Monthly Archives: May 2016

Something Good

I spotted it on the sidewalk, then held the dogs so Eric could get down on the ground and take its picture. Then it flew away.

I spotted it on the sidewalk, then held the dogs so Eric could get down on the ground and take its picture. Then it flew away.

So glad to be partnering with Yoganonymous to share this list with a larger audience.

1. Meet the Queen of the Most Wonderfully Craptastic Machines. “Simone Giertz’s misbehaving ‘shitty robots’ may not be the beginning of Skynet, but they do manage to perform their functions in some seriously unproductive (read: shitty) ways.” Hilarious. In related news, Meet the self-described “queen of shitty robots.”

2. The Next Time You’re Feeling Exhausted, Stop & Ask Yourself this One Question. This is a really great article, full of wisdom like this, “It often takes less energy to unravel our true feelings than it does to keep suppressing them.”

3. Recipes I’d like to try: broccoli slaw, zucchini chips, strawberry spinach salad, grilled peach cobbler, strawberry summer cake, and all the rhubarb recipes on Smitten Kitchen.

4. If Animals Could Talk, a hilarious set of cartoons on Bored Panda.

5. The Elephant in the Room: How Our Weight Bias Harms Us, an important post from Hilary Kinavey & Dana Sturtevant.

6. Never Forget: America’s Forgotten Mass Lynching: When 237 Black Sharecroppers Were Murdered In Arkansas. The picture is hard to look at, as it should be. “237 Black people were killed because they wanted fair compensation for the crops they harvested. No one was ever charged or any trials held for anyone that took part in the mass lynchings.”

7. In search of a simpler life. “I’m retreating from the crazy and as I do, I’m getting ever closer to the heart of things.” Amen.

8. Hey, I found your passion from Paul Jarvis (something he wrote for his mailing list, The Sunday Dispatches, which is awesome), a really great post that ends with (*spoiler alert*), “Truly passionate people find a place where they can make an impact, regardless of their life circumstances. Regardless of finding one true calling. Regardless of waiting until the stars align in their favour.”

9. Looking into Laziness by Pema Chödrön on Lion’s Roar. One of my favorite topics discussed by one of my favorite teachers.

10. Wisdom from Andrew Boyd, “You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.”

11. Sweet Sunshine by Tricia Iverson. On repeat. In related news, this beautiful Sixty Second Photograph for May from Xanthe Berkeley, (Sweet Sunshine is the soundtrack). Her work is so dreamy, so fabulous, almost always makes me cry.

12. Advice for the recent graduate from Austin Kleon, advice that applies even if you aren’t a recent grad. He was inspired to write the post after reading the fabulous How to Find Your Place in the World After Graduation, which again I’ll say could just be called “How to Find Your Place in the World.”

13. Dan Nevins’s Top 10 Poses to Practice Daily. “Army veteran + yoga teacher, Dan Nevins, shares his go-to poses.”

14. Pete Souza: photographing the real Barack Obama. “Over two historic terms, official White House photographer Pete Souza has chronicled the most intimate, candid and comical moments of Barack Obama’s presidency.”

15. Hidden Poetry on Boston’s Sidewalks Is Revealed Only When It Rains. Magic.

16. Two Dogs Get A New Puppy And Now They’re The Best Sleeping Buddies Ever. So cute.

Day of Rest


This week, Eric has been putting our garden in. I’ve been weeding the flowerbeds and moving some things around, making plans for new things I’m going to get and stick in the ground. We started gardening years ago with three raised beds in the backyard, then took out a huge Cottonwood tree in front and decided to turn it all into garden, get rid of all the lawn at the front of the house. I think this is the third or fourth year of our front yard garden, and some things are just now starting to take off — like my white irises that have filled in and formed a wall, my peonies that have tons of blooms this year and seem to have doubled in size, and our strawberries which are already producing. Then there’s the raised bed that we decided to leave as is because it was full of Colorado Bee Plants. When it comes to gardening there are lots of surprises, things you didn’t plan, and even the things that turn out like you hoped take a lot of patience and effort.

I feel the same about my life-rehab, started in earnest six years ago but really with its origins ten years ago — that there’s the need for both a lot of patience and a lot of effort. Right now I’m stuck in the funk that always lingers in the beginning weeks of every summer vacation. It’s hard to shift gears, especially when I’m not exactly sane when it comes to my job. It was a real eye opener to read Kerry Ann Rockquemore’s article in The Chronicle of Higher Ed a few weeks ago: It’s Your Job, Not Your Life. “Overworked, exhausted, dejected? If so, you may be treating your job like it’s your whole life instead of one piece of a much larger pie.” I had always assumed my issue was resisting my job, not putting myself into it 100% because it wasn’t my “passion,” being dissatisfied because it wasn’t exactly what I wanted to be doing, but this article made me realize the opposite was true — I was giving too much to my work, making it too big of a deal, overinvesting. “By overinvestment, I mean pouring so much of your time, energy and soul into your work that you don’t have any left for the rest of your life.” Oh, snap! Busted. And yet, as she says, “The great news is that you have an entire summer ahead of you when you can reset.”


Our first strawberries

Recently, I read a quote from Mandeq Ahmed, “There is two types of tired, I suppose. One is a dire need of sleep, the other is a dire need of peace.” I thought about this a lot, because I’m am tired much of the time. Part of it is having an autoimmune disorder, part of it is being a crappy sleeper, part of it is not allowing myself enough rest, but could part of it be a “dire need of peace”? And if so, how do I make that happen? What does that even mean?

Lisa Congdon considered the question in a recent blog post, What Makes a Good Life? Her own over-investment in her work has made her start to reconsider how she does things. “Truth is, it’s time for me to work less, create space around the projects and travel I do commit to and begin to slow down. My happiness, health and quality of life depend on it.”

One idea also comes from the latest issue of Lion’s Roar. Melvin McLeod, Editor-in-Chief, suggests, “The simplest spiritual instructions are often the most profound — and the most difficult to follow. Just sit. Be compassionate. Trust in your basic goodness. Love … They’re so simple we don’t believe them.” He goes on to say, “Here’s another all-too-simple instruction in this issue: Enjoy your life. So much changes when you enjoy your life, day by day, in simple, wholesome ways.”



But it’s what follows that really gets me. “How can you weather strong emotions if you feel inadequate, incomplete, and guilty inside? How can you be happy if you feel you don’t deserve happiness? How can you trust the goodness of the world if you don’t trust your own? How can you enjoy life if you don’t enjoy being you?” And, as an answer, finally this, “How do you be who you really are? How do you become who you are already? Here’s another simple instruction: Stop. Do nothing. Don’t even ‘meditate.’ Just do nothing, and samsara will stop turning and you will be who you really are.”

In my start of summer vacation funk, it goes like this: I’m hyper-aware of “all the things,” that long ongoing to-do list of everything I couldn’t get to while I was working that I imagine being able to “catch up” while on vacation, which doesn’t make it much of a vacation, so I resist, but then feel guilty, which leads to feeling confused and frustrated and even a little depressed. I sit on the couch watching a movie, which I’m allowed to do, there’s nothing wrong with it, but somehow any joy in that activity is interrupted by this little voice saying, “what are you doing just sitting here when there’s so much that needs to be done? you suck.”


Which reminds me of a recent post on Marc and Angel Hack Life, 5 Signs it’s Time to Do Less. All five signs are there, it’s clear. #4 on the list, “You have lost sight of your priorities,” is particularly relevant. All the spinning, the confusion most definitely comes from losing sight of my intention, of not being clear about what I want. Which is exactly what Adreanna Limbach says about the three types of laziness, as discussed in Buddhism, essentially that laziness is “saying no to our best wishes” or “misdirected will.”

The three types of laziness are, as Adreanna describes them, having a lack of vision, speedy business, and disheartenment. We forget our intention, why we’ve said “yes” to something in the first place, lose our sense of purpose, and this can make us feel stuck, apathetic. Or, in a culture which sees productivity as a virtue, we fill up our time doing things that aren’t in line with our vision, our intention, our mission, and we treat busyness as a badge of honor. And finally, we might feel unworthy or disappointed in our efforts and lose patience, maybe even give up.

A few more things I read that were so helpful: The Source of Your Wisdom on The Girl Who Knows and The Next Time You’re Feeling Exhausted, Stop & Ask Yourself this One Question on Elephant Journal. The first says, “When you consciously decide to make space for your inner wisdom on a consistent basis, you are inviting something raw and real to bubble to the surface of your mind. The resulting information often seems simple. This doesn’t mean it will be easy, but it will be so worth it.” The second offers, “It often takes less energy to unravel our true feelings than it does to keep suppressing them.”


So it seems to come down to this: Slow down, stop striving, be still. Ask yourself what you really want, what you really need. Remember your intention. Be who you are, fully and without apology.

Gratitude Friday


1. Peony season. The ones in my garden haven’t bloomed yet (but there are going to be a lot), so I had to get some from the grocery store. It’s one of my favorite times of year.


2. Cooking. On Cook’s Country, (which we’ve been watching on Amazon Prime and we also get the magazine), they said that what you need to be a good home cook is 25 recipes, at least 25 things you know how to cook. This has given me life goals because while I consider myself a good cook, most of my recipes fall into the dessert category. We made a Chinese Chicken Salad from Cook’s Country the other night and it was delicious — although we’ve realized that for most recipes, unless we can freeze some leftovers or are okay with eating nothing but that lunch and dinner for the next three days, we should probably half everything. I cut open one of the red peppers for the salad and found the above flower hiding inside. Last night I made Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler and it was also yummy, (and doesn’t count towards my 25). Chopping in particular is almost a meditation practice to me (I’d make a great prep cook), I love to be able to tweak a recipe to my particular tastes, I appreciate food that is fresh, and I love getting to listen to a podcast while cooking. And bonus — I love to eat.


3. Hiking with my boys. We went on a six mile hike at Mount Margaret last week, and plan to go on a few more before we leave for Oregon. It really is one of my favorite things.

"Are we there yet?"

“Are we there yet?”

Car selfie with Sam

Car selfie with Sam

My boys

My boys

4. My tiny family. We took the dogs to the vet yesterday for their annual exam, and they did so good. I was surprised how shy Ringo was, how timid, but it also made me realize in contrast how much he trusts me, how comfortable he is with me. And Sam complained so much about one thing the vet did, she’s now convinced he maybe is having trouble with his hips, but it’s really just that he was trying to tell her, “I don’t like that” — such a sensitive beast. And Eric has been making us such a nice garden, almost as big as any other year even though we’ll be gone and our poor friend left in charge as it grows.

Ringo suave, napping

Ringo Suave, napping like a boss

I was folding laundry and couldn't figure out where Sam was, and then I realized that one of the piles on the couch was him

I was folding laundry and couldn’t figure out where Sam was, and then I realized that one of the piles on the couch was him

5. The full shift to summer vacation. This morning was my last Wild Writing class until fall, and Tuesday morning is the last 7 am yoga class I’ll teach, (and I haven’t decided what my schedule will be like for fall, might even decide to not teach at all). A few times I forgot and checked my work email, but that will go away in no time. And the biggest decision I need to make today is if I want to work in my garden or read or take a nap or watch another episode of Hinterland (loving this dreamy show, with each episode 1.5 hours and like a mini movie but with the same characters, each one a mystery that slowly unfolds in a beautiful but dreary landscape), and I have enough time that if I wanted to, I could do all four.

Bonus joy: meals with good friends, rhubarb, a wall of white and purple irises in my front yard, sleeping in, clean sheets, cooler weather, so much green, long walks with Eric and the dogs, clean laundry, grocery shopping, reward points that mean .40 cents off gas, meditating, reading, knowing I’m loved, making people laugh.



Three Truths and One Wish


1. Truth: Yesterday I went on a six mile hike at Mount Margaret, up by Red Feather Lakes, a place that just so happens to be one of my most favorite on the planet. Those of you who have been following the saga of my injured foot and everything I’ve been doing to get back “up to speed,” to heal, know what a big deal this is — I hiked SIX miles, with Eric and my dogs.

2. Truth: I have a difficult time giving myself credit. It doesn’t seem to matter how hard I work, how much I get done, how much effort I give, I’m not satisfied, don’t feel like it’s enough. Like today, I meditated, wrote, did five loads of laundry, went out to breakfast with a few friends, and to physical therapy, and instead of seeing all I’ve accomplished, I fixate on the time I spent on the couch watching a movie with a heating pad on my leg (physical therapy helps, but it also hurts) and beat myself up for not going on the afternoon walk with the dogs. Right now, I’m giving myself a hard time for not drinking enough water today. I’m not as much of a bully with myself as I used to be, but I’m certainly not my best friend.

3. Truth: Vacation is complicated. It takes lot of effort to allow myself a true break, real time off and recreation, to let go of the responsibility, to allow myself to exist without having to earn it. Even during the rest of the year when I’m working, I struggle with allowing myself rest or joy or pleasure. And if I lean that direction, I don’t fully experience it, I hold back just a little, can’t sink into in completely without some guilt.

One wish: May we allow ourselves to be, as we are. May we be with whatever is and not abandon ourselves. May we cultivate a sense of friendship with ourselves. May we know that we don’t have to earn the right to be here, that we can want what we want, and even have what we want. May we know in our bones that we are allowed rest, joy, pleasure, and love.


Something Good

Pasque flowers, image by Eric

Pasque flowers, image by Eric

So glad to be partnering with Yoganonymous to share this list with a larger audience.

1. Wild gorillas compose happy songs that they hum during meals. I love this so much, not so much this article but the truth of it.

2. Make the compliments count. Many writers I know have a file somewhere, either on their computer or on their desk with emails, letters, cards, and even rejection letters that included some encouragement, no matter how small. It’s not a bad thing to keep around.

3. Help Sascha with Cancer Treatment. I read about this because Tig Notaro shared a link the other day. Sascha is Tig’s ex, and “Sascha is like no other and I, like anyone that ever crossed her path, would love to help give her the support she needs in order keep being great and keep sprinkling goodness wherever she may go. Thank you for listening and thank you in advance if you are at all inclined to go fund her.” I wish we lived in a culture where people didn’t have to worry about how they were going to pay for the care they need, but while we still do, thank goodness for things like GoFundMe.

4. Don’t Think Twice Official Trailer #1 (2016). Mike Birbiglia made another movie! Can’t wait to see it.

5. Andrea Gibson live in Seattle performing her poem, “Boomerang Valentine.” One of my favorite poets, performers.

6. What Makes a Good Life? from Lisa Congdon. A question worth asking yourself.

7. 12 Things Trans People Do In Public Bathrooms. In related news, Woman Says She Was Accosted In Walmart Bathroom After Being Mistaken As Trans. And for anyone who is still confused, this helpful cartoon: What To Do If a Trans Person Enters the Bathroom.

8. Single Father Breaks Down When A Stranger Offers Some Needed Help. Go read the story, and then spend some time looking around Leon Logothetis’s website, (the stranger who offered the help, and who has pretty much made that his life’s work). It’s pretty inspiring.

9. The Hippo Roller Project. This seems so simple, but makes such a huge difference. “Designed in Africa for Africa, the 90 litre Hippo Water Roller enables women, children and the elderly to collect 5 times more water than a single bucket by simply rolling it along the ground.”

10. This Mom Shreds Every Bathroom Banner With A Startling Rant Everyone Must Read. I’ve read a few posts like this in the past week, and they all make the same important point. “She lives in a world that is built for men. Rewards men. Glorifies men. A patriarchal world where men can make statements like ‘I need to protect my daughter from ‘freaks’ in bathrooms’ but that also doesn’t point out the hypocrisy of not protecting them from assault, gender pay gaps, objectification, and abuse.” Word.

11. Recipes I want to try: Bacon Sriracha Queso, and Chinese Chicken Salad (made this one for dinner last night, and it was delicious), and Roasted Yams and Chickpeas with Yogurt, and Kimchi, and Zesty Chicken Cobb Salad, and Mini Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler With Buttermilk Cream Cheese Biscuits.

12. Formerly Homeless ‘Free Hugs Guy’ Feeds The Homeless. I love the Free Hugs guy.

13. Yellowstone Bison Calf Is Euthanized After Riding in Tourists’ S.U.V. I’m furious about this — I just can’t understand how it is that they couldn’t find a placement for this baby, somewhere willing to raise him.

14. Lion’s Roar & BuddhaFest Online Film Festival, June 13 to July 24. “This is a rare chance to see Buddhism and art skillfully joined in cinema. And to top it off we have partnered with six masterful teachers to present new teachings for all festival participants!”

15. 10 Tips for New Bloggers, good advice from Laura Simms.

16. 5 Signs it’s Time to Do Less from Marc and Angel Hack Life. Guilty as charged.

17. Regret, a thought provoking post on A Design So Vast.

18. Therapy Can Only Go So Far on Lion’s Roar. So smart. “To recognize insecurity as a fact of human existence—and not evidence of shameful shortcomings—helps relieve ourselves of the unrealistic expectation that it is a problem we should be expected to solve, and allows for a different way of encountering, holding, and opening to this as a reality.”

19. Discovery Girls’ Spectacularly Failed Apology for Body-Shaming Kids on Dances with Fat. *sigh*

20. The Face Everything Technique: Why Avoiding Difficulties Doesn’t Work from Zen Habits. Why should you read this? “Of course, not all problems will just evaporate using this method, but I can tell you that you’ll be able to face many more things as you practice this method. You’ll get better at dealing with discomfort, instead of running from it as most people do. You’ll get better at not procrastinating, and doing uncomfortable tasks. You’ll be more present and more willing to stay in the moment rather than needing distractions all the time. Not overnight, but with practice.”

21. Crotch-Punching The Creative Yeti: Exploding More Writing Myths on Terrible Minds. A good read for those who write.

22. The Life of Death from Marsha Onderstijn. “The Life of Death is a touching handdrawn animation about the day Death fell in love with Life.” Seriously, y’all, this one had me sobbing on my couch this morning.

Gratitude Friday


1. The great pictures Eric takes when he goes hiking with the dogs. I’d rather go with him and take them myself, but this is good for now.

2. Wild Writing. What a great practice, what an amazing teacher, what magic.

Om Ananda Saraswati

Om Ananda Saraswati

3. Teaching yoga. I’ve only got two more Tuesday morning classes left before taking a break over summer, so I’m relishing them.

4. Being on vacation. This is only my second day, but oh wow am I loving it.

5. My dogs. This past week they’ve stressed me out a little with various bumps and boo-boos but in the end, they bring more comfort and joy than pain.



Bonus joy: my new car (I drove one of our older cars the other day and it made me realize just how nice the new one is), the tile in our bathroom, my irises blooming, the smell of lilacs, good tv, good books, roasted sweet potatoes, ice cream, clean water, people taking the time to send me emails when they appreciate my work, being so excited to get the day started I can’t even sleep in, sleeping in with Sam, trusting myself to be my own trainer at the gym, podcasts that make me laugh, tv and people that make me laugh, book club, breakfast and lunch plans with friends, good options for vet care for the dogs, sunshine, all the green, the river, the shade of a tree, walking with the dogs, warm socks, clean sheets.

Three Truths and One Wish

forgetmenot1. Truth: I’m on summer vacation!!! Yesterday afternoon, I finished up the last thing on my to-do list, cleaned up my desk, made arrangements to have someone water my plants while I was gone, and put my out of office message on my email. This morning, even though I could have, I couldn’t even sleep in because I was so excited to be on vacation.

2. Truth: This is a very different start to the summer than last year. I had the flu, was really sick with a cough, aches, snuffy/runny nose, fever, and awful fatigue. My foot was bothering me but I had yet to realize it was Plantar Fasciitis, (that would come later in the summer), and I had one other thing going on that I don’t even like to talk about because it’s sort of embarrassing (not to mention painful), even though I really have no reason to be embarrassed about it. And, to add insult to injury (and illness), I was off contract but kept being asked to do more work. I was so depressed. At about six weeks into summer, I had a complete meltdown, scheduled a meeting with my boss, and changes where made that meant leaving this year for break was so much easier.

3. Truth: I expect that this summer will be better. For one thing, we are going to the beach for almost two months. And I have a whole month before we leave to work in my garden, clean my house, see friends, walk my dogs, read, take naps, etc. And don’t worry — I know exactly how lucky I am.

One wish: May we all have a summer filled with ease, rest, and joy, no matter how or where we spend it. And if you are having a summer like I had last year, may you get the healing, the relief and rest you need, and be comforted in the knowledge that “this too shall pass.”