Monthly Archives: April 2014

Something Good

1. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

We all have parts of ourselves that need working on. We all think thoughts that aren’t the best thoughts we could be thinking. We all do things we wish we would have done better, or differently, or not at all. We all make mistakes, every single day….every single one of us. And then, we all wake up every day with lots of chances to start over. It is one of the miracles of life…Let yesterday go, be done with it. Walk onto your light-filled path and make today a better day.

2. A Pathetic Internet Troll Called This Mom’s Little Boy Ugly. Her Reply Is Perfection. on Viral Nova.

3. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

The opposite of samsara (the cycle of suffering) is when all the walls fall down, when the cocoon completely disappears and we are totally open to whatever may happen, with no withdrawing, no centralizing into ourselves. That is what we aspire to, the warrior’s journey. That is what stirs us: leaping, being thrown out of the nest, going through the initiation rites, growing up, stepping into something that’s uncertain and unknown.

4. Yo Oprah, I’mma Let You Finish But Amy Poehler Has The Best Body Image Advice Of All Time on Upworthy.

5. You are a writer. So, write. Deeply. on Rebelle Society.

6. Prompt of the Week: Junk Mail Poetry from Wolverine Farm Publishing Co. & Bookstore, and my dear friend Chloé, the 2014 Poet Laureate of Fort Collins.

7. The generosity boomerang from Seth Godin.

8. Five things you can do to overcome fear on Life is Limitless.

9. The Bite I Chose Not to Take, from Mara Glatzel.

10. Truthbomb from Danielle LaPorte, “Make the necessary adjustments for your life to become more meaningful.”

11. A Conversation with Julia Cameron about Channeling Your Creativity on Huffington Post.

12. The ultimate guide to naming your “thing” from Alexandra Franzen.

13. Good stuff from Zen Habits: The Habit Action List and The Reality of This Moment.

14. Be Yourself – Short Documentary.

15. 6 Things That I Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement from the Militant Baker.

16. Wisdom from Geneen Roth,

For some reason, we are truly convinced that if we criticize ourselves, the criticism will lead to change. If we are harsh, we believe we will end up being kind. If we shame ourselves, we believe we end up loving ourselves. It has never been true, not for a moment, that shame leads to love. Only love leads to love.

17. Good stuff from Bored Panda: Photographer Takes Stunning Surreal Photos With An Old $50 Film Camera and WTF? 22 Of The Weirdest and Most Unexplainable Pictures Ever and Hidden Macro World Revealed By Japanese Photographer Miki Asai.

18. Use These 19 Genius Cleaning Hacks This Spring. I Can’t Believe I Never Thought Of #13 Til Now. on Viral Nova. Seriously, #13 is brilliant.

19. Success, failure and the drive to keep creating, Elizabeth Gilbert’s second TED Talk, in which she says,

For me, going home meant returning to the work of writing because writing was my home, because I loved writing more than I hated failing at writing, which is to say that I loved writing more than I loved my own ego, which is ultimately to say that I loved writing more than I loved myself. And that’s how I pushed through it.

And,

Your home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself. So that might be creativity, it might be family, it might be invention, adventure, faith, service, it might be raising corgis, I don’t know, your home is that thing to which you can dedicate your energies with such singular devotion that the ultimate results become inconsequential.

Word.

20. The Moment This Man Finds Out He’s Going To Be A Grandpa Will Make You Tear Up on Huffington Post. Somehow “we’re getting a new puppy” never manages to elicit the same emotion…

21. Friday’s Confession: I Was Copied from Tiffany Han.

22. How to Be a Writer by M. Molly Backes on Medium.

23. The art of Sarah Jarrett.

24. By Another Way, a poem by Jan Richardson shared by Ronna Detrick on her blog.

25. My Formula for Stumbling Through with Grace from Be More with Less.

26. Wisdom from Kristin Noelle, who describes so perfectly where I am right now,

…those stretches when you’re still close enough to some “before” version of yourself to remember him or her well, to still have his or her knee-jerk feelings and reactions to things….but you’re not that version of yourself anymore either, and you’re noticing a whole new paradigm, a whole new way of being in the world, vying for attention and time.

27. Newspaper + marker = poetry: The story behind my newspaper blackout poems, on Medium from Austin Kleon.

28. Shared on Rowdy Kittens Happy Links: The Scratch Interview with Cheryl Strayed, and On the Long Haul from Dani Shapiro, and 10 Ways I Embraced Simplicity and You Can Too from Sandra Pawula.

29. What I Wish I Knew After My MFA Ended on the Brevity blog.

30. New Age Bullshit Generator.

31. Writing Practice – why it’s time to stop thinking of writing as a profession by Damien Walter.

32. Teachasana, “An online resource for yoga teachers and teachers-in-training.”

33. On writing, courage, and showing up on Life with Lucia.

34. 28 T-Shirts For When You Literally Cannot from BuzzFeed.

35. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook, Are you feeling more afraid than you need to feel?

36. How To Stop Making A Big Deal About Your Problems, Pema Chödrön on MindBodyGreen.

37. Having No Expectations: The Secret to Freedom and Happiness.

Day of Rest

You are the Sun in drag.
You are God hiding from yourself.
Remove all the “mine” – that is the veil.
Why ever worry about anything?
Listen to what your friend Hafiz
Knows for certain:
The appearance of this world
Is a Magi’s brilliant trick, though its affairs are
Nothing into nothing.
You are a divine elephant with amnesia
Trying to live in an ant hole.

Sweetheart, O sweetheart
You are God in Drag!
~Hafiz

Gratitude Friday

1. Ringo is healthy after a rough week — a gash over his eye which required a trip to the emergency vet, two staples and antibiotics; a section of leather glove that he swallowed but successfully passed. Why are puppies and toddlers so hellbent on wrecking themselves?!

2. Sam remains healthy. Now we get to start weaning him off the pain medication he was on because we thought it was a nerve issue.

3. I am sane, things are making more sense, I’m calmer and better able to cope. Thank goodness for practice and a really good therapist.

4. My new responsibilities at CSU. I’m the Communications Coordinator, and as such I get to work with amazing interns, edit and create content for Facebook, our blog, and our website. It’s a really nice convergence of what I’m good at, like to do, and what other people need.

5. We are going to the beach, for sure. We’d been putting off committing completely to the trip when we didn’t know what was wrong with Sam and weren’t sure if Ringo would be mature enough, but we’ve decided and are locked in.

6. The semester is almost over, which means summer vacation is almost here. I might like my job most of the time, but I like vacation, my life better.

7. Ringo seems to have settled into a predictable schedule, which gives us a little more freedom. He’s growing up, even though he still has to be watched constantly because he’s teething and wants to eat all the things.

8. Hard but honest conversations with Eric, that we can have them, that they end with hope.

Bonus Joy: Walking along the river this morning, listening to the sound of the train, the rushing water, and the birds.

Something Good

1. Why You Need to Stop Bragging About How Busy You Are from Fast Company.

2. The Not List from Rachel Cole. Rachel has a new Intuitive Eating Guided Reading Group starting in mid-May.

3. From Seth Godin: “How do I get rid of the fear?” and The bottomless pit of pleasing strangers and They’re your words, choose them.

4. Show Your Work! – SXSW Interactive 2014, a talk by Austin Kleon.

5. Here Are The 31 Best Incidents Of Irony Ever Photographed. #9 Must Be Some Kind Of Cruel Joke. from Viral Nova.

6. Jeff Oaks is on a break from teaching, so he’s writing all kinds of good stuff. For example, Writing/Dreams and April: some notes.

7. 10 Ways to Own Less from Be More With Less.

8. A Magical Miniature World Of Snails By Vyacheslav Mishchenko on Bored Panda.

9. Kids From All Around The World Show Off Their Favorite Toys In Disarming Photo Series on Huffington Post.

10. Open Letter to Dr. Oz from be nourished.

10. Mabel Magazine, “is a print magazine that is here to tell real stories about making a living and creating a life.” I have a piece in the first issue, the theme of which is “beginnings.” I think Mabel’s going to be a good thing.

11. 27 Hysterical Haircuts. #6 Made Me Cringe. on the San Francisco Globe. We all do such silly things sometimes.

12. 10 Ways to Do What You Don’t Want to Do on Zen Habits.

13. Heartwarming Thai Commercial – Thai Good Stories By Linaloved. Of everything on this list, this just might be the very best.

14. How a Rescue Dog from Taiwan and Baby Boy from LA became Best Friends on Twisted Sifter.

15. The Worst Thing That Can Happen Rarely Does from Chris Guillebeau.

16. Shared on the Chookooloonks This Was a Good Week list: Artist Rachel Sussman Photographs the Oldest Living Things in the World before They Vanish and the teeniest, tiniest.

17. A sweet Easter poem from James Broughton, “Easter Exultet.”

Shake out your qualms.
Shake up your dreams.
Deepen your roots.
Extend your branches.
Trust deep water
and head for the open,
even if your vision
shipwrecks you.
Quit your addiction
to sneer and complain.
Open a lookout.
Dance on a brink.
Run with your wildfire.
You are closer to glory
leaping an abyss
than upholstering a rut.
Not dawdling.
Not doubting.
Intrepid all the way
Walk toward clarity.
At every crossroad
Be prepared
to bump into wonder.
Only love prevails.
En route to disaster
insist on canticles.
Lift your ineffable
out of the mundane.
Nothing perishes;
nothing survives;
everything transforms!
Honeymoon with Big Joy!

18. being enough from Pia Jane Bijkerk.

19. Opening the Creative Channel with Andrea Scher and Laurie Wagner on Simply Celebrate.

20. Truthbombs from Danielle LaPorte: “Put down your shield and stand in the rain of blessings,” and “You will always be too much of something for someone. Be yourself anyway.”

21. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Many of our escapes are involuntary: addiction and dissociating from painful feelings are two examples. Anyone who has worked with a strong addiction—compulsive eating, compulsive sex, abuse of substances, explosive anger, or any other behavior that’s out of control—knows that when the urge comes on it’s irresistible. The seduction is too strong. So we train again and again in less highly charged situations in which the urge is present but not so overwhelming. By training with everyday irritations, we develop the knack of refraining when the going gets rough. It takes patience and an understanding of how we’re hurting ourselves not to continue taking the same old escape route of speaking or acting out.

22. Wisdom from Mara Glatzel, a practice,

Take a moment to sit comfortably. Plant your feet on the floor. Settle into your breath, slowly and intentionally.

Feel into your body as you run your mind over the content of your day – your schedule, your obligations, your desire for self-care.

Where are you craving for permission?

Let any answer that comes guide you into your day.

Let it be simple, but follow through.

Know that every time you pause, take stock, and move forward with your own spirit, heart, and need in mind, you are working to feel a little more at home in your life.

23. Watching these two old women fly for the first time is pure gold on Sploid.

24. Wisdom from A Conversation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Parabola, in which he says,

…if you utilize obstacles properly, then it strengthens your courage, and it also gives you more intelligence, more wisdom. Because there is obstacle, you make attempt; so have to think, have to try something. Have to try certain way; so this gives strength and also wisdom and intelligence. If you use them in wrong way, then discourage, failure, depression.

25. The Metric of More from Paul Jarvis.

Life Rehab Resource: Nature

liferehabresourcesI’ve learned a lot from teachers, from practice and study, but the one place that continually amazes me with its wisdom: nature. I’ve often said that for me, going hiking or on a long walk, climbing up a mountain or standing on the beach, or even just sitting in my backyard is like church, especially if there’s a dog or two with me. There’s just something about the ground, the sky, the trees and rocks and dirt and blooms and bird song, that makes it easy to understand what otherwise is confusing, complex. There’s a quiet, a spaciousness that allows contemplation and insight, fosters contentment.

magicforestI can’t be in a place like this and be distracted. I am grounded in my own body, my own breath, present for each step. It’s a particular kind of magic, medicine.

When I realized Kelly was actually going to die, nature comforted me. She’d been sent home from the hospital, hospice was there, her body failing her, but somehow I still hoped for a miracle, my faith equaling how much I wanted her to live. But when her husband posted on Facebook that she’d slipped into a coma, there was nothing left to hold onto, no plans for “when she got better.” Rather than “the thing with feathers,” hope was the thing that had flown away. I felt utterly hopeless, helpless. I was in Colorado and Kelly was in Kentucky. There was nothing I could do, no phone call or visit to make. There was only waiting for the final word, the news that she was gone.

My front flowerbed had been neglected for months. With the latest update, hope’s departure, I went out and got on my knees in the dirt, pulling weeds, trimming and clearing. It was as close to praying as I could get, reminded me that even as things die, life continues, things turn green and bloom.

This morning when we were walking, Eric said “look at how much greener it is where it burnt.” A whole area had been cleared by fire and was growing back, a riot of green next to water still black with ash. Whether on purpose or accident it doesn’t really matter, space was made, new growth happened. We get so upset, often rightly so, when we lose something we love, but sometimes the worst thing that could ever happen is also a catalyst for growth.

It reminds me of that haiku by the Japanese poet Masahide, “Barn’s burnt down — now I can see the moon.” Losing Obi and Kelly, and then Dexter, were some of the worst things that ever happened to me, and yet that the depth of suffering, the weight of that sadness, caused a shift — woke me up. I am stronger, more content, have more to offer now.

Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift. ~Mary Oliver

Nature constantly brings me back to these truths. That nothing is ever really lost, even amidst the ongoing and sometimes catastrophic change. That the waves will keep coming, that they will knock you down, but you must keep getting back up or drown, that if you keep going it might get easier. That there is a season for everything. That death is real, happens to all of us, all of it. That after the longest, coldest, darkest winter, the blooms and fruit return. That even though there are tigers above and tigers below, we can taste the sweetness of a strawberry in this moment.

And, basic goodness is real, it exists and is fundamental. When we saw the above patch of grass, Eric said “each blade has a drop on it,” and it made me think about how each one of us has the same basic nature. Both yogic philosophy and Buddhism talk about this essential goodness, this natural state of vast openness. Certainly we get confused about it, act as if it’s not true, generate so much suffering, but that doesn’t change the fact that “each blade has a drop on it.” You can call it love or compassion or divinity or wisdom, but it’s there — in all of us, in every thing.

Nature is the place I see this the most clearly. I think about how an apple tree doesn’t question what it has to offer, but rather rests in its genuine and natural wholeness. It stands as it is, takes on the nourishment available to it and produces fruit. It never asks “is this apple good enough” or “maybe I should make peaches instead,” it just is. And when it’s time to let go of its fruit, and later its leaves, it lets them go. There’s no clinging or attachment or fear, there is simply surrender.

Nature provides both space and wisdom. If I show up and pay attention, there is so much to learn, such sanity and intelligence, so much support and comfort. In that connection, that relationship, I can slow down, find clarity, breathe.

Gratitude Friday

1. An eagle flew right over our house. I was in the backyard watching the dogs play, we were about to go on our morning walk, and a huge bird flew right over our heads. At first, I assumed it was a crow, but realized quickly it was too big to be a crow and it had a white head and bright yellow beak. It would have made a beautiful picture, brown black wings spread against the bluest of sky, but I didn’t have my camera so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

2. Play date with Franklin, Ringo’s biological brother. I confess, I was a bit worried Ringo might be a jerk. He doesn’t always play nice or even like other dogs, can get scared or bark too much, growl and snap if he gets cornered. I didn’t need to worry. Ringo and Franklin loved each other, played and played. They never got too rough or too rowdy. Ringo was sad when Franklin left, went to the door and whined. I wish they lived even closer, that I could borrow Franklin for a few hours every day. As much as Sam and Ringo play, it’s not that full on five month old puppy kind of play.

3. Strawberries. We still don’t have any local fruit, but the ones at the store are tasting more like the real thing.

4. Sam is still doing really well. Hallelujah.

aprilmorningwalk5. Taking care of the dogs by myself. I know there are people, parents and caretakers and dog people, who do this all the time, every day, always, and I am so impressed, amazed, gobsmacked that they do — but I don’t. Eric has been gone since Wednesday morning at a conference, will be home in a few hours, so I was a single mom for a few days. I didn’t kill anyone and no one died, got sick or hurt. I walked both dogs by myself twice a day, picked up their poop, took care of everyone’s meals and medication, made sure they got enough naps and play. I got covered in poop once, pulled various kinds of poop and dead things out of Ringo’s mouth, along with two cactus spines out of his nose. I had a play date and took Ringo to his final two hour basic obedience class. I even managed to work. The best thing about it is I didn’t get depressed or overwhelmed. I felt capable, confident, and calm — that’s huge.

Bonus joy: Spring.

springsky2014

Something Good

1. Wisdom from Maya Angelou, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” No kidding.

2. The Daring Interview Series: Meet Gavin Aung Than on Brene’ Brown’s blog.

3. How to End the Endless Game of Catching Up on Be More With Less.

4. Wisdom from Mara Glatzel, “Believing takes practice.” (P.S. Click the link and read the whole newsletter. I promise it’s worth it.)

5. These 22 Photos Will Make You Fall In Love With Foxes on Bored Panda.

6. 17 Baby Elephants Learning How To Use Their Trunks on BuzzFeed.

7. Jawdropping views of cozy homes built in an abandoned office tower, a lagoon, a recycling heap and more on the TED Blog.

8. When I Am Among the Trees by Mary Oliver.

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

8. 4 Good Reminders When You’ve Had a Bad Day from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

9. 20 Magical Tree Tunnels You Should Definitely Take A Walk Through on Bored Panda.

10. He Sent A Photo Of The Sunset In Japan To His Parents. What He Got 20 Minutes Later Is Beautiful. on Viral Nova.

11. The biggest adventure: forever, then all of a sudden from Christina Rosalie.

12. Trust and attention, the endless dance and The right moment from Seth Godin.

13. Wisdom from Isabel Foxen Duke,

Trying to control our weight is really just an attempt to control the uncontrollable — primarily, but not limited to, what other people think of us…There is nothing you can do about uncertainty in life…except stop trying to control it. Let go or be dragged.

14. The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna on Medium.

15. Real Artists Have Day Jobs by Sara Benincasa on Medium.

16. Dealing and Healing After Loss: 9 Tips to Help You Get Through the Day on Tiny Buddha.

17. Note from the Universe,

Everything in your life, right now, Jill, is awesome. Everything is in its right place, under grace, and whether or not this makes perfect sense yet, one day it will. And the time swiftly approaches when you’ll be exceedingly grateful for all that has brought you to this day and contributed to who you’ve become, because it is exactly that person who is now poised to live as you have always dreamed you would one day live.

18. A reminder from Brave Girls Club,

You know so much more than you think you know, you just have to remember it. There’s so much wisdom in that amazing heart of yours that just needs to be reminded and listened-to and encouraged to speak out.

Think about when you were a little girl….all of those hopes, dreams and ambitions that were unique and wonderful and unabashed. What held you back as you grew older, from wanting or working for those tender dreams?

Don’t be afraid to be the person that you thought you might grow up to be….that person that you dreamed of being…that amazing woman that you looked into the future to see when you were a little girl. Uncover those dreams again and believe in them….shoot for what is deepest in your heart…and be the woman that you always wanted to be.

19. How I Became a Buddhist and What It Really Means from Sandra Pawula.

20. Shared by Susannah Conway on her Something for the Weekend list: Dani Shapiro on mastering the craft of writing.