Category Archives: Path

Something Good

1. 31 Unmistakable Signs That You’re An Introvert on BuzzFeed.

2. Working with the Obstacles in Your Path and 6 Steps To Being More Creative on Zen Habits.

3. less stuff, less stress: 6 steps to declutter + destress on Positively Present.

4. Why Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes on BBC News Magazine. If I were planning on having kids, I might start looking into moving to Finland.

5. Sad Dog Diary from ZeFrank.

6. Found at Auction: The Unseen Photographs of a Legend that Never Was on Messy Nessy. I feel like I’ve shared this before, but it’s worth another look. It’s a fascinating story, and as a relatively unknown artist myself, for me it is a terrifying story, (to die and have no one know about your work?!).

7. dipping my toes in the ladypreneurial pond, useful and good real advice from Sas Petherick.

8. “My brain hums with scraps of poetry and madness.” ~Virginia Woolf. Yes, yes it does.

9. your daily rock : be gentle with your self, from Patti Digh.

10. Eye Candy: The Pantone Project on Pugly Pixel. This project is so cool, and I have since started following the photographer, Paul Octavious, on Instagram and his other work is worth a look as well.

11. Kaleidoscape: A Study in Double Symmetry, a really cool “museum exhibition and social furniture project,” (led in part by Andrea Scher‘s super talented husband, Matthew Passmore).

12. The 5000th post from Seth Godin. “For me, the privilege is sharing what I notice, without the pressure of having to nail it every time… I treasure the ability to say, ‘this might not work.’ ” I’ve written 710 posts, can’t even imagine 5000, and yet I absolutely understand what he’s saying here. As a writing practice, there’s really nothing like it.

13. Becoming Well-Fed with Soulsister, Rachel Cole on the Soul Sisters Gathering website.

14. This wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Compassion practice is daring. It involves learning to relax and allow 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.

15. 20 More Baby Animals That’ll Make You Say “Aww” from Bored Panda.

16. Good advice from Franz Kafka, “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

17. Tumblr Gets Deep (25 Pics) on Pleated Jeans. There is a whole series of these posts, super funny and addictive. I don’t recommend going too deep into them if you don’t have a lot of time. I myself could get lost there, forever happy in funny land.

18. H&M’s NBD Approach To Plus-Size Model Shocks, Astounds World, on xojane, which says, “How to be beautiful naked: stand in front of a mirror, naked, and say to yourself, ‘My body is as unique as I am. It does not, and will not ever, look like any other body on earth, and that’s why it’s my favorite.’ ” I love that, couldn’t agree more, and yet am still bothered by the fact that “Jennie Runk is a size 10, which equals plus size for the purpose of the modeling industry.” Ugh.

19. Joy, a post Lisa Congdon wrote about her wedding, in which she says, “I have never felt so totally whole as I did that afternoon & evening.” I want this, for everyone.

20. This wisdom from Geneen Roth,

I was remembering yesterday what one of my beloved teachers once told me: that I was protecting myself from losses that already happened. I was remembering this because I was noticing how my mind tilts toward catastrophe, how even when things are fine, I look for how they are not. And remembering that the big losses, the ones that I was helpless and small and utterly unprepared for had already happened, allowed me to come back to the present. Which was good.

It’s not that losses don’t happen in the present. It’s not that there isn’t sadness or grief here. They do and there is. But as adults, it’s different. It’s different when you keep imagining how horrible it is or will be than when you are right in the middle of sadness or grief. As children, we might not have been able to get comfort. There might not have been anyone to whom we could truly speak or be ourselves. As adults, we have love in our lives. Our hearts break, and then they break open. And more comes in. Notice how you protect yourself from losses that have already happened. Notice how that closes your heart. Notice if, today, you can be with the raw beauty, and sometimes, broken-heartedness of the moment.

21. The Hidden Cost of Doing the Wrong Work on Create as Folk. This post cuts right through the crap and gets to the heart of the issue.

22. fed by everything, a poem by Tara Sophia Mohr, which ends like this,

In the end
maybe enlightenment
is a matter of being fed
by everything

23. Books to Inspire your Be Your Own Beloved Journey! from Vivienne McMaster. I already have some of these, but there are a few that are new to me, ones I clearly need to read.

24. 41 Camping Hacks That Are Borderline Genius on BuzzFeed.

25. Recipe I want to try: Grilled Polenta Cakes from Campfire Vegan.

26. Allison Mae Photography does it again. These two dogs remind me so much of my Sam and Dexter.

27. Trade Up for Your Best Life on Be More with Less.

28. Shared by Patti Digh on her Thinking Thursday list:

29. 30 Places You’d Rather Be Sitting Right Now on BuzzFeed. I don’t know about “rather be sitting” but they are pretty awesome.

30. Sarah DeAnna: Breaking the Cycle on The Conversation.

31. Shared on Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list:

32. Pat the Cat. Reminds me of my Sam.

33. Wisdom from Marianne Williamson, “The ways of spirit are not the ways of sacrifice, but rather a way of opening yourself fully to the infinite glories of the universe. The glories are there. They merely await your acceptance.”

34. Patti Digh’s story about Tess on 3x3x365 is so sweet, so heartbreaking. Tess has Asperger’s Syndrome and Patti is generous enough to share her story. Watching that little girl walk through the world, navigate the bumps and the joy, is a beautiful thing.

35. “After I’ve lost 20 pounds, I’ll be happy with who I am.” on Elephant Journal.

36. 27 Stunning Works Of Art You Won’t Believe Aren’t Photographs on BuzzFeed.

37. Two more from Brain Pickings: Do It: 20 Years of Famous Artists’ Irreverent Instructions for Art Anyone Can Make and How We Spend Our Days Is How We Spend Our Lives: Annie Dillard on Presence Over Productivity.

38. The 32 Greatest Unscripted Movie Scenes.

39. 24 Grooms Blown Away By Their Beautiful Brides on BuzzFeed. *sob*

40. The Life’s Too Short Diet on Drop It and Eat, in which Lori F. Lieberman says “Don’t be fooled into believing that you’ll be happier if only you weighed a few pounds less, because it’s simply a moving target.”

41. This wisdom from Sakyong Mipham, “If humanity is to survive – and not only that, to flourish – we must be brave enough to find our wisdom and let it shine.”

42. A Mood from Jeff Oaks, in which he says “Breathe until the feeling of being buried brings the need to break open.” As I said in a comment I left on this post, “The way that you are able to almost hide something so profound in the relating of the details of your daily life is a particular kind of magic.”

43. 50 Things to Love about Life That Are Free on Tiny Buddha.

44. What’s Wrong with Me? from Curvy Yoga.

Resolve: Mid-Year Review

On this, the first day of the second half of this year of Retreat, I have been reflecting on what I’ve experienced so far, and contemplating what’s to come. My word for the year was Retreat, with the clarifying words being rest, practice, balance, and transformation. Retreat, a time to remove myself from the usual expectations and obligations, to study and practice.

My life, my experience, my path in the last six months has been 1000 shades of love, 1000 shades of weird, 1000 shades of magic. Sometimes, I feel like a starfish caught on the beach, moving as fast as I can but my progress barely perceptible to others, or like a butterfly just out of the chrysalis, slightly confused about my new state of being, sitting on a branch waiting for my wings to dry. I am utterly transformed, but exactly the same. I am as I always was, but suddenly awake, and in that way so completely different.

image by peter harrison

Through all the classes, blogging and regular features, writing and meditation retreats, workshops, books, challenges, practices, the genuine and constant effort of the past six months, I feel a little like I’ve been in graduate school, earning a Master’s of Arts in Wholehearted Living, a Master’s of Science in Applied Practice, a Master’s of Fine Arts in Loving. My teachers and guides have been Susan Piver, Andrea Scher, Susannah Conway, Brene’ Brown, Laurie Wagner, Jen Lemen, Jennifer Louden, Rachel Cole, Patti Digh, Geneen Roth, Anne Lamott, Julia Cameron, Jamie Ridler, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Pema Chodron, my dogs, and so many others, along with an amazing group of fellow students on the same path–many of whom I’ll be meeting and connecting with at the World Domination Summit later this week.

room with a view

I still struggle with perfectionism, with lack of self-care and self-love, with being gentle with myself and present with my experience, and yet so much has changed. I don’t suffer from the crushing depression I did for so long. I’m not riddled with anxiety and stress. My path is no longer muddled by confusion or lack of clarity. Surprisingly, much of the transformation has been remembering who I am rather than becoming something else, about getting clear about the purpose and superpowers born into the world with me, a repeated mantra of “This is me. I am enough and I have enough. This is who I am, wise and compassionate and powerful.”

I still struggle to rest. I know intellectually how important it is, that I can’t give what I hope to from a place of overwhelm or exhaustion, that self-care is really just another way of ensuring the quality of my offering–but I long to know this in my gut, in my blood and bones, deep in my heart, to embody it fully. To practice it in the same way I do so many other things that are essential, that I do regularly without having to apply any special effort, like making 1/2 a cup of coffee in the morning, feeding and walking my dogs, or writing morning pages, these things that happen each and every day, no question and no matter what.

dexter and sam know how to play

Since rest is still an issue for me, balance has not been achieved–I find it for brief moments, but it’s not yet sustainable. I still work too much, which means I don’t eat or sleep or exercise or play like I should. Practice, which is deeper and richer (yoga, meditation, writing, reading, dog, walking/hiking, and love) is helping me to contemplate, consider, creep my way towards a middle path, a middle way. I have confidence, curiosity, and more clarity than ever, so there’s no despair or smashing myself to bits about it, (most of the time, anyway).

I’ve experienced so many things I wished for, longed for, imagined and dreamed about–my sense of what is possible has been expanded and reinforced to such a degree that I can start to relax a bit, sink into being, into the present moment, into “this minute of eternity.”

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

Wishcasting Wednesday

What do you wish to walk away from?

Fear, worry, and anxiety. This is something to stop doing in general, to let go of no matter when or why it arises, but specifically there is one way this manifests for me in my life that is completely toxic: worry about those I love. The one thing I can count on, all of us can, is impermanence.  Everyone we love, including ourselves, is going to die, cease to exist, become inaccessible as a physical form, is finite and mortal. This is true, and fear, worry, or anxiety won’t change that, won’t protect me. And yet, I am constantly being triggered–any time the dogs are sick or hurt, any time Eric drives away from me in a car or I get on a plane, every time I hear yet another story about someone in my family making a bad choice, or see them struggling or sick. Their suffering is out of my control and a constant reminder of my biggest fear, that one day we will lose each other. We will disappoint and hurt each other. I will abandon them or they will leave me, one way or another we will be separated.

I wish to walk away from fear, worry, and anxiety, and lean into joy, soften to love, welcome and embrace reality.

Numbing. This is a response to fear, discomfort, lack of appropriate self-care. I feel the twinge of anxiety about a situation and I want to numb myself to that ache. I’m tired, but my mind is pushing, insisting, “keep working, keep doing, just one more thing and you can stop” and I want to numb out and release myself. There are better ways to cope, I know that and yet I don’t always make the best choices, sometimes slip into old, deep habits and ways of being. I want to know deep in my bones that facing reality, the vulnerability, discomfort and pain of the moment, even the possibility of getting my ass kicked by it is better than being numb. Brene’ Brown says, in Gifts of Imperfection,

[T]here’s no such thing as selective emotional numbing. There is a full spectrum of human emotion and when we numb the dark, we numb the light. While I was “taking the edge off” of the pain and vulnerability, I was also unintentionally dulling my experience of good feelings, like joy…When we lose our tolerance for discomfort, we lose joy.

I wish to walk away from numbing and into a full, wholehearted experience of my life.

Busyness and exhaustion. I get too busy and won’t allow myself to rest. When this goes on for too long, I become depleted and start to struggle in all kinds of ways, all areas of my life. Work is harder, even play becomes difficult. I become irritable, easily frustrated, and confused. Illness finds a way in. It’s more difficult to make decisions and my priorities aren’t clear. I get overwhelmed and stuck, or speedy and sloppy, accident prone. I make poor choices about how to care for myself. I push past my limits, smash myself to bits, eat too much of the wrong things, don’t get the exercise or rest I need, have a nasty internal dialogue, falter in my commitments and practices, abandon and mistreat what and whom I love.

I wish to walk away from busyness and exhaustion, and towards rest, play, stillness, calm, and self-care.

Criticism and judgement. This helps nothing, no one. Rejecting the way things are doesn’t change the way things are. Pointing out the weakness of others, highlighting their mistakes, focusing on their confusion doesn’t make you strong. Love and acceptance, equanimity, truly is the healthiest place/way to be. And you might think that if you are only critical of yourself and not others–which usually isn’t the case, typically if you are doing it to yourself you can’t help but pass it on, but if you were able to pull it off–this kind of self harm ripples out, is not self contained.

I was thinking about this yesterday when I was watching an interview with a woman who had struggled with an eating disorder and body image issues in the past, and described herself as “horribly fat” at a moment of her unhealthy past, but the number she gave is my current weight…what she labeled “horribly fat.” I am aware enough to know that numbers are relative, and that her “fat” number doesn’t make me fat, but what I did realize in thinking through it is that if you don’t practice kindness, gentleness towards yourself, even your past troubled self, you will find yourself inadvertently criticizing every person who is like that, now or still. Comparison, criticism, being unforgiving does so much harm, generates so much shame, pain, and suffering.

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” ~Mother Teresa

I want to walk away from criticism and judgement, and walk in a spirit of equanimity, compassion, and love.