall. The colors (vivid green, gold, red, purple, and brown–even the gray of rot and dust and the white of ice shimmers like it’s on fire), the temperature (sunny and warmish during the day, cool at night), the clothes (everything so soft and warm and cuddly), and the food (soup and warm drinks and cheese and carbs, solid comforting food).

2. 19 years with my favorite person. I still can’t get over how lucky I am.

19 years ago we eloped, got married in evergreen, colorado, and both wore green

3. Another Aimee Mann concert, with some of my favorite people in the audience. She’s so good, so talented and smart and funny, (Eric and I think we’ve seen her at least seven times now, including her Christmas variety show), and so gracious even when people in the crowd who’ve had too much to drink won’t stop yelling at her, (btw: wasn’t me).

Here’s the original Til Tuesday video.

4. Good days for Dexter. When there is no cure, and the treatments don’t make much difference, and you get closer to the end when the amount of time no longer matters as much as the quality: you can let go of the search for a better therapy, you can stop trying to control the outcome, you can let go of wishing things were different, you can surrender your panic and dread, and sink into fully experiencing each single day. All that matters is “was today a good day?” and if the answer is “yes,” you feel gratitude and agree to move together into the next day. You are present, you connect and love and are together for that day, that moment. You don’t spend your now banking time for later, waiting or hoping or dreading. This is exactly what life should be, what it is, and you experience it with an open heart. In this way, you won’t miss anything, won’t have regrets. Your heart will still break, but this is the deal when you love anything mortal.

5. My Writing Online, writing for the web class. I am grateful for how funny, smart, and creative these people are, how they laugh at my dumb jokes and make me laugh, how they help each other and the way they celebrate their successes, the way their particular voices are emerging. If this does end up being the last time I teach it for CSU, this will be a great community to end with.

Bonus Joy: Finding feathers in my path when I’m struggling, how they remind me that I am part of a tribe, a part of something beautiful.

Something Good

it looks like it’s waving at us, doesn’t it? or offering a hug.

1. An Intentional Life by Leo Babauta on Zen Habits.

Many of us go through our days awake, but following patterns we’ve developed over the years. We are going through the motions, doing things at home, online, at work without much forethought.

Contrast this with the idea of an Intentional Life: everything you do is done with consciousness, fulfilling one of your core values (compassion, for example). Everything is done with a conscious intent.

2. This quote: At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. ~Albert Schweitzer

3. This quote: As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John F. Kennedy

4. Anaïs Nin on Life, Hand-Lettered by Artist Lisa Congdon on Brain Pickings. When I was in my 20s, I read all of Anaïs Nin’s diaries. She was brilliant and strange, and I loved every word. These illustrated quotes are fabulous.

5. 40 Ways to Feel More Alive on Tiny Buddha.

6. Music is My Church by Sarah McLachlan on Huffington Post. Amen.

7. Six Simple Ways to Reduce Your Stress Levels, from Dumb Little Man: Tips for Life. Oh boy, did I ever need this advice this week.

8. You Are Beautiful Project. Sometimes, something simple can be powerful.

9. Community, A Structure of Belonging from Patti Digh on 37 Days.It is such a sign of hope in a world of pain that we take care of each other, still.” There is still time to give to the John F. Ptak Relief Fund. It always feels good to help someone who needs it, but when they are so grateful and full of love, it feels even better.

10. The next round of Telling True Stories starts on September 10th. I loved Laurie Wagner’s 5-week Writing ECourse, (see my open love letter to her and the class), loved, loved, loved Laurie’s wild, open-hearted, brave teaching, and if you are a writer looking to be inspired, to get wild, I think you will too.

11. Aimee Mann’s New Video. Aimee Mann’s music is brilliant, but a close second to that talent is her sense of humor–both of which are clear in this new video.

Something Good

tide pool

Oh my, kind and gentle reader, after a shorter list last week, this week’s is extra long, so many awesome things I saw this week. My right eye is twitching anticipating writing this one up–and the tagging! Ugh…But every last thing on this list is worth it, otherwise I wouldn’t bother sharing.

One thing, there won’t be many videos shared while we are here on the coast, because I can’t really watch much of anything. While I am grateful to have the internet and my tiny computer, even a makeshift standup desk to use while I’m here, it’s not the same as home.

beach workstation

Specifically, everything just takes longer. For example, this morning I wanted to watch my latest Practitioner video from Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project, not because I had to, she lovingly includes a transcript with her email that I can read and get the same info, but I wanted to watch the video, wanted to see and hear her because I’m missing her, but for a five minute video, it took a half an hour to download on this internet connection, which is running on beach time, and because my tiny computer is slower, even working as hard as it can, I couldn’t really do much of anything else while the video downloaded.

So, all the fancy stuff on this list (whatever that means–do I even do anything fancy on this blog, or ever?!) will most likely be put on hold until I’m back in Colorado, mostly because I can’t watch anything to know if it’s good or worth sharing. But not to worry, because like I said, there’s lots of good stuff, even without the videos (and there is at least one video on this list).

1. Badass Courtney Carver and her post, People Will Think You Are Weird. I mentioned one of Courtney’s posts on this list last week, told you she was a badass, and she linked from this, her latest post, back to mine. I love this new one, it’s so true and such a good list, (many of which items would show up if I made a list of all the ways I’m weird–oh, good blog post idea! I must make a note of that…). She ends the post with this:

You will threaten some, but your weird, crazy, lovely, badass behavior will inspire and spread hope, joy, courage and change. Let go of the excuse that people might think you are weird if you make a change or try something new. They absolutely will and you will survive it. Maybe you are weird. Welcome to the club!

Yay for the weird club!

2. Where in the World Do I Start? from Leo Babauta on ZenHabits. I think Leo might just be the king of how to start. I know that he was incredibly helpful to me when I was starting again.

3. The Foolproof Way to Know You Are Loveable from Rachel Cole, a post which, interestingly enough, serves as the foolproof way to know that Rachel is loveable, utterly and completely.

4. How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love on Brain Pickings. So much awesome in this post.

5. This video touches and breaks my heart, The First 70 trailer shared in a post by Squam, and is too important to not pass on. And yes, I have been known to hug a tree.

6. Scavenger Hunt for Happiness, Live Lane on Your Heart Makes a Difference. Word.

7. How to Write a Book from Susannah Conway. Really good advice. She inspires me.

8. Dancing Matt. If you haven’t already seen these videos from this big hearted dancing goofball, I am so happy to introduce you to them.

9. Flab, Cellulite, and Dangling Arm Fat. Oh sisters, indeed: you are beautiful!

10. On What’s Wrong With You. Just read it.

11. 100 Things To Do Instead Of Procrastinating On The Internet! from Gala Darling. Now, to be clear, I obviously have nothing against the internet. Like all things created by and for humans, it has at its heart compassion and wisdom. What I like about this list isn’t as a list of things to do instead, but just as a good list of things to do.

12. Why the 21st Century Author is an Internet Entrepreneur. Oh, this is very, very interesting…

13. This quote, from the Dalai Lama.

Genuine peace of mind is rooted in affection and compassion. There is a very high level of sensitivity and feeling involved. So long as we lack inner discipline, an inner calmness of mind, then no matter what external facilities or conditions we may have, they will never give us the feeling of joy and happiness that we seek. On the other hand, if we possess this inner quality—that is, calmness of mind, a degree of stability within—then even if we lack various external facilities that are normally considered necessary for a happy and joyful life, it is still possible to live a happy and joyful life.

14. From Miss Minimalist, Minimalist Philosophy: Not-To-Have and Not-To-Be. Yes, yes!

15. Against Positive Thinking: Uncertainty as the Secret of Happiness on Brain Pickings. This is good, essentially is arguing the same thing a Buddhist would tell you: “In order to be truly happy, it turns out, we might actually need to be willing to experience more negative emotions – or, at the very least, to stop running quite so hard from them.”

16. What Is Art? Favorite Famous Definitions, from Antiquity to Today on Brain Pickings. Something I think about a lot.

17. Violence and Moral Dystopia on the L Train from Bindu Wiles. This falls into the category of “hard to think about, but important to try.”

18. How to Be Perfect from The Chick Blog. I need this message over and over until I finally get it.

19, This quote: “Maybe you don’t need the whole world to love you, you know? Maybe you just need one person.” ~Kermit the Frog

20. And this quote:

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security. ~Albert Einstein

21. Leo Babauta’s Guide to Overcoming Self Doubt.

22. This quote: “Be just the way you have always been, with this difference: do not believe any of it, and pay close attention to all of it.” ~Cheri Huber

23. 12 Habits Standing Between You and What You Want from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

24. This quote: “We rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you have to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.” ~Fred Roger

24. Guest Maven: Susannah Conway on How to Survive the Crash on The Maven Circle. Sometimes, Susannah is so awesome, it makes me want to cry.

25. How To Survive When Everything Sucks, an oldie but a goodie from Alexandra Franzen on Unicorns for Socialism.

26. And this quote, from Pema Chödrön, shared by Patti Digh:

Instead of struggling against the force of confusion, we could meet it and relax. When we do that, we gradually discover that clarity is always there. In the middle of the worst scenario of the worst person in the world, in the middle of all the heavy dialogue with ourselves, open space is always there. (to which I [Patti Digh] would add: let’s
resist the urge to fill up that open space).

Something Good

It’s a shorter list this week, and clearly I had a limited number of things on my mind: the High Park Fire, the World Domination Summit, taking pictures, making choices about what stuff to buy or keep or take with us on our upcoming trip, and writing.

take me for a walk…

1. Instagram. I have been dreaming about, coveting, longing for this app for a really long time, but I’m not an iPerson and I like my phones dumb, (at least dumber than me). I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and bought an iTouch so I can play too. For now, since we only have a few days before we leave for Oregon, my strategy is to “keep calm and carry on,” because if I don’t watch it, I will burn up these few remaining days wandering around taking pictures–which most of the time would be okay, but I need to clean and pack and organize and all the other stuff you must do before a long trip. So far, I’ve only taken pictures of the dogs and one self-portrait, (in which my forehead and front teeth seem abnormally large).

2. I’m Fine, Thanks, a documentary. There are still four days left to pledge their Kickstarter campaign, even though they reached their goal sometime in the last few days. I get to see it when I’m at the World Domination Summit in a few weeks, and it looks to me like a story that needs to be told.

3. My 100 Things Challenge on Be More With Less. This is one of those things I want to do, at the same time it scares me silly. Courtney Carver is a badass.

4. An Evening with Ray Bradbury, 2001, “Telling the Truth,” the keynote address of The Sixth Annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea. I don’t agree with everything Mr. Bradbury has to say here (like “only the classics are any good, everything new is crap”), but there were lots of things I wrote down, stopped and thought about, and he’s so endearing and inspiring. Most of all, he reminds me that the childhood dream of being a writer wasn’t, isn’t crazy or impossible, and that we should all follow what brings us joy.

“Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”

5. Terrible Minds. I love Chuck Wendig, am inspired by him time and time again. Lately, it was 25 Reasons This Is The Best Time To Be A Storyteller, 25 Realizations Writers Need To Have, and The Secret to Writing, which is essentially this:

6. This quote from Anne Frank, which I share in honor of the fire fighters and other good people working kindly and so diligently during this High Park Fire:

In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness. I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us, too. I can feel the suffering of millions – and yet, if I look to the heavens, I think it will come out all right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.

7. Happiness Is Simple: Why Too Many Choices Make Us Miserable & 5 Ways To Improve Your Life! by Gala Darling.

8. The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better Than You Normally Do from McSweeney’s. This is good.

9. Necessary advice from the trustworthy, brilliant Jamie Ridler, and a whole host of other luminaries. How to Get the Most Out of a Conference When You’re an Introvert or HSP (highly sensitive person) Part I and Part II. I will be taking a close look at this over the next few weeks.

10. Summer Reading List from Brain Pickings. In the introduction for the first book on the list, Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation, Tom Bissell says “To create anything — whether a short story or a magazine profile or a film or a sitcom — is to believe, if only momentarily, you are capable of magic.”

11. And finally, this quote, with a picture offered as proof: If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change, (Buddha).

I am enough

This morning, tired and strung out from unresolved stress and tension and sadness, awash in guilt about not doing enough and doing too much, sagging under the weight of overwhelm, I watched this video. It’s the brilliant Geneen Roth reading a section from her new book, Lost and Found: One Woman’s Story of Losing Her Money and Finding Her Life.

I will admit, at about minute three, I almost stopped the video. It was all about shopping, and as I mentioned the other day, I don’t really like to, so I was losing interest…until Geneen got to the punch line. At that moment, I realized that not only was it the exact message I needed to hear today, but that maybe you might need to hear it as well–even if like me, you’ve already heard it a million times. Below is the video, but for emphasis, because it’s so important, here’s the part that made my heart do a flip and then fall on the floor.

The truth is until we believe we are enough [are doing enough, accomplishing enough, producing enough, helping enough, good enough], we will never believe we have enough. So just for today, break your trance of deprivation, stop the chatter of discontent. Live as if you are already enough. Watch what happens.

So, just for today, I’m going to attempt to live as if I am already enough. My habitual way of being, so old and deep and sticky, is that I need to earn love, that I need to do more, but today I am going to try and take care of myself, to rest, to simply be, because if I’m really honest with myself, I can’t keep going like this…

Something Good

view of the high park fire as seen from my corner this afternoon

Kind and gentle reader, today’s post is hard. I need something good more than usual, keep asking Eric to “tell me something good,” but all I really want him to tell me is that this fire will stop, that no one else will lose their home or get hurt, that all the animals will be safe, that our favorite places to hike won’t completely burn up, and that it won’t reach us, that we aren’t in danger. The lizard part of my brain is having such a hard time with it, keeps screaming at me “grab the dogs and run!,” and my heart is just breaking for all the hurt and damage. The High Park Fire, as of the last update, was started by a lightning strike, has burned 36,930 acres and 100 structures, and is 0% contained.

So in light of all that, it feels a little silly, naive to share a list of things I saw this week that I thought where awesome, but at the same time, it feels more important than ever…does that make sense?

1. If you are interested in helping, one way to do so is to donate to the Larimer County Humane Society. They have taken in pets from evacuated homes, are “currently providing temporary shelter for cats, small mammals and farm animals (the size of a goat or smaller) displaced due to the High Park fire,” but are at capacity for dogs (in Colorado, we love us some dogs, so there are lots of them). They need help feeding the animals, so have set up a way for you to give a donation online. I’m sure there are plenty of other places to donate, this just happens to be the one closest to my heart.

2. The Denver Botanic Gardens. We needed a break from worrying about the fire today, so we took a spontaneous trip to Denver to look at things that were lush and alive. We walked around for over three hours, and I took lots of pictures, and we got lots of ideas for what to do with our new beds in our front yard. We were laughing at ourselves, because if you add in both dog walks, we did about 4.5 hours of walking today.

hidden bench, can you see it?

dreamy purple clematis

3. Kizuna exhibition at Denver Botanic Gardens. As a lover of most things Japanese and all things bamboo, I adored this strange and wonderful instillation spread throughout the gardens. “This season’s signature exhibition, Kizuna: West Meets East, brings together two installation artists working in bamboo: Tetsunori Kawana and Stephen Talasnik. Through different working methods, both artists employed this versatile natural material to create large site-specific works for the Gardens.”

4. I want to make this list: Jamie Ridler’s Discovering Delight. In fact, I think we should all make this list, throw out our “to-do” lists and live this one instead. I will if you will…

5. 7 Ways to Celebrate Summer from Positively Present. This list is a good start, but I bet if we tried really, really hard, we could think of more than seven ways.

6. How to Make a Living as an Artist at Create as Folk, by Laura Simms. Be sure to watch the video, if for no other reason than Laura is just so stinking cute.

7. How to Unstress and Truly Enjoy Your Vacation from the Positivity Blog. Can you tell where my head is at?

8. Welcome to the World, Book Baby by Susannah Conway. This is a really great post about her new book, This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart, how it came to be, and links to her virtual, online book tour.

9. Really cool terrariums by the slug and the squirrel.

10. Photo a Day, June Challenge List. I wish I had time, because I love this idea and think it would be really fun, so I’ll save the link and maybe do the one in July.

11. A sweet little video about life and how fast it goes by, in honor of the baby robins next door who are learning how to fly today.

12. The color of. Oh, I could waste so much time here…”a system created to find out the colour of anything, by querying and aggregating image data from Flickr, a popular online photo sharing community. It is an attempt at answering a potentially complex and abstract question in an objective manner, by using simple algorithms on data originating from subjective human perceptions.” You can search any term. Here are the ones I just made.

Love is cooler, calmer, gentler than fire, but they are clearly similar.

13. Quotes from Ray Bradbury on Brain Pickings. Ray Bradbury passed away this week at the age of 91. I adored him for most of my life, and am sad he’s gone, but glad he left such a wonderful legacy.

14. Want To Know Yourself Better? Ask Yourself These Questions from the Happiness Project. These look good.

15. You Can Be at Peace from Jennifer Louden. Oh how I adore her…

16. I love Rosie Thomas, and apparently, so does Susannah Conway, who shared this link to an interview with Rosie. I love hearing stories about how someone “finds art” or “becomes an artist,” those magical origin stories, and this article also pointed out that Rosie has a new album that I didn’t know about, which I am listening to as I write this post, (oh, and it’s really, really good, so #16.5 on the something good list is her new album).

17. Do These Petals Make My Stem Look Fat? by Sunni on the Daily Breadcrumb. Oh that Sunni, so precious, so brilliant. This post, which I adore because maybe you’ve noticed by now how much I love flowers?, also reminds me of this quote: “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change,” (Buddha, who is precious and brilliant as well).

18. This quote, shared by Judy Clement Wall in her latest post on A Human Thing: “You can’t control what other people think about your art. Think about the part of yourself that you can control, which is your ability to be kind and loving and creative.” ~ Ann Patchett, Yoga Journal

19. Calm.com, my new favorite website. Go ahead, try it and you’ll see what I mean.

20. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zero, Man on Fire.

i’m still standing

Day of Rest: I’m Wide Awake

the sky over my backyard

You may have heard already, but the wilderness northwest of Fort Collins is burning again, 14,000 acres so far, 0% contained, structures burnt, people and animals evacuated from their homes. It started as 2 acres, quickly grew to 200-300, then 5000, and 8000 by the time we went to bed, growing to 14,000 during the night. Just last week, because of other wildfires, the Poudre River ran black with soot and smelled burnt. Today, the sky is brown and there is ash falling. All day, I have felt so sad.

While I was out watering, after our morning walk, I found this Dragonfly clinging to one of my dead roses. They don’t normally stay still for as long as it did, so something must have been wrong, but it was so amazing, the blue and brown, the shimmer and wingspan. And then, on one of my newly blooming gifted plants, a fat bumblebee, similarly still, but beautiful. I wondered if they were somehow dazed by the smoke from the fire.

You know how I get stuck on a song sometimes? Last week it was I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz. This weekend it’s been Wide Awake by Katy Perry. I like her a lot, and I won’t apologize for it–just as I adore Pink and Kelly Clarkson, and refuse to feel any shame for it. In plenty of other ways, I have sophisticated musical taste, but there are some songs, some artists that I love without reason or justification–they are simply honest, uncomplicated, real, and I feel their work on the level of my guts, in the pit of my stomach.

When I listen to Wide Awake, I think about how Katy believed in something and it turned out to be wrong, and how bad that feels. You put your faith and energy and love into a situation, and it ends up breaking your heart.

That’s sad, but the grief that follows the mistake, the misstep, the wrong move, the misunderstanding can be precious, can gift you with a clarity impossible through other means. You are hurt, broken, but suddenly wide awake. You know how things are, who you are, and you find you are stronger than you thought, and that you are able to let go of the dream, the promise, the future and the past, the pain, the blame, the guilt, you are able to let go of all of it.

Susan Piver, in her book The Wisdom of a Broken Heart, writes “The heart that is broken has been broken open.” My experience shows this to be true, that the brokenness makes the cracks that let the light in, and being broken, your heart becomes tender and soft in a way it wasn’t before. You become a warrior with a broken heart, the gentlest and most powerful. You are wide awake.

P.S. Kind and gentle reader, if you are like me and get dizzy or carsick easily, don’t try to watch this video. Things are moving too fast, so maybe just listen instead.