Talisman: An object with magic powers, protective qualities, that brings good luck. I feel like I have so many of these sacred objects, items invested with special energy by their makers or by my teachers, or given their power by way of what they represent, what they mean to me. The one I picked to share for this prompt is my sandalwood mala. I got it specifically to use during yoga teacher training, a simple solid string of beads. We would start each day chanting a Ganesh mantra together, Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha, 108 times counted using my mala. Now I wear it whenever I need an extra dose of confidence, something to help me feel grounded and strong. It gives me a sense of having a whole tribe, an entire lineage behind me. Usually I wrap it around my wrist, and when I’m not wearing it the Buddha on my meditation shrine wears it for me.
This is a very special Something Good list. Starting today, I am partnering with Wanderlust to share my list with a larger audience. Their tagline is “find your true north,” and they answer the question “what is Wanderlust?” this way,
a strong or irresistible desire to Travel • Practice Yoga • Listen to Music
Eat Well • Be Green • Appreciate Art and create a community around mindful living.
I’ll still be publishing the full list here every Monday morning, but from now on there will also be a shorter, specially curated list posted on Wanderlust — a collection of my favorites from the longer list, links best suited to their audience and mission. If you clicked over from Wanderlust today, welcome! And if you are already one of my kind and gentle readers, welcome back!
1. 100 Poems – 100 Days, a new project from an amazing artist, (blogger, author, photographer, and painter), Christina Rosalie. She’s committed to writing 100 original poems in 100 days, posting a new one each day. Her latest painting is also brilliant.
2. Motivation < Action from Paul Jarvis, sent out in his Sunday Dispatches email. “Motivation, even for mundane things like exercise or writing more, is theoretical. Whereas action is tangible.” This piece is a great argument for taking one tiny step rather than making a big plan. He also posted a great piece on Medium, Master working for yourself without crushing your soul, which he summarizes this way,
People that really do well working for themselves don’t do it for the money fights on their private yachts or the standing ovations (on Facebook), they do it because they want to add value for others while leading life as they see fit.
3. I’m Too Old for This on The New Yorker. Author Dominique Browning considers a new mantra, “A goodbye to all that has done nothing but hold us back.”
4. Why I Got Rid of My Teacher’s Desk. I love this, but I had to admit all I keep thinking was “where are you going to keep your stuff?”
5. The Size We’re Supposed to Be from Dances with Fat. “It doesn’t matter what size someone is or why they are that size, it’s absolutely none of anybody else’s business, and everybody deserves to be treated with basic human respect.” Amen. Ragen also gives some good advice in another post, When Good Friends Post Bad Fat Jokes, advice that seems like it would be relevant to dealing with a whole host of offenses.
7. Walking vs. Elliptical Machine, Redux. Which is better? Read this and find out, (sort of).
8. Which Character Strengths Are Most Predictive of Well-Being? Read the answer in this post on Scientific American. **Spoiler alert** “The single best predictor of well-being was gratitude.”
9. 28 of the best things I ever did — from my bedroom to my business, a list worth contemplating from Danielle LaPorte. What would be on your list?
10. CrossFit’s Dirty Little Secret. I don’t CrossFit train because I’m afraid of the yelling and crashing of weights and loud music, because of all the noise, but this seems like another reason to take care.
11. Wisdom from PattyMara Gourley, “May my art be my medicine. May my medicine be my art.”
12. Help! I Have a Weird Relationship with Food, But Is It an Eating Disorder? An important discussion about an important issue on Everyday Feminism, which suggests, “And the problem is that we’ve standardized disordered eating to the point that we think it’s normal.”
13. Why Does Anyone Do Yoga, Anyway? on Psychology Today. “The health benefits are very real. But few understand how it affects the mind.”
14. Why diets don’t actually work, according to a researcher who has studied them for decades. I think I shared this when it first came out, but it’s definitely worth a repeat read.
15. Why Norway’s Prison System Is So Successful. **Spoiler alert** “The country relies on a concept called ‘restorative justice,’ which aims to repair the harm caused by crime rather than punish people. This system focuses on rehabilitating prisoners.”
16. A Prayer for Writers & Creatives from Jennifer Louden, a wonderful reworking of “metta” or lovingkindness practice. It makes me think of all the other ways we might use this practice, the other special, specific populations we could offer it to more directly.
17. Starving Is A Terrible Condition For Making Art from Terrible Minds. Chuck Wendig debunks the myth and gives some really great advice.
18. A whole bunch of wisdom from Seth Godin: The squeaky wheel problem (an issue certainly worth considering), and Make three lists (a great practice when starting a new project), and The other kinds of laziness (so important), and The illusion of control (oh, snap!).
19. Wisdom from a Note from the Universe, “Always listen to your doubts…Not just because they might teach you of your fears, but because, sometimes, they might teach you of your wisdom.”
20. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club,
You have the right to stand up for yourself. If you are being hurt, abused, manipulated, bullied or diminished by someone else, you have the right to stop it. You can be kind, wish everyone the best, and do what you can to be helpful, but that doesn’t mean you should ever allow someone to chip away at you. You are way too important. You have the right to protect yourself.
We must never allow others to abuse us where we are weak. We must not let others determine our worth, ever. We must not allow our hearts to be abused, manipulated or exploited.
We can be kind, but this does not mean that we need to allow everyone to the closest parts of our souls. We must guard the gates to our hearts and recognize that it is a true honor for anyone to ever come close to the deepest parts of us, and this honor should be reserved for a select few who only want the best for us and who love us exactly as we are. You have a right to stand up for yourself. You have a right to walk away. You have a right to go where the peace is.
Did you know that one of the keys to a happy and peaceful life is to do your best to leave a mark of goodness wherever you go? Here’s a tip to big and little pieces of random and beautiful happiness:
-Whenever you can, if it is in your power, leave people, places, and situations better than you found them.
-Do your best when you are working, whether or not you are publicly rewarded for it (the best rewards are the internal ones, when you can feel so good deabout your work)
-Be kind and as generous as possible to others, whether or not they notice or appreciate it
-Make your surroundings more beautiful than you found them, whether or not it is your responsibility.
This is especially helpful and wonderful if your brain wants to do the opposite because you have been hurt by someone or something. It heals your whole soul if what your brain really wants to do is ‘stick it to’ someone, but YOU choose to joyfully give. The very best thing you can ever, ever do for your heart and your soul is to leave people, places, and situations better than you found them, even if those things did they best they could to leave you in a not-so-desirable position. YOU have the power to turn it all around and make it beautiful again.
20. 8 Ways to Get Ready for Your Wild and Precious Life on Be More With Less. Courtney is so good at distilling the truth down to the simplest seed. In this post, she ends with,
“While we can’t be certain about how our lives will unfold, when we decide to be mindful about how we spend our time, and the people we want to be, we have a shot at not only knowing the answer to this lovely question, but living it too.”
21. Good stuff from Allowing Myself: Do Your Work, in which Justine makes the distinction between her job and her work, and trust, where she tells the story of her new tattoo, “I contemplated it for so long, it’s like something snapped into place, like it’s always been there, it’s just now I can see it.”
22. Manifesto of the Brave & Brokenhearted: The Rising Strong Book Trailer from Brene’ Brown.
23. 3 Small Discipline Habits You Can Train from Zen Habits, great advice and a gentle approach to finding a little more discipline in our lives, “Three simple skills that can be turned into habits with repeated practice.”
24. in the garden, August 7 on SouleMama. Her garden updates are so dreamy. I want to go to there.
25. Andres’ Bone Marrow Transplant, a repeat share, but there’s still a need, so much money left to raise. Andres just turned four last week, and I hope he gets much, much older, as well as healthy.
26. Don’t Fucking Touch Me. *sigh*
27. 40 Questions that Will Quiet Your Mind from Marc and Angel Hack Life. I don’t think this is the right title for this post. It should be “40 questions that will prompt a bunch of contemplation, thinking, and brain activity.” They’d be really great conversation starters or journal prompts.
28. Take Back Your Life, wisdom from Rachel Cole. “Your time, energy, and money are precious precious resources. They are the stuff that either makes or wastes a meaningful life.”
29. Awakening connections from Kirsten Akens. I finally got to meet Kirsten in person, when we attending the event she talks about in this post. It’s so great to see her getting clear about who she is, what she has to offer.
30. so, about that daring way workshop on Chookooloonks. Seriously, Karen and Brene’ are a super duo. I can’t wait to see how this evolves.
31. money talks with amy tingle on Mabel Magazine.
33. 5 Tweets That Sum Up Why People Are Upset About Stonewall, “why Stonewall misses the mark and why people are signing the GSA Network’s petition for a boycott of the film.”
34. Creative Man Builds a Feline Feeding Machine That Requires His Cat to Hunt for His Dinner. What a wonderful life this cat has.
35. Earth View: A Curated Selection of the Most Striking Satellite Images Found on Google Earth, an amazing set of pictures.
36. Artist Buys Billboard Advertising Time to Display Art Instead of Ads on Massachusetts Highways. “Created as a set of billboards along two Massachusetts highways, ‘Healing Tool’ is a temporary public art installation by artist Brian Kane produced to temporarily relieve stress and promote introspection during one’s monotonous daily commute.”
37. Why You Need To Try Japanese Forest Bathing. “Inspired by Buddhist and Shinto practices, forest bathing naturally engages you in non-directed attention and mindfulness meditation.”
38. Wisdom from Shunryu Suzuki, “The only way you can endure your pain is to let it be painful.”
39. How Long You Can Freeze Everything, In One Chart. As summer winds down and my garden stops producing and fruit season ends, this will help as I consider what I might save.
44. What To Do When You See Someone Being Harassed. Really good advice on Medium.
46. My township calls my lawn ‘a nuisance.’ But I still refuse to mow it. “Manicured lawns are ruining the planet.”
47. The Enmity Remained: Negating the Possibility of Change by Sharon Salzberg. Her regular column at On Being is worth following. Because this,
I think it is true that in the reality of our lives some might wish to harm us. As wise human beings, we should try to avoid them or do anything we can do to null their power. I’ve heard of the Dalai Lama, for example, telling a friend with a mentally ill mother who had in the past tried to harm her to open her heart completely to her mother and offer her lovingkindness and compassion — but from a distance. That was a stunner. The Dalai Lama advising clear boundaries and self-protection? Well yes, but from a place of wisdom and compassion, rather than hatred and disdain. The wisdom and compassion provide their own powerful energy and give us strength to act.