Category Archives: Inspiration

#reverb13: Day Ten

reverb13Reberb13 prompt: “Living life on auto-pilot can feel disorienting and dull. How did you cultivate a life worth loving during 2013? How can you turn off your auto-pilot button in 2014?”

I aspire to be awake and present as often as possible. However, there were ways this past year in which I was clearly disconnected, specifically from my body, and thus from the present moment. Yoga helps me to stay grounded in my body, attached to my breath. It reinforces a sense of “I’m here, right here in this body, in this moment, breathing in and out.” I feel present, and free without feeling unhinged — connected and grounded, free but in my body on the earth. Nia and walking my dogs does this too, and meditation. Intuitive eating also keeps me connected but free.

Project Reverb prompt: “Inspiration | What inspired you this year?  How do you think this will impact the year to come?”

Yesterday, I talked about “who” inspired me, today it’s “what.” I was inspired by projects like Kid President and Why We Rescue, along with creative practices, making something simply for the joy of making it. And music, poetry, and story always inspire me, people like Mary Lambert, Maya Stein, and Anne Lamott showing up and telling the truth, making a brilliant mess.

Besottment Reverb 2013 prompt: “Was there anything you were feeling nostalgic for in 2013? Anything that you were feeling nostalgic for? Something you were yearning for from your past? A memory that wouldn’t leave you, or tradition that you wish you could continue?”

I almost always feel nostalgia for time at the beach, summers in Oregon, dinners at The Farm, but the thing I thought of this morning that had me in tears, which means it’s the real deal, is that I am nostalgic for a time before I was so aware of what can go wrong, the depth of loss and grief, a naive time when I thought love was safe.

#reverb13: Day Nine

reverb13Reverb13 prompt: “Who inspired you in 2013? And why? What gifts did they give you? And how will you carry these forward in to 2014?”

I was and continue to be inspired by women who are doing the work I aspire to do myself. They are supporting people, mostly women, in a journey of recovering themselves — their creativity, power, confidence, authority, voice, joy, LIFE. The ones I’ve paid specific attention to this year are Susan Piver, Andrea Scher, Rachel Cole, and Laurie Wagner.

I felt like I was able to get a closer look this year at how they do what they do, how they move through the world, was able to spend time in person with each one of them. I noticed common themes of being flexible, being creative, having genuine compassion for others, practicing self-compassion, having a desire to serve, having authentic presence, maintaining healthy boundaries, being willing to process and attend to their own stuff, having a wish for security and making a meaningful offering rather than seeking fame, and honoring their own truth, needs, desires, and limitations. What I have learned from them will save me so much heartache in the future, but also enable me to experience more joy. I will go more gently, have more patience, savor the process.

Project Reverb Prompt: “Surprise | What surprised you the most this year?”

I have undergone a paradigm shift, and the new view has left me gobsmacked. I used to think that the way life worked was I would please others, provide what they needed, and in turn they would be so filled with love and gratitude that they would give me what I needed. That was the transaction. And yet, there were all sorts of opportunities for that interaction to break down — I was maybe guessing at what others wanted or needed and I’d get it wrong, or the other might not know what they needed and even if they thought they knew and told me, they might receive it and it doesn’t go how they imagined, they might respond with “meh…that doesn’t do it for me,” and I would have failed again. Or even if I managed to give another what they needed, and they felt love and gratitude, it might end there. They might not understand that they are supposed to give me anything in return, or they might just decide not to. Or, they might try and find themselves in the very dilemma I faced.

It was a flawed system in so many ways, but I attempted to live like that for so long, believing I had to perform, to earn what I needed, that someone else had to provide what I wanted, give me permission to have what I wanted or needed. Clearly I had to shift to taking care of myself.

The surprise is that I can be who I am. I can want what I want, have what I want, savor and enjoy it without feeling guilt or shame. I am allowed pleasure and joy and delight, and I don’t have to suffer to earn it. It is not a reward for how hard I’ve worked. I don’t have to earn the right to be here, to take up space and have a voice. I don’t have to wait for permission. I don’t need to apologize for myself. I can live my life responding to what I’m hungry for, rather than pleasing others, attempting to meet their demands and expectations. And, it is actually in this way, self-centered, that I can offer my best, be of true benefit. Kinda blows your mind, doesn’t it?

Something Good

dexterishome

I interrupt this regularly scheduled post for a Dexter update: He’s home! We got to bring him home last night. He’s feeling better, eating small bland meals while his tummy heals, taking medication to help the process, and his nose has stopped bleeding. He slept peacefully last night, went on a short walk this morning, and is taking a break right now in his bed after playing with me and his Little D. I’m so glad to have him home and that he’s feeling better, even as I remain aware that he still has terminal cancer.

Now I return you to your regularly schedule programming…

1. 25 Animals Who Can’t Stop Smiling on BuzzFeed.

2. This from Pema Chödrön, “Choosing to cultivate love rather than anger might just be what it takes to save the planet from extinction.”

3. The Cultivation of Compassion on Elephant Journal.

4. Simply Perfect Food on Be More with Less.

5. 40 Inspiring Workspaces Of The Famously Creative on BuzzFeed. Looking at these revealed that I am drawn to messy, booklined spaces.

6. Recipes I want to try: Avocado Pesto Pasta, Cinnamon Sweet Potato & Kale Delight, how to make chicken stock (and my mum’s chicken soup), Avocado Tempah BLT, and Melissa Clark’s Chicken Curry with Sweet Potatoes.

7. 10 Snack Foods That Have Gone Too Far on HelloGiggles.

8. This, from Henry Miller, “The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself,” i.e. why I don’t need to travel to have a full life.

9. Dog Loves Cat: A Love Story in Letters, a photo essay.

10. This from Tara Brach, “We are born with a beautiful open spirit, alive with innocence and resilience. But we bring this goodness into a difficult world.”

11. 10 Mindful Folks on Instagram to Follow—& Uplift & Awaken your Every Day on Elephant Journal.

12. 10 Signs Your Friend is Toxic from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

13. This from Frederick Buechner, “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” This reminds me of my mantra (so much so, it’s kind of freaky, since I don’t remember ever hearing the his quote before, but it’s so similar): Life is beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible–keep your heart open.

14. Industrial-Edged Chic in Rotterdam. This was first shared by SF Girl by Bay. If I can’t have the converted waffle factory in France, I want to live here. The colors and materials and light of the kitchen are especially dreamy.

15. An Open Letter to Employers on Create as Folk. Amen, Laura Simms.

16. This from Geneen Roth,

Here is my thought for the day: when you’re tired, rest.

I know that sounds ridiculously simple, but I’ve been watching how difficult it is for me to stop. The adrenaline rush of pushing and moving and going past my limits is so familiar. Rest is radical. Stillness. Stopping. Taking five minutes a few times a day to stop everything, breathe, rest. Let out bodies catch up with themselves.

You’re allowed to stop. You’re allowed to rest. You’re allowed to be “unproductive” and not do one thing that looks useful to anyone else. See what happens.

17. This from Your Inner Pilot Light, “Come home, my dear. You keep looking for the answers in books, gurus, therapists, your best friend, or church. And sure- glean what you can from the outside world. But when you find yourself still confused and tired of seeking guidance out there, come back to me. I have the answers, if only you’ll get quiet and listen.”

18. This from Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata, “With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.”

19. The Real You By Tara Sophia Mohr on Maria Shriver’s blog, shared first by Hannah Marcotti. In which Tara writes this,

Can you feel the one deep inside your chest,
who has existed forever?
Who has made a thousand journeys?
Who feels like a comet in the dark?
The inner filament?

I know, no one ever told you.
I know. It wasn’t the name you learned to write at school,
but that one is you.
That one is the real you.

20. Inspiring the Everyday, a blog with lots of yummy looking gluten free recipes, which I first read about on SF Girl by Bay.

21. your daily rock: make art

22. Susannah Conway’s new video on her About page. It’s authentic, real as dirt, reminds me of the videos she makes for her ecourses, communicates so clearly who she is and what she writes about.

23. 36 Awe Inspiring Online Gurus Reveal Their Fears And How They Overcame Them, originally shared by Dani of Positively Present (she’s one of the gurus).

24. Throw and Grow Confetti, also shared by Dani of Positively Present.

25. Top 10 Reasons Why The BMI Is Bogus.

26. A Magical Reading Life: Reading with Intention on the Mojo Lab.

27. From Erica Staab’s 40 Days of Deep Wisdom,

Breathe deeply.
Sink into your soul.
Allow whatever needs to surface to do so without judgement.
Instead of judgement try gentle curiosity.
What does your own deep wisdom have to say today?

28. Making Art Can Be Hard by Mati Rose.

29. In This Fragile Sacred Space, the wonderful Judy Clement Wall on Huffington Post.

30. This from Ram Daas, “we are all just walking each other home.”

31. Triangle Love DIY, a sweet way to design a journal cover, originally shared by Susannah Conway.

I Surrender.

treeshadowicecrackThe ponds at Lee Martinez are singing as they melt–humming, gurgling, snapping and cracking. The places where the ice is softening around the edges form patterns that look like the shadows of trees, their bare branches stretching out over the surface of the water.

Today feels like it could be spring. The sky over Fort Collins is clear and bright blue, the sun is shining and it’s warm. It seems like the population has suddenly doubled because everyone is outside.

aqua

I feel like my color this year is aqua–sea glass, soft turquoise mixed with deep blue. The color of water, the color of the sometimes sky, the color of the typewriter and the water and the arrows on my 2013 vision board, one of the colors in my eyes. Bridget Pilloud wrote about it on The Intuitive Bridge today, saying of the color:

It’s speaking your truth. It’s hearing the truth of others. It’s synthesizing intuitive information with observed information.

Aqua is especially important to speakers and writers, to singers, to teachers, because in an Aqua year, you grow in your ability to speak and listen, to synthesize information, to integrate your energy.

Aqua also gives the gift of the greatest healing and the strongest connection. And when your heart is healed, you learn that life is much simpler than you’ve thought, that you’re a better person than you ever imagined and that you knew the whole story all along.

myeye

I feel inspired by the students in Mondo Beyondo, allowing themselves to want what they want, to dream big, some of them for the first time in a long time, some of them for the first time ever.

I feel inspired, as well as supported and encouraged by the students in Cultivating Courage, who are practicing bravery, making big and small moves every day, who are pushing against their edges, daring greatly, opening their hearts and telling the truth.

I am inspired by my friends who are learning to ask for help when they need it, who are reaching out for support, asking for assistance.

I am inspired by Andrea Scher, who creates safe spaces for her students to connect, to contemplate, to dare, to take chances. I’m also inspired by her own acts of courage, her willingness to ask for help, her willingness to invest in herself.

In the midst of this contemplation, this thawing, softening, this cultivation of courage and inspiration, this practice of bravery and dreaming, I am considering the obstacles to my freedom, and what I need to do to dissolve them.

freedomthanksgivingcrow

Last week, I had to make a big deal doctor’s appointment. There was some shame, guilt, anxiety, panic involved in the multistage process, and after it was all taken care of, scheduled, I ate half a bag of chips (popped and organic, but still), two slices of toast with butter (organic bread, but still), and a whole box of Annie’s Organic mac and cheese for “lunch.” I have told you before that I am a highly functioning food addict, and there was something about this particular incident that brought me to a “I give up, I surrender, I’ve had enough” moment.

I feel afraid or stuck when I see myself falling into old and discursive habits, ways of being and thinking. While I’m better than I used to be, more aware, kinder and gentler, healthier, when I get too stressed or tired, overwhelmed, when I start to go off the rails, when I feel my body getting heavy and my thoughts racing and my heart feeling dull, it’s hard to not freak out, hard to not feel trapped, having never truly been without this “thing,” this monster that lives in my belly, this frozen spot in my mind and my heart.

And you know what, kind and gentle reader? I’ve had it. I am over it, done. I need to be free of this. I surrender, and I’m admitting I need help. Just before I started writing this post, I contacted a therapist (whose practice is a mix of Western and Buddhist theories) and requested a meeting.

crow

I surrender. I surrender to radical self-acceptance, to truth, to reality, to this:

There is no love affair, no perfect best friend, no all-mighty parent, no incredible career, no ideal body, no distant and separate God/dess that can make up for the aching want, the hole, the yearning, that exists beneath the surface and at the center of our lives. It can only be healed by cultivating a dangerously authentic, reciprocal love affair with the bare truth of who we are, and allowing ourselves to become infused with a sacred courage that teaches us how to embody and articulate the essence of a truth that we’ve had since before we were born. Holding that truth so close to ourselves that it cuts into our hearts as a real, deep love and moves through our breath as the sound of our truest voice is all that we have ever looked for in anything or anyone else. It is also the only thing the universe has ever looked for from us. ~Grace Emilie

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award


Almost a month ago now, one of my kind and gentle readers gifted me with the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Life got in the way, and I am only now getting around to my formal acceptance and thank you to Naomi Wittlin, herself a very inspiring blogger. She has a big, wide open heart full of kindness, and an eye for beauty, a capacity for joy and love, and a desire to share it. She is exactly that–inspiring. I feel so grateful, so lucky to have her as one of my readers, and to have been one of the 15 bloggers she chose to put on her list.

The rules: 

  1. Display the award logo on your blog.
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
  3. State 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.
  5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination and the award’s requirements.

i’m still standing

Seven Things about Me:

  1. I am a highly sensitive person, an introvert, an INFJ personality type, a Four on the Enneagram, and a Scorpio. In other words, I’m a passionate mess.
  2. I am an open-hearted warrior practitioner of love, hiking/walking, reading, writing, yoga, meditation, and dog.
  3. I grew up in the Willamette Valley of Oregon in a little town named Sublimity. I am a small town girl from the Pacific Northwest, and that will never change.
  4. My favorite place in the whole world is on the beach in Waldport, Oregon during the summer–walking and walking, looking for shells and agates, gazing at the sky and listening to the waves.
  5. Two of my favorite movies are Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Groundhog Day–I value beauty and humor.
  6. My favorite author is Margaret Atwood and my favorite poet is Mary Oliver, but as a bibliophile, I have too many favorite books to even attempt a list.
  7. When I first started, and for years after, I hated teaching, but now I secretly love it.

I am a total sucker for this sort of gratitude practice, kindness chain, love meme. I adore getting the opportunity to answer the prompts, to have been inspiring to someone and to share who inspires me. However, I realize that many of the bloggers on my list won’t have time or the interest for continuing this meme, for completing the required tasks and passing it along to 15 more bloggers, but again–that’s not really the point. I am simply so grateful to Naomi for nominating me, am so happy to be on her list of 15, and for the chance to once again tell you about these other inspiring, amazing women, to connect you to their work. I suspect if you’ve been reading my blog for very long, you won’t be surprised at all by who I’ve selected.

Inspirational Bloggers getting this award:

  1. Erica Staab, “Seeing beauty in all things, living life as a prayer, creating a meaningful life.”
  2. Christa Gallopoulos of Carry It Forward, “finding your way back to you.”
  3. Julia Fehrenbacher of Painted Path. I’ve written before about how much I love Julia and her work.
  4. Judy Clement Wall of both A Human Thing and Zebra Sounds.
  5. Andrea Scher of Superhero Journal. I have written before about how much I adore her.
  6. Christina Rosalie, “perpetually exploring what it means to live intentionally.”
  7. Sas Patherick of Sas’ Magical Mystery Tour, “Like you, I am love, light, life.”
  8. Amanda Blake Soule of SouleMama, “mama, writer, crafter.”
  9. Courtney Carver of Be More With Less, “a blog about simplifying your life and really living.”
  10. Sandi Amorim of Deva Coaching, “An instigator. The spark to your flame. Ruthlessly compassionate. I’ll do whatever it takes to have you shine.”
  11. Susan Tierney Cockburn of My Mother’s Apron Strings. Warning: this blog will make you hungry, your eyes and your stomach.
  12. Justine Musk, “Because you’re a creative badass.”
  13. Jennifer Louden, “Savor & Serve the World.”
  14. Susan Piver, “interested in extreme self-knowledge, the Buddhadharma, relationships of all kinds, creativity, the Enneagram, and using every single day to become a more truthful version of who I already am.”
  15. Susannah Conway, “I try to be as honest as I can, revealing the light and dark of my life in the hope that it will inspire others to do the same. It’s by sharing our stories that we feel less alone.” I have also written before about how much I love Susannah and her work.

I’m a little sad, because as I put together this list, I thought of at least 10 more amazing, inspiring bloggers I could add to the list–so much good stuff, but a limited amount of space and time.

Wishcasting Wednesday

image from Jamie’s post

If anything was possible, what would you wish for?

When I first thought about my answer to this question, maybe I thought too small, but then I looked back at Jamie’s post, at this picture, and rethought it from the perspective of “if pigs could fly,” which is an altogether different view.

If anything was possible my dogs would live forever, and I could bring Obi back.

If anything was possible no one would ever again lose someone they love to cancer. In fact, cancer would no longer exist, other than something to kick in the butt when you needed to get out some bad energy, wanted to break something or felt stabby.

If anything was possible those who were confused, sick, angry, sad, lost, and addicted would be whole, sane, healthy. They would remember that they are innately wise, kind, and strong, they would embody and manifest basic goodness. They would practice creation rather than destruction, rediscover that things are workable, realize joy through gratitude, and discover healthy practices to help maintain their sanity. They would heal themselves and then turn towards serving others. With open, brave hearts, they would change the world.

If anything was possible no child would ever again go to bed hungry or sick or scared. They would all be safe and well and know that they are loved. And in this way, they would grow up and make sure the same thing was true for the children who came after them.

If anything was possible there would be world peace, health and happiness for every being, no war or famine or sickness, clean water, a healthy environment.

If anything was possible for me, I would experience whole health for the rest of my long, happy life. Self-love and self-care would be my middle path, my regular practice and primary way of being. With an open, brave heart, I would first save myself and then help change the world.

If anything was possible for me, I would live the life of a writer and artist and yoga & meditation practitioner full time, with no need for paid work that wasn’t both enjoyable and easy.

If anything was possible for me, I would publish with ease, books and essays, and facilitate retreats, helping others recover and reconnect with their basic sanity and innate creativity.

If anything was possible for me, I would be able to happily and kindly follow every interest, take care of every need. I would live an entirely wholehearted life, with complete confidence and love, embodying and manifesting wisdom and kindness.

If anything was possible for me, I would be remembered for my kindness and generosity and wisdom, for being gentle and relaxed and joyful, inspiring others to be brave and do good by being brave and doing good, my whole life an offering.

*sigh*

I want to go to there…

I is for Inspiration

Inspiration

  • The process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative; arousal of the mind, the heart and the brain, to special, unusual activity or creativity
  • The quality of having been so stimulated, or the product of creative thinking and work; a sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea; divine influence or guidance, intuition; a person or thing that stimulates in this way, an inspiring or animating action or influence
  • The drawing in of breath, the act of breathing, bringing in air; inhalation

I see something beautiful, confusing, alive, and it causes me to pause, breathe in, and look closely. In the moment before any judgement or understanding, it touches my heart, and my heart in turn opens to it. In the stillness of this moment, something swells. My chest feels full of wind, energy and fresh air, and I want to reach out, touch, connect. This longing hurts. In the purest moment of devotion, I make an offering, a wish, a prayer.

What inspired me today:

  • Lilacs on my writing desk. Tiny flowers, big smell.

  • Spring morning bird songs. Two tiny sparrows roosting in my lilac bushes. The robin on the fence (it’s a female, I’ve learned) who insists on believing that my neighbor’s bathroom window is a viable place to roost (she’s been at this for a few weeks now)–this morning, she was throwing herself against it with a mouthful of grass for building her nest. I am inspired by her, so completely wrong and yet so utterly devoted.
  • Susan Piver, this post especially, and her reminder “that the true meaning of your practice arises when you do one thing and this one thing has way, way more power than trying your super-hardest best or willfully throwing yourself at the dharma—and that thing is this: RELAX.”
  • Music. Some of it came from my computer. Some of it came from the river, full and moving fast. Some of it came from the newly opened Aspen leaves whispering to the wind.
  • Susannah Conway. Today is the six year anniversary of her first blog post. I am inspired by everything about her, everything she does: her willingness to be vulnerable and brave, her wit and charm, her creativity, her writing, her photography, her videos and books, her ecourses and her blog.
  • One of the books I’m reading, “Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon.

What is inspiring you today?