Monthly Archives: January 2017

Something Good

1. Important stuff from Chuck Wendig on Terrible Minds: Trust Me, I Don’t Wanna Talk About This Shit Either and This Is A Test Of The Emergency Broadcasting System.

2. 100 Days of Investment in Black Lives, “a series of direct actions to invest in Black lives and the organizations that bring dignity to Black Lives.” A really great project from Now We Rise.

3. 5 Calls. “Turn your passive participation into active resistance. Facebook likes and Twitter retweets don’t create the change you want to see. Spend 5 minutes, make 5 calls. There’s one simple and straightforward way to influence the Government that is supposed to represent you: Call them on the phone. Calling is the most effective way to influence your representative. 5 Calls gives you contacts and scripts so calling is quick and easy. We use your location to give you your local representatives so your calls are more impactful.” And if you are like me, this might also help, How to call your reps when you have social anxiety.

4. An Open Letter to Women Who Voted for Trump.

5. People Are Calling This Song The Anthem Of The Women’s March Movement. In related news, Why I Threw Out My Speech for the Women’s March, and An Unpopular Opinion on the Women’s March on Washington, and Some Inconvenient Truths About The Women’s March On Washington, and You Are Not Equal. I’m Sorry., and Woman in Viral Photo From Women’s March to White Female Allies: ‘Listen to a Black Woman’, and Some Thoughts On The Women’s March That Already Feels Like So Long Ago Because These Are The End Times.

6. 75 Books for the Next Four Years, “Writers recommend necessary reading for the inauguration day and beyond.” In related news, Forget Nineteen Eighty-Four. These five dystopias better reflect Trump’s US.

7. Autocracy: Rules for Survival.

8. The Critical Thinking Skills Cheatsheet [Infographic].

9. Unwelcome in my Country, Unwelcome in my Church.

Nonviolent resistance was not a matter of sitting back and forgiving, waiting to see what would happen next. Nonviolent resistance was an active refusal to allow derogatory and damaging physical, legal, and cultural violence to continue to take place behind the scenes. Because of the nonviolent resistance movement, which brought the struggle into the open and into America’s living rooms via the television screen, average white Americans had to confront their complicity in a system built on intolerance and violence. They had to confront the fact that they were a part of the system that incited such violence. That this violence was being enacted in their name. The nonviolent resistance movement forced White America to look at the brutality visited on black bodies. It would not allow people to pretend that they did not know the symbols of power this violence was meant to enforce. The nonviolent resistance movement compelled white Americans to understand their culpability in the slapping of all those cheeks.

10. Syllabus for White People to Educate Themselves. I’ve probably already shared this, maybe more than once, but it’s a great resource.

11. Why I’m moving my money to a credit union.

12. Three simple ways to support Muslim women. In related news, Trump’s Immigration Ban Is Illegal.

13. Woman Who Caused Emmett Till’s Death Admits to Lying.

14. The U.S. Government Turned Away Thousands of Jewish Refugees, Fearing That They Were Nazi Spies.

15. Week One. “It’s been one week since President Trump took office, here’s a list of everything he has done so far.”

16. The 19 Funniest Tweets From Women This Week.

17. Creating Your Personal Action Plan, an online workshop. “These times call for creative action and resistance. What’s yours to do?”

18. Alternative Facts and Fake News – Verifiability in the Information Society. In related news, Finding Good News.

19. How the Media Should Cover Donald Trump, a video from GQ.

20. A moving speech by Mahershala Ali, one of the actors from Moonlight.

21. ‘Unprecedented’: Trump Adds Bannon to National Security Council, Kicks Out Intelligence Officials. In related news, How Steve Bannon Took Charge Of The Trump Administration, and Trial Balloon for a Coup?, and West Wing leaker goes dark after pulling back the curtain: Trump “irrational”, staff “demoralized.” Something to do about it from Wall of Us, action 3: stop the loose bannon.

22. The Secret Language of Narcissists, Sociopaths and Psychopaths: How Abusers Manipulate and Traumatize Their Victims.

23. Each word, image, and video we share online has a ripple effect.

24. This Simple Comic Perfectly Explains Privilege, And Everyone Must Read It.

25. We Are Very Angry from Lisa Congdon about how she’s using her social media platform and her creative expression to contribute to activism.

26. Stop everything: the nation’s zoos are in a vicious, wonderful #CuteAnimalTweetOff.

27. “Sometimes we are so confused and sad that all we can do is glue one thing to another.”

28. How Donald Trump Answers A Question from Nerdwriter, “a weekly video essay series that puts ideas to work.”

29. Approaching Life with Beginner’s Mind from Zen Habits.

30. Former President Barack Obama Issues Statement on Anti-Trump Protests.

Day of Rest: #terriblesandwich

sundaymorningbluepracticeI subbed a yoga class this morning. I talked about how the full expression of a pose in yoga isn’t about getting into an exact particular shape, but rather finding a balance between effort and ease, practicing in a way that’s not too loose and not too tight. As is often true with any kind of teaching, you teach what you most need to learn, and finding this balance between effort and ease in my life off the mat is something I’ve been trying to figure out.

It will come as no surprise to you, kind and gentle reader, that I struggle with figuring out how much to serve and how much to take care of myself. This equation has turned into some terrible sort of space alien algebra since the election, with every day since being a dizzying barrage of awfulness. I can’t look away and yet it’s just too much. It’s burning my eyes, breaking my heart, and no matter what I do, it never feels like I’m doing enough. But the reality is, it couldn’t ever possibly be enough to balance the horrors of history mixed with the particular nastiness of now. There’s no way I can fix what is wrong, but I also can’t give up — so where does that leave me?

Danielle Ate the Sandwich at her recent album release party

Danielle Ate the Sandwich at her recent album release party

Last night I went to Danielle Ate the Sandwich‘s album release party. We were right in front, really great seats, and it was such a good show. She was amazing, as usual — an amazing musician, singer and songwriter, as well as a super funny and vulnerable human in all the best ways. She started on stage alone, singing her song “Peace to You Brother,” and I barely could keep from crying.

Listening to her sing, interact with her band and the audience, reminded me that there are still good things, people doing good work. It reminded me of what I keep hearing lately about how important art is in “a time like this.” In John Pavlovitz’s recent post 10 Acts of Resistance on Inauguration Day and Beyond he lists “Create” as one of the ten, saying “Remind yourself that even though there is real ugliness grabbing the spotlight and the headlines, that things of great beauty are being born too. Let your art be your defiant resistance.” And Paul Jarvis published an article he titled, Art is a powerful tool for change in which he says “Art and creativity — they’re easily dismissed as just ‘something pretty’. But art is a powerful tool. It has a knack for humanizing emotions and vocalizing injustice in powerful ways.”

The hashtag Danielle used for her show, for people to tag videos and pictures so she could find them later, was #terriblesandwich. It’s a mashup of her new album title, The Terrible Dinner Guest, and Danielle Ate the Sandwich, but it seems like such a good way to categorize the current state of things: a terrible sandwich. Which reminds me of the part in Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest book Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear where she says that, “if you love and want something enough—whatever it is—then you don’t really mind eating the shit sandwich that comes with it.”


I eat the shit sandwich that comes with all my regular practices — Writing, yoga, meditation, and dog. Writing is hard, trying to get to the truth and then maybe even create something that would be interesting to anyone other than myself, working my way through all the layers of what’s difficult and scary and boring. Yoga is hard when my body isn’t “perfect” or even entirely healthy, and when I can’t seem to let go of expectations, my own agenda. Meditation, and by extension Buddhism, is hard because it asks so much of me, specifically that I get over myself, show up with an open heart, stay with whatever might arise. Dog is hard when they need so much and I don’t have it to give them, or when they need something but I can’t figure out what and they can’t tell me, when they get sick or hurt, when I love them so damn much and they die.

Add to that the current state of things, and it starts to feel like what the military refers to as a “cluster fuck.” I have a hard time  iguring out how to practice, to be, in a way that balances my effort with ease, not too loose and not too tight, soft and supported, sustainable and workable, wise and compassionate, requiring both doing and not doing.

There’s work that needs to be done, but there’s also the laundry. There was a post recently on Facebook that was a list starting with, “If you’re busy dismantling the patriarchy, you don’t need to know how to fold a fitted sheet.” Its intention was to say that if you are doing important work, that other stuff doesn’t need to be perfect, and yet — that other shit has to get done eventually. We want to be a part of the resistance, but we also need to go to work and it would be nice to do so in a pair of clean underwear. We are constantly negotiating how to balance our effort with ease.