This morning I am contemplating something Tibetan Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa said, “If you can hold the pain of the world in your heart but never forget the vastness of the great eastern sun, then you can make a proper cup of tea.” It means that if you can know in your bones, hold in your heart the reality that you are going to be uncomfortable, bad things will happen, and suffering is real, but also remember that babies are born, spring comes after winter, flowers bloom, art happens, music exists, there is chocolate and clean water and puppies and love, there is also comfort — if you can hold the pain and remember the magic, you can keep going, you can do what you need to do, you can be content, you won’t give up.
2. Wild Writing, and being reminded of this video, my favorite moment from Nurse Jackie.
3. Sunny, warm days before more snow. Sunday and Monday we might be getting a bunch of snow, but today and tomorrow it’s supposed to be sunny and almost 60 degrees.
4. Ringo Blue. I took him to the vet last week. He hadn’t been in almost a year, so I wasn’t sure how he’d do. He was so good! And when we were alone in the room, waiting, he lay down and went to sleep, just like Dexter used to do.
5. A boss who sends me nice emails that say things like this thing you made is “so stunning” and “I love working with you.”
Bonus joy: the way the dogs were howling at another dog walking down our street this morning (I still don’t know why they howled, they usually don’t do that about anything, but it was so cute!), being able to go in late, yoga, teaching yoga, caramel, sweet potatoes, clean water, wool socks, clean sheets, a hot shower, new fluffy towels, a 4.5 mile walk, seeing a mink hunting at the edge of the river, pay day, paying bills, clean laundry, baking, taking off my bra at the end of a long day.
1.Truth: Some loss never leaves you. I will never stop missing Kelly. I will never not feel sad that Obi and Dexter are gone. The memory of losing them lives in my body, and at the most unexpected times it gets triggered, washes over me as if I’m in the very first moments of it all over again.
2. Truth: Even though it hurts, it’s better than the alternative. Maggie Doyne, who just lost her 18 month old son, posted on Facebook yesterday, “The only thing worse than losing Ravi would have been to never have known him at all.” I can’t stop thinking about it.
3. Truth: The pain you feel when you lose someone is equal in measure to how much you loved them. This is the good news, and the bad news.
One wish: That while we are here, we love, and when we go, we know that we were loved.
1. Butternut Squash and White Bean Soup Recipe. I need to try this one. It looks yummy.
2. Talking About Feelings from Adam Kurtz. “For me, talking about feelings just means I’m being honest or open. It means I trust you. I can talk about my fear of death without actually feeling like I’m going to die. But I understand for some, that’s not normal. Being that open is weird. Feelings are private.”
3. It all matters from Alexandra Franzen. “Your words, your actions, your art projects, your efforts, every small, tender, beautiful thing that you put forth into the world matters so much. So much more than you may realize. Every single day, as you go about your work, you have no idea whose life you could be impacting for the better — often, in ways you can’t even imagine.” Go read the rest, please. ❤
4. Word Maven & Story Whisperer: Meet Alexandra Franzen, an interview. “Once or twice a month on Annapurna Living, we spotlight a creative entrepreneur who chooses to do business with integrity and soul. Today, please enjoy our conversation with author, columnist and communication expert, Alexandra Franzen.”
6. Yoga Nidra Meditation is the Best Kept Secret to Deep Relaxation. This article gives a great overview of the practice and a few examples.
7. 25 Daily Rituals Of History’s Most Successful…And What You Can Learn From Them. A really interesting, helpful list.
8. Want to Create Things That Matter? Be Lazy. Because this, “If you’re driven to produce things that matter, then you need to put deep work at the center of your professional life. To do so will probably require that you become lazier in the Feynman and Stephenson sense of the term: that is, you must treat with sluggish wariness efforts that keep you away from depth, regardless of how many small benefits they promise,” (original share on Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list).
9. 16 Self-Care Experts Share their Tips on How You Can be Kinder To Yourself. What an amazing resource, (original share on Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list).
10. 100 Day Self Connection Experiment, “In this video series, Kyle is going to spend two hours a day with a new self connecting intention. Every day, for 100 days, he is going to make a video about what he is discovering,” (original share on Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list).
11. Good stuff from Austin Kleon’s newsletter, a collection of essays by creative people about their breakthrough moment, and Why I Taught Myself to Procrastinate, an essay by Adam Grant.
12. Where to work: A manifesto, a really great set of expectations. My favorite is you should work where “your health is crucial.”
13. The Oldest Living Things in the World, a really cool photography project from Rachel Sussman. “Since 2004 I’ve been researching, working with biologists, and traveling the world to photograph continuously living organisms 2,000 years old and older.”
14. 36 Pictures To See Which Muscle You’re Stretching. Ever since I did yoga teacher training, this sort of thing fascinates me.
16. Triskele Paper Globes, a really fun project.
17. Letter of Recommendation: Sick Days, about the importance of doing nothing.
18. How to Rewrite Your Past, Present, and Future, about the importance of journaling.
21. Resilience from Seth Godin.
23. Top 10 procrastination tactics to get you back on track, some good tips from Karen Walrond, because sometimes procrastinating, when done right, actually leads you back to your work.
24. Just what we needed dept: A $25 standing desk. Confession: I still use the cardboard box method.
25. Guy Turns 700 Year Old Abandoned Cave Dwelling Into Vacation Home. I want to go to there…
27. Magical Night Photography Of Tokyo’s Streets by Masashi Wakui. Confession: I have a thing about Japan, the aesthetic, both the ancient and the modern. I want to go to there…
28. Dieting, withdrawal and how meditation pointed out a dangerous addiction from Amanda Bray. Amen.
29. Need an awesome supine sequence to complete your practice? This person is crazy flexible, but this is a great sequence.
30. Andrea Tsurumi: You’ll Never Have “Enough Time.” “New York-based illustrator Andrea Tsurumi doesn’t take the easy way out. Early in her career, she gained experience at a literary agency and a major publisher; these roles carved out a clear cut path in publishing. But instead of growing complacent over the years as an in-house illustrator, Tsurumi opted to strike out on her own as a full-time freelancer.” A really great interview.
31. What would happen if we let people be broken sometimes? from Renegade Mothering.
32. 9 tips for being a better cook, some really great tips from Tree Hugger. One of my favorites is “learn to toast.” This is one of those things where you don’t believe the extra effort will be worth it, but trust me…so worth it.
33. Watch DeRay Mckesson help Stephen Colbert understand white privilege. “What you can do is extend that privilege so you can dismantle it,” Mckesson tells Colbert. “You can create opportunity for people.”
34. Diet Foods Are Tanking. So The Diet Industry Is Now Selling ‘Health.’ This is a frightening, dangerous shift I’ve been watching happen with great interest and concern.
36. Wednesday Words 1.20.16: A creative recipe. Love the quote and the picture, love the project idea.
37. Wisdom from Mara Glatzel,
You are allowed to rest.
You are allowed to ache with need.
You are allowed to want more even if your life is pretty good right now, simply because it thrills you to imagine it.
You don’t have to have an excuse for wanting, wholly and holy.
You are not needy. You are a human with needs.
38. The Buddha in Obama’s pocket. I miss him already.
39. All the things that softly kill me from Danielle LaPorte.
40. A Simple Life is Not the End Goal, a great reminder on Be More With Less that “We don’t remove the clutter, reduce the stress, and boycott the busyness to have a simple life. We do it to have a life.”
41. Truthbomb #976 from Danielle LaPorte, “Let the pain, the joy, the desire soften you.”
42. What are you doing for others? : 100 great ideas from Positively Present. Seriously, this is my idea of fun.
43. No Toilets for the Homeless by Stacey McKenna. “Living without shelter often means forgoing ‘perks’ like indoor plumbing. Here’s how nearly 600,000 Americans get by.”
44. Wisdom from Andre Dubus, “It is not hard to live through a day if you can live through a moment. What creates despair is the imagination, which pretends there is a future and insists on predicting millions of moments, thousands of days, and so drains you that you cannot live the moment at hand.”
45. How to Roast Garlic. Yum.
46. 15+ Awesome Possums And Opossums. I always thought possums were kind of gross. After looking at these pictures, I’m reconsidering my position.
47. WATCH: Giant Panda Revels In D.C.’s Giant Snowstorm. This was everywhere the past few days, so you may have seen it already, but if you didn’t, I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss it.
48. My Name Is Megan, and I’m an Alcoholic. An important read. I sent it to someone I love, someone who needs to hear over and over until they get it that “At some point, your only two options are quitting, or dying.”
I saw this quote from Carl Jung on Facebook the other day, and I can’t stop thinking about it: “Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.” I have spent so many years looking to others for permission and approval, always having to check in with someone else to be sure I’m okay, needing to take a poll to figure out what to do next. I suppose if this brought me comfort, I wouldn’t question it, but instead I live with a constant anxiety, a low grade depression, a chronic sense of things not being right, of me not being right.
This quote helps to reframe the whole thing. There is no external information or affirmation that will bring me clarity, but if I stay with myself, I can wake up.
We recently started our spring session of my Wild Writing class, and I’m so glad to be back at it. In class on Friday morning, after I read my last piece, Laurie said “blog it” before moving on to the next person, so here it is.
Prompt: As You Go Through Life by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Laurie doesn’t typically share poems that rhyme, but like she said, this one just has too many good lines. I was surprised when I Googled it to find a link to share with you that it was published in 1910, that the poet is long gone.
“Bend and let it go over you.” I keep coming back to this when I’m teaching yoga — that balance isn’t about finding a fixed point and sticking there, stable and still, but rather it’s about all the tiny (and big) adjustments we make to keep from falling over, to stave off collapse, and how even collapsing, giving up and going over, is part of balance. We fall over, we soften into it, and then, if we’d like, we get up and try again.
It reminds me of the story Pema Chödrön tells about her teacher, how she asked Chögyam Trungpa in a moment she was having a really hard time what she should do, how to handle it, and he told her it’s like standing in the ocean, how each wave crashes into you, knocks you down, takes you in and under, but you get back up. And in time, you get stronger, you learn to move with the waves, and instead of feeling like you are drowning, like it’s so bad and so hard you are going to die, you are able to move with it, to meet and ride the wave. Bend and let it go over you.
I wonder if students who aren’t teachers understand that a teacher only ever teaches one of two things — what they know so well they have it memorized, so it’s safe and easy, requires no real effort and little attention; or we teach what we need to learn, what we are trying to figure out, what seems so big and complicated it feels like we’ll never be able to understand it, what terrifies us, what makes us tender. In one case we phone it in, in the other we send out an S.O.S., it’s almost a cry for help, but we know, we trust that there is help to be had, that our bones know, and if we keep asking the questions, either answers will come or we’ll surrender to not knowing.
1. Good mail, from good people, kind and funny and covered in dog hair.
2. Three good interns, because my CSU to-do list this semester is 10 pages long and it’s always better to work with good people.
3. A long overdue lunch with a good friend.
4. Teaching yoga. A good turnout at my 7 am class, an unexpected ease with the practice, a knowing, a wisdom that comes directly from my body.
5. My tiny family. Eric teaching Ringo to “sing,” the way both dogs know what it means to “come take a shower” (run into the bathroom with the human and sleep on the floor while they shower), what a punk Ringo can be, how sweet Sam is, how Eric and I make each other laugh, how Eric leaves me a light so I don’t have to come to bed in the dark, (a headlamp tucked under the sheet or a battery operated candle on my dresser).
Bonus Joy: indoor heat, fresh pineapple, a warm shower, sleeping in, my new bathroom (yes, still), Wild Writing class, taking walks, peanut butter, marionberry jam, wool socks, sunshine, soft thin wool sweaters, one good pair of jeans, a good pen, blank notebooks, Humans of New York.