Category Archives: Contentment

Something Good

For those of you who are new to my blog, here’s the story behind my Something Good posts: When I am feeling bad, I will often ask my husband Eric to “tell me something good.” When I need something to hang on to, to make me feel better, something to show me that it’s not all bad. When I am in that dark hole, way down at the bottom, and the mean things with teeth are down there with me –”tell me something good.”

He’s really good at it, because even when all he can think of is “I love you,” it totally works. I mean, how great is it that the person that you picked and who said “yes” almost 20 years ago, and knows you better than anyone, knows all the embarrassing and ugly stuff, continues to love you? He usually is able to give me a whole list when I ask him, followed by a hug and “what can I do for you, how can I make you feel better?”

So on A Thousand Shades of Gray, Monday’s feature is: Something Good. I like the idea of gratitude generating joy, and the opportunity my gratitude has to spread joy when I share the good things, so every Monday, I give you a list.

Here’s this week’s list:

1. 5 Plants You (Almost) Never Have to Water on House Logic.

2. Stunning Self-Portraits by a 14-year-old Photographer on Bored Panda.

3. Diana Fayt’s Painted Rocks (& Other Lovely Things) from Lisa Congdon.

4. Be Brave: A Poem-Film for Anyone Asking for Courage to Create from Jeffrey Davis.

5. Cute Pets in Windows from Bold Italics, originally shared by Rachel.

6. Reflections on Fearlessness and Best Links (May), a great list of good stuff from Sandra at Always Well Within, (confession: one of my posts is on the list).

7. Reason to Forgive | DubStep, video of a 12 year old who is an amazing dancer.

8. You’re not needy. You’re starving. from Rachel Cole. Amazing.

9. Out of the water from Lisa Bonchek Adams.

10. Patrick Stewart Speaks About His Childhood, Domestic Abuse and PTSD. The woman involved in this specific moment wrote about it on her blog as well, Let me tell you a thing, about an amazing man named Patrick Stewart.

11. This message from Brave Girls Club came just when I needed it,

Dear Sweet Girl,

You don’t have to have special permission to take a break, you know. You have done enough. When you are tired, and weary and feeling worn out, you need to be kind to yourself and take good care of your body and your spirit.

Please be good to yourself, beautiful friend . . . the world is not the same without the best of you. The people that you love the most have better lives because of you and the people you have not even met yet will have enriched lives because of you.

Your life will be better, happier, more effective, more efficient and more meaningful if you stop and take care of yourself. No more putting guilt trips on yourself or letting anyone else do it. No more working yourself so hard that you can’t even feel anymore . . . it’s time to REALLY nurture and take care of yourself. You are a gift to the world, please take care of YOU. Today’s a great day to start.

12. There’s Just No Time from Paul Jarvis, shared by Laura of Create as Folk.

13. Rijks Museum Free Hi-Res Art Downloads shared by Pugly Pixel.

14. Introducing Prancercise, just silly enough to be kind of awesome.

15. Be the Giver from Danielle LaPorte.

16. 9 Rules for a Simpler Day from Zen Habits.

17. What is Your Gift to the World? on Scoutie Girl.

18. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Tigers Above, Tigers Below: There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs, and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.

Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life, it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.

19. 7 Things You Need to Stop Doing Every Day from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

20. Make Me: Fabric Gift Bags from Decor8.

21. Celebrate and Embrace Ventures and Adventures from Be More with Less.

22. Her Lilac Jacket on SouleMama. The sweetest pictures! This one is my favorite, (her little hand!).

23. Racists Very Upset Over Interracial Family in Cute Cheerios Commercial. The little girl in this commercial is super cute. Someone posted on Facebook last week about this and added, “Whomever has a problem with this better just go buy a white hood right now and be honest with yourself.” I couldn’t agree more.

24. it’s complicated from Sas Petherick. *sigh*

25. Inside the Paris apartment untouched for 70 years: Treasure trove finally revealed after owner locked up and fled at outbreak of WWII.

26. Your Daily Rock from Patti Digh: your daily rock : what would love do?, and your daily rock : just breathe, and your daily rock : you are enough.

27. Name-calling Has Its Place: BED is Now Named as a Distinct Eating Disorder. So what’s in it for you? from Drop it and Eat.

28. Another Origami Fox from How About Orange. I wish I was better at this. I’d be making some of these, (shared by Positively Present).

29. This quote, People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. ~Iris Murdoch

peoniesonmydesk02

30. Google Poetics, (shared by Positively Present). “This blog started collecting Google Poems on October 2012 and is run by its founder Sampsa Nuotio and curator Raisa Omaheimo. Google Poetics is born when Google autocomplete suggestions are viewed as poems.” I could get lost in this site for a very, very long time. For example,

pain is temporary
pain is weakness leaving the body
pain is inevitable suffering is optional
pain is love

Or,

I am a disco dancer
I am a dwarf and I’m digging a hole
I am a dynamic figure
I am a dreamer

Pure awesome.

31. Patti Smith, We all have a creative impulse, shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend list. The site where this video is posted, Channel Louisiana, has lots of other really cool stuff, if you want to get lost for a little while and haven’t already spent all your time on Google Poetics. Also on Susannah’s list this week was What’s Inside Our “Going Out” Bags.

32. Humans of New York. I’ve shared this site before, but it’s so good, I want to share it again in case you missed it the first time. You can also follow them on Facebook.

33. Issa Rae: Own Your Awkward on The Conversation.

34. From Rowdy Kittens’ Happy Links post: A Revolution of Contentment by Sandra Pawula on the Bridgemaker, and Chic Tiny House in Omaha Nebraska on Air BnB, (the loft beds in tiny houses always make me think of sleeping in a tree house — magic).

35. My Dentist Was Made To Believe I Was Dead And It Made Me Realize Why I Shouldn’t Kill Myself And You Shouldn’t Either on xojane.

36. This wisdom from Marianne Williamson, “The kind of rest you seek you will find not from sleeping but from waking.”

37. This Poster Might Just Change Your Life. by Nicole Duncan on Elephant Journal.

38. This wisdom from Lama Christie McNally, The Tibetan Book of Meditation,

Tibetans say we should do our meditation practice “as if our hair was on fire.” We should have the same urgency to get out of this pain filled place as someone who has just woken up in a burning, smoke filled house. But it’s hard- all the distractions of this life keep stealing away our time and our mind. We keep telling ourselves, “I’ll meditate later.” Then one day you look up and realize life has passed you by, the time is gone, and it’s too late.

39. This wisdom from Jen Lemen, “I don’t want to be famous or popular or known for anything other than that I was deep and wise and had a soul that was wildly beautiful, full of mercy and light.”

40. Amanda Palmer on Creativity as Connecting Dots and the Terrifying Joy of Sharing Your Art Online and Be All Your Selves: Joss Whedon’s 2013 Wesleyan Commencement Address on Embracing Our Inner Contradictions on Brain Pickings.

41. Quotes shared by Justine Musk, You cannot truly enjoy life through your mind…It’s through the heart + the body that we get to party,” (Kagiso Msimango), and “There’s nothing more powerful than a woman who has met the truth inside her. Nothing,” (Meggan Jane Watterson).

42. Are Children Natural Vegans? by Sara Crolick on Elephant Journal.

43. This quote from Cheryl Stayed, “That silence is such a beautiful thing. It’s like the stars at night in the great alone and you there beneath them, saying thank you.”

44. Karma and Smartphones: How to Use Technology From a Buddhist Perspective, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche on Huffington Post.

45. Dog People Problems, from Reddit.

goodmorning

46. 2 year old problems: cinnamon rolls aren’t instant, from Reddit.

twoyearoldproblems

47. Wisdom from Chogyam Trungpa,

Meditation is not a matter of trying to achieve ecstasy, spiritual bliss, or tranquility, nor is it attempting to be a better person. It is simply the creation of a space in which we are able to expose and undo our neurotic games, our self-deceptions, our hidden fears and hopes.

48. Father and 2-year-old boy sing Beatles’ ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ in viral hit.

49. Let go … again, still, more from Lindsey on A Design So Vast.

50. The Pros and Cons (But Mostly Pros) of Adopting a Shelter Dog on Hello Giggles.

51. you are worthy. from Liz Lamoreux.

52. Feeding the Right Wolf, with Marianne Elliot on Sacred Circle.

53. The Big Book Giveaway! from Susannah Conway. This is a great set of books, some of my favorites! You should totally enter this, (but just know, I plan on winning the Book Bomb).

bigbookgiveaway

P.S. I think this might officially be the longest Something Good list e v e r.

Something Good

woke up to this, April snow

Woke up to this, April snow, Spring in Colorado

four hours later, it's still coming down

Four hours later, it’s still coming down

1. How Yoga Turned Me Into a Superhero. ~ Steph Richard
and Sleep: More Important than a Healthy Diet. ~ Katja Heino on Elephant Journal.

2. From Patti Digh, your daily rock : practice and your daily rock : you are not broken.

3. From Pema Chödrön,

The present moment is your ally: We might ask, “Given my present situation, how long should I stay with uncomfortable feelings?” This is a good question, yet there is no right answer. We simply get accustomed to coming back to the present just as it is for a second, for a minute, for an hour—whatever is currently natural—without its becoming an endurance trial. Just pausing for two to three breaths is a perfect way to stay present. This is a good use of our life. Indeed, it is an excellent, joyful use of our life. Instead of getting better and better at avoiding, we can learn to accept the present moment as if we had invited it, and work with it instead of against it, making it our ally rather than our enemy.

4. From Geneen Roth,

I tell my retreat students that having a practice they do everyday is important. It doesn’t matter what it is. Meditating, gardening, writing, walking, feeding birds. What matters is that you pay attention. What matters is that you have the intention to show up for yourself and have the chance, on a daily level, to ground yourself in the you that isn’t caught up in the emails, errands, natterings. It’s a way you get to be loyal to what matters to you. A promise you make to yourself that this day can also be for you.

And a really cool video of her feeding hummingbirds,

And this,

When I am willing to question and therefore feel whatever is there–hatred (that’s a big one!), anger, sadness–with tenderness and curiosity, the feelings relax because they are met with kindness and openness instead of resistance and rejection. The hard part is that I have to be willing to tolerate discomfort for a moment. Or three.

Think about what it’s like for you to be met by someone else with kindness. And then think about being met with rejection. It’s such a difference. Think about what you would give to a child who is hurting. And then take a leap. Be as loving to yourself as you would be to a child. As you would be to anyone you love who needs your attention. Over and over, this is the practice. A fierce kind of love. An unwillingness to devolve into pushing and blaming. It starts with you, now.

5. From Sakyong Mipham, “We want to infuse our day with good habits so that we can turn seemingly mundane situations into a ceremony of goodness,” and “In order to be brave, we must trust that underneath it all, there is sanity and openness.”

6. Becoming the Person You Were Meant to Be: Where to Start by Anne Lamott.

7. Type So Hard You Bruise The Screen writing advice collected and shared by Owen Egerton on Huffington Post.

8. This from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross,

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

9. The Last Day from Sas Petherick.

10. Call Me Cupcake, shared by decor8. My eyes and mouth were drooling.

11. 11 quick + dirty things about writing, a brilliant list from Justine Musk.

12. The Five Stages of Clutter on Be More with Less.

13. Design Terms explained, from Eva Black Design, shared by Pugley Pixel, one of my favorite blog design sites.

14. Susannah Conway’s Journal Your Life Pinterest board, so many pretty things, so much I want to try.

15. The 40 Best Animal Cuddlers Of All Time on BuzzFeed. Who knew turtles could cuddle?

16. 90 Pieces of Wisdom for my 9-year old Birthday Girl from Tanya Geisler. I’m not nine years old, but I needed to hear these too.

17. My Well-Fed Life: Vivienne McMaster from Rachel Cole.

18. Tara Brach: Radical Self-Acceptance on A Good Minute from Sounds True.

19. A Guide to Practical Contentment on Zen Habits.

20. My (new) favorite question of all time from Alexandra Franzen.

21. You are more beautiful than you think, the new Dove ad. It made me cry.

22. Thoughts for a Friday: Pressures of Social Media on SF Girl by Bay. We need to stop comparing our blooper reels to other people’s highlights.

23. 50 Self-Care Ideas from Back to Her Roots.

24. This song, Gorgon City – “Real” ft. Yasmin, shared on Kind Over Matter.

25. Shared on Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list: this recipe for spinach and smashed egg toast (which I’m making with a hard egg), and this one for Superfood salad with black rice, butternut squash, sweet potato, cranberries, goji berries, sunflower and pumpkin seeds (*drool*), and this cool home design site, the selby, (and look, it’s William the crystal guy on the selby!)

26. 12 Things You Will Never Say Before Dying on the Daily Breadcrumb.

27. This from Sri Prem Baba,

The process of awakening is a movement towards the real. In order for this to occur, the false will unavoidably have to be deconstructed. This is never easy. What is easy or hard to deal with is intimately related to what it is that is going away. Oftentimes, you believe that the walls that are falling apart are the walls of your house but, in truth, they are the walls of a prison cell.

28. And Dog Wants a Kitty,