Monthly Archives: January 2012

Three Truths and One Wish

The theme of last week’s A Year With Myself (AYWM) was “In Love With Me: Getting Good at Self-Love and Self-Acceptance.” I had a rough time of it. I was in this place, deep and old and sticky, where I could see, was aware, but couldn’t seem to move. It felt like I was stuck in cement. I felt broken and hopeless. “All this work, all this time, and I am still here?”

As I have mentioned before, I realized last year that I was in a long term abusive relationship–with myself. I had lost Kelly and Obi to cancer, was reeling from a longstanding abusive work situation, and dealing with some difficult family situations. I was carrying around so much grief, carried it into the year that followed. I couldn’t seem to let go, to process everything that had happened. I was a ghost, broken down the middle. And, like Jackie Walker said in AYWM Chapter Four, “The boat was safe, and it floated. The fact that it was uncomfortable, and going in the wrong direction didn’t matter, until it did.” What I knew was that I had to save myself. So, not knowing exactly how, I started.

Since that realization, I have been trying to be a better friend to myself, to even love myself, to learn how to do these things. But, 30+ years of habitual patterns, ways of being is really hard to shift. Maybe the worst of it is I generate even more suffering by punishing myself, criticizing the fact that I am smashing myself to bits–I beat myself up for not getting there yet, then beat myself up for beating myself up. It is utterly ridiculous.

As I try, struggle, fuss, collapse, get back up, and let go, I practice patience, love, forgiveness, kindness. I am unlearning self-hate and relearning self-love. I am figuring out how to care for myself, really care and not just feed my neurosis, fuel my dis-ease. I am creeping, crawling my way towards the truth, one small step at a time, sometimes on broken hearted knees.

Brave Belly


1. Truth: Your relationship with yourself is the only one that will last your whole life. It is the only one you can trust will remain. Everything, everyone else will at some point leave, be lost, or let go. Our relationship with our self, that partnership with our one true soulmate, is the only constant. Everything else is external, apart in a way that makes it transient and impermanent. All the other people, places, things, (even our own body), will eventually leave us, fail us, even if they don’t want to, even if they desire and try to stay. But You, you can count on her. She will never leave you, and if you would only let her, she will always love you.

:: Something to read:It’s You” from Tiny Buddha.

2. Truth: No one can ever give you all that you can give yourself. As Daniel Collinsworth explained to me, “be the source of what you need, let it come from that central still point. When you feel that restless searching bubbling up, stay with it — let it show you where that healing and restoration is needed.  The rest is a journey that unfolds in time, not always easy, but so worth it.” Remain kind, gentle, patient, mindful, and aware. Relax and trust your own intuition, your own voice, your understanding of what you need and who you are. That self, You, can be trusted. She is faithful and committed, and if you would only let her, she will always love you.

:: Something to read:The Great Lesson of Loneliness” by Daniel Collinsworth on Metta Drum.

3. Truth: The best you have to offer, the best you can be is exactly who you already are. You have nothing better to give. Who you become for others or who you trick yourself into believing you are can only ever be a deluded, weakened, watered down version of your true nature, your essence, your power.

We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves—the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds—never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake.”
― Pema ChödrönStart Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living

One wish: Easily and naturally arising self-love and self-care in our lives. “If we are doing our true work and living authentically, it will be with ease, naturalness,” (Gwyn-Michael on Scoutie Girl, “Returning to Self and Life’s Simple Pleasures“). My wish is that we unlearn all the bad habits, the ways of being that no longer serve us, and we learn to love our self, be our self wholeheartedly and completely, always.  And that we remember if you would only let her, she will always love you.

Small Stone: Day 31

Small Stone(s): Morning Walk

Walking in the dark before dawn, my headlamp reflects off ice crystals in the dry grass, making them sparkle. Stars shine overhead. Each out-breath fogs in the cold, momentarily blurring my vision. None of this could be captured with my camera, only with my eyes, my attention, my heart-mind.

Later, by the back pond, a beaver. In an attempt to adjust my hold, because I know Sam will rear up, lunge at the beaver as soon as he sees it, the leash drops from my hand. Sam sees the beaver and runs towards the edge of the pond, jumping and barking. I yell for him to stop, imagine him jumping in. He stops about a foot away from the edge, sits and barks, but I feel no relief. I am still not close enough to grab him, and the beaver is about to smack its tail. A smack and a splash as it dives under the surface. Sam edges closer, him barking and me screaming his name, telling him to stop. Sam lies down at the edge and whines. I grab his collar, take a deep breath. Dexter looks at me like I’ve lost my mind, and nudges my hand with his nose.

Photo by easyrab
This is the last official day of January Small Stones. There were days I thought I wouldn’t be able to come up with one, but I always did, and these posts have ended up being some of Eric‘s favorites, so while I won’t continue doing them daily, I plan to do a few, from time to time.

Something Good

I am Left Brain. I am Right Brain.

I despise most advertising, geared as it is towards convincing us we are not enough, something about us is broken or missing or wrong, but if we buy “the thing,” we’ll suddenly and magically be forever happy and safe and young and rich and loved.

Even though I feel this way about advertising, sometimes there are ads that even I have to admit are wonderfully funny (I’m thinking of this Volkswagon ad from last year’s Super Bowl) or beautiful. This one, from Mercedes Benz, is beautiful–and kind of weird as an advertisement for a luxury car brand, (click on the image to read more and see a few other versions).

The text for the left brain reads:

“I am the left brain. I am a scientist. A mathematician. I love the familiar. I categorize. I am accurate. Linear. Analytical. Strategic. I am practical. Always in control. A master of words and language. Realistic. I calculate equations and play with numbers. I am order. I am logic. I know exactly who I am.”

And for the right brain:

“I am the right brain. I am creativity. A free spirit. I am passion. Yearning. Sensuality. I am the sound of roaring laughter. I am taste. The feeling of sand beneath bare feat. I am movement. Vivid colors. I am the urge to paint on an empty canvas. I am boundless imagination. Art. Poetry. I sense. I feel. I am everything I wanted to be.”

My fortune from yesterday’s lunch

Smart cookie.

Baby beaver

I hate the damage the adults do to the tree population at McMurray Ponds Natural Area, but this weekend, we saw one of the babies. So cute! Don’t believe me? Watch this video of a baby beaver in a bathtub.

Dog sighs

I love the noises dogs make when they are dreaming, or when they eat a carrot or an apple, but a dog sigh goes straight to my heart.

Owls

I’m kind of obsessed with owls lately. They symbolize wisdom, intelligence, and freedom. They are seen as oracles of secret wisdom and protectors of the dead, of souls and secrets and dreams. They are able to see things that are hidden, are shape shifters. They have a connection to the underworld, death, and the moon. If this blog had a mascot, an animal spirit guide, I imagine it would be an owl, most likely riding on the back of a dog.

Here’s a great color palette and picture from Design Seeds (a really fun site for all you color and design geeks).


I also love the work done by the woman behind Dou Dou Birds. I finally bought two of her owls, the new mascots for A Thousand Shades of Gray. Now, what to name them…

Some Things You Need to Know

This is from Marc and Angel.

Whenever somebody discredits you, and tells you that you can’t do something, keep in mind that they are speaking from within the boundaries of their own limitations. Ignore them. Don’t give in. In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your awesome self. And when they laugh at you for being different, laugh back at them for being the same.

Remember, our courage doesn’t always roar aloud. Sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering, “I will try again tomorrow.”

Calligraphy Links from Scoutie Girl

I am a calligraphy nerd, love the practice, so I loved these links.

“Getting it Up” from Zebra Sounds

Judy Clement Wall is one of my new favorite people. She is the instigator behind the new site A Human Thing, and also the author of Zebra Sounds. Her latest post, “Getting it up” is a really great kick in the pants for artists.

Add to the Love in the world – a challenge

From Unicorns for Socialism, ways to add more love to the world.

Memoryhouse, “Untitled”

Beautiful video, dreamy song.

Small Stone: Day 30

Small Stone: Cloud

Walking in City Park, after lunch at Chili House, a Winter Sunday that feels as warm as Spring. For a few minutes, the sun is buried in a huge cloud, edged by a rainbow.

Day of Rest

At the end of yoga class this morning, Aramati reminded us that the stillness and peace we felt at the end of class was something we could access at any time, it was always there. There is a place inside of us, all the time, in our core, our center, that is quiet and spacious, just waiting for us to connect with it.

Sometimes it is hard to find it. We are too busy reaching into the past, getting hooked by our emotions and thoughts, grasping and clinging, working or pushing too hard, trying to force the issue or the project, making deals and plans, rushing into the future, wishing to be anywhere but here and now.

We can drop all of that, at any time. We can let it dissolve, loosen our grasp, let it go, and sink into that still center, sink into now, rest with reality as it is, in this very moment. Rest here, stay here. Be content. Be grateful. Notice, be mindful and aware–this can happen in any moment.

Why not now? Whatever it takes to get you there, however you do that, connect to that place, that space, that quiet, that stillness, that ease, and take this moment to rest there, rest here.

Small Stone: Day 29

Small Stone: Dog Park

Big V and little v, two formations of Canadian Geese fly over our heads. When they come close, the vibration of their wings sounds like giant bumblebees.

Eric is on my left, pointing out a hawk sitting high in a tree, and Sam stays close on my right, running away and right back, over and over in circles, getting close enough on each return to bump his head into my leg.

Dexter searches in random patterns, nose to the ground and ears back, across the entire width and length of the dog park, looking for an abandoned tennis ball.

It already feels like Spring.

Small Stone: Day 28

Small Stone: Ceilings

studio ceiling

When we were looking for a house 11 years ago, what we really wanted was a yard for dogs. When we found the right yard, luckily there were other things we liked about the house that came with it.

bedroom ceiling

It was built in 1963. The layout reminded me of the house I grew up in. There was a 40+ year old Cottonwood tree in the front yard. We didn’t realize it at the time, but there were oak hardwood floors. It was close to Lee Martinez park, hiking, the edge of town, Old Town, and CSU. It was affordable and just big enough for two teachers to live in, for a philosopher and a writer and two dogs.

meditation room ceiling

It also has these amazing patterned plaster ceilings. Last night, I looked up and remembered them. A few are now cracked in places, probably from the Cottonwood roots shifting the house and the natural settling that happens over time (to all of us).

living room ceiling

As the sun moves throughout the day, the patterns change, deepening and shifting with shadow and light. Sometimes, I sit and stare at it, settling in to the infinite stillness and movement of the pattern–each ceiling was composed by hand and each room has a different design.

What do you see when you look up?