Category Archives: Kute Blackson

Something Good

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14. Wisdom from Atticus Finch,

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

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

16. Wisdom from Tara Brach,

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

17. Wisdom from Tama J. Kieves,

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

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

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

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

20. The Magic of Impermanence from Lisa Congdon.

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

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

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

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

25. Staying Awake from Jeff Oaks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

32. Wisdom from Geneen Roth’s latest newsletter,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day of Rest

To rest is not self indulgent, to rest is to prepare to give the best of ourselves, and to perhaps, most importantly, arrive at a place where we are able to understand what we have already been given. ~David Whyte

I’m posting this on the day of rest, but it’s every bit as much a message from the universe post, the message being how to be brave, the nature of courage, how to practice fearlessness, and that through it all, I am fundamentally wise and compassionate, basically good and already whole — as are we all.

In all the ways I am struggling, suffering, at the center is fear, fatigue, despair, feeling like I’m just not strong enough, can’t do “this” anymore — can’t keep losing those I love, can’t continue being so confused about my body and what it needs, can’t stand the anxiety and worry and impermanence, can’t live with this level of simultaneous determination and exhaustion, can’t compete with the discursive, erratic nature of my mind or the fierce emotional force of a tender and raw open heart in a world that is so loud, so fast, so full.

As a member of the Open Heart Project at the Practitioner level, I receive a video each Monday from Susan Piver in which she suggests a contemplation for the week. Our theme for this week? Fearlessness. In the video, Susan suggests that meditation is an act of “confronting our own tenderness,” and that,

Practice itself is a gesture of fearlessness, because when you sit down…you basically are consenting to release your agenda, and witness and be with what arises — and that is our definition of fearlessness.

She goes on to say that,

This definition of fearlessness has almost nothing to do with certainty or arrogance certainly, or feeling like you can dominate any situation you happen to enter. It’s actually almost the opposite. Here fearlessness has more to do with how vulnerable you can be, how much you can trust yourself when your emotions start to roil, how deeply you can feel, how wide you can open to let this world touch you…So our definition of fearlessness is a willingness to be vulnerable.


Then yesterday, this, from Kute Blackson: Stop beating yourself up. It won’t work. You won’t change that way, nothing will, and “what if you didn’t need to be fixed?” Accept yourself, love yourself, this is where the healing happens, in this way you will be transformed, free. Kute also says,

True healing is applying love to the part of you that hurts.

Brave BellyAnd this,

What if the way you might be going about trying to transform yourself or heal yourself, in and of itself, is causing more suffering?…Perhaps it’s not just about changing something, but it’s about the process of how you change something that has an impact on the thing itself. So consider this — your relationship with yourself is as important as the thing itself. Consider this — that the issue that you might be judging or dealing with in your life…is not simply the issue, that the real issue is how you relate with yourself as you deal with the issue. And if you are able to create some space, a certain compassion, a certain openness, a way of holding yourself through the issue even while the issue’s there, then you don’t need to heal the issue or clear the issue or get rid of the issue or exterminate that part of yourself in order to be okay, in order to be loveable, but that as you are right now you are loveable, just because.

I wonder how many times, from how many places and in how many forms I’ll need to hear this message to finally get it? This time it was coming from a person and in a form where I’ve seen it before, a Kute Blackson video and blog post. In this one, he delivers simple but powerful truth with his characteristic enthusiasm, makes watching it feel like you just attended the best church sermon ever. He suggests that,

There comes a moment when no matter how much healing or therapy you have done, how many books you have read or seminars that you have attended, you must make the bold choice to love yourself no matter what.

Loving yourself is a great act of courage. The simple yet powerful decision to love yourself no matter what is the key to your freedom.

Then on facebook this morning, Jeff Oaks shared a link to an opinion piece on The New York Times, The Value of Suffering by Pico Iyer, a beautiful essay full of truth. In it, he shares a story about the Dalai Lama visiting a Japanese fishing village that had been destroyed by the tsunami.

As the Dalai Lama got out of his car, he saw hundreds of citizens who had gathered on the street, behind ropes, to greet him. He went over and asked them how they were doing. Many collapsed into sobs. “Please change your hearts, be brave,” he said, while holding some and blessing others. “Please help everyone else and work hard; that is the best offering you can make to the dead.” When he turned round, however, I saw him brush away a tear himself.

Pico ends the essay by saying,

The only thing worse than assuming you could get the better of suffering, I began to think (though I’m no Buddhist), is imagining you could do nothing in its wake. And the tear I’d witnessed made me think that you could be strong enough to witness suffering, and yet human enough not to pretend to be master of it. Sometimes it’s those things we least understand that deserve our deepest trust. Isn’t that what love and wonder tell us, too?

I’ve been suffering, more specifically struggling with my suffering, and Pico’s piece was so helpful, as were Kute and Susan’s videos. They remind me that being with suffering, being able to sit and stay with it rather than running away or closing my eyes and heart to it, is an act of courage, a practice of sanity and love.

Today, I am practicing the courage to love myself, to heal by applying love to the parts that hurt, and keeping my heart open — no matter what. I am trusting this practice, trusting myself.

couragecircle

When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open. ~Pema Chödrön

Something Good

1. In honor of Memorial Day: Memorial Day: an open letter to our troops on the topic of bravery from Lisa Adams, and Shambhala Mountain Center is offering a special, extended weekend retreat for veterans and their families from August 1-4. “Outer War, Inner Peace will create a safe and intimate setting for discussions and a variety of mindfulness practices, including gentle and powerful healing work with horses. Scholarships are available.” Please share with anyone you think might benefit from this program.

2. New Hyperrealistic Sculptures by Ron Mueck on Bored Panda. So freaky.

3. 10 Simple Ways to Eat Clean & Save Green from Kris Carr.

4. Why it’s so hard to be good (and how to begin) from Sayta on Writing Our Way Home. This one really has me thinking.

5. 26 Steps to Living a Life You Love from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

6. Oklahoma Tornado Survivor Finds Missing Dog During Live Interview.
Instead of reading about all the scary, sad, terrible things, I watched this video.

7. The Obstacle is the Path on Zen Habits. I know this, but sometimes I forget. It’s good to be reminded.

8. Simplify Your Life and Quiet Your Mind on The Spin Cycle and Your Definitive Summer Slow Down Guide on Be More With Less. Courtney Carver’s posts end up on this list almost every week. Maybe I should just put a permanent list item that says “Read Be More with Less.” She’s also doing a Charity:Water campaign for her birthday, because she’s awesome.

9. “Fortunately, it is not required for happiness.” 7 words to re-focus your mind on what matters. from Alexandra Franzen. Same here — maybe you should just take it for granted that I will be telling you every week to read something Alexandra has written, consider it a standing order?

10. Indie Kindred Trailer, a documentary by Jen Lee. Can’t wait to see it.

11. Daily Rocks from Patti Digh: your daily rock : be selfish sometimes and your daily rock : trust yourself.

12. Luke’s Barely Habitable, a video tour of a 78-square-foot live/work apartment in Manhattan. He pays the same amount for rent as my mortgage on an 1100 square foot house. Every video like this inspires me to downsize, start getting rid of stuff, get clear about what I really need.

13. 2013 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest, a set of gorgeous pictures.

14. This wisdom from the Dalai Lama,

Whether one believes in a religion
or not, and whether one believes
in rebirth or not, there isn’t
anyone who doesn’t appreciate
kindness and compassion.

We are all the same — we just want to be happy and safe.

15. Super Summer Challange on Back to Her Roots. This would be super fun and of benefit, if I weren’t already doing one million other things, (yes, I said one million).

16. From Couch Potato to One of the World’s Fittest Menon Forks Over Knives — also very inspiring but probably not something I’m going to do this summer.

17. lisa congdon : THink — a glimpse into the studio + creative world of the artist from Woodnote Photography. I love Lisa Congdon, her art and her story, and love to hear the stories behind people’s tattoos, so this interview is a win/win.

18. My diet secret…The ONLY diet you will ever need! from Kute Blackson. If you have body or food issues, if you struggle, you have got to read this post, watch the video. What Kute has to say here is spot on, and he delivers his message with a huge smile and a ton of energy. Watch it. I’m not kidding. You can thank me later.

19. Creative Living with Jamie: Eric Maisel, Jamie’s weekly podcast interview with a creative person. I mention it this week for a special reason — that Jill she refers to at the very end is ME! But seriously, if you are a creative type, do yourself a favor and take a look at her podcast archive.

20. Convos with my 2-Year-Old, Episode OneI have it on good authority that this video is pretty accurate, not just of this guy’s 2 year old, but of kids in general.

21. roots, on Doorways Traveler, where Lisa Field-Elliot shares this poem,

Allow, by Dana Faulds
There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.

22. This wisdom from Kurt Vonnegut,

Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.

Which is good news, because apparently, according to this comic, I am an artist.

you-might-be-an-artist-if-640

23. Fear & Loathing on Facebookfrom Real Mom Nutrition.

24. How buying a pair of mom pants led to an epiphany from Wellness by Design. All I have to say in response to this is amen, and thank you.

25. Frida Kahlo’s Wardrobe unlocked and on display after nearly 60 years.

26. When she comes home from a long day at school, having a bad day, been told off or sad… She cuddles her best friend. This was on Reddit, and I’m totally in love with it. It makes me wish my dogs were a tiny bit bigger.

girlandbestfriend

27. From Your Inner Pilot Light,

When you notice a sensation or symptom in your body, that’s me talking to you, my love. You know that, right? Sometimes you can be a wee bit stubborn. Sometimes you don’t listen when I whisper. Sometimes I have to get scrappy and start bellowing at you in ways I know will catch your attention. Don’t make me yell, my love.

28. Here’s How Austin Kleon Writes on Copy Blogger. At one point, Austin shares this John Cleese quote, “Creativity is not a talent, it’s a way of operating.”

29. Busy Philipps on The Conversation talking about body image.

30. Cabin Porn, shared by SF Girl by Bay. I could get really lost in this site.

31. Freebie | Ephemera from Goodnight Little Spoon, shared by Pugly Pixel.

32. 22 Ways To Get Your Vegan Snack Attack On from oh she glows, shared by Patti Digh on her Thinking Thursday list.

33. Avocado Frozen Yogurt recipe, shared by Kind Over Matter.

34. 70 Cutie Baby Animals Bring You a Good Mood, shared by Positively Present.

35. How to Dance Properly, shared by Susannah Conway on her Something for the Weekend post. Oh my, this brings back memories and brought up lots of laughs.

36. Shared by Tammy on her Rowdy Kittens Happy Links list: Three Essential Elements of Personal Power on Always Well Within (I found this super interesting because what she’s describing is what I would call basic goodness), Famous Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers on Brain Pickings, and My writing practise on Beautiful Again.

37. 21 Love Lessons They Didn’t Teach You in School from Rebelle Society.

38. 10 Best Cases of On Air Giggles from Hello Giggles.

Something Good

A reminder about why I write this list: When I am feeling bad, I will often ask Eric to “tell me something good.” When I need something to hang on to, to make me feel better, something to show me that it’s not all bad. When I am in that dark hole, way down at the bottom, and the mean things with teeth are down there with me–”tell me something good.”

He’s really good at it, because even when all he can think of is “I love you,” it totally works. I mean, how great is it that the person that you picked and who said “yes” nineteen years ago, and knows you better than anyone, knows all the embarrassing and ugly stuff, continues to love you? He usually is able to give me a whole list when I ask him, followed by a hug and “what can I do for you, how can I make you feel better?”

So on A Thousand Shades of Gray, Monday’s feature is: Something Good. I like the idea of gratitude generating joy, and the opportunity my gratitude has to spread joy when I share the good things, and there are so many good things, and every Monday, I give you a list.

1. Binge Monsters and Chocolate Teapots from Sas Petherick.

2. Complaints and Requests: Two Halves of a Whole on Scoutie Girl, in which Tivi Jones says “Every complaint you have is a request you haven’t made.”

3. The Daily Loving Practice from Jen Louden.

4. “Writer Robert Olen Butler explains that the plot of any story is a yearning meeting a series of obstacles,” (from Your Daily Rock on 37 Days). This makes total sense to me.

5. “Rest does not need to hold hands with guilt. We do not have to pay for rest when the rest is over,” from a little bird told me, Brave Girls Club Daily Truth.

6. Quotes from Karen Salmansohn. “Be so full of love and light that none of what is going on outside of you can hurt you,” and “Let go of what you can’t control. Channel all that energy into living fully in the now.”

7. Bullies Called Him Pork Chop. He Took That Pain With Him And Then Cooked It Into This.

8. “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow. It only robs today of its joy.” ~Leo Buscaglia

9. Journal Your Life: Writing Your Dreams Into Reality, a new ecourse from Susannah Conway. Registration opens tomorrow, and I am predicting it’s going to be an amazing class, (a pretty safe bet, since everything she does is all kinds of awesome). She writes a bit about her own journaling practice in this post.

10. Lost Generation, a poem with a twist.

11. Succulents Galore Etsy store, (link shared on Pugly Pixel, Links Loved). Also on Pugley Pilxel’s list this week, The Ink Nest Etsy store and a recipe for Baked Espresso Glazed Doughnuts and a CSS Patterns Gallery.

12. The Self-Acceptance Project from Sounds Truea FREE 12-week Video Event Series, beginning Monday, March 4, 2013. I probably already mentioned this, but it’s worth saying again, as this includes all the “big names.”

13. Swords into plowshares and hate mail into origami from Rachel Held Evans. Such a great idea.

14. From SF Girl by Bay’s Thoughts for a Friday listproof that people are weird and magic, Japanese floral artist Takaya-Hanayuishi, and beautiful photos by Lisa Warninger and Chelsea Fuss.

15. From Susannah’s Something for the Weekend list: Learn How to Meditate and Finding Vivian Maier, the Official Movie Trailer.

16. Vulnerability is The Path, from the brilliant and compassionate Susan Piver (another great resource for learning to meditate is her Open Heart Project).

17. How to REALLY Find Your True Life’s Purpose… Once and For All! from Kute Blackson, in which he says,

All that’s needed is that you put one step in front of the next as you go boldly in the the direction of your heart. As you trust, then the universe will rise to your support. Your true life’s purpose is then not something you wait to find, but something that you live into. It is the invitation that life gives you to live each moment of each day as love.

18. may you feel connected + seen + adored by Jessica Swift, in which she talks about an amazing retreat she attended (that I envied from afar as I viewed the photos being posted to Instagram and Facebook that weekend by various amazing women), in which she links to a post Kelly Rae Robert’s wrote about how to set up such a retreat. I am predicting that my Courage Camp this summer (you know who you are, ladies) will be such an event.

19. This quote from Julia Cameron, “Creativity is a spiritual practice. It is always ongoing and changing, not something that can be perfected, finished, and set aside.” Amen.

20. What my life looked like before Self Love, a brave and vulnerable post from Dominee at Blessing Manifesting.

21. This quote from Mark Whitwell, (by way of the amazing Jessica Patterson),

To be yourself is very easy; you don’t have to do a thing. No effort is necessary, and you don’t have to exercise your will. But try to be something other than what you are, and you have to do many unnecessary things and struggle a lot. To be yourself requires extraordinary intelligence. You are blessed with that intelligence; nobody need give it to you, and nobody can take it away from you.

22. 30+ of the most beautiful abandoned places and modern ruins i’ve ever seen, from Francesco Mugnai.

23. Sir Nicholas Winton, BBC Programme “That’s Life,” aired in 1988. This video is so sweet, and heartbreaking, and inspiring. Would that we could all do something so good and important with our lives.

24. This quote: “The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it.” ~Henri Nouwen

25. Kid President. I shared his A Pep Talk from Kid President to You video already, but here it is again if you missed it.

Here’s a new video, The True Story of Kid President.

And another, which he made for Valentine’s day with two of my favorite singers, sisters Lennon & Maisy, (who are apparently now on TV, on a show called Nashville).

This was Lennon and Maisy’s first video, one of the sweetest, most beautiful things ever.

26. You can slow down. I mean REALLY slow. from Jen Lee.

27. This quote, from Geneen Roth,

I heard this from Rick Hanson, author of Buddha’s Brain (I love that book): each morning, do what he calls a “flight check”: remember that 1. You Are Safe. You are not getting bombed, invaded, destroyed. You really are safe, in this moment, now. Number 2. You have Enough. Enough food, enough clothes, enough warmth. And the last one: 3. You are Loved. By a cat or a dog. By your child. By your friend. By your spouse. You are loved and you have love in your life. We usually are reacting unconsciously to old patterns, many of which were about safety, enoughness, and love. We act as if we don’t have them, when, if you check in to the present, we realize we do. And then, it gives us a ground upon which the rest of the day can proceed with a different kind of knowing and relaxation. Try it now. Say those things to yourself. Take them in.

28. What you think about… from Hannah Marcotti.

29. May I Be Happy: A Conversation with Cyndi Lee on Body Image on Curvy Yoga. I love what Cyndi says about how yoga is being “sold” now that it’s gone more mainstream (“as a fitness and de-stressing program”),

We know that barely touches what yoga is really about and has basically nothing to do with the traditional benefits of yoga. But they don’t know how to sell yoga in any other way. And let’s face it, the audience for getting enlightened, or being honest and genuine, or living a life that is based on being connected to everyone and everything or talking about death as a way to appreciate our precious life, this audience is always going to be smaller than the “Let’s Get Fit in 30 days” audience.

30. Because it feels strange to end on an odd number, and because it’s totally something good in my life, my friend Carrie had a baby boy yesterday! Welcome to the world, Vincent. You are a very lucky boy, have an awesome family. (P.S. And just to warn you, I will probably be calling you Vinnie. Don’t tell your mom.)

Something Good

1. If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out: Poetry for Visionary Thinking. I have brilliant friends. This is the sort of thing they do when they follow their dreams, when they heed the call of their longing.

2. 3-year-old recites poem, “Litany” by Billy Collins. This kind of thing is an argument for reincarnation, divine nature, or something just as as brilliant and mysterious. Here’s a follow up story on NPR, Love Of Words Brings Child, Poet Together.

3. 17 Essays by Female Writers That Everyone Should Read on Flavorwire. I am working on it.

4. The question underneath every other question, another powerful post by Andrea Scher on Superhero Life.

5. More on what self-care, self-compassion looks like: Looking with Love by Alana Sheeren and Unraveling by Anne-Sophie Reinhardt.

6. Zen Pencils: Timothy Leary, “You aren’t like them.”

7. This quote, “Little by little, one travels far,” J.R.R. Tolkien. And similarly, “Our way to practice is one step at a time, one breath at a time,” Shunryu Suzuki.

8. One of my favorite quotes from William Gibson, “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes.”

9. And this one, “If you subdue the hatred within, you will discover that there is not a single enemy left outside,” Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

10. C the G TV. Catherine Just only started the project last week, but already so many good interviews.

11. This is always a good reminder, “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it,” ~Rumi. This too, “I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.” ~Rumi.

12. 14 Days of Self-Love post by Rachel Cole. This project, hosted by Vivienne McMaster is all kinds of good stuff, good people.

13. Open, Generous, and Connected by Seth Godin. Yes, please.

14. The Willard Asylum Suitcases on Lisa Congdon’s blog. Heartbreaking, fascinating, and slightly creepy.

15. Free ebook: Living from the Heart: Volume 1 from Louise Gale, and many other brilliant souls.

16. A Leap of Faith from Sas Petherick. “I feel like I have gone from playing ping-pong with my bare hands, to using a smart red paddle.”

17. Want More Love In Your Life? by Thomas Dunleavy on Your Heart Makes a Difference.

18. Swap True for Original from Jennifer Louden.

19. More than one thing from the brilliant Alexandra Franzen, 5 ways to write a blow-your-mind manifesto and Want folks to act / click / share / buy now? Screw the sales pitch. Write a Love Letter.

20. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others…(BE Your OWN Love Valentine) from Kute Blackson. “To succeed at being somebody that you are not (but think you need to be) is still a failure.  But to love who you are and courageously be that fully is a life well lived.”

21. 5 Reasons to Simplify Your Life from The Spacious Life.

22. “Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.” ~Buddha

23. “For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.” ~Carl Sagan

24. Oana Befort’s beautiful blog.

25. Safe & Sound Taylor Swift (ft.The Civil Wars) – Brittni Paiva ukulele cover. Beautiful music, beautiful instrument.

26. My beautiful, brilliant friend Jessica Patterson said this week, “whatever reminds you that you are whole, perfect, and holy…start there,” (to which I responded “stay there”).

27. “Our ‘originality’ is nothing more than our unique response to everyone we ever wanted to imitate or seduce.” ~Susie Bright

28. “Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.” ~Herman Hesse

29. your daily rock : live mindfully, on 37 Days which begins with this brilliant quote, “Mindfulness meditation doesn’t change life. Life remains as fragile and unpredictable as ever. Meditation changes the heart’s capacity to accept life as it is.” ~Sylvia Boorstein

30. 15 Easy Ways to Beat Anxiety Now on Greatist, (originally shared by Positively Present Picks). I wish I would have more successfully applied some of this the past few days.

31. A Pebble for Your Pocket on A Design So Vast. Such a beautiful post, which Lindsey ends with the question “what is there to do but to keep my eyes open, to take a deep breath, to love this life of mine, in all its flawed, real, glittering beauty?”

What I’m Learning Now

Love is, above all else, the gift of oneself. ~Jean Anouih

On Thursday, I worked a lot with letting the day unfold naturally, without force or agenda. I was fatigued, worn out, and took a sick day to rest. The plague (several versions) has been circling around campus and there’s a good chance my body is doing everything it can to fight it off. I stayed in my pajamas all day, fed myself well, drank lots of grapefruit juice, watched some inspirational videos while resting on the couch, taking notes and at one point having a long nap.

The Universe is bombarding me with messages about self-love, self-care, self-acceptance. The classes I’m taking, friendships I have, things I read and see and hear make clear what I can give, what is needed. The theme is that there is only one me, I have unique gifts, a specific perspective and calling, and that I must be true to that, honor it, because that’s what I have to offer the world. And most importantly, it is not selfish to be who I am, to love what I love. In fact, it is the deepest kind of compassion, the most profound expression of wisdom.

To succeed at being somebody that you are not (but think you need to be) is still a failure. But to love who you are and courageously be that fully is a life well lived. ~Kute Blackson

I contemplated this blog post that I’m writing now all day Thursday, but made the choice to rest instead. In fact, this past week, I only posted three times, when I typically post every day, sometimes twice. Normally that would make me feel bad, less than worthy and anxious because my stats were down. For years, I’ve been singing as loud as I can, dancing as fast as I can, performing elaborate routines, begging to be noticed, to be loved and accepted, cared for and safe. I can’t do it anymore, won’t–“a life lived in order to please others ends up pleasing no one at all,” (Elizabeth Lessor).

Pleasing another person is often about avoiding the conflict that might ensue if we tell the truth about our feelings, needs, fears, and dreams. ~Elizabeth Lessor

I know I have something of value to offer, but I can’t do it from a place of exhaustion and overwhelm. When thinking about how I might do this, my heart’s work, while maintaining full-time paid work and all the other things I’m responsible for, it is clear to me that the same approach that had been so unworkable, such a failure in my old job–overwork, overwhelm, anxiety, perfection, hustling for worthiness, people pleasing but self-hating–was being carried over into this. The same method of forcing and pushing and denial.

I want to continue loving what I love, so I need to soften my approach. I need to meet this work with gentleness, kindness, and be open to joy. I need to maintain my focus on how I want to feel, the experience I want to cultivate, the process rather than a product. I need to balance my effort with ease.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~Howard Thurman

I also must forgive myself for all that came before. All the years of trying to be good, hoping to be perfect, imagining that if I did what others wanted and expected that I would be loved, safe, accepted. The self-denial, self-loathing, self-abandonment, self-abuse, the pushing, forcing, smashing myself to bits, and broken promises. The cycle of starving and stuffing, never satisfied. I have to also forgive myself for my confusion, my disappointment, my despair, my rage, and every action that came from that dark place. I was only trying to be who I thought I was supposed to be.

Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are. -Anne Lamott

I’m choosing that second option, dreaming bigger, cultivating courage and rest and joy, keeping my heart open, showing up and staying with whatever might arise, and doing it all imperfectly. My wish is to leave you, this space, this planet in better condition than I found it, and to ease suffering, in myself and the world.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
~Mary Oliver

Something Good

message from a "secret admirer" on my car this morning :)

message from a “secret admirer” on my car this morning 🙂

1. The Makeover on SF Girl By Bay, in which Victoria Smith shares before and after pictures of her new cottage. I love her sense of design, scan through the pictures in her blog posts (*drool*) before going back to actually read them. Design Sponge wrote a profile about her in which she talks about being a business woman, (link originally shared by Susannah Conway on her Something for the Weekend list).

2. The Joy of Missing Outon the Aesthetics of Joy, originally shared by Pugley Pixel on her Links Loved list.

3. This quote from Louis Proto, “Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”

4. Hello 40: 40 Lessons from 40 Yearsfrom Susannah Conway. Also from Susannah, Self-Care in The Real World.

5. What Happened to Downtime? The Extinction of Deep Thinking & Sacred Space on 99U.

6. It’s Time to Come Out of the Closet…(& quit hiding!) from Kute Blackson, in which he says

There is a vulnerability in showing who you really are to the world. It is a risk to step out and say, “This is who I am!” But to hide the real you in the closet of your fears is to be a part of the living dead. There’s no refunds in life. Hiding and playing small serves no one. And the “love” you get by being someone other than who you really are is never truly fulfilling…and you know it.

7. This quote from Pema Chödrön, about being free from fixed mind,

Rather than living a life of resistance and trying to disprove our basic situation of impermanence and change, we could contact the fundamental ambiguity and welcome it. We don’t like to think of ourselves as fixed and unchanging, but emotionally we’re very invested in it. We simply don’t want the frightening, uneasy discomfort of feeling groundless. But we don’t have to close down when we feel groundlessness in any form. Instead, we can turn toward it and say, “This is what freedom from fixed mind feels like. This is what freedom from closed-heartedness feels like. This is what unbiased, unfettered goodness feels like. Maybe I’ll get curious and see if I can go beyond my resistance and experience the goodness.”

8. This quote from Jack Kornfield, “Peace is born out of equanimity and balance. Balance is flexibility, an ability to adjust graciously to change. Equanimity arises when we accept the way things are.”

9. Find Your Flow from Kristin Noelle on Trust Tending.

10. Note from the Universe“No matter how great the desire is to please another, Jill, let it be no greater than the desire to be yourself. Otherwise ain’t no one happy.”

11. Worthiness Wednesday #82: drop out, tune in from Kat at I Saw You Dancing. Also from Kat, Our mothers, our daughters.

12. Wings and Bones from Lisa Field-Elliot on Doorways Traveler. Beautiful and real, as always. Especially this line, “what there is time for in my life now is the depth and discomfort of introspection.” I think I might be living in this line.

13. Dear Photograph.

14. Her Idea: An Illustrated Allegory about Procrastination and the Creative Process on Brain Pickings.

15. From my Inner Pilot Light,

Please – take a breath – and let go of that drive to be perfect. I know you feel pressure to get it right, to deliver, to outperform, to be Superhuman. But let me fill you in on a little secret. Your imperfections are your gateway to intimacy. When you’re willing to be vulnerable, to expose your big ugly tail, to share your imperfections with others, they see in you their own imperfections, and they feel connected, and you give them a gift – letting them off the hook, giving them permission to be imperfect, just like you. Then – swoon – two imperfect beings can bond, and compassion grows, and intimacy thrives. You don’t have to always get it right. And when you don’t, you don’t have to keep it a secret.

And this,

The next time you’re tempted to judge someone, take a deep breath and add to the end of your judgment “And I am too.” Remember that what most irritates, angers, insults, or annoys us about others is often a reflection of something unseemly we see in ourselves, some shadow side of ourselves we’re running away from. Instead of running away, be brave enough to face your own shadows. Stare into the darkness and own it. Then stop projecting onto other people, and grant them the gift of grace instead. Remember that you just don’t know what’s going on for that person you’re tempted to judge. You don’t know what loss they suffered today, what trauma has been inflicted upon them, what disappointment they’re facing, what illness they’re up against, what heartbreak they’re in the midst of. Instead of judging yourself or others, try opening your heart, forgiving, letting go of expectation, and loving unconditionally. Such actions bless not just others, but YOU. Need help loving so big? I’m right here, darling.

16. This looks so yummy, Plum Crumble Cake Recipe on Decor8.

17. Pretty Girls Making Ugly Faces.

18. “All you have to do is to pay attention; lessons always arrive when you are ready, and if you can read the signs, you will learn everything you need to know in order to take the next step.” -Paulo Coelho, The Zahir (from 37Days, Your Daily Rock).

19. Secrets spilled in life’s final minutes on CNN.

20. Old Town Fort Collins Flickr pictures from CSU. I love where I live.

21. Dr. Weil’s Life with Dogs, a sweet video in which he says “I can’t imagine a dogless life.” Amen. He even has a Pinterest board, “Pets & Pet Care.”

22. Morality, My Ass on Elephant Journal, originally shared by Patti Digh on her Thinking Thursday list.

23. 35 Gut Checks When Founding Your First Company by Jordan Cooper.

24. This quote from Chögyam Trungpa,

Any confusion you experience has within it the essence of wisdom automatically. So as soon as you detect confusion, it is the beginning of some kind of message. At least you are able to see your confusion, which is very hard. Ordinarily people do not see their confusion at all, so by recognizing your confusion, you are already at quite an advanced level. So you shouldn’t feel bad about that; you should feel good about it.

25. Menswear Dog. He’s so handsome.

26. How 1 Hour on Sundays Will Change Your Life, on MindBodyGreen.

27. “You yourself are your own obstacle – rise above yourself.” ~Hafiz And, seemingly related, this: “The only person that can destroy you, is you.” ~Andrea Owen

28. Amo La Vida by Soul Biographies. “Look what you have.”

29. The Sweetest Friendship, a boy and his dog.

30. Relax! You’ll Be More Productive from the New York Times.

31. The Big List of Green Smoothies(link originally shared by Susannah Conway on her Something for the Weekend list).

32. “Drama in our lives is the greatest indicator that we’re not focused on meaningful goals. On the path to purpose you don’t have time for drama.” ~Brendon Burchard