Category Archives: Pema Chödrön

Something Good

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

1. Multitasking is Killing Your Brain. “Multitasking is not a skill to add to the resume, but rather a bad habit to put a stop to.”

2. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön, from her book Start Where You Are: a Guide to Compassionate Living, “The reason that people harm other people, the reason that the planet is polluted and people and animals are not doing so well these days is that individuals don’t know or trust or love themselves enough.” So simple. So incredibly complicated.

3. Good stuff from Patti Digh: Your life is the vision board. Better get a new glue stick. and strong offer Friday : transform terror into commitment, and entitlement into hope, which includes the video and transcript of Laurie Foley’s Life is a Verb Camp talk.

4. The Best Female Rock Climber In the World is 14 Years Old (so cool) from Great Big Story, whose tagline is “From the cosmos to cosplay and pizza to our very planet itself, it’s time to feed your feed with the most curious and compelling stories being told.” Take some time and check out their other videos.

5. Let Them Eat Cake: My Weight Restoration Story. Because this, “The only weight that I needed to drop was that of internalized misogynistic self-hate. I didn’t need to lose any pounds. I needed to lose the sound of “You’re worthless” that reverberated in my ears — in my own voice — every time I had a craving for chocolate or was too tired to go to the gym.”

6. Husband Asks Wife To Draw What’s On Her Mind, Gets More Than He Expected. #same

7. New music: Paublo Nouvelle. This is my jam. There used to be an online radio station called Beach House Radio, and if they were still around, they’d totally be playing this. I heard him first on the Chill station I listen to on SiriusXM satellite radio (so good, “downtempo electronic and deep house”), but you can also find his stuff on SoundCloud and YouTube, or buy his new CD.

8. Bringing Kindness, Full Stop on Allowing Myself. Justine told me recently that when she got her yearly blog report, it showed I shared her stuff the most of anyone — because she’s so good.

9. Dog Breaks Out Of Kennel To Comfort Abandoned Crying Puppies. This story gives me all the feels. Here’s the video.

10. 13 Plus-Size Models Killing The Fashion Game Right Now. Next step: stop calling them “plus size” and just call them models.

11. You Get To Decide from Michele Woodward. This is an older piece, but I wanted to share it again in honor of Laurie, who entered hospice this past week. Here’s a podcast she did a few years ago, Episode 7 – Laurie Foley – A Practice to Find God.

12. Life Before And After Getting A Dog (9 Pics). Word.

13. One-of-Kind Wool Rug Artworks by Alexandra Kehayoglou Mimic Rolling Pastures and Mossy Textures. These are amazing.

14. The One Thing We Need To See In Plus Size Fashion In 2016, (p.s. besides that thing where we stopped called it “plus size” and just call it fashion).

15. the shutterbugs: salva lópez on SF Girl by Bay. The colors, the wood and the plants and the light, the patina — so gorgeous.

16. 10 Reasons I Ditched Dieting from Dances With Fat. Amen.

17. Toddler GoPro Hide and Seek. “Strap a GoPro to your toddler and play Hide & Seek. So much awesome!” So cute.

18. Refugee Girls Got To Dress Up As What They Want To Be When They Grow Up. “The International Rescue Committee recently sent photographer Meredith Hutchison to meet with young girls in two refugee camps in Jordan and ask them about their hopes and dreams.”

19.‘Stop using BMI as measure of health,’ say researchers. Yes, please. In related news, BMI mislabels 54 million Americans as ‘overweight’ or ‘obese,’ study says.

20. The new Beyoncé video is nearly five minutes of unapologetic blackness.

21. The 20 Funniest Tweets From Women This Week.

22. Not Just a Death, a System Failure.

23. No exceptions from Chookooloonks. “If you want to be good at your job, at parenting and/or at life, you must practice self care. No exceptions.”

24. The Powerful Super Bowl Ad That Washington Redskins’ Owner Dan Snyder Needs to See. Word.

25. Super Bowl commercials 2016: the 9 best and 5 worst ads.

26. “Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Me” from Amy McCracken, one of my favorite writers, one of my favorite humans, and this is just one reason why.

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pathwithtextTo be honest, I was starting to think maybe I’d picked the wrong word this year. A month has passed already and instead of feeling immersed, focused, clear, I was feeling a little lost. Yoga and writing come more naturally to me, but I was finding it hard to meditate, let alone deepen my study of the dharma. This morning I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, trying to find some direction or distract myself when I saw a post from Lodro Rinzler, “New video teaching up to kick off a year series studying Atisha’s mind training slogans.” I recognized the screen capture from an email I got at the beginning of the week from him, one that I’d filed away like all the others for some later date when I have “more time.”

You can sign up for Lodro’s newsletter and he sends a meditation challenge every Monday. Sometimes I watch, but more often I file it away for later. When I saw the post on Facebook, I actually read what it was about, and I was in.

Three years ago, Susan Piver was focusing her Open Heart Project Practitioner teachings around the lojong slogans. I enjoyed it so much, was learning so much. I have two books from Pema Chödrön about the same topic and was using them to help deepen my understanding. Then Susan made the difficult decision to discontinue the Practitioner program, and we never made it past the 17th one. So I was so happy to see that Lodro was teaching them, that he was committed to the full set of 59.

Lojong (or “mind training”) slogans are from a classical Tibetan Buddhist text, and are described by Pema Chödrön as offering “pithy, powerful reminders on how to awaken our hearts in the midst of day-to-day life, under any circumstances.” The editor of the book by Chögyam Trungpa about these same slogans describes them this way,

The Root Text of the Seven Points of Training the Mind is a list of fifty-nine slogans, which form a pithy summary instruction on the view and practical application of mahayana Buddhism. The study and practice of these slogans is a very practical and earthy way of reversing our ego-clinging and of cultivating tenderness and compassion. They provide a method of training our minds through both formal meditation practice and using the events of everyday life as a means of awakening.

Pithy. Practical. Perfect. I don’t know if I’ve told you this before, kind and gentle reader, but it’s that practical application component that draws me to Buddhism. All the stuff about various deities and realms and karma is interesting to me as an intellectual exercise, but it’s the part where the rubber meets the road that I get excited about. I look to the dharma as a way to understand how to be a better human — how to meet what is beautiful and tender and keep my heart open, how to face what is brutal and terrible and not give up.

And the first lojong slogan is one of my favorites. It presents what are sometimes referred to as the Four Reminders. The slogan is “first, train in the preliminaries,” and those preliminaries or reminders are:

  1. Maintain an awareness of the preciousness of human life, the luck of a human birth
  2. Be aware of the reality that life ends, death comes for everyone
  3. Know that karma is real, actions have consequences
  4. Contemplate that as long as you are caught up in yearning for pleasure and shying away from pain, the suffering of suffering, you will remain trapped in unhappiness

I’ve written about the Four Reminders before. I was happy to revisit them this morning. Even happier to feel myself back on the path, encouraged by what Pema says about this study, that “when we work with the slogans, ordinary life becomes the path of awakening.”