Monthly Archives: May 2013

Gratitude Friday

1. Rain. We’ve had a good amount of rain this spring, rain but not hail or big thunderstorms, and my garden and yard, the park and the river are all really happy about it.

2. Crowdfunding. In the past year or so, I have helped musicians get records made, writers publish books, documentaries get made, people without it get clean water, kids that might go without receive Christmas presents, and even cancer patients pay for their treatment. I love crowdfunding so much. I love us and our big hearts, our kindness and good intentions, our willingness to help. Here are two projects just recently completed, with rewards on their way to me, an album and a book.

3. Collaboration. I have a project I’m going to officially announce tomorrow in a post that will introduce it in more detail, Self-Compassion Saturday. There are an amazing group of wise and compassionate teachers, writers, healers, and artists who are going to help me consider some important questions I have about self-compassion. It is the most beautiful thing, and I can’t wait to share it with you. I am humbled by the ways these women are gracing me with their wisdom and kindness, their willingness to share, beginning with the simple act of saying yes.

4. Peonies. I planted three this year, but I am already thinking I’m going to need more. N e e d.

People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. ~Iris Murdoch

springpeonies

5. Nature. How green everything is right now, how full and fast the river and blue the sky. How at an English Department retreat on Wednesday, we were visited first by a deer, then a pair of wild turkeys, and finally a baby deer — and when I say baby, I mean JUST born, still wobbling around on its shaky legs attempting to learn to walk. And there was a moment of sadness, that tender sadness present in everything, when we spooked his mom and she ran, but he was too unsteady to catch up to her, and I imagined his desperation, “Mom, wait!” *sob*

one of the turkeys in question

one of the turkeys in question

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter. An extra special bonus was that he slept in bed with us two full nights in a row. He’d slept with us every night for seven years, but when we got Sam, Dexter “got his own apartment” and started sleeping in various other locations throughout the house. Sam has recently made some similar shift into adulthood, and begins each night by sleeping for a few hours in his crate, which is in another room. I’m thinking something about this makes Dexter feel more comfortable getting in with us. I don’t care why, I’ll take what I can get.

Big D, Little D, and Dexter’s tomato plant

Full Flower Moon

Jamie asks: “What are you dreaming under this Full Flower Moon? This is the time when the buds have transformed into blooms, reminding us it is time to do the same. What are your full flower dreams? Who are you when you’re in full bloom?”

As seems to be the case with many things in my life, I’m a late bloomer — two days late making this dreamboard. And yet, it’s because I have been manifesting something pretty big (I can’t wait to tell you about it — details on Saturday!), using my energy to bloom and create, so it seems right that this one took a little extra time.

Full Flower Moon asks “How would you like to bloom? Who are you when you are in full bloom?”

fullflowermoon13

Practice: yoga, meditation, writing.
Light filled space.
Breath, words, and music.
Love.

All the memoirs that had ever been,
the entire alphabet,
breath and magic.

Cultivate softness.
Dream.
Breathe.
Radiate yourself.

You are a Bodhisattva,
a wisdom being,
fueled by mountain and ocean,
flower and tree,
bird, feather and flight,
green ground and vast blue sky.

Shantideva said:
May I be a protector to those without protection,
A leader for those who journey,
And a boat, a bridge, a passage
For those desiring the further shore.

Shantideva said:
May the pain of every living creature
Be completely cleared away.
May I be the doctor and the medicine
And may I be the nurse
For all sick beings in the world

I said: Life is tender and terrible,
beautiful and brutal —
may I keep my heart open.
May I be happy.
May I be healthy.
May I be peaceful.
May I live with ease.
May I ease suffering,
in myself and in the world.

Something Good

1. In honor of Memorial Day: Memorial Day: an open letter to our troops on the topic of bravery from Lisa Adams, and Shambhala Mountain Center is offering a special, extended weekend retreat for veterans and their families from August 1-4. “Outer War, Inner Peace will create a safe and intimate setting for discussions and a variety of mindfulness practices, including gentle and powerful healing work with horses. Scholarships are available.” Please share with anyone you think might benefit from this program.

2. New Hyperrealistic Sculptures by Ron Mueck on Bored Panda. So freaky.

3. 10 Simple Ways to Eat Clean & Save Green from Kris Carr.

4. Why it’s so hard to be good (and how to begin) from Sayta on Writing Our Way Home. This one really has me thinking.

5. 26 Steps to Living a Life You Love from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

6. Oklahoma Tornado Survivor Finds Missing Dog During Live Interview.
Instead of reading about all the scary, sad, terrible things, I watched this video.

7. The Obstacle is the Path on Zen Habits. I know this, but sometimes I forget. It’s good to be reminded.

8. Simplify Your Life and Quiet Your Mind on The Spin Cycle and Your Definitive Summer Slow Down Guide on Be More With Less. Courtney Carver’s posts end up on this list almost every week. Maybe I should just put a permanent list item that says “Read Be More with Less.” She’s also doing a Charity:Water campaign for her birthday, because she’s awesome.

9. “Fortunately, it is not required for happiness.” 7 words to re-focus your mind on what matters. from Alexandra Franzen. Same here — maybe you should just take it for granted that I will be telling you every week to read something Alexandra has written, consider it a standing order?

10. Indie Kindred Trailer, a documentary by Jen Lee. Can’t wait to see it.

11. Daily Rocks from Patti Digh: your daily rock : be selfish sometimes and your daily rock : trust yourself.

12. Luke’s Barely Habitable, a video tour of a 78-square-foot live/work apartment in Manhattan. He pays the same amount for rent as my mortgage on an 1100 square foot house. Every video like this inspires me to downsize, start getting rid of stuff, get clear about what I really need.

13. 2013 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest, a set of gorgeous pictures.

14. This wisdom from the Dalai Lama,

Whether one believes in a religion
or not, and whether one believes
in rebirth or not, there isn’t
anyone who doesn’t appreciate
kindness and compassion.

We are all the same — we just want to be happy and safe.

15. Super Summer Challange on Back to Her Roots. This would be super fun and of benefit, if I weren’t already doing one million other things, (yes, I said one million).

16. From Couch Potato to One of the World’s Fittest Menon Forks Over Knives — also very inspiring but probably not something I’m going to do this summer.

17. lisa congdon : THink — a glimpse into the studio + creative world of the artist from Woodnote Photography. I love Lisa Congdon, her art and her story, and love to hear the stories behind people’s tattoos, so this interview is a win/win.

18. My diet secret…The ONLY diet you will ever need! from Kute Blackson. If you have body or food issues, if you struggle, you have got to read this post, watch the video. What Kute has to say here is spot on, and he delivers his message with a huge smile and a ton of energy. Watch it. I’m not kidding. You can thank me later.

19. Creative Living with Jamie: Eric Maisel, Jamie’s weekly podcast interview with a creative person. I mention it this week for a special reason — that Jill she refers to at the very end is ME! But seriously, if you are a creative type, do yourself a favor and take a look at her podcast archive.

20. Convos with my 2-Year-Old, Episode OneI have it on good authority that this video is pretty accurate, not just of this guy’s 2 year old, but of kids in general.

21. roots, on Doorways Traveler, where Lisa Field-Elliot shares this poem,

Allow, by Dana Faulds
There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.

22. This wisdom from Kurt Vonnegut,

Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.

Which is good news, because apparently, according to this comic, I am an artist.

you-might-be-an-artist-if-640

23. Fear & Loathing on Facebookfrom Real Mom Nutrition.

24. How buying a pair of mom pants led to an epiphany from Wellness by Design. All I have to say in response to this is amen, and thank you.

25. Frida Kahlo’s Wardrobe unlocked and on display after nearly 60 years.

26. When she comes home from a long day at school, having a bad day, been told off or sad… She cuddles her best friend. This was on Reddit, and I’m totally in love with it. It makes me wish my dogs were a tiny bit bigger.

girlandbestfriend

27. From Your Inner Pilot Light,

When you notice a sensation or symptom in your body, that’s me talking to you, my love. You know that, right? Sometimes you can be a wee bit stubborn. Sometimes you don’t listen when I whisper. Sometimes I have to get scrappy and start bellowing at you in ways I know will catch your attention. Don’t make me yell, my love.

28. Here’s How Austin Kleon Writes on Copy Blogger. At one point, Austin shares this John Cleese quote, “Creativity is not a talent, it’s a way of operating.”

29. Busy Philipps on The Conversation talking about body image.

30. Cabin Porn, shared by SF Girl by Bay. I could get really lost in this site.

31. Freebie | Ephemera from Goodnight Little Spoon, shared by Pugly Pixel.

32. 22 Ways To Get Your Vegan Snack Attack On from oh she glows, shared by Patti Digh on her Thinking Thursday list.

33. Avocado Frozen Yogurt recipe, shared by Kind Over Matter.

34. 70 Cutie Baby Animals Bring You a Good Mood, shared by Positively Present.

35. How to Dance Properly, shared by Susannah Conway on her Something for the Weekend post. Oh my, this brings back memories and brought up lots of laughs.

36. Shared by Tammy on her Rowdy Kittens Happy Links list: Three Essential Elements of Personal Power on Always Well Within (I found this super interesting because what she’s describing is what I would call basic goodness), Famous Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers on Brain Pickings, and My writing practise on Beautiful Again.

37. 21 Love Lessons They Didn’t Teach You in School from Rebelle Society.

38. 10 Best Cases of On Air Giggles from Hello Giggles.

Day of Rest

pinkpeonies

Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,

with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling,
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are
nothing, forever?
~Mary Oliver, Peonies

Yesterday, I planted peonies, made a memorial garden of sorts. One Moonstone, “This heavenly-scented peony has large double white flowers with blush pink petals along the outer edges,” one Shirley Temple, “This early bloomer has double blush-white flowers with a hint of red. Pale pink fading to white, these medium-sized blossoms with petals arranged in whorls create a very delicate appearance,” and one Rachel, “This attractive perennial is prized for the amount of double blossoms. The late midseason blooming flowers are a bright crimson color and are held on strong sturdy stems above the clear bright green foliage.” I am completely and utterly in love with peonies, so lush and delicate, strong and soft.

At the nursery, the sign said peonies can live for 50-75 years. They live long, are “drought tolerant, deer resistant, and good for cutting.” My friend Susan, Kelly‘s mom, said she has one that her grandmother gave her for her wedding 45 years ago. I love that. Peonies were blooming at Kelly’s memorial service four years ago. Something about them soothed me, gave me comfort, even though looking at those blooms now breaks my heart all over again. Kelly was an avid gardener, and digging in the dirt, cultivating my garden makes me feel close to her.

peonies

I bought three to start. That number seems right — three for the three I’ve lost but still carry with me, (Heather, Obi, and Kelly), and three to represent all three of my dogs, (one I’ve already lost, one who is somewhere in between, and the one who will have been here for the grief of both losses, helping to heal me). I planted them in the mound where our cottonwood tree used to stand.

That tree was one of the main reasons we chose this house over the other options — that and the big yard, the location (close to Old Town and Lee Martinez Park, only a five minute commute to work for me), and the decorative plaster ceilings. In truth, at already almost 40 years old, the tree was a liability. It dropped a huge limb on our car once, causing $1500 worth of damage. I made a deal with her then that if she dropped another limb that big, we’d need to take her down (we live around the  corner from an elementary school and have lots of kids on our block, and that size limb was potentially lethal, even to an adult if it had fallen just right). A few years later, another came down, so we had to take her out.

she was massive

she was massive, and beautiful, and terrifying

Taking her down, losing her was traumatic. I still remember how it felt coming home and seeing her there, stripped of all her limbs, a man high in a bucket raising his chainsaw to start taking down the first section of trunk. I felt sick. I wanted to tell them to stop, but it was already too late. I hadn’t realized until she was gone that she’d provided more than shade. That she’d been more than a threat, she’d stood guard, somehow protecting us. Without her, without anything between us and the street, between us and the rest of the neighborhood, I felt exposed and vulnerable. It took almost six months for that feeling to go away.

Based on that, it might be surprising we didn’t simply plant another tree. We chose to put in flowers, vegetables and fruit instead, along with a spot set aside to remember everything we’ve loved and lost, with the intent of eventually getting rid of most of the grass. Eric was telling me that he heard a story on NPR the other day about the history of lawns, how people initially put them in as a status symbol, to show their prosperity — if they didn’t need that land for growing food or raising livestock, that meant they were well off. It reminds me of how at one point in history, having a tan marked you as lower class because it meant you had to work outdoors, but then later having a suntan became a symbol of affluence, showed that you had enough leisure time and money for travel that you could afford to spend your days lounging around in a lawn chair or by the pool or on a beach somewhere with nothing better to do.

So far we’ve put in three new raised beds for vegetables, made another bed for strawberries, filled in the front burm with irises and other flowers, created a spot for the peonies, and dug out other spots for various melons, squash, and cucumbers. I made sure to put a cherry tomato in the back yard for Dexter (we have three beds back there too), just in case he decides to stick around until there is fruit, (he loves them so much, I sometimes catch him picking them himself — if he gets a green one, he spits it out). This morning, he made it an offering of his Little D, so I think he approves.

Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
~Mary Oliver, Peonies

Gratitude Friday

lilacs

1. Spring. The green of it, the bird song, baby foxes, blooms, gardening, cool weather and rain, warm weather and sun, sitting in the backyard with the dogs and a book, the rush of the river full and fast with melting snow, the long summer stretching out ahead of me.

This is best picture I could get of the three fox kits — they were playing with some small bodied animal they’d caught, running and pouncing, wrestling and chasing each other so that almost every picture came out a blur, and I could only ever capture two of them at a time.

2. Pie. Yesterday I bought a blackberry and raspberry pie at our local market made by My Mom’s Pies, and it was delicious. Oh my. Pie. *sigh*

3. Beaver’s Market. The local market I referred to above. It totally reminds me of the store where/when I grew up, Ditter’s Store, a small neighborhood market. They are about the same size, and both well known for their meat counter and local products. I don’t buy all my groceries there because they are too small to have a very good produce section, but I go as often as I’m able.

4. Love bombing. Writing a post or a letter that offers support and comfort, buying someone a cup of coffee, having a conversation, really listening, following my first thought, my instinct, my gut, the call of Big Love, being able to spread love, ease suffering. And it goes both ways — I got love bombed this week too, a surprise package in the mail and a “voice mail” that included a ninja poetry reading and a lovely soundtrack.

embodymentmail

5. New tires on my car. To be able to buy them without having to worry about how to pay or how we are going to afford it. To have a husband willing to go take care of the purchase for me, who takes care of me in a million other ways.

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter. He’s still happy to be here, loves to eat and take walks and bark at stuff and play and roll around or just lounge in the backyard, all the things that make Dexter who he is. However, his nose is bleeding more frequently and there’s been lots of sneezing and general stuffiness, causing me enough concern that I postponed my trip to Oregon to visit family. Dexter is welcome to stick around as long as he wants (when diagnosed, he was given 2-3 months and it’s been almost 11), I’m even putting a cherry tomato in the back garden so he’ll have his own plant if he’s still around, but we won’t keep him if his suffering gets to be too great. Until then, I am enjoying every minute, filled with love and gratitude for our life together.

Wishcasting Wednesday

fieldofdreams03

Jamie is back wishcasting today, and asks “how do you wish to spend your days?” I want to live inside this question. I love thinking about how I want to spend my time, what I want to do and how I want to feel, but I especially love that my answer is so close to the life I am currently living.

I wish to spend my days…

Awake. In awareness, practicing mindfulness, doing yoga and meditating.

Present and open, deep in basic goodness — wisdom and compassion and strength and gentleness.

Spreading love, making peace, writing love letters, love bombing the whole world.

Expressing creativity and experiencing joy, manifesting love.

Writing while the birds sing outside my open window, fresh flowers on my desk and dogs sleeping at my feet.

Long walks by the river, at the park, in the mountains, noticing all the subtle shifts and changes in those places, connecting with the vibrant life that fills them.

fieldofdreams

Reading in a chair in the backyard, under the shade of a tree, under the vast blue sky, the soft grass under my bare feet and two dogs lounging nearby.

Caring for my home — doing laundry, cooking, washing dishes, sweeping, gardening, all of the things that make the space we live in feel clear and clean, beautiful and safe.

Making Eric laugh, caring for him, letting him love me.

Sleeping, getting enough rest.

Connecting with friends, making friends.

Laughing.

Writing, making art, teaching, being creative and curious, making offerings and being of service.

Easing suffering, in myself and the world.

Opening my heart to all of it — beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible.

Something Good (Part Two)

Uh-oh! I got so excited that I pushed publish before I was done making my list, so here’s part two.

21. Your Daily Rock from Patti Digh: your daily rock : break old patterns, your daily rock : own your messiness, and your daily rock : love your life.

22. Sit Every Day by Diana Winston on Shambhala Sun, a really great post on meditation practice, and Happiness Defined: Your Interpretations Of What It Means To Experience Joy on Huffington Post, both originally shared by Patti Digh on her Thinking Thursday list.

23. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

Dear Smart Girl,

Sometimes we all forget things that are very important, and very simple – so simple that we really shouldn’t be forgetting these things, but we do. One of these things that we forget, many times when it is MOST important, is that we mustn’t turn to destructive things when bad things happen. We mustn’t treat hard times with things that will make us feel even worse.

We do it though, don’t we? We over-eat when we are feeling stressed or lonely or lost. We drink too much, or we spend money we don’t have or we indulge in other kinds of addictive self-medicating. We say mean things to ourselves. We treat people we love with unkindness. We do things that we will regret almost as soon as we are done doing them.

Lovely, sweet friend, please take a few deep breaths when you are feeling a little off, and before you turn to something that will really make you feel even worse, really THINK about how you want to feel tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. And then turn to something that will bring you comfort, guidance, truth and peace. The rush might not be as fast as the destructive things, but the results will be lasting, productive and positive. You will end up in a peaceful place instead of a miserable place.

Call a friend, read something positive, go for a walk, write in your journal, pray, meditate, hold and animal or a baby, visit someone who is sick, look at the sky in the fresh air. Let the feelings pass. They will pass.

You are so loved. You are worth making good choices, you are worth taking care of. Please take good care of yourself.

xoxo

24. How To Stick To Your NO When People Keep Pushing from Alexandra Franzen on Mind Body Green.

25. The part we get to choose from Judy Clement Wall.

26. Michael Buble duets with 15 year old boy, a moment which starts off with a heckler, but turns out to be something else entirely.

27. This quote: You have unconditional authority to deconstruct your own reality. ~Roy H. Williams

28. Three books I want, and it’s all Brain Pickings fault: Make Good Art: Neil Gaiman’s Advice on the Creative Life, Adapted by Design Legend Chip Kidd, Fail Safe: Debbie Millman’s Advice on Courage and the Creative Life, and No Kidding: Women Writers and Comedians on the Choice Not to Have Children.

29. More wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert,

LET’S TALK SERIOUSLY ABOUT UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

Everyone, will you help me (and a fellow seeker) out with this?

A visitor to this page has just asked me whether “unconditional love” means staying in an abusive relationship and learning how to love the person despite how he harms you.

This question makes me want to cry.

Dear one, dear friend, dear heart — the answer to that question is very simple: NO.

No, no, no, no, no, no.

Also: Never, never, never, never, never.

The wisest teaching I’ve ever heard about this came from a dear monk friend in India who told me, “We must love everyone. That is what God asks of us. But some people can only be loved from a safe distance.”

And in regards to some people, that “safe distance” may mean: Never See Them Again. Never Take Their Calls. Never Let Them Near You. Never Let Them Know Where You Live.

Pema Chodron, the great buddhist teacher, has also taught beautifully on this subject. She explains that we should not close our hearts to anyone, but that we must also set healthy and safe boundaries. She urges us not to mistake compassion for compliance. As she said once in a lecture, “Put people in jail, if they are unsafe to others, but do not close your hearts to them.”

Being a compassionate person does not mean allowing anyone in the world to treat you (or anyone else) abusively. There is nothing to be “learned” in an abusive relationship (except how to finally leave.) There is no emotional growth waiting for you in an abusive relationship. There are no day-to-day lessons that will make you a more enlightened being if you learn how to bear it, how to endure it. You will not be a better person in any way for staying. On the contrary, it will corrode your soul. Staying with somebody who harms you (in any way) does not mean you are compassionate; it only means you are co-dependent and very likely in psychological, spiritual and/or physical danger.

This one absolutely breaks my heart, guys.

Please, if somebody is harming you in any way: GO. Today.

All Love,
Liz

30. 8 Secrets from 8 Curvy Women Who Love Their Bodies, and The Battle of “Not Thin Enough,” both shared by Stephanie in her Weekend Treats post.

31. Be More, Do Less on Think Simple Now, and Self Improvement VS. Self Acceptance on Owning Pink, both shared on Positively Present Picks.

32. And because Eric asked me to share this on my blog, just Snoop Dog with some dolphins.

snoop

33. This quote: The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy or too impatient. Patience, patience, patience is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

34. Because it’s just too cute. You’re welcome.

mamaandbaby

35. Fitch, Please. Ellen sticking up for people like she does, one of the reasons I adore her.

36. 21 Reasons Ira Glass Is The Most Perfect Man Alive on BuzzFeed. Only 21? I say they didn’t work hard enough on this list, because there are more than 21 reasons.

37. Summer Journals A-F, places taking submissions.

38. On accidental sabbaticals from Susannah Conway.

39. magical architecture from Sas Petherick. (One of 25, baby).

40. 6 Questions You Need To Stop Asking Yourself from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

41. Mutual pillow, double love.

doublepillow