Monthly Archives: June 2012

Gratitude Friday

This post is a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

beach teepee

1. The High Park Fire is 85% contained. And yet there is so much still burning, so much devastation, and so many people with such big, open hearts working so hard.

2. Farmer’s Markets. Strawberries, raspberries, lettuce, marionberry jam (there is a rumor that my cousin is making me a batch to take back to Colorado with me), and fresh maple bars. I had eaten so many berries yesterday, my fingertips were stained red.

3. Local Community Yoga Classes. Donation based, just down the road, four classes offered per week. I went to my first this morning, and it was awesome, (it gave me a little boost to be the model for some of the more advanced poses).

4. Long walks on the beach. 2-4 hours of this, every day, and the weather has been perfect.

another one

5. Magic, hidden places. Eric and I seem to find these a lot, and he said of the one we found yesterday “this is what happens when you wander around.”

6. LeRoy’s Blue Whale pancakes. I was worried that after two years, either my memory of them couldn’t be trusted or they would have changed, but they were every bit as delicious as I remembered. Apparently, they’ve had the same cook there for the past 18 years, and he makes magic pancakes.

Bonus Joy: meeting Julia. Even though I am a terrible first date (more on that later), it was so great, after already “meeting” her heart and thoughts, already knowing and loving her insides, the art and words she makes, to get to finally meet her outside. In person, just as I suspected, she glows.

Wishcasting Wednesday

from Jamie’s post

What is your heart’s wish?

With every beat my heart wishes to experience and manifest more love, but besides more love, its wish is: to write a book, many books, to string words together like prayer flags or mala beads, to live the life of a writer, quiet and solitude and reading and long walks and up early and dogs at my side or curled up at my feet, and thinking and dreaming and imagining, and having long conversations about how and why, and love, love, love, and the tenderhearted wise sadness of being present and of knowing how love goes and how things are and how this works, and grief and letting go and surrender, and friendship, and moving not the way fear makes me move but the way love makes me move, and allowing my “soft animal body to love what it loves,” and meditation and rumination and contemplation, step by step and word by word, being still and listening with my whole heart, being curious and gentle, saying only what is true and helpful and kind, being fearless in that way that gives a gift of the same to others so that they too can notice and manifest their basic goodness, to wholeheartedly live a full life and write about it…this is my heart’s wish.

My heart also wishes for flight, and no matter how often or carefully I explain the laws of physics and the impossibility of a wingless lump of muscle and blood floating on the air, it insists and continues to dream that it will one day wake with wings and fly away. It says that hope is not the thing with feathers at all, love is, and that its capacity for love will be the magic that makes it soar, that unhinges it from this mortal, ground-bound body. And I must admit, kind and gentle reader, sometimes I get caught up in the fire of its faith and find myself almost believing it.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: There are places you carry inside, no matter where you go. You feel the temperature and the texture, experience the smell and the sound of these locations, see the colors and shapes of the environment, know the size and mood of the space, real and present in memory and dreams.

For me, some of these places are Amsterdam, my childhood home (not just the house, but the whole town–my church, my school, the field at the end of the road where I lived, the local market, post office, the park, my best friend’s backyard), my grandma’s farm, the cannery I worked in for four summers in a row while I was in high school (trust me, I wish I could rid myself of that one!), my little house in Colorado, the basement of that other house which was the first place Eric and I lived together, and the long stretch of beach from Waldport Bay to Seal Rock.

2. Truth: There are mortal beings that you keep in your heart no matter where you go and even when they are gone. These are the ones who’ve taken up residence in your heart, who you have long, heartfelt, silent conversations with regardless of your physical proximity. You dream about them, long for them, miss them, imagine where they might be, what they might be doing right now when they aren’t with you. And when they become formless, no longer attached to a body, you keep them in your heart, your body, hold them with you, carrying their memory, their love, a precious and wild thing that lives in and through you.

3. Truth: There are practices that will follow you, no matter where you find yourself. These are the things, the habits and the methods that you rely on, that you turn to, that you engage in. These can be helpful and healthy, traditions that sustain you, maintain your sanity and comfort, but they can also be destructive, trapping you in your confusion and suffering. Yesterday I wrote, did yoga, ran with Sam on the beach, meditated, read, and took a long walk with all three of my boys, carrying my camera so I could stop and take pictures of what I noticed, what touched me. These practices are magic, medicine. It wasn’t so long ago that my habitual patterns had a much different flavor, a quality of despair and character of destruction. My teacher, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche says, “We are always meditating–constantly placing our minds on an object and becoming familiar with it. But are we getting used to things that will take us forward on the path?”

One wish: That we can practice gentle and kind awareness, that we can view everything we encounter and experience as an opportunity to cultivate a way of being that generates compassion and wisdom, and that we can let go of any habitual patterns that cause suffering.

Something Good

tide pool

Oh my, kind and gentle reader, after a shorter list last week, this week’s is extra long, so many awesome things I saw this week. My right eye is twitching anticipating writing this one up–and the tagging! Ugh…But every last thing on this list is worth it, otherwise I wouldn’t bother sharing.

One thing, there won’t be many videos shared while we are here on the coast, because I can’t really watch much of anything. While I am grateful to have the internet and my tiny computer, even a makeshift standup desk to use while I’m here, it’s not the same as home.

beach workstation

Specifically, everything just takes longer. For example, this morning I wanted to watch my latest Practitioner video from Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project, not because I had to, she lovingly includes a transcript with her email that I can read and get the same info, but I wanted to watch the video, wanted to see and hear her because I’m missing her, but for a five minute video, it took a half an hour to download on this internet connection, which is running on beach time, and because my tiny computer is slower, even working as hard as it can, I couldn’t really do much of anything else while the video downloaded.

So, all the fancy stuff on this list (whatever that means–do I even do anything fancy on this blog, or ever?!) will most likely be put on hold until I’m back in Colorado, mostly because I can’t watch anything to know if it’s good or worth sharing. But not to worry, because like I said, there’s lots of good stuff, even without the videos (and there is at least one video on this list).

1. Badass Courtney Carver and her post, People Will Think You Are Weird. I mentioned one of Courtney’s posts on this list last week, told you she was a badass, and she linked from this, her latest post, back to mine. I love this new one, it’s so true and such a good list, (many of which items would show up if I made a list of all the ways I’m weird–oh, good blog post idea! I must make a note of that…). She ends the post with this:

You will threaten some, but your weird, crazy, lovely, badass behavior will inspire and spread hope, joy, courage and change. Let go of the excuse that people might think you are weird if you make a change or try something new. They absolutely will and you will survive it. Maybe you are weird. Welcome to the club!

Yay for the weird club!

2. Where in the World Do I Start? from Leo Babauta on ZenHabits. I think Leo might just be the king of how to start. I know that he was incredibly helpful to me when I was starting again.

3. The Foolproof Way to Know You Are Loveable from Rachel Cole, a post which, interestingly enough, serves as the foolproof way to know that Rachel is loveable, utterly and completely.

4. How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love on Brain Pickings. So much awesome in this post.

5. This video touches and breaks my heart, The First 70 trailer shared in a post by Squam, and is too important to not pass on. And yes, I have been known to hug a tree.

6. Scavenger Hunt for Happiness, Live Lane on Your Heart Makes a Difference. Word.

7. How to Write a Book from Susannah Conway. Really good advice. She inspires me.

8. Dancing Matt. If you haven’t already seen these videos from this big hearted dancing goofball, I am so happy to introduce you to them.

9. Flab, Cellulite, and Dangling Arm Fat. Oh sisters, indeed: you are beautiful!

10. On What’s Wrong With You. Just read it.

11. 100 Things To Do Instead Of Procrastinating On The Internet! from Gala Darling. Now, to be clear, I obviously have nothing against the internet. Like all things created by and for humans, it has at its heart compassion and wisdom. What I like about this list isn’t as a list of things to do instead, but just as a good list of things to do.

12. Why the 21st Century Author is an Internet Entrepreneur. Oh, this is very, very interesting…

13. This quote, from the Dalai Lama.

Genuine peace of mind is rooted in affection and compassion. There is a very high level of sensitivity and feeling involved. So long as we lack inner discipline, an inner calmness of mind, then no matter what external facilities or conditions we may have, they will never give us the feeling of joy and happiness that we seek. On the other hand, if we possess this inner quality—that is, calmness of mind, a degree of stability within—then even if we lack various external facilities that are normally considered necessary for a happy and joyful life, it is still possible to live a happy and joyful life.

14. From Miss Minimalist, Minimalist Philosophy: Not-To-Have and Not-To-Be. Yes, yes!

15. Against Positive Thinking: Uncertainty as the Secret of Happiness on Brain Pickings. This is good, essentially is arguing the same thing a Buddhist would tell you: “In order to be truly happy, it turns out, we might actually need to be willing to experience more negative emotions – or, at the very least, to stop running quite so hard from them.”

16. What Is Art? Favorite Famous Definitions, from Antiquity to Today on Brain Pickings. Something I think about a lot.

17. Violence and Moral Dystopia on the L Train from Bindu Wiles. This falls into the category of “hard to think about, but important to try.”

18. How to Be Perfect from The Chick Blog. I need this message over and over until I finally get it.

19, This quote: “Maybe you don’t need the whole world to love you, you know? Maybe you just need one person.” ~Kermit the Frog

20. And this quote:

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security. ~Albert Einstein

21. Leo Babauta’s Guide to Overcoming Self Doubt.

22. This quote: “Be just the way you have always been, with this difference: do not believe any of it, and pay close attention to all of it.” ~Cheri Huber

23. 12 Habits Standing Between You and What You Want from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

24. This quote: “We rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you have to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are.” ~Fred Roger

24. Guest Maven: Susannah Conway on How to Survive the Crash on The Maven Circle. Sometimes, Susannah is so awesome, it makes me want to cry.

25. How To Survive When Everything Sucks, an oldie but a goodie from Alexandra Franzen on Unicorns for Socialism.

26. And this quote, from Pema Chödrön, shared by Patti Digh:

Instead of struggling against the force of confusion, we could meet it and relax. When we do that, we gradually discover that clarity is always there. In the middle of the worst scenario of the worst person in the world, in the middle of all the heavy dialogue with ourselves, open space is always there. (to which I [Patti Digh] would add: let’s
resist the urge to fill up that open space).

Day of Rest

Most of the time, it really is the simple things that make me happy. How is it that I keep forgetting this? Why do I keep pushing, trying so hard, doing so much, instead of being quiet and still, seeing what I already have in abundance?

Happy, well-loved dogs. Long walks under beautiful skies with my three favorite boys. 

Farmer’s markets and fresh food. A gorgeous head of lettuce with purple ruffled edges. Strawberries, Marionberry Jam, Rainier and Bing Cherries. One pound of fresh bay shrimp. Magic flea market finds. Yesterday, I saw a link to this, What’s Your Animal Personality Type (based on the Myers-Briggs types), and before I found mine, I thought to myself “well, it’s obvious, I’m a dog,” but it was even better, I’m the wild mother to the dog, a wolf. And then today, shopping at a flea market in Waldport, I found this.


Secret messages from the Universe.

And a partner who says things like “there is nothing I’d rather be doing right now,” which makes me feel like this:

What simple things make you happy, kind and gentle reader?

Small (and Heart-Shaped) Stones

On our walk this morning, I was finding tons of heart-shaped rocks. Eric said that they really were just “circles with a chunk missing.” And yeah, I think he’s right, even in the metaphorical sense (which is even more fun than fact). Our heart is a circle–unbroken, whole, perfectly and evenly round with no dark corners or sharp edges–with a chunk missing. That might just be the fundamental dilemma of our existence, our experience, that missing piece. It turns our sense of wholeness, of completeness into a ghostly thing that longs and aches, a persistent and lingering sadness. We are basic goodness (or a spirit, soul, divinity, higher self, life spark–how ever you label it) that is housed inside, manifested through a mortal, soft animal body. We have a sense of endlessness, but at the same time we are finite. It is confusing, upsetting.

We took a magical 2.5 hour walk on the beach this morning. We saw a bald eagle twice, the boys were off-lead for at least half the time, and about half that time, they behaved themselves. Because we went so far, they’ve spent much of the rest of the day napping and being loved.

For me, there was hardly any reentry nonsense this trip. As soon as we got here and walked in the door, it felt like we’d just been here, no weirdness at all. The car was unpacked, everyone’s beds made, groceries bought, a stand-up desk fashioned from seascape puzzle boxes, and that was it–we were here.

Snapshots, snippets, and small stones of the day:

  • Driving up the coast to Newport this afternoon, the sun was shining, the ocean a deep blue, the pine trees and grasses various shades of green. I’m a dangerous driver when we first get here, because every new scene takes my breath away, makes me stare and tear up, and I almost forget that I’m in control of a metal death machine.

  • While I was gone to Newport, Eric found wild strawberries in our front yard. There was a Farmer’s Market where I bought a head of gorgeous lettuce, but apparently the berry stand sold out only half an hour after they opened, so at least I got a little taste.

  • We visited “Obi’s spot” on our walk this morning, a place where we scattered some of Obi’s ashes last time we were here. It’s a fresh water stream at the point of our walk where we turn around and go back, where we always let the dogs off and in the water to play.
    There are these gorgeous, ancient, wind bent pine trees at the mouth of the stream, and a cluster of yellow wild irises. There were two tiny blooms today. If our hearts are circles with a chunk missing, Obi is part of my missing chunk.

  • The High Park Fire is still burning. In his status update this morning, Shambhala Mountain Center Executive Director Jon Barbieri offered this wisdom, “In the midst of seeming difficulty, there can be clarity, profundity and a sense of awake. There can also be sadness.” Yes, yes there can.

Gratitude Friday

This post is a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

us, at the beach on our last trip, two years ago

1. We’re finally here! After two days, 24 hours in the car driving 1200 miles across five states with lots of stops for walking and taking breaks and going potty, we have made it to “our” house in Waldport, “where the forest meets the sea.” It’s pouring down rain, and rain is forecast for the next few days, but right now, I don’t even care.

2. The dogs did really well on the trip. Dexter still didn’t like being in the car for so long, did some drooling and panting and whining, but better than I remember from our last trip. My favorite thing was as soon as we came in the front door of the house here, it was obvious Dexter remembered, knew exactly where we were (it’s his fourth trip to the beach, his third time staying in this house).

sleepy d at our hotel

Sam was a little more timid, but I can’t blame him–the last time he was here, he was only six months old. He was so cute at the hotel in Boise last night, could not figure out why their were people walking on the roof (we live in a one story, and we were on the ground floor of the hotel, with some pretty noisy, stompy people in the room above us, something Sam has never experienced). Sam enjoyed the long ride in the car, but we are convinced that he thinks he’s driving.

tired sam at the hotel

3. We got here safely. It is however going to take me a few days to settle in and recover from the drive, I feel like I have a baby version of jet lag.

4. Cherry stands. We were too tired on the way in to stop and buy any, but they are in season right now, so we will be eating some Rainiers and Bings.

5. A makeshift stand up desk. Because I’m so short, I was able to set up my laptop at the breakfast bar/kitchen counter to work as a standup desk. I’m so used to having one at home, I was worried about having to sit, but I think this option will be pretty workable.

Okay, beautiful people, I just officially hit a wall and must go sit on the couch and cuddle with my dogs.