Monthly Archives: March 2013

Day of Rest (and Resurrection)

May love be resurrected in your heart today, and may it wash through each and every cell of your most sacred body, dripping out through your words, your presence, the way you listen, your willingness to care and get gooey messy and sticky in love, and through the way you touch and hold another. May love make use of your eyes to see, your ears to hear, your words to speak sweetness, your body to hold and touch; and may that love that keeps the stars from falling out of the sky guide you and show you the way home. (Matt Licata, on Many Voices, a Sounds True blog).

Full Moon Dreamboard: Full Worm Moon

Jamie says of the Full Worm Moon:

I share all the time that when I first heard the phrase “Full Worm Moon,” I was less than enthusiastic, but as I discovered that this March moon is when the earth starts to soften and the burrowers of her soil find their way to the surface, I started to change my mind. What if we took our cue from spring and allowed ourselves to soften? What if we let what’s within us find its way to the surface? What tender dreams would be revealed?

Under this Full Worm Moon, open your awareness. Pay attention to the the dreams that are wiggling their way to the surface. What wishes are asking for your attention? What is beginning to emerge? Let your dreamboard guide the way.

What dreams are emerging? What’s stirring?

fullwormmoondreamboard13

As they all do in their own way, this dreamboard surprised me. I began with the guess that it would be about my intention to train to be a yoga teacher, about the ecourse I’m developing, the way I want a small and simple life that is at the same time deep and wide.

What came through that I didn’t expect was focused on art and creativity, healing and courage and practice.

Cobra pose
back bent
heart open
eyes turned towards the sky.

I want art to take me
up and away
away from the expected and the normal.
To me.
Art is the first phase
in a spiritual journey
toward the great mysteries.

And again, Kaun Yin, the Bodhisattva of compassion.
She who hears the cries of the world.
She holds a lotus flower, the innate purity of Buddha nature.
She holds a sutra, the enlightened wisdom of the Dharma.
She holds a mala, the vow of the Bodhisattva to save all beings from suffering.
She holds me.
May I ease suffering,
in myself and the world.

Making a positive difference means:
being more conscious
having the courage to create
being calm and focused
cultivating peace of mind
and the art of asana
staying relaxed
practicing contemplation
allowing the healing power of creativity
inviting grace
giving, making space
breath, life, and vitality of the spirit
opening to love, to joy.

Art & gentle words heal.
Move with ease,
stretch, and breathe.
By balancing effort with ease,
learn to stay open to experience.

There are a thousand different ways to access creativity.
(“A thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground,
a thousand ways to go home again”).
Each one, at its bottom,
is about tapping into the stillness of each of us
call it grace, God, or Big Mind
the place, the moment where all things are possible.

Gratitude Friday

1. New opportunities. Journal Your Life, yoga teacher training, shifts in my paid work, developing an ecourse, a home refinance that will allow us to make some renovations, Spring, a new garden, making space, asking for help where I need it.

2. Good dogs. There are just so many. It is the ONLY thing that helps me face losing another one of my good dogs–there will always be another. For example,  Jasper, a schnauzer/lab mix boy that’s about six months old, available for adoption from My Second Home Rescue. Isn’t he cute?

jasper

3. Serendipity. The Wabi-Sabi book my friend got me that magically led to the ecourse I’m creating, patiently waiting for me to notice it, to need it, and the magazine about Japan, specifically the issue about Expressing the Spirit of Zen, that Eric brought home from the library for me because he thought I’d like it, which is also helping me develop this ecourse, (teaser, or spoiler alert: Wabi-Sabi Creativity).

4. Sharing a banana with Sam. It’s our morning ritual. My first dog Obi loved bananas too. I especially love the way Sam nudges my hand with his nose while I’m unpeeling the banana, “yes, that, hurry, give me some.”

sam

5. Peach colored sky.

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter. It’s so strange to have him still here in Spring, when the grass is turning green and things are starting to bud and bloom. When he was first diagnosed in August, I wasn’t sure if he’d make it to see another snow. This was him this afternoon, having rolled in the grass and trying to convince his dad to throw a tennis ball for him.

dexball

Something Good

1. the pursuit of happiness: how part-time dream-chasing works from Liv Lane. This makes so much sense to me, seems to be how things are working in my case.

2. From a poem shared by the lovely Jessica Patterson,

What makes a fire burn
is space between the logs,
a breathing space.
Too much of a good thing,
too many logs
packed in too tight
can douse the flames
almost as surely
as a pail of water would.

So building fires
requires attention
to the spaces in between,
as much as to the wood.
~Judy Brown

3. A quote shared by Christa on Carry It Forward,

The gift you carry for others is not an attempt to save the world but to fully belong to it. It’s not possible to save the world by trying to save it. You need to find what is genuinely yours to offer the world before you can make it a better place. Discovering the unique gift to bring to your community is your greatest opportunity and challenge. The offering of that gift – your true self – is the most you can do to love and serve the world…and it is all the world needs. ~Bill Plotkin

4. After School Snack: Almond-Oat Bites. This recipe looks so yummy. I wonder what it would taste like with avocado? 🙂

5. Pets Add Life Outtakes. If this doesn’t make you giggle, we probably wouldn’t get along.

6. This quote from Lin Yutang, “Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.”

7. This quote from Pema Chödrön,

Hope and fear come from feeling that we lack something; they come from a sense of poverty. We can’t simply relax with ourselves. We hold on to hope, and hope robs us of the present moment. We feel that someone else knows what’s going on, but that there’s something missing in us, and therefore something is lacking in our world.

Rather than letting our negativity get the better of us, we could acknowledge that right now we feel like a piece of shit and not be squeamish about taking a good look. That’s the compassionate thing to do. That’s the brave thing to do. We can’t just jump over ourselves as if we were not there. It’s better to take a straight look at all our hopes and fears. Then some kind of confidence in our basic sanity arises.

8. This quote from Ram Daas,

Remember, we are all affecting the world every moment, whether we mean to or not. Our actions and states of mind matter, because we’re so deeply interconnected with one another. Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is the supreme creative act.

9. [How I Relax] An interview with Marianne Elliott on The Freedom Experiment.

10. Anne Frank’s Chestnut Tree: Self-Compassion and Resilience from Lea Seigen Shinraku.

11. International Artist Mary Anne Radmacher Talks Living Boldly on 365 Bold.

12. “A great writer reveals the truth even when he or she does not wish to.” ~Tom Bissell

13. 9 Steps to Creating a Successful e-Course from Pro Blogger.

14. I Never Thought A 1-Minute Video Could Punch Me In The Heart. Yet Here We Are. Seeing Anne Frank with gray hair made me cry.

15. Washed Away, a New York Times book review of ‘Wave’ by Sonali Deraniyagala, by Cheryl Strayed. After reading this, I immediately ordered the book, knowing it’s going to break my heart.

16. Creating Your Zen Den on Positively Positive.

17. Wisdom from Osho,

When you have dropped all the tension about the future – that I should become this and I should become that – the ego evaporates. The ego lives on a base of the past and the future. Understand this a little. The claims of the ego are of the past, “I did this, I did that” – it is all in the past. And the ego says, “I will definitely accomplish this, I will definitely show you that I can accomplish that.” That is all in the future. The ego simply does not exist in the present. If you come to the present, then the ego disappears. That is death to the ego. Coming to the present is the death of the ego.

18. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön: Comfortable with Transition, a Good Minute Weekly Wisdom offering from Sounds True.

19. Generosity for Georgia, a really great fundraising effort for a single mom fighting cancer. If I had my way, no kid ever again would lose their mom to cancer. For now, the only thing I can do about that is to give some money and love to people like Georgia, and share the link with you so you can too.

20. Wisdom from Patti Digh,

A thought: If we can walk to our edges without judgment–edges are those “hot spots” of discomfort and disequilibrium where real learning can occur–we can learn something valuable about ourselves. But we have to choose between judging and learning, because if we go into judgment (of ourselves or others), we can’t learn. Carry on.

21. A great story from Jen Lee on The Moth.

22. Trading in Consumption on Be More With Less. Courtney Carver continues to be such an inspiration to me.

23. This quote from Tony Schwartz,

Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.

24. Five Ways To Nourish Yourself from Nourishing the Soul.

25. Objects of Desire from Lisa Field-Elliot on Doorways Traveler. I love, love, love her writing, her view, her heart. Every post she says something so true, something that startles and stops me, makes me cry. This time it was this, “it is not about accumulating, it is about recognizing and eliminating what does not speak the truth.”

26. i could live here: a converted waffle factory in lille. from SF Girl by Bay. Everything about this place is yummy, gorgeous and good, and I can’t help but wonder, how different would your life be if you lived in a space like that? I mean, it’s a converted waffle factory in France that is decorated and furnished beautifully– everything about that is good. In my dream of it, it still smells like waffles, warm maple and vanilla.

27. Wisdom from the Dalai Lama,

If we unbalance nature, humankind will suffer. Furthermore, we must consider future generations: a clean environment is a human right like any other. It is therefore part of our responsibility toward others to ensure that the world we pass on is as healthy as, if not healthier than, we found it. This is not quite such a difficult proposition as it might sound. For although there is a limit to what we as individuals can do, there is no limit to what a universal response might achieve. It is up to us as individuals to do what we can, however little that may be. Just because switching off the light on leaving the room seems inconsequential, it does not mean we shouldn’t do it.

28. From Rowdy Kittens Happy Links list: Speaking Up About Grief and Why We Rescue Interview, (this project only has one entry so far, but it’s such a good idea, and a really good first interview–I’m a sucker for a good rescue story).

29. This quote from Geneen Roth, “Compulsive eating is only the symptom; believing that you are not worth your own love is the problem. Go for the love. You will never be sorry.”

30. From Susannah’s Something for the Weekend list, Thai Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing.

31. Good stuff from Elephant Journal: Facebook for Buddhists? Five Rules for Maintaining a Mindful “Buddha Status,” and This is Why I Practice, which says,

I don’t practice because I am righteous or virtuous. I certainly don’t practice because I am perfect or peaceful. Nor do I practice to impress you or to prove some inane point about my wonderful brilliant sparkly shininess.

I practice because without practice I am a mess.

Amen.

32. Introverts Explained: Why We Love You But Need to Get Away From You from Space2Live.

33. Pack Animals, from Guinevere Gets Sober, in which she says,

We need each other. The trick for me is to accept that need, to allow myself to satisfy it, and even to enjoy it, without allowing it to overtake the rest of my life and make me sacrifice myself.

34. Kid President Laugh Party! I adore Kid President.

35. Do not do shit just to please your parents. In fact, do not pursue anything in order to please someone else. Ever. Wisdom from Danielle LaPorte.

36. The Real Journey of a Writer, wisdom from Justine Musk.

Day of Rest

My friend Lindsey shared a poem on her blog, and part of it has stuck with me for days, especially considering my obsession with taking pictures of the sky, the way it shifts and changes and always amazes.

Sometimes it takes
a great sky
to find that

small, bright
and indescribable
wedge of freedom
in your own heart.
~The Journey, David Whyte

This also stuck with me because of the way my practice and Buddhist studies are always reminding me that, at least in a metaphorical sense, I am the sky–spacious and open and fundamentally sane. As Susan Piver explains,

Dharma teachers often suggest considering your thoughts to be like clouds in the sky. Some are dark and stormy, some are beautiful and fat, while others are wispy and ethereal. Sometimes there are no clouds at all. No matter. Just like clouds in the sky, thoughts pass through your mind. And just like the sky, your mind can contain it all.

We are accustomed to identifying with every large or small thought that comes along. But you can train yourself to identify as the sky instead. When you do, tremendous confidence arises. You see beyond doubt that you can accommodate it all–sunshine, storms, mist, fog, hail–and never give up.

On this day of rest, I am contemplating what it means to “find that small, bright and indescribable wedge of freedom in your own heart,” to allow confidence to arise, and to “see beyond doubt that you can accommodate it all–sunshine, storms, mist, fog, hail–and never give up.” May you, kind and gentle reader, on this day of rest, experience both freedom and confidence, along with true rest.

Gratitude Friday

This post started as 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.

1. Avocados. Yes, again. Seriously, I might have a problem, might turn into an avocado if I don’t stop it. This recipe for a Smashed Chickpea & Avocado Salad Sandwich from Two Peas and Their Pod is the next thing I’m going to try.

2. Spring Break. Today is the final day, and it’s been soooo busy, never is the week of nothing but space and time and rest that I imagine, but it was nice to have a little break.

3. Dexter’s Physical Therapy. Dr. Lindsey Habermann has two cattle dog mixes of her own, and has been taking such good care of Dexter, along with Sharon, and everyone else who’s helped along the way, (seriously, he loves going). He’s doing so much better and I’m so grateful.

4. Getting to walk dogs with Eric in the morning. Or getting to sleep in and having him walk the dogs for me. Either way, I’m grateful.

5. Good people. I am surrounded by them. Loving, funny, wicked smart, generous, creative people. They buy me salted caramel lattes, make me laugh, cheer me up and inspire me.

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter. He did have another bloody nose this week, but has been in a much better mood (the one way I could tell when his leg was bothering him was he wasn’t his usual cheerful self) and he even slept in bed with us all last night, (I miss that).

you might not be able to tell, but he's smiling

you might not be able to tell, but he’s smiling

Wishcasting Wednesday

Spring-475x353

from Jamie’s post

Today Jamie asks “what’s your Spring wish?” I haven’t Wishcast in a long while, not because I don’t appreciate the practice but because I was doing too much and needed to slow down, so this was a practice that was on haitus. However, this wish felt like an opportunity I shouldn’t pass up.

You see, I was just out in the backyard playing with Dexter (and Sam too). It’s a bit cold out today, but I wanted to be outside. The grass is starting to green up and things are starting to bud and even bloom. There’s a lawn chair out from just a few days ago when it was sunny and warm.

I never thought I would see another Spring with Dexter in it. His prognosis when his cancer was diagnosed was 95 days, with his first significant symptoms a month before that, so I wasn’t even sure if he’d stay long enough to see snow again. That was almost eight months ago, and he’s still here.

And yet, living with a terminally ill pet means things can change at any time. He went to physical therapy this morning and even they noticed he was in a happier mood, was clearly feeling better. He’s getting stronger and while the tear in his knee won’t likely heal completely, he’s doing really well considering, is able to be moderately and carefully active. That made me feel really good, but then just a few hours later, he sneezed a few times and there was blood, so I shifted to feeling sad. This is how it goes.

So my Spring wish is in two parts: May I be able to remain fully present with Dexter while he is still here, and when it’s time for him to go, may he have an easy death.