Monthly Archives: May 2015

Day of Rest

This is my current theme song. It would be a great tune to play on repeat if you were in the midst of a breakup, but I think it could be an anthem for any shift, a change in any relationship or situation, the soundtrack for quitting whatever isn’t working. That’s what it is for me.

I’m done. The specifics don’t really matter right now because it’s not a change I can make immediately, (but just to be clear, this has nothing to do with my relationship with Eric — he’s my favorite). For starters, I am still recovering from being sick. I have so little energy and feel like I might just spend the entire summer on the couch. What matters is that I’m 100% sure. I see it so clearly, and I know that it’s what I have to do even though it’s going to make some people uncomfortable, disappointed, upset. But none of that matters because I’m done. I’m done.

And I’m sorry that you don’t like your life
I fought for my own victories and for the beauty in my life
My joy, my joy, my joy takes nothing from you
no, my joy, my joy takes nothing from you
~Frazey Ford, “Done”

In a moment of synchronicity, the same day Rachel Cole shared the video for “Done” on Facebook (and thus, the first time I saw it), a friend made a comment about a blog post I’d written exactly a year earlier, Don’t Wait. One of my favorite things about blogging is that sometimes I read a post and even if it’s old, it feels like exactly what I needed to hear at that particular moment. This one feels like it was just waiting for the exact moment I got to the place where I was really and truly done — which can be different than knowing exactly what to do.

What tiny step can you take today, right now, towards your dream? What can you do to begin to live a life that reflects what matters to you, what you love? It can be the smallest thing, but that action is like a prayer, a promise, medicine and magic. Give yourself permission, kind and gentle reader. Stop waiting for something to happen and happen.

Gratitude Friday

image by Eric

image by Eric

1. The pictures that Eric takes when he’s hiking. There are some weeks I don’t get out enough, and even when I do I either don’t have a camera with me or I don’t stop to use it, and then I have no pictures to add when I write a blog post. When that happens, there’s always something nice from Eric that I can use.

2. Feeling better, and having all the time I need to rest. I’m still not completely recovered from being sick. It sucks that I can’t be using some sick days, getting paid for my time on the couch, but the reason I can’t is because I’m on summer vacation and that’s nothing to complain about.

pieheals3. Eric made me pie. I was sick, I asked him to make me pie, and he did.

ringolawn4. Because of the rain, our backyard looks like a golf course. Ringo and Sam love lounging on it, and I love to watch them. Sometimes I watch with my eyes closed. 🙂

5. Netflix and Hulu, allowing me to binge watch tv when I don’t have enough energy to get off the couch.

Bonus Joy: a follow-up call with the amazing women from Feast, finally tying on the string Rachel sent me, finishing yoga teacher training, naps, clean pjs, teaching yoga, Ringo napping on the big bed one afternoon and in his crate with the door open the next, seeing Tig Notaro with good friends and most likely laughing our faces off, the thump of Sam’s tail in the morning when he realizes I might be awake, fresh pineapple, soaking in the tub while listening to podcasts.

Three Truths and One Wish

Lory State Park, image by Eric

Lory State Park, image by Eric

1. Truth: Eric and I have been watching documentaries about hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. It’s the sort of thing he’s always been interested in: stories of long treks, challenging hikes, voyages to places less traveled — people setting off into the wilderness, into the unknown to discover something. Now I’ve got the bug too. I haven’t put my finger on exactly what it is yet, but there’s something about a journey into nature, into that particular mix of silence and chaos, that’s really a journey deeper into yourself. When I hear the hikers talk about quitting jobs, putting their things into storage, leaving behind family and friends, and being transformed by their time away, gaining a new understanding of what’s really important, it tugs at something in me. My plan this afternoon is to finally watch Wild, so that probably won’t help.

2. Truth: I meant to write this post yesterday. I came into my office just before dinner, was standing at the computer getting ready to start typing when my phone rang. I don’t talk about this much here but someone I love very much is deep in the pit of addiction, at times almost drowning and at other times fighting to get out. There’s a part of me that wants to avoid the situation altogether, to run away, to resist the connection, to let the call go to voice mail and not respond. But there’s another part of me that can’t stand to ignore the suffering. Even if I don’t know what is going to help this person finally be able to find the right help for themselves, I have to keep trying, I have to show up and keep my heart open, not give up. One of the things I did while I was really sick was binge watch episodes of Intervention, trying to get some insight into the situation. I felt like it really did help me in the conversation I had last night, so don’t let anyone tell you TV is all bad.

3. Truth: A shift is happening in me. I’m not sure how it will land exactly, but it has something to do with having better boundaries, living more intentionally, and getting the rest I need. Being sick at the beginning of my summer break, some things that happened at work as I was making my way out, a conversation I had with my therapist, watching people I love struggle and suffer, finishing up Feast and intermediate yoga teacher training have created the perfect conditions for contemplating how I’m living my life, considering if it’s working. I’m reading three books right now that are related: Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives by Wayne Muller, Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte, and 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works by Dan Harris. And the fact that I’m reading three at a time should tell you a little bit about how much I need to really hear what they are saying.

One wish: May we find stillness and quiet and space. May our inherent wisdom and compassion arise from this place of rest. May we trust and have confidence in basic goodness, knowing that it is our fundamental natural state.

Something Good


Roaring Creek, image by Eric

1. The poetics of spinach on Rita’s Notebook, in which Rita says, “I’m realizing that whether I am growing poems or spinach, there is a vital part of the process that requires me to leave things alone. There is a part that is beyond my control, that is determined by things I cannot put my hands on.”

2. Lori’s story – Gratitude Grows. “For more than a year, artist Lori Portka painted her gratitude through individual pieces of art for 100 people who have made a difference in her life.”

3. Voices from Nepal: Earthquake survivors tell their stories, illustrated stories on Medium.

4. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club. I really needed to hear this.

Dear Lovely Girl,

Sometimes it’s tempting to bend and twist and stand on our toes to change enough for certain others to like us, for us to be able to ‘fit in’. Self betrayal doesn’t ever lead to happiness, however, and doing things that we know in our gut are not right for us, bending our values, those things just lead us down a really tricky path — a path that often leads us to places that are so far from where we wanted to end up that we just can’t figure out how we ever got there.

When we decide to put value in those who love us exactly as we are, life gets really sweet. Sometimes we have to wait to find those who like the real us, but it is always worth the wait.

Beautiful friend, you are wonderful in your purest, deepest, truest form. You don’t have to change to be loved. There are those who will love all that is real about you, and those are the real relationships that a meaningful life is made of.

You are worth waiting for.
You are so very very very loved.

5. Shared on Rowdy Kittens’ Happy Links list: Building a Living Around Your Creative Soul: Cynthia Morris (a Good Life Project podcast) and Do More With Less, a film about hiking the Pacific Coast Trail that I’m sure Eric will want to watch with me.

6. You don’t have to work to become. You already are. Kylie Bellard on Medium.

7. “Practical” body image tip #1… from Isabel Foxen Duke.

8. Good stuff from Austin Kleon’s weekly newsletter this week: Terry Gross To Marc Maron: ‘Life Is Harder Than Radio’ and A Woman on the Margins: An interview with Vivian Gornick about the problem with writing programs, the memoir’s potential for dishonesty, and finding her way as a writer and Works in Progress: A very small sampling of the female artists now in their 70s, 80s and 90s we should have known about decades ago.

9. Good stuff from this week’s Positively Present Picks list: 9 Addictions 90% of Us Struggle With, and How Art Can Heal Anxiety, and 7 Thinking Patterns You Use to Distort Reality.

10. Good stuff from Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list: What Do You Do When the Internet Hates You? and How To Meditate (Funny) – Ultra Spiritual Life episode 14 – with JP Sears.

11. Truthbomb #802 from Danielle LaPorte, “Try staying open when you want to shut down, it changes everything.”

12. Shared on Peaceful links from Peaceful Triumphs: Maria Popova — Cartographer of Meaning in a Digital Age, an On Being podcast with the creator of Brain Pickings.

13. Abandoned House In Detroit Brought Back To Life With 4,000 Flowers on Bored Panda.

14. money talks • stefanie renée and liz kalloch, by Sherry Belul.

15. Dog Chases Owner’s Ambulance After Suffering A Stroke. This video almost wrecked me, and yet I feel like I needed to share it. Don’t let the title throw you — it’s actually a PSA about being an organ donor.

16. Wisdom from Anne Lamott, “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

17. As Memorial Day Nears, a Single Image That Continues to Haunt.

18. Wisdom from Geneen Roth,

19. This man who was body-shamed by Internet trolls just got the dance party of his dreams.

20. The Last Viewing from Story Corps.

Day of Rest


There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life. ~Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World

Today is my last day of this session of intermediate yoga teacher training. I teach my practicum around noon, and this is the quote I’m sharing at the beginning. The theme of my short, half hour of practice is “opening.” Developing an awareness of effort and ease, contraction and expansion, relaxation and engagement, vulnerability and courage, both in our physical body and our thinking/feeling body. Noticing where we are resisting or clinging, and inviting ourselves to relax, to let go, but also not judging our experience as either/or, good/bad. Allowing all of it, whatever might arise, holding space for it — delighting in the “preciousness of every single moment of our life.”

Gratitude Friday

goldenpinkpeony1. Peonies. Every day I was amazed, watching them shift from bud to bloom and finally to compost, changing color from a deep pink to the palest golden peach.

peonycompost2. Not being any worse. Sometimes when you are sick, this is the best you can hope for. Too bad I don’t get paid sick days during summer vacation.

3. Summer vacation. Finally, finally, finally. The first few weeks are going to be a blur of being sick, healing, and tying up loose ends, but it’s finally here.

When I knew I was really on vacation -- my office was all packed up for the move back into the remodeled Eddy Hall

When I knew I was really on vacation — my office was all packed up for the move back into the remodeled Eddy Hall

4. My tiny family. My three boys.

Sam's safe spot -- he doesn't like it when I cough, but when I go in to use the bathroom, he forgets it was me he's hiding from

Sam’s safe spot — he doesn’t like it when I cough, but when I go in to use the bathroom, he forgets it was me he’s hiding from

My view for most of the week

My view for most of the week

My three boys, couching

All three boys, couching

Ringo hiking at Lory State Park, which looks more like it's in Oregon than Colorado, (image by Eric)

Ringo hiking at Lory State Park, which looks more like it’s in Oregon than Colorado, (image by Eric)

5. HGTV House Hunters. I’ve been binge watching on Hulu and Netflix while I’ve been sick on the couch, in between naps.

Bonus Joy: clean pjs, a hot shower, real cough syrup, Good Earth Sweet & Spicy tea, Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup, onion rolls and butter, planting our garden, naps, friends checking up on me, permission to rest, a comfortable bed in the spare room where I can cough as much as I need to without waking everyone up, how Ringo is learning to cuddle, the internet, email, being able to afford a plane ticket, knowing what I’m worth.

Something Good

Lory State Park, image by Eric

Lory State Park, image by Eric

1. Fuck That! A Manifesto from Gala Darling.

2. More Consensus on Coffee’s Benefits Than You Might Think.

3. How not to talk to people with an eating disorder.

4. A Tiny Hamster And A Hedgehog Had A Tiny Tiki Party Because The Internet Is Amazing.

5. Nepal Earthquake Relief Coalition.

6. A Variety of Unprocessed Foods Cut into Uncannily Precise 2.5cm Cubes by Lernert & Sander.

7. Release Tension in the Psoas. “Our yoga practice is an opportunity to undo this chronic tension, and establish a deep and abiding sense of harmony in the body and mind.”

8. The Secret Life of a Scorpio on Elephant Journal.

9. 23 Brilliant Life Lessons From Anthony Bourdain.

10. Rats try to rescue others in distress, suggesting they feel empathy.

11. How to Get Rid of Clutter You Care About from Be More with Less.

12. In the Garden, May 14 on SouleMama.

13. How to Get Your Spouse on Board for Your Career Change from Laura Simms.

14. 3 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be on Marc and Angel Hack Life.

15. the stylists: little nicki on SF Girl by Bay.

16. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club, two different messages, both ones I needed to hear,

Dear Spread-Too-Thin Girl….

Is it time to pare your life down to the handful of things that mean the most to you, and let the rest go so that you can give the very best of yourself to the very best things…instead of being spread in a too-thin layer all over the place?

Your heart knows when it’s time…and you will have the strength to do it.

And best of all…you will see enormous changes happen in your life when you let the unimportant things go and embrace the things that quietly sustain you and bring you joy.

It may not look like the most glamorous life….but it is one filled with joy, peace and harmony….one where laughter is a welcome and frequent companion…one where worries are few…where long meaningful conversations are many… that is waiting for you when you are ready to take the steps to get there.

You can do amazing things with the simplest things. You can have so little and be so happy. You can take small amounts of time and perform life-changing acts.

Is it time to simplify?

Simplify today… little thing at time. You can do it.


Dear Wise Girl,

Having a rough day? Stop and take a breath, and remember it’s important to stick to the facts, because we often make things up in our heads that get us into a tizzy that is hard to get out of. Fears are mean little fabulists.

Think about everything you have feared in your life, or even for the last 30 days. Think about what you have feared for the last 24 hours, in fact. Think about the stories that you made up in your head about those fierce fears, about all of the terrible and scary and devastating things that surrounded those fears, about how if those things happened, they would surely ruin your life.

Now think about whether or not ANY of those things came to pass, and whether they really did devastate your life. Sure, some yucky things actually DO happen, but a large majority of our fears are stories that we make up in our heads that never ever happen. Yet we waste SO MUCH TIME on them. Aren’t we silly creatures?

So stick to the facts. And if the facts are harsh and look like they might yield some difficult consequences, think about the WORST thing that could possibly happen, and then ask yourself if you could live through it and be okay. See? YOU CAN! And YOU WILL!!

Because you are a brave, brave girl.

17. On Unplugging from Work & Embracing Adventure from Rowdy Kittens.

18. Dear Writers: None Of Us Know What The Fuck We’re Doing on Terrible Minds. tl;dr:

The Five Constants:
1. Write A Lot (And To Completion)
2. Read A Lot (And Read Critically When You Do)
3. Think About Writing And Storytelling
4. Talk To Writers
5. Go Live A Life

19. A Guy Secretly Filmed His Mom For A Year To Help Her Find A Boyfriend.

20. Practicing Non-Judgment on Zen Habits.

21. Good stuff from Austin Kleon’s newsletter: Dear universe (form letter), and Karr to Syracuse grads: Don’t compare your twisted-up insides to others’ blow-dried outsides and a video of the same speech, and In a Mother’s Library, Bound in Spirit and in Print.

22. Video: 100 years of Aging a Soon-to-be Married Couple.

23. Man Cleans Up Entire River On His Way To Work.

24. The Last Day of Her Life, “When Sandy Bem found out she had Alzheimer’s, she resolved that before the disease stole her mind, she would kill herself. The question was, when?”

25. At the Coffeehouse by Jeff Oaks.

26. Melissa McCarthy has powerful words for image-obsessed Hollywood.

27. The Heart and the Bottle: A Tender Illustrated Fable of What Happens When We Deny Our Difficult Emotions on Brain Pickings.