Category Archives: Quote

Day of Rest

Sundays are for remembering how much I love the world – this world, with all its sorrows & impossible acts of kindness. May your Sunday offer what renews your own connection to your soul-awareness, may it offer you a chance to fall in love, again, with your life. ~Oriah Mountain Dreamer

For those of you “new here,” let me explain: Day of Rest posts are intended to support my effort to cultivate rest in my life, (I’m not very good at it — taking care of myself, slowing down, resting). In my effort to be better at this, I’m keeping a sabbath day in my life, a day of prayer and rest, of presence and mindfulness, ease and love, and on these days I’d like to offer you, kind and gentle readers, something that might help you in that same pursuit.

I am having a slow and lazy Sunday. I meditated and wrote first thing this morning. After a long walk with Eric and the dogs, I went to yoga, a class taught by my friend, one of my favorite teachers. I was shocked when I signed in to see I hadn’t been there in three months. I fell asleep during shavasana, so when I came home, I took a nap — for 2.5 hours! I was hungry then, so I ate some watermelon. When it is in season, I can’t get enough of it, so crisp and wet and sweet. I had some lunch and a big glass of cold water, and then came here to write a post, back in my bathrobe in the middle of the afternoon.

Since beginning work on my Self-Compassion Saturday project, the Universe has been bombarding me with messages about self-compassion, helping me to focus on this important concept, this essential practice. Everywhere I look, people are talking about it, sharing links, books and articles and quotes and podcasts. Here are a few I’d like to share with you today, on this day of rest:

It’s that last one that really got me thinking. You see, right now I am reading Kristin Neff’s book Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, or at least I am trying to read it. I don’t seem to have time to read lately, and there are a lot of things I want to be reading. Then I realized this morning I did have time, but one thing needed to change to make space, so I made the pronouncement to Eric: I am not watching TV this week, (he’ll keep me honest). This has happened before. We once went for a full year without, and haven’t had cable TV for many years. I watch less than average, but it is still an hour or two in my day that I can free up for reading. It’s the thing I decided to do, both to rest and to practice self-compassion.

Do you have something in your life that is mucking up the works? Something you could let go of for awhile? Give yourself some space, show yourself some kindness — I am wishing you that freedom, today and always.

Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning

i'm still standing

You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. ~Buddha

For just a minute, I am taking a deep breath and sinking into this moment. Eric is in the kitchen making pie crust — I’ve had a thing about pie lately, buying store made versions that claim to be Marionberry but aren’t quite, and he wanted to make me a “real pie.” Emeli Sandé is singing Next to Me, part of a mix I made myself on Rhapsody that I listen to while I write. Both dogs are asleep in their beds behind me. The window is open and I can hear the wind blowing, see the blue sky and bright green of my lilac bushes and the trees above. My hair is still wet from a shower, and I’m wearing clean soft cotton pjs and my favorite sweater.

*sigh*

I feel pretty content right now, in this moment. But I don’t always feel like this. I struggle, I suffer, I smash myself to bits. There are old, habitual ways of thinking and being that no longer serve me, and yet I still act them out, get stuck.

It came to me recently that at the heart of all of my issues, underneath every irritation or sadness was one thing. And when I realized what it was, I felt a deep longing, an intense hunger to understand, to heal, to transform that suffering, and I knew that I was connected to a tribe of wise and compassionate women who could help me, if only I was brave enough to ask.

pathgate

So I sent a request to them. It started like this,

Dear Beautiful You,

I said a prayer and took a deep breath before beginning this message to you. I am so worried it will come off like a creepy sales pitch or inappropriate request — it isn’t. This email, this request is an utterly authentic wish from the deepest part of my heart, an expression of my ongoing longing to ease suffering, in myself and in the world, and to be of service. It isn’t about my blog stats, building my own worth or value, or any other self-serving, self-fulfilling ego bullshit. This is not about little me, this is about Big Love. In fact, it would be so much easier for me to not do this, to not ask, but I feel compelled to, and as Ram Dass said, “We are all just walking each other home.”

I am writing to you with a tender heart full of longing. I am writing to YOU because you are a wise and compassionate teacher, writer, healer, artist. I am writing because I have big questions and I think you can help me answer them.

“How can I help the harm that has been done unravel itself? How can I help others find their own wisdom, kindness, and sense of humor?” (Pema Chödrön actually said that, but they are also my questions). As a writer and a teacher myself, the spark for the enclosed request came to me as these things always do: I was curious and confused, felt a hunger to understand something.

I was struggling and went to a new doctor to seek medical advice, to determine if the cause for my suffering were in my body. The help I was offered, the “answer” I was given didn’t sit right with me. In fact, every cell of my body said “that’s not it.” That very afternoon, I left for a meditation retreat led by my dear friend and teacher Susan Piver. In that safe and supportive space of contemplation the real answer, the true path, revealed itself: self-compassion.

Great! – and yet, what is that, how do I do that?! Having been in a long term abusive relationship with myself, I don’t know how to be in love, to be loving, to fully and completely accept myself. The momentary sadness of not knowing faded when I realized I knew many amazing, wise and compassionate women who have been my guides already in so many other ways – I could ask them.

So I ask you, humbly and with such gratitude and love, these four questions:

1. What does self-compassion mean, what is it? How would you describe or define it?

2. How did you learn self-compassion? Did you have a teacher, a guide, a path, a resource, a book, a moment of clarity or specific experience?

3. How do you practice self-compassion, what does that experience look like for you?

4. What do you still need to learn, to know, to understand? What is missing from your practice of self-compassion, what do you still struggle with?

As a writer and a teacher, part two of anything I learn is the strong desire to share it, the knowledge that if this is helpful to me there are others who also must need it. So my intention, my wish is to not only benefit myself from your answers, but to share them in two ways:

1. “Self-Compassion Saturday,” a once a week post on my blog that includes an introduction to your other good work, explains why I asked you specifically, gives your answers and link(s) to your work.

2. When all the answers I get have been posted, I’d like to collect them into a PDF ebook that can be downloaded by anyone for free – not a “follow my blog/sign up for my newsletter and get a free gift” thing, but a truly free gift to anyone who would benefit, an offering made from love.

mettaprayer
This is the plan, kind and gentle reader: one post each Saturday until they stop coming, (29 women have said “yes”), and then I’ll create an ebook including the whole collection that anyone can download for free. These women’s willingness to be a part of this project, their generosity and kindness, has left me gobsmacked, so full of love and gratitude. And each response that I’ve received so far to the four essential questions has been a gift filled with compassion and wisdom that I can’t wait to share with you.

First up, next Saturday, is Artist, Author, Actionista Mary Anne Radmacher, (I’ve written about her before). She had her responses to me less than 24 hours after I asked, and even answered three extra questions! It’s so good.

I must go now. I smell pie 🙂

Something Good (Part Two)

Uh-oh! I got so excited that I pushed publish before I was done making my list, so here’s part two.

21. Your Daily Rock from Patti Digh: your daily rock : break old patterns, your daily rock : own your messiness, and your daily rock : love your life.

22. Sit Every Day by Diana Winston on Shambhala Sun, a really great post on meditation practice, and Happiness Defined: Your Interpretations Of What It Means To Experience Joy on Huffington Post, both originally shared by Patti Digh on her Thinking Thursday list.

23. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

Dear Smart Girl,

Sometimes we all forget things that are very important, and very simple – so simple that we really shouldn’t be forgetting these things, but we do. One of these things that we forget, many times when it is MOST important, is that we mustn’t turn to destructive things when bad things happen. We mustn’t treat hard times with things that will make us feel even worse.

We do it though, don’t we? We over-eat when we are feeling stressed or lonely or lost. We drink too much, or we spend money we don’t have or we indulge in other kinds of addictive self-medicating. We say mean things to ourselves. We treat people we love with unkindness. We do things that we will regret almost as soon as we are done doing them.

Lovely, sweet friend, please take a few deep breaths when you are feeling a little off, and before you turn to something that will really make you feel even worse, really THINK about how you want to feel tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. And then turn to something that will bring you comfort, guidance, truth and peace. The rush might not be as fast as the destructive things, but the results will be lasting, productive and positive. You will end up in a peaceful place instead of a miserable place.

Call a friend, read something positive, go for a walk, write in your journal, pray, meditate, hold and animal or a baby, visit someone who is sick, look at the sky in the fresh air. Let the feelings pass. They will pass.

You are so loved. You are worth making good choices, you are worth taking care of. Please take good care of yourself.

xoxo

24. How To Stick To Your NO When People Keep Pushing from Alexandra Franzen on Mind Body Green.

25. The part we get to choose from Judy Clement Wall.

26. Michael Buble duets with 15 year old boy, a moment which starts off with a heckler, but turns out to be something else entirely.

27. This quote: You have unconditional authority to deconstruct your own reality. ~Roy H. Williams

28. Three books I want, and it’s all Brain Pickings fault: Make Good Art: Neil Gaiman’s Advice on the Creative Life, Adapted by Design Legend Chip Kidd, Fail Safe: Debbie Millman’s Advice on Courage and the Creative Life, and No Kidding: Women Writers and Comedians on the Choice Not to Have Children.

29. More wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert,

LET’S TALK SERIOUSLY ABOUT UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

Everyone, will you help me (and a fellow seeker) out with this?

A visitor to this page has just asked me whether “unconditional love” means staying in an abusive relationship and learning how to love the person despite how he harms you.

This question makes me want to cry.

Dear one, dear friend, dear heart — the answer to that question is very simple: NO.

No, no, no, no, no, no.

Also: Never, never, never, never, never.

The wisest teaching I’ve ever heard about this came from a dear monk friend in India who told me, “We must love everyone. That is what God asks of us. But some people can only be loved from a safe distance.”

And in regards to some people, that “safe distance” may mean: Never See Them Again. Never Take Their Calls. Never Let Them Near You. Never Let Them Know Where You Live.

Pema Chodron, the great buddhist teacher, has also taught beautifully on this subject. She explains that we should not close our hearts to anyone, but that we must also set healthy and safe boundaries. She urges us not to mistake compassion for compliance. As she said once in a lecture, “Put people in jail, if they are unsafe to others, but do not close your hearts to them.”

Being a compassionate person does not mean allowing anyone in the world to treat you (or anyone else) abusively. There is nothing to be “learned” in an abusive relationship (except how to finally leave.) There is no emotional growth waiting for you in an abusive relationship. There are no day-to-day lessons that will make you a more enlightened being if you learn how to bear it, how to endure it. You will not be a better person in any way for staying. On the contrary, it will corrode your soul. Staying with somebody who harms you (in any way) does not mean you are compassionate; it only means you are co-dependent and very likely in psychological, spiritual and/or physical danger.

This one absolutely breaks my heart, guys.

Please, if somebody is harming you in any way: GO. Today.

All Love,
Liz

30. 8 Secrets from 8 Curvy Women Who Love Their Bodies, and The Battle of “Not Thin Enough,” both shared by Stephanie in her Weekend Treats post.

31. Be More, Do Less on Think Simple Now, and Self Improvement VS. Self Acceptance on Owning Pink, both shared on Positively Present Picks.

32. And because Eric asked me to share this on my blog, just Snoop Dog with some dolphins.

snoop

33. This quote: The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy or too impatient. Patience, patience, patience is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. ~Anne Morrow Lindbergh

34. Because it’s just too cute. You’re welcome.

mamaandbaby

35. Fitch, Please. Ellen sticking up for people like she does, one of the reasons I adore her.

36. 21 Reasons Ira Glass Is The Most Perfect Man Alive on BuzzFeed. Only 21? I say they didn’t work hard enough on this list, because there are more than 21 reasons.

37. Summer Journals A-F, places taking submissions.

38. On accidental sabbaticals from Susannah Conway.

39. magical architecture from Sas Petherick. (One of 25, baby).

40. 6 Questions You Need To Stop Asking Yourself from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

41. Mutual pillow, double love.

doublepillow

Day of Rest

This is what the river looked like just two weeks ago. The water was low and filled with dark ash from last summer’s fires, green algae growing in the stillness, with a spot in the middle where the bottom was completely exposed, the trees at the edge reflecting off the quiet surface.

To see it this morning was a reminder that things change, ebb and flow, always arising and falling away, constantly shifting, beginning and ending.

I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity. ~Gilda Radner

I woke up this morning in the still dark, two warm dog bodies smashed against mine, and I started to worry. I was thinking about all the things I needed to do today, all the things that needed done this summer, all the work and the projects and the play I keep trying to stuff into every minute of every day and how there is just never enough time.

sixpacks

Later on my walk with Dexter, feeling sad about his eventual death, wishing again that it’s easy for him, still anxious about having so little time, I realize three things, Three Truths coming to me a few days early.

1. Truth: That’s really all we ever want for anyone in the end, (including ourselves), for death to be easy.

2. Truth: Dexter carries no sadness about his own death, if he even thinks of it, has any awareness of it at all.

3. Truth: In every way that I am stuck, struggling, not free, I am my biggest obstacle.

Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns…We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small. ~Tara Brach

As I was walking, I was noticing shadow and light, the wabi-sabiness of the world, of life. Wabi-Sabi is a concept I’m a bit obsessed with right now. Essentially it is acceptance of that which is impermanent, imperfect, and incomplete, and beyond acceptance, being able to see it clearly, to understand it as beautiful, to love it even. This is the reality of our lives if we are brave enough to open our hearts to it.

This stump is wabi-sabi. It is what remains of a tree no longer alive in the way we understand that particular animation, and yet it is surrounded by life, anchored in it, present with it. In this sense, what does death even mean? Where do we begin, where and when do we truly end? If we are made of love, come from love, live surrounded by and imbedded in love, can we ever really be separated? Aren’t we always completely and utterly free?

I’d like to think so. My wish is to believe that, to trust it, to accept it — all of it, with open eyes of full awareness and an open heart full of compassion.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.
~Rumi

Message from the Universe

I confess, I haven’t been feeling that great. I think it’s the crash that always happens at the very beginning of any break from school, from work. I’ve typically been pushing so hard, going so fast, that when the moment finally comes when I can do what I want, go my own speed, my initial response is to collapse altogether.

But that’s okay. I am trusting the wisdom of my body right now, and if that means I spend the whole afternoon on the couch, that’s perfectly fine. Good things can happen there too. Plans can be made, rest is had, time is spent noticing and contemplating. Today I watched another episode of Call the Midwife, and it made the whole day worth it, all of it leading up to this one nugget of pure truth.

There is a greater gift than the trust of others, and that is trust in oneself. Some might call it confidence, others name it faith, but if it makes us brave, the label doesn’t matter for it’s the thing that frees us to embrace life itself. ~Season 2, Episode 2

This has been the message for me recently: Trust yourself. Trust my own, innate wisdom. Have faith that my body knows, that my heart knows, that my instincts and my gut and my intuition can be trusted — that each part of me has its own intelligence if I would only listen, give it mindful attention, trust that I know what to do, and know that I won’t abandon myself.

The only meaningful relationship is the one you have with yourself. Are you in love yet? ~Byron Katie

I’m not all the way there yet, kind and gentle reader, but I’m sure working on it. What about you?

Something Good

1. Wisdom from Geneen Roth, ending with such a good question,

This morning, as I begin preparing for our twice yearly retreat, I remembered something that I realized years ago, when I was struggling with my own weight challenges: that until and unless I wanted something more than I wanted to be thinner, I would never lose weight and keep it off. Not in a way that didn’t include deprivation and judgment. For myself, I had to want to know what was at the bottom of my eating. I had to want to touch that hunger. To become aware that the whole thing wasn’t really about food, but about something much more profound–and it was that that I had to want to touch, know, heal. Once I did that (and it was a process, not a one-time event), the weight came off, and stayed off for all these years.

So–what do you want more than you want to lose weight? What do you really really want?

2. 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy.

3. Sustainability and the Sacred on Huffington Post, in which Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee says,

If we are to sustain this world of wonder, what is essential in our response is not just action but a shift in consciousness, a shift away from seeing the Earth as something separate from ourselves, as a resource to be used and abused. Real sustainability is not the sustainability of our present lifestyle — our image of progress and economic growth — but the sustainability of a sacred Earth, rich in biodiversity and wonder.

4. How I see my dog vs. how my dog sees me on The Oatmeal.

5. A Short Study in Insurrection, Jennifer Boykin on Jonathan Fields’ blog.

6. New Wheels & a Lesson in Confidence from Vivienne McMaster.

7. “The antidote to exhaustion isn’t rest. It’s wholeheartedness.” ~ David Whyte

8. Love your sadness. It won’t last. from Danielle LaPorte.

9. Jessica Jackley: Poverty, money — and love, a TED Talk by the founder of Kiva.org. The last few minutes of this talk are amazing.

10. HSP That’s Me from Hannah Marcotti.

11. Coverflip: Maureen Johnson Calls For An End To Gendered Book Covers With An Amazing Challenge (IMAGES)

12. Daily Truthbomb from Danielle LaPorte, “You can always find someone who thinks you’re an idiot. Speak up any way.”

13. The Forest House, East Sussex. I posted about this last week, but this week SF Girl by Bay shared even more of the pictures, along with a link to the original site with the full set. I want to go to there.

14. New paintings from Paul Bond. The way he describes Eleanor Dreams of a Miraculous Rescue, made me tear up. You see, I know the real Eleanor, who I called Danger Baby and now Danger Kid, because every time I see her, I want one just like her. I am going to happily settle for a print of this painting instead. Paul says this about it,

The resulting scene became a story of innocence. Of a child’s belief that she can always protect and nurture those things that she loves the most. And a prayer that the adult Eleanor’s of the world never stop cherishing whatever calls to them.

Eleanor_Dreams_of_a_Miraculous_Rescue_30x30_Oil15. Notes on being a hermit from Susannah Conway.

16. What’s in my pantry? from Kris Carr.

17. In Praise of Safety by Rachel Cole.

18. Depression Part Two from Hyperbole and a Half. And if that sounds like too much for you, read one of the funniest posts she ever wrote, Dogs Don’t Understand Basic Concepts Like Moving.

19. This is Water, a cool video using David Foster Wallace’s 2005 Kenyon commencement speech.

20. Wisdom shared by Justine Musk on Facebook,

“What makes the content you create awesome is that it’s a story told through your unique lens. It’s you, telling a story. It’s you not giving a fuck about anything but telling that story.” ~Paul Jarvis

21. Shared in Patti Digh’s Thinking Thursday post, recipe for Strawberry Balsamic and Olive Oil Breakfast Cake on Food52.

22. Pumpcast News, Part 1 – The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. I want to be friends with these people.

23. Sunni Chapman’s design site, Salty Olive Design. *sob* #itissobeautiful Does anyone have $7000 they’d want to give me so Sunni could build me a website?

24. Sad Cat Diary by Ze Frank

25. Reflections on the Road Back from Insanity on Elephant Journal by Kara-Leah Grant, who gives one of the best descriptions of yoga, ever.

It’s about connection. It’s about being open. It’s about being vulnerable and true and courageous.

It’s about yoga as a path to self-realization.

Not one blinding flash when we suddenly become enlightened.

But those small moments of self-realization that happen every time we step on the yoga mat. When another illusion drops away. Another samskara dissolves. Another insight arises.

That’s what it’s about. That’s what yoga as a path to self-realization means.

We realize, moment by moment, all that we are not. And one day, when all that we are not drops away… there we are.

26. Stop Caring What Others Think and Stand Up for Your Dogs on Notes from a Dog Walker. I say amen.

27. Another interview from The Conversation, Ashley Madekwe.

28. 3D Face Masks Created from DNA Found in Public Spaces. So freaky.

29. Celebrating Grandmas and Their Cuisine From Around the World.

30. Show Your Work! My Creative Mornings Talk from Austin Kleon.

31. Amy Seeley singing Beloved, frogs and bugs and maybe crickets singing in the background. No matter the version, the piano in this song wrecks me.

32. 7 Behaviors to Stop Tolerating in Others from Marc and Angel Hack Life. I would add that these are behaviors we should also attempt to stop doing ourselves.

33. “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one” ~Bruce Lee

34. your daily rock : come as you are

35. This wisdom from Thubten Chodron: Wishing others to be happy doesn’t mean we give them everything they want, because sometimes what they want can be harmful. Wishing them to be happy entails wanting them to be free from pain and loneliness.

36. Fat Shame, (btw: there is language, but I love what she has to say).

Day of Rest: Mother’s Day

myfavoriteone

Whether you have your mother or don’t, whether you are a mother or aren’t, I invite you to consider all the traits that you believe make for a wonderful Mama. Today, notice and celebrate all of that within YOU, you powerful, compassionate, nurturing, creative, fierce, tender, resilient Love, You! ~Tanya Geisler

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again today, I am so grateful, so lucky to have the mom I do. I think about those without a mother, whether their mother has died or is simply absent or ineffective, and about what a sad thing that is, to have to become your own mother. For my entire life, I’ve had a mother who loves me, who wanted me, who took care of me and still does, when I let her. She has been and is a constant, loving presence in my life. I am so lucky. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

And to balance out the love fest, and because I am not a mother myself, I offer you Why I Hate Mother’s Day by Anne Lamott.

And finally, because he’s adorable and always makes me smile, a Mother’s Day message from Kid President.

P.S. A beautiful note from Geneen Roth this morning,

First, I wanted to wish you all a happy, sweet Mother’s Day. Whether you are a mother of a child or not, hopefully, you mother yourself, and you do with all the love you can muster.

So, today, whatever the situation, muster that love. That kindness. Allow yourself to make room for yourself. Sometimes that’s all it takes. We keep shoving ourselves out of the way, keep wanting to distract ourselves or numb ourselves from what we’re feeling. Muster the love. Lavish yourself with kindness. See what happens.