Monthly Archives: September 2013

Something Good

Sundancer, by Mark Wagner. Box it sits on was made by his dad and painted by his mom.

Sundancer, by Mark Wagner — box it sits on was made by his dad and painted by his mom.

1. The above painting by Mark Wagner, an amazing artist and a good man. I sat across from this painting when I was at 27 Powers on retreat a few weeks ago, having fallen immediately in love with her.

2. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert, In Defense of Loneliness and Quote of the Day.

3. Our first date was the last day of his life, a tragic and beautiful piece.

4. Kindness Matters on Kind Over Matter. It’s this sort of thing that makes me say one of my practices is dog, and I would hope if I were in the same situation, I could find my way to the same choice.

5. How to Get Flat Abs, Have Amazing Sex and Rule the World in 8 Easy Steps on Huffington Post.

6. How to Let Your Purpose Find You on Harvard Business Review. I’m sharing this because step one is, “Be uncool enough to love.”

???????????????????????????????7. 10 Things to Really Like About Getting Older on Purple Clover.

8. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Type and Stress Heads. I’m an INFJ.

9. Sorry: “working on a novel” is not a business model. A loving reality check — and 26 ways to actually make a living as a wordsmith. from Alexandra Franzen.

10. Audit Yourself to Improve Your Circumstances from Chris Guillebeau.

11. Good stuff from MindBodyGreen: 10 Ways to Live to be 100, and 72 Uses For Simple Household Products To Save Money & Avoid Toxins, and A 5-Year-Old Called Me Fat And Changed My Perspective, and Change Your Life in 2 Seconds.

12. Tonight You Belong to Me (Cover) – Me and my 4 y.o., the sweetest video. May we all have someone who will give us a song to sing when we are scared or worried, even when what we are afraid of isn’t real — especially then.

13. Melissa Carroll’s Technicolor Dream on Narrative.ly.

14. Jimmy Fallon making me smile: Jimmy Fallon’s Latest Lip Sync-Off Was Actually Epic and “#Hashtag” with Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake.

15. From Justine Musk‘s newsletter:

I believe in that place where, as Frederick Buechner once put it, “your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” It’s our quest as individuals to find it: acquiring wisdom along the way, overcoming obstacles (a.k.a “character-building experiences”), letting go of the stuff that no longer serves us so we can evolve into the artists that we need to be and grow a life that feels truly ours.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a writer, a VC, a stay-at-home mom, a yoga teacher, an accountant, an online entrepreneur, a student…or just a seeker of meaning and mystery.

The goal is the same: to live deep, and die empty, as my friend Todd Henry likes to say. Don’t go to your grave with your soul’s work still inside you.

cdj02

16. For the Love of Podcasts, a really great list on Scoutie Girl. Also from Scoutie Girl, The Body, Mind, and Space of Self-Care for Creatives — Part 2: The Mind.

17. A Weightless Year from Rachel Cole.

18. Daily Truthbomb from Danielle LaPorte, “You don’t have to believe in that.”

19. Wisdom from Finn Butler, shared by Laura Simms in her Create as Folk newsletter,

Everyone who terrifies you is sixty-five percent water. And everyone you love is made of stardust, and I know sometimes you cannot even breathe deeply, and the night sky is no home, and you have cried yourself to sleep enough times that you are down to your last two percent, but nothing is infinite, not even loss. You are made of the sea and the stars, and one day you are going to find yourself again.

20. Emerging Women Livestream 2013, A FREE, Four-day Video Event to Empower Women Around the World. Some of my favorite women are going to be speaking.

21. Writing as Dog. Word.

purplepetalalley-e137942051019322. One cute thing, Cute Corgi puppy excited to play with new toy (VIDEO), and one sad thing, Emotional farewell between loving man and his first dog, (Gracie had the same kind of cancer Dexter did), from Dog Heirs, one of my new favorite websites.

23. KID PRESIDENT CHALLENGE: Spread Joy!

24. Wisdom from the Dalai Lama,

Some people consider the practice of love and compassion is only related to religious practice and if they are not interested in religion they neglect these inner values. But love and compassion are qualities that human beings require just to live together.

25. attention: emotional amoebas – find your edges from Sas Petherick.

26. your daily rock : go directly to the source.

27. Have I told you lately how much I adore Mary Oliver? Here’s another reason why, from Parker Palmer: “A couple of years ago, I was lucky to hear Mary Oliver read her poetry. After the reading, someone in the audience asked her, ‘What is the purpose of beauty?’ Her simple but remarkable answer was, ‘We need beauty because it makes us ache to be worthy of it.'”

28. 20 Images That Prove Kids Are Weird from Pleated Jeans.

29. Shared by Tammy in her Happy Links list on Rowdy Kittens: Worthy on The Minimalists, and Ebb and Flow from Courtney Carver, and Overcoming Writer’s Block on Medium.

30. Good stuff from Tiny Buddha, Where True Happiness Comes From: How We Gain by Having Less and 6 Tips to Release Anxiety to Feel Calm and Free.

Day of Rest

cdj03I was on retreat this weekend, an at home virtual retreat with the Open Heart Project that ended this morning. Susan always schedules our time allowing space for creativity and rest, along with dharma talks, meditation, and discussion. Every retreat for me, no matter the type — writing, meditation, creativity, etc. — always brings into stark focus whatever I am currently working with. What I saw on this retreat is that I suck at rest, that I am trying too hard.

How strange that the thing I struggle with the most is ease, that the most difficult part of this retreat was rest, the time we were given to relax. My pattern, my current preference is effort, pushing and striving, when the truth is I need to practice relaxing, sinking, settling, letting go, being rather than doing. And even as I know this, I still strive to get “there.” I think I have to keep moving, that if I stop, even for a second, everything will fall apart.

It’s as if I’m swimming the river, moving as if I’m in a race or being chased by a school of hungry piranhas. I spend so much time and money and effort learning new ways to move through the water. I practice all the different competitive strokes — freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly — read books about swimming technique, buy all the latest performance gear, watch videos of the greats talking about their practice, hire a coach, join a team, take private lessons, dig a pool in my backyard, get up early to swim laps… All to learn the exact wrong way to move. From time to time when I get too exhausted to go any further, I cling to the side to rest, grasping at roots and dirt, gulping air, wondering what I am doing wrong, what trick I’m missing.

I need to learn to float, to lean back, stretch out my arms, relax my legs, sink until the water catches and holds me, my ears just under the surface where it’s quiet, my eyes looking towards the sky, my breath even.

cdj06Instead I continue to struggle, to act out my confusion, my path this particular suffering. I used to be depressed and sad, stuck, paralyzed, and would beat myself up for being lazy, worthless. Then I woke up, started to work, to try, to give, to offer — and here I am still smashing myself to bits for not being enough.

The first thing we often do when we meditate together in the Open Heart Project is to make an offering. This offering can be something literal, like a flower or an orange or incense, anything that would be pleasing to the senses, but the offering can also simply be your current state, like maybe you are confused or tired or hungry or sad, and you offer that. When we meditated together the first time this weekend, my offering was how hard I try. Just thinking about it made me start crying. When I can’t even think about or say something without crying, I know it’s a tender spot, a truth worth being curious about.

Later we practiced loving-kindness, “metta” meditation together. The simplest way to describe the practice is you offer loving-kindness first to yourself, then a loved one, then a neutral person or stranger, then an enemy, and finally all beings. When Susan instructed us to start, to begin to focus on our self, the first thing she said was, “I know how hard you try.” More tears. This is the truth for me right now, I am trying so hard, and I am so tired, and still I am being so hard on myself, and it doesn’t have to be like this.

wherelifehappens“The way you do anything is the way you do everything.” I don’t know who to attribute that phrase to, but I’ve heard it applied to each of my practices, (except maybe dog, but it’s true there too). Practice is never just about what’s happening on the mat, the cushion, the page, or the walk, it’s about everything. I am coming out of this retreat carrying a deep knowing, clear about a fundamental truth — I need to balance my effort with ease.

This came to me today during our creativity session,

Rest in your longing, as the mountains do.
Keep your heart open and wait, like the sky does for morning.
Listen to songs that put you in touch with your breathing.
Hold your love in the stillness of your soft animal body.

I don’t really know how to end this post, maybe because I’m in the particular fog that is post retreat, maybe because I am still living it — but maybe I could say that about everything I write, anything I post here. What I am learning is something I’m still working out. So, for now, I’m going to hit publish and go walk my dog. May you have a day filled with rest, kind and gentle reader.

Self-Compassion Saturday: Kat McNally

I first found Kat McNally’s blog when she hosted Blogtoberfest last year. I immediately liked her, and the more I read of her work, of her life, her joy and her struggles, the more that affection grew — the more we connected, the more I adored her. She has many of the same doubts I do, puts forth the same kind of effort, is utterly amazing but doesn’t always see it for herself.

Kat is a mirror for me — I know for certain how completely wonderful she is, so when she questions that, when her trust in who she is falters, I think to myself “if Kat can be such a wonder, and still struggle, not always be sure, and yet I can see her so clearly, love her so much, maybe I might be able to also learn to do the same for myself.” In loving her, knowing her worth, seeing through her confusion, I am able to be more gentle, more kind with myself.

I’ve told Kat many times that someday, someday I will sit across the table from her at a coffee shop and we’ll talk about everything and nothing, make each other laugh, maybe even cry a little, and I will be able to adore her in person — I just know it, (she lives in Australia, so it will take a little extra effort, I admit). For now, I am happy to share her perspective on self-compassion with you, (plus some extra special, exciting news).

katmoustache1. What does self-compassion mean, what is it? How would you describe or define it?

For me, self-compassion is about learning to show my self the love and kindness I would show to my family and dearest friends. It is also about being open to love and kindness and openness from my self during my most painful, shameful and lonely moments.

Self-compassion feels spacious and calm and at peace with what is… even if the what is doesn’t look like what you hoped it would or think it should.

I am developing a definition of self-compassion that starts with gentle but clear boundaries, especially in my parenting, supported by practices such as breathing and calming mantras to stay present to strong feelings that arise without being overwhelmed by them.

katsbird2. How did you learn self-compassion? Did you have a teacher, a guide, a path, a resource, a book, a moment of clarity or specific experience?

I only developed a clear understanding of what self-compassion means for me very recently. Working with a compassionate and trusted therapist was the most profound and effective path to this new level of insight.

But a big part of my “enlightenment” was also facing the reality that an aha! moment is one thing, but staying open in the moment to choosing a new response to an old anxiety is very much another.

I consider myself a work in progress when it comes to self-compassion and am hopeful that my journey will give my daughter the courage to do her own investigations when she is older.

shewantedyellow

3. How do you practice self-compassion, what does that experience look like for you?

I have a very recent example of this! Just this weekend, we returned from a family holiday in New York City. Now, I have long known that I am something of an anxious parent. My parents were anxious parents, as were their parents before them. But being away from home – somewhere as populous and busy as New York City, no less – made me realise just how deeply ingrained my anxieties are, and how much their underpin the daily routine I have constructed for my self and my family.

One day, the effort of grouching at an independent little four year old for wandering off in hectic Manhattan crowds became too much. My husband held me as we sat in the park next to the Natural History Museum and I cried. In that moment, I realised just how more relaxed I was when my daughter remained in her stroller, and how often we used the stroller at home when we really didn’t need to. My justifications had been pretty valid: flagging focus and energy levels after kindergarten, and greater efficiency when running errands. But I also saw the reality that containing her brought some comfort: if she was sitting, then she wouldn’t trip and hurt herself; if I could control the pace at which we moved, there would be less opportunity for disagreements and meltdowns.

asign

Now, obviously there was a common sense aspect to this i.e. I had every right to be cautious about a little person getting lost in a crowd in New York City. After all, New York City is not Melbourne, Australia (and there is cause for caution in Melbourne, Australia at times, too).

But in that moment, I got caught in the push-pull of my anxieties that she’d get lost, hurt or abducted verses the voice that told me I was holding my daughter back by keeping her restrained. So, either way you looked at it, I was an awful mother.

Once the moment had passed and I was able to breathe my way through to a quieter space, I saw that so many of my anxieties were based on “worst case scenarios” handed down to me by may parents. I saw myself walking on eggshells every minute of the day. It suddenly didn’t seem so strange that I had suffered adrenal burnout over the past few years, or that we’ve had so much difficulty conceiving a second child.

subwayselfieSuddenly, I felt flooded with compassion for the woman who was just so relieved when her daughter napped or sat happily eating in her high chair or watched TV. Suddenly I understood why that those moments were lifelines for a new mama who, just for a moment, needed to not worry about whether her daughter was safe or happy. I also felt a deep gratitude for my parents, knowing that they had raised me with even more intense “worst case scenarios” handed down by their parents (the latter of whom had lived through civil war, the Second World War, extreme poverty and violent occupation of their homeland).

Since returning home, I have been working on gently dismantling the iron grip of my anxieties and redrawing some of the boundaries on my daughter’s behaviour. The stroller has been folded up and put away. There are greater limits on TV time. I still require my daughter to hold my hand at times but I am allowing her to walk and wander a little more and, increasingly, use her scooter. Her exhilaration as she glides on her scooter is palpable! And gorgeous to watch.

There is still a gnawing in the pit of my stomach that she is going to trip and fall. Sometimes, my therapist’s mantra “You can’t plan for catastrophe” feels like a lifeline.

Maybe my daughter will fall and maybe she won’t. But if she does, she will learn from first hand experience that I will always be there to hold her when it hurts.

truthcard4. What do you still need to learn, to know, to understand? What is missing from your practice of self-compassion, what do you still struggle with?

To be honest, it feels like my true work is only just beginning.

Up until now, I had read so many personal development books, used writing and art as therapy, taken e-course after e-course, chosen powerful words to guide me through the year, talked with dear and trusted friends over many glasses of red. But it was only through the painful process of deep excavation with a therapist – then using the tools she had given me to really see my self – that I understood what self-compassion truly meant for me.

Feeling compassion for a friend, and acquaintance, even a complete stranger (even someone I don’t especially like!) comes easily to me. Feeling compassion for my self “in theory” or when everything is calm and thriving in my world is also relatively easy.

But being gentle with myself when I am in the throes of anxiety – times when my fight-or-flight mechanisms kick in and I am less likely to give myself permission to slow down and reflect, and am also rather prone to making rash decisions and lashing out verbally – that takes a lot of work. And a huge part of that will be practicing self-compassion when I don’t get it right.

It’s exhausting… but as exhilarating as flying down your street on your scooter as a four year old.

katwalkingKat emailed me recently and asked me to add this: P.S. Now, many weeks after returning from our incredible holiday, I can finally share that our long-awaited second child has made his/her presence felt! At the time this post is published, I will be just on 17 weeks pregnant. And I know, as sure as I know anything, that the soul work Jill invited me to share here was critical in helping me create the emotional and psychical space to welcome a new soul into the world. For that, I am so grateful… to my support systems, to the universe, to my self.

12weekscanI’m so happy for Kat, so grateful to her. To find out more about her, to connect with her:

Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Barbara Markway.

P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning. Or make your way through all the posts tagged Self-Compassion Saturday.

Gratitude Friday

mcmurrypondsgold021. Fall weather, sunny and cool. The light is amazing and everything is tinged gold. Wool socks, soup, and flannel are all finally appropriate choices.

2. Communicating with Sam. I don’t know if we are closer because Dexter is gone or if I’m paying closer attention for some other reason, or both, but Sam understands and can communicate so much more than I realized. Although, when he stands in front of the TV, whining and talking to the various animals he sees, I don’t know if he’s the smartest dog we’ve ever had or the dumbest.

hikingsam3. Clarifying my new CSU project, being happy enough with it to think that maybe I’ll be at that job longer than I used to think, that I can make it fit with the bigger sense of my life and work.

4. Where we walk. I realized yesterday, as I was Instagramming pictures of the fall colors and naming the locations on our morning walk, that we go through three parks and four natural areas on our route, that we simply open the front door and go, get to visit all these beautiful places. One thing I didn’t get a picture of yesterday was the three white-tailed deer we startled in the fog, who ran from us, leaping, tails raised high, like giant bunnies.

one of four

one of four

5. Open Heart Project. This evening, we will start our second annual virtual retreat. Susan schedules time for creating and resting, along with meditation and dharma talks and discussion. I can’t wait.

Bonus Joy: Eric. Two specific things this week made me stop and think how incredibly grateful I am for him. One is I’m reading a book Brene’ Brown recommended, Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up, and it’s making me realize how good we have it, because so many of the issues the book works with are things we just don’t struggle with, or that we worked out already — not to say we are perfect by any means. The other was I noticed he’d recaulked the bathtub while I was away at my retreat. He’s always doing stuff like that, taking care of things, and not bothering to brag on himself for it, like I probably would. In just a few short weeks, we will have been married for 20 years. Partnering with him was the smartest thing I ever did.

weddingus

yep, we eloped and wore green

Wishcasting Wednesday

from Jamie's post

image from Jamie’s post

This week Jamie asks, “What sign from the Universe do you wish for?” I’ve thought about this, contemplated it all morning and into the afternoon. It’s harder to answer than it might have been even just a few months ago. Is it because I don’t feel particularly confused? Is it because I don’t have any big decisions facing me? Or is it because I am in communication with the Universe, feel like it’s sending me messages and signs all the time?

The dance between confusion and clarity was the theme of my morning practice on this particular day, before I even saw the wishcast prompt. World Domination Summit (WDS) tickets went on sale this morning and I knew I’d be feeling the tug, the “I want one! I want to go! Should I go?,” especially when I started to see all the cool kids posting that they’d purchased theirs.

But I already knew I wasn’t going, had decided, got clear about that a long time ago, and no good would come of trying to force it to fit, from pushing myself to make it work. And yet, this morning I looked up the date for the July intensive weekend for my upcoming yoga teacher training, silently wishing it fell on the exact same weekend, giving me a clear sign that I was meant for other things, that my path was going another direction. I checked, and WDS is the weekend just before that intensive, the weekend we’ll be driving back to Colorado from “our” beach house in Oregon. That was close enough for me. I had wanted a sign in blinking neon, confetti and balloons and a big “ta-da!” but the message was clear even without — “not this, THAT.”

I knew before I looked that Jamie’s prompt would somehow be related to that choice. I have this sense of things recently, a deep knowing and complete trust that I am being guided, helped, supported. Things happen all the time that feel like I have a built in GPS, a guidance system always pointing me towards the truth. Before I meditated or did my writing practice, I pulled a card from my tarot deck, like I’ve been doing each morning. It was the 5 of Wands,

Scattered, Lack of Focus, Lost…a card of conflict. You may find yourself scattered, distracted, tending to everything and nothing. Since wands deal with our dreams & goals, it usually means this conflict resides within. Your energy moves outward in many directions, yet you are suffering inside. Take this card as a warning: find ways to bring calm and focus to your mind or these troubles will only increase.

This weekend is the second annual Open Heart Project virtual retreat. Susan has scheduled in, as she does, time for creativity and for rest, relaxation, along with meditation and dharma talks. I had started negotiating with myself this morning, that blogging would count as creativity, or that I could skip resting to get done what needed done, that I didn’t need to do the full retreat, but then I pulled the 5 of Wands and it was clear to me that I needed to commit, that not doing so wasn’t even an option. I had received a warning directly from the Universe that I needed to “find ways to bring calm and focus” to my mind, or else.

So it isn’t so much “What sign from the Universe do you wish for?,” not wishing but rather pure gratitude that I’m feeling towards the Universe today, so thankful to be helped, to be given the gentlest of nudges in the right direction, the most compassionate reminders. And yet if I could wish for one sign, I would wish that for the fourth time, the Universe make sure the right dog finds us, that when we finally start looking for real, are ready, that the Universe make it clear which one is for us, which one needs us as much as we need him (even if it’s a her).

And P.S. Dear Universe, please make this one a cuddler, full of joy like Dexter was and full of love like Obi was, and one that will adore Sam as much as we do.

Something Good

sundaymorningyoga02Saturday morning, I posted this status update on Facebook:

Dear Creative People of the Internets,
I already have 50+ items for my Something Good list on Monday. Please take the rest of the weekend off.
Love you.
Love,
Me

Apparently, no one was listening. I grouped things together so that it wouldn’t seem so long, but there is so much good stuff this week!

1. Surviving Whole Foods on Huffington Post by Kelly MacLean.

2. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

We’ve got to take time to take care of ourselves. We must. We go and go and go and go and go and wonder why we are tired, depleted and ready to drop, and then some of us take it a step further and punish ourselves for not being able to muster up the energy to keep going. Beautiful friend, please stop and listen to your heart. Please ask it what it is feeling emptied out of. Please ask it what would bring it comfort, joy and rest. Please be kind to your body. Bodies need sleep, solitude, kindness and good food. Souls need sleep, solitude, kindness, and good food. Bodies and souls need to feel connected to the source of everything that is good and true. You are not a machine, a robot, a slave or an object. You are a soul with a body that gets tired. Souls get tired too. Souls need refueling, so do bodies. This does not mean you are weak, useless or less valuable. This means that you are real. Take some time this week to nurture your soul and your body. It must me done. It is the right thing to do. You are too important to wear out, abuse and over-use.

3. Good stuff from Elephant Journal: A Bad Yoga Day, and How to Get Out of Our Own Way, and Am I Too Fat for Yoga?, and The outcome of saving & adopting a dog, and 16 Quotes on Being More & Having Less.

floweralarm4. Good stuff from Twisted Sifter: Picture of the Day: Portland’s Famous Japanese Maple, and Canvas Backdrops Turn Actual Trees Into 2D Artworks, and 25 Pictures of Life Captured by Google Street View, and Snapshots of Life Captured on Google Street View, and a Flickr photo set, Flying over the Tulip Fields.

5. Good stuff from Becoming Minimalist: 10 Tips to Start Living in the Present, and 10 Common Objections to Minimalism, and 7 Life Misconceptions Portrayed in Popular Television Advertisements.

6. Wisdom from Kute Blackson on Facebook, “Living restricted by a commitment you made yesterday that no longer is true today only leads to suffering and stifles your true aliveness.”

7. Creative Costumes of Still-Practiced Pagan Rituals of Europe on Bored Panda.

8. Retired Military Working dog meets his first kitten, super cute video on Dog Heirs.

9. Truthbombs from Danielle LaPorte: “Care more about being precisely who you are than what other people think of you,” and “Self care is a divine responsibility.”

risk your

risk your

10. Note from the Universe: “Happiness arrives not in the absence of problems, Jill, but in the absence of rules about when you can feel it.”

11. Another great Kickstarter project, Everything I Know by Paul Jarvis.

12. Advice For Writing; Or, What I Know So Far, Which Might Actually Be Nothing At All.

13. 27 Reasons Why Parents Shouldn’t Be Allowed To Text.

14. Christina Rosalie shared this poem by Rose Cook on Facebook,

This is a poem for someone
who is juggling her life.
Be still sometimes.
Be still sometimes.

It needs repeating
over and over
to catch her attention
over and over
because someone juggling her life
finds it difficult to hear.

Be still sometimes.
Be still sometimes.
Let it all fall sometimes.

15. Be Brave from ZeFrank.

16. 7 Things Fear has Stolen from You from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

17. 5 more ways to stay creative from Chookooloonks.

18. Dear Ones — So…I’ve been doing a lot of… from Elizabeth Gilbert, in which she says,

People will either read my future books, or they won’t. I can’t control any of that. The only thing I can control is my commitment to pursuing my creative curiosity wherever it leads me, for as long as I am capable of working…I’ll follow that thread of curiosity wherever it wants me to go! Because I’ve never found a better secret to living happily.

19. How to Go On Your Shero’s Journey in 12 Simple Steps from Jennifer Louden.

20. Limits and Creativity: Has Too Little Sleep Got You Reaching for the ‘Do Not Disturb’ Sign? and The Body, Mind, and Space of Self-Care for Creatives — Part 1: The Body from Scoutie Girl.

21. Just one thing – focus on what you love from Christina Rosalie.

22. Vet’s Genius Sense of Humor, “These signs are from the Eau Gallie Veterinary Hospital in Melbourne, Florida. Major points for creativity!!”
purplepetals23. Poem from Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Simple Prayer for Remembering The Motherlode,

We do not become healers.
We came as healers. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.

We do not become storytellers.
We came as carriers of the stories
we and our ancestors actually lived. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.

We do not become artists. We came as artists. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.

We do not become writers.. dancers.. musicians.. helpers.. peacemakers. We came as such. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.

We do not learn to love in this sense. We came as Love. We are Love. Some of us are still catching up to who we truly are.

24. Good stuff from MindBodyGreen: Yoga In The Streets Of New York City (Stunning Slideshow) and 10 Signs You’ve Found Your Calling and 11 Fun Facts About Avocados.

25. This Board Game Aims To Teach Preschoolers How To Code on NPR.

purpleplant26. Good stuff on Upworthy: Watch A Man Playing Piano In His House After The Floods For A Heartbreaking Reason (the most heartbreaking, beautiful thing I saw in relation to Colorado’s recent 1000 year flood), and His First 4 Sentences Are Interesting. The 5th Blew My Mind. And Made Me A Little Sick. (an explanation of why healthcare is so expensive in the U.S.), and People Should Know About This Awful Thing We Do, And Most Of Us Are Simply Unaware, (a heartbreaking, true video that leaves me utterly confused about what more to DO to help).

27.  How I Do It: An Interview with Alexandra Franzen on In Spaces Between.

28. Eat, Pray, Love, Get Rich, Write a Novel No One Expects, a piece about Elizabeth Gilbert from The New York Times.

29. Wisdom from Pam Houston, shared on A Design So Vast, “Life gives us what we need when we need it,” she said.  “Receiving what it gives us is a whole other thing.”

30. 20 Things the Dog Ate by Brian Doyle on Orion Magazine.

31. The Only 9/11 Ad To Ever Get It Right, from the New York City Ballet on BuzzFeed — life is tender and terrible, and this video is so beautiful.

32. Louis C.K. Hates Cell Phones. I shared this yesterday, but I am worried you may have missed it, assumed that it wasn’t for you. If you don’t look at anything else on this list, please watch this video. He manages to distill the most essential Buddhist teaching, the most important thing to know about being human, the most fundamental wisdom about the human condition, into a less than five minute comedy routine.

33. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

34. Wisdom from Anne Lamott on Facebook, in which she says,

I always say the same things: you are loved and chosen , a unique, lovely, wild and slightly screwed up creation. Try to get a little writing done every day–it will help you know and forgive yourself, which is why we are here. Earth is forgiveness school. What you are looking for is already inside you. There is no way to achieve, date, buy or lease anything that will fill up the Swiss cheese holes within. “Figure it out” is not a good slogan.

35. Wisdom from Geneen Roth on Facebook.

36. Goodnight Beautiful Day, an October gift from Hannah Marcotti.

37. 7 Ways to Cultivate a Deep Sense of Love for Yourself on Tiny Buddha.

38. Meet B-Girl Terra, the Flyest Six-Year-Old Dancer Around.

purplepetals0339. This Is Why I Have To Leave by Kristen Forbes. (Confession: I get a little jealous when I read something like this).

40. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

It’s so worth it to do the work to figure out just what it is that brings the sparkle into your eyes. You are different than anyone else who ever came before you and anyone who will ever come after. Your likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses and motivations are unique to you. Try not to get caught up in searching for happiness in someone else’s version of life. You are not like anyone else. It’s okay if your greatest joys come from reading a book, or going for a walk, or talking to a child or hiking a mountain. Not everyone finds joy in running marathons . . . not everyone finds joy in reading books! Find out what really lights you up and then search for more of THAT in your life….even if it isn’t the usual things that the world is telling you that you should want. Just be you, then be true to that YOU. The world needs you in all of your alive-ness. You can’t come completely alive until you know what it is that gets you there, and once you know for sure, OWN it, PROTECT it and EMBRACE it. Search it out and hold on to it. ENJOY IT.

41. BatDad. His wife seems slightly annoyed by this behavior, but I think it is hilarious.

42. Do What You Can In Ten Minutes by Jeff Oaks.

43. Wisdom from Alysia Harris, shared by Justine Musk, “The moment you feel like you have to prove your worth to someone is the moment to absolutely + utterly walk away.”

44. Making Peace with the Past: Entering the Post-Regret Years on Huffington Post.

45. When is the best time to create? by Paul Jarvis.

45. Puppy’s First Visit To The Beach Will Make All Other Dog Photos Out There Irrelevant on Huffington Post.

47. Kid President’s Pep Talk to Teachers and Students!

48. 18 Controversial Facts About Being Fat That You Need To Know on BuzzFeed.

49. Wisdom from Story People, “Some of the stuff I learned early on was useful, she told me, but most of it was obviously meant for someone who was not me.”

50. Are You Ready for the First Ever Self-Love Blogging Carnival? from Anne-Sophie. Seven days of good stuff.

51. Happy World Gratitude Day! 21 stories of love, respect, generosity + over-the-top awesomeness. from Alexandra Franzen.

52. Everything I Need to Know, I Learned from Amy Poehler on Hello Giggles.

Day of Rest

redballoonSome days, we might have trouble seeing the light. Bad things happen — someone we love dies, floods and storms ravage homes and hearts, we make a mistake and can’t seem to forgive ourselves — and we can’t find our way out. Just last week, Brave Love posted on Facebook,

In truth, good news seems to be scarce this week. On top of all of the headlines, there was an incident of brutal domestic violence in my neighborhood … All of that to say, I’m wondering if there is some good news or some brave news in your life. I would love to hear about it.

To which I responded,

I know it can feel like this sometimes, but life is brutal AND beautiful, terrible AND tender. Today, the sun is shining in Colorado, the rain has stopped, and people are helping each other deal with the aftermath of the flooding. We are reminded that when bad things happen, we can help or be helped, we are connected, and even in the darkest moment, we can be together, make each other laugh, build something that can’t be broken. ♥

lightTo find the light doesn’t mean denying the dark. There are shadows everywhere, in and outside of us, night is every bit as natural as day. Sanity, wisdom and compassion requires that we make room for both, that we can hold and allow both. As Pema Chödrön says, “Gloriousness and wretchedness need each other. One inspires us, the other softens us. They go together.”

My wish for all of us today, kind and gentle reader, is that we find the light even as we know the truth of being sad or lost, that we know we are the magic and the medicine, that we can be present and open, brave enough to touch our tender heart of sadness, stay with what Louis C.K. calls that “forever empty,” and find the light on the other (in)side.