Category Archives: Inner Pilot Light

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: A walk is magic, medicine. If you can go longer and take a few dogs along, even better. It clears my head, gets me unstuck, lifts my mood, gets me moving, reminds me to breathe. It brings my mind back to my body, gets my feet on the ground, holds both my mind and body in the present moment, in the same place at the same time. A walk softens the hard edges, relaxes tension, releases strong emotions, dissolves discursive thoughts.

2. Truth: Surrender, letting go of control is really, really hard. This morning in my meditation, I set an intention to invite surrender and let go of control. It arose naturally, those two things, the choosing of them specifically felt genuine and right–for about three minutes. Then I thought to myself “what have I done?!” I felt myself wanting to struggle with surrender, to cling to my sense of control. And yet, I know this is the edge I need to lean into, move past. Courtney Carver just put up a new post on Be More With Less, Let the Monkey off the Chain, that is helpful. And from my Inner Pilot Light today came this:

You may feel like if you let go of the reins, all hell will break loose, you won’t get what you want, and everything will fall apart. But what you may not realize is that grabbing the reins and trying to exert control is actually sabotaging all the blessings the Universe is trying to bestow upon you. So darling, please, let go. Surrender. Trust.

I’m trying, kind and gentle reader, I really am.

snowobi

3. Truth: I miss Obi. I was watching videos of him this weekend, and it made me so happy to see him again, but so sad too, the hard fact that he is gone, that while I’m alive I will never see him again. That grief only gets heavier knowing the same is coming with Dexter, that soon I will be missing them both.

When they are, I can watch videos like this one and remember when we were all here together. They had just gotten a bath, which always makes them go a little crazy. When they would play like this, we called it Dog Fu. It’s hard to believe that this was Obi three months into chemo (if you look close, you can see the bare spot on his leg where they shaved it to put the IV in), which clearly wasn’t slowing him down.

One Wish: That we find ease, that we find the courage to surrender and let go, that we are lucky enough to love deeply and be loved.

Something Good

halffrozenriver

1. Ronen Goldman has been recreating his dreams in photos for the past six years. Some weird dreams that made for amazing photographs.

2. The Self-Acceptance Project: Finding Our Sense of Fundamental Worthiness, a free 20-week Video Event Series from Sounds True, beginning Monday, March 4, 2013. There are an amazing group of teachers involved with this, and did I mention, it’s free?

3. From Justine Musk, creative badass, “those who tell the stories, rule the world.”

4. This quote from Seth Godin, “It’s not what you’ve got. It’s about how brave you’re prepared to be.”

5. “Dear Internet” by Tina Fey. Just one more reason to love her.

6. This quote, “The most solid advice . . . for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.” ~ William Saroyan

7. This quote from Geneen Roth, “Huge and lasting transformation is possible but it isn’t about striving to be different than you are. True change is allowing yourself to be exactly what and who you are—and becoming aware of what’s standing in your way.” And this one:

You can do it. You can rescue yourself. No matter what you believe about your competence or your worth, no matter if you weight 400 pounds on the scale or in your mind, you can change. You can become every courageous inch of yourself. But you have to act. You have to make an effort. You have to find a path or practice that knocks at the door of your heart, and then you have to do it. Keep doing it even if you don’t feel like it on an particular day. If you do nothing, nothing will change. If you act, if you make an effort, then little by little, bite by bite, morning after morning, you become the promise of yourself.

8. When Love Wins on Kind Over Matter by Jo Anna Rothman.

9. This quote from Pema Chödrön:

The Beginning of Growing Up: Opening to the world begins to benefit ourselves and others simultaneously. The more we relate with others, the more quickly we discover where we’re blocked. Seeing this is helpful, but it’s also painful. Sometimes we use it as ammunition against ourselves: we aren’t kind, we aren’t honest, we aren’t brave, and we might as well give up right now. But when we apply the instruction to be soft and nonjudgmental to whatever we see at this very moment, the embarrassing reflection in the mirror becomes our friend. We soften further and lighten up more, because we know it’s the only way we can continue to work with others and be of any benefit in the world. This is the beginning of growing up.

10. This quote, “The highest form of human intelligence is to observe yourself without judgment.” J. Krishnamurti

11. This quote, “Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream.” Don Miguel Ruiz

12. This quote from Cyndi Lee:

When we really see, in our mind’s eye, a person we think we don’t like, and instead of solidifying our reasons for hatred we honestly wish them happiness, good health, safety, and an easeful life, we start to forget what we thought we hated and why we felt that way in the first place. A sense of equanimity toward everyone arises as we do this practice—we feel compassion for those who were once invisible to us, and our disregard and apathy morph into concern for their well-being and safety.

13. This quote from Tama J. Kieves, “The more you do what you love, the more you realize your direction. It’s like remembering night-dreams, the more you write them down, the more you remember. The truth is always present. You just have to honor your inspiration before you have clarification. Doing what you love will make everything clear.”

14. This quote, “If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.” ~Thomas Merton

15. Go Public With Your Bad Self?, a perfectly timed (for me) and true post by Jonathan Fields, which also includes an inspiring Good Life Project interview with artist Lisa Congdon, who I’ve always liked and admired but am officially obsessed with after seeing this interview. I’m especially in love with her 365 Days of Hand Lettering project. Jonathan says in this post,

We all suck in the beginning. We’re SUPPOSED to suck (with the rare exception of that freakish apriori artist savant friend we all love to hate to love).

The thing that gets us from there to “Sweet Mother of God, YOU made that?!” is practice. Beginner’s mind. Being massively prolific, even if what we create on any given day is really, really bad. That, and having the vision of where we want to get to, the will to do the work, the faith that our efforts will yield progress and the sense of humor needed to forgive ourselves and be vulnerable along the way….

16. From my teacher Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, “We Need to be Warrriors,” in which he says,

Bravery is the key instruction in the Shambhala teachings. This is why these teachings use the image of a warrior: when confronted by great challenges, warriors rise to the occasion. When cowards are confronted by difficulties, they withdraw. The challenge of being brave points to one specific instruction—that we stop cowering from our basic goodness.

To be brave is to actualize our nature as an offering to others. In paying attention to the details of our daily lives in relation to each other and the environment, we proclaim our worthiness to be alive and to inhabit this planet. We empower our relationships with presence and appreciation, because when we see the goodness in ourselves, we recognize it in others. This form of warriorship builds and creates; it does not destroy. Being brave enough to fully embrace our humanity is how we will accomplish good things.

17. This quote from George Lois, “The joy of the creative process, minute by minute, hour after hour, day by day, is the sublime path to true happiness.”

18. Home, on Doorways Traveler by Lisa Field-Elliot. This:

i believe that light prevails. that even though each and every one of us will wind up in the most senseless of dramas where the smallest parts of our brains, and the arrested parts of our hearts, will make decisions that wound and hurt, i still have to believe that light will prevail.

Amen.

19. Love Will Find You Out by Jen Lemen. I’ve read it before, but she reshared the link this week, and I read it with fresh eyes, an open heart. It is so beautiful, and made me cry just as hard this time as it did the first.

20. 108 yoga images from 2012: through the lens and from the soul of Robert Sturman. I look exactly like this when I practice yoga. Wait…why are you laughing?!

21. “To realize your true nature, you must wait for the right moment and the right conditions. When the time comes, you are awakened as if from a dream. You understand that what you have found is your own and doesn’t come from anywhere outside.” Buddhist Sutra

22. Deep Soul Dive Episode #1: Andrea Scher of Superhero Life, an interview with Maggie Hollinbeck.

23. Singer-Songwriter Aimee Mann on Rejecting the Life of a Pop Star, an interview on Bullseye with Jesse Thorn. I realized listening to this that I have been in love with Aimee Mann for almost 30 years. This is where it started, back in the tender wonder years, with Til ‘Tuesday:

24. Sherwood Anderson on Art and Life: A Letter of Advice to His Teenage Son, 1927 on Brain Pickings.

25. The Underground New York Public Library is a visual library featuring the Reading-Riders of the NYC subways.

26. This quote, “All that you are seeking is also seeking you. If you sit still, it will find you. It has been waiting for you a long time.” Clarissa Pinkola Estes

27. A good reminder from my Inner Pilot Light:

Feeling overwhelmed? Try taking steps to simplify your life today. Do you really need that long to-do list? Or can you cross stuff off and just accept that it’s not going to get done, at least not today? Do you really need all that stuff in your closet? Or can you sort through it and make room for spaciousness and expansiveness? Do you really need that crowded social calendar? Or can you just pare down to the activities that really nourish your soul? Must you really say yes to what others ask of you? Or can you give yourself the gift of NO? When you simplify your life, you make room for more of ME. And when you let me in, magic starts happening.

28. Magical (and giveaway!), a good review of a book that I clearly need to read on Walking on My Hands. This single line makes me want to read the whole book, “As Katrina begins her month of yoga teacher training at Kripalu, her teacher tells her, ‘You are not here to remake yourself but to remember yourself.’ ”

29. 15 Bloggers to Watch in 2013, (12 are women–right on!).

30. And by now I am sure you are wondering “what’s up with all the quotes on this list?!” but here’s one last one, from Cheri Huber:

How do we end suffering?  By accepting everything, exactly as it is. Hearing that is like a knife in the heart.  Inside we shriek, no! That is the shriek of the ego devoted to suffering.  In fact, there is no choice other than accepting everything exactly as it is, because everything is exactly as it is.  It is as simple as that.  There is nowhere else to go.

Something Good

I made my best effort to find the original source of this image, but couldn't, and also couldn't stand not sharing it with you.

I made my best effort to find the original source of this image, but couldn’t, and also couldn’t stand not sharing it with you. Forgive me.

1. The Power of Asking from Laurie Wagner of 27 Powers. Laurie is an amazing writing teacher, and her next session of Telling True Stories starts on January 7th.

2. Live Your Own Life Now. Permission Slip Enclosed. from Jennifer Boyken at Life After Tampons.

3. This quote from Jonathan Fields, “You cannot create change in others. Until you embody the truth you seek to inspire.”

4. From my Inner Pilot Light, “When you let go of attachment to outcomes, the Universe is free to work its magic, and it’s a great opportunity to learn to trust that even if things don’t go the way you hoped, the Universe has always got your back.”

5. Providence, Poetry and Magic from Stacy Morrison on Filling in the Blanks.

6. Show Your Work from Jen Lee.

7. From Pema Chödrön, on training with uncertainty:

Many of us prefer practices that will not cause discomfort, yet at the same time we want to be healed. But bodhichitta training doesn’t work that way. A warrior accepts that we can never know what will happen to us next. We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe. But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty. This not knowing is part of the adventure, and it’s also what makes us afraid.

8. From Danielle LaPorte’s Daily Truthbomb: “Creativity is the difference between life and death.”

9. How To Keep Your Heart Open When It Breaks from Lissa Rankin.

10. Regrets of the Dying from Bronnie Ware. This is one I’ve posted before, but it bears repeating.

11. Quote from Kris Carr: “When we accept ourselves exactly as we are, in exactly this moment, we shift from living for tomorrow to appreciating today.”

12. This quote: “There is a way that nature speaks, that land speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough, quiet enough, to pay attention to the story.” ~Linda Hogan

13. I love what Patti Digh has to say about about making strong offerings, “Putting your work into the world without regret, without attachment to outcome, without hesitation. Voicing your voice.”

14. I want this: Walking into Fire: Sidestepping Fear, Writing Your Heart Out, and Letting Your Story Tell Itself with Susan Piver. This is an audio of a workshop with three of my favorite women–Jennifer Louden, Susan Piver, and Patti Digh, “a heart-expanding, writing refreshing day bursting with learning, craft, and creativity.” This whole site BetterListen! has lots of good stuff available.

15. Sas Petherick launched her new site, her new venture. You can download her beautiful book, Body Stories, for free! Keep an eye on this one. She’s going to do some amazing things.

16. 21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity, ” People aren’t always awful. Sometimes, they’re maybe even just a little bit wonderful.” And 26 Moments That Restored Our Faith In Humanity This Year.

17. This quote: “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.” ~Mary Oliver

18. Celebrating Consciousness with Patti Digh, Author and Master Teacher on the Daily Own.

19. Love Apocalypse. I found this site after watching a video Jen Lemen made, Thoughts On Newtown and the End of the World as We Know It.

20. Aimee Mann puts on one of the best Christmas shows ever. Sadly, she’s not doing it this year, but she shared this video (a compilation of videos made to play during her previous shows).

21. 46 Reasons Why My Three Year Old Might be Freaking Out. You don’t have to be a parent to get why this is so funny, (thanks to Susannah Conway for this link).

22. Beautiful pictures by Kevin Russ, (thanks to Susannah Conway for this link).

23. A New Year’s Ritual. Andrea Scher always has the best New Year’s prompts, and this year she shares them in a series of videos, (it’s a total bonus that she’s also super cute).

24. This quote: “Grief is not a disorder, a disease or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity, the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.” ~Earl Grollman

Day of Rest

freedomthanksgivingcrow“The message is sending me a universe.” That’s exactly how I mistyped the way I intended to begin this post, meaning to tell you that the universe has been sending me a message. I like the mistake so much I am keeping it, because it’s just as true as what I meant to say.

As I work this weekend with Rachel Cole’s Wisdom NotesReset. Revive. Restart., Reverb12, and Susannah Conway’s Unravelling The Year Ahead workbook, (as well as attempting to do the laundry, pay bills and balance the checkbook, clean up the house, get groceries, care for the boys and myself…*sigh*), certain things are emerging, becoming clear.

One thing that I want to share with you today, because maybe this is a thing for you too–the rightness of being myself. So many quotes, so much wisdom has come my way in just the past few days about this, and every cell in my body, every corner of my mind, every breath and heartbeat says “yes” and “oh, hell yeah” in response.

babyme

The phone is ringing, darling. Pick up. Pick up! It’s the Universe, with a directive just for you – a way you can be of service in the world, a calling just for you that you can choose to accept or reject. You may be tempted to reject the calling, because it’s likely to feel scary and push you out of your comfort zone. You have free will, so the choice is yours. But I’m here to tell you that if you’re brave enough to accept the calling, not only will you be part of healing the world; you will also open doors that will lead you to a life of mission, service, abundance, love, connection, and work you love. Will you muster up your courage, answer the call, and bring your brilliance into the world? ~Inner Pilot Light

meanddressy

We may doubt that we’re up to being a warrior-in-training. But we can ask ourselves this question: “Do I prefer to grow up and relate to life directly, or do I choose to live and die in fear?” ~Pema Chödrön

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Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. ~Denis Waitley

meanddex

I keep having to remind myself, and wanted to take the chance to remind you, to welcome what’s here. To not fight with myself or it. I think it’s one of the hardest things to learn, particularly for those of us who believe we know what’s supposed to happen, and that we could do a better job at controlling the immediate universe!

Krishnamurti, the great spiritual teacher was once asked about his enlightenment. He said, “The answer is: I don’t mind what happens.” It’s such a different life, both inside and outside, when we don’t mind what happens. The tight fist in the chest opens. The body relaxes, and suddenly, even if there is sadness or loss, there is the ability to hold it–and to hold oneself. Such a gift. Such love. ~Geneen Roth

me

…our relationship with ourselves is like a mighty pebble tossed into a
still lake, everything ripples out from that center point. ~Rachel Cole

You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. ~Buddha

scribble

You suppose you are the trouble
But you are the cure
You suppose you are the lock on the door
But you are the key that opens it
It’s too bad that you want to be someone else
You don’t see your own face, your own beauty
Yet, no face is more beautiful than yours.
~Rumi

purplefleecerobe

In the end
these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you live?
How deeply did you let go?
~Siddhartha Gautama

superhero earth necklace made by andrea scher, a gift to myself

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.
~John O’Donohue

Book Writing Saturday

Sometimes writing is a lot like the way my mind works when I am walking with my dogs–a collection of random thoughts, a flood of images and phrases, moments of amazement and suffering, even of boredom. If these things are connected at all, it’s by the crazy maze my heart makes, the pattern of my breath, a map written in the blood ink of a warrior and traveled in dreams, both awake and asleep, only making sense in a way that’s beyond any language, but is still so completely true and knowable, tangible.

Walking with Dexter today, it was both an entirely new walk and every walk we’d ever taken. We were together and alone, completely connected in some moments, while in others we were limited to our ability to physically connect. I remembered, anticipated the grief that comes from one of us losing that physical reality, that body that can be known, seen and touched, and how when love loses its ability to attach to that, that reference point, that thing that can be held, we can become confused, lost, believing (wrongly so) that love goes with the body, that it ends there, with that physical separation. I spend now, this walk, memorizing his body, the way he moves, his soft fur with all it’s amazing colors, how serious he is about the walking but at the same time how much joy he feels doing it, the way he looks at me, his smile, his shadow, but also knowing that when that body is gone, the love we have will remain.

I stepped in poop while we were walking. It made me think, “when you don’t clean up after your dog, someone else will step in it.” It made me laugh, because that’s true about life in general, the choices we make: if you don’t clean up your mess, don’t tend to your shit, it will become someone else’s problem. Then when I got home and was cleaning up our own yard, actively dealing with my own shit, I managed to step in another pile, “my own” mess. If I continue with the metaphor, I’m not quite sure what that means–even when you are dealing with your issues, cleaning up after yourself, you might still get dirty, get hurt?

And later, inside, a post on Facebook from Your Inner Pilot Light, which said:

Love feels crazy vulnerable, doesn’t it? Love can drop you to your knees. Love can break your heart. Love can crush you if you let it. But what’s the alternative? Closing your heart? Shutting out love? Choosing fear instead? Nope. I know you, precious. And you know better. You know that love can also open you up. Love can make you giddy. Love leaves you feeling radically alive. Love improves your health. Love connects you, not just to other people, but to me, to Source. Love is the antidote to fear. What do you choose, darling?

I choose love, always love, which guarantees that I’ll be hurt. Maybe that’s the point, the pattern, the message of all the random thoughts, the moments big and small, the piles of shit, the love and the loss–life is beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible, but keep your heart open anyway, surrender to what is, stay awake, experience all of it. This is the way to live, to be fully alive. Of course, Dexter already knows all of this.

Something Good

1. Message from my Inner Pilot Light:

In case you forgot, my love, The Universe doesn’t need you to be in control. I swear. It’s handled. All is well. You can relax now. Stop wrangling your life like it’s an unruly animal. Life doesn’t have to be that hard. Instead, set goals but release attachment to outcomes. Trust the process. Let go of the handle. Surrender to the river of life. Watch for signs. Let yourself be guided. Know that everything is a gift, every crossroads is divinely placed in your path, and the way will be made apparent, if only you pay attention.

2. Wisdom Notes for a Well-Fed Holiday from Rachel Cole. I signed up because as I’ve said before I love everything Rachel does. Meeting her, working with her was a pivotal moment in my life, and she’s creating some especially powerful stuff right now.

3. This poem says everything you need to know.

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.
Until now.
~David Whyte

4. This quote from Wayne Dyer: “Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.”

5. The Willingness to Think Differently from Leo Babauta on Zen Habits.

6. Child’s Own Studio. This one has made my list before, but it’s worth another mention. I was reminded of it this week when someone posted a link to the studio’s Flickr gallery.

7. Positively Present’s 30 day gratitude photo challenge. I’m not doing it, but I wish I had time to because it looks really fun.

8. The Power of the Pause by Courtney Carver on Be More With Less. She really is one of my favorite bloggers. I want to grow up to be just like her.

9. 3 Destructive Work Habits That Can Drain the Energy Right Out of You on the Positivity Blog. I am guilty of all three in my paid work, even sometimes in my heart’s work.

10. Ethiopian kids hack OLPCs in 5 months with zero instruction. This is so cool. Just another reason why you should help me raise $1000 dollars for Charity:Water. These kids could save us, but first we might need to save them = clean drinking water.

11.This quote from Reggie Ray:

Because it is who we are, spirituality is not something that we need to seek outside of ourselves. In a way, it is not even something that we can gain or attain. Rather, it is the depth and subtlety of our person and of our experience that we gradually uncover. Religious traditions are usually necessary for providing an understanding of our inborn potential and for showing us how to realize it. But when they claim proprietary ownership of that which we seek, they betray themselves and get in our way.

12. All. In. This. Together. Sandy, The Elections, and Everything After. by Ethen Nichtern.

13. I told you last week how much I love the blog 3x3x365. This post, all three of the entries, is/are so beautiful, each in their own distinct way.

14. Three amazing women, generously and bravely sharing their stories: In Praise of Zoloft by Rachel Cole, On anxiety, panic attacks and being brave by Andrea Scher, and this is my anxiety story by Kelly Rae Roberts.

15. 12 Unconventional Habits of Highly Productive People on Marc and Angel Hack Life. I’m not sure if this is a very good title, or maybe it’s just me–even the word “productive” makes me tired. I almost didn’t read it, but it’s such a good list. #1 is Meditate.

16. finding beauty amidst disaster from Positively Present. She ends with a really good list of beautiful things you can do.

Something Good

1. Conceptual art by Rune Guneriussen.

2. Future Me, write an email to your future self.

3. Why You Absolutely, Positively Have to Share Your Gifts from Ken on Paper. His story sounds so much like mine.

4. Big news. Two books. And … the future. Love Alex Franzen’s new site design, and can’t wait for a book from her. She’s wicked smart.

5. From Courtney Carver at Be More With Less:  5 Steps to Eliminate Clutter and Your Vote Doesn’t Count. Seriously badass, there’s just no other way to describe her.

6. 15 Things I’m Happier Without by Miss Minimalist.

7. Maybe the most beautiful blog: 3x3x365 It will make you laugh, it will make you cry.

8. You know you are a design nerd when this excites you: Subtle Patterns. Tilable textured patterns, free to use.

9. Nebraska third grader dresses ‘in character’ every day for school. I pray that life doesn’t ruin this girl, because she’s amazing.

10. Two important messages from my Inner Pilot Light:

In a Doing culture, it’s easy to forget the value of Being. But your soul is not here on this earth to DO anything. It’s here to BE something. When you’re so busy Doing, sometimes you forget to just BE. So please – do me a favor – take some time. Get quiet. Retreat. Pull back. Do less. BE more.

And,

Oh honey. Why the punching bag? Why must you beat yourself up so
fiercely when all I see is this precious being I only want to hug? If only you could see what I see, you would realize that, when you let your Gremlins go bananas in your mind, you hurt not just yourself but everyone you love. Instead, let me give you a heaping helping of just what the doctor ordered. (((((((((((((((((Jill Salahub))))))))))))))))))) Love is all you need.

11. 30 Simple Ways to Simplify Your Life from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

12. Five Tactics Bloggers Can Steal from Fiction Writers from Cynthia Morris at Original Impulse.

13. How To Reduce Fear & Anxiety About Disease & Death – Part 4 from Lissa Rankin.

14. One cool way to figure out what your badass life is about from creative badass Justine Musk.

15. 99 Life Hacks to make your life easier! Give yourself some time to look at these. They will make you laugh, and I guarantee you’ll want to try some of them.

16. How I Followed My Passion and Escaped the 9 to 5 by Dani Dipirro of Positively Present, one of my favorite blogs. I want to go to there…

17. The Science of Dogs from Doghouse Diaries. This made me laugh out loud.

18. The emergency compliment. This could come in handy. The one I just got was “Your sneezes sound like angels giggling.” Why, thank you.