Something Good

It’s Palisade peach season in Colorado, y’all

1. This is an ongoing contemplation for me: The ‘King’ of Shambhala Buddhism Is Undone by Abuse Report from The New York Times. In related news, Matthew Remski and I talk about Shambhala, guru-culture, and my blind spots from Susan Piver (I haven’t had a chance to watch the video or read his article yet, but I plan to), and Confessions of a Dharma Sex Kitten.

2. A draft agenda for fat justice. This is such an important clarification and call to action.

3. Inside the Radical, Uncomfortable Movement to Reform White Supremacists. “As hate groups have surged, so has the number of extremists trying to escape.” In related news, from the same source (Mother Jones), Trump Says White Supremacist Terror Is Fake News. These Chilling Cases Prove Otherwise.

4. ICE Officers to Asylum Seekers: ‘Don’t You Know That We Hate You People?’ In related news, 22 people were rounded up in a two-day ICE raid in northern Kentucky (video).

5. ‘He loved them more than himself’: How a 25-year-old former monk kept the Thai soccer team alive.

6. Go with your hut from Alexandra Franzen.

This is the voice that, these days, I call my “hut,” which stands for “heart + gut.” Your hut is not the voice of reason, logic, or Excel spreadsheets. Your hut is the voice of instinct and intuition, that inexplicable feeling of what’s right for you and you alone. Your hut doesn’t always speak in words. Sometimes it speaks in feelings, tingles, an invisible hand on your shoulder, a fire in your belly, tears in your eyes that won’t stop.

7. A Buddhist Teacher’s 5 Ways to Resist on Lion’s Roar. “If the state of things sociopolitical has you downhearted, says Jan Willis, action is the only way to bring back hope. Here’s her advice for making the most of your bravery, your voice, and your vote.”

8. How Fat Shaming Leads To Eating Disorders.

9. Florida Police Chief Told Cops to Pin Crimes on Black Teens, Adults to Boost Crime Stats. In related news, Cop Fired For Calling Black People ‘Alabama Porch Monkeys’ … Then Re-Hired, and Man Who Drove Through Antwon Rose Protest, Ran Over Demonstrator, Only Charged With Misdemeanor, and A passenger racially abused this Muslim woman on a bus to Staten Island (video), and ‘Coupon Carl’ Calls Cops on Black Woman at CVS for Allegedly Using a Forged Coupon, But Was Busted Himself for … Forgery Less Than 2 Years Ago, and Woman Who Beat Elderly Mexican Man with a Brick on July 4 Charged With Attempted Murder, and Woman Studying Outside Grocery Store Attacked by Drunken Racist, and Papa John’s CEO Attempts Damage Control But Not An Apology, and These Two White Women Attacked Their Hispanic Neighbors And Called The Police On Themselves, and Puerto Rico Governor Wants Officer Fired Over Flag Incident Caught on Video on The New York Times, and California Prosecutor Suspended After Vile Attack On Maxine Waters, and Racist jerk attacks Latina for wearing a Puerto Rico shirt (video), and #SummerJobWhileBlack: Child Gets Cops Called on Him for Delivering Newspapers, and #NaptimeNancy Is The New #PermitPatty — And She Works For Harvard.

10. Chicago Neighborhood Explodes After Officer Kills Popular Black Barber; Police Say He Was ‘Exhibiting Characteristics’ of an Armed Person. In related news, any time there is a riot, it’s good to remember what Martin Luther King Jr. said,

And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? … It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.

11. An Open Letter to All White Women Seeking Redemption. In related news, The Most Dangerous Person in America Is The White Woman, and This Is the America White People Wished For. This Is the America White People Want.

12. #CaucasianCallingTax: White People Need to Be Taxed for Wasting Police Officers’ Time. Agreed. In related news, Racist Caucasian Crusaders, It’s a Thing (video), and After Calling 911 On Black Family, Subway Worker Placed On Leave. And the winner is this one, whose title makes you think it’s an article from The Onion, but it’s not, it’s real: White Woman Calls Cops on California Man Chilling in His Car Listening to Yoga CD.

13. ‘See Ya Later, Suckas!’ The Obituary of a 5-Year-Old Boy in His Own Words on The New York Times.

14. Chris and Donella lead their interracial, cross-cultural, and multi-lingual blended-family with play, hard work, and love as they navigate the triumphs and challenges of raising two sons. (video)

15. Don’t be a Bystander: 6 Tips for Responding to Racist Attacks (video).

16. A Nervous Cat Helped This Guy Feel Connected To The World (video). “When this guy’s friends asked him to help walk their nervous cat Sawyer, he was skeptical at first. But Nick was having trouble forming relationships, so he decided to give it a try. Today on Soulmates, watch how Nick and Sawyer formed a very special bond that helped them both put aside their anxieties and have beautiful adventures together.”

17. 60 Second Docs Presents Sidewalk Confessions (video).

18. CSU caught a professor forging an offer letter to boost his pay. They kept him another year. This is some serious bullshit.

19. 12 benefits of having a cat (video).

20. Black Culture Problem? (video)

21. United Shades of America: Native Hawai’i (video).

22. ‘It’s Not a New Story’: Family Separations Open Old Wounds.

23. Weird Things Couples Do With Their Dogs (video).

24. Stephen Miller threw $80 worth of sushi away to protest a protester.

25. Me when fav songs comes on in the car (video).

26. Congress is only 20% female. What if it were 50/50? (via America From Scratch • PBS) (video)

27. After the president spread a weird lie about the late-night host, Jimmy Kimmel countered with a totally true, 100 percent not-made-up story of his own. (video)

28. Confession: I’m an Introvert, and Sometimes I Lie to Avoid Socializing.

29. Lula gets a new puppy. (video)

30. Teacher Teaches Kids About Sex, Can’t Stop Laughing At Their Questions.

31. Gorilla encounter. (video)

Gratitude Friday

1. Farmer’s Market flowers in the bathroom. When I get a new bunch, I take what is still left alive from the week before, trim it down and put it on my writing desk.

2. Rain. It’s been over 90 degrees for days and days, so the big rainstorm yesterday afternoon was a nice break, and it was an extra bonus it didn’t include any hail.

3. Swimming. Y’all, I am learning so much! This week, while I was practicing, I swam in the lap lane. Let me say that one more time, make sure you really heard it — I SWAM in the lap lane! My favorite is wearing my fins and kicking across the pool on my back.

4. Practice. Sam helped me meditate a few times this week.

5. Peach and cherry season. When we go to the Farmer’s Market tomorrow, we are buying a whole box of Palisade peaches so we can cut them up and freeze them, still have them once the season is over.

6. Baby birds. We are a bit sad, because it seems there are only two left in the nest, not because they are big enough to fly away or be on their own, but because something not good happened to them (we don’t know exactly what, and found no evidence of anything, but there are only two left when there were four — and then three and now two).

Four

Four

Three

Two

7. Sam and Ringo. My best friends. It’s been hot, so there’s been a lot of lounging going on around here.

8. And this guy. He’s my very very very best friend. I love the pictures he sends me when he’s out with the dogs. Because of the heat, they drive around in an air-conditioned car in the afternoon more then they get out to walk, just to feel like they got to do something.

Bonus joy: teaching yoga, swimming lessons, aqua aerobics, Pilates, coffee with a friend, Instagram, good books (still reading Pachinko, a National Book Award Finalist, by Min Jin Lee but almost done, and I think I might get Children of Blood and Bone next, a young adult fantasy novel by Nigerian-American novelist Tomi Adeyemi), good TV (we started watching the beginning of the last season of The Great British Baking Show on PBS, and now I’m craving cake), good movies, going to the movies with Eric (we saw “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” and “Oceans 8” last week), sleeping in, a cold glass of clean water, a good yoga music mix, getting paid for doing something I love.

Something Good

1. This amazing parkour teacher is giving both confidence and hope to street kids in Manila. (video)

2. Competitive Cheerleader and team USA Gymnast Angel Rice most known for breaking Guinness World record for the most double full twists, gets 1st place in Regionals in Daytona Beach. (video) I get dizzy just watching her!

3. Maxine Waters could be a serious problem for Trump if Democrats win the House.

4. We need to do better, do the work, because this nonsense keeps happening: California Prosecutor Wonders Why ‘Ghetto’ Maxine Waters Hasn’t Been Shot, and Gang of White Thugs Hurl Slurs at Black Mom, Smash Her Car Window, Yet Somehow No One Went to Jail or Even Had a Damn Mugshot Taken, and Latest ICE Data Details Increasingly Indiscriminate Arrests, and Vermont woman shown on video cutting cop’s throat with knife acquitted of attempted murder, and Adam Bloom doesn’t get it and his apology is bullshit (video), (if you don’t know who Adam Bloom is or what he did, watch this video), and Customs agents reportedly deleted records that could have been used to reunite hundreds of immigrant families, and This White Woman Probably Regrets Calling The Police On A Black Couple For Wearing Socks At The Pool, and Purdue Professor Proudly Posts Photo in Blackface But Faces No Consequences Because of Free ‘Speech’, and White Ohio family that called 911 on black boy mowing lawn calls police on him again July 4, and A drunk neighbor verbally attacked a Hispanic family over their music on Fourth of July (video), and Suspect In Charlottesville Car Attack Pleads Not Guilty To Hate Crimes Charges, and A migrant child was returned to his mother covered in lice, according to a new lawsuit, and Man Calls Skateboarding Teen ‘Mexican Piece Of S**t,’ Admits He’s Being Racist, and A Day After Report, Violent White Supremacist Loses Job With Defense Contractor, and This mother was separated from her children and detained more than 2,000 miles away — so volunteers banded together and drove cross-country to reunite them (video), and White Driver Who Fatally Struck Black Man, Called Him Racial Slur After Death, Cleared of All Fault in Collision, and President Trump attacked Sen. Elizabeth Warren with a racist joke that culminated with a punchline about sexual assault, and Racist idiot cuts in line in front of Arab American woman at supemarket, then tells her, “go back to your country” (video), and A tearful reunion for this mother and her 8-year-old daughter who were separated for 55 days after crossing the US border because they were fleeing Guatemala (video), and Police arrested a woman in NY for going on an aggressive, racist, anti-immigrant tirade on a bus (video), and ‘Newport Nancy’ Called The Cops On Her Black Neighbor For Smoking A Cigarette In The Parking Lot, and The way this couple reacted to this petty Patty on the shuttle bus is hilarious (video), and South Carolina police object to high-school reading list, and Black Oregon legislator says campaigning in own district triggered 911 call, and #MourningWhileBlack: Priest Calls Cops on Black Funeral-Goers, Tells Them to ‘Get the Hell Out’ of Church, and Self-described Nazis and white supremacists are running as Republicans across the country.

5. Therese “Patricia” Okoumou, the woman who climbed onto the Statue of Liberty on the 4th of July, spoke outside a New York City courthouse. (video) In related news, Black Women Are People. Expecting Them to Be Our Saviors and Superheroes Is Killing Them.

6. Dad to orphaned wildlife from 60 Second Docs, (video).

7. Mr. Rogers used his show to fight racism in so many ways. (video)

8. This man successfully infiltrated white supremacist groups and caught it all on hidden camera — this is what he found. (video)

9. When the Fourth of July Was a Black Holiday. In related news, Responsibility Day.

10. Kids always have the funniest things to say. (video)

11. A one-year-old boy became the star of Jackson Square after he hopped into a French Quarter band’s performance. (video)

12. Cops were called on him — for mowing a lawn. Now his business is booming.

13. You’ve heard the one about the tortoise and the hare…BUT have you heard the one about the tortoise and the herd of cows? (video)

14. These adorable babies will make your day. In related news, Baby adorable reactions compilation. (videos)

15. These U.S. industries can’t work without illegal immigrants.

16. What is your dream? from Alexandra Franzen.

Gratitude Friday

1. Flowers in the bathroom. I loved this bunch extra lots.

2. Morning walks. We still have to walk “in town” rather than by the river because of the mosquitoes, so there aren’t as many pictures to share to prove to you how lovely it is to talk a walk with my tiny family before many people are up and out. Sam has had a little bit of a set back, with the same issue he had with his back right leg manifesting now on the left. Hopefully we’ve learned something and it won’t get as bad this time around. No matter what, we’ll do everything we can for him and he has an awesome PT vet.

3. Practice. The drama with Shambhala leadership doesn’t change my devotion to my practice or the benefit I get from it. I’m still here.

4. Four baby dinosaurs, getting bigger every day.

5. My tiny family. I never get bored of just hanging out with them, doing practically nothing.

Sam “helping” me meditate

Bonus joy: Teaching yoga, insurance for our cars and our house stepping up and fixing stuff when a bad storm wrecks it, finding a good home for something I don’t need anymore, laughing with Eric, bumping into friends when I hadn’t expected to see them, our “new” fence, naps, good books (I’m reading Pachinko, a National Book Award Finalist, by Min Jin Lee), and good TV (Netflix just released another season of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee), and good films (I finally watched The Florida Project and the little girl who played the lead, Brooklynn Prince, is amazing), Palisade peaches, cherries, barbecue, swimming on my back across the pool, my new swim fins, ibuprophen, CBD oil, a cold glass of clean water, getting the laundry done, hanging out with Mikalina, texting with Chloe’ and my brother, the way Carrie gets enraged about the same things I do, good neighbors, meeting new dogs, dark chocolate with salted caramel, butterflies, a soft breeze, the ocean.

Something Good

1. I am still processing this: Report alleges sexual misconduct by leader of Shambhala community and Shambhala Head Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche Accused of Sexual Abuse in New Report. I read the report and I absolutely believe the women, and feel certain there are many more who have not spoken out but who were similarly harmed. I also read Sakyong Mipham’s “apology” letter and think it’s problematic af, not an apology at all. I am confused, outraged, shocked, and heartbroken. This is my Buddhist practice lineage, and I’m not sure how to react, so for now I’m just sitting with it, holding compassion and confusion and rage and grief in my heart simultaneously. A few other teachers have made posts, videos, and statements. For example On Shambhala from Susan Piver, Reflections on Shambhala from Ethan Nichtern, and Offering support to the Shambhala community from Lama Rob Owens (video). Lodro Rinzler posted on Facebook, “I am feeling a lot of pain around what is happening in the Shambhala community. I personally have clarity that it is time for me to officially exit Shambhala as an organization and no longer teach there. The Shambhala teachings are separate from the organization, invaluable, and will always be a part of me.”

2. In Nigeria, an 11-year-old artist is creating waves with his unique creations. (video)

3. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren visits a detention center. (video) “I went down to the border protection processing center in McAllen, Texas so I could see what’s happening there with my own eyes. They wouldn’t let cameras inside, but I can tell you what I saw.”

4. More racist nonsense: A family called the cops on this 12-year-old boy after he accidentally mowed part of their lawn (video), and Two first-hand accounts of the horror at the heart of Donald Trump’s zero-tolerance policy of separating children from their parents at the US border (video), and After 40 Days Apart and a Missed Flight, a Migrant Family Reunites on The New York Times, and These parents were separated from their children and detained by US border patrol agents, who suspected them of trying to enter the country illegally (video), and Immigration Lawyer Broke Her Foot When ICE Officer Pushed Her on The New York Times, and Officer In Antwon Rose Shooting Charged With Homicide, and Protests continue against the largest immigration detention center in the US located in McAllen, TX (video), and Trump Aims to Dismantle Protections for Immigrant Kids and Radically Expand the Family Detention System, and Businesses divest from Alison Ettel’s marijuana company, TreatWell, after viral 911 video, and Watch a mother and son reunite after being forcibly separated for over a month (video).

5. She raised her hand to help, and it made a beautiful difference in one man’s journey. (video)

6. Annapolis shooting suspect “wanted to get revenge,” lawyer for harassed woman says. Explain again why we need a wall to keep the bad people out when they are already here, white, male, and legal?!

7. Best highlights from #WhatTheFluff challenge part 2. (video)

8. Trans Woman Kicked Out Of D.C. Restaurant For Refusing To Show ID Before Using The Bathroom.

9. This minor league mascot recreated ‘Dirty Dancing’ — and it was spectacular. (video)

10. Cats are in a world of their own! (video)

11. Rep. Maxine Waters Goes On Live TV And Reads Actual Quotes Of Trump Inciting Violence.

12. San Diego’s ‘Aunt Debbie’ overwhelmed by donations.

13. A top House Democrat lost his primary — to a socialist.

14. Stop Condemning My Bitterness, Start Condemning The System.

15. Supreme Court finally condemns 1944 decision that allowed Japanese internment during World War II.

16. ‘This is not the land of the free.’ (video) “This imam experienced things at U.S. detention centers that he never even encountered at Syrian refugee camps.”

17. 20+ Hilarious Dog Snapchats That Are Impawsible Not To Laugh At.

18. 10 Reasons Why Coming to America Is the Best Black Movie of All Time.

19. Marriage Equality Museum Will Defiantly Stand Against Hate. (video) “Three years after the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, this man wants to transform his brightly-colored Equality House into the first-ever marriage equality museum. The building sits right across the street from the notoriously anti-LGBTQ Westboro Baptist Church, making the museum a powerful symbol in the face of hate.”

20. 30 Ways White People Say ‘Black People’ Without Actually Saying ‘Black People.’

21. The past 72 hours in Sarah Sanders’s dinner and the civility debate, explained.

22. Stop Tone Policing My Outrage at This Presidency.

23. An Arizona woman needed a drug to induce a miscarriage. Her pharmacist refused.

24. I’m Reading 50 Books by Women of Color This Year—Here Are Some More of My Favorites.

25. 7 Myths about Cultural Appropriation DEBUNKED! (video)

26. I’m Not Political (Because I Assume I Will Retain All of My Privileges Forever).

27. ‘People Of Light’: New Campaign Seeks To Redefine What It Means To Be ‘White.’ I can’t even. You’d think this was an article from The Onion, but it’s not.

28. The Hate U Give movie trailer.

29. CDC lists oil of lemon eucalyptus as comparable to DEET for mosquitoes. I’ve used this for the past couple of years and have to agree with the findings. Plus, it smells delightful. Oh, and it’s not POISON.

30. Yoga For Stress Management from Yoga with Adriene.

31. In final episode of “Parts Unknown,” Anthony Bourdain discusses death and Buddhism in Bhutan.

Day of Rest

Half of the eggs in the robin’s nest in our lilac bushes hatched

At noon today, it was exactly half way through 2018. I don’t know if that’s accurate because I didn’t figure it out myself or hear it from an expert, but rather one of my friends posted it on Facebook this morning. True or not, it got me thinking. Just like we often do for the new year or on one of the solstices, it offers the opportunity for reflection. It’s as good a time as any to consider what we’d like to relax, let go of, surrender, and what we’d like to invite, seek out, cultivate.

I shared this with the yoga class I taught this morning. I wasn’t off to a great start — when I got there the downstairs door was locked, and it’s been so long since I had to open that one, when put my key in and it didn’t work, I panicked and assumed I didn’t have the right key and wouldn’t be able to get in. I finally got some encouragement to try my key again, and it worked, reminded me that back when I used to teach a 7 am class and was the first one there, the key was kind of sticky sometimes. It worked out, but the confusion had gone on long enough that I felt frazzled, off center. For the first few minutes of class, I couldn’t find the right words, had to try really hard to put together what I was trying to communicate, but eventually I softened and relaxed and was able to connect with the truth of what I was teaching.

When you feel yourself tense up, allow yourself to relax and you might float. This was a realization I had last week during my swimming lesson. If you missed it, I am 50 years old and even though I took swimming lessons as a kid, I never really learned. I was bullied and learned how to be afraid of the water and of people judging the way I tried. This summer, I signed up for private lessons with a teacher who had the right mix of skill, kindness, and humor. Only five lessons in and I am swimming on my own. Still terrified a lot of the time, but trying.

In last week’s lesson, my teacher asked me to float, first on my belly and then on my back. I confessed to him I didn’t know how, hadn’t ever done it before on my own, at least not that I could remember. He gave me some simple instructions and encouragement, and I tried it. First, I leaned forward, letting my face go into the water and my legs reach out behind me. There was a moment when I was tipping and my feet were starting to float when I felt myself tense up, resisting what was happening. I wanted to quit, to put my feet back down and stand up. The instinct is old and deep and sticky to “save myself” when I feel myself going under and the water filling the space around me.

Instead, I relaxed and let go. I surrendered to the water and the way my body wanted to rise to the top and hover there. Next, I did the same on my back. Later, I was on my back kicking my feet and moving my arms, swimming the length of the pool. My ears where covered by the water and it was so quiet. Even though my limbs were moving, it felt like I was gliding along the top without any effort — floating. Unlike when I was on my belly, my nose and mouth were out of the water and I could breath easily and normally. I felt utterly safe and content.

I keep thinking how this applies to life in general. When something scary or even just uncomfortable is happening, I tense up, start to shut down, withdraw, and maybe even run away. To float, you have to breathe past that moment of resistance and relax instead. Soften, let go, surrender. It’s only then that you can know the truth of what’s on the other side. I keep looking for the other ways I do this – resist instead of relaxing – and wondering what I’ve been missing all those times I chose to run away instead of surrender.

Gratitude Friday

1. The color of Robin’s eggs. Eric was able to sneak this photo of the ones in the nest in our lilac bush this morning. I love that something I planted is now keeping this tiny family safe and comfortable, and that there will hopefully be four more robins in the world because of it.

2. Morning walks. Even better, one of them this week was a hike, and Sam and I got to go along. I’ve also done two walks this week without my knee braces.

Post hike nap.

3. I can swim! During my lesson yesterday, I swam on both my belly and my back, with no props. I also floated, which I wasn’t sure I could do, (the secret is relaxing and letting go, duh). Today when we went to the pool, I showed Eric what I could do and was pretty proud of myself. I’m not gonna lie, for at least part of the time I’m still thinking “I’m going to die” but for some of it I can actually allow some joy.

4. My tiny family. This week I made sure to take pictures of Sam, which means I got a few more of him than of Dexter.

5. This tiny human. Her mom was also one of my very favorite babies ever.

Bonus joy: going to lunch at our favorite Chinese restaurant and eating so many appetizers that 90% of my actual meal came home with us and I wasn’t even hungry for dinner and then Eric and I split the leftovers for lunch today (that’s like three meals for the price of one), my coneflowers and lilies are blooming, after I’m done writing this post I’m going to get in bed to read and probably take a nap, going to the movies with Eric (we saw The Incredibles 2, Baby Jack was my favorite, that and the little kids in our row laughing hysterically), a big glass of cold clean water, air conditioning (it was 100 degrees here yesterday), my new race flippers for swimming, how quiet it is swimming on my back across the pool, Pilates, Wild Writing, being able to cross “clean out the garage” off the to-do list (until next time), meditating and writing in the morning, how cool it is in the morning with the whole house fan on even when it gets so hot during the day, how soft the dogs are after getting a bath, good books, good (and dumb so you don’t have to work too hard) movies, one of my favorite podcasts in season again (Put Your Hands Together, a comedy show hosted by Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher), Pop Tarts, good food and giggles with good friends.