Category Archives: Buddhism

The Shit is a Metaphor

goldenraintreecolor02I find myself constantly amazed by the color this time of year, how everything is lit up, the way some of the leaves are so bright on some plants that they look like they must be plugged in, electrified. I’m also gripped by a tender sadness as our garden gets too cold and stops producing, as things begin to die off, as the trees drop their leaves and stand naked, gray and bare.

It’s necessary, this cycling between blooming and resting, this transition from awake to asleep, from life to death. It’s the way things are, the way this works. We can resist it or try to deny it, but that only leads to more suffering.

I was watching myself this morning on our walk, noticing how I deal with obstacles. I work so hard in my practice to allow things to arise as they are, to be present with reality but without judgment or agenda, to show up with an open heart, to maintain my sense of curiosity and humor, to be patient and kind. I work at it, but so often I fail. I get triggered, hooked, irritated, upset. I act out.

that's not dirt, that's shit

that’s not dirt, that’s shit

This morning, there was horse poop about every 20 feet on at least three of the miles of trail we walked. With a puppy who doesn’t have a very good “leave it” yet when it comes to something so appealing, that means I spent an awful lot of my time trying to keep him out of it and it out of him, either by having to pull him away from it or reach into his mouth after it.

So I spent a lot of our walk this morning covered in shit. It was on my hands, the leash, and my pants. I wanted to just accept it for what it was, no judgement, but I confess after a bit, I was frustrated and looking for someone to blame. I was mad at everyone: the horses, their owners, my dog, myself. All we were trying to do was have a nice walk, to enjoy the cool air and beautiful colors and quiet and time together, and instead our path was littered with shit.

There was so much of it that at a certain point it was comical. When we came up the hill and saw the bridge we needed to cross was covered in it, all I could do was laugh. In that moment, I felt myself soften, shifting from wanting to bag up all the shit and dump it in the living room of the first horse owner I could find to feeling a genuine sense of kindness towards all of us, how hard we try and how messy and challenging the whole thing is. We cling so tightly to our sense of security and comfort that we can completely forget to look up, to see how the sky is lit up, that the leaves are glowing, to know that it is fleeting, all of it, and we must pay attention because soon it will be gone.

Something Good


1. The Definitive Manifesto for Handling Haters: Anne Lamott on Priorities and How We Keep Ourselves Small by People-Pleasing on Brain Pickings. I saw Anne’s original post first and made a note to share it with you, but then I saw Maria’s commentary (and graphic) and liked it so much how she framed what Anne said, I’m sharing it instead.

annelamottquote2. Bunny eating raspberries.

3. Good stuff on Huffington Post: Once We Become Parents We Don’t Want to Hang Out With You Anymore (But Not for the Reasons You Think), and 10 Ways I Am Failing Adulthood, and Not Being a Mother Doesn’t Make Me Any Less of a Woman.

4. No is essential from Seth Godin.

5. Poetry Saves the Day * Meet Alison Luterman from Laurie Wagner on 27 Powers.

6. It’s Not About Doing What You’re Good At, a guest post from Rachel Cole on Create as Folk.

7. 10 Misconceptions about Buddhism on Tricycle.

8. 5 Details They Cut from My Season of “The Biggest Loser.”

9. What you see, a comic from The Oatmeal.

10. Beautiful and strange things from Colossal: Flocks of Birds Laser Cut from Maps by Claire Brewster and Tattooed Porcelain Figures by Jessica Harrison.

11. Dear Mom Judging the Mom on Her iPhone from Mother Wise.

12. How It Feels When A “Fabulously Creative” Business Coach Steals 23 of Your Blog Posts from Melanie Biehle.

13. The Movies You Definitely Need to See This Summer on Hello Giggles (with movie trailer clips).

14. Because Life is Messy on Elephant Journal.

15. The Gift on Zen Habits.

16. Good stuff on Medium: Storytelling Is A Magical, Ruthless Discipline (Zadie Smith’s full remarks from the 2014 Moth Ball Gala), and It’s Bikini Body Season! So What Should I Do With My Regular Body?, and The REAL reason you’re stressed out. P.S. That last one is so important. If you don’t read anything else on this list, read that.

17. Wisdom from Be More With Less: How to Enjoy a Digital Sabbatical and 7 Things to Do When You are Really Sad.

18. Truthbomb from Danielle LaPorte, “Seeing the futility is so liberating.”

19. Zosia Mamet on Why She Won’t Lean In, Thanks.

20. May: some notes from Jeff Oaks.

21. Comedian’s Response to Criticism of Her Red Carpet Look Deserves a Standing Ovation. Her response is definitely worth the read, Sarah Millican: Twitter was a pin to my excitable Bafta balloon.

22. Sia’s “Chandelier” Has Maybe the Best Video of the Year on Slate.

23. Find your rat people from Paul Jarvis.

24. Artist Creates Intricate Mud Paintings On School Walls To Bring Art Into Villager Children Lives on Bored Panda.

25. Sabrina Ward Harrison’s Creative Space in Silver Lake, a house tour on Apartment Therapy.

26. I haven’t said so lately, but I love Danielle Ate the Sandwich. Here’s an original from her, “What You Were.”

27. Sisterhood Manifesto from Awakening Women.

sisterhoodmanifesto.jpg-page-001

28. A poem, shared by Jessica Patterson this morning.

let it go
(By e. e. cummings)

let it go – the
smashed word broken
open vow or
the oath cracked length
wise – let it go it
was sworn to
go

let them go – the
truthful liars and
the false fair friends
and the boths and
neithers – you must let them go they
were born
to go

let all go – the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things – let all go
dear

so comes love

29. A Self-Made 12-Step Program for Living an Authentic Life from Rebelle Society.

30. What Makes you Happy? from Aarathi Selvan, “what I asked some of the fabulous bloggers, entrepreneurs and friends from around the world.”

31. Things You Say To Dogs That’d Be Creepy If You Said To People from BuzzFeed.