Category Archives: New York Times

Something Good

image by eric

image by eric

1. A sweet middle path from sweet Rachel Cole. (hey look, Rachel, you’re #1!)

2. Are you hanging by a thread? from Danielle LaPorte. Oh my, did I ever need to hear this today. Also, Curatives for judgement. (Please read before you interact with other humans.)

3. A Photo Essay: Winter Happenings on Rowdy Kittens. I adore Tammy’s photo essays.

4. Type Rider II: The Tandem Poetry Tour by Maya Stein, yet another really great Kickstarter Project, from one of my favorite poets.

5. Philip Seymour Hoffman died. This is not something good, in fact it’s absolutely awful, but some of the things written about his passing have offered a sort of grace. Like Philip Seymour Hoffman from Guinevere Gets Sober, and this from The New York Times, and The Open Letter to Philip Seymour Hoffman I Wish I Sent.

6. 6 Videos That’ll Open Your Heart And Inspire Art from Jonathan Fields. Also, Selling Ignorance.

7. My One Nightstand: A Story of Cancer, Addiction, and Furniture on Huffington Post.

8. Idiot Compassion and the Power of Sorrow, Susan Piver on Huffington Post, in which she says, brilliant and true,

Someone once said to me that compassion is the ability to hold pain and love in your heart simultaneously and I have never heard a better, more intimate definition…Thus compassion takes tremendous courage. It is an act of fearlessness and power. You can totally do it. All you have to do is allow your heart to break to the sorrow and beauty of this world.

9. Is it good or bad to have a big ego? also from Susan Piver, (she’s kind of on fire right now).

10. your daily rock : detach from being right and your daily rock : focus your attention.

11. On letting go: Letting Go from Vivienne McMaster and on letting go (a confession) from Leonie Wise and The Practice of Letting It Go from Amy Palko.

12. British Man Reunites With Good Samaritan Who Talked Him Out Of Suicide Attempt In 2008 on Huffington Post.

13. 10 Painfully Obvious Truths Everyone Forgets Too Soon from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

14. 7 Reasons Yogis Should Learn The Basics Of Anatomy on MindBodyGreen.

15. Wisdom from Jeff Foster,

Depression
is the realization that
nothing can make you happy.

Causeless joy
is the realization that
nothing CAN make you happy.

16. An interesting thought from Vine Deloria Jr., “Religion is for people who’re afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those who’ve already been there.”

17. Truthbomb from Danielle LaPorte, “Wish someone well as if you had the power to make their greatest dreams come true.”

18. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Taking refuge in the Buddha means that we are willing to spend our life reconnecting with the quality of being continually awake. Every time we feel like taking refuge in a habitual means of escape, we take off more armor, undoing all the stuff that covers over our wisdom and our gentleness and our awake quality. We’re not trying to be something we aren’t; rather, we’re reconnecting with who we are. So when we say, “I take refuge in the Buddha,” that means I take refuge in the courage and the potential of fearlessness, of removing all the armor that covers this awakeness of mine. I am awake; I will spend my life taking this armor off. Nobody else can take it off because nobody else knows where all the little locks are, nobody else knows where it’s sewed up tight, where it’s going to take a lot of work to get that particular iron thread untied. You have to do it alone.

19. 50 Insanely Gorgeous Nature Tattoos on BuzzFeed.

20. The High Cost Of Multitasking on Huffington Post.

21. What does “normal” eating even mean? from Isabel Foxen Duke.

22. Sanctuary on Just Lara.

23. How To Assemble Furniture from Brittany, Herself.

24. 37 Life Lessons in 37 Years on Huffington Post.

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