Category Archives: Buddha

Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning

i'm still standing

You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. ~Buddha

For just a minute, I am taking a deep breath and sinking into this moment. Eric is in the kitchen making pie crust — I’ve had a thing about pie lately, buying store made versions that claim to be Marionberry but aren’t quite, and he wanted to make me a “real pie.” Emeli Sandé is singing Next to Me, part of a mix I made myself on Rhapsody that I listen to while I write. Both dogs are asleep in their beds behind me. The window is open and I can hear the wind blowing, see the blue sky and bright green of my lilac bushes and the trees above. My hair is still wet from a shower, and I’m wearing clean soft cotton pjs and my favorite sweater.

*sigh*

I feel pretty content right now, in this moment. But I don’t always feel like this. I struggle, I suffer, I smash myself to bits. There are old, habitual ways of thinking and being that no longer serve me, and yet I still act them out, get stuck.

It came to me recently that at the heart of all of my issues, underneath every irritation or sadness was one thing. And when I realized what it was, I felt a deep longing, an intense hunger to understand, to heal, to transform that suffering, and I knew that I was connected to a tribe of wise and compassionate women who could help me, if only I was brave enough to ask.

pathgate

So I sent a request to them. It started like this,

Dear Beautiful You,

I said a prayer and took a deep breath before beginning this message to you. I am so worried it will come off like a creepy sales pitch or inappropriate request — it isn’t. This email, this request is an utterly authentic wish from the deepest part of my heart, an expression of my ongoing longing to ease suffering, in myself and in the world, and to be of service. It isn’t about my blog stats, building my own worth or value, or any other self-serving, self-fulfilling ego bullshit. This is not about little me, this is about Big Love. In fact, it would be so much easier for me to not do this, to not ask, but I feel compelled to, and as Ram Dass said, “We are all just walking each other home.”

I am writing to you with a tender heart full of longing. I am writing to YOU because you are a wise and compassionate teacher, writer, healer, artist. I am writing because I have big questions and I think you can help me answer them.

“How can I help the harm that has been done unravel itself? How can I help others find their own wisdom, kindness, and sense of humor?” (Pema Chödrön actually said that, but they are also my questions). As a writer and a teacher myself, the spark for the enclosed request came to me as these things always do: I was curious and confused, felt a hunger to understand something.

I was struggling and went to a new doctor to seek medical advice, to determine if the cause for my suffering were in my body. The help I was offered, the “answer” I was given didn’t sit right with me. In fact, every cell of my body said “that’s not it.” That very afternoon, I left for a meditation retreat led by my dear friend and teacher Susan Piver. In that safe and supportive space of contemplation the real answer, the true path, revealed itself: self-compassion.

Great! – and yet, what is that, how do I do that?! Having been in a long term abusive relationship with myself, I don’t know how to be in love, to be loving, to fully and completely accept myself. The momentary sadness of not knowing faded when I realized I knew many amazing, wise and compassionate women who have been my guides already in so many other ways – I could ask them.

So I ask you, humbly and with such gratitude and love, these four questions:

1. What does self-compassion mean, what is it? How would you describe or define it?

2. How did you learn self-compassion? Did you have a teacher, a guide, a path, a resource, a book, a moment of clarity or specific experience?

3. How do you practice self-compassion, what does that experience look like for you?

4. What do you still need to learn, to know, to understand? What is missing from your practice of self-compassion, what do you still struggle with?

As a writer and a teacher, part two of anything I learn is the strong desire to share it, the knowledge that if this is helpful to me there are others who also must need it. So my intention, my wish is to not only benefit myself from your answers, but to share them in two ways:

1. “Self-Compassion Saturday,” a once a week post on my blog that includes an introduction to your other good work, explains why I asked you specifically, gives your answers and link(s) to your work.

2. When all the answers I get have been posted, I’d like to collect them into a PDF ebook that can be downloaded by anyone for free – not a “follow my blog/sign up for my newsletter and get a free gift” thing, but a truly free gift to anyone who would benefit, an offering made from love.

mettaprayer
This is the plan, kind and gentle reader: one post each Saturday until they stop coming, (29 women have said “yes”), and then I’ll create an ebook including the whole collection that anyone can download for free. These women’s willingness to be a part of this project, their generosity and kindness, has left me gobsmacked, so full of love and gratitude. And each response that I’ve received so far to the four essential questions has been a gift filled with compassion and wisdom that I can’t wait to share with you.

First up, next Saturday, is Artist, Author, Actionista Mary Anne Radmacher, (I’ve written about her before). She had her responses to me less than 24 hours after I asked, and even answered three extra questions! It’s so good.

I must go now. I smell pie 🙂

Something Good

1. If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out: Poetry for Visionary Thinking. I have brilliant friends. This is the sort of thing they do when they follow their dreams, when they heed the call of their longing.

2. 3-year-old recites poem, “Litany” by Billy Collins. This kind of thing is an argument for reincarnation, divine nature, or something just as as brilliant and mysterious. Here’s a follow up story on NPR, Love Of Words Brings Child, Poet Together.

3. 17 Essays by Female Writers That Everyone Should Read on Flavorwire. I am working on it.

4. The question underneath every other question, another powerful post by Andrea Scher on Superhero Life.

5. More on what self-care, self-compassion looks like: Looking with Love by Alana Sheeren and Unraveling by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt.

6. Zen Pencils: Timothy Leary, “You aren’t like them.”

7. This quote, “Little by little, one travels far,” J.R.R. Tolkien. And similarly, “Our way to practice is one step at a time, one breath at a time,” Shunryu Suzuki.

8. One of my favorite quotes from William Gibson, “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.”

9. And this one, “If you subdue the hatred within, you will discover that there is not a single enemy left outside,” Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

10. C the G TV. Catherine Just only started the project last week, but already so many good interviews.

11. This is always a good reminder, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it,” ~Rumi. This too, “I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.” ~Rumi.

12. 14 Days of Self-Love post by Rachel Cole. This project, hosted by Vivienne McMaster is all kinds of good stuff, good people.

13. Open, Generous, and Connected by Seth Godin. Yes, please.

14. The Willard Asylum Suitcases on Lisa Congdon’s blog. Heartbreaking, fascinating, and slightly creepy.

15. Free ebook: Living from the Heart: Volume 1 from Louise Gale, and many other brilliant souls.

16. A Leap of Faith from Sas Petherick. “I feel like I have gone from playing ping-pong with my bare hands, to using a smart red paddle.”

17. Want More Love In Your Life? by Thomas Dunleavy on Your Heart Makes a Difference.

18. Swap True for Original from Jennifer Louden.

19. More than one thing from the brilliant Alexandra Franzen, 5 ways to write a blow-your-mind manifesto and Want folks to act / click / share / buy now? Screw the sales pitch. Write a Love Letter.

20. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others…(BE Your OWN Love Valentine) from Kute Blackson. “To succeed at being somebody that you are not (but think you need to be) is still a failure.  But to love who you are and courageously be that fully is a life well lived.”

21. 5 Reasons to Simplify Your Life from The Spacious Life.

22. “Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.” ~Buddha

23. “For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” ~Carl Sagan

24. Oana Befort’s beautiful blog.

25. Safe & Sound Taylor Swift (ft.The Civil Wars) – Brittni Paiva ukulele cover. Beautiful music, beautiful instrument.

26. My beautiful, brilliant friend Jessica Patterson said this week, “whatever reminds you that you are whole, perfect, and holy…start there,” (to which I responded “stay there”).

27. “Our ‘originality’ is nothing more than our unique response to everyone we ever wanted to imitate or seduce.” ~Susie Bright

28. “Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.” ~Herman Hesse

29. your daily rock : live mindfully, on 37 Days which begins with this brilliant quote, “Mindfulness meditation doesn’t change life. Life remains as fragile and unpredictable as ever. Meditation changes the heart’s capacity to accept life as it is.” ~Sylvia Boorstein

30. 15 Easy Ways to Beat Anxiety Now on Greatist, (originally shared by Positively Present Picks). I wish I would have more successfully applied some of this the past few days.

31. A Pebble for Your Pocket on A Design So Vast. Such a beautiful post, which Lindsey ends with the question “what is there to do but to keep my eyes open, to take a deep breath, to love this life of mine, in all its flawed, real, glittering beauty?”

Something Good

Buddha Quote
1. This from Oriah Mountain Dreamer:

Considering Old Habits With New Eyes: It always amazes me how quickly we develop habitual routines. In some ways, it makes sense. Day to day life is filled with a plethora of executive decisions: what to eat; what to wear; what to read, listen to, or watch; how to spend our time, money and energy, prioritizing tasks at work or at home. Routines can free us up to focus on bigger or deeper questions. And, once we’ve found something that works for us- whether it’s a daily meditation or nap (and I admit one sometimes leads to the other)- a routine helps us establish and maintain these practices.

Of course, the strength of routines is also a weakness: habits aren’t decided from present-moment awareness. This of course, side-steps the but-I-don’t-feel-like. . .(exercising, writing, meditating, eating vegetables etc.) pitfall of resisting what we know generally supports our body, mind, and spirit. But it also side-steps considerations of how things may have changed and what our or others’ present-moment needs really are. And, of course, the ease of perpetuating habits is as true of those that are not good for us as they are for those that are beneficial.

2. New Trampled Snow Art from Simon Beck. I love impermanent art.

3. A Buddhist Practice for Your New Year Resolution on Huffington Post from Lodro Rinzler.

4. How To Make Next Year Your Best Year Yet, a vision board practice from Liv Lane. I’ve been collecting images, will hopefully find a moment to put mine together tomorrow.

5. Birthing Your Art: Becoming a Creativity Doula and New spin on an old favorite; New Day’s resolution on Scoutie Girl.

6. A Danielle LaPorte TruthBombs: “We all require heaping doses of tenderness whether we realize it or not,” and “Leave room for mystery. It doesn’t all need to make sense.”

Lee Martinez Park

7. Anxiety and Depression Together on Psychology Today makes some really good arguments about the conditions (or condition, as the argument goes), ones that make real sense to me, as someone who has dealt with both, (it does however gloss over the fact that there can also be chemical, body issues involved as well). These two parts especially made sense to me:

“Depression seems to be a shutdown,” explains Barlow. “Anxiety is a kind of looking to the future, seeing dangerous things that might happen in the next hour, day or weeks. Depression is all that with the addition of ‘I really don’t think I’m going to be able to cope with this, maybe I’ll just give up.’ It’s shutdown marked by mental, cognitive or behavioral slowing.”

And this,

“The shared cornerstone of anxiety and depression is the perceptual process of overestimating the risk in a situation and underestimating personal resources for coping.” Those vulnerable see lots of risk in everyday things-applying for a job, asking for a favor, asking for a date.

Further, anxiety and depression share an avoidant coping style. Sufferers avoid what they fear instead of developing the skills to handle the kinds of situations that make them uncomfortable.

8. Stand out: Meet Kerilyn Russo and see the power of stepping into your true role. Kerilyn has joined the Roots of She tribe, and it’s her birthday today. She is a gift, and I predict she is going to do such good things this year. Keep an eye on her.

9. Five Minutes for Simplicity from Courtney Carver on Be More With Less. Let’s be honest, we’ve all got five minutes.

10. A Mala of Mindfulness (108 insights from 2012) from Sandi Amorim at Deva Coaching. So much wisdom here, the kind of list you’ll want to print out and post on your fridge. Also on Deva Coaching, a guest post by Sandra Pawula, Meditate Right Now.

11. Meditation, Creativity & Fearlessness, a podcast of one of my favorite teachers (Susan Piver) speaking at the New York City Shambhala Center.

Lee Martinez Park Snow
12. From Patti Digh’s Thinking Thursday list this past week, 6 Simple Rituals To Reach Your Potential Every Day.

13. 8 Things You Must Give Up to Find Peace from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

14. Becoming Friends With Yourself: You Deserve Your Love on Tiny Buddha.

15. 101 Creative Resolutions (shared originally on Positively Present Picks).

16. This quote from Sas Petherick, which sums up my “new deal” very nicely: “These days I find it much more appealing to consider how I want to feel and who I want to be, rather than what I want to do.”

17. My word for 2013 is Freedom. In talking about it the other day with someone who selected Free, I was joking that we should have a theme song. That made me start with the first one that came to mind, Freebird, and I found this lovely cover.

18. John Cleese on the 5 Factors to Make Your Life More Creative on Brain Pickings. They are “space, time, time, confidence, and humor.” I couldn’t agree more.

19. OMG, it’s a hobbit house! I want it…

20. Sunday Sounds from Patti Digh.

21. 10 Really Lame Ideas & Beliefs To Let Go Of from Danielle LaPorte.

22. Some really good things are happening in January:

23. WTF Interview with Judd Apatow. This is actually old, but heard it just this morning and LOVED it.

24. This:

Keep walking, though there’s no place to get to.
Don’t try to see through the distances.
That’s not for human beings. Move within,
but don’t move the way fear makes you move.

Walk to the well.
Turn as the earth and the moon turn,
circling what they love.
Whatever circles comes from the center.
~Rumi

25. The WORLD OF POSSIBILITY Card. (Copy, paste & send to someone you love.) from Alexandra Franzen.

26. “Creating a beautiful life is your highest calling. It is in the ordinary and overlooked details of the everyday that beauty is revealed, sustained, and nurtured.” ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

27. “The thing that is really hard and really amazing is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” ~Anna Quindlen

28. From Dudjom Rinpoche, Wisdom Nectar: Dudjom Rinpoche’s Heart Advice:

At all times, do not lose courage in your inner awareness; uplift yourself, while assuming a humble position in your outer demeanor. Follow the example of the life and complete liberation of previous accomplished masters (siddha). Do not blame your past karma; instead, be someone who purely and flawlessly practices the Dharma. Do not blame temporary negative circumstances; instead, be someone who remains steadfast in the face of whatever circumstances may arise.

In brief, taking your own mind as witness, make your life and practice one, and at the time of death, with no thought of anything left undone, do not be ashamed of yourself. This itself is the pith instruction of all practices.

29. What Are You Doing New Years Eve? by Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Happiest of New Years to you, kind and gentle reader. I am so grateful that you are here, and wish you all the best.

Day of Rest

freedomthanksgivingcrow“The message is sending me a universe.” That’s exactly how I mistyped the way I intended to begin this post, meaning to tell you that the universe has been sending me a message. I like the mistake so much I am keeping it, because it’s just as true as what I meant to say.

As I work this weekend with Rachel Cole’s Wisdom NotesReset. Revive. Restart., Reverb12, and Susannah Conway’s Unravelling The Year Ahead workbook, (as well as attempting to do the laundry, pay bills and balance the checkbook, clean up the house, get groceries, care for the boys and myself…*sigh*), certain things are emerging, becoming clear.

One thing that I want to share with you today, because maybe this is a thing for you too–the rightness of being myself. So many quotes, so much wisdom has come my way in just the past few days about this, and every cell in my body, every corner of my mind, every breath and heartbeat says “yes” and “oh, hell yeah” in response.

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The phone is ringing, darling. Pick up. Pick up! It’s the Universe, with a directive just for you – a way you can be of service in the world, a calling just for you that you can choose to accept or reject. You may be tempted to reject the calling, because it’s likely to feel scary and push you out of your comfort zone. You have free will, so the choice is yours. But I’m here to tell you that if you’re brave enough to accept the calling, not only will you be part of healing the world; you will also open doors that will lead you to a life of mission, service, abundance, love, connection, and work you love. Will you muster up your courage, answer the call, and bring your brilliance into the world? ~Inner Pilot Light

meanddressy

We may doubt that we’re up to being a warrior-in-training. But we can ask ourselves this question: “Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?” ~Pema Chödrön

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Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. ~Denis Waitley

meanddex

I keep having to remind myself, and wanted to take the chance to remind you, to welcome what’s here. To not fight with myself or it. I think it’s one of the hardest things to learn, particularly for those of us who believe we know what’s supposed to happen, and that we could do a better job at controlling the immediate universe!

Krishnamurti, the great spiritual teacher was once asked about his enlightenment. He said, “The answer is: I don’t mind what happens.” It’s such a different life, both inside and outside, when we don’t mind what happens. The tight fist in the chest opens. The body relaxes, and suddenly, even if there is sadness or loss, there is the ability to hold it–and to hold oneself. Such a gift. Such love. ~Geneen Roth

me

…our relationship with ourselves is like a mighty pebble tossed into a
still lake, everything ripples out from that center point. ~Rachel Cole

You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. ~Buddha

scribble

You suppose you are the trouble
But you are the cure
You suppose you are the lock on the door
But you are the key that opens it
It’s too bad that you want to be someone else
You don’t see your own face, your own beauty
Yet, no face is more beautiful than yours.
~Rumi

purplefleecerobe

In the end
these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?
~Siddhartha Gautama

superhero earth necklace made by andrea scher, a gift to myself

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.
~John O’Donohue

August Break: Day Five

The flowers on my writing desk probably should get composted. The edges are starting to curl and turn brown, petals are wilting and falling off, but I hold on to them, that riot of pink, until the last possible moment.

If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change. ~Buddha

Something Good

It’s a shorter list this week, and clearly I had a limited number of things on my mind: the High Park Fire, the World Domination Summit, taking pictures, making choices about what stuff to buy or keep or take with us on our upcoming trip, and writing.

take me for a walk…

1. Instagram. I have been dreaming about, coveting, longing for this app for a really long time, but I’m not an iPerson and I like my phones dumb, (at least dumber than me). I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and bought an iTouch so I can play too. For now, since we only have a few days before we leave for Oregon, my strategy is to “keep calm and carry on,” because if I don’t watch it, I will burn up these few remaining days wandering around taking pictures–which most of the time would be okay, but I need to clean and pack and organize and all the other stuff you must do before a long trip. So far, I’ve only taken pictures of the dogs and one self-portrait, (in which my forehead and front teeth seem abnormally large).

2. I’m Fine, Thanks, a documentary. There are still four days left to pledge their Kickstarter campaign, even though they reached their goal sometime in the last few days. I get to see it when I’m at the World Domination Summit in a few weeks, and it looks to me like a story that needs to be told.

3. My 100 Things Challenge on Be More With Less. This is one of those things I want to do, at the same time it scares me silly. Courtney Carver is a badass.

4. An Evening with Ray Bradbury, 2001, “Telling the Truth,” the keynote address of The Sixth Annual Writer’s Symposium by the Sea. I don’t agree with everything Mr. Bradbury has to say here (like “only the classics are any good, everything new is crap”), but there were lots of things I wrote down, stopped and thought about, and he’s so endearing and inspiring. Most of all, he reminds me that the childhood dream of being a writer wasn’t, isn’t crazy or impossible, and that we should all follow what brings us joy.

“Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love, and love what you write. The word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”

5. Terrible Minds. I love Chuck Wendig, am inspired by him time and time again. Lately, it was 25 Reasons This Is The Best Time To Be A Storyteller, 25 Realizations Writers Need To Have, and The Secret to Writing, which is essentially this:


6. This quote from Anne Frank, which I share in honor of the fire fighters and other good people working kindly and so diligently during this High Park Fire:

In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness. I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us, too. I can feel the suffering of millions – and yet, if I look to the heavens, I think it will come out all right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.

7. Happiness Is Simple: Why Too Many Choices Make Us Miserable & 5 Ways To Improve Your Life! by Gala Darling.

8. The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better Than You Normally Do from McSweeney’s. This is good.

9. Necessary advice from the trustworthy, brilliant Jamie Ridler, and a whole host of other luminaries. How to Get the Most Out of a Conference When You’re an Introvert or HSP (highly sensitive person) Part I and Part II. I will be taking a close look at this over the next few weeks.

10. Summer Reading List from Brain Pickings. In the introduction for the first book on the list, Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation, Tom Bissell says “To create anything — whether a short story or a magazine profile or a film or a sitcom — is to believe, if only momentarily, you are capable of magic.”

11. And finally, this quote, with a picture offered as proof: If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change, (Buddha).