Category Archives: Jack Kornfield

Something Good

Image by Eric

Image by Eric

1. Dear Bare Heart: A New Advice Column with Isabel Abbott. This particular response is one I really needed to hear.

2. Dear “normal dog” owners… I could have written this.

3. 11 Things White People Need To Realize About Race.

4. Jesse Williams addresses Sandra Bland death over the course of 24 tweets. (thanks for sharing this, Shellie).

5. Jealous Boyfriend Texts Girlfriend’s Coworker And Instantly Regrets It.

6. Self-Care Sucks: Confessions of an Overachiever.

7. Black Women Matter and We Will #SayHerName, a heartbreaking video.

8. BatDad Vine Compilation 10.

9. The one thing every aspiring freelancer, college student or person with access to a time machine should know. Wisdom from Paul Jarvis, who says things like this,

I make a living on the Internet by being myself and sharing the things I’ve learned. But I’m also scared shitless to be myself and share the things I’ve learned.

10. Good stuff from Seth Godin: In search of your calling, and Opposition.

11. When Information Becomes Clutter and Noise and The Best Simplicity Articles (10 Most Popular Posts on Be More with Less) from Be More With Less.

12. Truthbombs from Danielle LaPorte, “Clarity creates simplicity,” and “Start with willingness.”

13. Creative Thursday – Season 1 Official Trailer.

14. Elizabeth Gilbert’s new podcast, Magic Lessons.

15. 10 Life-Changing Tips for Highly Sensitive People from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

16. The noun and the verb from Austin Kleon.

17. Wisdom from Francesca Reigler, Carlos Castaneda (thanks for the corrected attribution, Lori), “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” Oh, snap.

18. Why I really Do Yoga Every Day, shared on Susannah’s Something for the Weekend list.

19. Dear Guy Who Is Mad Because I Wrote A Gay Character In A Book from Terrible Minds.

20. Pema Chödrön and Jack Kornfield talk “The Wondrous Path of Difficulties.”

21. The process of transformation and how we screw it up from Life is Limitless.

22. When you get through the big pain, this is what happens: Near-blinding radiance. By Danielle LaPorte.

23. Good stuff from Alexandra Franzen: Productivity secrets that I learned from a sexy chef, and This might help you stick with your fitness goals, and Just the right words. Just the right time. Three stories to inspire you to say them., and How hard are you trying, really? And this, from her newsletter (which you should really sign up for if you aren’t already getting it), “Transformation of any kind — big or small — begins with a personal choice.”

24. J.K. Rowling’s Tweet May Have Saved This Fan’s Life.

25. Onward Voyage, a new blog from my friend Kathryn.

26. After her best friend died of cancer, this woman adopted her four daughters.

27. #18: Transform your relationship with food (and yourself) with Isabel Foxen Duke, on The Brave Exchange podcast.

28. 7 Reliable Steps to Change Your Life at Any Age from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

29. Screaming at Fat People for Fun and Profit from Dances with Fat. Because this,

It is possible that a few of these people have become so deluded and confused by a culture where fat hating is rampant and encouraged (including by the government) that they think this is a good idea, or their sense of self-importance is so over-exaggerated that they think that they are being brave and helping those who are beneath them, but at the end of the day they are still bullying and abusing people and their behavior is still deeply wrong.

30. Rachel Cole is accepting applications for the next round of Feast. Rachel says, “There are just 30 spaces and they will be filled on a first apply basis. Do not wait to apply if you think you want to be a part of Feast. The deadline to apply is August 19th. I expect Feast to fill long before then.” I took part in the first session and loved it. Feel free to email me if you have questions about it, lifewholehearted@gmail.com.

Something Good

Mount McConnel Trail, image by Eric

Mount McConnel Trail, image by Eric

1. Alina Baraz & Galimatias, who I’ve been listening to a lot lately.

2. Wisdom from Jessica Patterson, “If you’re only willing to scratch the surface, you will never satisfy the itch.”

3. A Whole Decade from Brittany Herself.

4. Good stuff on Tricycle: The Mindfulness Solution and Guided Meditation with Venerable Pannavati.

5. 9 Great Yoga YouTube Channels.

6. Medicating Women’s Feelings on The New York Times.

7. List of Emoticons for Facebook, something I use quite a bit.

8. Watch These Young Girls Recite Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman”… It’s Awesome.

9. Andrea Gibson performs The Nutritionist.

10. She Hasn’t Changed Her Home For 72 Years. When You See What’s Inside, Your Jaw Will Drop!

11. I love myself enough to do what it takes (to get well)- PART 1 of a series about adrenal fatigue, chronic hives, hormone imbalance, weight gain, emotional healing, etc. etc. etc. from Melody Ross of Brave Girls Club.

12. On Knowing Our Own Minds from Dani Shapiro. “Our most creative thoughts and ideas spring from a ritualized dream time. In the absence of this dream time we become mechanized, robotic, detached from our inner lives.” Word.

13. Fuck the lie that we can have it all from Renegade Mothering.

14. Something Wild from Sunni Chapman.

15. Tiny Beautiful Things on Call Me Ishmael.

16. Things Black Men Are Tired Of Hearing.

17. Douglas Adams made me a writer: Neil Gaiman salutes his friend and inspiration.

18. Kindness Blog, “Kindness Images, Videos, True Life Stories, Quotes, Personal Reflections and Meditations. Because Kindness Changes Everything.”

19. Wisdom from the 17th Karmapa,

Sometimes when we practice dharma we think that we need to show some sort of external or physical sign of it. We pay a lot of attention to the rituals and these actions of our body and speech. This is practicing dharma when we’re focusing outside. But instead what we need to do is turn our attention inwards. We need to see whether what we’re doing is functioning as an antidote to the afflictions or not. We need to see whether we are taming our mind or not. We need to see whether our mind is improving, getting kinder, or not. If we don’t look at it in this way then there’s no benefit to doing these actions – we think that we are trying to do the dharma, but actually we are just making a show with our body and speech. We are putting on appearances, and that’s all we really take an interest in. And the moment that happens, this becomes spiritual materialism.

20. Good stuff on Medium: A world without advice, and Cabin Fever (P.S. I’ve seen the documentary mentioned at least four times), and I Know the Rules- I Just Don’t Care, and Parenting Advice: Don’t Kill Them.

21. Wisdom Pema Chödrön, from her book The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World,

Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already.

22. Their Dying Wishes on The New York Times.

23. You Will Survive from Jack Kornfield.

24. I Eat in the Light Now from Curvy Yoga.

25. A World Gone Mad from Rachel Cole.

26. #continuouspractice – A month and a half in {with a message} from Visible and Real.

27. chocolate chocolate-chip cake, redux: the gluten-free edition on Chookooloonks.

28. UC Berkeley Students Hold Teach-In for Their Racist Professor.

29. Jessamyn Stanley talks about life, yoga as therapy, and internet love and hate on Body Positive Yoga.

30. An Open Letter to Kid Rock About the Word ‘Gay’ on Esquire.

31. A Beautiful Thing on Just Lara.

32. The Real World of the Writing Life on The Missouri Review.

33. He is black. He is privileged. And all of that concerns his parents.

34. The Man Who Snuck Into the Ivy League Without Paying a Thing.

35. Neil Gaiman’s ‘Trigger Warning’, a Sunday Book Review on The New York Times.

36. One Man Holds a PATENT That Could Crush MONSANTO and Change The World.

37. 15 People From Around the World Next to the Amount of Food They Eat Each Day.

38. Spring Breaks from Jeff Oaks.

39. Reexamining the Reblog.

40. Mary Lambert on Embracing Sanity, Remaking ‘Jessie’s Girl’ for Lesbians from Rolling Stone.

41. The Futility of Always Pushing Myself to Be More on Zen Habits.

42. Shared on this was a good week from Chookooloonks: Highlights from Apple’s Favorite Photos Shot with iPhones, and Blue – Color//Colour Lovers, and 22 Contemporary Authors You Absolutely Should Be Reading, and a time lapse of a cactus blooming.

43. Good stuff from Austin Kleon: Interview on the Stacking Benjamins podcast and The So What? Test.

44. Shared on Happy Links: this Instagram account of illustrator Ann-Mari Reigstad.

45. Deaf Man Told To “Look Over There.” When He Does, You’ll Bawl Like A Baby!

46. Navigate Your Life: Chris Zydel from Jennifer Louden.

47. Time lost and found from Anne Lamott.

48. Teachers, are you accidentally shaming your students? How to Make Yoga Class More Inclusive by Amber Karnes.

49. 9 Ways to Feel Less Stress When Life Gets Crazy Busy from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

Something Good

1. Good stuff from Brain Pickings: The Velveteen Rabbit, Reimagined with Uncommon Tenderness by Beloved Japanese Illustrator Komako Sakai and The Well of Being: An Extraordinary Children’s Book for Grownups about the Art of Living with Openhearted Immediacy.

2. Sorry confusion from Seth Godin.

3. Shared by Austin Kleon in his weekly newsletter: Credit is always due, and A meditation teacher on surviving a plane crash, and the horrible consequences of addiction — Harris Wittels, Television Comedy Writer, Is Dead at 30, and RIP Harris Wittels. 1984-2015.

4. I Am A Dad With Stage 4 Lung Cancer, And Here’s What I Know Now. Oren died on Saturday.

5. Wisdom from Jonathan Fields, “Build things that speak louder than you ever could.”

6. Audience growth, from Paul Jarvis, in which he shares this wisdom,

You may think that developing your own unique voice is easy, since, hell, it’s your voice. Sadly, this is not the case, especially in writing. Finding your voice takes work. It’s part internalization, part confidence, and part a damn lot of practice. I’m not sure developing your voice as a creator is something you can ever completely win at—you have to continually check in with yourself to see if it consistently aligns.

7. ‘Imitation Game’ Writer Graham Moore Wanted To ‘Say Something Meaningful’ During Oscars Speech.

8. Neil Gaiman + Amanda Palmer perform I Google You.

9. Good things from Terrible Minds: In Which I Answer Why Adults Read So Much Young Adult Fiction and The Social Media Rules That Govern My Slapdash Online Existence.

10. New Study Shows Marijuana Is 114 Times Safer Than the Deadliest Legal Drug in the U.S.

11. Where Do Our Stories Come From? by Laurie Wagner.

12. Good things from Zen Habits: You’re Not Doing Life Wrong and Getting Lost in Just Doing.

13. Let Me Fix That For You: A Dramaturge Explains What’s Wrong With Patricia Arquette’s Speech.

14. Writing Workshop Is Not Group Therapy on Brevity.

15. Good stuff about yoga on Elephant Journal: On Being Fat, Yoga Teacher Training & the Right to Be Happy and Why I Quit Teaching Yoga & Hope to Never Go Back and What Nobody Tells You About Yoga.

16. Wisdom from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, (thanks for sharing, Lise),

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

17. Wisdom from Louis C.K., (thanks to Meg Worden for sharing),

Self-love is a good thing but self-awareness is more important. You need to once in a while go “Uh, I’m kind of an asshole.”

18. Why It’s So Wrong—But So Right—To Sleep With Your Pets.

19. How to Spot A Narcissist and Walk Away on MindBodyGreen. I worked for a narcissist for seven years and walking away was one of the best things I ever did for myself.

20. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

The main thing about this practice and about all practice is that you’re the only one who knows what is opening and what is closing down; you’re the only one who knows. There’s a slogan: “Of the two witnesses, hold the principal one.” What it’s saying is that one witness is everybody else giving you their feedback and opinions (which is worth listening to; there’s some truth in what people say), but the principal witness is yourself. You’re the only one who knows when you’re opening and when you’re closing. You’re the only one who knows when you’re using things to protect yourself and keep your ego together and when you’re opening and letting things fall apart, letting the world come as it is—working with it rather than struggling against it.

21. the bohemian life on SF Girl by Bay. I love this look, the wood and the greenery, the styles and the colors.

22. Revenge Porn Dude Wants His Personal Info Removed From Internet Lolol.

23. Stay on Your Surfboard from Kate Read.

24. Wisdom from musician Alexi Murdoch,

First you must free yourself from the idea of your voice. From the very sound of it. You must throw off the yoke of familiar language. The habits of rhythms and structures that are familiar. They are limitation. You have to expel even your greatest teachers. They too have become an obstacle to your freedom. But most of all you have to be honest. You have to be yourself. You have to be fearless — no, more than that — you have to be mindless of whatever might be the consequences of being so. Only by this way will you arrive at true revelation.

25. The Death of a Dream (Body) from Sunni Chapman.

26. RAISING ZAY: A family’s journey with a transgender child.

27. I know a mama who. (Thanks for sharing, Rachel).

28. Ben Merrell, a local tattoo artist who does beautiful work. I know where I’ll be going for my next session.

29. Poodle Science.

30. A blessing written by Jan Richardson,

That our receiving may be like breathing: taking in, letting go.
That our holding may be like loving: taking care, setting free.
That our giving may be like leaving: singing thanks, moving on.

31. Maryland Sanitation Truck Driver Called Hero for Helping Homeless Families.

32. Changing the Culture from Rachel Cole.

33. Alt Summit :: Keynote Address from Lisa Congdon.

34. Good stuff on BuzzFeed: Watch Black Men From Age 5 To 50 Respond To The Word “Police” and 17 Times Fitspiration Was Wrong, So We Fixed It.

35. IT HAPPENED TO ME: My Fitbit Reignited My Eating Disorder.

36. 15+ Before-And-After Photos Of Cats Growing Up on Bored Panda.

37. Why Co-Sleeping is No-Sleeping.

38. I am grateful, now fuck off.

39. Down In The River To Pray by Allie Feder & Ben Stanton. I bought a copy and can’t stop listening to it.

40. I’LL TRY ANYTHING ONCE: I Quit the Gym for Free YouTube Workouts.

41. Warning: “Hanging in there” is destroying your health.

42. Just a few reasons why we’re so excited for “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”

43. Busy Is a Sickness.

44. The Staggering Bullshit of “The Secret” by Mark Manson.

45. The 9 Things No One Tells You About Scattering Ashes.

46. The Subtly Offensive Phrases We Need To Stop Saying.

47. Your Difficulties Are Your Path from Jack Kornfield.

48. A blessing from Ronna Detrick.

Dear One:

There are times in which you just have to do what you know to be right, what your intuition tells you, what you can clearly discern as the right course of action. Trust-trust-trust that you know what you’re doing. And let everything else go – every fear, every anticipated reaction, even every expected risk and certain cost. It’s all going to work out.

I’m sure of this because I am Abigail and you are my daughter, my lineage, my kin.

49. Here’s your permission slip to embrace slow from Yogi Sadie.

50. My First Night Homeless on Medium.

51. The Joy of Books isn’t in Ownership from Be More With Less.

52. If Reporting A Robbery Was Like Reporting A Rape.

53. Finding Joy in My Father’s Death by Ann Patchett.

54. A new kind of burlesque.

Taking Refuge

my meditation shrine

my meditation shrine

The first time I attempted meditation was almost 20 years ago. I was reading Jack Kornfield’s A Path with Heart and books on writing by Zen Buddhist Natalie Goldberg. I was fascinated by the philosophy, the perspective, the practice, and willing to try anything that might help me cope with the difficulty of my life, my emotions and my mind. Even though I found it beneficial, sat regularly for a short time with a Zen meditation group and on my own, the practice didn’t stick. I didn’t even finish reading Kornfield’s book.

I continued to struggle for eleven more years before finding my way back to a cushion. A friend recommended Pema Chödrön’s When Things Fall Apart and mentioned that the local Shambhala Meditation Center had a program coming up I might be interested in, “The Art of Being Human.” I read the book and went to the training, and started to practice in earnest. For two years, one weekend a month I was either attending a retreat or staffing one. I read and studied and practiced. This was the same time I started to practice yoga regularly. Things were falling into place.

And then everything fell apart. I had already been dealing with a difficult work situation, was stressed and in crisis, when my Obi was diagnosed with a treatable but ultimately incurable cancer. At the same time, my friend Kelly was diagnosed with cancer. That summer I went to Shambhala Mountain Center to participate in a longer retreat, Warrior Assembly, the culmination of the two years of training I’d been doing. Not long after I returned home, Obi died. Six months later, Kelly died. Even though I didn’t leave CSU entirely, I effectively quit the job that was so problematic.

Meditation Hall at Warrior Assembly, Shambhala Mountain Center, Summer of 2009

Meditation Hall at Warrior Assembly, Shambhala Mountain Center, Summer of 2009

I was completely heartbroken, utterly lost, so confused. After two years of regular practice, I couldn’t do it anymore. Every time I sat on my cushion to meditate, I fell part, felt so raw, came unhinged and couldn’t stop crying. I was angry — if this practice couldn’t help me feel better when the worst happened, what good was it? I smile to remember it now, that way of thinking about what practice was supposed to do for me. What I understand now that I didn’t then is that my raw and tender broken heart, being able to feel that, experience it, sit and stay with it is exactly the point, not making it “go away” or fixing it like I thought.

Practice starts precisely where we find ourselves, which for many of us is a place of heartbreak, suffering, alienation and doubt. But it is precisely there, within those circumstances, that we start. ~Ryushin Sensei

For at least a year, I tried to find my way back to my cushion. I would practice in fits and starts, but it never seemed to stick. I continued to practice yoga and slowly started to write more regularly. I started taking ecourses and began this blog. I started building a routine, finding a rhythm. And then I found Susan Piver and her Open Heart Project, (OHP). I signed up for her newsletter and started meditating with her. Her wisdom, kindness, and friendship, along with the OHP community, helped me find my way back.

meditating with Susan

The great gift of a spiritual path is coming to trust that you can find a way to true refuge. You realize that you can start right where you are, in the midst of your life, and find peace in any circumstance. Even at those moments when the ground shakes terribly beneath you — when there’s a loss that will alter your life forever — you can still trust that you will find your way home. This is possible because you’ve touched the timeless love and awareness that are intrinsic to who you are. ~Tara Brach, True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart

For the past few years, I’ve been thinking about taking refuge vows. I’ve been telling people for so long “I study and practice Buddhism, but I’m not actually a Buddhist, haven’t taken vows or anything,” that I wondered if I ever would. But I’ve been feeling a longing, a growing awareness — this is my path, I’m committed to it. Like I told a teacher once, “if this doesn’t work, nothing does.” For whatever reason, this is just what makes sense to me. It helps me to live my life, to be in the world, to cultivate kindness and wisdom, sanity. And yet, I have been waiting, for either an opportunity that was close to home or one Susan Piver could attend, because it felt important to me to have her there somehow, since she’s the primary reason I’d be there.

Then I got certified to teach yoga. We studied yogic philosophy as part of our training, meditated, did mantra and kirtan practice, learned various breath practices and the sanskrit names for the yoga poses, read the yoga sutras — and I loved it all, saw so many similarities between it and my tradition, but also became very aware that it wasn’t my path. Yoga is one of my practices, and part of my path as such, but I’m not so much a yogini as I am a Buddhist who does yoga.

Becoming a yoga teacher made it clear it was time to make a true commitment to my path. I searched to see where I might go to take my vows, and saw that the Boulder Shambhala Center was offering the ceremony two days before my birthday. Susan couldn’t be there, but she did write my letter of recommendation. The teacher who would be performing the ceremony had taught at my Warrior Assembly, and when I arrived the night we went to make our official request to make the vow, a friend was leading our meditation session. It was time.

boulderrigden

Boulder Shambhala Meditation Center Main Shrine Room

I asked Susan her advice about taking vows in the weeks leading up to the ceremony, and she said, “Relax. Watch your mind. Enjoy. Relax. Repeat … And remember, you have nothing to prove. This ceremony is to mark something that has already happened.” I tried to remember this as I waited for my interview with Acharya Ferguson (“Acharya” in this tradition basically means “senior teacher”), and even though he’s the kindest person and I’d met him before, I was still nervous. The purpose of the interview is to make a formal request to take the vow and for the teacher to come up with the dharma name you’d be given the day of the ceremony. We were told that he might ask us questions, but might not. The person who went in just before me was talking and laughing with him, and I wasn’t sure what to wish for — if he didn’t ask me any questions, was that good or bad? Part of me wanted him to see me and for my presence to be so vibrant, my true self so clearly embodied and present that he would know just by seeing me. I think I was also afraid if I opened my mouth, I might say something weird because I was anxious and end up with an odd name that didn’t fit, didn’t make sense to me.

In Tibet, children are given a nickname when they are born. This is what everyone calls them until they are old enough to take their refuge vows and receive their adult, Buddhist name. In that culture, everyone given a name uses it. In the West, many dharma students don’t actually change their name, but rather use it as a contemplation. We were told that the name isn’t meant as a compliment or a challenge, but rather something to consider as we practice, intended to offer insight, and that it was entirely up to us whether we wanted to officially change our name, use it in that way. I felt sure my name would be a message, that it would provide me a new understanding of my path. And during my meeting with Acharya Ferguson that night, he did ask me a few questions, and I could see the exact moment he knew the name he’d offer me.

heartgiftOn the day of the ceremony, I focused on Susan’s advice. I relaxed and enjoyed myself. Acharya Ferguson gave a talk in the morning about what it meant to take refuge, and then we did sitting and walking meditation until lunch, contemplating what we were about to do. After a break to eat, we came back and had a rehearsal and then the ceremony itself.

In the Buddhist tradition, the purpose of taking refuge is to awaken from confusion and associate oneself with wakefulness. Taking refuge is a matter of commitment and acceptance and, at the same time, of openness and freedom. By taking the refuge vow we commit ourselves to freedom. ~Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche

The ceremony itself was a funny combination of something like a baptism and a wedding, along with something else entirely. After you take the vow, reciting it three times after performing prostrations, the teacher (referred to in this case as a preceptor) snaps his fingers, and it’s at that moment the vow is made. My favorite moment was that finger snap. It was so simple and yet so definite. My next favorite moment was receiving my dharma name.

As I stood in line, listening to all the other names, I wondered if mine would be so good. Every person’s name seemed so rich, so full of beauty and possibility and wisdom. Every name that was read, I thought “oh, I wish that was mine!” I worried I’d get something that would be awkward or confusing. I’d talked to other people about their names, and listening to them describe their lingering confusion, I anticipated my own.

dharmanameI didn’t need to worry. There’s a rightness to the name I was given. I will continue to contemplate it, but my first thought was an appreciation of the way it married the concept of vastness, openness, emptiness with embodiment, movement, physical expression. I used to long to be a visionary, an oracle, a seer, a prophet of some sort, but I’m understanding more and more than my purpose is to be a container, an embodiment of wisdom and compassion.

You go through this ceremony which is like part baptism and part wedding and you expect to be born again somehow, cleansed or something, a new beginning, but really I’m just back in the heat of my own stew, laughing at how silly I was to think anything was going to be magically changed by it. I have to do the work, show up and practice, it’s up to me and that’s never going to change. This is my path, for sure and for real.

The biggest illusion about a path of refuge is that we are on our way somewhere else, on our way to becoming a different kind of person. But ultimately, our refuge is not outside ourselves, not somewhere in the future – it is always and already here. ~Tara Brach, True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart

Something Good

1. Wisdom from The Zen of an Aching Heart by Jack Kornfield,

Sometimes suffering the losses and the unexpected betrayals and break-ups that befall each of us becomes the places where we grow deepest in our capacity to lead an authentic and free life. Often by working our way through our difficulties, our ability to love and feel compassion for ourselves and others deepens, along with the wisdom that will help us through similar problems in the future. And learning how to survive our present difficulties is one of the few things that will help us to know the right things to say and do when others whom we love suffer as well.

2. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook, The Most Important Words of My Life and Don’t Live Somebody Else’s Dream.

3. Why I Will Never Use Microsoft Word Again by Jeff Goins.

4. Real Love Is a Choice on Huffington Post.

5. Simplicity is Not a Destination from Be More With Less.

6. Healing for the Inner Good Girl from Mara Glatzel.

7. Wisdom from Anna Guest-Jelley‘s newsletter,

I’ve recently been reading The Endless Practice: Becoming Who You Were Born to Be by Mark Nepo…I wanted to share with you one of the gems from the book that I’m continuing to carry in my heart: “No matter how hard we work, the aim and purpose of practice is not to be done with it, but to immerse ourselves so completely in life by any means that we for the moment, are life itself living. Excellence, if we achieve it, is a welcome by-product of complete immersion. But the reward for practice is a thoroughness of being.”

8. How to train for your writing marathon from Sarah Selecky.

9. My Sweet Lil Fifties Rig, Reborn! from Laura Resau.

10. Raising Geeks from Brittany, Herself.

11. This Humans of New York post, “Before medical school I was really into music.” He has the most beautiful voice, like make you want to cry beautiful.

12. “When I Meander, I Discover”: A Q & A with Dani Shapiro.

13. This Is the Human Behind “Humans of New York.”

14. 22 Perfect Ways To Respond To A Text From Your Ex from BuzzFeed.

15. Wisdom from Mark Van Doren, “The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.”

16. Why I Put Down That Green Smoothie on Elephant Journal.

17. 3 Buddhist Beliefs That Will Rock Your World (And Make You Much Happier!) on MindBodyGreen.

18. Letters to the Living No. 5: On Gentleness, Wrestling with a Wounded Angel.

19. 9 Year-Old Spanish Boy Becomes Young Wildlife Photographer Of The Year on Bored Panda.

20. Natty Valencia Fixes Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.”

21. Wisdom from John Muir, (by way of Jessica Patterson), “Earth has no sorrow that earth can not heal.”

22. Brittany Maynard, 29-Year-Old With Terminal Cancer, Explains Why She’s Delaying Ending Her Life. And sadly, just a few days after I watched the latest video, this: Terminally Ill Woman Brittany Maynard Has Ended Her Own Life.

23. This Upsetting Video Shows One Woman’s Street Harassment In A Single Day, and the parody video, This Is What Walking In New York City As A White Man Looks Like, both on BuzzFeed.

24. Beautiful, brutal wisdom from Isabel Abbott, remember and release: a list of love and letting go and Where Memories Dwell.

25. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Bodhichitta is a Sanskrit word that means “noble or awakened heart.” …It is equated, in part, with our ability to love. It is said that in difficult times, it is only bodhichitta that heals. When inspiration has become hidden, when we feel ready to give up, this is the time when healing can be found in the tenderness of pain itself.

26. A Life Enchanted.

27. Gathering my selves from Susannah Conway.

28. 30 Days To Better Hand-Lettering E-Course, shared on Positively Present Picks.

29. This quote about how being an artist is different from being “a lawyer, scholar, mechanist, typist, scientist, production assistant, or what-have-you.”

30. Pen & Ink, Tattoos & The Stories Behind Them on Medium.

31. all of me from Lisa Field-Elliot.

32. Carolyn’s Lovely, Freeing Eating Guide from Rachel Cole.

33. Maintenance: some notes from Jeff Oaks.

34. Not If, But When from Dani Shapiro.

35. Wisdom from David James Duncan,

If we feel the Unspeakable and then try to speak of what we felt, we sound like fools. But if we feel the Unspeakable and don’t speak, we feel like ingrates. I’m inclined toward gratitude. So, foolishly, I speak.

36. what I think you should eat from seed & feather. I can’t agree more with this:

So what do I think people should eat? Here’s the list.
1. Enough.
2. What you need.
3. Whatever you want.

37. How To Exercise Out Of Self-Love And Not Due To Fat-Shaming. Amen.

38. Which reminds me of some of my favorite lines of poetry from Osho,

Don’t move the way fear makes you move.
Move the way love makes you move.
Move the way joy makes you move.

39. The 9 Most Overlooked Threats to a Marriage from Huffington Post.

40. Susan Piver talking about the four noble truths of relationships. So good.

Something Good

Hewlett Gulch, image by Eric

Hewlett Gulch, image by Eric

1. What It Takes to Be a Writer, Courtesy of Elizabeth Berg on Medium.

2. Social Media blackout poem from Austin Kleon. Word.

3. The Realization on Zen Habits. The same question Buddhism has been asking for thousands of years.

4. 8 Things You Should Let Go Of Right Now from Be More With Less. And this one, which I can’t stop thinking about, Simple Moments Make a Simple Life.

5. Why I’m Moving Into Town for the Winter on Rowdy Kittens. I love how Tammy honors what is right for her, doesn’t let herself get locked into something or pressured but rather makes the best choice for herself, for her life. She doesn’t abandon herself.

6. Tortellini with Lemon and Brussels Sprouts Recipe. This is the season I get obsessed with brussel sprouts, so this looks yummy.

7. Desire to Fly: Samantha Bryan’s Hand-Crafted Sculptures of Whimsical Aviator Fairies Going about Their Daily Lives. Just another reminder to follow where your curiosity and delight lead.

8. The Child I Didn’t Adopt on Scary Mommy.

9. You are Accepted, wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

10. On Raising Hands from Dani Shapiro.

11. Why One Life Hack Can Change Everything on Elephant Journal.

12. He Sings A Song For His Dead Best Friend That Entrances The Entire Audience. Such a beautiful noise.

13. Turkey Pot Pie with Sweet Potato Biscuits Recipe. Sweet potatoes and pot pie, just two more fall food obsessions of mine.

14. Strange And Dangerous Neighborhoods Exist Around The World. Here Are The Weirdest. On Viral Nova.

15. How to Send Love and Light – A Practical Guide on Medium. (Feel free to practice by sending me some love and light.) ♥

16. Dallas Clayton: Dream Big! One of my very favorite do-gooders, artists, humans.

17. The Long Road Back: How to Keep Going After the Unimaginable Happens, “Two years after the tragic deaths of her children and her parents, Madonna Badger reflects on what happened—and what keeps her going.” She was also on Super Soul Sunday with Oprah yesterday, but I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet.

18. On Owning It: I Am An Artist from Lisa Congdon.

19. a letter to the other shoe always waiting to drop from lists and letters.

20. Wisdom from Ezra Bayda,

Our capacity to understand that life itself doesn’t have an agenda, particularly our agenda, seems to be very limited. We insist on our sense of entitlement that life give us comfort, pleasure, and ease. Why can’t we understand that the fullest and richest experience of life is often the result of the difficulties that life presents, where we are forced to go deeper? Isn’t disappointment our greatest teacher?

21. The Daily Bon, a photo challenge started by Laura Simms in 2012. “It’s simple: look for something in your day that makes you smile, post your pic to Instagram with the tag #thedailybon.” I’m in.

22. Wisdom Notes with Rachel Cole, one of my favorite holiday traditions.

23. “Practical solutions” to emotional eating from Isabel Foxen Duke, in which she says,

We eat emotionally in direct proportion to our pre-occupation with food, and our pre-occupation with food is a simple function of how badly we want to control our weight and our behaviors. 

When all we care about is weight loss, all we care about is food — and when all we care about is food, emotional eating is an almost certain outcome. 

On the flipside,
when we stop trying to control our bodies,
when we respect our bodies where ever they may land,
when our weight no longer dictates our self-esteem,
when caring for ourselves emotionally comes from a sincere desire to change our lives, and not just our outward appearance,
food loses it’s power…it becomes less and less important
…and yes, we finally create space for ourselves to develop new coping mechanisms outside of food. Yes, emotional eating does drop off on it’s own without much effort — ironically, when we no longer care if we’re eating emotionally to begin with.

24. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

You don’t have to have special permission to take a break, you know. You have done enough. When you are tired and weary and feeling worn out, it’s okay to be kind to yourself, to shift gears and take gentle care of your body and your spirit…No more working yourself so hard that you can’t even feel anymore. It’s time to REALLY nurture and take care of yourself. You are a gift to the world, so please take care of YOU.

25. Wisdom from Lodro Rinzler, “We should commit ourselves to waking up through our work, treating it as a spacious meditation hall in which our neurosis can exhaust itself.”

26. Monica Lewinsky Gives Her First Public Speech In 16 Years And Says Exactly What Needs To Be Said. For example, this: “Being publicly separated from your truth is one of the classic triggers of anxiety, depression and self-loathing. And the greater the distance between the you people want you to be and the you you actually are, the greater will be your anxiety, depression, sense of failure and shame.” Here’s the full transcript of her speech.

27. Maybe Being a Yoga Teacher Isn’t the Thing to do After All on Elephant Journal.

28. A Meditation on Grief from Jack Kornfield.

Something Good

1. From Brave Girls Club,

Let it go.
Let it fall.
Let it be.

2. Tattoo Stories on The New Yorker.

3. 11 Ways to Let Go and Feel Less Stress from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

4. 9 Mind-Bending Epiphanies That Turned My World Upside-Down.

4. Wisdom from TKV Desikachar, “The more you teach the more you must practice.”

5. Wisdom from Jane Austen, “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”

6. Good stuff from Elephant Journal: The pith teaching of all Buddhadharma, and The 10 Things We’ll Never Tell You in Yoga Teacher Training (But Should), (Thanks for sharing this one, Keri), and How to be Naked in front of Strangers, (Thanks for writing this one, Keri).

7. I Decided to Live My Truth on Rebelle Society.

8. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

It helps to remember that our spiritual practice is not about accomplishing anything—not about winning or losing—but about ceasing to struggle and relaxing as it is. That is what we are doing when we sit down to meditate. That attitude spreads into the rest of our lives.

9. Wisdom from Mara Glatzel,

In order to show up, we must “indulge” in the quiet comfort of restoration.

In order to show up, we must fill our reservoir of strength.

In order to show up, we require: quiet, sleep, touch, love, foods that nourish us, and space to acknowledge our own divinity – the places where we belong in the family of things.

Restoration is not passive. Instead it the a mandatory process of filling the well so that you will have the resources that you need to keep moving, keep desiring, and keep showing up.

10. Time folds like an accordion on A Design So Vast.

11. Wisdom in poetry form from Nayyirah Waheed,

“in our own ways we all break. it is okay to hold your heart outside of your body for days. months. years. at a time. – heal

12. What It’s like to Fly the $23,000 Singapore Airlines Suites Class.

13. Depression and Suicide In Animal Care Professions: What Can We Do? (Thanks for sharing, Sarah).

14. More wisdom from Pema Chödrön, “The life force of the path of fearlessness is genuineness, that is to say, to not be afraid of ourselves.” (Thanks for sharing, Susan).

15. I Am a Woman Reclaiming Body Trust on Huffington Post.

16. They Were Friends, But She Was In Love. When She Tells The Crowd What He Said, They Go Silent. on Upworthy.

17. Mary Lambert Does One Mic, One Take Version of “So Far Away.”

18. Comparing Grief: A Useless Endeavor.

19. Erin Moon: Walking The Path Back To Life on the Good Life Project.

20. Your Career Homecoming with Laura Simms. I told her yesterday that “I seriously feel a little sad for myself that [my career] is the one place I have my shit figured out. It’s like being too old for the most awesome summer camp ever.”

21. Wisdom from Dallas Clayton,

You are as beautiful now
as when you were a beautiful child
before anyone told you what everything meant
and your beautiful heart could run wild.

22. True Stories Series: Meet Lisa Sadikman from Laurie Wagner.

23. friday’s confession: I’m not here to save you from Tiffany Han.

24. On Liam and Balloons and Staying Open on Momastery.

25. Practicing Nonviolence Toward Self, an important article from Phillip Moffatt, in which he says,

The Trappist monk and spiritual author Thomas Merton once said, “To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is itself to succumb to the violence of our times.”

26. I’m Giving Up on My Son, and I’ve never had a more acute feeling of failure on Medium.

27. 10 Reasons You Don’t Want to Be My Friend Now That I Have Kids on Huffington Post.

28. Meredith Woolnough’s Embroideries Mimic Delicate Forms of Nature on Colossal.

29. Good stuff from Laura Pritchett: The Brutal Truth About Writing About a Father’s Alzheimer’s and Soapbox: Discuss Alzheimer’s disease openly. P.S. Her latest novel, Stars Go Blue, is so good, I read it in a single day.

30. Wisdom from Julia Cameron, “The seeds of our creativity require enough solitude and space to grow unhindered,” and “As creative beings, we need silence.”

31. Skillful Service is Born of a Quiet Heart from Jack Kornfield.

32. Wisdom from Mark Wagner, “Who doesn’t have something for which they need to atone, someone with whom they need to reconcile, something for which they need forgiveness, or someone they need to forgive?”

33. Wisdom from Geneen Roth on Facebook.

34. 17 Mom Confessions about F’ed Up Things Their Kids Have Done on Huffington Post. I get an extra giggle from how many of these involve poop.

35. Other lists of good things worth checking out: