Something Good

Pasque flowers, image by Eric

Pasque flowers, image by Eric

So glad to be partnering with Yoganonymous to share this list with a larger audience.

1. Wild gorillas compose happy songs that they hum during meals. I love this so much, not so much this article but the truth of it.

2. Make the compliments count. Many writers I know have a file somewhere, either on their computer or on their desk with emails, letters, cards, and even rejection letters that included some encouragement, no matter how small. It’s not a bad thing to keep around.

3. Help Sascha with Cancer Treatment. I read about this because Tig Notaro shared a link the other day. Sascha is Tig’s ex, and “Sascha is like no other and I, like anyone that ever crossed her path, would love to help give her the support she needs in order keep being great and keep sprinkling goodness wherever she may go. Thank you for listening and thank you in advance if you are at all inclined to go fund her.” I wish we lived in a culture where people didn’t have to worry about how they were going to pay for the care they need, but while we still do, thank goodness for things like GoFundMe.

4. Don’t Think Twice Official Trailer #1 (2016). Mike Birbiglia made another movie! Can’t wait to see it.

5. Andrea Gibson live in Seattle performing her poem, “Boomerang Valentine.” One of my favorite poets, performers.

6. What Makes a Good Life? from Lisa Congdon. A question worth asking yourself.

7. 12 Things Trans People Do In Public Bathrooms. In related news, Woman Says She Was Accosted In Walmart Bathroom After Being Mistaken As Trans. And for anyone who is still confused, this helpful cartoon: What To Do If a Trans Person Enters the Bathroom.

8. Single Father Breaks Down When A Stranger Offers Some Needed Help. Go read the story, and then spend some time looking around Leon Logothetis’s website, (the stranger who offered the help, and who has pretty much made that his life’s work). It’s pretty inspiring.

9. The Hippo Roller Project. This seems so simple, but makes such a huge difference. “Designed in Africa for Africa, the 90 litre Hippo Water Roller enables women, children and the elderly to collect 5 times more water than a single bucket by simply rolling it along the ground.”

10. This Mom Shreds Every Bathroom Banner With A Startling Rant Everyone Must Read. I’ve read a few posts like this in the past week, and they all make the same important point. “She lives in a world that is built for men. Rewards men. Glorifies men. A patriarchal world where men can make statements like ‘I need to protect my daughter from ‘freaks’ in bathrooms’ but that also doesn’t point out the hypocrisy of not protecting them from assault, gender pay gaps, objectification, and abuse.” Word.

11. Recipes I want to try: Bacon Sriracha Queso, and Chinese Chicken Salad (made this one for dinner last night, and it was delicious), and Roasted Yams and Chickpeas with Yogurt, and Kimchi, and Zesty Chicken Cobb Salad, and Mini Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler With Buttermilk Cream Cheese Biscuits.

12. Formerly Homeless ‘Free Hugs Guy’ Feeds The Homeless. I love the Free Hugs guy.

13. Yellowstone Bison Calf Is Euthanized After Riding in Tourists’ S.U.V. I’m furious about this — I just can’t understand how it is that they couldn’t find a placement for this baby, somewhere willing to raise him.

14. Lion’s Roar & BuddhaFest Online Film Festival, June 13 to July 24. “This is a rare chance to see Buddhism and art skillfully joined in cinema. And to top it off we have partnered with six masterful teachers to present new teachings for all festival participants!”

15. 10 Tips for New Bloggers, good advice from Laura Simms.

16. 5 Signs it’s Time to Do Less from Marc and Angel Hack Life. Guilty as charged.

17. Regret, a thought provoking post on A Design So Vast.

18. Therapy Can Only Go So Far on Lion’s Roar. So smart. “To recognize insecurity as a fact of human existence—and not evidence of shameful shortcomings—helps relieve ourselves of the unrealistic expectation that it is a problem we should be expected to solve, and allows for a different way of encountering, holding, and opening to this as a reality.”

19. Discovery Girls’ Spectacularly Failed Apology for Body-Shaming Kids on Dances with Fat. *sigh*

20. The Face Everything Technique: Why Avoiding Difficulties Doesn’t Work from Zen Habits. Why should you read this? “Of course, not all problems will just evaporate using this method, but I can tell you that you’ll be able to face many more things as you practice this method. You’ll get better at dealing with discomfort, instead of running from it as most people do. You’ll get better at not procrastinating, and doing uncomfortable tasks. You’ll be more present and more willing to stay in the moment rather than needing distractions all the time. Not overnight, but with practice.”

21. Crotch-Punching The Creative Yeti: Exploding More Writing Myths on Terrible Minds. A good read for those who write.

22. The Life of Death from Marsha Onderstijn. “The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.” Seriously, y’all, this one had me sobbing on my couch this morning.

Gratitude Friday

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1. The great pictures Eric takes when he goes hiking with the dogs. I’d rather go with him and take them myself, but this is good for now.

2. Wild Writing. What a great practice, what an amazing teacher, what magic.

Om Ananda Saraswati

Om Ananda Saraswati

3. Teaching yoga. I’ve only got two more Tuesday morning classes left before taking a break over summer, so I’m relishing them.

4. Being on vacation. This is only my second day, but oh wow am I loving it.

5. My dogs. This past week they’ve stressed me out a little with various bumps and boo-boos but in the end, they bring more comfort and joy than pain.

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Bonus joy: my new car (I drove one of our older cars the other day and it made me realize just how nice the new one is), the tile in our bathroom, my irises blooming, the smell of lilacs, good tv, good books, roasted sweet potatoes, ice cream, clean water, people taking the time to send me emails when they appreciate my work, being so excited to get the day started I can’t even sleep in, sleeping in with Sam, trusting myself to be my own trainer at the gym, podcasts that make me laugh, tv and people that make me laugh, book club, breakfast and lunch plans with friends, good options for vet care for the dogs, sunshine, all the green, the river, the shade of a tree, walking with the dogs, warm socks, clean sheets.

Three Truths and One Wish

forgetmenot1. Truth: I’m on summer vacation!!! Yesterday afternoon, I finished up the last thing on my to-do list, cleaned up my desk, made arrangements to have someone water my plants while I was gone, and put my out of office message on my email. This morning, even though I could have, I couldn’t even sleep in because I was so excited to be on vacation.

2. Truth: This is a very different start to the summer than last year. I had the flu, was really sick with a cough, aches, snuffy/runny nose, fever, and awful fatigue. My foot was bothering me but I had yet to realize it was Plantar Fasciitis, (that would come later in the summer), and I had one other thing going on that I don’t even like to talk about because it’s sort of embarrassing (not to mention painful), even though I really have no reason to be embarrassed about it. And, to add insult to injury (and illness), I was off contract but kept being asked to do more work. I was so depressed. At about six weeks into summer, I had a complete meltdown, scheduled a meeting with my boss, and changes where made that meant leaving this year for break was so much easier.

3. Truth: I expect that this summer will be better. For one thing, we are going to the beach for almost two months. And I have a whole month before we leave to work in my garden, clean my house, see friends, walk my dogs, read, take naps, etc. And don’t worry — I know exactly how lucky I am.

One wish: May we all have a summer filled with ease, rest, and joy, no matter how or where we spend it. And if you are having a summer like I had last year, may you get the healing, the relief and rest you need, and be comforted in the knowledge that “this too shall pass.”

Something Good

So glad to be partnering with Yoganonymous to share this list with a larger audience.

1. See adorable photos of 7 ‘forest schools’ from around the country. So cute, and such a great idea.

2. It’s Your Job, Not Your Life, how to avoid overinvestment in your job from Inside Higher Ed. “Overworked, exhausted, dejected? If so, you may be treating your job like it’s your whole life instead of one piece of a much larger pie, advises Kerry Ann Rockquemore.” This was written for academics, but I think it applies to everyone.

3. The Anti-Diet Project, hosted on Refinery29, “an ongoing series about intuitive eating, sustainable fitness, and body positivity.” I found this through the latest post in the series, What Is Rational Fitness” & Why Should You Try It? The author, Kelsey Miller, had some really important things to say about some of the negative feedback she’d gotten from pictures of her that accompanied the article,

I shouldn’t be astonished by anything anymore. I should have a callus as thick as a brick wall. After years of reading garbage and threats, I should expect nothing but the worst in people. But I’m still floored by what I read in response to this week’s ‪#‎AntiDietProject‬, which was illustrated with photos of me at the gym. @Refinery29 also posted this photo on Instagram, which many cheered (thanks, buddies!) but which brought out the crazy and hateful in others. Normally, I don’t listen to those voices anymore — those people who tell me they hope I die, who make assumptions on my health and lifestyle, who say I should be ashamed for what I’m “promoting.” In this case, I was promoting healthy exercise. What’s almost comical is that those people often defend their vitriol by saying they’re “just trying to help.” I don’t respond to ignorance and prejudice, so this isn’t for them. This is for everyone else. This is for the people who don’t go to the gym because they’re afraid of being seen. This is for those who hide their upper arms because of those monsters — and that is what they are. And just like monsters, their threats are built on fabrication and our own fear. They can’t hurt you unless you believe in them. They’re not worth lifting your middle finger for. Anyway, today, I’m doing it for you — for all of us. And tomorrow, I’ll put on my tank top and head back to the gym. I think it’s pretty cute.

4. Recipes I want to try: Buttermilk Biscuits, Sticky Garlic Chicken Bites, One-Pot Teriyaki Chicken And Rice, Salmon Wellington, Rhubarb snacking cake, Our 20 Most Popular Strawberry Recipes, and if there are any berries left over, Strawberry Margarita Jello Shots.

5. Natural birth: Two calves born to NoCo conservation herd. So cute. And in related news, ‘Foolish’ tourists put bison in back of car for the most ridiculous reason.

6. Queen of Katwe Official Trailer. I can’t wait to see this movie.

7. Muslim Americans were kicked off a lot of planes this year for making people “uncomfortable.” Gah! In related news, The 217 People, Places and Things Donald Trump Has Insulted on Twitter: A Complete List.

8. Watch this 2,000-voice choir fill Massey Hall for a Prince tribute. Wow.

9. Axis of Awesome address one of their members transitioning in the best possible way. “Popular Australian comedy/musical act Axis of Awesome had a pretty big decision to make when lead singer Jordan Raskopoulos publicly came out as transgender earlier this year. When they started touring again, would they do a speech at the beginning of each show to address the issue? Or would they ignore it, hoping everyone had heard the news and moved on? What would be the best way to bring it up with their audience, while still maintaining the comedy and music they are renowned for?” In related news, These Moms Of Transgender Kids Are Doing Parenting Right.

10. Columbine Shooting Survivor: ‘The Shooting Derailed Me, I Became an Addict.’ For so many addicts, this is the heart of the problem: “‘I learned to manage emotional pain with substances,’ he says. In addition to his continued use of prescription opioids, his drug use eventually expanded to include alcohol, cocaine and ecstasy, he says. ‘I learned I didn’t have to process emotion. I could keep myself numb if I was on substances.'”

11. India Man Plants Forest Bigger Than Central Park to Save His Island. This remains one of my favorite stories, favorite short films ever. It proves to me that we absolutely can make a difference.

12. The Unhealthy Truth Behind ‘Wellness’ and ‘Clean Eating.’ I saw a meme on Instagram just the other day that implied that if you ate healthy, you’d never be sick, never need medicine, (basically the “food is either poison or medicine” mythology), and it’s exactly that sort of confusion makes this article a really important read.

13. Actually, more data might not be what you’re hoping for from Seth Godin. An important read for, “Anyone who’s making a long-term commitment. Anyone who seeks to make art, to make a difference, to challenge the status quo.”

14. A Magnificent List of 111 Female-Hosted Podcasts (And Counting). What a great list!

15. DIY Dharma: You Have Everything You Need on Lion’s Roar, “You have a mind, body, thoughts, and a natural bent toward awakening. From that great beginning, Buddhist teacher Judy Lief offers helpful guidelines for the path ahead of you.”

16. This Moment is Enough from Zen Habits. “What if we paused right now, and saw everything in this present moment around us (including ourselves), and just appreciated it for what it is, as perfectly enough?”

17. This Supercut of Movie Characters in the Throes of Writer’s Block Is Stressful and Also Exhilarating. “To be a writer suffering from a drought of creativity is a miserable existence. “Writer’s Block,” a supercut of cinematic characters going enduring the titular affliction, captures its essence perfectly.”

18. Find Your Something. A great pep talk about finding your thing.

19. Still. I’ve shared this project before, but it’s worth another look. “This blog posts one image, daily, of gathered natural objects found near me…Still blog is a place to stop. A place to look at one thing at a time. A place to be still.”

20. Louis C.K. on having an audience. Sometimes he is just so smart.

21. 9 Things That Make Good Employees Quit. I’ve worked in situations just like this before, and you know what I did? Quit.

22. John Cho, Starring in Every Movie Ever Made? A Diversity Hashtag Is Born. Yes, please.

23. Quitting Your Job To Travel Isn’t Brave. It’s Lucky. “The problem I have is with the recurring narrative that quitting your job to travel the world is inherently a noble act, when sometimes it just means that you are very, very fortunate.” Word.

24. 17 Powerful Tweets That Remind Us How Damaging Emotional Abuse Can Be. *sigh*

25. An Abridged History Of My Body, “the stories that are hardest to tell are the ones that need to be told the most.”

26. Flower and Flea Markets make me swoon. Here’s just a few reasons why from SouleMama: Postcards from Boston, and Postcards from Brimfield. Bali, as shot by Andrea Scher, isn’t hard on the eyes either.

27. Career Identity Crisis? Here’s How to Deal, good advice from the always brilliant Laura Simms.

28. Amanda Palmer on “embracing our flaws” (not). Word.

Day of Rest: Remembering Kelly

ladybugonbud

About a week ago, I went out to check how many blooms my peonies would have this year. I have three of them — one for Obi, one for Kelly, and one for Heather and now Dexter, planted at the edge of the spot where our Cottonwood tree used to be, a tiny memorial to so much loss. As I counted the blooms, I noticed one had a friend, a ladybug. It always feels like a nudge from Kelly, and to see one on my peonies is a double whammy.

Yesterday was the sixth anniversary of her death. A phone call woke me from my sleep late that night, telling me she was gone. I was still foggy from sleep, and even though I knew it was coming, it still didn’t feel real, felt like a dream. How could this be true? How could this be possible? Honestly, I still feel like that about it — how is there a world without Kelly in it?

A few days later, I posted to her Facebook wall, “Kelly, I am so sorry that the only time I came to Kentucky will be when I come to say good-bye. I’m sorry that I didn’t come sooner, didn’t throw you a dance party. I’m so sorry that all the time I was near you, I didn’t memorize every second. What I am not sorry about, thank goodness, is I know that you know how much I love you, will love you always. That, thank goodness, I got right.”

After I returned from Kentucky, I posted, “The most heartbreaking, beautiful thing from Kelly’s memorial service was learning that her last words were ‘I’m happy.’ I wish that for all of us, to be happy.” This is still true too, the heartbreak and the wish. It’s been six years and I still have to be careful how I talk about her, because it makes me cry to say it out loud, to know that I’ll never see her again. Along with that is the awareness that her loss has brought about some of the best things in my life. Because of her, I committed to really trying, to not giving up. I started writing this blog, I got certified to become a yoga teacher, I wrote a book and am working on another, I survived when I lost my second dog to cancer, I started therapy, I (mostly) healed a 30+ year eating disorder, I took Buddhist vows, I healed a long term abusive relationship with myself.

I am still here in large part because of Kelly. That and a huge dose of survivor’s guilt. I live with the somewhat twisted notion that if a person as amazing as her doesn’t get to be here, I need to earn the right to be here. I have to try harder, be better, not waste my time, stop messing around, “suck it up and get tough” like my high school football couch and social studies teacher used to say. And yet, today as I remember her, on this day of rest, I know that she wouldn’t want me to feel like that. She would tell me “it’s okay, cheer up, you’re perfect.”

Gratitude Friday

somethingwonderful
1. Friday, and not just any Friday, the last day of finals week and my last Friday for this academic year! Just a few more days of work and I’ll be on summer vacation!!!

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2. Flowers in the bathroom. One of my favorite indulgences.

coloradosky

3. Spring. The green, the leaves, the blooms, the sky, and the sun.

4. Wild Writing and Yoga, teaching or taking.

springlounge5. My tiny family. Sweet Sam, Ringo Blue, and Eric Always.

foggyhike

Bonus joy: R&B stations on satellite radio, my irises blooming, an unexpected free lunch, Bella tshirts (triblend, so soft), sweet potatoes, massage, sleeping in, naps, good books, good tv, clean sheets, clean water, a warm shower, clean towels, tennis balls, libraries.

Three Truths and One Wish

artsky

1. Truth: My hunger/eating schedule doesn’t fit the norm. I like a light breakfast around 5-6 am, a bigger breakfast around 9-10 am, and lunch around 2-3 pm, which means sometimes I don’t want dinner, or “dinner” is more like a snack. For a long time I forced myself to to eat on a “normal” schedule, and ended up eating when I wasn’t hungry or not eating even though I was starving because it wasn’t “time to eat,” (I also did lots of weird things where I had to earn what I ate, or what I ate was a punishment, but that’s a whole other truth).

2. Truth: I don’t need to eat as much as I used to. After decades of disordered eating, starving and stuffing myself, and then a period of crazed eating because I was finally letting myself eat and was allowed to eat whatever I wanted and after years of deprivation I was always hungry, I finally feel like my hunger is starting to even out.

3. Truth: I can feel my body. I know that this statement is so strange to some that you might wonder what it even means. What I mean is for years I denied and ignored my body. I lived my entire life in my head. My physical body was mostly an inconvenience, an irritation. I was a hungry ghost. The other day, I was walking across campus, and I realized I could actually feel my body. I was aware of it entirely — feet, legs, torso, lungs, arms, hands, all of it. I also feel where it hurts — that’s the bad news.

One wish: May we honor our hunger no matter when it comes or in what shape. May we honor our fullness, and stop when we’ve had enough. May we honor our body, giving it what it needs, feeding it and letting it rest. “Don’t move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move,” (Osho).