“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ~Rachel Carson, Silent Spring
1. Creative Superheroes Interview: Laurie Wagner on Superhero Journal.
2. Neil Gaiman announced that he’s writing another Sandman. You might not already know this about me, but I love Neil Gaiman’s writing and his voice, and the Sandman series was how I first encountered his work, so I’m very excited that there will be another.
3. This quote: I couldn’t live without dog. ~Arthur Schopenhauer (German Philosopher). Me either.
4. Land Art. I was reminded of this when I found a post on This is Colossal about the work of Andres Amador. There’s also this post and this one and this, and of course there’s Andy Goldsworthy, whose work is the first Land Art I’d ever seen.
5. Maybe. Maybe Not. on Nourishing the Soul. “If we are caught up in defining the events of our lives as positive or negative, we lose our ability to see and to hear the quiet ways in which other opportunities are presenting themselves.”
6. Convalesce on SouleMama. “I don’t know that we currently live in a world in which we can all lay low, painting in the sunshine and spending weeks recovering from illnesses. But I do know for certain that in small but important ways, we can all be a little bit gentler on ourselves – and each other. And that a cure for so many things lives in moving slowly and being still. ”
7. How to Become Open to Life on Zen Habits.
8. Manifesto love: three manifestos for creatives on Zebra Sounds. I love a good manifesto, and I love Judy Clement Wall.
9. How to Be an Explorer of the World on Brain Pickings.
10. This quote from Raam Dev:
There are times in life when we need to go with what feels right. Ignore all the critics, the naysayers, and those who will judge us by their own definition of truth. Create your own path, forge your own destiny, and make all the mistakes and dead-end turns necessary to arrive alive. Sometimes what we need cannot be put into the context of right or wrong but must be defined and acted upon by the compass of our soul.
11. This quote: What most of us think of as fear is primarily a mental process of imagining situations that do not exist in the moment. ~Cheri Huber
P.S. Tuesday’s Three Truths and One Wish will be a day late this week too, will be written and posted tomorrow. I’m sensing a theme, seeing a pattern to this week…
Even after all this time
the sun never says to the earth, “You owe Me.”
Look what happens with a love like that,
It lights up the Whole Sky.
I continue to practice living with uncertainty, impermanence. This shaky, uncomfortable quality of life is so tender, so terrifying. I admit that I have moments of blind panic, where my sanity starts to slip and my perception blurs, when confusion and anxiety and despair cocoon around me. I forget that I can change my mind, take a walk or have something to eat, that I am loved and connected, not alone.
But this is the essence of practice. Sometimes, you can stay with the moment, be gentle with yourself, sit with your thoughts and emotions as they rage and quake, not running away or grasping or rejecting or numbing out, but rather peacefully abiding until they naturally dissolve. Sometimes, you just can’t. And yet, you continue to try, to practice, to show up with your open heart, broken and whole all at the same time.
You don’t give up, but you practice letting go, surrendering, again and again and again, the same way the sun rises and sets, every day–some days you don’t even see it, don’t look up, don’t notice, aren’t even awake when it happens, and other days it makes you stop, throw back your head and stare, unable to believe that a thing so beautiful could even exist. And through it all, it’s the same sky, the same sun, rising and sinking, simply doing what it does, fundamentally good and completely natural–just like all of us.
There is a light that shines beyond all things on earth,
Beyond us all,
beyond the heavens,
beyond the highest, the very highest heavens.
This is the light that shines in our hearts.
1. An Intentional Life by Leo Babauta on Zen Habits.
Many of us go through our days awake, but following patterns we’ve developed over the years. We are going through the motions, doing things at home, online, at work without much forethought.
Contrast this with the idea of an Intentional Life: everything you do is done with consciousness, fulfilling one of your core values (compassion, for example). Everything is done with a conscious intent.
2. This quote: At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us. ~Albert Schweitzer
3. This quote: As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John F. Kennedy
4. Anaïs Nin on Life, Hand-Lettered by Artist Lisa Congdon on Brain Pickings. When I was in my 20s, I read all of Anaïs Nin’s diaries. She was brilliant and strange, and I loved every word. These illustrated quotes are fabulous.
5. 40 Ways to Feel More Alive on Tiny Buddha.
6. Music is My Church by Sarah McLachlan on Huffington Post. Amen.
7. Six Simple Ways to Reduce Your Stress Levels, from Dumb Little Man: Tips for Life. Oh boy, did I ever need this advice this week.
8. You Are Beautiful Project. Sometimes, something simple can be powerful.
9. Community, A Structure of Belonging from Patti Digh on 37 Days. “It is such a sign of hope in a world of pain that we take care of each other, still.” There is still time to give to the John F. Ptak Relief Fund. It always feels good to help someone who needs it, but when they are so grateful and full of love, it feels even better.
10. The next round of Telling True Stories starts on September 10th. I loved Laurie Wagner’s 5-week Writing ECourse, (see my open love letter to her and the class), loved, loved, loved Laurie’s wild, open-hearted, brave teaching, and if you are a writer looking to be inspired, to get wild, I think you will too.
11. Aimee Mann’s New Video. Aimee Mann’s music is brilliant, but a close second to that talent is her sense of humor–both of which are clear in this new video.
The purpose of healing is not to be forever happy; that is impossible. The purpose of healing is to be awake. And to live while you are alive instead of dying while you are alive. Healing is about being broken and whole at the very same time. ~Geneen Roth
1. More by Erica Staab, one of my favorite bloggers. Probably because she says things like this “One of the gifts of grief (be it from a death, a loss of a dream, a loss of the life you thought you wanted etc.) is that when your heart is broken open it naturally creates more space for love if you let it.”
2. The Daily Post at WordPress.com. This seems like a good site to keep in your back pocket if you are a blogger who ever feels stuck about what to write. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll also see a list of daily writing prompts, or check out the “Inspiration” section.
3. John F. Ptak Relief Fund. Read Patti’s post, “Community is a Verb,” or visit the Team Brilliant Facebook page. If I or anyone I love finds themselves in this situation, I can only hope to be helped by so many kind, generous people, which is the best reason to help: at some point, we are all going to need it, so it’s good to give it when we can.
4. What the world needs from you by Marianne Elliot. Such a good list.
5. This quote: It doesn’t have to be pretty or smart, just honest and true. ~Mark Nepo
6. This quote: Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what
dies inside us while we live. ~Norman Cousins
8. You just call out my name on A Human Thing by Judy Clement Wall, another writer, woman, badass that I completely adore. This post is good for all kinds of reasons, but specifically because she says something I’d been trying to verbalize, in reference to the loss of the amazing writer David Rakoff,
Critics, when they review Rakoff’s essay collections, often focus on his pessimism and his razor sharp, sarcastic wit, but underneath that
is the thing that drew me to his work: a defiant sort of sweetness, an underlying hope.
9. Because he was so sweet, his loss so sad, and because you may not know who he is and need to see for yourself, and because cancer sucks, takes from us the most beautiful of things:
When I watched this video, knowing that he was gone, the dance at the end broke my heart, but at the same time was one of the most beautiful things I’d ever seen.
10. Two more things about David Rakoff: Our Friend David Rakoff by Ira Glass and On Already Missing The Angry, Passionate Writing Of David Rakoff.
11. 50 amazing gifts from living in the now and Overcoming perfectionism in a culture that promotes it on Tiny Buddha.
12. This quote: Perfectionism is a form of self-aggression. ~Me
13. This online radio station: Lush on SomaFM.
14. 50 People, One Question. What’s your secret?
15. Uncharted Waters on Sas’ Magical Mystery Tour. I loved this post, and I want to go to there. She makes me believe it’s possible.
16. My message from The Daily Flame, which just so happened to be the exact thing I needed to hear.
Dearest Jill Salahub,
It’s all okay.
It may not look the way you anticipated it would look, but I swear to
you, it’s all going right according to plan. Soon you will see the method to The Universe’s madness.
You will find the gifts in the uncertainty and disappointment. You will understand why it’s taking so long to get where you’re trying to get.
Be patient, love. All this – and more – is coming your way.
Speaking the truth,
Your Inner Pilot Light
17. Confessions of a control freak (dentists and book launches) on Writing Our Way Home, another message I needed to hear, especially this part:
For me, faith doesn’t mean an assurance that all will be well. Things often don’t go well. Instead it means being able to relax back into the dentist’s chair, and trusting that whatever happens, whatever discomfort I’m in, it will pass.
And a deeper holding, too. Something harder to put into words. Something about it being okay even when it’s not okay.
It will pass, and I’ll find myself on the other side.
18. Write Yourself Into Motion with Alex Franzen at 27 Powers. This would be, will be, so awesome.
19. Mamahood + Business: Dr. Brene Brown, an interview with Kelly Rae Roberts. My favorite is when Brene’ says this, “A long time ago someone told me that a good marriage is not 50-50. A good marriage is having a partner who’s willing to show up with 80% when you only have 20% and who can count on you to do the same.” Poor Eric has had to be 95% in the past few days, so I know this is true. I also love Brene’s list of what she wants for her kids–I want that for myself!
20. Linus, the sweetest accidental adoption story.
21. Posie Gets Cozy. The pictures on this blog are dreamy.
22. This quote: Wherever we are there are voices saying: “Go here, go there, buy this, buy that, get to know him, get to know her, don’t miss this, don’t miss that,” and so on and on. These voices keep pulling us away from that soft gentle voice that speaks in the center of our being: “You are my beloved, on you my favor rests.” Prayer is the discipline of listening to that voice of love. ~Henri Nouwen
23. This quote: When we drop the idea that we’re supposed to be having a certain kind of experience and open ourselves to the experience we are having, then we avoid nothing, and we fear nothing, because we are right here with ourselves. ~Cheri Huber
24. Liv Lane’s favorite blogs. We like a lot of the same things, so I imagine I will get lost for a while in these lists.
The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next. ~Ursula K. Le Guin
In these past weeks, I have been working with an uncomfortable sense of groundlessness, of uncertainty. Not knowing what will come next, unclear about what is really going on, confused and unsure about what to do, unable to control the chaos that is life.
As human beings, not only do we seek resolution, but we also feel that we deserve resolution. However, not only do we not deserve resolution, we suffer from resolution. We don’t deserve resolution; we deserve something better than that. We deserve our birthright, which is the middle way, an open state of mind that can relax with paradox and ambiguity. ~Pema Chödrön
I am uncomfortable and anxious when I can’t be certain and in control. All kinds of ugliness gets triggered by my desire for certainty, my attempt to find a safe place and stay there forever, grasping for a promise of calm and peace, a solid and unshakeable plan, waiting and wishing for someone or something to save me, protect me, keep me.
Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart.
…live in the question. ~Rainer Maria Rilke
I wanted to be certain that Dexter was better, okay, fine, nothing to worry about. I even listed him yesterday as my bonus joy, announced that he hadn’t reverse sneezed in a week. And then, this morning on our walk, two loose dogs rushed at us, Dexter got excited and upset and reverse sneezed, giving himself a bloody nose. It’s not that I believed he’d never do it again, in fact I expected it, but I had also made the mistake of hope, hoping that it was done, that at some point the number of days that had passed since the last episode was so many it no longer made sense to count them, and he’d be perfectly and completely happy and healthy until he slipped away of natural causes at about age 14.
But this morning it happened again, and there was blood, and immediately I am right back in not knowing. What is causing it? How do we help him? How many frantic emails and vet visits are reasonable? What is the next step? What else might we try? Should we worry? If they can’t figure out what’s wrong, what then? Will he do this the rest of his life? Will it get worse? Is it cancer? Will he die? When?!
To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. ~Pema Chödrön
But I know that the only answer is to relax and be gentle. I need to practice being okay with not knowing, surrender to the chaos, become friends with groundlessness. I have to accept that the only thing I can do is love him, to be here with him now, to not squander the joy of this moment with worry about what might come next.