Monthly Archives: September 2015

Three Truths and One Wish

endofsummerharvest1. Truth: I am mourning the end of the summer harvest, hard. When I went to the grocery store the other day, the watermelons were from Texas not Colorado, and the corn looked terrible, wilted with fat kernels that meant it would taste more starchy than sweet. Even though I bought the oregano and purple onion I’d need to make more roasted tomato soup, I’m not sure there are enough tomatoes left. Eric hasn’t brought me any strawberries from our plants out front for days. There’s only a few grasshoppers and the bees are almost all gone. The weather is cooler and the leaves are starting to finally turn and drop (much later than usual), and while I was ready for it to not be in the 80s every dang day, I’m sad.

2. Truth: There are times at my CSU job when I feel like I’m just wasting time. Yesterday it was when I was coding a departmental faculty and staff picture board, converting an older version to a page on our WordPress platform. It felt so tedious, so unimportant, so dumb, and it hit me that this is how I’m spending a large amount of my time. I tried to cheer myself up by telling myself this time would be converted to funds that I could use for better things, but it didn’t really work.

3. Truth: I don’t need to be great or popular or adored. I was telling a few friends, fellow yoga teachers this after my class yesterday morning. I told them I was happy that I’d had three return students, which is a big deal for a 7 am class, and how I don’t let myself believe it means I’m so good that they came back but rather it means I don’t suck, and that’s all I want. That makes me happy. That’s good enough for me. I know that if I keep at it, I might someday be adored by a few students, a couple of humans, and in the meantime I’m so grateful to the ones that keep showing up, keep allowing me to practice with them.

One wish: That we can feel at ease, content, satisfied with all the ways that things are changing, as well as all the ways that they are staying the same.

Something Good

image by Eric

image by Eric

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life. ~Hermann Hesse

So great to be partnering with Wanderlust to share this list with a larger audience.

1. My Cup Runneth Over by Jena Schwartz. This is real life — a mess, and some kind of magic.

2. Big Magic: Elizabeth Gilbert on Creative Courage and the Art of Living in a State of Uninterrupted Marvel on Brain Pickings. She was also recently interviewed on Good Life Project radio, Elizabeth Gilbert: The Creative Life.

3. I am my own worst enemy by Paul Jarvis. (Just to be clear, I am one of his rat people, “the people that get what you do, appreciate it, and love you for it”).

4. Wisdom from Seth Godin: The 2% who misunderstand you, and The banality of the magazine rack, and Dreams and fears.

5. Yoga, spinning and a murder: My strange months at Lululemon. I love what this has to say about being who you really are.

6. Francine’s interview, from Human (the movie). “Born in 1933, Francine Christophe was deported with her mother at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1944. Released the following year, she continues to share her experience and memories, particularly with the younger generations.” (Confession: I’ve had a lifelong obsession with stories from the Holocaust, specifically the way that moment in history brought out the best and the worst in those involved).

7. Human, the movie, Volumes 1-3, which you can watch online, for FREE.

What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The quest for discovery? Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist Yann Arthus-Bertrand spent three years collecting real-life stories from 2,000 women and men in 60 countries. Working with a dedicated team of translators, journalists and cameramen, Yann captures deeply personal and emotional accounts of topics that unite us all; struggles with poverty, war, homophobia, and the future of our planet mixed with moments of love and happiness.

8. Bryan Chapman of Mississippi has hummingbirds drinking out of his hand!

9. Author Lauren Myracle calls on overprotective parents to stop banning books. Find out more about Banned Books Week, Sept. 27- Oct. 3, on the official website.

10. Wisdom from Chögyam Trungpa, “In the garden of gentle sanity, may you be bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness.” I love this quote. I also hate this quote.

11. Uh-oh. I think my new favorite album might be Ryan Adams’s reimagining of Taylor Swift’s 1989. NPR did a really good piece about it, No Blank Space, Baby: Taylor Swift Is The Soul Of Ryan Adams.

12. Start Here Now: An Open-Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation, a great review of a great book.

13. 10 Reasons We Should Defund Planned Parenthood IMMEDIATELY. *gigglesnort*

14. Jenny Lawson “The Bloggess” Gets Furiously Happy con Queso with an Interview, an Announcement and an Old-School Giveaway.

15. So much wisdom from Alexandra Franzen, How to love your work… even when you don’t love your work, and How to avoid being someone’s “assistant” for the rest of your career and finally do your own thing, and 7 beautiful, meaningful writing projects that you can finish in a single day. Because finishing is sexy.

16. One-Pot Butternut Squash Alfredo. I bought two butternut squash at the grocery store this weekend, not really surewhat I was going to do with them exactly. THIS, this is what…

17. Why I Almost Didn’t Tell You About the Book I’m Writing from Be More With Less.

18. Good stuff from Austin Kleon’s weekly newsletter: Thoughts on authenticity from the documentary The Search for General Tso, (we watched this documentary, and I agree with Austin’s assessment of it), and Everyone lies about writing, and a great video tutorial, How to make a newspaper blackout poem.

19. I never should have followed my dreams. “I quit my steady gig to fulfill my potential. Instead I went broke, and got fired from a job in doggie daycare.”

20. Six-year-old’s heartfelt lecture to mom and dad. An adorable little girl’s words of wisdom have gone viral after her mother uploaded a video of her pleading with her divorced parents to be friends. The video has been viewed more than six million times. In the video, Tiana tells her mom, “I think you can do it. I think you can settle your mean heights down to short heights … I just want everything to be settled down, nothing else. For everything to be as good as possible. Nothing else.” She’s so earnest and sweet that you can’t help but want to try harder to be nicer after listening to her.

21. 15 Celebs Answering Badass, Inspiring Questions On The Emmys Red Carpet, because it’s time to start asking more than “What are you wearing?”

22. Grab your tissues: This couple’s wedding day was all about their ailing dog.

23. A hedge fund bro bought an AIDS drug, then raised the price from $13.50 to $750. Compare that to Kickstarter Focuses Its Mission on Altruism Over Profit.

24. He Wears Nail Polish Because He’s a Good Father.

The only thing that is missing from this video is Nathan’s backstory. He’s even more amazing than what they show here — in 2011, he was diagnosed with Stage 3 rectal cancer, and nine days later, his wife Elisa was diagnosed with breast cancer. Nathan beat his cancer, but Elisa died in March of 2014.

25. It’s Decorative Gourd Season, Motherfuckers. *gigglesnort*

26. Andrea Scher has a new website just for her photography. I was lucky enough to do a session with her. She’s fantastic.

27. Japanese Photographer Documents The Beauty Of Everyday Life In Japan. Confession: I’m a Japan-ophile. Even though I long to, I’m afraid to travel there, worried I’ll love it so much I won’t want to come back.

28. Library Haul – September 2015 on Allowing Myself, one of my favorite blogs/bloggers. I love Justine’s description of the power of books and reading, “Non-fiction holds my attention. Fiction keeps me afloat. Reading calms and centers me in a way that not much else can.” And if you need more proof of why I love this blog, just read Tiny Shifts — honest, vulnerable, tender, and sad, but so inspiring. Justine writes about what is hard, but she makes it clear she’s also not giving up. Tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal.

29. Meet the blogger who turned her battle with an eating disorder into a body positive movement.

30. 100 questions to discover yourself from Positively Present. I love this kind of thing, use them as journal prompts, as well as regularly torturing friends and my significant other with them.

31. A Blog Is Only Dead When You Are, more on the topic “is blogging dead?” (which honestly is a silly question, akin to something like “are books dead?”).

32. permission on Chookooloonks.

33. AngelList, a platform for startups to hire people. If I were looking for a job, I think I’d check this out.

34. A Person You Should Know: Courtney Carver. I shared this site on a Something Good list a while back, and the creator Josh Spector asked who I thought he should profile. Courtney is one of the people I suggested.

35. A White Artist Wrote ‘Black Lives Matter’ 2,000 Times. But His Mural Almost Said ‘All Lives Matter.’

36. Is Teaching Yoga Your Path? 8 Qualities of Excellent Teachers. “Considering yoga teacher training? 90 Monkeys co-founder Amy Ippoliti suggests you start by asking yourself some tough questions.”

37. Spiritual practice won’t stop shitty things from happening to you. However…, a reality check from Danielle LaPorte in which she makes some important distinctions about the benefits of practice.

38. Alison’s Story, another installment of the Transgender in Colorado series from The Denver Post.

39. To the stinking alcoholic at the liquor store last week from Renegade Mothering. I’m sharing this with someone I love. I hope she reads it. I hope she gets it. I hope she stops before it’s too late.

40. When the Everyday Calls For Super Powers and a Good Plum Tart on Flingo.

41. 8 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Make In A Muffin Tin. Too bad the pictures they used for this post are so horribly unappetizing.

42. Watch Shiva Rea’s Moon Salutation.

43. Why I Quit Teaching Yoga & Hope to Never Go Back on Elephant Journal. The reason is not at all what you’d expect, and makes me think all of us yoga teachers should do the same thing.

44. Watch These Dancers Tell A Breakup Story In A Way Words Can’t Convey.

How to be Happy in Tiny Slices

feathergrassseedAfter spending so much time bitching about the heat, and having it last for so much longer than usual, I find myself today feeling melancholy about the end of summer. Eric is hiking with the dogs, and I’m trying to not feel too sorry for myself that by the time I can go with, the aspens will have dropped all their leaves. I was at the grocery store this morning and noticed that they had de-icer, ice scrapers, and snow shovels on display. Ringo will turn two years old in another few months, the day after I turn 48. It’s all going by so fast.

A few weeks ago, at the last minute and not knowing how I was going to fit it into my schedule, I signed up for Laurie Wagner’s online Wild Writing class. I’ve taken an online class with Laurie before, (Telling True Stories), and been lucky enough to do a few sessions of Wild Writing in person with her, sitting at the long wooden table in her dining room at 27 Powers. It’s a particular kind of magic, that place and that person and that practice. To say it’s transformative doesn’t even begin to explain it. Now that I’m back at it, I can’t believe I waited so long. As much as I do to be present and awake and engaged, this practice in particular makes me come alive.

Last week, one of the prompts Laurie shared was by one of my favorite poets, Maya Stein, a poem called “How to be Happy in Tiny Slices.” Maya has a way of writing an ending, a final line, a last moment that breaks the whole poem wide open, every time, and this poem is no different. I liked what I wrote in response to the prompt, a messy start to something or simply a glimpse of something passing, and wanted to share it with you, kind and gentle reader.

How to be happy in tiny slices: Feel the pop of the cherry tomato and taste the warm sour sweet of its juice. Notice the tiny yellow birds, pause to watch them knowing they are rarely still enough to allow themselves to be seen. Slide the mala beads between your fingers, noticing how they go from cold to warm in the heat of your hand. Halfway through, when the words of the mantra no longer make any sense at all, translate them to what you need, like on the dark mornings when the only thing that works is “it’s okay, I’m okay, everything is okay,” even when it’s not. Taste a fresh peach, the tart bright sweetness, knowing it won’t last, that even the very next bite of the exact same peach won’t taste the same. Remember all those that will never taste another peach or cherry tomato and how weird it is to be human and never really know which one will be your last bite, and how tender and sad it is, that hope that the last bite, if it’s to be the last bite, be sweet. Feel the way the sun warms his fur, smell that spot on the top of his head, remember what it was like when he was just a baby, at the same time you know how awful it will be when he goes. Sit in the sun. Be still. Be quiet. Breathe. Move, as Osho says, the way joy makes you move. Sleep, put clean sheets on the bed, take a shower and put on clean pajamas — but wait, I said that all backwards, didn’t I? So next would be to wake up, and when you wake up, get up. Stretch. Drink some water. Meditate. Light the candles. Turn down the lights, get a blanket for your lap, make sure you have your favorite pen, put one word in front of the other. Forgive them, let it go, start over. And when you find yourself confused, off track, stuck in a dream or caught up in a feeling, let go and come back.

Gratitude Friday

berrypie1. Pie, and the man who makes it. Our favorite kind lately is mixed berry — blackberry, raspberry, and blueberry. So good.

Tomato Tower, image by Eric

Tomato Tower, image by Eric

2. Our garden, which is starting to wilt and die, but is still producing tomatoes and a few strawberries, and the sunflowers are functioning like the world’s largest bird feeder. Yesterday morning, there were at least 20 birds, three or four different varieties, all feeding on the seeds. It was magic.

3. My first workshop! I’m so excited to be offering this.

Writing Jill Salahub4. My CSU office, finally unpacked and moved in, almost six weeks after I got back! It makes a huge difference. I was starting to feel like I worked in a storage closet.

eddy312 eddy31202 eddy312035. Fall color. Eric took the dogs hiking last weekend and it felt like everything was right with the world. Now if my dumb foot would just heal already so I could go with them sometime soon…

samaspens ringoaspens6. Kitchen counter love notes. They really are the best thing about being back to work at CSU.

kitchencounterlovenote02Bonus joy: Being able to do a bit more because my foot is a bit better, physical therapy and massage, Eric walking the dogs twice every day for me because I can’t right now even though it is hard for him, Ryan Adams’s cover album of Taylor Swift’s 1989, quitting my therapist (this is kind of a big deal and I’ll say more about it later, but I told her it’s kind of a dumb profession where your measure of success is when your clients don’t need you anymore), Tricks and Games class with Ringo which is fun and totally wears him out, the following picture of him last night after class being Exhibit A.

sleepyringo

 

Three Truths and One Wish

image by Eric

image by Eric

1. Truth: Cultivating your curiosity is essential. What reminded me of this just this morning was a short video I saw in which author Elizabeth Gilbert talked about how we should follow our curiosity instead of our passion. She’s right, and yet it’s something that Buddhism was already saying, that freeing ourselves from fixed mind, letting go of our agenda, opening ourselves to whatever might arise with a sense of curiosity is a worthy pursuit, the way out of suffering. Pema Chödrön says,

There is a common misunderstanding among the human beings who have ever been born on earth that the best way to live is to try to avoid pain and just try to get comfortable. You see this even in insects and animals and birds. All of us are the same. A much more interesting, kind and joyful approach to life is to begin to develop our curiosity, not caring whether the object of our curiosity is bitter or sweet. To lead to a life that goes beyond pettiness and prejudice and always wanting to make sure that everything turns out on our own terms, to lead a more passionate, full, and delightful life than that, we must realize that we can endure a lot of pain and pleasure for the sake of finding out who we are and what this world is, how we tick and how our world ticks, how the whole thing just is.

2. Truth: Much of what passes for new wisdom seems to me like repackaged Buddhist philosophy. I’m running into this a lot lately. What I can’t figure out is if the people doing it just don’t realize they’ve discovered something that was already known, like Columbus “discovering” America, or if they really and truly just don’t know that much about Buddhism, or worse yet, they know and it’s all a ruse, a fabrication, a trick, an attempt to gain fame and fortune for themselves without doing the real work. Or better yet, there’s some big, universal truth that can’t be contained by any one philosophy or religion, and we keep coming back to it, approaching it from different angles, like that saying “many paths up the same mountain.”

3. Truth: There is some mysterious but obvious truth that stands on its own, outside and apart from any system of belief. I first encountered this when I took a World Religions class in college. Seeing how there were themes and stories and practices that crossed cultures and time blew my mind. For some people, that might have caused them to lose their religion, and while it did shift my attitude about the religion I’d been raised in, it actually solidified my belief in something bigger, something beyond our tiny little egos, our small little selves. I felt the echo of it rippling through every attempt humans had made at a fixed truth, all their assertions that they were part of the “one true religion” and everyone else had it wrong. I realized that God, however one might define that, was bigger than religion, and the means for knowing that energy, for connecting with that quality were personal and specific.

One wish: That we each find a way, a method, a practice, a path to connect with what is true. That we can find comfort, refuge in it. That our understanding of truth enables us to be wiser and more compassionate humans. That we remember, as Ram Dass says, “we are all just walking each other home.”

Something Good

aspenssepteric

image by Eric

So great to be partnering with Wanderlust to share this list with a larger audience.

1. Unfold: An Introduction to Art Journaling from the Heart, my dear friend Susie’s new online class. I’m taking it, and if you want to join us, register by September 27th for the early bird pricing. Class starts Sunday, October 11th.

2. How to Love Yourself (and Sometimes Other People), a new book by Lodro Rinzler, co-authored by Meggan Watterson. “This book is a smart, hip guide for spiritual seekers who want to experience more love and stability in all forms or relationships.”

3. Unicorn farts & big breaks from the amazing Paul Jarvis, in which he explains two very important things. One, what looks like an overnight success usually is not, because “Achievement is never the result of a single action, it’s the build-up of all of our actions.” And two, that the joy should come in the making, the doing, the process, because “The sweat, research, trials and failures, dead ends and unknowns are exactly what makes things great…The process can be enjoyed as much or more than the outcome because otherwise, why bother?” Paul sends out an email to his list every Sunday, but also created an archive of those messages on Medium. It’s worth a look.

4. Tell Me Your Story, Not Your Status. “You are living a story. What is it?”

5. Giving Up The Need To Be Perfect from Kute Blackson. A great argument against perfection, because “Trying to be perfect is a sure recipe for suffering.” This guy knows how to preach. Whenever I watch one of Kute’s videos, I feel so energized, so inspired. Do yourself a favor and watch. Also, don’t forget to read the post that goes with it.

6. Everything Is Awful and I’m Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up. Everyone needs a copy of this list on hand, every single human.

7. 8 Ways to Change Your Habits (And Actually Get What You Want) from Sarah Kathleen Peck, a really helpful, simple list. #3 and #5 are my favorites.

8. Rejection-seeking as a form of hiding and When did you give up? from Seth Godin. Oh, snap!

9. Wisdom from poet Mary Oliver, “Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.” Her new book, Felicity, comes out next month, and has been described as an “inviting collection of love poems that celebrates the divine as much as it does the natural world or human relationships,” and “an eloquent celebration of simple joy from one of America’s most beloved poets.”

10. Something-for-Everyone Cookies, a recipe from SouleMama.

11. The Dieting Habit I Just Couldn’t Break, a brilliant post from Isabel Foxen Duke.

12. An Open Letter to People Who Use Hashtags. #gigglesnort #thisisgreat #youshouldreadit

13. 36 Things To Do For Those In Grief: I made a list when it happened to me.

14. The Art of Not Dying: A Story for Suicide Awareness Month.

15. Good stuff from Austin Kleon’s weekly newsletter: the first draft is always perfect and Give it five minutes.

16. Do people still read blogs?, and interesting conversation on A Design So Vast, which includes links to pieces by Vikki Reich and Nina Badzin.

17. The First-Person Industrial Complex: The Internet prizes the harrowing personal essay. But sometimes telling your story comes with a price.

18. Scott Dinsmore, creator of Live Your Legend, died in a freak accident on Mt. Kilimanjaro this past week. He was only 33 years old. I’m Going Off the Grid: Therapy for an Addicted & Over-Connected World ended up being his last blog post ever. In it, he said, “The pause is disappearing. That priceless space that allows us to think big, to reflect, to plan, to create – it’s becoming harder and harder to find. Which means our responsibility to save it is greater than ever.” There have been some really great tributes written about him, here and here. If you didn’t know who he was, I recommend you watch his TED talk, or this episode of The Good Life Project.

19. The Story of a Girl & Lake by Sunni Chapman.

20. Every Day She Said ‘Hello’ To This Homeless Man. But One Day He Handed Her A Piece Of Paper, a beautiful short critically acclaimed documentary called “The Conditioned.”

21. Nurses defend Miss Colorado after ‘The View’ hosts mock her monologue (VIDEO).

22. Teacher’s Cardio ‘Nae Nae’ Will Make You Want To Go To Gym Class. Which reminds me of the Where the Hell is Matt? project, and Dance Walking Fitness. Confession: dancing makes me stupid happy.

23. 25 things you should start adding to your compost pile from Tree Hugger. We are big composters, even have a worm bin, but some of this stuff I would have never thought to put in the pile.

24. Why I Cook from Dr. Andrew Weil. A great exploration of the magic of cooking, in which he says, “There is another reward of cooking that fascinates and motivates me: it is excellent training in practical magic. By that I mean that cooking gives you a chance to practice the esoteric art of manifestation — bringing something from the imagination into physical reality.”

25. Blogging from the Heart with Susannah Conway, one of the best ecourses I ever took. Registration opens Wednesday September 9th and class starts Monday October 5th.

26. Meditation and the Truth of Suffering, a dharma teaching from Sakyong Mipham.

27. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

The next time you lose heart and you can’t bear to experience what you’re feeling, you might recall this instruction: change the way you see it and lean in. Instead of blaming our discomfort on outer circumstances or on our own weakness, we can choose to stay present and awake to our experience, not rejecting it, not grasping it, not buying the stories that we relentlessly tell ourselves. This is priceless advice that addresses the true cause of suffering—yours, mine, and that of all beings.

28. Five Minutes of Awesomely Real Self-Care, wisdom from Mara Glatzel, “In the beginning, I was ‘busy.’ My work was more important than I was. Saying yes to everyone around me was more important than I was. Being seen as perfect was more important than I was…Tell yourself that you belong in your own life.”

29. Note from the Universe,

Be proud to know as much as you do about life, dreams, and reality. Bask, Jill. It was a long climb up the stairway of enlightenment, and many a battle over false beliefs and mass consciousness have been won.

You don’t have to shout from the roof to live your truth, but don’t shy away from the ignorant; they need you. Nor be intimidated by the wise; they love you. And please don’t ever let self-consciousness keep you from stepping out into a world that would be unimaginably incomplete without you.

You are a vessel of light, a holy ghost, and frankly, so dang “hot.”

30. an antidote to craving abundance on Chookooloonks.

31. Dear Writers And Creative-Types: You Don’t Need Motivation on Terrible Minds.

32. 8 Ways to Finish the Year with Love and Intention from Be More With Less.

33. Fat Girl Running: On A Mission to Challenge Stereotypes.

34. Furiously Happy – Official Book Trailer.

35. Dog Spends A WEEK Guarding Her Trapped Best Friend Until Help Arrives.

36. Inky Path, a great new project from Jena Schwartz and Cidgem Kobu.

37. Susan Piver: Heart Wide Open, Episode 53 on Meditate This, a podcast about the meaning of life.

38. 12 Secrets to Simplifying Your Life and Lightening Your Load from Marc and Angel Hack Life.