Category Archives: Oprah

Something Good

ladybugcan

So great to be partnering with Wanderlust to share this list with a larger audience.

1. Mabel Magazine #4: What’s Next? is available for preorder, (one of my pieces is featured). I love their tagline so much, “making a living, creating a life.”

2. Good stuff from Alexandra Franzen: What if your job didn’t exist? and Will anyone come to my party? What I like so much about Alexandra’s advice is that even though it’s really good for specific people, it’s also applicable to anyone who is human, anyone trying to figure out how to live their lives.

3. Go Big, Go Weird, Go You, And Fuck Fear Right In The Ear and Kubler-Ross Model of Grief Associated With Editing And Rewriting on Terrible Minds. He might use a lot of naughty words to do it, but Chuck tells the TRUTH.

4. The Case of the Stolen Basketball Hoop from Jena Schwartz, in which she says, “Isn’t that the reason I blog, to pull all of the disparate strands from a day into some kind of bow you’d recognize and want to pull open, to unwrap with the promise of something beautiful waiting inside?”

5. 3 Ways to NOT Fail at NaNoWriMo. And in related news, 12 Thoughts On NaNoWriMo: Why you should or should NOT participate in National Novel Writing Month.

6. Getting Over the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) from Kute Blackson. I don’t necessarily think that something more exciting is happening somewhere else, I worry that if I stop, slow down, take a break, I’m going to miss something good, something important — so I listen to Kute preach.

7. The power of fear and Simple questions for writers from Seth Godin.

8. Eighteen Attempts at Writing About a Miscarriage. Sad, beautiful.

9. 10 Slow and Steady Strategies for Practical Decluttering from Be More With Less – clear, useful, simple instructions from Courtney Carver.

10. How To Be An Artist (In An Internet Age), an interview with Austin Kleon.

11. What have you experienced? on Chookooloonks. Make sure to read the comments, leave one of your own.

12. One-Third Of This Company’s Workers Have Criminal Backgrounds. “Dave’s Killer Bread is urging other employers to hire ex-convicts, too.” This is the kind of bread we eat, because it’s good and because they are doing good.

13. 15 Habits That Will Totally Transform Your Productivity. #3 is my favorite.

14. ‘Broad City’ released a Columbus Day video, because they know what we need.

15. Making Magic: Thoughts on The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Big Magic on Flingo.

16. Artist Uses Nature To Color Animal Paper Silhouettes on Bored Panda. In related news, Self-Taught Polish Artist Uses Fallen Autumn Leaves As Canvases For Her Paintings and Maple Leaves Left In A Box For 15 Years Became Canvases For My Art. Which reminds me of Flor & Fawn, a creative collaboration between Katie Daisy & Karen Eland — they are going to start doing custom pet portraits and I really want some of my dogs!

17. The Key To Oprah Winfrey’s Success: Radical Focus, a fascinating look behind the scenes.

18. Rest on Allowing Myself.

19. UN to investigate plight of US Native Americans for first time. “The UN human rights inquiry will focus on the living conditions of the 2.7 million Native Americans living in the US.”

20. To Witness Victory of This New Bravery by Omid Safi at On Being. So good.

21. Rescue Kitten Adopted By 5 Ferrets Thinks It’s A Ferret Too. Stupid cute.

22. The Meaning of Hatha Yoga (and No, It’s Not “Sun & Moon”) from Michael Lloyd-Billington, one of my favorite local teachers. I teach Hatha Yoga and this was still an interesting read for me.

23. “A Love Affair with Change”: An Inkerview with Isabel Abbott on The Inky Path.

24. Karl Paulnack Welcome Address on The Boston Conservatory. This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read about the importance of the arts, of artists, of humans. He concludes, among other things, that,

Art is part of survival; art is part of the human spirit, an unquenchable expression of who we are. Art is one of the ways in which we say, “I am alive, and my life has meaning.”

25. Why October is Hard on Getting the Words Wrong. All I can say is Amen.

26. Truthbomb #907 from Danielle LaPorte, “No need to try so hard.”

27. The Water Takes You Just as You Are from Rachel Cole.

28. The Lonely Death of George Bell from The New York Times. “Each year around 50,000 people die in New York, some alone and unseen. Yet death even in such forlorn form can cause a surprising amount of activity. Sometimes, along the way, a life’s secrets are revealed.” This piece was so interesting, so heartbreaking.

29. The Tiny Book Show. There’s still plenty of time to take part.

30. RISE, a morning yoga course with Adriene.

31. Read this when no one loves you. You know what, read it anyway. Read it now.

32. A Group Of People Tried Journaling Every Day For A Month And It Got A Little Too Introspective, a BuzzFeed video. “A group of us was asked to commit to writing in a journal 10 minutes every day for a month and this is how we did.”

33. 22 Habits That Will Make Your Life a Little More Peaceful Each Day. Certainly worth a try.

34. A Girl Gets Her Period And Is Banished To The Shed: #15Girls.

35. Your life is of the utmost importance, Susan Piver’s latest Open Heart Project video. In the email she sent to the OHP Sangha, she ended this way, “Thank you for being alive. Thank you for bringing your unique beauty to us all. Thank you for working to open your heart to the mystery.” Amen.

36. Wisdom from Dza Kilung Rinpoche,

You don’t need to be an “excellent meditator” to start with. All you need to do is have your heart and mind make the following agreement: “Let’s rest. There’s no reason right now to wander around following thoughts or worrying. Let’s be relaxed and open.” There’s not even any need to shut down your thoughts. Just be there with them, but not overly concerned or engaged. Let there be total openness, and just relax within that.

37. Anna Kendrick’s Surprising (and Brilliant) Shower Thoughts. The last one is the best, and I can’t stop thinking about it.

Day of Rest

Sometimes on a Sunday morning, you will find me sitting in front of the TV with a notebook and pen, watching Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Last week her guest was Alanis Morrisette.

There are certain albums that have come out at just the right time, a moment when I needed a particular kind of motivation or comfort, a way to sing my way through something difficult. I listen over and over, and the music becomes the soundtrack to what I’m experiencing — albums like Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual, Tori Amos’s Little Earthquakes, or Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville. Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill was such an album.

Alanis talked a lot with Oprah about healing. As I listened, I realized I don’t even know what that means or exactly how to do it — to heal. I have been hurt, wounded, beat up, broken, but instead of healing, I’ve just kept going, kept moving, stuffed down the pain, numbed it out, self-medicated, figured out ways to work with or around the injury. Especially in the past few years, I’ve just avoided, resisted — kept moving.

Elizabeth Gilbert was on this morning’s episode of Super Soul Sunday. She said at the beginning, “there still is this wide swath of women who never got the memo that their life belongs to them,” that there are so many waiting for permission to live, to be who they are. She talked later about the hero’s journey, one part of which is the battle or the ordeal. Oprah asked Elizabeth what her battle was, and she replied “The real battle for me was the self-abuse, to learn to drop the knife I was holding to my own throat.”

Oh, snap. Do you see it, kind and gentle reader? This is me.

*sigh*

Even though a few years ago my word was “retreat,” there was no rest in it, no peace. Instead it was deep, difficult, spiritual work, and much of the time a struggle. I don’t regret it, don’t regret that I was working so hard and moving so fast, that I’ve continued to do so — there was important stuff to do. But now, there is a real need for rest, for healing, to slow down and process what’s happened, to truly and fully celebrate and grieve, to assimilate all the new information and changes.

Just like at the end of every yoga class there is savasana — a final relaxation pose in which you give your body a chance to assimilate all the movement, the previous poses, to rest and make a gentle transition into what comes next — there needs to be such a pause in our lives. Just like at the end of a work week, there is the sabbath. Just like at the end of every breath, there is a gap between breaths in which we are still. As Jack Kornfield said, “Wise intention and skillful service need to be nourished by periods of quiet and prayer.”

There are two ways I could go right now, two possible paths. In one, I throw myself completely into launching my own business — teaching in person and online, writing shorter pieces and books, blogging, facilitating retreats and workshops, mentoring individuals and smaller groups, collaborating, and building community. I know just what it will look like. The next steps are clear. I know exactly what I have to offer and how to do it. I could start right now.

The other path is to take the time to heal, finally. To contemplate what it would mean to do so, what’s required, what I would need to do and what help there is. To gather the books and the support, enlist the help. It would mean sinking deeply into my practices, in the most gentle and loving way. More than anything it would mean slowing down and making space for myself, allowing my natural rhythm and pace, the innate wisdom and compassion already right there to do its thing.

In truth, the path is both, and the work is the same: to drop the knife I’m holding to my own throat. It’s time.

 

 

Something Good

lifeispractice1. Posture Matters: Cute Animated Video Reminds Us to Get Off Our Butts During the Day from Yoga Dork.

2. A really good question from Justine Musk,

Pretend that a messenger from some great cosmic all-knowing sort of entity — I like to think of it as a giant punk unicorn, myself — has come to you and informed you that you have within you two gifts. The first is the message that you absolutely must get out into the world. The second is the way/talent/means for you to do it. What are those gifts?

3. Good stuff from MindBodyGreen: 10 Foods That A Nutritionist Always Has In Her Freezer and Forget Dairy! Your New Best Friend Is Cashew Cream.

4. Beyond Flour: A New Kind of Gluten-Free Cookbook, another good Kickstarter Project.

5. Confessions of a Serial Memoirist from the Opinion Pages of The New York Times, in which the author says,

I was born to be a serial memoirist: compulsive, self-absorbed, narcissistic, bossy and a know-it-all.

My books so far have been old-fashioned memoirs, the hero’s journey: Falling into disgrace or despair, struggling through the fires of hell to rise, graced with a new life or at least more peace. This classic dramatic arc is not superficially imposed, but the way I think; identifying and tracing the arcs in my own life helps me find meaning and purpose.

I keep trying to improve my identity by evolving into a kinder, more loving, wise, spiritual and compassionate woman, daughter, mother, friend. This is taking a lifetime. Not a bad thing for a serial memoirist.

Word.

ladybug6. Our crystal palace from Seth Godin.

7. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Meditation begins to open up your life, so that you’re not caught in self-concern, just wanting life to go your way. In that case you no longer realize that you’re standing at the center of the world, that you’re in the middle of a sacred circle, because you’re so concerned with your worries, pains, limitations, desires, and fears that you are blind to the beauty of existence. All you feel by being caught up like this is misery, as well as enormous resentment about life in general. How strange! Life is such a miracle, and a lot of the time we feel only resentment about how it’s all working out for us.

8. Do It Because It’s What You’re Here To Do from Jonathan Fields.

9. Good stuff from Scoutie Girl: Permission to Rest and Throwing In the Towel.

10. the one thing you must do from Sas Petherick.

11. 26 Reasons Kids Are Pretty Much Just Tiny Drunk Adults on BuzzFeed.

bookshelves12. 21 People Having a Really Bad Day from Pleated Jeans.

13. A Simple Relaxation Technique to Connect Your Heart & Mind from Deva Coaching.

14. 10 Characters You May Encounter in Yoga Class on Elephant Journal, (I am a combination of 5 and 10). Also from Elephant Journal, Dear Drunk Girl.

15. I’m Finally Thin — But Is Living In A Crazymaking Food Prison Really Worth It?

16. Dani Shapiro’s Provident Move to the Country on The New York Times. I want to go to there.

17. Mortified Nation, a “documentary about adults who share their most embarrassing, private childhood writings… in front of total strangers,” which makes me wish I hadn’t destroyed all the awful poetry I wrote in my tween years.

18. 4 Secrets That Can Lead to Self-Acceptance by Anne Lamott on Oprah.com. She was on Super Soul Sunday yesterday, and I was so glad Oprah let her talk.

19. Keep It Simple, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche on Huffington Post.

20. Mindful Friday: Tech Abstinence and Self-Compassion: Hurting The Ones We Love from Jennifer Matesa on Recovering the Body.

21. Good stuff from Tiny Budda: Why Accepting Your Imperfections Is a Gift to the World and 15 Reasons to Start Following Your Dream Today.

22. Star Wars MBTI Chart from Geek in Heels. It’s no surprise to me that my Myers-Briggs personality type is Obi-Wan Kenobi.

23. When We Most Need It from Jen Lee.

24. SERIOUSLY! A Movie about PLAY.

25. Good stuff from Brain Pickings: Art as Therapy: Alain de Botton on the 7 Psychological Functions of Art, and Dani Shapiro on the Pleasures and Perils of Writing & the Creative Life, and Happy Birthday, Brain Pickings: 7 Things I Learned in 7 Years of Reading, Writing, and Living.

26. You Want to Change the World? Start With You on Huffington Post.

27. Those People on Scary Mommy.

28. your daily rock : lower the bar

Day of Rest

brenesupersoulsunday

I just got done watching this, Brene’ Brown with Oprah on Super Soul Sunday. First of all, I am incredibly grateful that there is a live simulcast, and that later today the video will be available on demand. I had to miss Brene’ when she was on Katie, and was so bummed. We don’t have cable tv, and even if we did, we probably wouldn’t have OWN as part of our package, but I was able to turn on my tv and the computer hooked up to it, go to the website and watch with everyone else. It was so good, (I took five pages of notes!), I plan to show up again at noon. (P.S. It’s now available to watch online, on demand).

When the opening credits started, and Oprah was introducing Brene’, I cried. I know how much it meant to Brene’ to get to do this, and it made me so happy for her. I spent the next hour crying off and on for myself, because I was so grateful to get to see it. By the end, my heart felt sore it was so tender. If you’ve been reading this blog for long, kind and gentle reader, you know how much I adore Brene’ Brown, how much her work has changed my life.

I first encountered her work two years ago. A friend and I formed a “book couple” (with only two of us, we couldn’t really call it a club) and read Gifts of Imperfection. It made me see I had been in a long term abusive relationship–with myself–and helped me to understand the way out of it. I’ve had the opportunity to hear her talk multiple times about her work and research, her life and experience, most notably this past summer at The World Domination Summit, and also at The Power of Vulnerability, a two day workshop she held in Boulder this past May. I am currently working on finding funding to have her invited to speak at Colorado State University (CSU, where I do my paid work), with the hopes of creating a CSU Reads program leading up to her visit in which I can reread her books and talk about her work with my local community.

image by A Studio

image by A Studio

By showing up, opening her heart, sharing the truth (part research, part personal experience) about shame and vulnerability, daring greatly, and living a wholehearted life, Brene’ Brown is helping so many to discover the value of being brave, in being exactly who we are, in living a wholehearted life.

The wisdom I have been drawn to over the past six years (always?) is about opening your heart, keeping it open. In this episode of Super Soul Sunday, Oprah said her definition of spirituality is living with and having an open heart. Brene’ at one point said that “vulnerability is the birthplace of everything we are hungry for,” and that if we want greater courage and greater clarity, vulnerability is the path. Brene’ shared that the word courage originated with the Latin “cour,” meaning heart, “sharing your whole story with your whole heart.”

Living with an open heart. Being wholehearted. Showing up and being seen, being vulnerable, open to what is as you are. Oprah said she viewed vulnerability as the “cornerstone of confidence.” It gives you the confidence to be yourself, confidence as Susan Piver describes it, “the willingness to be as ridiculous, luminous, intelligent, and kind as you really are, without embarrassment.”

Brene’ suggests in her interview with Oprah and in her books that vulnerability is the key to having meaningful human experience, that it is “terrifying and liberating,” and that “you can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.”

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This message is reinforced for me through my work with The Open Heart Project and Susan Piver. Susan says that “having an open heart can feel kind of dangerous, unsettling,” but she also suggests that Vulnerability Can Save the World and reminds us,

To feel, we have to open—our eyes, minds, hearts, senses—while putting aside what we expect/hope/fear we will find, otherwise the only communication we have will be with ourselves. To open, vulnerability is required… When we become vulnerable, we can feel. When we can feel, we can connect. When we can connect, our hearts open. When our hearts open, we cannot hate.

And if all that feels just too overwhelming for you today, watch this episode of Soul Pancake and rest in the knowledge that you are loved.