Category Archives: Forgiveness

Self-Compassion Saturday: Kerilyn Russo

I am one of the searchers.

There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know – unless it be to share our laughter. ~James Kavanaugh

There are some people that when you meet them for the first time, you feel like you’ve always known them. You are comfortable right away, love them immediately. For me, one of those people is Kerilyn Russo. When I was at World Domination Summit (WDS) last year, sitting with Rachel Cole during a break between sessions, this woman came up to greet Rachel. They clearly already knew each other, and Rachel turned to me and said, “you two need to meet, should know each other.”

But somehow I already knew Kerilyn. As Rachel introduced us, and I looked at that big smile and those dimples, a feeling overwhelmed me, a sense of “There you are! Where have you been? I’ve been waiting, looking for you!” I felt so happy, so relieved, like I might cry. It was the strangest, best thing. We didn’t get to spend nearly enough time together that weekend, but I kept running into her, and every time I had that same feeling of “there you are!” and that sense of an immediate, easy connection.

Since then, Kerilyn and I have been able to stay in touch. We’ve Skyped in our bathrobes, talked on the phone about deep and important things, became pen pals (regular snail mail, just like we were 12 years old again). She is the best kind of friend, helping me to go deeper, asking the best kinds of questions, but also making me smile and laugh until my face hurts. I absolutely adore her. Her smile is one of the best things on earth.

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Kerilyn describes herself this way, as a wife, friend, sister, and sensitive soul, (add to that mother-to-be, yay!). Interior Designer by day. Creator/Certified Life Coach of Married to a Chef, student of A Course in Miracles, lover of Reggae music, amateur Greeting Card Designer, novice photographer, Highly Sensitive Person, Searcher, and swimmer of the deep. You can read more about what she’d say about herself in her first post for Roots of She, Stand out: Meet Kerilyn Russo and see the power of stepping into your true role, or on her Who Am I? page on her website, Ancora Imparo, (which means “I am still learning” in Italian). I am so excited to share her perspective on self-compassion with you today.

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

Self compassion, from where I stand TODAY… is the continual process of forgiving ourselves (and others) for what we THINK we/they did to us, them… and the world. We have forgotten who we REALLY are (UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE) and self compassion (or RADICAL self forgiveness) is a TOOL to remembering our TRUE state. When we unconditionally forgive and accept ourselves and those around us (much harder than we think, which is why it’s so hard to maintain a feeling of self compassion)… we are remembering who we REALLY are and in that, our divinity.

kerilynlake2. 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?

What an exciting question! I love this one! My view of self-compassion has evolved as I have evolved and if it’s okay with you, I am happy to share a little bit of how it has changed along the way.

As I began my spiritual (not religious) journey (hee hee, how many of us have said that?), I was eager and hungry to attempt to understand how the WORLD worked… what made it tick, underneath it all. The seen and the unseen. I soaked up books on energy, reincarnation, and spirit as a way of understanding what was happening TO ME in my life. Still at this point, it wasn’t about how I had a part to play in it… it was like I was sitting in a theater… watching the movie about how the world worked, without my awareness of how I am a full blown contributor to it. I was unconscious to how my thoughts and actions toward myself was a reflection of what I saw. I think my former organized religion conditioned beliefs about how it was out of my control still had it’s grip on me, and while I was aware there was more to this than just praying to God and going to church, I was still unknowing of how my participation had to do with what I saw in my life. HOW could I have self compassion at this point in my journey, when I still believed that the world was happening TO me, not because of me. The limiting beliefs that doing anything for myself was selfish and how dare I believe the world, still revolved around me. This was challenging because it didn’t sit right with me, but I forged on… STILL feeling like I was still missing something.

kerilynseeker

When The Secret and Abraham (Jerry & Esther Hicks) came my way. Blew the lid off of that I had nothing to do with my outcome. I heard “As you think, so shall you be.” And I was spiritually in shock for a while. WHAT? I have something to do with how my life looks? I am ultimately responsible?? As I got swept away in the loving current of this new philosophy… I was still quite unsure as to HOW to REMEMBER that it’s TOTALLY in my control. It starts with how I FEEL. How I feel includes feeling good about HOW I feel about myself and the predicaments I find myself in my life. When I remembered this, I felt wonderful and when I didn’t, I went back to that old thinking that it was outside of my control. (Those old beliefs really do have a hold on us… wouldn’t you agree?) STILL… I felt there was still something MORE to this. These beliefs filled me up, absolutely, but they didn’t answer the question about WHY the world (and still myself) were constantly in conflict, so I kept searching…

Kerilyn's sweet kitty, Pez

Kerilyn’s sweet kitty, Pez

Not too long after that, I found A Course in Miracles and all my questions have since been answered (even in my resistance of them). As I became a serious student of the Course, I began to learn that there are NO answers outside of myself. “Seek Not outside yourself” is still one of the most powerful messages of the Course for me. It is ALL about me. The OPPOSITE of what I’ve been taught at an earlier part of my journey. It is ALL about my perceptions of what I see, my projections of my OWN inner thoughts and feelings, is what I see in my experience, the role RADICAL forgiveness plays and the process of UN-learning we all must do to heal ourselves, and experience TRUE love, which the Course says is all there is.

Based on the Courses teachings, we have not been taught love, but attack. The ego (the part of us that wants us to believe we’re separate from everyone and everything else) has us brainwashed with thoughts of self hatred to keep us believing we’re separate from everyone else. SPECIAL. Attack with everyone we see (whether we’re aware of it or not) and everything we think… that includes our thoughts about ourselves.

NO WONDER we cannot sustain self compassion for long, we’ve been believing that we are not worth UNITY with anyone or anything, including ourselves. It’s this belief that keeps us in that feast or famine vicious cycle. *Secret: To keep us believing we’re separate, the ego has to give us good experiences (FEAST) to keep the pendulum of duality (GOOD AND BAD) in motion.

That is where you will find me. In the process of UN-learning those old messages, infusing them with a practice of RADICAL Forgiveness that even I cannot even fully grasp at this time, facing my resistance and regularly in forgiveness when I attack my brothers, and more importantly, myself.

Picture by Kerilyn, taken in Savannah, GA

Picture by Kerilyn, taken in Savannah, GA

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

Self compassion (or what I call RADICAL forgiveness) is just that… a practice. It’s a TOOL. I pick it up and use it when I need remember that have a CHOICE to make… continue to feel yucky, continue to not understand, continue to believe in my victimization OR to live from another way of being. It’s totally up to me. Maybe one day I have to pick it up a handful of times, and maybe other days I have to CONSTANTLY be picking it up, hundreds of times a day. To ask myself, “Do I want to be RIGHT, or do I want to be HAPPY?” Challenging those beliefs of separation and lack and remembering my natural state of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. At this point in our evolution, we are not able to LIVE in that state of radical forgiveness (which is okay) but for me, I know it’s at my fingertips… whenever I REALLY want to understand why I am feeling, the way I’m feeling. *Oh, and If I don’t REALLY want to understand, that’s okay too… I’ll want to forgive myself for not wanting to understand and keep on moving forward. Again, it’s a CONTINUAL practice of forgiveness.

Oh, and how do I practice self compassion? Easy. I am constantly forgiving myself. Forgiving myself when I judge another to be wrong, when I judge myself as less than… and judge the world for what I see as “bad”. Practicing self compassion is saying “I forgive myself, for I know not what I see/do.” over and over again.

Why don’t you try it now… Forgive yourself for something you THINK you or someone else did today. Forgive them or yourself in your MIND. That’s all. No need for an outwardly expression of forgiveness. Go inside and FORGIVE. *And if you find it too hard to forgive… that’s okay… forgive yourself for not being able to forgive. Let yourself or someone else off the hook today.

Kerilyn and Peter at their wedding

Kerilyn and Peter at their wedding, (read more about their love story)

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?

Oh my goodness… What do I still need to learn? That my shift in perception (from conflict to peace) is a reflection of how often I practice. Practice a little, get little results. Let this philosophy fold into my day and I am able to be happier, more at peace. It’s about CONSTANTLY practicing. Why don’t I constantly practice? Because I think I’m here in this world, this dream, ALONE. That I can “do it” myself. I need to learn that I am not and CANNOT do anything alone. (Remember the EGO has done a doosy on us, having us think we’re SEPARATE and therefore ALONE.)

I struggle with my resistance to really KNOWING this information to be true. We have been brainwashed a LONG time.. and I still have quite a bit of resistance toward unlearning. There are days when I want to seek for my specialness.. where I would rather be RIGHT than happy… where I feel where I have been wronged… and in that awareness I need to remember that I can always choose differently.. whenever I am ready to. The option is ALWAYS there for me, it’s a matter of my little willingness.

kerilynI am so grateful for Kerilyn, for her responses, (especially what she had to say about forgiveness), for her support and friendship and wisdom, her constant effort and curiosity and sense of humor, her big heart and big smile. To find out more about Kerilyn, to connect with her:

Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Rachel Cole.

P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning.

Self-Compassion Saturday: Judy Clement Wall

I will be tender with other people’s hearts.
I will be fearless with my own.
~Judy Clement Wall

I have been deep in practicing self-compassion these past few days. The loss of our sweet Dexter offered an invitation to be fully present, experience the full measure of life, keep my heart open to the bitter and the sweet, receive big love from so many, honor all that is precious and impermanent, sink into the comfort of being connected, and be gentle with myself.

It seems so right that it would be Judy Clement Wall’s responses I’m sharing with you today. She is one of my dear doggy loving friends (in fact, in her Ten Things About Me list on her website’s about page, she says “I feel sorry for people who don’t have dogs”), a woman who “gets it,” a member of this awful club of those who’ve loved and let go. As I’ve said about her before, “In both moments of celebration and grief, Judy has offered her encouragement, inspiration, and support. I am so lucky, so grateful.”

DoodleLove

I’ve written about Judy before, “writer. doodler. love warrior.” In that post, I said,

I can’t remember how I first encountered Judy’s work, but I do know the first community project I took part in was her collaborative project with Julia Fehrenbacher, 41 6-word Days … I immediately adored her gentle, kind, brave and funny spirit, and her ability to connect people.

Everything she writes … invites readers into a conversation, into connection, to community. It might be her superpower, that and love, which is also her religion.

Judy always challenges me to open up a little more, to contemplate, to feel and to think. We have a lot in common: writing, dogs, hiking, and yoga. We also both apparently tend to be a little Lucille Ball-ish, slightly clumsy and adorably goofy from time to time. We both are in love with love. I think it’s the answer to every question, and she wrote a manifesto about it.

lovemanifestoprint

I admire Judy for many reasons. She’s a mom, (dogs and kids), a wife, a yogini, a warrior of love. She’s a shared project instigator, a master doodler, a practitioner of hiking, a seer of beauty. But most of all, I admire and aspire to her writing success. She’s both self and other published, (I’ve heard a rumor she’s working on a novel, among other things), committed to her work, to engaging with the world and her experience, and sharing that with her readers, inviting them to do the same.

Since I wrote that post, Judy has also begun to pursue her art in earnest. She is simply one of the most loving and real, creative and playful, gloriously messy and brilliant women I know. When I think of her, I can’t help but think of what Gandhi said, “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” I’m so happy to be sharing her perspective on self-compassion with you today.

judy

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

Once, when my son was little, he drew me a picture. I said I loved it, though I couldn’t tell what it was. I started pointing out specific parts of the picture that I liked, and then he’d say things like, “See how I made the tail long?” and “I know she has spots, but I wanted stripes.” Eventually, I figured out he’d drawn our Dalmatian and I declared it the best Dalmatian drawing ever.

Of course, there’s no other way that story could have gone. I would never have risked crushing his budding creative impulses by offering anything other than praise and encouragement. We do that with the people we love. We see their imperfections and we encourage them to spread their wings anyway because we were never expecting them to be perfect, and we absolutely know, with every fiber of our being, that they are capable of flight.

Self-compassion to me is when we turn that same sort of deepest truth and nurturing attention on ourselves. It’s when we stop expecting ourselves to be perfect and then beating ourselves up (mercilessly!) for falling short. It’s when we’re patient with ourselves the way we’d be with a child or our best friend, knowing that they are worth all the tenderness we are giving them and so much more.

weneedtobelieve

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?

I guess I had a moment that set me on the path. At a very difficult time, I’d made some truly disastrous decisions, one after another, putting at risk the things in my life that are most important. The problem was that even after I’d realized the magnitude of my mistakes and was well into the work of repairing my life, I was still lost in my guilt and shame. I believed I deserved every bad thing that happened to me, and, maybe even more damaging, I couldn’t accept anything good.

In my moment of clarity I understood that if I didn’t forgive myself – truly forgive myself – I would never be able to move on. Of course, the realization and the making it so didn’t happen simultaneously. I still felt lost, not knowing how to get where I needed to be. I looked for teachers, guides, a path, resources. I read Eckhart Tolle, Martha Beck, Jack Kornfield, Sugar (Cheryl Strayed), and so many others. I devoured anything written by smart, soulful people talking about being human.

I took up yoga and meditation, and I wrote about my experiences. Over time, step by painful step, I accepted myself, realizing that (just like everyone in my life that I cherish) I’m exquisitely human, capable of fucking things up royally… but also of stepping into grace, gratitude and forgiveness.

myreligion

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

I’m still learning this, but I think it’s about consciously being a friend to myself. My tendency, and I think this is true for so many people, is to be incredibly hard on myself. Mean, actually. The voice in my head can be very vicious. And the problem with having a constant inner dialogue that is undermining and judgmental is that I start to look for love and validation externally, and that’s like running on a hamster wheel, or trying to stand tall on shifting sands.

So I’m learning to be gentle with myself. Patient. Forgiving. I’m using the “What can I learn from this question” instead of berating myself for mistakes. And I try to think what I’d say to someone I love if they’d screwed up or been rejected or produced something that was less than perfect. I would never tell them (as I do with myself), “Of course it didn’t work out. What made you think you could do that?” I’d love the crap out of them as they work their way through their disappointment and pain, and I’d tell them this is how life works. For everyone.

More and more, I try to love the crap out of myself.

lovecard

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?

I get better all the time, but I still struggle with not being enough validation for myself. I’ll write a piece and feel good enough to submit it, but if an editor doesn’t get back to me or rejects it (a fact of life for writers), I doubt the quality of my work, rather than assuming it wasn’t a fit for that publication and trying again somewhere else, which is what I would tell any other writer to do. I’m using writing as an example, but the pattern of assuming I’m not (good, smart, savvy, talented, etc) enough exists in all parts of my life.

I think being self-compassionate requires me to value my own opinion, my own voice, as much if not more than I value the opinions of others. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done, but I’m learning. It’s a practice. It involves doing things I love – writing, doodling, yoga, hiking, connecting with nature, building community  – because I love them, and doing them consciously, grounding myself in a life that makes me strong.

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I am filled with love and gratitude for Judy. Ever since I received her responses, I’ve been trying to “love the crap out of myself,” and continuing to love the crap out of her. To find out more about Judy, to connect with her:

Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Anne-Sophie Reinhardt.

P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning.

Something Good

1. Before and After, a beautiful poem and image from Vivienne McMaster.

2. This quote from C.G. Jung, “The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”

3. Be Cool & Don’t Be An Assh*le on Elephant Journal. I love this. At the entrance to my paid work office, I have two postcards. One says “Don’t be a jerk” and the other says “The time is now.”

4. We All Die and How I am Finally Becoming the Person I Betrayed at 19 from Girl on Fire.

5. The confrontation waiting to happen, wisdom from Seth Godin.

6. Andrea Scher’s start a foolish project on Jessica Swift’s blog, (Andrea’s new course, Start a Foolish Project, starts on July 1st, so there’s still time to register).

7. Speaking of foolish projects, this weird and wonderful ninja art installation I discovered on our morning walk. I have no idea what it means, but I give you “Plastic Animal Butts.”

8. Bryan Kest: A different kind of yoga teacher on The Examiner. This is the kind of yoga teacher I want, want to become. Just some of his wisdom shared in this article,

“Most people bring their shit to yoga and turn their yoga into shit.”

“Yoga is meant to free us from our agenda,” he explained, but most people bring their agenda to class. In yoga our body is talking to us. Most people aren’t listening because they’re trying to make the pose a certain way. Your job is to quiet your mind and figure out where you should be in the pose.”

“The only thing yoga will tell you is wake the f#?k up.”

9. The Practicality of Forgiveness from Create as Folk, pure wisdom from Laura Simms.

10. Validating your pain is the first step to getting stronger, wisdom from Danielle LaPorte.

11. The Best Foods To Help You Eat The Rainbow & Boost Your Energy on MindBodyGreen.

12. Make Me: Paper Patchwork Art on Decor8. I am itching to try this. As you may or may not know, I have an aunt who is an amazing fabric artist and I have a large collection of quilts, bordering on obsession, and yet I am not a seamstress myself, haven’t yet learned the art form — but scissors, glue and paper I could do.

13. Reasons to Avoid the Beach from Jason Good.

14. 6 Conversations You Need To Have With Yourself and 4 Reasons to Hold On a Little Longer from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

15. Spit & Polish: Romping with Laurie Wagner from Jennifer Louden. I’m registered for this workshop, knocking on wood and keeping my fingers crossed that everything works out and I get to go. These are two powerful, compassionate and wise teachers.

16. Everything you could want for a nuclear fallout from Kleenex to unappetizing cans of ‘multi-purpose food’: California couple discover perfectly preserved 1961 fallout shelter 15 feet below their backyard.

17. 15 “Summer Camp Style” Friendship Bracelets You Can Make Right Now. It doesn’t matter how old I get, I’m still a sucker for these.

18. The Unicorn: A Motel, A Metaphor + Meth from Feed Me Darling.

19. On Getting (and Using) Another Chance, an older post from Lisa Congdon that’s worth another look.

20. Some Fucking Writing Tips from Matt Haig, (obviously if you are bothered by the language in the title, do not read this post).

21. How I Got Fired from the Job I Invented from Turner Barr. Idea theft, intellectual property robbery at its worst.

22. 10 Vegan Foods Packed with Protein from One Green Planet.

23. Healthy Living: Part Two from Decor8.

24. 5 Of The Coolest And Most Powerful POV’S On The Block (And Why This Matters To Your Business) from Jac McNeil.

25. 344 Illustrated Flowcharts to Find Answers to Life’s Big Questions on Brain Pickings.

26. Amber Valletta: Blaze Your Own Trail on The Conversation.

27. A Better Way to Die: Bringing together medicine and spirituality for end-of-life care, shared by Patti Digh on her Thinking Thursday list.

28. Who to Fall in Love with First: 6 Ways to Love Yourself and 9 Ways You May Unwittingly Deprive Yourself of Love and Fulfillment on Tiny Buddha.

29. Living the Tiny Home Life: An Interview With Tammy Strobel on Mother Earth News.

30. This quote, shared by Positively Present Picks, “Now and then its good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy” ~Guillaume Apollinaire.

31. Shared on Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list: Naturally Ella, this tempeh sandwich recipe from Thug Kitchen, and How to Make an Origami Elephant.

32. She’s Fierce. She’s Blunt. And Sadly, She’s Also Right. on Upworthy.

33. Dharma 101: Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. {eBooklet} on Elephant Journal.

One Truth and Three Wishes

I know, it’s backwards: One Truth and Three Wishes. That’s not typically how this works. It’s supposed to be the other way around, three truths and one wish, but there is only one thing that I know for sure today, one thing I can be certain of, and the rest is wishes.
decembersky03

One Truth: I am tired. I know I say this a lot, but this is different. This is deep in my bones, head to toe, all the way down, all the way in and all over, every part of me depleted: body, heart, mind, spirit. I want to put clean sheets on the bed, clean pjs on my body, turn off the ringer on the phone, shut down my computer, and do nothing but sleep and eat and snuggle with my dogs for days, and if I have any energy at all, that will be for walking and reading. It sounds so dreamy.

It has something to do with the time of year, the end of a teaching semester, the ramp up to the holidays, the lack of light, the cold, everything turning brown and gray, dry and brittle, the promise of snow, a long season of goodbying with Dexter, the coming of a new year, the reflecting and planning and reverbing and emerging. I want to hibernate, to sleep, to rest. I am tired.

Then early today I read a poem from John O’Donohue, and it touched into what I was wishing, longing for, craving–for you kind and gentle reader, for me, for everyone. So here it is, broken down into three wishes.
threewishes

1. Wish: “May all that is unforgiven in you be released.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful to walk into the new year unburdened by old grudges, ancient angers, bitter resentments, those old stories about unfairness, betrayal and hurt? Holding on to them, feeding them, keeping them warm and alive has only generated more suffering. I would be much lighter, much happier if I could let these go, surrender them to the wind.

2. Wish: “May your fears yield their deepest tranquilities.” I can also imagine the great relief I would feel if my fears softened, if panic and tension were to ease, if I could surrender to what is, sink into the comfort of reality with an open heart, have confidence in my natural, fundamental wisdom and compassion. I am wishing for this.

3. Wish: “May all that is unlived in you blossom into a future graced with love.” This one especially. I keep reading the line, over and over, feeling every part of me say “yes, please.”

To Come Home To Yourself
May all that is unforgiven in you
Be released.
May your fears yield
their deepest tranquilities.
May all that is unlived in you
Blossom into a future
Graced with love.
~John O’Donohue

Something Good

bare1. Unravelling the Year Ahead 2013, a beautiful workbook from Susannah Conway. I adore the way she frames the practice, did it with her last year, and am doing it again.

2. Tiny Home from Kate Conner. As someone who also lives in a tiny home and loves it, I appreciated this post.

3. Somewhere Else from Stacy Morrison’s blog, Filling In the Blanks.

4. Ira Glass on Rescuing a Pit Bull Dog with a Ridiculous Diet. I’ve heard Ira talk about his dog in his live This American Life show, and it only made me love him more.

5. A Buddhist Prayer of Forgiveness, via Cigdem Kobu.

If I have harmed anyone in any way
either knowingly or unknowingly
through my own confusions
I ask their forgiveness.
If anyone has harmed me in any way
either knowingly or unknowingly
through their own confusions
I forgive them.
And if there is a situation
I am not yet ready to forgive
I forgive myself for that.
For all the ways that I harm myself,
negate, doubt, belittle myself,
judge or be unkind to myself
through my own confusions
I forgive myself.

decembersunrise046. Instagram Parody video from College Humor, (it’s funny because it’s true). A few of my students were watching it in class the other day, laughing and laughing, and then one of them said, “Shhh, don’t laugh so loud, Jill likes Instagram and we might make her feel bad.”

7. The Secret to Living to 90 from Rachel Cole, or more specifically, from her grandfather, who just turned 90.

8. Christine Hassler’s Words Of Encouragement.

9. The Myth of Ownership by Courtney Carver on Be More With Less. I know you have heard it a hundred times already, but she is so wicked smart!

10. David Whyte reading his poem, Sweet Darkness, after he talks a bit about learning to say no. From the end of the poem, my favorite lines:

You must learn one thing:
the world was made to be free in.
Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.

decembersunrise11. On Being a Late Bloomer on Rookie, “Success doesn’t happen overnight.” Amen.

12. Do Idols and Role Models Limit Our Potential? on Scoutie Girl. An interesting idea, something worth considering.

13. Poet Breathe Now, a video of a 17 year old poet performing one of the most beautiful poems ever, shared by Julia on Painted Path. I left Julia a comment after I watched it “Holy wow. Holy crap. This is what happens when voices are encouraged and heard instead of suppressed and silenced.”

14. Finding Momo. I share this with you along with a serious cuteness warning. You will waste a lot of time finding Momo, you won’t be able to stop or to help it.

15. White Space Enhances Productivity on Pick the Brain.

16. 5 Tips to Avoid Overextending Yourself on Think Simple Now.

17. 7 Videos That’ll Stop You From Ever Saying “I Can’t” from Jonathan Fields.

18. The Work You Love is Waiting For You from Zen Habits.

19. This picture on Instagram from Kind Over Matter, for small creatures such as we.

20. Open Heart Retreat with Susan Piver, Shambhala Mountain Center, April 5-8th. I am all in.

decembersunrise0521. The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck. I want this.

22. 9 Reasons You’re Stuck Where You Are on Marc and Angel Hack Life. Oh, #3…I hear you. Also from Marc and Angel, 12 Things to Stop Doing in the Next 12 Months.

23. Just to be clear, I have permission.

If you frequently give yourself permission to doodle, wander, and be
totally unproductive, Jill, and you actually relish such interludes, I
can guarantee that your genius, creativity, and productivity will
increase exponentially.

I’ve seen it happen a billion times.

Through the roof,
The Universe

24. Changing Corners on SouleMama. I’ve said it before, if I were a mom, this blog would most likely make me feel bad about myself. But, I’m not, so this blog makes me want this family to adopt me, pretty please.

25. Finding Your Voice from Jen Lee. I can’t buy any new stuff, any more things, especially ones that require me to do something, but this always calls to me, and “For 2 Days Only: Enjoy 20% off everything in our store (enter code 2DAYSTOSAVE at checkout before Wednesday, 12/13/12).” She has some really awesome tshirts too, that say things like “Love makes us brave” and “It’s your story. Tell it.”

26. E-Interview with Writer and Poet, Laurie Marks Wagner at Giving Voice to the Voiceless.

nest27. This quote: “Anything becomes interesting if you look at it for long enough.” ~Gustave Flaubert

28. This quote: “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.” ~Robert Brault

29. Peace on Earth from Kristin Noelle.

30. Why I Gave Up Chasing Goals from Danielle LaPorte. Also from Danielle, Cosmic Radio: an audio contemplation for total encouragement.

31. Colored Owl Drawings by John Pusateri on Colossal.

32. The Prayer, gorgeousness from Hannah Marcotti.

dec12sky03

33. This quote: “If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?” Dōgen Zenji

34. And this quote: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”
~Dalai Lama

35. And this one: “A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”- Mahatma Gandhi

36. And finally, this one:

Sooner or later we admit that we cannot do it all, that whatever our contribution, the story is much larger and longer than our own, and we are all in the gift of older stories that we are only now joining. Whatever our success, we are all looked after by other eyes, and we are only preparing ourselves for an invitation to something larger. ~David Whyte

37. The cutest thing you will see all year, and the best dog ever. Eric and I had this conversation about it:

Eric: I love how the dog is clearly thinking, “what the heck is he doing? Should I stop him? Shouldn’t you (the person with the camera) stop him? Am I missing something here? Humans are strange…”
Me: I love how he just waits until the kid comes back for him.

Three Truths and One Wish

Affirmations are like screaming that you’re okay in order to overcome this whisper that you’re not. That’s a big contrast to actually uncovering the whisper, realizing that it’s passing memory and moving closer to all those fears and all those edgy feelings that maybe you’re not okay. Well, no big deal. None of us is okay and all of us are fine. ~Pema Chödrön

1. Truth: We all make mistakes. We harm, hurt, mess up, maim, wreck, break, smash, and ruin. We hurt ourselves, each other, our environment and everything in it. Nothing is safe from us. Even when we don’t plan or intend to, even when we don’t realize we are–we ALL make mistakes and do damage.

2. Truth: We are doing the best we can. In terms of being able to manifest wisdom and compassion, we are where we are. Some are trapped in complete ignorance, delusion, and confusion. Some are caught in aggression or attachment. Some are aware of their faulty behavior, their habitual patterns and discursive thinking, but are unable to stop, to interrupt themselves. Others do pretty good most of the time, but when they are tired or sick or distracted by strong emotions, even they falter. Some of us swing wildly between all of these experiences, within a single day, one hour, one single moment even. But whatever happens, whatever we do, it’s the best we could manage at the time.

3. Truth: We can forgive ourselves and others. We always have the opportunity to accept rather than reject what is happening, to let go and start over. We don’t have to remain locked in a battle over what was, what can’t be changed. We don’t have to struggle against who we are, reject and abandon ourselves. We can be gentle and come back, start over, begin again. We don’t have to give up, we can keep trying. We can approach every moment as an entirely new moment, a fresh start. We can keep practicing, and “when we know better, we’ll do better,” (Oprah said something like that once, and who are we to argue with Oprah?).

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

One wish: That we can be gentle with ourselves and each other, that we can relax into things as they are, and generate compassion and forgiveness for how messy, confused, brilliant, and precious we all are, and know that it is all workable and we are fundamentally sane.

What I Learned from My Mom

No gift to your mother can ever equal her gift to you – life. ~Anonymous

In many ways, I am my father’s daughter. Stubborn, strong, creative, sensitive, intelligent, introverted, pensive, easily irritated and hurt, critical, and funny, (what some might call a “smart ass”). I offer you these two pictures as some measure of proof.

Both of us are lucky enough to have my mom, to love us, to take care of us, and to forgive us when we need it.

I have been thinking about those without a mother, whether their mother has died or is simply absent or ineffective, and about what a sad thing that is, to have to become your own mother. For my entire life, I’ve had a mother who loves me, who wanted me, who took care of me and still does, when I let her. She has been and is a constant, loving presence in my life. I am so lucky.

What I’ve learned from my mom:

  1. Kindness. This is my mom’s most fundamental quality. She is kind to everyone she meets, even the ones that don’t necessarily deserve it. I learned from her that you lose nothing by being kind, gentle, friendly, nice, and more importantly, that by doing so you might ease someone else’s suffering.
  2. Generosity. My mom is giving and compassionate, to every one, especially those who need it most or have the least. She taught me the importance of service, charity, helping, pitching in, sharing the load, and that “many hands make light work.”
  3. Love of books, music, and film. My mom read to me, encouraged me to read, showed me the wonder of stories and books, gifted me that constant and abiding joy, so central to my life. There was always music in our house, and singing, another pleasure that infuses my life, so much so it feels as essential as eating or breathing or sleep. Some of my favorite memories are of snuggling up on the couch and watching movies like “Funny Girl” together. Even now, one of our favorite things to do together is to rent three or four movies and spend the whole day watching.
  4. How to make a home. She taught me to sew, to mend, to garden, to cook, to bake, to clean, to do laundry, to make a bed, to mow a lawn, to throw a party. She showed me the value of hard work and handmade, the ways to make peace. She taught me to take care of myself, to be independent, but also to nurture others, to create a home filled with love and comfort.

    Mom with my cousin Brian, who was asking her “these weeds?”

  5. Joy and Gratitude. These are so closely linked, I don’t know how to write about them separately. For my mom, the moment there is joy, the gratitude for whatever conditions enabled that joy will immediately follow. “I’m so happy” and “I’m so thankful” are almost the same thought. My mom shares her joy, is funny, and not in the mean, snide way I can sometimes be funny, but in the sweetest, silliest way. She makes me laugh, but also reminds me to notice how beautiful the world around us is, how lucky we are. She’ll say, “oh look!” and point out something I would have walked right past. In the worst of moments, she puts her heart and effort into cheering up, raising spirits, hoping for and looking towards that better day she is certain will come.
  6. Humility. My mom has a modest view of her own importance, her own worth. She won’t take full credit for the work she does, the impact she makes, but would rather share the wealth. She doesn’t do to be known or praised, but rather because the doing needs done, and she has love to give.
  7. Hard work. My mom is not a big woman, but I have seen her do backbreaking, hard labor. She grew up on a farm, the second oldest of 12 children, and she knows how to work, and never shies away from it. She rolls up her sleeves and gets to it. I dare you to invite her to dinner and try to keep her from helping to clean up, from doing the dishes–better men than you have tried and failed.
  8. Patience. She’s not going to let you get to her. She has the capacity to accept, to tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset, to remain cool, calm, steady–she’ll simply try another approach, another way, even if that means ignoring or denying the trouble altogether. She hardly ever gets irritated, (it happens, but it’s rare), flustered maybe, but she’s almost never angry.

    my brother Chris, me, and Mom at Disneyland

  9. Faith. We no longer share the exact same faith or set of practices, but my mom taught me the value of trusting, believing in something sacred. She taught me that there is love, that we are loved, and that we can be love, that love is worth practicing, devoutly. Also, that it doesn’t matter who or what we pray to, there is power in prayer.
  10. Not to worry.This is the only thing on this list where she taught me something by doing it in a way I don’t want to model, by being a bad example. She worries too much, can’t seem to help herself, especially when it comes to her family. If something hurts us, is hard for us, it hurts her too, and when she can’t directly fix it or make it better, she worries. It makes me sad to see it, how sad and upset she makes herself, and helps remind me that worrying doesn’t help.

    Mom with her first granddaughter, baby Jessamy

  11. Family and friends. This is what is most important to my mom, always has been. If she is your friend, you are so lucky. If she’s your mom, well…even better.
  12. Love + forgiveness + hard work = marriage.My parents have been married for 45+ years. What they’ve taught me is that sometimes it’s hard, you fight, drive each other crazy, but sometimes it’s really good, you laugh until your face and stomach hurt, you help each other make it through the tough stuff, and through all of it you love each other, are a family, and all the other stuff, you find a way to forgive. It’s no mystery why I got out of a bad first marriage and have such a successful second one–I know what I want and how to make it work (so far, knock on wood, fingers crossed).

    my 8th grade graduation

  13. Education. My mom valued our education, and did what she could to help us with it. She went on almost every field trip, volunteered in our classrooms and at school events, and was even the chairman of our school board for awhile. When I was 13, she started a career as an office manager at a middle school. All the kids and staff and parents loved her. Even after she retired, she volunteered at my old grade school for a few years, helping kids with their reading. She taught me that the path to everything I wanted, to success and being able to take care of myself, was through my education. She believed in school as a safe place for all kids but especially the ones who didn’t have that at home, a way kids could gain confidence and power. She knew an education would enable them to help themselves and to then maybe, hopefully go on to help others, and she did what she could to assist them.
  14. The joy of walking, of talking. I have a lot of pictures of my mom on the phone, partly because she’d never let my dad take her picture otherwise, but also because she actually spent time talking to people, (she still writes letters too). And she loves a good walk, first thing in the morning, or before or after dinner. I have walked many miles next to her, talking about nothing and everything, and hope to walk many more.
  15. How to be a good mom. More than likely, at this point I won’t literally be anyone’s mom, other than my dogs, but if I were to be, I know I’d be awesome at it, because I had such a good role model.

Oddly enough, this post has been kind of hard to write. You’d think that it would make me happy, that I’d feel nothing but good doing it. But to think in depth about all the things I love so much about my mom makes me profoundly sad. We live 1200 miles away from each other, and only get to spend physical time together once a year, and I miss her.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love and miss you, and I’ll see you soon!