Category Archives: Rachel W. Cole

Day of Rest: On Not Giving Up

flaxchocolatemuffinsandbananas

I’ve been feeling quiet about some things lately, especially when it comes to writing about them here. Then this morning, reading the Day #2 email from Adreanna Limbach’s Meditation In Bloom program, I was reminded of why I write, why I share on this blog. Adreanna shared a definition of love from All About Love by bell hooks, “The will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.”

Writing for me is about understanding and awareness, expanding my sense of wisdom and compassion. It’s about easing suffering, in myself and in the world. It’s about figuring out what it means to be human, and more specifically what it means to not give up in the face of the brutality and the beauty of this experience. It’s about love.

Writing for me is a mindfulness practice, and in her video for Day #2, Adreanna shared a definition of mindfulness from Jon Kabat-Zinn, “the awareness that arises when we’re paying attention on purpose in the present moment, without judgement.” And as Adreanna said, it’s that non-judgement part that’s “the real kicker.”

I’ve been being really hard on myself lately. My physical body confuses and confounds me, and this is complicated by the shift I’m trying to make in my view of bodies and health in general. To review: I was a disordered eater for 30+ years, not realizing that what I was doing wasn’t “normal” because I live in a culture where women are expected to hate their bodies, themselves, are encouraged to restrict and punish and distrust their bodies and themselves, are urged to constantly try to “improve,” to chase an impossibly out of reach standard. In that sense, for 30+ years, I was a very good girl.

And then I encountered Rachel Cole and her work, and my ideas about my body, food, exercise, health, wellbeing, my own worth and desires were upended, in the best possible way. I realized I was a disordered eater and started working with a therapist, continued working with Rachel, and made other changes in my life with the intention of being healthier, more content. I was disappointed when my therapist told me it usually takes about 7-9 years for someone to fully recover from disordered eating, but it was so much better than the alternative — a life in which I hated myself, hurt myself, suffered to such an extreme that I sometimes thought about killing myself.

In the past week or so, I’ve been triggered by a series of things. I could write ten blog posts any one of them, but some of the highlights are:

  • This post from Isabel Foxen Duke, Separating “Health” and “Weight” for Binge-Eating Recovery, which explained something I’d been unsuccessfully trying to tell my husband for months so well that I sent him the link and said “just read this” — especially this part, “successful recovery from binge-eating usually involves redefining our definition of ‘health’ to exclude forced attempts at weight loss—since it’s pretty clear that these attempts lead to poorer health (and more binge-eating) long-term.”
  • Overhearing one woman comment on another woman’s body after not seeing her for awhile, telling her that she looked thinner, fitter, and asking if she’d been working out, and cringing remembering all the times I’ve done the same thing or had that said to me. And for all the times I’ve heard the opposite from people who think because we are close, they can comment when my body swings the other way, can make remarks or even jokes about my size, my weight, my body, because they “love” me and are “just trying to help.”
  • Having someone ask me how I can have all that chocolate in my office and not eat it all, and I gave some old answer about it being “safe” at work because I’m busy and don’t think about it, how I can’t be trusted with it at home, but then feeling so bad after that for not telling the truth as it is now that I wanted to find that person and tell them the real story, that I don’t do that to myself anymore, don’t micromanage everything that goes in my mouth, don’t punish myself for even thinking about food or eating, don’t binge or even just eat in private and in secret, don’t surround the act of eating with shame or pain or guilt, that I eat whatever I want and as much as I want whenever I want and because I do that I’m satisfied, there’s no regret and there’s no punishment necessary, and I can trust myself around food.
  • Rachel asked, on a Feast alumni Facebook page, how we were doing and I couldn’t answer right away, because on that very same day, I was beating myself up for the ongoing pain in my right leg, all the way from my low back down to the bottom of my foot, and I’d convinced myself that the origin of my pain was my weight (even though I’ve had chronic pain issues in that area of my body for decades and there are all kinds of valid reasons for it that have nothing to do with my size), so I’d driven home from a long day (week, year) at work with the plan to start starving myself again. (Spoiler alert: I didn’t go through with it).
  • Going to a fancy work event and feeling like I had nothing to wear, feeling bad about my body and thus feeling bad about myself, but going anyway, and because I did, getting to talk directly to Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, and I guarantee he didn’t care one bit about my body or what I was wearing.

So I’m still struggling. I’m trying to be non-judgemental, to be gentle with myself, to relax with what is, to allow whatever might arise (even if that means being fat for the rest of my life), but sometimes I fail. And when I fail, I try not to beat myself up about it. I have no idea what I’m doing or how this is going to turn out, but I’m not going to give up.

Something Good

Horsetooth Reservoir, image by Eric

Horsetooth Reservoir, image by Eric

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

1. Leap Day! A whole extra day! What are you doing with yours, kind and gentle reader?

2. Kids reading to shelter dogs. I’m glad they are doing this, because I’m not allowed in the shelter — I would want to bring all the dogs home.

3. Author and poet Mahogany L. Browne gives her #BriefButSpectacular take on “Black Girl Magic.” So beautiful, so important.

4. I want to try these recipes: Chocolate Guinness Cake, Everyday Chocolate Cake, and Vidalia Onion Upside Down Cornbread, and Ayurvedic Sweet Potato Butternut Squash Soup.

5. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

If we want there to be peace in the world, then we have to take responsibility when our own hearts and minds harden and close. We have to be brave enough to soften what is rigid, to find the soft spot and stay with it. We have to have that kind of courage and take that kind of responsibility. That’s true spiritual warriorship. That’s the true practice of peace.

6. From mailboxes to super soakers, check out these 10 items you never knew were invented by black Americans. #blackhistorymonth

7. In related news, 100 Years of Beauty – Episode 18: USA Men 2 (Lester). Every time I watch one of these videos, I am so appreciative of the effort it must have taken to put it together. (And btw, I don’t think the 90s was a good era in fashion for anyone). And while you are at it, check out the other videos on WatchCut Video’s YouTube channel. They’ve got lots of cools stuff, such as this video One Word – Episode 32: Binge Eating (Eating Disorders).

8. What They Did With These Shower Curtain Rods Might just Be The Most Secretly Genius Idea Ever.

9. Snow Day. A cheetah and dog pair have their first snowy experience.

10. The moment of truth: We must stop Trump.

11. A love letter from your fat friend: It’s okay. You’re fat.

12. None of this matters when you’re dead, “Or why I don’t care that my decade worth of blog content has been lost.” I don’t think I’d be so cool about it if this happened to me.

13. Beginner-Friendly Meditation Retreats in Some of the World’s Most Beautiful Settings. #3 is one of my favorite places on the planet, (so much so that I kinda wish they hadn’t included it cause I want to keep it my own little secret).

14. Interview with Emily Brown, from BodyLove on Light Folly.

15. Why Kale May Kill Us, So I’m Getting a Divorce. In related news, Greens, Kale & Thyroid Problems. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and I didn’t know this.

16. Quirky New Chalk Characters on the Streets of Ann Arbor by David Zinn. Super cute. I love it that there are people in the world that take the time to do this, to practice their art, to surprise people with the joy of it.

17. Writing Down The Bones: 30 Years Later. One of my favorite writing teachers. And I am constantly amazed — this was her FIRST book. One of the most important writing books ever, in my humble opinion, and it was the first one she wrote.

18. Michelle Nijhuis’s Brief Guide to Writing Reported Essays.

19. 6 Illustrations That Show What It’s Like in an Introvert’s Head.

20. Simplicity is the Way Back to Love from Be More With Less.

21. Art at Altitude: Watch Artist Simon Beck Trample Calculated Murals onto Snowy Mountaintops. So much effort for something that’s just going to melt — and yet, it all melts eventually, doesn’t it?

22. Tips and Myths About Extending Smartphone Battery Life. I don’t know about you, but the state of my cellphone charge gives me such anxiety, so this was very helpful.

23. Wisdom from Tulku Thondup, “Unless one is omniscient or at least enjoys some degree of clairvoyance, no one can judge others. One can see how others appear and how they are behaving, but not who they are or why they are behaving in a particular manner.” During this season of politics, I’ve had to remind myself of this again and again.

24. How to make peanut butter toast. This seems to be about more than just peanut butter toast.

25. That Time I Stole an Atkin’s Diet Book From Bj’s from Mara Glatzel. I love everything about this.

26. The life that’s left from Jamie Greenwood. This is such a good reminder. “The only thing I was ever promised at birth was life and THIS, this loss wrapped in pain wrapped in sweet remembrance wrapped in joy, is all part of the package.”

27. 5 Reasons to Meditate by Pema Chödrön. “Yes, it’s a strange thing to do — just sit there and do basically nothing. Yet the simple act of stopping, says Pema Chödrön, is the best way to cultivate our good qualities. Here are five ways it makes us better people.”

28. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

There really is no one on this entire planet who knows every single thing that you have lived through, that you have learned, that you have endured, that you have overcome, that you have feared, that you have loved, that you have grieved, that you have built, that you have dreamed up, that you have worked toward. This is why, incredible soul, it is so important to hold yourself to be as sacred as you truly are.

You are a whole lot of beautifulness, in little things and in big things. You are a whole lot of colorfulness woven together in a way that has never ever ever been woven. Don’t let others try to define you, sweet friend. Don’t let others minimize you or try to squeeze you tight into a box that makes them comfortable. You are you and you are too wild and sparkling to fit inside of ANY box. You are meant to shine your light. When you need to feel 100% understood, turn to the source of truth and light. And turn to that beautiful soul inside of you — she is so so so wise.

And remember that we can never know every single thing about others, either. We are all very complicated souls, and we would all be a lot happier if we gave everyone a little bit of grace and focus on the good things we DO know.

29. Women and Body Image with Isabel Foxen Duke, an interview. “On women and body image with the fabulous Isabel Foxen Duke as well as helpful tips and tactics to free yourself from body worries.”

30. How To Deal With Haters. Unfortunately in this age of social media, this is something we all face at one time or another, and this is really sound advice.

31. Reactions: Not everything in life is Likable. This is a really great article that talks about how the new Facebook reaction options were developed.

32. Manny Selfie Cat, one of the best accounts on Instagram.

33. Fatphobic Nurse Makes Me Say F*ck Seven Times and 11 Reasons Why I Focus On Health and Not Weight from Dances with Fat.

34. A Mother’s Confession: A Song with Footnotes from Amanda Palmer. Trigger alert: if you are a mom, this might just wreck you.

35. Wisdom from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, “If we don’t develop contentment, we can never have what we want or enjoy what we have.” Oh, snap!

36. Exquisite Curiosity and Food from Geneen Roth.

37. One of my new favorite songs, ATTLAS – Parallel Lines.

38. Magic Tricks from Jena Schwartz. So beautiful. Writers like Jena raise the bar for my writing in the best possible way.

39. The Hunger for Rest, an important reminder from the amazing Rachel Cole, because this, “If you find yourself eating as a way to avoid the rest you’re craving or as a way to silence your inner critic who bashes you for your laziness, consider embracing your unique needs for rest and see what happens.”

40. Our Everloving Quest to Control Our Lives from Zen Habits. This is such an important read. We should all probably just memorize it, recite it in the mirror every morning. We’d all be so much happier if we could “get” just this one thing.

41. Five Ways To Love Yourself Courageously on Life is Limitless. This is also so important. Caroline starts by saying, “I’ve been focused on personal growth quite intensely now for many years, I’ve read countless books, taken various courses, spent years in therapy, worked with a number of coaches and the number one thing that I learnt from it all is this: If you don’t love yourself deeply and completely, then you can’t ever be truly happy.”

Something Good

Morning traffic, image by Eric

Morning traffic, image by Eric

1. Doing What You Love Is Going To Be Fucking Hard, wisdom from Jon Westenberg.

2. 16 Elevating Resolutions for 2016 Inspired by Some of Humanity’s Greatest Minds on Brain Pickings. “Cultivate honorable relationships, resist absentminded busyness, tell the world how to treat you, embrace enoughness, and more.” What a great list. One of my favorites is #6.

3. Debating Health at Every Size and Weight Loss and What Size We’re Supposed To Be from Dances With Fat.

4. A Simple Year, 12 months of guided simplicity, each month with a different topic focus, a course offered by some of my favorite people. Registration is open until January 31st.

5. Lemme just grab a selfie with my dogs, one of the cutest pictures ever.

6. Buttermilk Roast Chicken recipe. Looks delicious.

7. Andrea Gibson on the callus of hands and the softness of heart, on the Bawdy Love podcast, “Audaciously love your body.” I adore Andrea, and can’t wait to check out Lauren’s new book.

8. The Best Part of Life from Momastery.

9. Let 2016 be the year of the JOMO, a great cartoon from The Oatmeal. I’m in!

10. Who Says Plus Size Women Can’t? #iwontcompromise. This video is so great, and this project’s mission,

#iwontcompromise is a movement that celebrates doing what we love, wearing what makes us feel good, and being who we are without compromise. No limits, no fears, no judgments, just pure enjoyment. When we hold ourselves back in fear of how we may be perceived, society misses out. Let them stare. Let them see what we can do. Let’s inspire them together.

11. Cat Returns Home With A Note Revealing She Has A Secret Family on Bored Panda. Examples of one of the reasons I have dogs.

12. Tips for Properly Inserting a USB Cable on McSweeney’s, funny because it’s true.

13. Being overweight won’t necessarily make you unhealthy, but feeling bad about it will. Word.

14. People can’t get enough of this new organic, vegetarian fast food. I love Amy’s frozen food, so I bet this place would be yummy.

15. You do not have to be good from Meghan Genge.

16. Woman Goes Viral After Shutting Down Racist Co-Worker in the Most Hilarious Way Possible.

17. I Thought I Was Above Body Image Issues — Until I Lost A Lot Of Weight. “As a result of antidepressants, my weight has always been just outside my control. But when I changed my medication and unexpectedly lost a noticeable amount of weight, I was forced to confront body image issues I thought I was intellectually above.”

18. Our Absurd Fear of Fat. This is an older piece, but it’s still relevant.

19. How to Establish a Daily Practice Of Almost Anything, in Six Steps. So simple, so smart. #2 is one of my favorite hints.

20. A Useful and Incomplete List of Bright Lights, a really great collection of resources from Rachel Cole. Also worth noting is Rachel’s next round of her program Feast is open for applications, (deadline to apply: January 15th).

21. Regularly Scheduled Program from Allowing Myself. Everything Justine writes is so simple, but has such depth.

22. Melissa Harris-Perry has a great point about Oprah’s new weight loss ad. Word.

23. 36 Things I Know After 36 Years of Marriage. As a person in a long term marriage (22 years and counting), I really appreciated this one.

24. Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas recipe. I’ve talked about these before, many many times. You really should try them — so good. P.S. I double the spices for the potatoes, because they are so yummy.

25. When Can Women Stop Trying to Look Perfect?

26. 4 Principles That Guide My Year from Laura Simms. I love #3.

27. Austin Kleon’s latest newsletter. I was collecting a few things from this list to share with you, but I gave up when I realized the whole thing was too good not to share.

28. Good stuff from Rowdy Kittens Happy Links list: A Good Life, A Good Death, and What My Mother Wanted Us to Pack, and 15 Ways to Simplify Your Life (and Finances) Before the End of 2015.

29. Ylvis – a capella, a hilarious spoof of a type of performance I totally adore.

30. Creative Thursday | season 1 ep.1 | Erin Dollar “Meet Erin Dollar, the designer and founder of the gorgeous Cotton & Flax. Started in 2012, her hand printed home goods now sell worldwide. Join us as we talk creativity + biz on the premiere episode of Creative Thursday!”

31. What was Real and What Was Fake: The Inside Scoop on HGTV’s House Hunters International. I still love this show, even knowing the truth.

32. The Will to Change Must Come From Within from Jonathan Fields.

33. How To Keep Loving Someone.

34. 3 Myths about “Intuitive Eating” from Isabel Foxen Duke.

35. Salon’s guide to writing a memoir, an older post, but still worth reading.

36. A Stunning New Video: Stop. Look. Go. A “stunning, short film of un-hurried, un-plugged summer days with family and friends, beautifully illustrating Br. David’s simple ‘Stop. Look. Go.’ grateful living practice.

37. Is The Fuck It Diet just GIVING UP on My Health?

Day of Rest

decsunriseThis picture is from two years and one day ago. Back before we’d even met Ringo, and before I’d started yoga teacher training. In those specific ways, it seems like it was a long time ago, but I still remember exactly how beautiful it was that morning, how lucky I felt to see it, to be out walking with Eric and Sam.

I haven’t been able to get as much done as I’d intended to recently. I had big plans to post responses to various reflective challenges, keep up with all the good content sent my way through the programs I signed up for, catch up on a class I’m in, prepare some content for the ecourse I’m creating, read and take part in a book group, buy and wrap and ship a few extra gifts for the Pine Ridge Holiday Project, get all the shopping and wrapping and shipping done for the gifts for my own family, do some baking, move everything back into the bathroom, give the house a good clean, write a few letters and send a few packages unrelated to the holidays, work on something to share at my retreat next weekend, catch up on some reading and laundry, and maybe even take a few naps…

Sigh. I put so much pressure on myself to keep going, keep doing, and the to-do list is so long. What has changed is that the realization that it’s unrealistic, unsustainable, comes so much sooner, and I’m able to adjust, lower the bar, be gentle with myself. That’s mostly what I’ve been doing instead of all the things.

This morning I was listening to one of the meditations from Rachel Cole’s Savor. It was about silence and truth. In it Rachel was talking about spiritual practice and what it was, what it meant. She said that spiritual practice isn’t about seeking happiness, but rather it’s about seeking and being with the truth. In the meditation, she invited us to allow ourselves to open and be receptive of whatever might be true for us, allowing in whatever truth might be trying to offer us.

Right after, I listened to this week’s Open Heart Project meditation from Susan Piver, which reminded me of a blog post she wrote last week, What you are doing right now is the path. In it, she suggests that the householder or layperson’s path is “the path of diving headfirst into ordinary life and taking it and all its details—money, sex, buying a house, hanging out in bars, making a career, figuring out what to wear, raising children, and so on—as the path itself.” This makes so much sense to me. I have long felt the lines blurring between practice (on the page, on my yoga mat, on my meditation cushion, on the other end of a leash) and everything else.

I wasn’t going to pick another word to guide my year, not because I didn’t see value in the practice but because one just wasn’t finding me. But this morning, I’m considering choosing “path.” There’s something about that concept, what I know about it, that feels like it has the capacity to provide clarity, help me to make better choices, allow me to focus on what truly matters, provide the way to seek and be with the truth.

 

Something Good

Image from Unsplash

Image from Unsplash

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

1. Savor: Daily Practices for a More Nourishing Holiday from Rachel Cole. Savor is six weeks of guided audio meditations and journal prompts to support you in being well-fed and centered this holiday season. As Rachel describes it, “Savor is about finding yourself in the small moments. It’s about tasting what’s already here. It’s about noticing the good and saying ‘thank you’ often. Savor is designed to help you find sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle that’s headed our way. Savor is, no surprise, about savoring your life.” At only $35, this would make a great holiday gift, for yourself or anyone else on your list. Disclaimer: I first started working with Rachel almost four years ago. Since then she’s been a guide, a teacher, a precious friend. Everything she does is magic, and this is going to be no exception.

2. Random Acts of Kindness Generator. This is such a great idea. Doing something nice, either directly or in secret, is such a mood lifter for everyone involved. I can imagine a homemade version too, a jar with slips of paper filled with different ideas. Just pick one and do it.

3. Problems of output are problems of input from Austin Kleon.

4. An important question posed by Brave Girls Club, “What is calling to you? What is the deepest, most true message that is calling to you?”

5. A Note from the Universe,

It’s easy to look around at all the people who already have what you want, notice how they differ from you, and then think that they are the “kind of people” for whom having what you want comes naturally. Whereas you are not, otherwise you’d have it too.

Very rational thinking, and a super way for non-adventurers to avoid responsibility, rest on the sidelines, and watch more TV.

Adventurers, on the other hand, Jill, understand that they are exactly the kind of people who should have the things they now want. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be blessed with wanting them.

6. This is about the time I chose not to die.

7. If you accept your body, does that mean you give up?, a recent and brilliant newsletter from Curvy Yoga and Anna Guest-Jelley.

8. Parenthood Is An Act Of Hostage Negotiation With A Broken Robot from Terrible Minds.

9. This Guy’s Reaction To Patti LaBelle’s Pie Is Priceless. This guy understands pie like I do.

10. Wisdom from Hans Hofmann, “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” Oh, snap.

11. It’s going to be okay, a really great, important and timely comic from The Oatmeal. “So get up, and help someone.” Also this video, “Runner. Cartoonist. Cake Lover. – A Seeker Story,” the story of Matthew Inman, creator of TheOatmeal.com.

12. Raising Imogen, “koala joey’s most adorable home video of all time.” Who knew baby koala’s were so stupid cute?

13. This Kid Should Work For Hallmark Because His Thank You Letters Are Spot On.

14. Buddhism, Bravery, Love and the Good Life, Lodro Rinzler on Good Life Project Radio. Lodro is one of my favorite teachers, and I always love Johnathan’s interviews. Jonathan posted on Facebook, about this interview, “What if meditation didn’t solve anything, it just let you see things better?”

15. Wisdom from Judith Lief, “To meditate, all you need are 3 things: a restless body, a wandering mind, and out-of-control emotions.”

16. Awkwarding is what brings us all together from The Bloggess. These tweets are so awesome.

17. On What People Think from Dani Shapiro.

18. This 17-Year-Old Cat Is The Laziest Internet Star In Japan on Bored Panda.

19. Deciding How and When to Quit, a brilliant post from Jen Louden about the difference between default quitting and compassionate quitting, which includes a really great set of prompts to help one contemplate how to decide what to do. “But in the end, it comes down to this: You must be willing to look yourself in the mirror and ask, ‘Am I suffering enough to do something about it?’ or ‘Am I hungry enough for something more to take this risk?'”

20. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

We make a lot of mistakes. If you ask people whom you consider to be wise and courageous about their lives, you may find that they have hurt a lot of people and made a lot of mistakes, but that they used those occasions as opportunities to humble themselves and open their hearts. We don’t get wise by staying in a room with all the doors and windows closed.

20. Wisdom from Seth Godin, Certain failure and Your progress report.

21. How to make your website credible from Paul Jarvis.

22. #naphopomo day 10: do not let the adorable nose fool you on Chookooloonks. Oh Karen, I feel your pain/joy.

23. Five Days of Mandala Magic, from Julie Gibbons, “a free online workshop that demonstrates how, with a little know-how + some tools + techniques, you can create beautiful mandalas anytime you feel called – even if you’re not an accomplished artist!”

24. Is Fat Stigma Making Us Miserable? Spoiler alert: YES.

25. 16 Stunning Works Of Origami Art To Celebrate World Origami Day on Bored Panda.

26. Riverside 433 sq. ft. guest cottage is a roomy floating retreat. So dreamy.

27. 30 Simple Ways to Take Care of Yourself Over the Holidays from Be More With Less, a great list for any time of year, not just the holidays.

28. A Healthy Way to Aspire to a Better Life on Zen Habits. The title says it all.

29. money talks with Laurie Wagner. I love this column. I love Sherry, the lovely host. And you know I love Laurie.

30. Wisdom from Jonathan Fields, “Never allow the false urgency of others to dictate where and when you place your attention.”

31. In April 2013, Diana Kim spotted her father for the first time in decades. “He was living on the street, disheveled and unkempt, and didn’t have a clue who she was.”

32. The fallacy of ‘go big or go home’: redefining ambition from Esmé Wang.

33. Organizers seat woman behind Trump ‘because she’s black’ — so she silently protests by reading her book.

34. I Quit My Job To Be A Travel Writer, And Now I’m Broke And Unemployed. I think it’s so important to have these narratives to balance out the “do what you love and the money will come” ones.

35. Calvin Harris & Disciples – How Deep is Your Love (Cover) by Daniela Andrade x KRNFX. The only thing better than a good song is a good cover of that song, and Daniela just might be the queen of covers.

36. The Roar Sessions: Lindsey Mead.

37. 9 Ways Generous People View the World Differently from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

38. A Thanksgiving Reader, a new tradition, offered by Seth Godin.

39. Cultivating Wonder, “4 weeks full of lessons, prompts, interviews + secret missions to grow your sense of wonder” from Andrea Scher, pay what you can. It starts today, but you can still sign up. Again, a disclaimer: Andrea is the reason this blog exists, and I adore everything she does — guide, teacher, and precious friend.

40. Social Media isn’t the point. Storytelling is. “8 things you can (and should) do to become an effective storyteller for your brand” from Christina Rosalie.

Something Good

Horsetooth Reservoir, image by Eric

Horsetooth Reservoir, image by Eric

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

1. How Dare You (A lesson on defining your personal brand) from Paul Jarvis. I really think he has one of the most brilliant perspectives about marketing, branding, and blah, blah, blah. I think so because he says stuff like this, “As makers, we express who we are through what we make. That is, if we’re being honest about ourselves and what we stand for.”

2. Essena O’Neill – Why I REALLY am quitting social media. I share this with the disclaimer that I don’t believe (obviously) that social media is inherently bad. Just like every other technology or media, the way we use it manifests our own neurosis (and/or wisdom). We infuse it with who we are and what we believe. As such, every technology is also infused with our fundamental wisdom and compassion. It doesn’t exist on its own without us, isn’t inherently bad or good.

3. What if you didn’t give up? from Alexandra Franzen. Her superpower is a crazy fierce mix of motivation and inspiration, and this post is all the proof you need. In it, she says,”You can quit right now. Un-enroll. Hand in your notice. Shut down the website. Pack up your case and go home. Never play a note again. Fuck it. Or you can decide that following that persistent longing in your heart — the longing to create, to write, to make a difference in the unique way that you feel called to do it — is worth just a little more patience.”

4. Proud (Diet) Quitter from Dances with Fat.

5. Variations on stupid from Seth Godin, a great list of all the various ways we can be stupid.

6. Good stuff from Susannah’s Something for the Weekend list: A Writer’s Manifesto by Joanne Harris: The National Conversation, and The Life-Changing Magic of Intentional Ignorance, and Top 16 Ways I Connect with God-presence from Alanis Morissette, and Rae Morris – Skin [Official Video].

7. 10 Behaviors of Genuine People, a list, a way of being worth aspiring to — actual, real, sincere, honest.

8. Good stuff from Austin Kleon’s weekly newsletter: “I’ve been working on this weird deck of cards (inspired by Oblique Strategies) to help me out when I get creatively stuck, so I thought I’d share a virtual version for y’all. More cards will be posted soon…”, and C.S. Lewis on how to be original, and “November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), but I have no interest in writing novels, so I started National Novel Reading Month (NaNoReadMo).”

9. Why being weird is your best creative trait. What a relief…

10. Out of Control Salted Caramel Cinnamon Rolls, recipe and pictures that just might make your head explode.

11. And then that one time on twitter we all just became human and I laughed until I gave myself a headache from The Bloggess. If you are having a bad day, read these tweets and I guarantee you’ll feel better, and you’ll have a good laugh so it’s a win/win.

12. How to Decolonize your Yoga practice.

13. What Weight Gain Really Means. With the holidays comes a slew of content focused on how not to gain weight, how to lose weight, blah blah blah. Read this as the antidote.

14. Adele: Inside Her Private Life and Triumphant Return from Rolling Stone.

15. 20+ Cats Who Immediately Regretted Their Poor Life Choices on Bored Panda.

16. Songs that Crack my Heart right Open (in the Best possible Way) on Elephant Journal.

17. A Washington couple took a paternity test for their child. The man wasn’t the father. His unborn twin was. Science is weird.

18. Ruth Oosterman’s “Collaborations with my toddler.”. She takes her toddler daughter’s drawings and turns them into amazing pieces of art.

19. Elizabeth Duvivier is blogging every day for the month of November. Two of my favorite posts so far are this island of tranquility and season of bittersweet, in which she shares this quote from Daniell Koepke,

Despite what you may believe, you can disappoint people and still be good enough. You can make mistakes and still be capable and talented. You can let people down and still be worthwhile and deserving of love. Everyone has disappointed someone they care about. Everyone messes up, lets people down, and makes mistakes. Not because we’re inadequate or fundamentally inept, but because we’re imperfect and fundamentally human. Expecting anything different is setting yourself up for failure.

20. Tig Notaro’s Amazon Pilot Is Wonderful. And, you can watch it right now on Amazon, for FREE.

21. We just found out that Winnie the Pooh is actually a girl. Awesome. Agreed — awesome.

22. In no particular order: Some things I have learned so far in my 9ish months as a nomad.

23. What you won’t read on social media about living the dream from Life is Limitless. Life is tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal — keep your heart open.

24. Writing Advice Is Bullshit from Terrible Minds.

25. Joyful and Exuberant, inspiration from Marc Johns. Trust me, go read it now.

26. Start with what you know on A Design So Vast. I appreciate Lindsey’s perspective so much, her willingness to look at herself and her life closely, directly, honestly.

27. Jamie Greenwood on Working For Yourself and Getting To The Heart of What’s True, a really great podcast.

28. Dieting is a Violent Act from Rachel Cole. Amen.

29. Two older posts from Susan Piver, which are just as relevant now as when she first published them, Self-Employment: Three Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me and The pain of pricing.

30. Two good pieces from Joanna Schroeder on Ravishly: Why I Stopped Weighing Myself and Why I Stopped Dieting And I Couldn’t Be Happier.

31. Thanksgiving Dinner Rolls With Surprise Gratitude Notes. I’d replace the notes with wishes, but yum!

32. Wisdom from Justine Musk, “Maybe you’re tired because you’re repressing so much of yourself.”

33. Mashed Potato Casserole recipe.

34. It’s Not The Dog, It’s You! A Simple Way to Stop Leash Reactivity.

35. Christians and Coffee Cups, which suggests, “And maybe this year we can stop yelling at others to ‘Keep Christ in Christmas’ and instead focus on being Christlike ourselves.” A-fucking-men!

36. High school student absolutely kills a simple cover of Adele’s “Hello.”

37. The Self-Hatred Within Us by Sharon Salzberg.

Something Good

ladybugcan

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

1. Mabel Magazine #4: What’s Next? is available for preorder, (one of my pieces is featured). I love their tagline so much, “making a living, creating a life.”

2. Good stuff from Alexandra Franzen: What if your job didn’t exist? and Will anyone come to my party? What I like so much about Alexandra’s advice is that even though it’s really good for specific people, it’s also applicable to anyone who is human, anyone trying to figure out how to live their lives.

3. Go Big, Go Weird, Go You, And Fuck Fear Right In The Ear and Kubler-Ross Model of Grief Associated With Editing And Rewriting on Terrible Minds. He might use a lot of naughty words to do it, but Chuck tells the TRUTH.

4. The Case of the Stolen Basketball Hoop from Jena Schwartz, in which she says, “Isn’t that the reason I blog, to pull all of the disparate strands from a day into some kind of bow you’d recognize and want to pull open, to unwrap with the promise of something beautiful waiting inside?”

5. 3 Ways to NOT Fail at NaNoWriMo. And in related news, 12 Thoughts On NaNoWriMo: Why you should or should NOT participate in National Novel Writing Month.

6. Getting Over the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) from Kute Blackson. I don’t necessarily think that something more exciting is happening somewhere else, I worry that if I stop, slow down, take a break, I’m going to miss something good, something important — so I listen to Kute preach.

7. The power of fear and Simple questions for writers from Seth Godin.

8. Eighteen Attempts at Writing About a Miscarriage. Sad, beautiful.

9. 10 Slow and Steady Strategies for Practical Decluttering from Be More With Less – clear, useful, simple instructions from Courtney Carver.

10. How To Be An Artist (In An Internet Age), an interview with Austin Kleon.

11. What have you experienced? on Chookooloonks. Make sure to read the comments, leave one of your own.

12. One-Third Of This Company’s Workers Have Criminal Backgrounds. “Dave’s Killer Bread is urging other employers to hire ex-convicts, too.” This is the kind of bread we eat, because it’s good and because they are doing good.

13. 15 Habits That Will Totally Transform Your Productivity. #3 is my favorite.

14. ‘Broad City’ released a Columbus Day video, because they know what we need.

15. Making Magic: Thoughts on The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Big Magic on Flingo.

16. Artist Uses Nature To Color Animal Paper Silhouettes on Bored Panda. In related news, Self-Taught Polish Artist Uses Fallen Autumn Leaves As Canvases For Her Paintings and Maple Leaves Left In A Box For 15 Years Became Canvases For My Art. Which reminds me of Flor & Fawn, a creative collaboration between Katie Daisy & Karen Eland — they are going to start doing custom pet portraits and I really want some of my dogs!

17. The Key To Oprah Winfrey’s Success: Radical Focus, a fascinating look behind the scenes.

18. Rest on Allowing Myself.

19. UN to investigate plight of US Native Americans for first time. “The UN human rights inquiry will focus on the living conditions of the 2.7 million Native Americans living in the US.”

20. To Witness Victory of This New Bravery by Omid Safi at On Being. So good.

21. Rescue Kitten Adopted By 5 Ferrets Thinks It’s A Ferret Too. Stupid cute.

22. The Meaning of Hatha Yoga (and No, It’s Not “Sun & Moon”) from Michael Lloyd-Billington, one of my favorite local teachers. I teach Hatha Yoga and this was still an interesting read for me.

23. “A Love Affair with Change”: An Inkerview with Isabel Abbott on The Inky Path.

24. Karl Paulnack Welcome Address on The Boston Conservatory. This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read about the importance of the arts, of artists, of humans. He concludes, among other things, that,

Art is part of survival; art is part of the human spirit, an unquenchable expression of who we are. Art is one of the ways in which we say, “I am alive, and my life has meaning.”

25. Why October is Hard on Getting the Words Wrong. All I can say is Amen.

26. Truthbomb #907 from Danielle LaPorte, “No need to try so hard.”

27. The Water Takes You Just as You Are from Rachel Cole.

28. The Lonely Death of George Bell from The New York Times. “Each year around 50,000 people die in New York, some alone and unseen. Yet death even in such forlorn form can cause a surprising amount of activity. Sometimes, along the way, a life’s secrets are revealed.” This piece was so interesting, so heartbreaking.

29. The Tiny Book Show. There’s still plenty of time to take part.

30. RISE, a morning yoga course with Adriene.

31. Read this when no one loves you. You know what, read it anyway. Read it now.

32. A Group Of People Tried Journaling Every Day For A Month And It Got A Little Too Introspective, a BuzzFeed video. “A group of us was asked to commit to writing in a journal 10 minutes every day for a month and this is how we did.”

33. 22 Habits That Will Make Your Life a Little More Peaceful Each Day. Certainly worth a try.

34. A Girl Gets Her Period And Is Banished To The Shed: #15Girls.

35. Your life is of the utmost importance, Susan Piver’s latest Open Heart Project video. In the email she sent to the OHP Sangha, she ended this way, “Thank you for being alive. Thank you for bringing your unique beauty to us all. Thank you for working to open your heart to the mystery.” Amen.

36. Wisdom from Dza Kilung Rinpoche,

You don’t need to be an “excellent meditator” to start with. All you need to do is have your heart and mind make the following agreement: “Let’s rest. There’s no reason right now to wander around following thoughts or worrying. Let’s be relaxed and open.” There’s not even any need to shut down your thoughts. Just be there with them, but not overly concerned or engaged. Let there be total openness, and just relax within that.

37. Anna Kendrick’s Surprising (and Brilliant) Shower Thoughts. The last one is the best, and I can’t stop thinking about it.