Category Archives: Adreanna Limbach

Day of Rest: On Not Giving Up

flaxchocolatemuffinsandbananas

I’ve been feeling quiet about some things lately, especially when it comes to writing about them here. Then this morning, reading the Day #2 email from Adreanna Limbach’s Meditation In Bloom program, I was reminded of why I write, why I share on this blog. Adreanna shared a definition of love from All About Love by bell hooks, “The will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.”

Writing for me is about understanding and awareness, expanding my sense of wisdom and compassion. It’s about easing suffering, in myself and in the world. It’s about figuring out what it means to be human, and more specifically what it means to not give up in the face of the brutality and the beauty of this experience. It’s about love.

Writing for me is a mindfulness practice, and in her video for Day #2, Adreanna shared a definition of mindfulness from Jon Kabat-Zinn, “the awareness that arises when we’re paying attention on purpose in the present moment, without judgement.” And as Adreanna said, it’s that non-judgement part that’s “the real kicker.”

I’ve been being really hard on myself lately. My physical body confuses and confounds me, and this is complicated by the shift I’m trying to make in my view of bodies and health in general. To review: I was a disordered eater for 30+ years, not realizing that what I was doing wasn’t “normal” because I live in a culture where women are expected to hate their bodies, themselves, are encouraged to restrict and punish and distrust their bodies and themselves, are urged to constantly try to “improve,” to chase an impossibly out of reach standard. In that sense, for 30+ years, I was a very good girl.

And then I encountered Rachel Cole and her work, and my ideas about my body, food, exercise, health, wellbeing, my own worth and desires were upended, in the best possible way. I realized I was a disordered eater and started working with a therapist, continued working with Rachel, and made other changes in my life with the intention of being healthier, more content. I was disappointed when my therapist told me it usually takes about 7-9 years for someone to fully recover from disordered eating, but it was so much better than the alternative — a life in which I hated myself, hurt myself, suffered to such an extreme that I sometimes thought about killing myself.

In the past week or so, I’ve been triggered by a series of things. I could write ten blog posts any one of them, but some of the highlights are:

  • This post from Isabel Foxen Duke, Separating “Health” and “Weight” for Binge-Eating Recovery, which explained something I’d been unsuccessfully trying to tell my husband for months so well that I sent him the link and said “just read this” — especially this part, “successful recovery from binge-eating usually involves redefining our definition of ‘health’ to exclude forced attempts at weight loss—since it’s pretty clear that these attempts lead to poorer health (and more binge-eating) long-term.”
  • Overhearing one woman comment on another woman’s body after not seeing her for awhile, telling her that she looked thinner, fitter, and asking if she’d been working out, and cringing remembering all the times I’ve done the same thing or had that said to me. And for all the times I’ve heard the opposite from people who think because we are close, they can comment when my body swings the other way, can make remarks or even jokes about my size, my weight, my body, because they “love” me and are “just trying to help.”
  • Having someone ask me how I can have all that chocolate in my office and not eat it all, and I gave some old answer about it being “safe” at work because I’m busy and don’t think about it, how I can’t be trusted with it at home, but then feeling so bad after that for not telling the truth as it is now that I wanted to find that person and tell them the real story, that I don’t do that to myself anymore, don’t micromanage everything that goes in my mouth, don’t punish myself for even thinking about food or eating, don’t binge or even just eat in private and in secret, don’t surround the act of eating with shame or pain or guilt, that I eat whatever I want and as much as I want whenever I want and because I do that I’m satisfied, there’s no regret and there’s no punishment necessary, and I can trust myself around food.
  • Rachel asked, on a Feast alumni Facebook page, how we were doing and I couldn’t answer right away, because on that very same day, I was beating myself up for the ongoing pain in my right leg, all the way from my low back down to the bottom of my foot, and I’d convinced myself that the origin of my pain was my weight (even though I’ve had chronic pain issues in that area of my body for decades and there are all kinds of valid reasons for it that have nothing to do with my size), so I’d driven home from a long day (week, year) at work with the plan to start starving myself again. (Spoiler alert: I didn’t go through with it).
  • Going to a fancy work event and feeling like I had nothing to wear, feeling bad about my body and thus feeling bad about myself, but going anyway, and because I did, getting to talk directly to Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, and I guarantee he didn’t care one bit about my body or what I was wearing.

So I’m still struggling. I’m trying to be non-judgemental, to be gentle with myself, to relax with what is, to allow whatever might arise (even if that means being fat for the rest of my life), but sometimes I fail. And when I fail, I try not to beat myself up about it. I have no idea what I’m doing or how this is going to turn out, but I’m not going to give up.

2016: One Word

bestnineThere’s a website (2015bestnine) that will look at your Instagram account and make a collage of the nine most liked images from your account for 2015. The above is mine. I’m a little surprised there’s no pictures of dogs, and only one food picture, since it seems like those are the kind of pictures I post the most.

I’ve been doing lots of year end things like this lately. Crafting year end reviews, and cultivating new year intentions. Letting go and looking forward. In a meditation this morning with Adreanna Limbach’s 31 Days of Devotion program, I contemplated the suggested question “what do I feel devoted to this year?” I was surprised and not surprised by what came up. There was nothing I hadn’t expected, but I was caught off guard by the intensity of my devotion in regards to some of the things on my list.

  • Health and well-being of my body. The intensity of this one was so strong. The desire was deep to care for it, let it rest, give it lots of water, feed it good food, take it on walks, stretch it, do yoga, lift weights — to be rested, well-fed, and strong, to feel good.
  • Reading and thinking and practicing. This is both in relation to my Buddhist studies and doing for the simple joy of it.
  • Intimacy. This in particular to my relationship with Eric, continuing to explore the ways we can be closer, familiar and connected and content.
  • Joy. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m realizing that when I lost Dexter I let my joy go with him. I’ve been so focused on the bad things that have happened over the past decade, so caught up in preparing for the worst and working with the hard stuff, that I lost my sense of joy. I’d like to open some space for it, invite it back in.
  • Writing. For this blog, for the book I’m writing, for publication elsewhere, for the fun of it.
  • Teaching. Yoga, my Wild Writing Crazy Wisdom workshops, and some online classes — both in service to my students and for my own sake.
  • Simplified, beautified space. With our bathroom remodel, I realized how good it feels to have a beautiful space, beautiful things, and to get rid of what no longer serves us. I want all my space to feel like that — cleared out and full at the same time.

After having picked a guiding word for the past four years, I wasn’t sure if I would this year. Last year’s word didn’t turn out like I expected, and one didn’t seem to be coming to me. I signed up for Susannah Conway’s Find Your Word free class, but I put off reading the emails, doing the work. I thought maybe I just wouldn’t have a word this year.

Then I went on retreat with Susan Piver, and she talked about the necessity of our writing and meditation practices having a path quality to them. I’d been feeling a longing to deepen my Buddhist studies, having taken refuge vows a year ago, so the idea of cultivating a path quality in my life, in my other practices, was very appealing.

I kept coming back to “path” as a possible word for 2016. For the past few days, I was planning to work through Susannah’s emails to be sure, but after listening to Adreanna’s video this morning, practicing with her, listening to her talk about devotion, I knew path was right.

pathwithtextPath carries with it a sense of devotion — love, loyalty, and enthusiasm. It’s commitment, immersion, dedication, discipline, and joyful effort that springs from a place of love and attention. On a path, there’s a clarity of direction and intention, but also unexpected obstacles and surprising beauty. I show up, open up, stay with what arises without an agenda, thus sinking deeper into my innate wisdom and compassion, experiencing my life more fully. I encounter clarity and simplicity, ease and contentment, stability. It’s a good word.

Three Truths and One Wish

fallcolors1. “I love you, but I’m letting you go.” Not you, kind and gentle reader. Not this blog either. It’s something that Elizabeth Gilbert posted on Facebook this morning, something I was just talking about with a new friend yesterday afternoon. I need space in my life, need to ease up, but it’s complicated because the things I would need to start saying no to are things I love, things that are brilliant and wonderful, things I want to experience and do, but if I’m being honest, things I can’t fit into the finite, limited amount of time I’m alloted. I can’t do ALL THE THINGS. Elizabeth ends her post by saying, “I don’t know what the thing is (or things are) that you need to start saying no to, in order to live the life you keep saying you want. But I have a suspicion that perhaps YOU know. Is it maybe time?” *sigh*

2. I struggle with three types of laziness, sometimes all three at once. These are the kinds of laziness referred to in my Buddhist practice tradition. Adreanna Limbach gives the best description I ever heard of them. She says the three types are: 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.

3. Luckily, there are antidotes to my behavior, this laziness. I can reconnect with my intention. I can sit with myself, sink into my own innate wisdom and consider what I might need to let go of, what I really want. I can prioritize what really matters, give it my attention and time, and say no to everything else — “I love you, but I’m letting you go.” I can show up and practice with joyful effort, become a “deeply disciplined half-ass,” having faith that the seeds I plant will come to fruition. And when I feel tired, I’ll rest. And when I feel like giving up, I won’t.

One wish: To reconnect with my intention and have clarity about the letting go, making space for what really matters.

Something Good

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

1. Kindness Project 51-51-51 on Simply Celebrate. My dear friend Sherry is doing another kindness project, “I will send 51 notes to 51 strangers in 51 days. Do you know someone who is lonely, grieving, disappointed, or blue? Someone who needs a boost? If so, please email me and tell me a tiny bit about their story, why you love this person, and their snail mail address. Also, let me know if you want their letter to be anonymous from the universe or from me on your behalf.” Sherry’s got big love to give. All you need to do is let her know where to send it.

2. Dear Retailers: Screw You, a letter from a woman who’s been both “normal” and “plus” sized.

3. 5 Things to Remember When Someone You Love is Depressed from Marc and Angel Hack Life. So important.

4. Homeless Find New Life Working at 22-Acre Organic Farm and Restaurant. What a great project.

5. The Devil’s Food Cake Recipe That Everyone Should Have. I’m certainly willing to test this out.

6. 5 Things I Know About The Path from Momastery.

7. Memories Of A Maybe Angel In ‘Don’t Suck, Don’t Die.’ This sounds like something I’d want to read.

8. One of America’s most beloved authors reveals her ‘number one life hack’ for lasting relationships. Really good relationship advice from Brene’ Brown.

9. The Elephants Always Line Up To Hug This Old Lady.

10. 16 Poses to Ease Back Pain from Yoga Journal. These are some of my very favorites. Back pain or not, they just feel good.

11. Armed with a Sharpie and rocks, this guy is lifting people’s spirits every day. I love stories like this, people who are driven to make stuff for no other reason than to cheer people up, cheer people on.

12. On Failure, and Not-Failure from Emily McDowell. “TL;DR: Social media is a lie and I fail all the time. But it turns out failure is kind of a lie, too.” I’m so glad that the failure narrative is so popular right now. It makes me feel like I’m in really good company.

13. Wisdom from Friedrich Nietzsche, as shared on Brain Pickings, “There is no way to help any soul attain this happiness, however, so long as it remains shackled with the chains of opinion and fear.”

14. Teddy Bear the Porcupine’s Halloween Feast. This is from a few years ago, but it’s worth watching at the beginning of every fall.

15. 15+ Cats That Don’t Care About Your Personal Space on Bored Panda.

16. Tina Fey cracks up playing LaTina Fey. Thanks Billy Eichner.

17. Little Bird, keeping me entertained on my day off, a video on Facebook from Leanne Guzzwell that’s gone viral. And for good reason: so cute! It makes me want to jump around.

18. The best self-love resources, a really great list from Positively Present.

19. SUSDAT from Seth Godin. “Show up, sit down and type.”

20. How Making Art Changes Your Life and Why You Can’t Make it for That Reason, brilliance from Jen Louden.

21. Brave Enough on A Design So Vast.

22. Choose One Thing to Simplify Your Life (just one) from Be More With Less. I’ve been working with the idea of focusing on just one thing at a time, wanting to simplifying my life, so this list is a great help, and Courtney as always is a great resource. My favorites are #11, #13, #17, and #20.

23. The One Secret Thing All Successful People Do. LOVE it.

24. 11 Things Highly Creative People Sacrifice For Their Art. I wish I were brave enough to do all 11. What’s crazy is that I know if I did, I’d be happy, so what is stopping me?! Also interesting about this list is that it’s actually applicable to more than just artists. It could easily be reframed as a list for all humans who want to live their life fully awake and completely in it.

25. When acceptance isn’t for you, a recent newsletter from Anna Guest-Jelley of Curvy Yoga.

26. You’re Not Too Tired To Create. You’re Too Distracted. Oh, snap!

27. 200 Key Sanskrit Yoga Terms from Yoga Journal.

28. Learning to Die. “My mother taught me many things, including, in the end, how to die.”

29. 19 Banned Books That Actually Changed Your Life from BuzzFeed.

30. 11 Charts That Will Speak To Everyone Who Fucking Loves Sleep from BuzzFeed. *gigglesnort*

31. Self-Taught Polish Artist Uses Fallen Autumn Leaves As Canvases For Her Paintings on Bored Panda.

32. Painter Flora Bowley’s new website is so pretty. I especially love her new Studio Diary series. Each month she’ll explore a different theme through a series videos, written prompts, etc. She’s offering the first month free. The theme is Awakening, and you can access it here — it includes a welcome video, mini painting lesson, real time painting demo, a chat with artist Kelly Rae Roberts, a Q & A with Flora, a guided meditation, a conscious movement session with Lynzee Lynx, smoothie recipes from Shannon Sims, etc. Did I mention this first month is FREE?!

33. Where the children sleep, a heartbreaking series from Magnus Wennman, winner of two World Press Photo Awards and fourfold winner of Sweden’s Photographer of the Year Award, who has met refugees in countless refugee camps and on their journeys through Europe this year.

The war in Syria has continued for almost five years and more than two million children are fleeing the war, within and outside of the country borders. They have left their friends, their homes, and their beds behind. A few of these children offered to show where they sleep now, when everything that once was no longer exists.

34. The Glass Is Already Broken from Adreanna Limbach. “Embracing impermanence can help us develop a deeper appreciation for every day and fill our lives with reverence.”

35. Girl Skulks Into a Room. This is a great read. Just trust me and click the link.

36. Daylight Saving – Movie Trailer. Hilarious.

37. Five Days In The Life: Single, Minimum-Wage Fast Food Working Mom in Chicago.

38. Orphaned Raccoon Rescued By Family With Dogs Thinks She’s A Dog, Too. Pumpkin the Raccoon is my new favorite Instagram account — stupid cute, (someone or something that is so attractive it disrupts your ability to intelligently process information while looking at it, something so unbelievably cute it makes you stupid). And, I think Ringo might be part raccoon.

39. 12 Tough Truths About Great Relationships from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

Something Good


1. Good stuff on Medium: Why Starting a “Blog” is a Terrible Idea, and When you work for yourself: stop doing shit you don’t like, and Starbucks Wants To Talk To You About Race, and Lighten Up.

2. Good stuff from Dances with Fat: If Not Weight Loss, Then What? and Willful Suspension of Disbelief.

3. Things That Make Me Happy on A Design So Vast.

4. Don’t Create Content. Move People. from Jonathan Fields.

5. Truthbomb from Danielle LaPorte: “Think of suffering as self-compassion school.”

6. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been kind of obsessed with any conversation around race and racism lately. Here are some thought provoking articles on the subject, if you are also interested: After an Uneasy Start, Finding Common Ground to Discuss Race Relations at Work, and 10 things black people fear that white people simply don’t, and Why Kimmy Schmidt’s Native Subplot is Great: A Native Fan’s Opinion, and Being White Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry: How the Oklahoma frat scandal exposes a racial double standard, and Portland gentrification video: ‘This is painful, but we can do something,’ and this video,

7. Good stuff about writing from Terrible Minds: The Flipside Of My Writing Tirade, and In Which I Emit A Lot Of Grr-Talk About Your Writing Career, and Writing Is A Profane, Irrational, Imperfect Act.

8. I’m also kind of obsessed with the conversation around fattism, fat shaming, Health at Every Size, and such. Here are some good articles on the topic, if you are also interested: the weight of this body, and Virgie Tovar on eradicating diet culture, the joy of moving your body, and Babecamp 2015, and Grieving the Loss of Your Body Fantasy, and What Happens If We Let Fat People Be Happy?

9. Just One Man Remains in Fukushima Radiation Zone – He’s Feeding All the Animals Left Behind.

10. The Girl’s Girl from Brittany, Herself.

11. 40 Guilty Cats Who Deserve To Be Shamed Publicly, but probably don’t care because, well, they are cats.

12. Meg Worden, podcast goddess: Ask the Aunties Episode 1: ‘I am a 35 year old virgin’ and Raise your Hand Say Yes with Meg Worden.

13. If Vegans Said Things Meat Eaters Say.

14. StoryCorps Wins The TED Prize And Builds An App That Lets Anyone Record An Interview On Their Phone.

15. Nurse helps sexual assault survivors heal, move on.

16. Sex Tips That Don’t Suck, a poem performed.

17. Tweet, Memory, Dani Shapiro remembering Lisa Bonechek Adams.

18. Leon Bridges, such a beautiful voice. I can’t wait for his full album. The style of what I’ve heard so far reminds me of Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black.

19. A Group Of People Read The Last Texts From Their Exes And It’s Hilarious.

20. The Pitfalls of Pursuing Your Purpose by Adreanna Limbach.

21. Good stuff from Lion’s Roar: On Awakening Through Race, Sexuality, and Gender, and Dig into 3 recipes from vegan chef Bryant Terry.

22. Side-By-Side Photos Of What Rich And Poor Eat Reveal ‘Glaring Disparities’ Worldwide.

23. The difference between commitment and technique from Seth Godin.

24. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Even after many years, many of us continue to practice harshly. We practice with guilt, as if we’re going to be excommunicated if we don’t do it right. We practice so we won’t be ashamed of ourselves and with fear that someone will discover what a “bad” meditator we really are. The old joke is that a Buddhist is someone who is either meditating or feeling guilty about not meditating. There’s not much joy in that.

Maybe the most important teaching is to lighten up and relax. It’s such a huge help in working with our crazy mixed-up minds to remember that what we’re doing is unlocking a softness that is in us and letting it spread. We’re letting it blur the sharp corners of self-criticism and complaint.

25. From Brave Girls Club:

Just like every amazing brave girl, your mind and heart are filled with lots and lots of ideas and dreams. Sometimes that puts us into a panic because we feel like we have to do it all right now, or that we will run out of time, or like the window of opportunity will close.

Please remember, friend, that there is a season for everything. You may find that when you ask your heart of hearts, that you can only focus on one big thing at a time if you are to do it in the beautiful, soulful way that you love to do things…and that other things may have to wait for now. You may find that you can juggle two or three special things, but that you will have to let some others things go to be able to make that happen. What you will most likely NOT find if you are very very soulfully honest with yourself and if you listen very very closely, is that you cannot do EVERYTHING you want to do at once…because sacred things will suffer…most especially YOU.

So please give yourself permission to put some things on a different timetable so that you can give the best of yourself to the things that are very most important in THIS season of your life. It does not make you weak or powerless when you let things go… On the contrary it shows your strength and commitment to all that is best for your own precious life.

26. Introducing April LOVE, 2015!, another great daily photo challenge from Susannah Conway.

27. Good stuff on Create as Folk: Contributor Welcome: Caren Baginski for Workday Wellness and Ever Feel Like a Nobody?

28. The Daily Routines of Famous Creative People: INFOGRAPHIC.

29. Surrealist Sculptures by Ellen Jewett Merge Plant and Animal Life.

30. Now that’s what I call an *acceptance* speech. Amazing job, Kerry Washington.