Category Archives: Practice

Life Rehab Resource: Practice, Part Two

liferehabresourcesRemember how I said last week I could write a whole book about practice? How the post I wrote then couldn’t possibly say everything there was to say about it? I hadn’t planned a Life Rehab Resource post for today, but when I started writing and one accidentally fell out, it was about practice. So here we are, Part Two.

I just did my first yoga series out of a Yoga Journal. On one of our morning walks this past summer, we went by a house for sale that had a full box of about ten years worth of Yoga Journal magazine sitting out front on the sidewalk. I passed it up at first, tried to convince myself I didn’t need them, was in the process of decluttering, but ended up going back for them.

Now that I’m training to be certified as a yoga instructor, I decided to go back through the old issues and do some of the series, see if there was anything I wanted to “steal.” I’m going to try and do one new series a day, supplement my own practice. I’m not making it out of the house to as many classes, so need to do more on my own at home anyway, start building my own vinyasas (a series of poses).

When choosing a Yoga Journal this morning, I went with the earliest November issue I had that included a series, since that’s my birthday month. Oddly, even though the oldest issue I have is from 2003, there wasn’t a November issue with a vinyasa until 2008 — my last birthday before everything shifted. By February 2009, just a few months later, both Kelly and Obi would be diagnosed with cancer. I had been practicing yoga for a few years by then, using a mat Obi had chewed a tiny hole in when he was just a baby.

Yoga FeetJust like writing and meditation, the practice of yoga came to me in fits and starts. It was years after my first attempts that yoga became a regular thing for me. As with those two other practices, when it finally stuck it felt essential, like I’d die if I didn’t do it. And when I say “I’d die,” that’s not just an exaggerated way of saying how important it was, it’s the truth. Writing, yoga, meditation, and dog, practice, saved my life.

And just like with writing and meditation, the benefit compelled me to want to share, to teach the practice to others. This is where I find myself now, training to be certified as a yoga instructor, going through old Yoga Journals looking for ideas.

The series today was “Invite Quiet.” It suggested that November was a season for turning inward, just like nature does, and that this series of forward bends could help cultivate quiet.

Forward bends are, by their nature, introspective and meditative…Forward bends are calming to the nerves, soothing, and grounding. These poses teach us yoga is as much about surrender as effort, if not more so. ~Yoga Journal

This, I would suggest, is true of practice in general, of life, that it’s “as much about surrender as effort.”

A willingness to surrender is your greatest ally in forward bends [as in practice and in life], helping to quiet the mind and release stiffness…In the spirit of introspection, be more curious about the process than the destination. ~Yoga Journal

As I invited quiet in this practice this morning, other things came:

  • the sound of the wind
  • the climbing rose bush that needs trimmed back scraping against the front window
  • the occasional dog bark and car engine
  • the call of geese
  • the hum of the heater
  • the tick of the clock
  • the occasional shift, sigh or snore from the boys, all three of whom were napping
  • the memory of what the vet said this morning, that a clean MRI for Sam would be good news since “it might be a tumor”

There’s no place anymore that’s truly quiet, free of all sound. At the very least, there is always the sound of our breath, of our own heartbeat. Where there is life, there is noise. And yet, through practice there seems to be the opportunity to cultivate calm and space, to slow down and be still — which can feel a lot like quiet.

Life Rehab Resource: Practice

liferehabresourcesDisclaimer: I could write a whole book (and am) about practice, so to imply I’m going to be able to say everything there is to say, or even only the very most important things there are to share about practice in a single blog post is just silly. And yet, this is the life rehab resource that wants to be shared today.

I started thinking about it when I was writing my morning pages. This is a practice I first learned by way of Julia Cameron, who describes it this way,

Morning pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages* – they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind – and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.

She even made a video about the practice.

As I was writing my morning pages today, I was thinking about how they are a life rehab resource I’ve been able to maintain no matter what else is going on in my life. There are lots of other things on my to-do and to-be lists right now that I’d love to be doing but had to give up, temporarily. For example there are stacks of books I want to read, a list of movies I’d like to watch, Nia and yoga classes I’d like to attend, letters I want to send, courses I’d like to design, two books and various essays I want to write, but for now there just isn’t time. But morning pages, those get done every day no matter what. For me, they are like warming up before exercising. It’s the thing I need to do to be ready to write the stuff I plan to share.

Just as Julia describes it, much of what I write as part of my morning pages is garbage — whining and complaining, rants, confessions, anxiety, speculation, disillusion and confusion, lists, “and then he said” nonsense. A record of confusion. It gets it all out of the way, clears a path, makes space for the truth, what needs to be said, wants to be shared — the lotus that pushes its way out of the muck.

morningpages

there is a tattoo of a lotus on the inside of my right wrist to remind me of exactly this

In writing out all the crap I can see how silly it is, how ridiculous I am. It’s the same when you watch your thoughts and emotions arise in meditation, where the instruction is to observe them arise and let them go without getting attached. I realize through sitting practice how much of my life is spent in reaction to my thoughts and emotions, getting triggered and hooked. Someone says something, judgement kicks in, and off I go. A thought arises and I run after it, trying to catch and hold it, turn it into something solid.

A fundamental quality of all practice is the cultivation of observation without attachment. Practice helps me to see the ways I habitually react, sometimes allowing me to interrupt myself and rest in the gap between thoughts/emotions and action. Through practice I contemplate how my habitual patterns and discursive thinking are no longer serving me. In this way, practice helps me to ease suffering. Over time I start to realize how blindly driven I’ve been by my thoughts and emotions, see how empty they actually are, and start to relax, consider other options, access a deeper wisdom and compassion, and employ more skillful means.

For example, on the yoga mat, I observe how in a pose I might criticize myself for not doing it “right.” Maybe I compare myself to the person on the mat next to me who seems to be doing it “better,” or I judge myself against a “perfect expression” of the pose. The thought arises that I’m doing it wrong and I begin to criticize myself. Shame quickly follows and soon I am smashing myself to bits, not really practicing yoga at all. In a final act of aggression, I force my body further into the pose, causing discomfort or pain, possibly even injuring myself.

sundaymorningyogaThe longer I practice, the more I am able to interrupt this pattern. I notice the thought or emotion arise. I pause and am curious about it instead of immediately acting on it. I consider what might be triggering it, notice how it feels in my body, all while trying my best to not start telling myself a story about it. Staying with this, I might understand that my body is unique (in the case of the yoga pose “gone wrong”), and at this particular time this is what is. Maybe my quads are especially tender after lifting weights or doing a lot of walking earlier in the week, or maybe I didn’t get enough sleep the night before and I have less energy. I recognize that the compassionate thing to do in this moment is a slight modification of the pose to maintain alignment and accommodate my body’s current state. My self talk shifts to love for my body, appreciation that I showed up to practice, gratitude that I’m paying attention and working with my body in this way, listening and trusting, being gentle.

Suddenly there is space, ease where before there was struggle. As in yoga, it’s best when writing morning pages — with all practice, actually — to not force or attempt to control, but rather show up with an open heart, be curious about what is, and in this way sink into and allow the truth of the moment.

Life Rehab Resources: Divination

liferehabresourcesI confess, when I realized this morning that it was Saturday, and that meant I needed to write one of these posts, I thought “oh crap.” Last week, I was sure I knew what I was going to tell you about today, but this morning it no longer seemed like the right thing, even though I was going to make myself write about it anyway if nothing else came up. Then when I was shuffling my tarot cards this morning, it came to me: divination.

Divination, from the Latin divanare, which is “to foresee, to be inspired by a god,” related to divinus, divine, is “the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of a standardized process or ritual, a systematic method with which to organize what appear to be disjointed, random facets of existence such that they provide insight into a problem at hand.” It’s a way of making sense, uncovering wisdom, accessing insight, developing intuition, seeing meaning, finding patterns, knowing. It is an invitation to the Universe, the Divine, Light, Love, God, whatever you call it, a way of saying “help me out, give me a sign, show me the way.” It is part prayer, part practice, magic and medicine.

I love all kinds of divination practice — picking a random line from a sacred text, tarot readings, throwing I-Ching coins, Hiro Boga’s Deva Cards, Q-Cards, or any such oracle through which the Universe might send me a message. Opening a book to a random page and reading a line of poetry with the expectation that there’s a message for me, taking a walk and asking for a truth to be revealed — it’s a choice to trust in something bigger, to believe I am connected, can communicate with a deep and eternal wisdom.

I know there are those who consider it a dark art, of the devil, and it probably can be if that’s your intention, but I believe it’s a way of communicating directly with God (whatever name you use for this wise and compassionate energy). It’s like prayer, opening my heart and listening deeply for answers to my questions, a way of requesting guidance.

As I’ve said before when I’ve talked about this, go ahead and think I’m weird, but I believe it’s just one more way to get clear about where I am and what I should be focusing on. I think this is one of the ways the Universe sends me messages, because I open my heart and ask, and even if it’s just a message from my unconscious or random chance that doesn’t really mean anything, I find it a useful tool for gaining some insight on my current situation, whatever that happens to be.

Divination is something I practice every day, in one form or another. Some of my favorite practices, resources and tools are:

  • The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck. It took me 20 years to get another tarot deck, after losing my first. People I love and respect use this one, and there was just something about it that spoke to me — the dark hand drawn lines, the bright colors, the story of the artist, a business “founded on the belief that there is a place of wonder, gentle beauty, and clarity within each of us.” I’ve been working with this deck daily for about three months. Sometimes it’s frustrating, because it will keep giving me cards I don’t want, messages I’d rather not hear. Other times, it keeps giving me the same card, over and over, and it’s a little freaky to be honest. Then there are times where the card it offers me is exactly the grace I needed.

wildunknowneightofswords

  • Hiro Boga’s Deva Cards. In this practice, you get clear about your intention and pull a card. The resulting card is your Deva. Hiro describes Devas this way:

Every creation on Earth that serves an evolutionary purpose has a spiritual counterpart in the subtle energy realms. This counterpart is a being who holds the pattern or blueprint for the perfect unfolding of the life in its care. I call these pattern-holders Devas…a Sanskrit word that means Shining Ones…As you get to know them and deepen your relationship with them, you can choose to partner with them consciously, to create your life, your business, and the world in which you want to live…Because you are an incarnate soul, all of these soul qualities are already within you, as seeds or potentials. Some of these qualities may be well-developed and readily accessible to you. Others may need to be strengthened and cultivated, for you to experience and express them more fully.

  • Qcards. They don’t make this deck anymore, which is a like a light-hearted tarot deck, but you can still find the online version, where you can pick three cards that describe where you are now or your “longterm” forecast, or you can ask a question. I like these because they are sort of silly, have a sense of humor, but are not devoid of insight.
  • I Ching. I have my own set of coins and three books I use to help me interpret them: a copy of I Ching: The Chinese Book of Changes by Clae Waltham that was printed in 1969, The Buddhist I Ching by Chih-hsu Ou-i and translated by Thomas Cleary, and The Photographic I Ching, which is my favorite of the three.

I’ve pulled cards for myself, but never had someone else read for me. Rachael’s radiant, gentle presence in the world made me trust her to do so. Our reading began with her warm welcome, calm and comforting, opening a space that hummed with possibility and intention. She showed up, was wholly present for the process, allowing whatever might arise, a kind guardian of what came, never getting in its way. As she interpreted the wisdom of the cards, Rachael made the most compassionate offering, shining a light on obstacles and opportunities alike, leaving me with a sense of clarity and peacefulness that has stayed with me. I felt encouraged and empowered by the new insights, and am grateful for the ease and joy Rachael brought to the experience.

reading

  • The creative process, practice, is a kind of divination for me — showing up, being open to whatever arises. It also assumes a connection to divinity, embodies the intention to do sacred work, to be a blessing.

The thing I most want to tell you about divination is don’t do it if it doesn’t feel right to you, if you don’t find it helpful or have trouble trusting it, (actually, I’d tell you that about just about anything). However, if you do feel the pull, keep looking until you find the right form for you, the best fit. These are my favorites, but there are so many others, and something else might work better for you.

Something Good

1. Man’s amazing reunion with the sweet Boxer dog he rescued off the streets on Dog Heirs.

2. the art of the deep yes (my TedxOlympicBlvdWomen talk) from Justine Musk.

3. Good stuff from Brene’ Brown: This Gives New Meaning to Bear Hug! An RSA Short Animated by Katy Davis and We’re doing it again! More courage and more art journaling eCourses!

4. 2013 Annual Review: Introduction and Invitation on The Art of Non-Conformity.

5. My fellow teachers: Are you transmitting wisdom or are you explaining it? from Susan Piver.

6. How to See if Your Images are Being Used on Other Websites.

7. Wisdom from Kris Carr, “Acceptance is different from quitting. It means that no matter what happens, you won’t abandon yourself in your time of need.”

8. Wisdom from Thich Nhat Hanh, “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”

9. Creative Compulsive Disorder: Remembering Zina Nicole Lahr on Colossal.

10. 30 Naughtiest Dogs: You’ll Crack Up When You Find Out What They Did on Viral Circus.

11. Here’s How Elizabeth Gilbert (Bestselling Author of Eat, Pray, Love) Writes on Copyblogger.

12. Make space for your future to show up from Danielle LaPorte.

13. My Body is My Guru, a great series from Kristin Noelle.

14. How Meditation Can Help Heal Our Relationship with Food from Eat 2 Love.

15. He Was Found Freezing And Dying. Yet Somehow The Last Photo Made My Entire Year. on Viral Nova.

16. don’t should all over yourself from Chookooloonks.

17. I Will Disappoint You from Rachael Rice.

18. This Guy Traveled The Country In A Pink Tutu Just To Make His Wife Laugh During Chemo on Buzzfeed. Also on Buzzfeed, 20 Ecstatic Shelter Dogs On Their Way Home For The First Time.

19. Gifts for lucky passengers keep on giving for WestJet.

20. The Light Bearer from Just Lara.

21. Wisdom from Marcus Aurelius,

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

22. 34 Animals With Their Adorable Mini-Me Counterparts on Bored Panda. I will add two of my own.

Sam and Hulu

Sam and Hulu

Riley and Obi

Riley and Obi

23. Invisible Child from The New York Times.

24. Good stuff from MindBodyGreen: 4 Questions To Ask Before Updating Your Facebook Status and 25 Ways You’re Too Hard On Yourself.

25. Top Five Tips for Thriving During the Holidays from Courtney Putnam.

26. Man Walks All Day to Create Massive Snow Patterns on My Modern Met.

27. How to practice by yourself.

28. The most touching Mandela tribute came from the least expected place.

29. Strange and Improbably Animal Friendships!

30. your daily rock : fragile, yet resilient, and your daily rock : detach from outcome, and your daily rock : stay close. Also from Patti Digh on 37 Days, How To Survive The Holidays. She also has a new book, The Geography of Loss.

31. Tips for Creating a Mindful Home.

32. Why the cult of hard work is counter-productive.

33. Kid President Shares Your Things We Should Say More Often

34. 20 Real Hilarious and Clever Notes From Children.

35. daring adventures in love + loss from Mati Rose.

36. Casual Predation: To know a predator, you must know what it is to be prey on Medium.

37. 25 Vegetarian recipes you can cook in under 30 minutes from Tree Hugger.

38. A Method to Find Balance from Zen Habits.

39. {this moment} from SouleMama. If we moved the guitar, there’d be room for me on the daybed.

40. This Is Scientific Proof That Happiness Is A Choice on Huffington Post.

41. Good stuff from Tiny Buddha: We All Need Alone Time: Do You Allow Yourself to Recharge? and 20 Ways Sitting in Silence Can Completely Transform Your Life.

42. 6 Traits of Happy Creatives on Scoutie Girl.

43. Show Your Work! Book Trailer from Austin Kleon.

44. Good stuff from Elephant Journal: 8 Photos of New Yorkers Most People Don’t See and 7 Things You Can Do to Beat Seasonal Affective Disorder.

45. Wisdom from Anne Lamott on Facebook, (she’s such a beautiful mess).

46. It’s Eric’s 46th birthday today.

47. Man emerges from bunker 14 years after Y2K scare.

48. My Note from the Universe this morning, “Being happy now, Jill, is always more important than any new dream coming true later.”

49. The care and feeding (and shunning) of vampires from Seth Godin.

50. 24 Rules For Being A Human Being In 2014 on Thought Catalog.

Day of Rest

cdj03I was on retreat this weekend, an at home virtual retreat with the Open Heart Project that ended this morning. Susan always schedules our time allowing space for creativity and rest, along with dharma talks, meditation, and discussion. Every retreat for me, no matter the type — writing, meditation, creativity, etc. — always brings into stark focus whatever I am currently working with. What I saw on this retreat is that I suck at rest, that I am trying too hard.

How strange that the thing I struggle with the most is ease, that the most difficult part of this retreat was rest, the time we were given to relax. My pattern, my current preference is effort, pushing and striving, when the truth is I need to practice relaxing, sinking, settling, letting go, being rather than doing. And even as I know this, I still strive to get “there.” I think I have to keep moving, that if I stop, even for a second, everything will fall apart.

It’s as if I’m swimming the river, moving as if I’m in a race or being chased by a school of hungry piranhas. I spend so much time and money and effort learning new ways to move through the water. I practice all the different competitive strokes — freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly — read books about swimming technique, buy all the latest performance gear, watch videos of the greats talking about their practice, hire a coach, join a team, take private lessons, dig a pool in my backyard, get up early to swim laps… All to learn the exact wrong way to move. From time to time when I get too exhausted to go any further, I cling to the side to rest, grasping at roots and dirt, gulping air, wondering what I am doing wrong, what trick I’m missing.

I need to learn to float, to lean back, stretch out my arms, relax my legs, sink until the water catches and holds me, my ears just under the surface where it’s quiet, my eyes looking towards the sky, my breath even.

cdj06Instead I continue to struggle, to act out my confusion, my path this particular suffering. I used to be depressed and sad, stuck, paralyzed, and would beat myself up for being lazy, worthless. Then I woke up, started to work, to try, to give, to offer — and here I am still smashing myself to bits for not being enough.

The first thing we often do when we meditate together in the Open Heart Project is to make an offering. This offering can be something literal, like a flower or an orange or incense, anything that would be pleasing to the senses, but the offering can also simply be your current state, like maybe you are confused or tired or hungry or sad, and you offer that. When we meditated together the first time this weekend, my offering was how hard I try. Just thinking about it made me start crying. When I can’t even think about or say something without crying, I know it’s a tender spot, a truth worth being curious about.

Later we practiced loving-kindness, “metta” meditation together. The simplest way to describe the practice is you offer loving-kindness first to yourself, then a loved one, then a neutral person or stranger, then an enemy, and finally all beings. When Susan instructed us to start, to begin to focus on our self, the first thing she said was, “I know how hard you try.” More tears. This is the truth for me right now, I am trying so hard, and I am so tired, and still I am being so hard on myself, and it doesn’t have to be like this.

wherelifehappens“The way you do anything is the way you do everything.” I don’t know who to attribute that phrase to, but I’ve heard it applied to each of my practices, (except maybe dog, but it’s true there too). Practice is never just about what’s happening on the mat, the cushion, the page, or the walk, it’s about everything. I am coming out of this retreat carrying a deep knowing, clear about a fundamental truth — I need to balance my effort with ease.

This came to me today during our creativity session,

Rest in your longing, as the mountains do.
Keep your heart open and wait, like the sky does for morning.
Listen to songs that put you in touch with your breathing.
Hold your love in the stillness of your soft animal body.

I don’t really know how to end this post, maybe because I’m in the particular fog that is post retreat, maybe because I am still living it — but maybe I could say that about everything I write, anything I post here. What I am learning is something I’m still working out. So, for now, I’m going to hit publish and go walk my dog. May you have a day filled with rest, kind and gentle reader.

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

Gratitude Friday

1. Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes from our garden. There’s something meditative about picking them, and it feels so good to be able to share with people who don’t have a garden this year — although yesterday, after about 45 minutes of harvesting and almost running out of containers to put them in, I was ready to put a “free tomatoes, pick your own” sign on the plants out front.

2. Red Table Cafe. *sob* I just learned yesterday that they’ll be closing mid-December because their landlord is raising their rent by 46%. This is my absolutely favorite cafe in Old Town, my favorite place to sit, have important conversations, to laugh and eat. I am going to miss it so much when it’s gone, will enjoy it as much as I can until then.

3. Deva Premal chanting “Om Gum Ganapatayei Namaha, (removing of obstacles).” Every tarot card I’ve pulled this week has been about the need to calm, focus, quiet my mind. This mantra, and specifically Deva’s recording of it, is so helpful.

4. Noosa. How did I not know about this? And in the end, why did it take a California girl to tell me when it’s made only eight miles from my house with milk from the local dairy where I buy ours?!

noosa5. Meditation, yoga, writing — the calm, comforting qualities of practice, constant and known, yet fresh every time.

Bonus Joy: Hiking with my boys. Fall is the best time to hike in Colorado. This past Sunday, we hiked ten miles on the Blue Lake Trail. It was beautiful and awesome.