Monthly Archives: November 2018

Gratitude Friday (NaBloPoMo Day 30)

1. Morning sky. Today is dreary and gray, so I’m appreciating the mornings that haven’t been even more.

2. Christmas decorations on the Poudre Trail. The people who decorate these three trees every year do so on Thanksgiving day, so the morning after on our walk, we went to check it out. It was still dark, so the pictures aren’t great.

3. I got a post placed, step two for my eventual tooth implant. It isn’t a fun process, but the people at my dentist office are super kind and careful and professional and it helps so much. When I first sat down, I asked to keep my coat to cover my legs because I always get so cold in there, and the assistant said, “oh no, honey, I’m getting you a blanket.” It was thick and red and soft and big and it made everything else easier. Two days later, I still feel pretty poopy, loopy, and tired, but also super lucky to have paid sick days and dogs who will cuddle with me and a husband who takes such good care of me.

4. My three boys. Ringo found a baby doll on one of our walks this week and carried her all the way home. Our front porch sometimes looks like the Island of Misfit Toys from all his finds. Sam is doing really well, up to walking 3.6 miles in the mornings, and he’s the best dog when you don’t feel good because he is perfectly happy to curl up beside you and nap for hours and hours. And Eric just wants me to feel better, does whatever I need to help make that happen.

Bonus joy: good books (almost finished with Children of Blood and Bone), good TV (Catfish is back), and good films (I know there was a some criticism about it, but Crazy Rich Asians was just what I needed yesterday), fresh orange juice, three days with nothing on my schedule so I can rest and heal.

Strength and Flexibility (NaBloPoMo Day 27)

Broken heart spray painted in yellow on a sidewalk

Someone painted a broken heart on my sidewalk

1. Truth: We get confused about qualities of practice and thus make them small. For example, we think that compassion means “being nice” or “kindness” and in our confusion, we limit ourselves to that expression. As in the Andrew Boyd quote I shared the other day, “Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others.” Or, we think that confidence means being certain of the truth, feeling unshakably sure of ourselves, but as Susan Piver defines it, “Confidence is the willingness to be as ridiculous, luminous, intelligent, and kind as you really are, without embarrassment.”

2. Truth: Strength is a quality we limit. For example, in yoga, we often link strength to purely physical expressions, and in that manifestation we think it to mean simply being able to hold a particular pose for a long time or to being able to do an especially difficult or advanced pose. And yet, strength can be practicing with illness or injury, living with chronic pain or trauma, or experiencing strong emotions like grief or anger. To practice in that context, to have compassion for ourselves and others and not give up — that’s strength.

3. Truth: Flexibility is another quality we restrict. Again, in yoga asana practice, we think flexibility means being able to go deeper into a pose, to reach and stretch further and with more ease. However, flexibility is much more than that. We can practice flexibility when something about a pose doesn’t feel right for our body, and instead of giving up, we modify our approach, doing another variation of the pose or using props, or asking for help or even doing another pose altogether, and, this is key, we don’t beat ourselves up about it. We keep moving. We can practice being flexible when we come to the mat expecting or wanting a particular experience that just doesn’t work out. We can be fluid and not get stuck, keeping going and not give up.

One wish: On and off the mat, may we maintain an awareness of the ways we are strong and flexible. May we continue to practice staying open and awake. May we meet any resistance or confusion with curiosity and compassion.

Something Good (NaBloPoMo Day 26)

1. Me And White Supremacy – The Workbook from Layla Saad. I was lucky enough to do this as a challenge on Instagram led by Layla the first time she offered it, and highly recommend it. “Part education, part activation, the Me And White Supremacy Workbook is a first-of-its-kind personal anti-racism tool for people holding white privilege to begin to examine and dismantle their complicity in the oppressive system of white supremacy.”

2. CONSOLATIONS: A Year-Long Exploration of Everyday Words from Jena Schwartz. This looks SO GOOD! “Spend 2019 exploring the meaning of everyday words, based on David Whyte’s work…one work per week.”

3. Yes, We Can Have Hope on Lion’s Roar. “In this commentary from the Fall 2018 issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly, Roshi Joan Halifax reflects on the idea of ‘wise hope’ and why we should open ourselves to it.”

4. How to Simplify the Holidays from Zen Habits. Who doesn’t want a simpler holiday season?

5. The 100 Best Pens, As Tested by Strategist Editors. “Gels, ballpoints, rollerballs, felt-tips, and fountain pens — we tried them all.” My favorite Pentel Clarius was discontinued and I only have a few ink refills left because they also discontinued those, so I’m reading this with great interest.

6. Small bookstores are booming after nearly being wiped out.

7. Brandon Farris on YouTube. He makes videos that make me laugh, and until recently, he’d been living in his car (for TWO years!).

8. 40 Tweets That Sum Up Life With 4-Year-Olds.

9. The Master Quilters of Gee’s Bend, Ala. on The New York Times.

10. Health Science is Bullshit, a video I shared last year that’s just as funny-true now as it was then.

11. No Bed Of Roses, No Pleasure Cruise: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody.’

12. ‘Green Book’ Is ‘Full of Lies’: Dr. Don Shirley’s Family Speaks Out. In related news, ‘Green Book’ Is A Poorly Titled White Savior Film.

13. The Bun Also Rises: Why We Love ‘The Great British Baking Show.’ In related news, Meet the Guy Who Draws Every Great British Baking Show Recipe Illustration.

14. 9 tricks advertisers use to make food look delicious! (video)

15. Elizabeth Gilbert on the Unexpected Friend Who Helped Her Survive Loss.

16. ‘Thank You, America’: A Crowdsourced Holiday Poem That’s A Blessing To Read. In related news, The Thanksgiving Tale We Tell Is a Harmful Lie. As a Native American, I’ve Found a Better Way to Celebrate the Holiday, and How Do Native Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving? U.S. Holiday A Day of Mourning for Indigenous Peoples.

17. 100 Ways to Support—Not Appropriate From—Native People.

18. White Supremacy, Colonialism and Fatphobia are Inherently Tied to Each Other.

19. Eating Disorders and Body Love in Marginalized Communities Panel.

20. Doctor and runner reunite after he saved her while she had a heart attack during marathon. (video)

21. With Her New Foundation, Taraji P. Henson Wants To Change The Stigma Of Black Mental Health.

22. Keep trying, (video). So cute.

23. Liberals use “unity” to systematically silence women of color. It’s time to be divisive.

24. Couple Becomes First-Time Dog Parents To A Baby Pittie. (video) I had the same anxieties with our first dog, a Rottweiler mix named Obi.

25. Watch this sad, little polka-dot bulldog transform into the happiest adventure dog ever. (video)

26. How My Brother Survived The Camp Fire. “My brother lives in Paradise, California. For five hours on November 8, while wildfire devoured the town, I had no idea if he was alive or dead.”

27. Don’t Be Naive: Avoiding Calling Trump Supporters Racist Won’t Convince Them to Vote for Democrats.

28. Michelle Obama and Tracee Ellis Ross on the Power of Women’s Stories on The New York Times. “The former first lady and a star of ABC’s ‘black-ish’ talk about Mrs. Obama’s memoir, feeling ‘good enough’ and what it really means to ‘go high.'”

29. 100 Notable Books of 2018 on The New York Times.

30. Snoop Dogg Looks Back; Talks Tupac, Mentor Dr. Dre, Speaking Up for the ‘Voiceless.’ The last few minutes of his speech are epic, pure Snoop Dogg. “I want to thank me for believing in me, I want to thank me for doing all this hard work… Snoop Dogg you a bad motherf—er”

31. This Creative Woman Excels at Baking Art Pies with Avant-Garde Crust Designs.

32. Seriously do yourself a favor and watch for a good laugh! (video)

33. Someone Says “Depression Is A Choice”, And Andy Richter’s Response Is Brilliant.

34. These Are The 19 Most Stressful Experiences An Introvert Can Have.

35. Manifesting 2019 with Andrea Scher. A mini-manifesting online workshop for only $20! This seems like a great gift idea.

36. ‘Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat’ Changes the Rules for Who Gets to Eat on TV.

37. This week’s edition of People Behaving Badly: A Not-Guilty Verdict Absolves Border Patrol Of Cross-Border Killing, and Alabama Cops Kill 21-Year-Old After They Say He Opened Fire in a Mall. Now They Say He Didn’t, and Girl, 13, Who Wrote Essay on Gun Violence Is Killed by Stray Bullet, and White Man Allegedly Pulls Gun on Black Muslim Teens in Minnesota McDonald’s, Manager Handles It Terribly, and Isolated Tribe Kills American With Bow and Arrow on Remote Indian Island (just to be clear, it’s the Christian invader who was behaving badly in this situation), and New video shows two white school officers brutally assaulting a black middle-schooler in an unprovoked attack (video), and Administration Admits Border Deployment Was a $200 Million Election Stunt, and This veteran was working in a yogurt shop when employees got ‘scared’ and called the cops, and How a Liberal Couple Became Two of N.Y.’s Biggest Trump Supporters on The New York Times, and US agents fire tear gas as some migrants try to breach fence.

Day of Rest (NaBloPoMo Day 25)

In my Facebook memories today, there was a quote I’ve shared for the past two years in a row. It still rings so true to me. I reshared it on Facebook and wanted to do so here too. It’s a good reminder, as I said yesterday, that just because it’s the right thing to do doesn’t mean it will be easy.

Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors. ~Andrew Boyd

NaBloPoMo Day 24

From our walk this morning

I get to take this whole weekend off. Since I started my 500 hour yoga teacher training, I’ve been busy every Sunday. Because of the holiday, we have tomorrow off from yoga teacher training, (although I do have homework I need to do to prepare for next week). Eric is still sick, so we don’t have plans — we walked dogs this morning, then I went to my Saturday Pilates class, got in the pool and sauna after, then I came home, ate leftovers, got on the couch and pretended to watch TV but slept though most of it. I just got off the phone after talking to my mom and remembered I hadn’t written a blog post yet today.

As I stand here typing, I realize I’m not sure if I have anything of value to tell you. What I can say is that on this week off from work, two conflicting feelings arise — one is how much better I feel being away from the stress and overwhelm and confusion of that particular effort, and two is the closer I get to quitting and being done, the more anxiety I start to feel about money. There are going to be some big adjustments and there are times it’s going to feel hard and I might even second guess my choice, and yet I KNOW it’s the right thing to do, that I will feel so much better and be some version of happy and things will work out and we’ll be fine. That’s the thing about the right thing — just because it’s right doesn’t mean it’s perfect or even easy.

Gratitude Friday (NaBloPoMo Day 23)

1. Morning sky, preferably on a morning walk, although to be fair I haven’t been on many this week. My knees have not been doing too good lately. I’m trying to not be sad about it, but it’s hard when you are hurting and just want to be able to move.

2. The season between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s when Eric starts sitting in front of the “fire,” and naps and cuddling are the biggest priorities.

3. Christmas cactus blooms. Although, they actually start blooming around Thanksgiving.

4. Eric. He’s been sick all week with a cold, but he still is out walking the dogs and making good food.

5. Ringo and Sam. Sam has been taking a bit longer walks and still doing okay, so our fingers and paws are crossed that will stick. Ringo turned FIVE this week. Time goes way way way too fast.

Bonus joy: sweet potatoes with butter and brown sugar, the Gooseberry jam my aunt sent me, sparkling apple cider, my infrared heating pad, sleeping in, a warm shower, leftovers for days, getting our snow tires on, having the week off because we both really really needed it, good TV (I just finished watching the first season of I’m Sorry which was hilarious), good books (I’m finally reading Children of Blood and Bone, so good), teaching yoga, Pilates, the weekend off from yoga teacher training.

Three Truths and One Wish (NaBloPoMo Day 22)

The view from my front porch this morning

The view from my front porch this morning

1. Truth: Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Is Wrong (article on The New York Times). “Not to rain on our Thanksgiving Day parade, but the story of the first Thanksgiving, as most Americans have been taught it, is not exactly accurate.” The innocent, feel good narrative of Native Americans and Pilgrims celebrating and feasting together is a fairy tale that obscures the truth about how we treated and continue to treat indigenous people. To ignore that truth and stuff your face, to rejoice about all the things you are thankful for, to rest and relax in the company of friends and family without taking even a moment to honor the harm that has been done to enable your good fortune and recommit to doing better is just gross.

2. Truth: The mistreatment of indigenous people continues. For example, Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe welcomed Pilgrims, but loses land on eve of Thanksgiving. There are so many more examples it’s an exhausting, overwhelming, unrelenting consideration. In this context, what does “Make America Great Again” really mean? What does it mean to have a day — a national holiday — where we celebrate ourselves, give thanks for all that we have but completely ignore all the suffering we’ve caused?

3. Truth: We can and must do better. Just some simple suggestions are: How to Support Indigenous People on Thanksgiving, and How to Talk to Your Family About Racism on Thanksgiving, and 5 Tips For So-Called White Allies This Thanksgiving, and Meditation on Gratitude and Joy.

One wish: May we fully know and face the truth. May we make reparations, strive to heal the hurt, turn our effort toward undoing the damage and easing the suffering. May we experience the joy of good food and good company without the taint of greed and oppression. May we experience the gratitude of doing the right, just, honorable thing. May we ALL be truly free to experience life and liberty, to pursue happiness.