Monthly Archives: February 2018

Something Good

I stand with Emma poster

Free downloadable graphic from

1. Emma González Is The Bisexual Latinx Teen Leading The Charge For Gun Control. In related news, The Problem is Toxic Masculinity, Not Mental Illness, and Men Are Responsible for Mass Shootings, and Black Teens Have Been Fighting for Gun Reform for Years, and The Armed Florida School Officer Didn’t Go Into The Building During The Mass Shooting.

2. James Brunt, an artist who makes amazing sculptures and madalas in nature using natural materials.

3. 23 Pictures That Prove The World Isn’t A Steaming Pile Of Garbage, just in case you needed the reminder.

4. Allegations of sexual abuse against Sherman Alexie. In related news, An Open Letter About Sherman Alexie.

5. How “Good” White People Silence People of Color Every Day. “Being offended and uncomfortable is a natural part of life. But before you lash out, sit with that feeling, deconstruct it. Understand why you are offended by the statement or action. Take time to understand the statement or action… But never assume your initial reaction is the correct one, especially when faced with brand new information. Your bias plays a part in how you see things and must be actively overcome. Don’t do white supremacy any favors because something hurt your feelings.”

6. How Might Trump Plan For Food Boxes Affect Health? Native Americans Know All Too Well.

7. Me Too Founder Tarana Burke: “Watch Carefully Who Are Called ‘Leaders’ of the Movement.” In related news, This is why we need to talk about race in the #MeToo movement, (video).

8. A Wrinkle in Time’s Representation is Just as Important as Black Panther. In related news, Sade to release first new music in eight years. “The British singer has recorded a song for the soundtrack of Ava DuVernay’s film adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time.”

9. Getting intersectional means showing up when there are no pink hats.

10. Why I Won’t Ever Identify As Recovered. “Recovery is hard. Period. Recovery in a culture that promotes disordered eating and inequality of bodies is even harder.”

11. Easy activity to satisfy our toy de-stuffers! (video)

12. Laura Monterrosa Detained In Texas, ICE Won’t Let Elected Official In. “This young immigrant was sexually assaulted in custody — but ICE won’t allow her to get help.”

13. George Washington’s teeth not from wood but slaves. It’s ugly, horrible, disturbing, but can we please look, listen, and finally begin to face the real truth if our history? This is who we are.

14. How ‘Strange Fruit’ Killed Billie Holiday. White supremacy kills. So does white fragility, white guilt, and in particular white denial.

15. Undoing Patriarchy – A Syllabus on Google Docs.

16. The Breakup Museum.

17. The Forest That Blooms Brilliantly for Just a Few Days a Year.

18. What I’ve Learned from 10+ Years of Body Acceptance from Anna Guest-Jelley on Curvy Yoga.

19. Why I keep a diary from Austin Kleon.

20. 8 Paradoxes of Being an INFJ, the Rarest Personality Type. I’m an INFJ, btw.

21. The Year in Hate: Trump buoyed white supremacists in 2017, sparking backlash among black nationalist groups from Southern Poverty Law Center.

22. When feminism ignored the needs of black women, a mighty force was born. “Founded in the early 1970s, the Combahee River Collective spoke to the unique position of being black and female.”

23. Watch this viral video of a Zen priest singing the “Heart Sutra” with acoustic backing.

24. Daniela Andrade – Stare at Each Other & Fall in Love, (video). I don’t understand why she’s not famous yet. And if you like her and don’t know who Yuna is, you need to seek out her stuff too.

25. Five Truths About Black History from the ACLU. “If we want to understand the state of race in America, we need to know our past — particularly the painful parts.”

26. Donald Glover Can’t Save You on The New Yorker. “The creator of “Atlanta” wants TV to tell hard truths. Is the audience ready?”

27. Artist makes mirrors from anything he can find. (video)

28. Playing ‘Havana’ on violin. (video) This song gets so stuck in my head. #earworm

29. Vernā Myers: How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them | TED Talk.

30. This American Life: In Dog We Trust. “Stories of dogs and cats and other animals that live in our homes. Exactly how much are they caught up in everyday family dynamics? We answer this question and others.”

Day of Rest

emergency exit doorEric and I went out to dinner last night. I wanted to celebrate earning a Superior ranking on my annual evaluation for the 7th year in a row and getting the word from the radiologist that everything looks good, Sam doesn’t need surgery and we can start physical therapy.

I am very aware of my good luck and fortune. You can also call it privilege, and you might even say there’s a bit of good karma in there too. I have a job that would be anyone else’s dream job, and it affords me the luxury of being able to take Sam to the vet, buy him supplements and pain meds and good food and a new orthopedic bed, take him to physical therapy, and spend the time away from work that I need to in order for all that to happen.

I work hard, too hard. I do my work, according to my evaluation, with a “high level of professionalism, competence, patience, and good humor.” I don’t get compensated for it like I should, and the work load keeps increasing even though it was overwhelming to begin with. I do this work under the constant shadow of anxiety that I’m not spending my time and energy the way I should.

These past few weeks, I’ve been watching the way I’ve handled Sam’s situation. Early on, it seemed pretty clear he’d need knee surgery. I did what I always do — a ton of research, consulting with anyone I knew who knew anything, made a plan for how we’d handle his rehab down to ordering an inflatable collar for him so he wouldn’t have to wear a plastic cone. I overthought and over planned, worried and was anxious, found it hard to focus on anything else, even though I absolutely had to. I made sure to practice every day so I didn’t completely lose my mind and I got extra sleep, expecting a time in the near future when I wouldn’t be.

Watching myself spin out, I thought about my habitual pattern of trying to control everything. I think if I’m prepared, careful, do my research, and am ready, I can handle whatever happens, fix whatever goes wrong. But that’s just the surface level stuff. When I dig a little deeper, it’s clearly anxiety about impermanence, which is masking the real fear — we are all going to die and there’s absolutely nothing we can do about that. The more I thought about it, the more it became clear that there was something below even all that — the real anxiety, the actual fear is that all of my effort means nothing, that I try and work so hard but it amounts to a hill of beans, (nothing against beans).

What I have to offer that I don’t have the necessary time, energy, or space for is facilitating experiences that cultivate compassion, ease, and sanity. That foundation then leads to a more sane and compassionate world, cultivating the necessary ground for social justice and change. This thing I have to offer is stifled, suppressed, silenced because my current focus (my work at CSU) is an obstacle — not only to the work but to my own health and wellbeing.

When I renegotiated my position from 12 to nine months, my intention was to spend the summers on my “other” work. I thought that if I had summers off to focus on my own projects, it wouldn’t be perfect or even ideal, but it would be workable.

Turns out, it’s not. I burn myself out in those nine months and need the summer to regroup and recover. The summers we go to Oregon, that’s all that can happen — the work of planning the trip, preparing, getting there, being there, and the work that has to happen once we get back. It’s a vacation but it’s also draining — energetically and financially — and by the time we get back, the whole summer is over and it’s time to go back to CSU, start the whole cycle over. When we stay here for the summer, we spend our time doing all the things we couldn’t get done during the rest of the year — cleaning out closets and the garage, doing repairs and maintenance on the cars and house and our own bodies. Neither version of summer has turned out to have the space for teaching an online class or working on a book or hosting a workshop or running an in-person class.

Turning 50 for sure causes a shift in perception. Two futures are not only possible but likely — either I am 50 and have a good 20 to even 40 years ahead of me and in that case have time to build another career, to get good at something else; OR I don’t have that kind of time, and if so I want to spend the next 5-10 years I’ve got finally, finally, finally doing what I’ve always wanted to do, trusting my own gut about what to do next, following my own True north. Working at CSU doesn’t fit with either option.

It’s become clear to me that there will never be a time when my CSU workload and expectations are workable. It asks way too much of me, at the expense of my health and wellbeing and just about everything else I want most for myself. Not to make it seem like I’m so sure, that I don’t doubt myself or feel confused, or that I’ve decided, but when the amazing Laura Simms posted on Instagram the other day, “Your work should support your life, not compete with it,” something in me felt very very sure that I knew what I needed to do.