Three Truths and One Wish

1. I have very little motivation right now. That’s not exactly true — I’m motivated to walk the dogs, go to yoga and aqua aerobics and Pilates, read books, watch TV, take naps, and hang out with Eric, write and meditate a little, and see friends, but that’s about it.

2. I’m not getting as much done as I’d hoped. I had big PLANS for all I was going to accomplish while I was on a break from work this summer, and even though I’ve gotten a few things done, it’s nowhere near what I’d imagined.

3. I needed a break. At some point when I’m not moving as fast as I want, when things aren’t happening at the speed I want, I have to accept that maybe I actually need to slow down, take a break, get some rest — and that it’s totally okay to do so.

One wish: May we allow ourselves to slow down, trust ourselves to set the rhythm of our days, and know that our value isn’t measured only by what we accomplish.

Something Good

From my garden

1. Hummingbirds gather to take a bath in the morning. (video)

2. McClure Twins funniest moments. Seriously these two are so cute. (video)

3. “If you don’t yet know who Tiffany Haddish is, your life is about to change for the hilarious.” Girls Trip’s Tiffany Haddish is a comedic genius. This interview proves it. And in related news, Girls Trip Star Tiffany Haddish Is the Funniest Person Alive Right Now.

4. How Noosa founder creates unusual flavors.

5. Philadelphia Woman Turns Home Into Museum Honoring Black Women.

6. 43 Problems Every Curvy Girl Has Faced At Least Once In Their Life.

7. A new exhibit is Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s moving, elaborate farewell.

8. 100 Artists Were Invited to Paint an Entire School Before Its Renovation.

9. As Workouts Intensify, a Harmful Side Effect Grows More Common from The New York Times.

10. Issa Rae Masterfully Sums Up ‘Insecure’ In 4 Words: ‘It’s Very, Very Black.’ And so very, very good.

11. Recipes I want to try: Cheesy Garlic Bread, and Honey Mustard Chicken Salad.

12. Q&A with Camille T. Dungy. “Camille T. Dungy is the author of the new essay collection Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History. Her other books include Trophic Cascade and Smith Blue. She is a professor of creative writing at Colorado State University, and she lives in Fort Collins, Colorado.”

13. Cancer Doesn’t Choose Who Survives Based On How Hard Someone Fights.

14. 23 Times “The Office,” “Friends,” And “Parks And Rec” Actors Broke Character. Bloopers and Gag Reels are some of my most favorite things.

15. 10 Big, Divorce-Proofing Talks To Have Before Getting Married.

16. Fat Myths: Shutting Down BS with yoga sensation Jessamyn Stanley. This is from last year, but worth a listen. (video) In related news, this video.

17. The Shocking Ways Large Women Are Mistreated by Health-Care Providers. This has happened to every woman I know, regardless of size.

18. Q&A with Roxane Gay. In related news, Roxane Gay on the Traumas of the Body on The New York Times.

19. Scaredy cats. (video)

20. The Incredible Jessica James | Official Trailer | Netflix (video) Can’t wait for this. Looks so good. Here’s an interview with her about the film from The Root. (video)

21. A Wrinkle In Time Official US Teaser Trailer. (video) Something you might not know about me: my favorite story, plot, narrative is one where a young coming of age girl must save her family and/or the world. “A Wrinkle in Time” was one of my favorite books as a kid. Also Ava DuVernay is my favorite director.

22. Time to kill? These are the absolute best movies on Netflix. I don’t know if they are actually the best, but the list is worth a look.

23. Part 2: Plump with love from Andrea Scher.

24. This Twitter Account Is Renaming Everyday Objects And They’re More Accurate Than The Real Ones.

25. Eating Clean is Useless.

26. 4 Ways INFJs Can Create More Meaning in Their Lives.

27. Dumb Beauty, wisdom from Laurie Wagner. “It’s all so much dumb beauty.”

28. Stop Forcing Introverts to Speak in Class. There Are Better Ways.

29. Don’t Teach Kids How to Survive Police Encounters, Train Cops to Deescalate.

30. You don’t have to love your body.

31. Dear Rachel: Competing Hungers, wisdom from Rachel Cole.

32. Poetry, Politics, and Privilege, wisdom from Jena Schwartz.

33. Burg’s Place is fully funded! “Tomorrow I might not be so brave. But today? Today we celebrate.”

34. Wisdom from Jena Schwartz’s latest newsletter, (you really should sign up for it),

My point is this: You don’t have to be amazing. You don’t have to be anything but what you are. Your life is as full as a middle-aged woman after eating half a pint of Ben & Jerry’s (just a random example, I swear). Your ability to write for 10 minutes is as real and available to you as your toothbrush. You don’t have to have a point all planned out in advance. Take a snapshot of what’s right in front of you and tell us about it. Respond to a text or a early-morning message from a friend — with line breaks. PLAY. When you’re cooked and can’t handle one. more. thing… excuse yourself for an hour. Do what you need to do to come back to the fact that there is nothing wrong with you or your life. You are not too late.

35. What can help when you have lost a pet and are overwhelmed with grief?, wisdom from Susan Piver on her Ask Susan podcast.

36. White Fragility Leads to White Violence: Why Conversations About Race With White People Fall Apart.

Gratitude Friday

1. Sunflowers. In my bathroom, and in my garden.

2. Flowers that attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. We have some in our garden, and the other morning on our walk, we saw a hummingbird by some flowers we don’t have, but will be getting, because, hummingbirds!

3. Peach season. It’s very short, actually, and I can never manage to eat enough of them, but there is pie.

Can you believe Eric made this on our barbecue?! He also makes the crust from scratch. #marriedagoodone

4. Joyful movement. Yoga, Pilates, aqua aerobics, walking with the dogs, stretching, riding a bike, even being still napping or meditating or staring at my toes.

5. My tiny family. I’m having such a wonderful time just hanging out with them this summer.

Bonus joy: good books (just finished Sherman Alexie’s new one), good tv (started watching Queen Sugar, so dramatic, so beautifully shot, such good acting), good movies (I can’t wait to see The Big Sick), clean laundry, getting chores done, tart cherry juice, clean sheets, long naps, rain, strawberries from my garden, the memory of the raspberry sorbet my cousin made, peaches (because they are so good they are worth mentioning twice), Wild Writing, air conditioning, Fridays (even when you are on vacation).

Three Truths and One Wish

1. How I look has WAY more to do with how I feel than anything else. It’s a purposeful shift I’ve been making for the past four years. When I make choices about what to eat, I eat what I want, what my body is hungry for, not what I “should” or what I will beat myself up for later because I “shouldn’t.” When I choose how to move, it’s about joy, what feels good, not what will burn the most calories or something I can use to punish myself with for “being bad.” I am constantly checking in with myself to see what I want — a nap? some attention? a long walk with the dogs? yoga? meditation? to finish a chore that’s been nagging at me? to make some space? And you know what’s happened because of that shift in attention? I look like someone who is taking care of herself. I can look in the mirror and see myself, no matter what meets me there, with love and gratitude and even a little bit of joy in my heart.

2. I can’t please everyone. As the joke goes, “what do you think you are, pizza?” No matter how hard I try, there’s always going to be more suffering, more people who need help, more things that need fixed, someone who isn’t happy with how things are, as well as someone who’s going to judge my approach. They will say I’m not giving enough or doing it right or am putting my effort in the wrong place.

3. I am the only one who knows what enough looks like. Only I know how much water I need to drink and if I’ve had enough. Only I know how much sleep I need and if I’ve had enough. Only I know the limits of my body and the level of my pain. Only I know how I feel, what I need and what I want — what I’m hungry for.

One wish: May we trust ourselves and others to know what we need, to know what enough looks like, and allow space for each other to discover those things for ourselves.

To-Do List

The first few weeks of my summer vacation, I did whatever I wanted. I slept in, watched a lot of TV, read, took long walks with Eric and the dogs, ate good food, took naps, went to aqua aerobics and yoga and Pilates, got a massage, had lunch with friends, wrote, meditated, got naked with Eric. Sure, I kept up with the laundry and the bills, but the big summer to-do list could wait.

Then I went to Oregon for a week, spent the few days after I got back recovering and unpacking — reentry. Now it’s time to shift gears and tackle the list.

My strategy is to do at least one thing a day. Yesterday it was actually two — cleaning off my desk and balancing the checkbook. So far today I’ve already done three loads of laundry, meditated, did my morning writing practice, and ate breakfast, but none of those things are on the list. Later, I’ll go to a yoga class and a Pilates session, but those aren’t on the list either. I’ll take a shower when I get back, maybe a nap or read some more of Sherman Alexie’s new book, see if Eric wants to get naked with me — also not on the list.

On the list: Painting the outside of the house, repairing and repainting the spots on our drywall where they put in insulation, calling the insurance company about the damage on the door of my still-feels-new-to-me-but-is-actually-more-than-a-year-old car, making an appointment to take it in to get fixed (along with a few other things it needs), dust the living room, get a haircut, clean around the dog beds, work on some tasks from the classes I never finished, mail stuff to a friend, and swap out our modem for the new one they sent us months ago. Other things are happening too, a new furnace and a new fence, but Eric is taking care of those.

I’m not sure exactly what my point is. Maybe it’s just me checking back in, dipping my toe in, saying “hello” and this is where I’m at, what I’m doing, but even this isn’t the whole story. I’ve written you many times in my head, but haven’t been publishing much — that is on the list too.

Something Good

Chinese Garden, Portland, Oregon

1. Guilt-free Introverting: a roadmap for anyone who craves alone time from Be More With Less.

2. The Mindfulness of Pure Experience from Zen Habits.

3. Feed the Right Wolf, one of my favorite teachings from Pema Chödrön. In related news, a quote from Pema, “We have a choice. We can spend our whole life suffereing because we can’t relax with how things really are, or we can relax and embrace the open-endedness of the human situation, which is fresh, unfixated, and unbiased.”

4. Real Men Might Get Made Fun Of from Lindy West on The New Yorker.

I know there’s pressure not to be a dorky, try-hard male feminist stereotype; there’s always a looming implication that you could lose your spot in the club; if you seem opportunistic or performative in your support, if you suck up too much oxygen and demand praise, women will yell at you for that too. But I need you to absorb that risk. I need you to get yelled at and made fun of, a lot, and if you get kicked out of the club, I need you to be relieved, and I need you to help build a new one.

5. Without hope and without despair, wisdom from Austin Kleon, one of my favorite creative humans.

6. Dress For the Body I Have? Done! from Dances With Fat.

7. Everybody lies: how Google search reveals our darkest secrets.

8. On Being a Teacher by Susan Piver.

9. The Body Love Project {Ep. 030} Isabel Foxen Duke on Emotional Eating and Size Justice. (podcast)

10. Before You Go On a Diet, wisdom from Rachel Cole.

11. Wild Writing. Laurie has opened up her fall session of online classes! It really is one of the best things — this practice, this teacher.

12. Help Cheryl fight lung cancer. Cheryl’s daughter Chelsey is one of my good friends, is getting married in October (I’m officiating the ceremony), and her mom could really use some help. In Chelsey’s own words,

To those of you who do not know my Mother, let me give you a small glimpse. This woman is the most amazing woman I know. She is strong and kind and beautiful inside & out. To know me is to know I was raised by wonderful people. There isn’t anything my mom wouldn’t do for another person. She would never ask for help. So I am asking for her. My mother has unexpectedly been diagnosed with Stage 3 Lung Cancer. While there is nothing we can’t get through as a family this is going to be a very tough journey. She may not be able to work, but has been denied disability at her job. Treatments and tests are very expensive. She would like to try natural alternatives as well. Can everyone just gather up some change or dig into your wallet and spare as much as possible to help us out? Anything helps and it’s very much appreciated. Thank you.

13. Ordinary Days, by Tamara Bailie. (video) *sob* Everyone’s dog eventually dies. And yet, we keep loving them, keeping letting another one in. In related news, you can still donate to help create Burg’s Place.

14. So, You’re Having A Bad Writing Day, wisdom from Chuck Wendig on Terrible Minds.

15. 10 Kind, Thoughtful Things You Can Do For Your INFJ. In related news, 27 Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because You’re a Highly Sensitive Person.

16. Old Habits Die Hard from Pia Jane Bijkerk. “Not feeling good enough feeds fear. Fear feeds our lifestyle choices. Our lifestyle choices feed banks and corporations. Banks and corporations feed war. War feeds fear. And so tells the story of our lives…”

17. Ancient Philosophers Reveal 4 Rituals That Will Make You Happier.

18. In search of enrollment from Seth Godin.

19. Humanae, a super cool photography project by Angélica Dass. “For this photo series, she captures examples of every skin color in the world in order to prove that there’s more diversity in the world than just the old black, white, red and yellow.”

20. Kids react to AC/DC. (video) This is so cute.

21. Reebok subtweets Donald Trump, internet goes wild. Oh, snap!

22. Sherman Alexie’s heartbreaking reason for pausing his book tour. I’m reading this book right now. So good.

23. The ‘Unlikely Hikers’ Instagram Shatters Stereotypes Of Outdoor Fitness.

24. The 20 Funniest Tweets From Women This Week. Last week’s list was good too. In related news, 27 Tweets That Will Make Women Piss Themselves Laughing.

25. How to Become a Buddhist – Ultra Spiritual Life episode 64. (video)

26. Cartoon from Yeah, It’s Chill. “The amount of times I’ve been told I’m being paranoid, exaggerating, or making up an experience is baffling.”

27. 11 Yoga Moves You Can Do at Your Desk.

28. Hair Love | Animated Short Film, a great Kickstarter project.

29. The Squirrel Whisperer. (video) Check out his Instagram account too for lots of great wildlife photos.

30. Recipes I’d like to try: Healthy Make Ahead Breakfast Cookies – 6 Ways, and Veggie Snacks, and Spinach Artichoke Stuffed Shells.

31. Rare Gray Wolf Pups Born in California. So cute.

32. The Blameless Burden: Scapegoating in Dysfunctional Families. “They need to punish the scapegoat for provoking by her very existence the discomfort family members are feeling that is actually a result of their own unresolved issues.”

33. The Painful and Liberating Practice of Facing My Own Racism.

34. If Roxane Gay’s vulnerabilities motivate, what could her strengths do? In related news, Roxane Gay: ‘If I was conventionally hot and had a slammin’ body, I would be president,’ and Roxane Gay’s Complicated “Hunger” from The New Yorker.

35. Fat Kid Dance Party Will Teach You to Love Your Body. (video)

36. Fat and Starving: My Battle with Anorexia.

37. 10+ Hilarious Pics That Show What Happens When You Leave Your Kids Alone.

38. Why We Need More ‘Hunger’ And Less ‘To The Bone.’

39. And Yet, Dogs Find Me. “‘Life,’ as George Carlin once mused, ‘is a series of dogs.’ In this excerpt from the new book The Dharma of Dogs, Zen teacher Roshi Joan Halifax recalls her good fortune with four-legged friends.”

40. Why You Can’t Ever Call an Enslaved Woman a “Mistress.” In related news, Historians Uncover Slave Quarters of Sally Hemings at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

41. ‘She didn’t know what was real’: Did 10-day meditation retreat trigger woman’s suicide? Why meditation isn’t for everyone.

42. The Wellness Epidemic.

43. Dear White America — Can we please stop gaslighting our black friends and family??

44. 10 Great Reasons NOT to Copy Cesar Millan.

45. Two Saturday Morning Talks with Rachel Cole, “Self-Compassion & Sensitivity” and “Intuitive Eating,” complete with prompts and links to other resources.

Day of Rest

On a very basic level all beings think that they should be happy. When life becomes difficult or painful, we feel that something has gone wrong. This wouldn’t be a big problem except for the fact that when we feel something’s gone wrong, we’re willing to do anything to feel OK again. Even start a fight.

According to the Buddhist teachings, difficulty is inevitable in human life. For one thing, we cannot escape the reality of death. But there are also the realities of aging, of illness, of not getting what we want, and of getting what we don’t want. These kinds of difficulties are facts of life. Even if you were the Buddha himself, if you were a fully enlightened person, you would experience death, illness, aging, and sorrow at losing what you love. All of these things would happen to you. If you got burned or cut, it would hurt.

But the Buddhist teachings also say that this is not really what causes us misery in our lives. What causes misery is always trying to get away from the facts of life, always trying to avoid pain and seek happiness—this sense of ours that there could be lasting security and happiness available to us if we could only do the right thing.

~Pema Chödrön, excerpt from her book Practicing Peace in Times of War