Category Archives: Encouragement

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.

Last Day of Class, and P.S. I Love You

I just got back from the last session of my Writing for the Web class at CSU and I am completely exhausted, but I have committed to posting every day this month, so what I’ll do is share with you some of what I shared with them as part of my “good-bye speech,” (it is very important to acknowledge endings, to say good-bye). On our course blog, I posted this:

It is the last day, the final class session!!!

Congratulations! You were awesome!

I was watching this video yesterday, and it made me think of what I would want to tell you on the last day, what I would want you to take away from this class.

Dallas Clayton is a person who wrote a book for his kid, and it ended up starting a revolution of sorts, certainly led to a career where he got to work doing what he loved. He says, in an interview with Brene’ Brown (the same place I got the above picture of awesome kids):

“Do what makes you happy. Use that to make other people happy.”

And when she asks him “Do you have a mantra or manifesto for living and loving with your whole heart?,” his response is “We’re all going to die.”

This is similar to the message of Chris Guillebeau, who wrote the book “The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World“: make your life better by doing what you love and in turn make the life of others better as well, and don’t wait, start now!

And then there’s Austin Kleon’s “How to Steal Like an Artist,” where he reminds us:

  1. Steal like an artist.
  2. Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started.
  3. Write the book you want to read.
  4. Use your hands.
  5. Side projects and hobbies are important.
  6. The secret: do good work and share it with people.
  7. Geography is no longer our master.
  8. Be nice. (The world is a small town.)
  9. Be boring. (It’s the only way to get work done.)
  10. Creativity is subtraction.

So what I would want you to take away from this class, take into your life:

  • Trust yourself
  • Take care of yourself
  • BE yourself
  • Get to know what things make you happy
  • Pay attention
  • Notice the little things because they might turn out to be what’s important
  • Expect to work hard at what you love
  • Be nice, or in other words, don’t be a jerk

I told them that magic happens to people when they do what interests them, what they love, and even if they don’t end up getting paid for it, it will make them a happy life. And every once in a while, some people do get lucky and get paid for the thing they love, and they are having a blast, so there’s always the chance that the next one will be you.

I told them to trust themselves, and even if other people didn’t understand, to do what felt right to them. If something doesn’t feel right, trust yourself. Have faith in your gut instinct, your intuition, your basic wisdom. Follow your own heart, even if no one else seems to be going that way.

I told them that you can’t always plan how your life will go. I’m a great example: it took 12 years and three different colleges to finish my degree, and what led to where I am now isn’t so much my education as the fact that every time I got the opportunity to do something that sounded interesting or fun, I said “yes,” and looking back, it might make sense how I got here, but there’s no way I could have planned it. As Dallas Clayton would say:

art by Dallas Clayton

I told them that so many people’s big idea, great work, came out of something that they didn’t think was important or that big of a deal at the time. Artists who thought they were only doodling, writers who were just writing a book for their own kid, people helping out on a project or playing around and it sparked an idea that led to their life’s work that turned out to be totally unrelated to their degree or any dream they’d ever had for themselves.

I told them that when they are doing what they love, they will happily work hard, that on the weekends, I can easily work 10-12 hour days, and the only reason I stop is because I physically can’t do more.  If my body would let me, I’d keep going.

I told them that none of this necessarily had anything to do with writing for the web, but it was what I wanted them to know.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: Some issues cannot be solved through abstinence. I offer up myself and my “life-rehab” as a specific example of this.  The difficulties I am currently working with are that I have been in a long term abusive relationship, with myself, and need to learn how to relate to myself differently, to heal that relationship.  Also, as I mentioned just the other day, I have a damaged and distorted relationship with food.  In both cases, I cannot simply abstain.  I can’t abstain from eating or relating to myself. I would die.

by Hugh MacLeod

2. Truth: Difficulties such as these require continued effort and sustained practice. You have to keep trying, keep showing up and doing the work, practice, and even start over when necessary, stay with it, and ask for help. “To stay, you have to believe there is something worth staying for…and then you have to bring yourself back, again and again,” Geneen Roth.

by Hugh MacLeod

3. Truth: Things are workable, and you already have what it will take to succeed. You have basic, innate kindness and wisdom.  You know who you are.

“In Buddhist teachings, as well as in the teachings of many other contemplative or mystical traditions, the basic view is that people are fundamentally good and healthy. It’s as if everyone who has ever been born has the same birthright, which is enormous potential of warm heart and clear mind. The ground of renunciation is realizing that we already have exactly what we need, that what we have already is good. Every moment of time has enormous energy in it, and we could connect with that.” ~Pema Chödrön

by Hugh MacLeod

One wish: I wish you, all of us, the joy that comes with this hard work, of being who we are, of loving who we are, all the messy and stinky and beautiful bits. Our difficulties aren’t something to rush through or get over or past, but rather they are our life, they are living. Despair and even happiness are simply the weather and our basic goodness the sun, always there even when we can’t see it.

“It doesn’t matter how long we may have been stuck in a sense of our limitations. If we go into a darkened room and turn on the light, it doesn’t matter if the room has been dark for a day, a week, or ten thousand years — we turn on the light and it is illuminated. Once we control our capacity for love and happiness, the light has been turned on.” ~Sharon Salzberg

by Hugh MacLeod

  • Okay, it’s your turn. Speak your truths and make a wish.

Something Good.

It’s Monday, so it’s time for me to tell you something good.

Just a cute baby owl. That is all.

Friday Birthdays.  When your birthday is on a Friday, like mine was this year, there’s a universal rule that you get to celebrate the whole weekend. On Friday, a good friend took me to lunch, gave me a sweet gift (two actually, one was wrapped and the other was her telling me the nicest thing I’d ever done for her and how much it meant), lots of birthday wishes on Facebook (one of the top five reasons to have an account), one sweet email wishing me love and thanking me for a gift I had given that was “life-changing,” a present and phone call from my mom, and more presents from my aunt and boy (Eric made me a book with a secret compartment, so cool!).

Then on Saturday, another good friend took me to lunch and gave me a handmade gift (she’s an amazing artist, so even her cards are something special), and a phone call from my brother and another good friend.  Sunday morning, we found that the mail had been delivered late in the evening, so there was a package from my brother and nieces, and another card from a good friend who always says the nicest things, Sunday morning yoga, and lunch at Mount Everest Cafe, where our favorite waiter didn’t even ask us what we wanted to start, he simply brought us out a chai and a glass of Fat Tire as soon as we sat down.  It was an awesome birthday weekend.

Picture by Philip Bragg

Shantideva Quote: “If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?”

The Open Heart Project. I have a confession to make.  I have been struggling with my meditation practice lately.  Then I read about Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project on Jennifer Louden’s blog.  Susan Piver is a student of the Shambhala tradition, which is also where my meditation practice started, so to begin, she comes from a place I understand. She’s shared a series of videos, meditation instruction and guided meditations anywhere from 5 to 40 minutes.  Using these videos to focus my own practice has been so helpful.

Wishcasting Wednesday. This is something started by creative living coach and blogger, Jamie Ridler. She explains it this way: “What would happen if every week you made a wish? What magic might start to stir? Wishcasting Wednesday is a safe haven for wishes, a fertile field in which to plant wish seeds and have them witnessed and tended lovingly. It’s a place where magic begins.”  I am going to add this feature to my Wednesday blog posts.

A New Post from Hyperbole and a Half. This is actually more than a month old now, but I somehow had missed it.  I had thought/worried about Allie on and off over the past few months.  She’d posted she was working on a book, but then disappeared, and knowing what I know about freaking out and freezing up even/especially in the face of something big and good, I wondered if she might be in trouble. Her latest post is called “Adventures in Depression,” and as always, it is heartbreaking, true, and funny.  Sometimes I wonder if she realizes how brave and wonderful she really is.

Rachel W. Cole, and her list of suggested reading. I am so excited about her coming out to Fort Collins to do a Well-Fed Woman Mini-Retreatshop, (Sunday, February 19th, 12:30-3:30 at Om Ananda Yoga Studio–more details to come soon). On her website, Rachel shares her list of “11 Books that Changed My Life,” and you can also link to her much longer, full list of recommendations.  I am starting with “Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything” by Geneen Roth.

And finally, links to a few very special, sweet videos.

*”Being Elmo” Movie Trailer

*”Lily Shreds Trailside.” I can’t decide if I like this so much because there’s a dog and she’s so cute, or because it’s just such a cool video.

*Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

  • Okay, now it’s your turn: Tell me something good.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: They will never be who you need them to be. You have to take them the way they are, stop waiting for them to become who you need them to be. He will probably never apologize or understand how much he’s hurt you. She might never stop drinking. She will never be the strong, confident, stable adult you need her to be. He will never get any smarter. They will never love you as much as they love her, or them. They will never understand, never fully appreciate, never be enough. Stop judging. Stop keeping track, keeping score. Forgive them. Let it go. Here’s a post from Positively Present that might help, “Slow Down: Learning to Accept Others as They Are.” Stop waiting.

2. Truth: You are the one you need, you can be that for yourself. It’s you you’ve been waiting for. You are enough. You know, you understand, you appreciate, you love, you can fix it, you provide comfort, you can guide yourself, you can save yourself. You are wise and kind. You are the one. You are it. Read this post on Tiny Buddha when you need reminding, “Tiny Wisdom: It’s You.” Stop waiting.

3. Truth: You are here, now. Even though you’ve been waiting for years, maybe a whole lifetime, for someone else to show up and give you permission or rescue you, you can stop waiting. It’s you. You can start today. The healing will come from telling your story and asking for what you need, not the response you get. Did you hear that? Give your truth a voice and ask for what you need, and be healed by that, because you don’t know what the reaction to it will be, and you can’t wait for it, (this wisdom comes from Brene’ Brown, specifically an audio lesson from my Ordinary Courage Class). Ask yourself what you need. Take care of yourself first, before anyone else, before the community or tribe, you first. Keep every deal you make yourself. Show up when you said you would, do what you promised, no matter what else has to fall away. Keep showing up, taking care. Stop waiting.

  • I wish that we all have the deep knowing that we are, already and right now, brave and kind and wise enough to love and take care of ourselves. You are loved and you are the one you’ve been waiting for. 

Stop waiting.

Something Good

It’s Monday again, and I don’t know about you, but I am ready to hear something good.  Here’s this week’s list.

After being sick all weekend, I appreciate being able to eat, do laundry, stand long enough to take a shower, do yoga (a headstand even!), walk the dogs, write, read.  I was even grateful to go to work today.

My Christmas Cactus, given to me by my dear friend Sandy, is blooming.

My favorite recent quote: “It doesn’t matter how long we may have been stuck in a sense of our limitations. If we go into a darkened room and turn on the light, it doesn’t matter if the room has been dark for a day, a week, or ten thousand years — we turn on the light and it is illuminated. Once we control our capacity for love and happiness, the light has been turned on.” ~Sharon Salzberg, (via a Kind Over Matter post).  This is such good news!  It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been stuck, how long I have been stuck, once we/I open up to the love and happiness and joy and gratitude and wisdom of this moment, once we open our hearts and take that first small step and turn on the light, it is/we are illuminated.

My friend and dog trainer extraordinaire Sarah Stremming shared a memory of my Obi on her blog, how he used to hug her every time he saw her. I loved being reminded of that.  I am also inspired by Sarah’s recent decision to quit her full time job to pursue her dog training business, her passion, The Cognitive Canine.

heART Exchange Art Swap, hosted by the new web project “your heART makes a difference,” started by Louise Gale.  The mission of the project is to “raise the consciousness of the world, one by one through practicing self-care, love, kindness, forgiveness & gratitude through creative expression.”  The heART Exchange matches two people (my match is living in Belgium), and “is a global art swap to create, share & receive LOVE in the form of a gorgeous piece of artwork. Each person who joins the swap is given a partner to send their creation to and the only rule, is that you create with your heart energy and include a positive note for the recipient inside.”  Here’s a sneak peak of my project, inspired by Tibetan prayer flags, which I’ll blog about when I finish.

It’s You,” a new post at Tiny Buddha. “The one you’ve been waiting for to give you permission—it’s you. You’re the only one who can decide whether you’ll try or hold yourself back.” Go read the rest.  It’s good, and it’s true: it’s you.

I finally confirmed a date with Rachel W. Cole to come to Fort Collins, Colorado and give a “Well-Fed Woman mini-retreatshop.” Sunday, February 19th, 12:30-3:30 pm at Om Ananda Yoga Studio.  Rachel lives in California, and is a soulful, warm, and creative life coach who’s on a mission to guide women towards feeds their deeper hungers so they can live their most well-fed lives. Who this mini-retreatshop is for, (besides me)? “Women who sense they have more greatness to birth but know before they can soar they need to sit in stillness. Women who crave sinking deeper. Women who know the power of women sitting with other women. Women who desire to trust their own hungers more. Women who want to explore their relationship to themselves. And of course, women who experience a little endorphin rush when they hear there will be meaningfully-applied glitter.” Seriously, this is going to be amazing! She hasn’t opened registration yet, (space for 20 women), but I will let you know as soon as she does and post more details later.

That’s so much good, I feel a bit dizzy.  Remember when Monday’s used to be boring? Okay, just one more thing, and then it’s your turn to tell me something good.

How cute is that?!