Something Good

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1. Good stuff from Jena Schwartz: Eleven Things I Learned in Physical Therapy That Relate to Writing + Life, and Dive Into Poetry + Support Color of Change, and Silence is Violence.

2. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Our patterns are well established, seductive, and comforting. Just wishing for them to be ventilated isn’t enough. Those of us who struggle with this know. Awareness is the key. Do we see the stories that we’re telling ourselves and question their validity? When we are distracted by a strong emotion, do we remember that it is our path? Can we feel the emotion and breathe it into our hearts for ourselves and everyone else? If we can remember to experiment like this even occasionally, we are training as a warrior. And when we can’t practice when distracted but know that we can’t, we are still training well. Never underestimate the power of compassionately recognizing what’s going on.

3. For White People Who Want the Racist Nightmare to End, We Must Reclaim Our Lives from Anti-Black Racism.

4. Black Lives Matter Fall 2016 Syllabus. What a great set of resources!

5. Widespread confusion about what it takes to be strong, wisdom from Seth Godin.

6. It Is Art That Will Help Us Survive from Terrible Minds. More good stuff from Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds: Yes, Virginia, Writing Is Too A Job, and Here’s How To Finish That Fucking Book, You Monster, and What Fiction Can Do For The Writer And Reader.

7. Some great ideas for education: A Matter of Death and Life, (“High school seniors at The Harley School in Rochester, New York, have the option of taking a class called “hospice.” Most who sign up for it don’t know what they’re in for, but none of them forget the experience when it’s over”), and This school replaced detention with meditation. The results are stunning.

8. I sure needed this message from Brave Girls this week:

You are doing such good things, such beautiful, wonderful, and important things. Do not feel bad that you have limitations and cannot do everything you want to do, or that you make mistakes that set you back or decisions that aren’t all that you hoped they would be. You are doing enough. YOU ARE ENOUGH. You are just right, and you are doing your best. When you have done all that you can do, let yourself BREATHE. And remember that rest, relaxing, and solitude are just as important as all of the other incredible things you do with your life. You are such a gift to the world. Take good care of you. You are loved.

9. An Open Letter from a Black Man to His White Family in a Moment of Violence.

10. The Difficult Art of Self-Compassion on Brain Pickings.

11. Every woman deserves access to pads and tampons.

12. Why We Need To Talk About High-Functioning Depression. *sigh*

13. This eighth grader just nailed how white people should discuss white privilege.

14. Student protest. Band kids taking a knee, peacefully protesting.

15. ‘Saddest-photo’ couple reunited after being forced apart.

16. A comic explains the screwed-up reason people complimented this girl for being sick.

17. Mary Karr On Writing Memoirs: ‘No Doubt I’ve Gotten A Million Things Wrong.’ “Karr discusses the faults of memory, the challenges of writing about loved ones and the pain of deleting pages because ‘there was something untrue about them.'”

18. Injustice Boycott. Starting December 5th. I’m in. In related news, It’s time for serious nationwide economic boycotts to end police brutality and racial injustice in America.

19. 23 Books By Latinos That Might Just Change Your Life. I couldn’t live long enough to finish my reading list, but I’m going to keep trying anyway.

20. Family cleans house, finds pet tortoise missing since 1982. **Spoiler alert!** She was alive!

21. Is this the president we want for our daughters? No, no, no, no, no, and no.

22. This is Why We Say Black Lives Matter. “Congresswoman Nina Turner just said it ALL.”

23. Recipes I want to try: Cheese Potato Pancakes, and One-Pan Salmon 4 Ways, and Easy One-Pan Pork Tenderloin Dinner, and roasted tomato soup with broiled cheddar, and if none of those work out, maybe I’ll just try this Fast & Easy Dinner Recipe.

24. Why Dieting Can Rarely (If Ever) Be Body Positive.

25. Trevor Noah: ‘It Seems Extremely Easy To Get Shot By Police In America.’

26. What It Feels Like To Be Black When Police Kill. This video motivated me to do something almost more than anything else. In related news, 25 ways you could be killed for being black in America.

27. This is Why We Vote, a campaign to mobilize young voters to show up in huge numbers this fall. So good.

28. Alicia Keys – Break These Walls.

29. FX’s ‘Atlanta’ breaks viewing records. Is diverse TV here to stay? I hope so, because this is one of my new favorite shows (it just got picked up for a second season).

30. N.J. woman uses couponing to try and feed 30,000 people in need.

31. Meet the toy smuggler of Aleppo. He lives in Finland and risks his life to bring joy to Syrian kids.

32. To Anyone Who Thinks They’re Falling Behind In Life. This is one of those I need to print out and read to myself every morning until I really get it. I tried to pick out a quote to share, but there’s just too much good stuff.

33. Franchesca “Chescaleigh” Ramsey squashes the 4 responses you’ll probably hear when talking about Black Lives Matter. This.

Gratitude Friday

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1. Fall color. Everything is starting to turn, as the weather gets cooler and the days shorter. There’s even a rumor that it’s going to snow in the foothills tomorrow night. I’m going to miss, miss, miss my garden, but fall in Colorado is my favorite season.

From our walk the other morning

From our walk Thursday morning

2. Walking with the dogs. I am flooded with gratitude that my foot is better and a five mile walk doesn’t hurt, and that the dogs are doing so much better together.

Little dog park at sunrise

Little dog park at sunrise

3. Ringo Blue and Sweet Sam playing. The tension of the summer has melted and they are back to playing, playing, playing. I know they’ll never love each other like Obi and Dexter did, but I’m so happy they can be friends.

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Pinegree Park, image by Eric

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I take a bath, they take a nap

4. Eric. The flowers he bought me, the dinner he made, the tub he cleaned, how hard he made me laugh.

5. Class with good-hearted, creative, smart, funny women. Yoga and wild writing. I don’t have time for any of it, but I make time because some weeks it saves my life.

Bonus joy: a clean glass of cold water, going to the grocery store and knowing I can buy and eat anything I want, clean sheets, the way Ringo nudged my hand with his nose when he came in from outside like the sweetest high five, the last of the summer peaches, clean laundry, a clean car, a good therapist, good books, good TV, good music, good podcasts, spicy oven roasted tacos, garlic bread, hot tea, the softest pjs, how much Ringo loves training, how much Sam loves sleeping in.

Something Good

Fish Creek Train, by Eric

Fish Creek Trail, Pinegree Park, by Eric

1. “I trust u, do u trust me?” “Blind Trust Experiment – I am a Black Male, you do not have to fear me! Free Hugs – Montgomery, AL.” We need more of this.

2. Fat fitness: the new breed of body positive exercise trainers. “If you’re feeling that impulse to congratulate me for getting out there and doing something about my weight, stop that thought right there. When I choose to engage in exercise, I don’t do it to change what the scales say or the size of my butt (because I know from decades of sometimes bitter experience that that’s not a productive path to go down). Instead, I choose to treat my body as the precious and indispensable machine it is; in need of maintenance and care rather than moral judgement and harsh punishment. When I exercise I want to feel built up, not shrunk down.”

3. For all that adjunct and part-time professors do for students, many are not even earning a livable wage. The disgusting truth.

4. Here’s why there are literally no stray dogs in Holland. Just one more reason to move there, along with the way they treat drug addiction and prison reform.

5. Recipes I want to try: Apple Pie Bread, and One-Pan Garlic Parmesan Chicken And Vegetables, and Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies, and Cheesy Bacon Potato Bake, and 4 Easy Slow Cooker Dinners, and Creamy Avocado Vinaigrette, and Balsamic Glazed Chicken, and if that’s not enough, now that fall is officially here: 45 Thanksgiving Side Dishes.

6. Pinksourcing, “where women are a bargain at the workplace, since you only have to pay them 77 cents on the dollar! It’s the first episode of our new series, #CelebsHaveIssues.”

7. This 8-year-old girl is the youngest ever to skate in the Vans U.S. Open Pro Series. Every mom who watches this video is going to think, “where is your helmet?!”

8. He’s been there for every part of her life. Watch as she gives him a present he never expected: adoption papers. *sob*

9. Decision making criteria, a really helpful list from Patti Digh.

10. A Herd of Cats Fill Advertising Placements at a London Tube Stop for Two Weeks.

11. Mike Birbiglia on the podcast Sooo Many White Guys. “The actor, comedian and director reveals the truth about maleness AND whiteness in a heart-stopping episode that will leave you breathless.”

12. Relationships can be tricky, a hilarious video of a Husky with his stuffed Husky toy.

13. What They Took With Them. “Cate Blanchett performs the rhythmic poem ‘What They Took With Them’ alongside fellow actors Keira Knightley, Juliet Stevenson, Peter Capaldi, Stanley Tucci, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Kit Harington, Douglas Booth, Jesse Eisenberg and Neil Gaiman. The poem was written by Jenifer Toksvig and was inspired by stories and first-hand testimonies from refugees forced to flee their homes and items they took with them.”

14. Angels are waiting… from Erica Staab.

15. Handling client anxiety about weight gain from Be Nourished.

16. A tale of two bodies. “Or: Reasons to stop projecting your unhealthy assumptions onto everyone around you.”

17. Bernie Sanders Publishes Stunning OpEd In LA Times, Makes Major Announcement.

18. Dwellings. “These homes were all found in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, all within a mile of my own house. To me, they demonstrate a creative spirit and determination to make a life in this very expensive city.”

19. Atlanta. I am loving this show. “A single camera comedy that revolves around two cousins on their way up through the Atlanta rap scene whose opposing views on art versus commerce, success and race will make their quest anything but easy.”

20. But how much does it cost? from Seth Godin. Such a good reminder.

21. A Caiman Wearing a Crown of Butterflies Photographed by Mark Cowan. Magic.

22. Susan Piver on Writing, Magic, and Meditation. I love her so much. The retreat referenced in the post is amazing. This will be my fourth year going. I get so much writing done, get to see Susan, visit a place I also love, and am reminded who I am.

23. The Art of Withstanding Fear from Jena Schwartz.

24. You don’t need an extreme bucket list to find happiness. Just eat more waffles. Word.

25. Ambien Tales on Terrible Minds. Crazy.

26. Wisdom from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, “Don’t teach anyone anything. Help them discover something.”

27. Drink, Drunk, Drank. There’s a book that’s making the rounds right now, a memoir that’s getting a lot of attention, and most of the people reading it are saying it’s so raw, real, authentic, honest, but I read it and I just don’t see it. This piece by Laurie is why. Laurie has taught me what truly raw, vulnerable, real, risky, messy writing is, and I have a hard time now accepting anything less. I am punched-in-the-gut, fall-to-my-knees, want-to-crawl-into-her-lap-and-stay-there-forever lucky that she’s my teacher, my friend, and that she writes things like this.

Day of Rest

threesunflowersI subbed for my regular Sunday morning yoga class today. When I was thinking about what to teach, I came up with the theme of “three.” It just seemed to bubble up as I planned, kept coming up, repeating and insisting itself. I looked up a bit about the meaning of three — divinity, order, unity, wholeness. It’s a sacred number in many religious traditions.

There’s been research that deep breathing triggers a relaxation response in the body. As little as three deep breaths can do the trick. When our lizard, reptilian brain is in a state of fight, flight, or freeze, three deep breaths can instigate a shift back to our natural state of calm, relax us back into our inherent wisdom and compassion.

Yoga can also be translated as “union,” the unification of body, mind, and heart — our three “selves.” Three also made me think of “ready, set, go.” Ready is setting our intention, set is getting together our props and tools, gathering what we need, and go can either be literal movement or energetic, or it can be surrender, as in “ready, set, let go.”

It was a really fun class. We moved through poses in sequences or series of three, paused to take three breaths throughout, and circled back to that notion of unification of body, mind, and heart as we practiced. And the most magic thing that I only realized just now? I had three students.

Gratitude Friday

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1. Play date with Pancho. These two are such an odd couple, but since they’ve known each other since they were little, they play really well together. It doesn’t hurt that Pancho’s mom is one of my favorite people.

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2. Sweet Sam. He doesn’t take part in the play date because he doesn’t appreciate the rowdy play, but he’s such a good boy.

3. Tea with good women. One I’d never met before, and the other I’m getting to know better after a long time.

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4. Good food. I always share recipes I want to try on my Something Good list, and lately we’ve actually made a couple of them. The above is the Oven Baked Spicy Chicken Tacos, (buried under there somewhere). They were delicious. The Cheesy Zucchini Rice was good too. We’ve also been making gratins with our tomatoes.

5. Eric. Last week when we were texting and sending each other pictures, he said some really sweet things. He’s also been making me laugh this week, even though we’ve been having some hard conversations.

One of the pictures I texted Eric

One of the pictures I texted Eric

Bonus joy: clean water, a warm shower, sitting in the backyard with the dogs, grass under my bare feet, seeing an owl on our walk, Wild Writing class, sleeping in, reading, good TV, my new car, yogurt with granola and berries for breakfast, garlic bread, working from home, walking with the dogs, grasshoppers, tiny yellow birds eating the sunflowers, a watermelon from our garden, the weekend, coming home from work and taking off my bra.

Three Truths

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1. Truth: Knowing what you want is just the first step. You can be so clear about what your destination is, about it being right for you, but that alone doesn’t get you there. It’s simply a good place to start, a beginning.

2. Truth: Even if you know where you intend to land, there are many tiny steps on the path to getting there. I know there’s a lot of encouragement to lean in, play big, take the leap, with the promise that you’ll magically land where you want, but I don’t think it happens just like that for most people. In fact, I’ve found that many who try to sell their story like it was that easy simply skip the middle, leave out the messy bits.

3. Truth: Patience is essential. Especially when you can see exactly where you want to go, it can be frustrating to wait, to do the small work of getting there, and yet it’s the only way to travel, the only way to get from here to there. And just know that even when it seems like you aren’t getting anywhere, more than likely something is shifting.

One wish: May we relax into the time and effort it takes, resting when we need to, taking it as slow as we need to go, working out one thing at a time, one step and then another, patient with the process and gentle with ourselves, trusting in our own knowing.

Something Good

End of summer berries

End of summer berries

1. What Is Weight-Neutral Workplace Wellness and Why Should we Consider it? “The literature on weight, weight loss, and the relationship between weight and health indicates that the weight-focused approach to health does more harm than good.” Word. In related news, Women: Stop apologizing for eating.

2. Recipes I’d like to try: zucchini, tomato and rice gratin (gratins are my new favorite way to use up a lot of veggies at once), Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo, Easy Oven Baked Spicy Chicken Tacos (you had me at “easy”), The Best Oven-Fried Chicken Recipes You’ll Ever Make, Takeout-Style Sesame Noodles, takeout-style sesame noodles with cucumber, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Brown Rice Crispy Treats.

3. Beacon Food Forest Permaculture Project, one of the best ideas EVER. “The goal of the Beacon Food Forest is to design, plant and grow an edible urban forest garden that inspires our community to gather together, grow our own food and rehabilitate our local ecos.”

4. Remember from Patti Digh. In related news, What Do You Do On A Day Like This?

5. Heartwarming moment girl asks her stepdad to adopt her on his birthday. I’ve watched this so many times.

6. Tim Gunn: Designers refuse to make clothes to fit American women. It’s a disgrace.. In related news, Tim Gunn’s Plus Size Mistake.

7. Leon Bridges Tiny Desk Concert. “Take Me to Your River” is especially amazing.

8. The Robin Hood Army is ending food waste and feeding the hungry.

9. Stanford Professor Puts His Entire Digital Photography Course Online for Free. So cool.

10. Your High-Intensity Feelings May Be Tiring You Out.

11. Marijuana is literally saving the lives of our veterans.

12. How Was Burning Man? “A guy who just got back from Burning Man struggles mightily to explain what Burning Man was like to a loser who’s never been to Burning Man.” Hilarious.

13. Deaht is Actually Very Funny: a Last Conversation with Poet Max Ritvo.

14. I walked out of the Brisbane Writers Festival Keynote Address. This is why. This is so important.

15. Wisdom from Seth Godin, “Just because it’s dark it doesn’t mean we’re underground. It often means that no one has bothered to turn on any lights.”

16. Things I Didn’t Buy.

17. An Open Letter to that Lady who has All the Answers to #NoDAPL.

18. The One Thing You Need Less of Right Now (your life depends on it). In related news, 7 Small Habits That Will Steal Your Happiness.

19. Bigger, Better, Different. “We can’t always see what’s working, just as we can’t always see what’s not working. We can only keep showing up and paying attention.” A beautiful post by Jena Schwartz.