Category Archives: Comfort

Gratitude Friday

1. Susan Piver and the Open Heart Project. I haven’t had time to write anything here yet about my retreat last weekend, Open Heart with Susan Piver at Shambhala Mountain Center, but it was amazing. Other than my own will and intention, Susan and her project are the most essential elements of my meditation practice. She and it and everyone involved have given me the necessary support and inspiration to keep practicing.

2. Shambhala Mountain Center. Oh how I love that place–the land, the environment, the space, the food, the stupa, the lodges, the shrine rooms, and the people. I am so lucky that it is so close to me, all the time, so easy to access.

3. Getting help, finding comfort. A new doctor, a recommendation for a therapist from someone I trust and love (the fact that I have people to ask), and that moment when I am uncomfortable in bed, so I shift my position and land in the most comfortable, perfect spot–even better if there is a dog next to me and he sighs when I move.

4. Knowing what to let go. I can’t do everything, really couldn’t this week with Eric gone and me so run down, but I made good, kind choices about what I could do and what I couldn’t, and I didn’t beat myself up for what I didn’t do.

5. The patience of my dogs. When I came home yesterday and they expected a walk and lots of attention, but I needed sleep, they allowed for it, stayed on guard, protecting me, checking in on me and loving on me. And how right now, as I write this, instead of bugging me about the morning walk or wanting attention, they are both asleep in their crates, (maybe they are just getting lazy as they age, but I choose to see it as patience).

samanddexter

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter. I am especially grateful for how he’s been asking me to throw him a tennis ball, how happy he is even with a modified version of that activity.

#SmallStone: Day Ten

Special Coffee

morningcoffee

Half a spoon of Salted Carmel Cocoa added to my half cup of morning coffee, which came a bit later than usual this morning. Sweet and warm, thick and delicious–a full sip, a full moment, a mouth and heart full of comfort.

Full Moon Dreamboard: Full Cold Moon

From Jamie’s post: Here we are, sharing our dreams under the last full moon of the year. Take time to celebrate all the blessings that have arrived this year, all the dreams that have started to started to tenderly grow, the dreams that are bearing fruit and those that are now complete. And then, as you stand at the edge of 2013, let yourself dream anew. Create a dreamboard and invite the magic in. What are you dreaming of?

The Full Cold Moon asks: “What comforts do you dream of?”

fullcoldmoon2012
Hugs, snuggling and cuddling, holding, stretching, touch, connection, love.
Heat, warmth, fire, love.
Light, the wide open sky, space, gentleness, ease, love.
My own bed, my dogs, my tiny house, my little family, love.
Practice, an open heart, a soft place to land, room to move, freedom, love.
Love letters, kind words, stories, songs, paper and pen, whispers, love.
I love you. I love you. I love you.
I love you. I love you. I love you.
I love you. I love you. I love you.
I love you. I love you. I love you.
I love you. I love you. I love you.
I love you. I love you. I love you.
I love you. I love you. I love you.

Wishcasting Wednesday

Who do you wish to give (or send) a hug?

All the vets, techs, office staff, lab technicians, etc. who helped care for Dexter, and also for Obi and Sam. May they continue to have patience and practice kindness. May their skill continue to grow and manifest.

Susan Piver, for the support she provides, to my practice and to my tender, sad heart, when she is aware of it and even when she’s not. May she continue to be confident and brave, an open-hearted warrior, a kind-hearted and wise teacher.

All the people who’ve offered their good wishes and support as we navigate whatever is going on with Dexter. My they continue to keep their hearts open and to offer help where needed.

My mom, dad, brother, and nieces, my family far away, because living 1200 miles away means I can never do this as much as I’d like to. May they be happy and safe.

The people who first rescued my dogs and cared for them until they could come home to me. May they be rescued, cared for and loved in equal measure.

The women who have helped me believe I can write, who helped me to claim my life as a writer: Cynthia Morris, Anne Lamott, Laurie Wagner, Andrea Scher, Susannah Conway, Natalie Goldberg, Julia Cameron, Cheryl Strayed, Susan Piver (yes, her again), Geneen Roth, Patti Digh, Jennifer Louden, Jamie Ridler, Cheri Huber, Tara Brach, my WILD writing group, my Artist’s Way group (with an extra big hug for Joyce, our facilitator), and so many more. May these women continue to tell the truth, to shine their light so I can see my way through the dark.

Anyone waiting for biopsy results, or other news that has the potential to change their life, break their hearts. May they be well.

Anyone who thinks they aren’t enough, who believes they have to earn love, who is smashing themselves to bits. May they know love, be filled with it, flooded, overwhelmed, and may they know that they are basically, fundamentally good, wise, kind, and powerful, and nothing can change that.

Anyone trapped in the confusion of their own thoughts and feelings, caught in a sense of being a victim of their life, feeling powerless, helpless, or cheated, feeling angry and hurt. May they wake up, become aware of their ability to choose, to let go of judgement, blame, and suffering. May whatever trauma is weighing them down quickly and easily dissolve.

Anyone suffering from addiction, stuck in habitual patterns and discursive, obsessive thinking that is poisoning them, their mind/heart and their body, their environment and those others in it. May they be released, set free, and may the poison turn to medicine.

Anyone who is convinced of complete despair, who is trapped, stuck, caught in darkness and depression. May they see the light and know joy.

Day of Rest

I’ve been feeling a bit shaky and unsure of myself the past few days. Do you know what that’s like? Wondering if anything you do matters, falling into sadness and comparison, feeling unworthy and disappointed, letting fear and uncertainty confuse you, unable to get out of your own way?

But in this tender and vulnerable state, there are reminders that I am fundamentally good, wise and kind and powerful, that I am capable of so much good and that so much is possible, and I am inspired to keep trying.

I’m telling you, the world is in short supply of truth-tellers. If you can be an authentic one, enough people will listen. ~Chris Guillebeau

What you do need, perhaps, is a freak point. A badass point of view. A particular aesthetic. And the ability to protect it from those who, for whatever reason, would deny it or fuck it up. ~Justine Musk

Confidence is the willingness to be as ridiculous, luminous, intelligent, and kind as you really are, without embarrassment. ~Susan Piver

My enoughness is infallible. unshakeable. unchanging. Even in moments when I feel not enough. I am enough, experiencing temporary disconnection from that truth. ~Rachel Cole

We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves—the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds—never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake. ~Pema Chödrön


And then, I’m also able to remind myself that numbers (stats and such) don’t matter if I am showing up with an open heart, telling the truth, and one single solitary person hears me and is comforted, feels less alone.

Gratitude Friday

This post is a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. Spending time with family. Movie day with Mom (and Dad, although he usually doesn’t watch the movies with us), lunch and walking on the beach and ice cream with my brother and niece, and dinner with aunts and uncles.

2. Farmer’s Market produce and Depoe Baykery baked goods. Oh how I am going to miss them, but there’s word that my garden in Colorado is producing cucumbers and the tomatoes are starting, and it’s probably time to lay off the sweet, sweet carbs for a bit as well.

3. My purple fleece robe. This item has wrapped me in warmth and comfort through some really hard times of grief and sadness and depression, as well as being useful during better times. Eric bought it for me for Christmas many, many years ago. It is simple, functional, clearly durable, and a long time favorite, and was a good thing to have with me this summer, where the temperature never got much above the mid 60s and I was trying to learn to rest and take better care of myself.

4. Naps, sinking in and relaxing. The boys and I have shared many a nap during this vacation, pure bliss when you get up early and take long walks and have no plans, no work, no where you need to go. I need this kind of rest, and my only worry is how I will manage it when I am back at my paid job. But for now, no worries. The boys are napping as I write this post, and I soon as I finish, I’ll probably join them.

5. HGTV. This is the only thing I miss about not having cable TV. I’ve been able to watch it this whole month, since the house we are staying in has access. I am especially loving International House Hunters. I barely even bother with the other channels.

6. Hiking yesterday, and then the long shower I took after.

7. This vacation, this month at the beach in Waldport, but also going home to Colorado. This place is home too and I have loved being here so much and as it does every time, my heart will break a little when we have to go, but I’m also missing my little house, my bed, my studio space, my garden, my routine there, and my friends. I am looking forward to returning, to catching up and reconnecting with that space and those people.

Bonus Joy: Laughing with Eric. Sometimes he makes me almost hurt from it and I have to beg him to stop, but sometimes he’s the one who can’t stop.

Wishcasting Wednesday

image from jamie's post

What do you wish for your health & wellness?

I don’t know if anyone else doing Wishcasting with Jamie feels this way, but it’s like she’s gotten inside my head, read my journals, or followed me around for the past week to determine the exact question to ask–the very thing that I need to clarify, get clear about, wish and claim for myself.

For my health and wellness, I wish for balance, rest, and maitri.

:: Balance: I’ve written about this before, my ongoing effort to find a middle path, the middle way when it comes to my health and wellness. Instead of taking the middle path to begin with, I tend to practice one extreme (e.g. eat a huge bowl of Marshmallow Mateys when that’s not even what I’m really hungry for), freak out because I’ve gone too far, and in an attempt to balance that excess, go just as far in the opposite direction (e.g. restrict what I eat the next day or work out too hard). I practice too tight (e.g. write for 10 hours straight) and then too loose (e.g. spend five hours on the couch watching TV because I’m too tired to read or think), tricking myself into believing they even each other out.

This doesn’t work for me anymore, (if it ever did). It’s like Sisyphus with his boulder, pushing it up a hill only to have it roll right back down. I am stuck in this loop, this push and pull, the falling down. I had been thinking specifically this morning about the 20 pounds that I have gained and lost, over and over, for the past 20 years. I weighed myself yesterday, knowing I wasn’t going to like it, but it was worse than I expected, and made me feel bad, and then I felt doubly bad that I wasn’t evolved enough to love myself no matter what the number, to not care about the number, to just throw away the stupid scale already.

To find balance, I need less food, weight, pain, suffering, secrecy, shame, self-loathing, self-criticism, clinging, attachment, and more ease, space, light, love, joy, rest, grace, strength, bravery, and self-care. I’d like to even out, start from the middle, the stillness and wisdom and kindness of my center. Balance.

:: Rest: I was talking to a friend the other day about this, and in explaining it to her, I had a realization: the comfort I get eating too much or eating food that doesn’t support my desire for more health, is numbness. I knew that already, but what I hadn’t realized is that my desire to dull, check out, be numb is because there’s all this stuff I want to do, writing and practicing and studying and living, and I don’t want to stop, don’t want to waste any more time, so I go until I am so exhausted, I have nothing left.

Unless I am asleep or sick, it is really difficult for me to accept stopping, resting. The only way to turn off my desire to keep going, the guilt about resting, the shame about wasting time, is to numb out, and food is the way I have learned to do this. What I need to do instead is give myself permission to stop, to rest. I need to embody the understanding that I need to pace myself, that I have to restore and regenerate, I need to eat for nourishment, I need to get enough sleep, I need energy to do the great work I hope to do, and it won’t come if I keep smashing myself to bits.

:: Maitri: As I have always heard it defined, this is “cultivating unconditional friendliness,” (also simply loving-kindness, friendliness, friendship) to oneself in particular, because as we’ve heard time and time again: without self-love, you don’t understand how to truly love anyone else. My only resolution last year was to “be a better friend to myself,” and it was a good start, but I still have a long way to go. So many of my issues with health and wellness center around learning to love and care for myself.

I did a Q-Cast this morning, asked the question “Is there a way to do this lovingly, cut back and let go of some weight, get healthier without it being punishment?” The cards I pulled where “cut ties” and “jackpot.” Which means to me that the trick is cutting ties with the comfort of overeating, the numbness, find balance and learn to rest.

I need to cut ties with swinging between extremes and find balance. I need to cut ties with pushing myself so hard and learn to rest. I need to break up with this self-hate like it’s an abusive boyfriend, quit it like the worst job ever, move away from it like a bad neighborhood, throw it out like a pair of socks that have holes, toss it in the garbage like spoiled food, abandon it like a car that won’t start, replace it like a roof that leaks, trash it like a pen out of ink.

Yesterday, Ingrid Michaelson released her new album, “Human Again.” I’ve been listening to it all day. This song “Ghost” makes me think about how terribly I’ve been treating myself for so long, how that made me feel. I made my true self a ghost, invisible and unloved. I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s not working.

For my health and wellness, I wish for balance, rest, and maitri.