Category Archives: Impermanence

Something Good

1. Fall session of ZenPen, “Body-Based Writing for Healing, Transformation, and Personal Growth” from my dear friend Courtney Putnam starts September 30th.

2. Finding Freedom and Writing Memoirs with Meg Worden, an interview on BlogCast FM.

3. Funny stuff from Elephant Journal, Sorry about all the poop: The 10 Commandments of Your Dog and Conan O’Brien and Louis CK “Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy.” And not so much funny as true, The Truth About Hitting Bottom.

4. An excerpt from The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert’s new novel.

5. A Bunch Of Young Geniuses Just Made A Corrupt Corporation Freak Out Big Time. Time For Round Two. on Upworthy. Boulder certainly is one of my favorite things about Colorado, for reasons just like this.

6. 36 Surreal Instagram Images From Burning Man. I’m not hip enough to attend, and besides it would be too hot and there would be too many people for me, but I’m so glad that something like it exists.

7. Are You a Highly Sensitive Person? on Tiny Buddha, (and, the answer is “uh, yes!”). Also from Tiny Buddha, 10 Journaling Tips to Help You Heal, Grow and Thrive.

8. Honor the Signs Your Future Self is Sending You and Finding Your Creative Flow: 17 Writer’s Tricks to Get Un-stuck and Start Creating on Scoutie Girl.

9. A few thoughts & actions that will help you open up more and Money: A Love Story. Kate Northrup & I talk debt, cash, freedom. from Danielle LaPorte.

10. This post from 3x3x365, in which Patti Digh describes the very best reason to marry someone.

11. Brene’ Brown interview, Vulnerability and Shame, on How She Really Does It with Koren Motekaitis.

12. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön, in her book Comfortable with Uncertainty,

Compassion practice is daring. It involves learning to relax and allowing ourselves to move gently toward what scares us. The trick to doing this is to stay with emotional distress without tightening into aversion; to let fear soften us rather than harden into resistance. We cultivate bravery through making aspirations. We make the wish that all beings, including ourselves and those we dislike, be free of suffering and the root of suffering.

13. Wisdom from Thich Nhat Hanh, “For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.”

14. Wisdom from Atticus Finch,

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyways and you see through it no matter what.

15. Truth from Gloria Steinem, “Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”

16. Wisdom from Tara Brach,

When we identify with a small self, we are perceiving ourselves as a cluster of ocean waves, not recognizing that we are made of ocean. When we realize our true self is ocean, the familiar pattern of waves—our fears and defensiveness, our wants and busyness—remains a part of us, but it does not define us.

17. Wisdom from Tama J. Kieves,

When you’re in transition, you walk in two worlds. You walk in the world in front of you, which may seem stark or burdened. Yet you also walk in the world you carry in your heart. You know you are blossoming & the fruit trees hang heavy, the sun shines, & the clients call, & money is not an issue. The life you are feeding is the life that becomes true.

18. 10 Paradoxical Traits Of Creative People from Fast Company.

19. 10Q, a really fun thing that Rachel Cole shared last week,

Answer one question per day in your own secret online 10Q space. Make your answers serious. Silly. Salacious. However you like. It’s your 10Q. When you’re finished, hit the magic button and your answers get sent to the secure online 10Q vault for safekeeping. One year later, the vault will open and your answers will land back in your email inbox for private reflection.

20. The Magic of Impermanence from Lisa Congdon.

21. Stop Chasing Success. Seek Significance. from Becoming Minimalist.

22. Interview with Jen Smith of LivingLegendary.org from Lisa Bonchek Adams.

23. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook, and even more wisdom from Elizabeth.

24. 10 tips for a mindful home from Karen Maezen Miller.

25. Staying Awake from Jeff Oaks.

26. I Found A Blind Baby Sparrow Below My Balcony After A Storm from Bored Panda.

27. {this moment}, a beautiful end of summer image on SouleMama.

28. 8 Good Morning Questions that Create Happiness on Marc and Angel Hack Life.

29. What this internet addict learnt from three weeks offline from Satya on Writing Our Way Home.

30. Truthbomb from Danielle LaPorte, “It takes as long as it takes.”

31. My friend Sherry sent me this last week, a poem from Hafiz,

How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all its beauty? It felt the encouragement of light against its being, otherwise, we will remain too frightened.

32. Wisdom from Geneen Roth’s latest newsletter,

…binge eating is not defined by the amount of food you eat but by the way you eat it. Two cookies can be a binge if you eat them with urgency, desperation, and the pressing need for an altered state. Food is a drug of choice, and when you binge, you are using your preferred substance to deny, swallow, or escape your feelings.

33. Whatever Happens Next, a beautiful and heartbreaking story of saying good-bye on Huffington Post from Judy Clement Wall.

34. I want to talk about Body Positivity, OK? from Mary Lambert.

35. Here Come the Good Movies: A dozen films opening before Thanksgiving are more than worth your time and money on Purple Clover.

36. Stop beating yourself up…It’s a WASTE of time! from Kute Blackson. I already shared this yesterday, but I really want to make sure you don’t miss it.

37. The Value of Suffering, an opinion piece by Pico Iyer on The New York Times, also something I already shared, but want to make sure you see it.

38. Shared in this week’s Positively Present Picks list: Custom Pet Stamp on Ebay and Do You Suffer from the “Easy to Buy, Hard to Use” Phenomenon? on Happiness Project.

39. From Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list: It’s OK Not To Want It All from Amy Palko, Amelia the Airstream, a Vacation Home on Wheels on Design Sponge, and A poem a day from Austin Kleon. Bonus: Susannah shared two of my links!

40. Speaking of Susannah, How I Do It: An Interview with Susannah Conway (+ a Giveaway!) on In Spaces Between.

41. Wisdom from Kute Blackson, “Every feeling is a signal, which if you pay attention to will point you in the direction of something that you actually need to deal with, a part of you that needs loving compassion or needs to be released.”

42. 55 Quick Tips to Start Your Self-Care Practice from Anne-Sophie.

Freedom, an Update

freedomthanksgivingcrow

The secret to happiness is freedom. And the secret to freedom is courage. ~Thucydides

Independence Day in the U.S. seems like a good day to check in about how I’m doing with the guiding word I chose for 2013: Freedom. I’ve been thinking a lot about how much has changed in a year. People in my online community are posting about their preparations for World Domination Summit (WDS), which is this weekend. This event is the one year anniversary of Dexter’s first cancer symptoms, a reverse sneeze and bloody nose. I was at WDS and Eric was at “our house” in Waldport with the dogs. He didn’t tell me what had happened because he knew I’d worry, maybe even want to leave the event early.

His first thought was cancer, he could hardly help it after what happened to our Obi, but Dexter wouldn’t be diagnosed for another month, and even then it was “we aren’t 100% sure, but all the symptoms indicate a fatal nasal tumor.” We were told we’d only have 2-3 months with him, but we had almost a whole year, made it within a week of that anniversary.

peacefeet

My experience of freedom right now is strange, mixed, complicated.
Yes, I am free from Dexter’s cancer (as is he), released from the worry and the anxiety and the caretaking; and yet that freedom also means a direct and powerful relationship with grief, loss, and sadness, which doesn’t exactly feel free. In terms of my disordered eating, I have a kind hearted and experienced therapist to help me work through it, let it go, be free from it, but that’s clearly going to be harder than I thought. I have a list of almost 20 reasons I do what I do, which create a resistance to letting go of the behavior, freeing myself from this way of being.

Another form of freedom I long for is from my paid work, so I can devote myself fully to my heart’s work. One friend, a trained coach, helped me see I’m at a 10 now and that my ideal is a 5, (in terms of what I do, the effort involved), and another helped me to see the easiest and maybe only way for me to get from 10 to 5 would be to give up my paid work. And yet, that’s so difficult, and not an immediate option, so that particular freedom has to wait.

Fear is the cage, love is the key.

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When I described how I wanted to experience freedom, I used words like simplicity, space, ease, surrender, clarity, and openness. Some of this is certainly happening, even around the places I feel stuck.

  • I’m decluttering my work space, creating a place at home that honors what I am truly doing, simple and clear.
  • I’m clear about the next steps in my “escape plan,” what I should be focusing on in my heart’s work. Sometimes this is about having a specific goal and working towards it, and other times it is about surrendering to the process, allowing what shows up, being open to mystery and magic, even mayhem.
  • I socialize less and less, and the things I commit to are what truly feed me, providing inspiration and comfort and joy, move me forward or help me “stay in my seat.”
  • Even thought I’m stuck in some places, I have so much more clarity about why, can see and understand what I’m really doing, what I’m getting out of it, and I forgive myself.
  • Losing Dexter was so hard, but I surrendered to that experience, stayed open and present, still am.
  • My body continues to ask for more rest, and I’m doing my best to provide it, to keep a more gentle pace, to seek out ease.

It’s not impermanence per se, or even knowing we’re going to die, that is the cause of our suffering, the Buddha taught. Rather, it’s our resistance to the fundamental uncertainty of our situation. Our discomfort arises from all of our efforts to put ground under our feet, to realize our dream of constant okayness. When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment, or awakening to our true nature, to our fundamental goodness. Another word for that is freedom—freedom from struggling against the fundamental ambiguity of being human. ~Pema Chödrön