Category Archives: Laugh

Gratitude Friday

This post is a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. Spending time with family. Movie day with Mom (and Dad, although he usually doesn’t watch the movies with us), lunch and walking on the beach and ice cream with my brother and niece, and dinner with aunts and uncles.

2. Farmer’s Market produce and Depoe Baykery baked goods. Oh how I am going to miss them, but there’s word that my garden in Colorado is producing cucumbers and the tomatoes are starting, and it’s probably time to lay off the sweet, sweet carbs for a bit as well.

3. My purple fleece robe. This item has wrapped me in warmth and comfort through some really hard times of grief and sadness and depression, as well as being useful during better times. Eric bought it for me for Christmas many, many years ago. It is simple, functional, clearly durable, and a long time favorite, and was a good thing to have with me this summer, where the temperature never got much above the mid 60s and I was trying to learn to rest and take better care of myself.

4. Naps, sinking in and relaxing. The boys and I have shared many a nap during this vacation, pure bliss when you get up early and take long walks and have no plans, no work, no where you need to go. I need this kind of rest, and my only worry is how I will manage it when I am back at my paid job. But for now, no worries. The boys are napping as I write this post, and I soon as I finish, I’ll probably join them.

5. HGTV. This is the only thing I miss about not having cable TV. I’ve been able to watch it this whole month, since the house we are staying in has access. I am especially loving International House Hunters. I barely even bother with the other channels.

6. Hiking yesterday, and then the long shower I took after.

7. This vacation, this month at the beach in Waldport, but also going home to Colorado. This place is home too and I have loved being here so much and as it does every time, my heart will break a little when we have to go, but I’m also missing my little house, my bed, my studio space, my garden, my routine there, and my friends. I am looking forward to returning, to catching up and reconnecting with that space and those people.

Bonus Joy: Laughing with Eric. Sometimes he makes me almost hurt from it and I have to beg him to stop, but sometimes he’s the one who can’t stop.

Something Good

This is going to be a long list, lots of good stuff, so let’s get started…

1. Brene’ Brown wrote a new book. Releases on September 9th, but available for pre-order now. (Something good just for me: I’m going to a two day workshop with her in Boulder this weekend.)

2. Rachel Cole reminds us of “The Importance of Crying in Public.” Thank goodness, because I’ve been doing a bit of that today. This post is heartbreaking, honest, and empowering.

3. Broken Open to Greatness: Transforming Tragedy into Triumph, guest post by Jennifer Boykin on Jonathan Field’s blog.

4. 25 Blogging Tips from Jeff Goins.

5. Master Mind Your $100 Startup, a group of great people having an interesting conversation.

6. Laura Simms video about the $100 Startup.

7. Geneen Roth talking with Eckhart Tolle, about “Changing Your Relationship With Money: Make the connection between what you want and what you need.”

8. Patti Digh gave a commencement speech at Gilford College, The Geography of Verbs.

9. How to Live Well from Leo Babauta of ZenHabits. This is so important. You should really read it.

10. Five Reasons You Should Laugh More from Positively Present, a good reminder, if you needed reasons.

11. I want to make these.

12. I’m going to learn to do this.

13. 35 Greatest Animal Photobomers of All TimeYou’ve most likely already seen this one around the interwebs.

14. This a good question to ask yourself, “What are you holding on to that’s no longer serving you?” from Jenn at Roots of She.

15. These two posts from SF Girl by Bay make me happy: A Handmade Home and Tulpina, Unique Floral Design.

16. 10 Things I’ve Learned from Anne Lamott. I adore Anne Lamott. She said of this post, “This person really did an amazing job of distlling what I am hoping to convey in my work. I’d forgotten writing in Op Ins that we’d all thought that having a kid wd be more like having a cat. And mostly I think that if I have a message, it is that we can unlearn the stupid, perfectionistic, efficiency-and-achievement driven BS our parents instilled in us. we NEED to “waste” time and paper if we are going to become artists. We need to fail and flail more, and make more messes and mistakes, not less. Send money to the Sierra Club every few months and then feel free toOVER-print-out your drafts, so you can hold the paper in your hands, and scribble on it with pen or pencil, and hear the sound of it between your fingers. That is an ancient and sacred sound.”

17. Thinks Like Me from ZeFrank. It’s hard to not have a crush on this boy.

18. Things I’m Afraid to Tell You. This is a great collection of posts, and a brave writing prompt idea.

19. Ronna Detrick and Fabeku Fatunmise talking about “Bigness.” The way he describes it, bigness sounds an awful lot like basic goodness.

20. This quote from Jennifer Loudenwhich describes exactly my reason for writing (besides the fact that I love it), my reason for practicing, my reason for living:

…because I am here to practice being beloved. And to teach this practice. To help myself, and hopefully you, know, through every cell of our being, that we are beloved. To know that truth as the glue that holds us together. Then, by knowing ourselves beloved, we hold every creature beloved, too. And act accordingly.

21. Exploded flowers.

Joy Jam

What were the 3-5 things that gave you joy this week?

:: Rediscovering, remembering artist Anne Packard: When I was working on my Full Snow Moon Dreamboard, I used a few images from an article about painter Anne Packard from the December/January 2010 issue of Coastal Living magazine–one of a table and tools in her studio, and the other of her hands working on a tiny painting. The hands remind me of a similar picture of an 83 year old painter, hands splattered with paint, that Andrea Scher shared on Superhero Journal recently. I want to be old like that, I want to be creative like that, I want to be free like that.

Honestly, it was hard for me to cut up those pages and use those images. I love that article so much, love everything about Anne’s work and life, and covet her studio. She reminds me in some ways of poet Mary Oliver, another gloriously creative and free spirit–what/who I want to be when I grow up.

:: Tina Fey: Everything about this woman makes me happy. When I was younger, I wanted to be a performer, like Barbara Streisand, Lucille Ball, and Carol Burnett. Who cares about “pretty,” but oh to be talented and funny (and gorgeous–maybe not in the traditional Hollywood sense, but all these women are gorgeous)!

In the 41 6-Word Days lovefest on A Human Thing yesterday (it’s a lovefest every day), a few of us got to talking about the line from 30 Rock, “I want to go to there.” It’s one of my favorite quotes, even more so because of the story about where it came from. In an interview on the Jimmy Fallon show, Tina Fey told him that her oldest daughter Alice says funny stuff that ends up in the show all the time, but for this particular line, Alice was about three and Tina was secretly considering taking her on a trip to Disneyland, so she was online, researching and looking at the website when Alice came around the corner, saw what was up on the screen (the Cinderella castle) and said “I want to go to there.”

I was explaining that yesterday, and while trying to find a video of that interview, I ended up watching some other Tina Fey videos and thinking about how much I love her–she makes me laugh, makes me so happy.

Tina Fey, Sexy Nerdy Funny Girl

:: Registering for Blogging from the Heart: I know I’ve said this already, but I am so excited about this class. I signed up in the first few minutes registration opened because I just couldn’t wait (the class is officially sold out). Clearly, the theme for this week’s joy jam is women I admire, and Susannah Conway is one of them–funny, brave, open-hearted, smart, gorgeous, and talented. As good as I feel about the blogging I’m already doing, I know that this class is going to open up a whole new part of my heart.
Susannah Conway
:: Playing “find it” with Sam: This is a game where I take whatever toy Sam happens to be playing with, ask him to sit and wait, go into another room and “hide” it (no place too difficult, because he’s really not all that good at it yet), return to where he’s waiting and tell him to “go find it!” He loves this game. I have to make sure Dexter doesn’t help, because he’s super good at finding, and would win every time.

:: Glen the baby squirrel adopted by a dog: This is actually an older story (February of 2009), but Eric just forwarded me an email about it today. If you click on the picture, it will link you to the original news story and a video. In the mail Eric sent me, it ended with what it called “the moral of the story”: Keep loving everyone, even the squirrelly ones.

Joy Jam

What were the 3-5 things that gave you joy this week?

1. My dogs. The very first time I did a Joy Jam post, I listed “these three boys” in reference to Eric, Dexter and Sam. I could put the three of them on every Joy Jam, gratitude, Something Good, favorites, things I couldn’t live with out list I ever make. But this week, I think because I’ve been doing the Small Stones posts and have been more attentive to everything, and I spend so much time with them, I have really been noticing how much I adore my dogs. Every single day they bring me joy.

2. Laughing with Eric. It wouldn’t do any good to explain the exact moments, because sometimes there are things that are only funny to you, and won’t make sense to anyone else.

3. Missing Obi. Any of you who have lost someone close to you know that grief can sneak up on you at the oddest times. The wind blows or a door slams or you see something out of the corner of your eye and turn to look, and suddenly you are right there, in the exact moment you lost them, as if it is happening again, right now in this moment. I was in my meditation room the other night, and I caught a glimpse of a picture frame I have on the shelf there–it’s one of those kits that you can make a hand or paw print on one side and put a picture in the other. I made this one of Dexter and Obi’s paw prints, the day before Obi died, and put in one of my favorite pictures of them.

I know it seems strange to mention this in a list of things that brought me joy this week, but the depth of loss and grief I feel for Obi is a reminder, a joyful one, of the capacity for love and connection.

4. Ease and Freedom. These are two things I don’t feel very often, but when I do, I appreciate them so much. This week, there were several times that I felt one or the other, or even both at the same time. Writing on Monday (I made four blog posts that day, and felt ease as I did so), walking the dogs in the snow on Tuesday morning, watching two owls with a student I’d just met (both of us standing so quiet and still, paying attention and wholly in the moment, appreciating the magic), sitting on my meditation cushion last night, practicing yoga this morning, and walking the dogs this afternoon (home early from work on a Friday, a windy but beautiful day).

5. Relax. I have talked many times about Susan Piver and her Open Heart Project. If you sign up to be on the mailing list, a few times a week she sends videos and a written message. One video is typically a discussion of some issue related to meditation (life), important teachings for free. I am continually amazed by her brilliance and generosity. In one of her most recent videos (I apologize for not remembering exactly which one), she talked about how Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche said (she was paraphrasing) that the more he studies, the more he thinks the entire path, the whole dharma, the truth and the teaching and the way could be summed up in a single word: Relax.

This makes me so happy. I’ve heard him say similar things before, so it wasn’t the first time I’d heard the idea, but when Susan reminded me, I felt what I always do: relief, and then joy. It really could be that easy. Something in me says “yes” every time I contemplate the idea. If you relax, you find freedom, space, ease–everything is workable. Seriously, I’ve been trying to disprove this idea with multiple scenarios, but I can’t think of a single situation where things wouldn’t be better simply by relaxing into reality, accepting what is as it is.

  • Where did you find joy this week?

Something Good

I was thinking, as I made this list, “wow, the Universe is so in love with me, sending me all this good stuff” but then I realized “the Universe is so in love with us.” I am only just recently understanding and fully opening up to this idea: I am so loved. You are so loved. We are so loved. How amazing is that?

Do me a favor, even if that sounds too fantastic or sappy or impossible, give it just a moment. Don’t get too caught up in where or who the love is coming from, let go of having to attach it to a source and simply allow it truth and space, just for a minute. Right now, let go of any skepticism or bitterness or whatever else might block the idea. Let it all go and allow yourself to feel, fully experience what it means to be loved. Go ahead. Close your eyes, maybe even put your hands over your heart, take a deep breath, and remember, really know: You are so loved.

art by hugh macleod

Here’s the rest of today’s list:

Quotes from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche

“If the mind is flexible, the world is flexible.”

This one, for me especially, is really powerful: “The self-assured strength that grows from knowing that we already have what we need makes us gentle, because we are no longer desperate.”

Audio Dharma

Thanks to Rachel Cole for sharing this link. “This site is an archive of Dharma talks…Each talk illuminates aspects of the Buddha’s teachings. The purpose is the same that the Buddha had for his teachings, to guide us toward the end of suffering and the attainment of freedom. [The “end of suffering and the attainment of freedom”?! Amen!] These talks are freely available for download or to listen to in streaming audio.” There are hours, years of dharma talks available here. An amazing resource with talks on compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, busyness, awareness–and you do not need to be Buddhist to benefit from this wisdom.

The Small is Beautiful Manifesto

I have added a new button to my side bar that says “small is beautiful.” It links to the “Small is Beautiful Manifesto” on Magpie Girl’s blog, a statement co-authored by the amazing Jen Lemen:
The Small Is Beautiful Manifesto

We believe stories are valuable, no matter how many people read them.
We believe following your passion is more important than watching your site meter.
We believe in the handmade, the first try, the small start, and the good
We believe that small is beautiful.

I believe it too, which is why I’ve added the button.

The Mild Manifesto

This is from the Mildly Creative blog, and begins this way:

We, the mildly creative and the mildly productive, are a calm, cool collaboration of travelers on a creative journey. We lead lives of quiet inspiration and are nourished by our shared imaginations.

Before we make money, we seek first to make meaning.

Before we attract customers and clients, we seek first to attract friends and kindred spirits.

Before we make a profit, we seek first to make a contribution.

Count me in, all in.

Mexico by The Staves

Susannah Conway posted this video on her blog a while back, and I can’t stop watching it. It is a beautiful song and a beautiful video. I have listened to it at least 20 times in a row this morning, so I think I am going to have to buy their new EP, which was just released a few weeks ago.

12 Questions to Make 2012 Your Best Year Yet

This set of writing prompts by Tara Sophia Mohr looks really interesting.

The Last Writing Prompt You Will Ever Need

In contrast to the above set of prompts, Jeff Goins suggests in his latest blog post, quite simply and elegantly, that we should “Write something meaningful and share it.” That is all, and that is everything. Amen!

7 Ways Meditation Increases Creativity

I am printing this post, written by Orna Ross and posted on Jane Friedman’s website, and reading it to myself every day before I meditate, to remind myself that it isn’t a chore or a project or a punishment or an escape, but essential to my sanity and my ability to manifest and embody my basic wisdom and compassion.

Legos Ad from 1981

I love this so much, and wish more advertising were like it.
Lego Magazine ad from the year 1981.

Shit Yogis Say

Again, I might be offended by this, if I weren’t laughing so hard.

Something Good.

It’s Monday, so it’s time for me to tell you something good.

Just a cute baby owl. That is all.

Friday Birthdays.  When your birthday is on a Friday, like mine was this year, there’s a universal rule that you get to celebrate the whole weekend. On Friday, a good friend took me to lunch, gave me a sweet gift (two actually, one was wrapped and the other was her telling me the nicest thing I’d ever done for her and how much it meant), lots of birthday wishes on Facebook (one of the top five reasons to have an account), one sweet email wishing me love and thanking me for a gift I had given that was “life-changing,” a present and phone call from my mom, and more presents from my aunt and boy (Eric made me a book with a secret compartment, so cool!).

Then on Saturday, another good friend took me to lunch and gave me a handmade gift (she’s an amazing artist, so even her cards are something special), and a phone call from my brother and another good friend.  Sunday morning, we found that the mail had been delivered late in the evening, so there was a package from my brother and nieces, and another card from a good friend who always says the nicest things, Sunday morning yoga, and lunch at Mount Everest Cafe, where our favorite waiter didn’t even ask us what we wanted to start, he simply brought us out a chai and a glass of Fat Tire as soon as we sat down.  It was an awesome birthday weekend.

Picture by Philip Bragg

Shantideva Quote: “If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?”

The Open Heart Project. I have a confession to make.  I have been struggling with my meditation practice lately.  Then I read about Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project on Jennifer Louden’s blog.  Susan Piver is a student of the Shambhala tradition, which is also where my meditation practice started, so to begin, she comes from a place I understand. She’s shared a series of videos, meditation instruction and guided meditations anywhere from 5 to 40 minutes.  Using these videos to focus my own practice has been so helpful.

Wishcasting Wednesday. This is something started by creative living coach and blogger, Jamie Ridler. She explains it this way: “What would happen if every week you made a wish? What magic might start to stir? Wishcasting Wednesday is a safe haven for wishes, a fertile field in which to plant wish seeds and have them witnessed and tended lovingly. It’s a place where magic begins.”  I am going to add this feature to my Wednesday blog posts.

A New Post from Hyperbole and a Half. This is actually more than a month old now, but I somehow had missed it.  I had thought/worried about Allie on and off over the past few months.  She’d posted she was working on a book, but then disappeared, and knowing what I know about freaking out and freezing up even/especially in the face of something big and good, I wondered if she might be in trouble. Her latest post is called “Adventures in Depression,” and as always, it is heartbreaking, true, and funny.  Sometimes I wonder if she realizes how brave and wonderful she really is.

Rachel W. Cole, and her list of suggested reading. I am so excited about her coming out to Fort Collins to do a Well-Fed Woman Mini-Retreatshop, (Sunday, February 19th, 12:30-3:30 at Om Ananda Yoga Studio–more details to come soon). On her website, Rachel shares her list of “11 Books that Changed My Life,” and you can also link to her much longer, full list of recommendations.  I am starting with “Women, Food, and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything” by Geneen Roth.

And finally, links to a few very special, sweet videos.

*”Being Elmo” Movie Trailer

*”Lily Shreds Trailside.” I can’t decide if I like this so much because there’s a dog and she’s so cute, or because it’s just such a cool video.

*Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

  • Okay, now it’s your turn: Tell me something good.

Thank You and Amen, Day Two

I am grateful for so much right now that I almost can’t be reasonable. It’s just that there is so much good stuff, and when you start actively looking for it, it seems to multiply, and suddenly there is so much good, you can’t get your brain around it, there aren’t enough words or enough time to ever be able to explain. There is enough joy though, and enough love. Seriously, you’ve got to get in on this. There is so much extra, and I’d hate to see it go to waste, for you to miss out.

I am grateful for my students. “If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” ― Pema Chödrön It is that point in the semester when my students are feeling tired and overwhelmed, just when their classes are asking the most of them, demanding that now they ramp things up, really show what they’ve learned.  I got an email from one of them last night with the subject line “jiiiiiiillllll hellpppp.” Through it all, they make me laugh, allow me to help and support them, don’t act like complete jerks, and let me have my own mistakes without making too big of a deal about it.  We are all struggling, none of us can keep up, but that’s okay.  I think we are managing to learn something anyway.

Picture by Christopher Sessums

I am grateful for Pema Chödrön. She was the teacher that provided my way in to the Buddhist study and practice that have helped me so much in recent years. And you don’t have to be a Buddhist to learn from her, (technically, I am not a Buddhist). She is amazing: funny, wise, compassionate, and kind. She wants all of us to simply make friends with ourselves, to relax and not take things so seriously, to sit with what is instead of running away or getting angry or numbing out (or all the other ways we try to resist who we are and what is), and has made it her life’s work to see that manifest in the world.  She is precious, and teaches us to see that we are too.

I am grateful for the Metta Drum blog.  Right now, especially these two posts: “Your Openness is Your Gift” and “The Truth of Loving Yourself.”

Why yes, that is me as a baby.

I am grateful for the chance to rest, for the choice to rest. I am still struggling with this.  There is so much work to be done, so much to write about, so much to study, so much to read, so much to taste and feel and see and talk about and love…I am not good at knowing when to slow down, or when to quit.  But I know I can, and I am trying to do better.

I am grateful for you, dear reader.To know that you are “there,” listening, allowing me to be heard and seen, is such a gift.  Even when I am not getting direct feedback from you, I can feel the kindness, and it gives me the strength to take another risk.  And when I do get direct feedback from you, it is so filled with love and generosity and knowing and empathy, I am filled with gratitude and joy.

May you be peaceful.
May you be happy.
May you be safe.
May you awaken to the light of your true nature.
May you be free.