Category Archives: Journals

Something Good

woke up to this, April snow

Woke up to this, April snow, Spring in Colorado

four hours later, it's still coming down

Four hours later, it’s still coming down

1. How Yoga Turned Me Into a Superhero. ~ Steph Richard
and Sleep: More Important than a Healthy Diet. ~ Katja Heino on Elephant Journal.

2. From Patti Digh, your daily rock : practice and your daily rock : you are not broken.

3. From Pema Chödrön,

The present moment is your ally: We might ask, “Given my present situation, how long should I stay with uncomfortable feelings?” This is a good question, yet there is no right answer. We simply get accustomed to coming back to the present just as it is for a second, for a minute, for an hour—whatever is currently natural—without its becoming an endurance trial. Just pausing for two to three breaths is a perfect way to stay present. This is a good use of our life. Indeed, it is an excellent, joyful use of our life. Instead of getting better and better at avoiding, we can learn to accept the present moment as if we had invited it, and work with it instead of against it, making it our ally rather than our enemy.

4. From Geneen Roth,

I tell my retreat students that having a practice they do everyday is important. It doesn’t matter what it is. Meditating, gardening, writing, walking, feeding birds. What matters is that you pay attention. What matters is that you have the intention to show up for yourself and have the chance, on a daily level, to ground yourself in the you that isn’t caught up in the emails, errands, natterings. It’s a way you get to be loyal to what matters to you. A promise you make to yourself that this day can also be for you.

And a really cool video of her feeding hummingbirds,

And this,

When I am willing to question and therefore feel whatever is there–hatred (that’s a big one!), anger, sadness–with tenderness and curiosity, the feelings relax because they are met with kindness and openness instead of resistance and rejection. The hard part is that I have to be willing to tolerate discomfort for a moment. Or three.

Think about what it’s like for you to be met by someone else with kindness. And then think about being met with rejection. It’s such a difference. Think about what you would give to a child who is hurting. And then take a leap. Be as loving to yourself as you would be to a child. As you would be to anyone you love who needs your attention. Over and over, this is the practice. A fierce kind of love. An unwillingness to devolve into pushing and blaming. It starts with you, now.

5. From Sakyong Mipham, “We want to infuse our day with good habits so that we can turn seemingly mundane situations into a ceremony of goodness,” and “In order to be brave, we must trust that underneath it all, there is sanity and openness.”

6. Becoming the Person You Were Meant to Be: Where to Start by Anne Lamott.

7. Type So Hard You Bruise The Screen writing advice collected and shared by Owen Egerton on Huffington Post.

8. This from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross,

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, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.

9. The Last Day from Sas Petherick.

10. Call Me Cupcake, shared by decor8. My eyes and mouth were drooling.

11. 11 quick + dirty things about writing, a brilliant list from Justine Musk.

12. The Five Stages of Clutter on Be More with Less.

13. Design Terms explained, from Eva Black Design, shared by Pugley Pixel, one of my favorite blog design sites.

14. Susannah Conway’s Journal Your Life Pinterest board, so many pretty things, so much I want to try.

15. The 40 Best Animal Cuddlers Of All Time on BuzzFeed. Who knew turtles could cuddle?

16. 90 Pieces of Wisdom for my 9-year old Birthday Girl from Tanya Geisler. I’m not nine years old, but I needed to hear these too.

17. My Well-Fed Life: Vivienne McMaster from Rachel Cole.

18. Tara Brach: Radical Self-Acceptance on A Good Minute from Sounds True.

19. A Guide to Practical Contentment on Zen Habits.

20. My (new) favorite question of all time from Alexandra Franzen.

21. You are more beautiful than you think, the new Dove ad. It made me cry.

22. Thoughts for a Friday: Pressures of Social Media on SF Girl by Bay. We need to stop comparing our blooper reels to other people’s highlights.

23. 50 Self-Care Ideas from Back to Her Roots.

24. This song, Gorgon City – “Real” ft. Yasmin, shared on Kind Over Matter.

25. Shared on Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list: this recipe for spinach and smashed egg toast (which I’m making with a hard egg), and this one for Superfood salad with black rice, butternut squash, sweet potato, cranberries, goji berries, sunflower and pumpkin seeds (*drool*), and this cool home design site, the selby, (and look, it’s William the crystal guy on the selby!)

26. 12 Things You Will Never Say Before Dying on the Daily Breadcrumb.

27. This from Sri Prem Baba,

The process of awakening is a movement towards the real. In order for this to occur, the false will unavoidably have to be deconstructed. This is never easy. What is easy or hard to deal with is intimately related to what it is that is going away. Oftentimes, you believe that the walls that are falling apart are the walls of your house but, in truth, they are the walls of a prison cell.

28. And Dog Wants a Kitty,

Something Good

First on my list today has to be the Well-Fed Woman Retreatshop and Rachel Cole. 13 brave Fort Collins woman sat in a circle with Rachel yesterday, identifying and connecting with their hungers, trying to understand what was getting in the way of feeding them. I can’t stop thinking that we planted a seed, started something, and how powerful we can be, what great things we’ll do, how much love we’ll generate and spread. And when I think of that circle of women, so many of my favorites, I keep thinking of this quote: “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” ~Muriel Rukeyser

Ladybug on the cover of my new notebook. I didn’t even realize it was there, and then, while I was sitting in the above circle of women, I looked down, and there she was. Considering who was sitting next to me at the time (Kandyce), it was pretty special.

Wednesday is Tibetan New Year: the Year of the Water Dragon. Another chance to begin again, make a fresh start, and the Dragon is a powerful symbol for the coming year: “The Warrior of Inscrutable: Dragon” and “The Mind of the Dragon and the Power of Non-Self.”

image by Will Clayton

Quote from Sakyong Mipham Rinphoche: “Aggression comes about from a feeling of inadequacy. Non-aggression comes about from a feeling of worthiness.”

Brittni Mehlhoff’s “Art to Inspire” posts on Scoutie Girl.

Neil Gaiman and his voice. I wish he would read me to sleep every night.

The Story You Are Telling Yourself” by Daniel Collinsworth on Metta Drum. “You, and you alone, generate the story that tells you who you are. So why not make it a beautiful one?”

Letter Love 101: Art Journals” Lettering Class!!!! I have been looking for some kind of calligraphy or lettering class for a long time, and this one is perfect, just what I wanted without even knowing how to describe what I wanted. And the fact that it’s self-paced and unlimited access means I don’t have to feel pressured or guilty about the timing.

Alaskan Husky Exercise Wheel. This dog looks like it is having so much fun.

29 Soundbites On Writing And Publishing” on the Creative Penn. I don’t agree with all of them, but it’s an interesting list.

Claire Brewster‘s Papercut Map Art. This is so cool.

Everblooming Amaryllis. The one in my office at work currently has eight blooms.

Timeline

As I was working on cataloging my journals yesterday, I made a timeline, to track back when this particular change in me and my life began. I started writing the blog five months ago, and this life-rehab can sometimes feel like it happened just as recently, but THIS exact shift has been happening for at least three years, like water wearing away at a stone–freezing and thawing, dripping, rushing over and past, slowly changing its shape, causing cracks where the light gets in.

Image: Evgeni Dinev, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Some highlights from the timeline:

2007: Therapy. Shambhala Training. Meditation practice.

2008: Yoga. Fitness trainer.

2009: Obi and Kelly diagnosed with cancer the same week. Obi starts chemotherapy. Obi’s cancer goes into remission. Warrior Assembly at Shambhala Mountain Center. Obi’s cancer comes back and we make the decision to stop chemotherapy. Kelly’s cancer comes back too. Obi dies in November.

2010: Major changes to my job, a long and difficult situation finally is resolved. We get Sam. Kelly passes away and I fly to Kentucky for her memorial service. I do a one day writing retreat with a friend that reminds me who I am, what I have always wanted. I restart a daily writing practice. We spend a month in Waldport, Oregon at the beach. I do a weekend online meditation retreat with Pema Chödrön, “Smile at Fear.”

2011: I take a few meditation classes to reestablish my sitting practice. Once a month for four months, I take a day long creative non-fiction writing workshop. Publish an article about Kelly. Join an Artist’s Way group and finally finish the book, having started it the first time ten years ago. 10 years at Colorado State University. WILD writing group starts to meet. Yoga Nidra & Loving-Kindness workshop with Ed & Deb Shapiro, 30 days of unlimited Yoga classes at Old Town Yoga Studio, and Yoga Immersion workshop shift Yoga to a true practice, (no longer just exercise). 25 year high school reunion, (I don’t go). Start a book couple with a friend, reading Gifts of Imperfection by Brene’ Brown. EClasses: Mondo Beyondo, Superhero Photo, and Ordinary Courage. First blog post.

This gradual building, this wave of energy that ripples out into every part of my life, is illustrated by the “bar graph” of my journals–those places where I take notes, record events, vent my feelings, list ideas, doodle, dream and remember and plan.

And this timeline, this review of things reminds me also that true change happens slowly, like water wearing away at a rock, and even then, the basic truth of me–my wisdom and compassion, my calling–doesn’t ever change, it remains constant and the same.

Small Stone: Day Fifteen

Small Stone: My Journals

Yesterday, I worked on cataloging my journals from the past ten years (a project I’d started earlier but never finished), putting book plates with date ranges in the covers, reading various passages, and stacking and organizing them by date. I showed Eric, noting how interesting it was that the piles from the last few years got increasingly taller, and how many of the ones from 2001-2009 weren’t completely full, still had empty, blank pages. He said it looked like a bar graph.


What I noticed most–besides how much more I am writing now, after struggling with writer’s block for decades–is something I notice when I reread posts from this blog: my struggles don’t really change that much over time, and even as I struggle, there is so much wisdom there. I like to imagine the real change, the one the “bar graph” illustrates, is the increase in compassion I’ve applied to the process. What I’d like to think is that the real change is I am kinder to myself, more present and a better friend. This isn’t just a small stone, it’s more like a whole river bed of rocks.

TL;DR: I catalog my journals from the past ten years and notice that while I still struggle with many of the same things, I have wisdom, I am kinder, and I am writing more and more.

Small Stone: Day Eight

Small Stone: My Journals

End of the year project not finished–book plates with dates waiting to be placed in the front covers, a review to be done. The pile has been there all week, waiting. I realize (finally admit) only the smallest part will be completed, but the rest will have to wait.

I notice that I used the word “wait” three times to write this. It is what these books do–keep a record, hold it for some future moment when I’m ready to return and remember. I can’t decide if that is magic or just sad.