Monthly Archives: March 2016

Gratitude Friday

springbreaksnow1. Snow. Actually, I’m totally over winter, so ready for spring. But, I knew there would be more snow coming, at least a few more times before we are done with it, and seven inches on a Friday during Spring Break is better than feet of snow on a day when we are trying to get somewhere.

2. Signs of spring, like the tulips and daffodils I got the other day at Trader Joe’s. There might be snow outside, but I’ve got some sunshine inside.

tulips

3. In related news, the camera on my new phone takes amazing pictures. I’m still being so careful with it, not using it much because the case I ordered isn’t here yet, but I’ve taken a few pictures with it and the clarity and quality is so much better than I expected.

4. My tiny family. Eric, Sam, and Ringo.

ringoanddad samsnowlory5. Being financially stable. We probably need a new furnace soon, and Eric dropped his phone so needs a new one of those too. We were able to buy a new car and redo our bathroom this year, as well as spend two months this summer in Oregon. I can go to the doctor when I need to and buy better quality food. We have enough money and good credit and not a whole lot of debt. I am very aware that this is NOT everyone’s reality, and I’m so grateful.

Bonus joy: clean water, a warm shower, clean laundry, clean sheets, snow tires on our cars, Wild Writing class, being able to say no to things, wool socks, down blankets and pillows, a good meal with good friends, being able to help, knowing I’m strong enough, pictures of the dogs when they were still babies, my favorite running shoes with Gortex, new bras.

Three Truths and One Wish

The camera on my new phone takes amazing pictures

The camera on my new phone takes amazing pictures

1. Truth: I almost forgot to write this post this week. It’s Spring Break at CSU, so I’m taking the week off from that work as much as I can, which always makes me confused about what day of the week it is. On Monday, Eric and I went to dinner at Mount Everest Cafe, one of our favorite places, and I said to him “it’s really quiet in here for a weekend” and he said, “that’s because it’s Monday.” I laughed and told him, “don’t let me forget to go teach my yoga class in the morning!” Daylight Savings time, being an hour off, meant I didn’t really know what time it was for a few days either.

2. Truth: Adulting is hard. Most days I’m pretty good at it, but yesterday I failed, miserably. I’m sad because a dear friend’s dear dog has cancer and Eric is going out of town for a conference. I’ve been depressed lately, so I was already low. Then we had a furnace guy come to do our free yearly maintenance that we haven’t had done in the fifteen years we’ve had this furnace and he, as expected, found all sorts of things wrong, things that to fix would cost almost as much as a whole new furnace, also as expected. But one of the things he found had nothing to do with the furnace — our new tub has apparently been leaking. And I’d spent the entire morning trying to back up my old phone so I could activate my new phone and in the process of that my old phone died for real and for good. I didn’t handle it very well, kind and gentle reader.

3. Truth: Still, life is good. On our walk the other day, I told Eric how good it was to feel strong again, to be able to walk without hurting the whole time. Later in the day, after my meltdown, Eric told me he’d read that my new phone’s camera had a feature where you could make little slow motion videos. I made one of him running across the dining room and it made us laugh so hard, which felt like such a relief after all the fussing that had come earlier. And I bought myself tulips and daffodils at Trader Joe’s on the way home from my physical therapy appointment yesterday, so even though it’s snowing outside this morning, I have a bit of spring inside.

One wish: That no matter how confused or turned around we get, no matter how frustrated or upset, we find our way back to sanity. May we know the relief of laughter and always keep that little bit of spring inside.

Something Good

myfavoritetree

My favorite tree in our neighborhood

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

1. There’s Nothing Left to Do, Seek or Fix—The Quote that Brought it all Home. This piece by Alexa Torontow does such a good job of summing up what yoga is, what practice is, and the importance of self-compassion through all of it. “Awareness and mindfulness are one thing. But to truly and honestly show up for ourselves like we would our best friend — with that level and quality of compassion — is absolutely vital for this journey.”

2. If You Acted Like Kanye At The Office. Love this! #workgoals

3. Do not scroll past this picture, a really great post about what it’s like to attend a Trump rally.

4. How To Meditate from The Onion. *gigglesnort*

5. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert,

The women whom I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because shit worked out. They got that way because shit went wrong, and they handled it. They handled it in a thousand different ways on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Those women are my superheroes.

6. She’s 22, from rural Zimbabwe, and a mogul in the making.

7. 10 talks by women that everyone should watch. “Color bravery. A headset for brainwaves. His/hers healthcare. 10 big, bold talks from female speakers.”

8. She thought it was only a 24-hour bug. What she really had almost killed her. So scary, but probably worth knowing, adding to the list of possible symptoms.

9. Loving the People You Hate/Donald Trump, an important post from Susan Piver.

10. The Secret to Developing a Regular Writing Habit, some great tips and free support from Jeff Goins.

11. Wolves are fighting for your mind, wisdom from Paul Jarvis’s latest Sunday Dispatch.

12. How to #repost with respect, (link shared on Tammy’s Happy Links list on Rowdy Kittens). The title says it all.

13. Orkestra Obsolete play Blue Monday using 1930s instruments, (link shared on Austin Kleon’s weekly newsletter).

14. Embroidered Mushrooms, Animals, and Other Forest Creatures by Emillie Ferris. Beautiful.

15. Cheer someone up today with these 14 joyful pictures of Death Valley’s superbloom.

16. To the Strangers in Whole Foods Who Surrounded Me After News of My Father’s Suicide. As Ram Dass said, we are all just “walking each other home.”

17. 10 Blunt Truths about becoming a Meditation Teacher from Lodro Rinzler, one of my meditation teachers.

18. Rejected by Oprah from The Bloggess, her hilarious perspective on social media etiquette.

19. Recipes I want to try: Spicy, Peanutty Udon with Kale, and Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl, and Salt and Pepper Caramel Brownies.

20. Setting Her Down, on learning to let go.

21. #40daysoflight: journaling, a primer, a really great post from a journaling master Karen Walrond, “my philosophy on journaling, and how you can get started if you’ve always wanted to journal, but were afraid to try.”

22. New Rules of Engagement on Rita’s Notebook, an important read during this particular political season.

23. The Magic of Being Broken, “Kintsugi: embracing imperfection.”

24. This man incubated supermarket eggs and got a baby quail (video).

25. Penguin swims 5,000 miles every year for reunion with the man who saved his life, one of the sweetest “unlikely friends” stories I’ve ever seen. “I think the penguin believes Joao is part of his family and probably a penguin as well.”

26. Fuck changing yourself. Word.

27. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

In the present moment we can always realize that the ground is to develop loving-kindness toward ourselves. As adults, we can begin to cultivate a sense of loving-kindness for ourselves—by ourselves, for ourselves. The whole process of meditation is one of creating that good ground, that cradle of loving-kindness where we actually are nurtured. What’s being nurtured is our confidence in our own wisdom, our own health, and our own courage, our own goodheartedness. We develop some sense that the way we are — the kind of personality that we have and the way we express life — is good, and that by being who we are completely and by totally accepting that and having respect for ourselves, we are standing on the ground of warriorship.

28. What I Know About America After Getting Thrown Out Of A Trump Rally.

29. Eulogy for a friend, a beautiful tribute from Patti Digh for Laurie Foley.

30. The 20 Funniest Tweets From Women This Week. This whole series is one of my favorite things.

Day of Rest

forsythiaOn our morning walk, another sign of spring — a forsythia bush in full bloom. Just now as I am sharing the image with you, I realize there’s a Saint Francis of Assisi statue in the background on the left. I don’t know if I’ve ever told you, kind and gentle reader, but I was raised Catholic. One of my favorite hymns was based on the Prayer of St. Francis, “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.”

I like the idea of being a channel, an instrument of peace. In fact, my fundamental purpose in everything I do is to ease suffering, in myself and in the world. A few ways I’m doing that today are by noticing the signs of spring, sharing them where I can, and not giving up.

Gratitude Friday

earlycrocus1. More signs of spring. These mini irises on our walk the other morning, how warm Ringo’s fur was when he came in from lounging in the yard this morning, Sam covered in bits of grass that looked like hay after he’d been rolling in the yard, bird song in the early morning, and today it’s supposed to be sunny and 70 degrees. Keep it coming!

2. Wild Writing. It’s an amazing practice, and Laurie is such a fiercely present teacher, and there are so many good women I get to practice with — their writing raises the bar for my own, in the best possible way.

kitchencounterlovenote04

3. Kitchen counter love notes. Eric told me yesterday that he’s a little embarrassed when I post pictures of these sometimes because he isn’t an artist and they can be kind of wonky. I told him that’s one of the things I love so much about them.

4. Good friends. I have so many good friends, both “in real life” and online. I count in this number those of you who keep showing up here, kind and gentle reader. I love the way we support each other, keep going, keep trying our best, don’t give up.

5. Samson and Ringo Blue. They aren’t as easy a match as our first two dogs (who loved each other SO much, and I had no idea that wasn’t totally normal), but they are good together, and bring me joy in those moments when almost nothing else does.

coatmadeofstars sleepysam04

showering

Bonus joy: lunch with a good friend, my new car, my new bathroom (yes, STILL — this can’t be normal), the new cellphone I’m going to have soon, my current cellphone which has done such a good job sticking around for so long, teaching yoga, physical therapy, a surprisingly good romantic comedy, stand up comedy documentaries, a soft wool shirt, blue skies, sharing a piece of chocolate cake with Eric, a glass of cold clean water, a warm shower, clean towels, clean sheets, a massage, falling asleep easily, staying asleep, sleeping in, naps, good books, my Kindle, my interns, good things happening to good people, a moment of clarity and contentment, laughing.

Three Truths and One Wish

From our walk this morning

From our walk this morning

1. Truth: It’s been a long winter, a long season of darkness and quiet, and it’s not over yet. That weighs heavy on me because I am feeling pretty low, could use some uplifting, some light, some bird song, and the kind of freedom that comes with spring, the reminder that seasons change and this too shall pass.

2. Truth: Walking in the morning is essential to my mental health. I took the dogs this morning by myself for the first time in a really really long time, and it was like medicine.

3. Truth: We can’t do this alone. The ways that we help each other, cheer each other up, ease each other’s suffering is what keeps us going, what makes it possible, what keeps us from giving up. This week, I told two people I love and who love me that I’m depressed, and having that soft place to land made me feel a little better.

One wish: May we remember as Ram Dass says that “we’re all just walking each other home.”

Something Good

morningmoontree02

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

1. Macro Photographs of Nature’s Tiniest Architects by Nicky Bay. The world is full of amazing things, some so tiny we can’t even see them without help. It reminds me of the images of sand under a microscope.

2. Landthropologic, Earthworks In Motion: Stunning Animated Land Art Experiments by Paul Johnson, beautiful and slightly creepy.

3. Wisdom from AC/DC’s road manager, Barry Taylor, “God is the name of the blanket we throw over mystery to give it shape.”

4. You Made it Weird, my new favorite podcast. They describe it this way, “Everybody has secret weirdness, Pete Holmes gets comedians to share theirs,” but I think it’s way more than just that because they end up also talking about stuff like spirituality and the difficulty of relationships and the meaning of life. My favorite recent episode was with Lama Surya Das, the “Jolly Lama.”

5. #40daysoflight: courage, a good reminder from Karen Walrond.

6. A Gentle Warrior’s Manifesto to End Busyness, a really great list from Be More With Less. “In a society that always wants more from you, it’s important to draw a line in the sand. What I’ve learned though is if you can draw the line with your heart, you can take a stand with a smile, dump the guilt around doing less, and instead of disappointing others, remind them what’s important in their own lives by honoring what’s important in yours.”

7. Bear, Lion And Tiger Brothers Haven’t Left Each Other’s Side For 15 Years. I hate the way they met, but I’m so glad they have each other.

8. I am waiting for someone I love, to die from Patti Digh. This brought back so many memories about losing Kelly. Laurie passed away Thursday morning.

9. 21 Small Ways to Make Life Simpler, a great list of really simple things that work.

10. Recipes I want to try: Rhubarb, Blood Orange and Almond Crumble, and Spinach-Quinoa Patties.

11. Luuup Litter Box – The Best Cat Litter Box Ever Made. This product is brilliant, and I don’t even have cats.

12. Louis C.K. Compares Donald Trump to Hitler: ‘He’s an Insane Bigot.’ In related news, Voters For Trump Ad – SNL.

13. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook,Question of the day: DO YOU ALREADY KNOW WHAT YOU NEED TO DO?” *sigh*

14. This video of two kids singing is the definition of “stupid cute.”

15. GHOSTBUSTERS – Official Trailer (HD). Squee!!!

16. Duke’s family rescued him seven years ago and Duke returned the favor by saving the life of their 9-week-old infant daughter. Good boy, Duke. ❤

17. Wednesday Words 3.2.16: Finding my oxygen mask on Rita’s Notebook.

18. The Zen Habits Guide to Letting Go of Attachments.

19. Wisdom from Geneen Roth: “Most women believe they’re not allowed to take up space, have pleasure, have needs, say what they want. So they eat and spend instead.” *sigh* There’s probably a lot more “insteads” we could add to this list to make it complete.

20. Movies for Makers “is a web show for artists and makers who want to take the first step to learn how to make videos by themselves for their creative businesses.” I think today is the last day to sign up!

21. What to Do When the Company Culture Sucks from Laura Simms. If the list “here are 10 signs that things are all wrong with your office culture” sounds all too familiar, read on to get some tips on what to do about it.

22. Just what we needed dept: The pre-peeled, plastic-packed orange. This seems like it must have been a joke, but it wasn’t.

23. Being Irritated from Jeff Oaks, one of my favorite poets even when he’s not into it.

24. Inside the Florida Jail that Doubles as an Exotic Animal Zoo. “Behind bars, abused and abandoned animals are finding refuge. Caring for them calms prisoners. Petting them draws thousands of visitors.” This good idea ranks right up there with dog rehab programs in prisons, preschools in assisted living facilities, and chocolate with peanut butter.

25. To Anyone Who Thinks They’re Falling Behind.

26. Good stuff from Alexandra Franzen: You’ll never be done and Closing the gap.

27. 19 Amazing Caterpillar Transformations. Click on each image to see what the caterpillar turns into. Fun!

28. Life’s A Lot of Work, I’m Tired from Jena Schwartz.