Category Archives: Self-Care

Sick Day

It’s a gray day out there today. I had all kinds of plans for this weekend, three big blog posts I wanted to write and have ready to publish over the next few days, a coffee date with a good friend I haven’t seen as much as I’d like to, catching up on my Journal Your Life class, spending extra time with my boys, maybe even some gardening. Instead, I am taking it easy (trying to anyway) because I have a cold, mainly a really sore throat that’s hung around for the past four days. I am grateful that I don’t have a fever or a stuffy nose or much of a cough, but I am tired and achy–and annoyed.

I’m not good at resting or taking care of myself. Maybe you already know that about me? I have stuff to do! And yet, the main reason I’m feeling punky is I wore myself out over these past few weeks (months? years?) with some heavy emotional work and lots of activity but not a whole lot of rest or care. When you won’t do the necessary maintenance, when you don’t balance your effort with ease, your body has no other option but to break down.

In an attempt to take better care of myself, I slept in this morning. I meditated for 20 minutes and wrote for almost an hour. I broke my afternoon coffee date, even though I really, really wanted to go. I fed myself whole food–a berry, orange and spinach smoothie for breakfast, a veggie burger and salad and some sweet potato for lunch. I went on a slow walk with my boys. I played with and pet the dogs, canine therapy. I also did a little “work,” editing some photos, doing some online reading, finding things for my Something Good post on Monday, putting clean sheets on the bed, and doing laundry, but I did it slowly, gently, and with great care. I still feel poorly, but also cared for, and that is a definite improvement.

Gratitude Friday

1. Susan Piver and the Open Heart Project. I haven’t had time to write anything here yet about my retreat last weekend, Open Heart with Susan Piver at Shambhala Mountain Center, but it was amazing. Other than my own will and intention, Susan and her project are the most essential elements of my meditation practice. She and it and everyone involved have given me the necessary support and inspiration to keep practicing.

2. Shambhala Mountain Center. Oh how I love that place–the land, the environment, the space, the food, the stupa, the lodges, the shrine rooms, and the people. I am so lucky that it is so close to me, all the time, so easy to access.

3. Getting help, finding comfort. A new doctor, a recommendation for a therapist from someone I trust and love (the fact that I have people to ask), and that moment when I am uncomfortable in bed, so I shift my position and land in the most comfortable, perfect spot–even better if there is a dog next to me and he sighs when I move.

4. Knowing what to let go. I can’t do everything, really couldn’t this week with Eric gone and me so run down, but I made good, kind choices about what I could do and what I couldn’t, and I didn’t beat myself up for what I didn’t do.

5. The patience of my dogs. When I came home yesterday and they expected a walk and lots of attention, but I needed sleep, they allowed for it, stayed on guard, protecting me, checking in on me and loving on me. And how right now, as I write this, instead of bugging me about the morning walk or wanting attention, they are both asleep in their crates, (maybe they are just getting lazy as they age, but I choose to see it as patience).

samanddexter

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter. I am especially grateful for how he’s been asking me to throw him a tennis ball, how happy he is even with a modified version of that activity.

What I’m Learning Now

Love is, above all else, the gift of oneself. ~Jean Anouih

On Thursday, I worked a lot with letting the day unfold naturally, without force or agenda. I was fatigued, worn out, and took a sick day to rest. The plague (several versions) has been circling around campus and there’s a good chance my body is doing everything it can to fight it off. I stayed in my pajamas all day, fed myself well, drank lots of grapefruit juice, watched some inspirational videos while resting on the couch, taking notes and at one point having a long nap.

The Universe is bombarding me with messages about self-love, self-care, self-acceptance. The classes I’m taking, friendships I have, things I read and see and hear make clear what I can give, what is needed. The theme is that there is only one me, I have unique gifts, a specific perspective and calling, and that I must be true to that, honor it, because that’s what I have to offer the world. And most importantly, it is not selfish to be who I am, to love what I love. In fact, it is the deepest kind of compassion, the most profound expression of wisdom.

To succeed at being somebody that you are not (but think you need to be) is still a failure. But to love who you are and courageously be that fully is a life well lived. ~Kute Blackson

I contemplated this blog post that I’m writing now all day Thursday, but made the choice to rest instead. In fact, this past week, I only posted three times, when I typically post every day, sometimes twice. Normally that would make me feel bad, less than worthy and anxious because my stats were down. For years, I’ve been singing as loud as I can, dancing as fast as I can, performing elaborate routines, begging to be noticed, to be loved and accepted, cared for and safe. I can’t do it anymore, won’t–“a life lived in order to please others ends up pleasing no one at all,” (Elizabeth Lessor).

Pleasing another person is often about avoiding the conflict that might ensue if we tell the truth about our feelings, needs, fears, and dreams. ~Elizabeth Lessor

I know I have something of value to offer, but I can’t do it from a place of exhaustion and overwhelm. When thinking about how I might do this, my heart’s work, while maintaining full-time paid work and all the other things I’m responsible for, it is clear to me that the same approach that had been so unworkable, such a failure in my old job–overwork, overwhelm, anxiety, perfection, hustling for worthiness, people pleasing but self-hating–was being carried over into this. The same method of forcing and pushing and denial.

I want to continue loving what I love, so I need to soften my approach. I need to meet this work with gentleness, kindness, and be open to joy. I need to maintain my focus on how I want to feel, the experience I want to cultivate, the process rather than a product. I need to balance my effort with ease.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~Howard Thurman

I also must forgive myself for all that came before. All the years of trying to be good, hoping to be perfect, imagining that if I did what others wanted and expected that I would be loved, safe, accepted. The self-denial, self-loathing, self-abandonment, self-abuse, the pushing, forcing, smashing myself to bits, and broken promises. The cycle of starving and stuffing, never satisfied. I have to also forgive myself for my confusion, my disappointment, my despair, my rage, and every action that came from that dark place. I was only trying to be who I thought I was supposed to be.

Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are. -Anne Lamott

I’m choosing that second option, dreaming bigger, cultivating courage and rest and joy, keeping my heart open, showing up and staying with whatever might arise, and doing it all imperfectly. My wish is to leave you, this space, this planet in better condition than I found it, and to ease suffering, in myself and the world.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
~Mary Oliver

Something Good

message from a "secret admirer" on my car this morning :)

message from a “secret admirer” on my car this morning 🙂

1. The Makeover on SF Girl By Bay, in which Victoria Smith shares before and after pictures of her new cottage. I love her sense of design, scan through the pictures in her blog posts (*drool*) before going back to actually read them. Design Sponge wrote a profile about her in which she talks about being a business woman, (link originally shared by Susannah Conway on her Something for the Weekend list).

2. The Joy of Missing Outon the Aesthetics of Joy, originally shared by Pugley Pixel on her Links Loved list.

3. This quote from Louis Proto, “Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”

4. Hello 40: 40 Lessons from 40 Yearsfrom Susannah Conway. Also from Susannah, Self-Care in The Real World.

5. What Happened to Downtime? The Extinction of Deep Thinking & Sacred Space on 99U.

6. It’s Time to Come Out of the Closet…(& quit hiding!) from Kute Blackson, in which he says

There is a vulnerability in showing who you really are to the world. It is a risk to step out and say, “This is who I am!” But to hide the real you in the closet of your fears is to be a part of the living dead. There’s no refunds in life. Hiding and playing small serves no one. And the “love” you get by being someone other than who you really are is never truly fulfilling…and you know it.

7. This quote from Pema Chödrön, about being free from fixed mind,

Rather than living a life of resistance and trying to disprove our basic situation of impermanence and change, we could contact the fundamental ambiguity and welcome it. We don’t like to think of ourselves as fixed and unchanging, but emotionally we’re very invested in it. We simply don’t want the frightening, uneasy discomfort of feeling groundless. But we don’t have to close down when we feel groundlessness in any form. Instead, we can turn toward it and say, “This is what freedom from fixed mind feels like. This is what freedom from closed-heartedness feels like. This is what unbiased, unfettered goodness feels like. Maybe I’ll get curious and see if I can go beyond my resistance and experience the goodness.”

8. This quote from Jack Kornfield, “Peace is born out of equanimity and balance. Balance is flexibility, an ability to adjust graciously to change. Equanimity arises when we accept the way things are.”

9. Find Your Flow from Kristin Noelle on Trust Tending.

10. Note from the Universe“No matter how great the desire is to please another, Jill, let it be no greater than the desire to be yourself. Otherwise ain’t no one happy.”

11. Worthiness Wednesday #82: drop out, tune in from Kat at I Saw You Dancing. Also from Kat, Our mothers, our daughters.

12. Wings and Bones from Lisa Field-Elliot on Doorways Traveler. Beautiful and real, as always. Especially this line, “what there is time for in my life now is the depth and discomfort of introspection.” I think I might be living in this line.

13. Dear Photograph.

14. Her Idea: An Illustrated Allegory about Procrastination and the Creative Process on Brain Pickings.

15. From my Inner Pilot Light,

Please – take a breath – and let go of that drive to be perfect. I know you feel pressure to get it right, to deliver, to outperform, to be Superhuman. But let me fill you in on a little secret. Your imperfections are your gateway to intimacy. When you’re willing to be vulnerable, to expose your big ugly tail, to share your imperfections with others, they see in you their own imperfections, and they feel connected, and you give them a gift – letting them off the hook, giving them permission to be imperfect, just like you. Then – swoon – two imperfect beings can bond, and compassion grows, and intimacy thrives. You don’t have to always get it right. And when you don’t, you don’t have to keep it a secret.

And this,

The next time you’re tempted to judge someone, take a deep breath and add to the end of your judgment “And I am too.” Remember that what most irritates, angers, insults, or annoys us about others is often a reflection of something unseemly we see in ourselves, some shadow side of ourselves we’re running away from. Instead of running away, be brave enough to face your own shadows. Stare into the darkness and own it. Then stop projecting onto other people, and grant them the gift of grace instead. Remember that you just don’t know what’s going on for that person you’re tempted to judge. You don’t know what loss they suffered today, what trauma has been inflicted upon them, what disappointment they’re facing, what illness they’re up against, what heartbreak they’re in the midst of. Instead of judging yourself or others, try opening your heart, forgiving, letting go of expectation, and loving unconditionally. Such actions bless not just others, but YOU. Need help loving so big? I’m right here, darling.

16. This looks so yummy, Plum Crumble Cake Recipe on Decor8.

17. Pretty Girls Making Ugly Faces.

18. “All you have to do is to pay attention; lessons always arrive when you are ready, and if you can read the signs, you will learn everything you need to know in order to take the next step.” -Paulo Coelho, The Zahir (from 37Days, Your Daily Rock).

19. Secrets spilled in life’s final minutes on CNN.

20. Old Town Fort Collins Flickr pictures from CSU. I love where I live.

21. Dr. Weil’s Life with Dogs, a sweet video in which he says “I can’t imagine a dogless life.” Amen. He even has a Pinterest board, “Pets & Pet Care.”

22. Morality, My Ass on Elephant Journal, originally shared by Patti Digh on her Thinking Thursday list.

23. 35 Gut Checks When Founding Your First Company by Jordan Cooper.

24. This quote from Chögyam Trungpa,

Any confusion you experience has within it the essence of wisdom automatically. So as soon as you detect confusion, it is the beginning of some kind of message. At least you are able to see your confusion, which is very hard. Ordinarily people do not see their confusion at all, so by recognizing your confusion, you are already at quite an advanced level. So you shouldn’t feel bad about that; you should feel good about it.

25. Menswear Dog. He’s so handsome.

26. How 1 Hour on Sundays Will Change Your Life, on MindBodyGreen.

27. “You yourself are your own obstacle – rise above yourself.” ~Hafiz And, seemingly related, this: “The only person that can destroy you, is you.” ~Andrea Owen

28. Amo La Vida by Soul Biographies. “Look what you have.”

29. The Sweetest Friendship, a boy and his dog.

30. Relax! You’ll Be More Productive from the New York Times.

31. The Big List of Green Smoothies(link originally shared by Susannah Conway on her Something for the Weekend list).

32. “Drama in our lives is the greatest indicator that we’re not focused on meaningful goals. On the path to purpose you don’t have time for drama.” ~Brendon Burchard

#Reverb12: Day 12

reverb12

Joy

The full prompt: What activity brings you the most joy? (Author: Lee Currie)

This is a tie between writing and being with my dogs. Both things have at their heart connection and pure love. My writing practice in the past year has moved beyond judgement and conditions (mostly) to a place of satisfaction and contentment, and my experience of my dogs has always been that simple. I can write for hours, lose all sense of time, am reluctant to stop, feel like I always have so much more to say, wake up in the middle of the night with ideas, am writing in my head as I am walking or doing yoga or even meditating, wake up excited to start working–this is love, this is joy. And my boys, all three of them, even the one who is no longer with us–all I have to do is think about them or look at them, sleeping or playing or barking at the trash truck or whatever they happen to be doing, whatever they did good or bad, and my heart softens, sometimes melting completely, sometimes breaking with so much love, so much joy, and even sadness because it’s all so beautiful and temporary.

meandtheboyslory

Not Done

The full prompt: What was something you planned to do in 2012 but didn’t? What was it, and why did you not accomplish it?

I planned to heal my body, my relationship with it and with food. I thought that with awareness, this would come easily. I would notice what I was doing, gain knowledge and understanding, be able to stop numbing out, disconnecting, smashing myself to bits, forgive myself and be able to change. I was so wrong. The habitual patterns, this way of being is so old, so deep, so sticky. There are layers and layers of resistance, of grief and longing, and it’s about so much more than just my body–it’s everything. This is going to be much harder than I thought, but it’s why it is one of my primary intentions in the next year: sanity, wellness and balance.

Brave Belly

Your Most Intense Emotions

The full prompt: What made you dance in 2012? What made you weep?

My purpose becoming clear made me dance. As I take each step forward, as I do the work without attachment to the outcome, without knowing why or where exactly it will lead, the rightness of my longing, the ways in which I can make a difference in the world, have the potential to ease suffering, is becoming more and more clear, and I am becoming more and more certain, confident.

My blog doing well made me dance, the kind and gentle readers, the times people shared my posts or left heartfelt comments, the times when I knew what I was writing mattered, wasn’t just helping me but rippled out.

The possibility and opportunities that occurred made me dance. So many good things happened, and I can see that so many more are on their way.

Finding out that Dexter had cancer, that it was incurable, that he wouldn’t be with us for much longer made me weep. And it continues to do so.

Things that I won’t share here made me weep, things I won’t write about on this blog because they belong to other people, are their mistakes and confusion and grief, and it wouldn’t be right to tell you about it–and yet, these are things that caused me deep suffering, ongoing pain. It is so hard when someone you love dearly is making bad choices, generating so much trouble for themselves, is hurting people, doing damage, wreaking havoc and causing mayhem, and all you can do is watch and try to keep loving them.

Mistakes

The full prompt: It’s easy to focus on our mistakes—to reflect with 20/20 hindsight and berate ourselves for what went wrong. Bring your awareness to a mistake you’ve made over the past year. Unveil one positive lesson from that mistake. How can you actively use this lesson moving forward?

I was too busy, pushed too hard, wanted too much, did too much, overcommitted and overextended. In fact, I am doing it right now. This isn’t sustainable, and there are consequences. I disappointed people, some things were left half done or abandoned altogether, stuff literally piled up, was messy and unkempt, I denied myself the care necessary for health and wellness, I broke promises, I was distracted and because of that mistakes were made, I didn’t always do my best work and sometimes I failed completely.

I suppose what I learned is that I have limits, that I can’t do everything, that I will have to let go of some things, surrender to others, and that there is time, there is good reason to do so. In the coming months, my intention is to learn what balance looks like for me, what health and wellness mean, and to start living towards that.

Unexpected Passion

The full prompt: What new hobby or interest piqued your passion this year?  Or did you think about an old passion in a new way?

wholeheartedzentangle

Making art. I used to tell myself not to bother because I wasn’t any good, thought that to be creative you had to first have talent, to know exactly and for sure what you were doing, your goal and your method. This year I realized that creating something just feels good, and I don’t ever have to share what I make, it can be a process and practice that is just for me, for the pure joy of it. I can also see how the way to get good, to find my “thing” when it comes to art, is to make a lot, to keep showing up, being open to what arises, and in this way I will eventually stumble upon my artistic voice, my style, my thing.

#Reverb12: Day 11

reverb12

The Plank

The full prompt: (this is one I did out of order, missed) It has been said that you must learn to take care of yourself before you can be effective at taking care of others. How did you take care of yourself in 2012? How will you take care of yourself in 2013?

My self-care this past year was a bit frustrating, confusing and complicated. You see, taking care of myself has been something that for years I just didn’t do. I was like one of those people who drive a car hard, but provide it very little maintenance, only what is absolutely necessary to keep it from dying–get gas, change the oil, and wash the windows when they are so dirty you can’t see out of them anymore, but that’s about it. I brushed my teeth, I slept, I took vitamins, I tried to eat well, I worked out, but I didn’t really care.  I had been in an abusive relationship…with myself…for about 20 years, and when you are busy hating and loathing yourself, smashing yourself to bits, there isn’t really a lot of time left over for care, you don’t “waste” your energy on concern, certainly not love.

That is slowly changing. What is frustrating is that I am still mostly in the stage of being aware that I’m not caring for myself, at the same time that I continue to act out the same old ways of being. I can see what I am doing, but I am not stopping. I can see all the ways that I ignore and deny myself, all the places where I push and bully myself. I am aware, but real change is slow going. My way of being with myself, of relating to myself is a deeply rooted habit, sticky and old.

In 2013, I have aspirations to be a self-caring fool. I wish to be well-fed, not starved or stuffed, (thank you, Rachel Cole). I long to restore my body to wellness and full health. I crave balance, to know what that means for me and to live it.

Small Pleasures

The full prompt: What small pleasures did you discover this year?

Most of this list is rediscovered pleasure, things I had forgotten to do, forgotten to notice, but some things are new: Reading, Skype, Instagram, teaching, writing long loopy love letters, looking at the sky and all its various moods and weather and light, avocado, fresh cucumbers, grapefruit juice, Depoe Baykery, Farmer’s Markets, fresh flowers, baking, collaging, painting, making stuff, long and lazy talks with like-minded and like-hearted people, movies, music, laughing, kissing, whispering, sitting in the backyard, and long long walks with dogs.

Anticipation

The full prompt: What is the one thing that you are most looking forward to in 2013?

Becoming, embodying and manifesting who I really am. Something really cool, very exciting is happening. I gave up on pretending, trying to be perfect, trying to be cool or fit in, and started being myself. Instead of waiting to be invited or given permission, I started–living the life I longed for, doing the work my heart desired, being myself. I showed up with an open heart and when I did, the Universe took note and has been sending me all kinds of wicked crazy support and inspiration and connection, like it was just waiting for me to agree, to say “yes,” to stop waiting for something to happen and just happen. I am so curious to see what is going to happen next, because anything, anything is possible. I am all kinds of possible.

Music to Your Ears

The full prompt: What was music to your ears in 2012, literally or metaphorically?

Related to the above response, the feedback coming my way. The confirmation, time after time, that I’m on the right path. The comments on my blog, the fact that so many kind and gentle people are reading, the invitations I’m getting to be a part of such good things, the gratitude and opportunity and love coming my way.

Last night, Eric brought home this book for me from the library, “I saw it and thought you’d like it.” Him noticing what I’m doing, being so aware of what matters to me, that he supports me doing it is a big deal.

collageworkbook

10 Things

The full prompt: 10 things you were thankful for in 2012? Another list prompt! Big or small – list out (at least) 10 things you were thankful for.

  1. My three boys, and the memory of the one who is no longer with us.
  2. The love of family and friends.
  3. Financial stability and security in a time when so many people don’t have that.
  4. Even though there were issues, for the most part there was health and wellness.
  5. The various ecourses I took, workshops and retreats and conferences I attended, projects I’m involved in, blogs I read, people I met that brought such meaningful experiences, so much support and inspiration into my life.
  6. The sky, the sun and the moon, the weather, the flowers, the fruits and vegetables, the trees, the river, the bees, the foxes, the cranes, the deer, the beavers, the birds, the rocks, the dirt, the trails.
  7. Long long talks about everything important and everything not so much, kisses, hugs, laughing, long walks and love notes.
  8. Opportunities to help, to be kind and generous, to ease suffering.
  9. Books, music, and movies–art, words and stories, the truth.
  10. My open heart. Your open heart. The kindness and wisdom that reside there.

Relationships

The full prompt: Did you form any new, or strengthen any existing, relationships in 2012? With who? How did you go about it? If you didn’t, why not? Was something holding you back? Was there someone you wish you strengthened your relationship with?

A few relationships that were previously me adoring or following someone from afar, with maybe a little shared adoration here and there, became real, some of them turning into wholehearted love fests. Some of these people I was lucky enough to meet in real life, to hear their voice, hug them, tell them to their sweet faces how much I adored them, but with others the relationship, which though not literally face to face, got stronger through the shared will of our connection, often facilitated by various technologies. I feel like I have found my tribe, a sisterhood, a collective, that I am supported by “these golden threads that connect us.” I might be weird, but I have found so many others that are weird like me and in that way I know I am not alone.

Money

The full prompt: Where did you spend money through this year? (Author: Kaileen Elise)

This year it was like I did a self directed graduate program, attended life-rehab. I took a lot of ecourses (mostly focused on personal growth, health and wellness, writing, photography, blogging), bought and read a lot of books, attended many retreats and workshops and one big conference, joined the Open Heart Project, studied and practiced my little heart out. And it was was worth every penny, every minute.

Something Good

1. I’d Do Anything to Stop This Pain by Jennifer Gresham on Everyday Bright.

2. This quote: We’re in a giant car headed toward a brick wall and everyone’s arguing over where they’re going to sit. ~David Suzuki. This is Buddhist wisdom I’ve heard before, the idea that we we’ve all bought a ticket on a ship that’s sinking, that we are boarding a plane that’s guaranteed to crash, that this is the reality of life (death), but the additional wisdom here is that even knowing this, we spend our time on the dumbest things, like worrying what to pack or complaining about the snacks.

3. Biz Ladies: Part I — Your Blog Is Your Book This is very good news indeed.

4. Ayurveda at a Glance I am working on a guest post about meditation for Niight’s blog.

5. This wisdom from Tulku Thondup

The key is to make meditation a part of your life, like part of the fabric of a tapestry. Bring an attitude of enjoyment to your meditation, that helps tremendously. Also, bring the peaceful feelings of meditation into your daily activities. That is how to begin tasting the fruits of your efforts. When the healing of mind becomes a habit, our minds become like a great river. The river may not always appear to be moving. But if we look closely enough we will see how the water is slowly, slowly making its way to the sea.

And this:

Meditation is a way of training ourselves to develop a more peaceful mind. Everyone has different capabilities and needs when it comes to this training. We don’t want to push ourselves or be too forceful, but we also want to avoid being slack or lazy. Each of us needs to develop a sense of what’s best for us.

6. Love Letter to the World: Rachel W. Cole

7. Fiona Apple recently canceled her South American tour, because her sweet dog is dying. If you’ve ever loved a dog, lost a dog, the letter she wrote in explanation will break your heart. This comforted me, “she is coming close to the time where she will stop being a dog, and start instead to be part of everything” and this wrecked me:

I wish we could also appreciate the time that lies right beside the end of time. I know that I will feel the most overwhelming knowledge of her, and of her life and of my love for her, in the last moments. I need to do my damnedest to be there for that. Because it will be the most beautiful, the most intense, the most enriching experience of life I’ve ever known. When she dies.

this boy is at my feet right now, doing his own dying–slowly but for certain, while I do my damnedest to be here for it

8. From the Daily Flame:

Why do you judge yourself when you feel tired? Why do you allow fatigue to turn into a story about how you’re not [something] enough? Have you ever thought that perhaps I speak to you through feelings of tiredness, that perhaps, you’re not hearing my whispers, telling you to slow down, and fatigue is the spell I slap on you to help you listen? If you’re tired today, what do you think I might be telling you? Listen up. I have a message for you…

And this one:

Sometimes the longings of your heart feel crazy, don’t they? You wonder how you can possibly trust desires that are so outlandish, impractical, out of control, fickle, and passion-laden. Yet what can you trust more than the stirrings of the heart? Stay there, with your heart wide open. This is where I live, not in your mind, but in the interior spaciousness of pure possibility and divine love.

9. This from Marianne Williamson: “Let there be a ceasefire in all our hearts. Let’s make peace with ourselves, our God, our past, and each other. Let’s all together declare peace on earth.” And this, “Now, in this moment, you are who you have always been and will always be. All spiritual practice — forgiveness, meditation and prayer — is for the purpose of training the mind to see through the illusions of a world that would convince you otherwise.”

10. Dear Sugar, The Rumpus Advice Column #90: 94 Ways of Saying Thank You

11. 15 Gifts You Can Give Yourself for Free from Marc and Angel Hack Life

12. This quote, by way of Lindsey on A Design So Vast:

…be comforted in the fact that the ache in your heart and the confusion in your soul means that you are still alive, still human, and still open to the beauty of the world, even though you have done nothing to deserve it. ~Paul Harding

13. Emerging Icons: Demystifying the Process from Jen Lee

14. This quote: If you want to be happy, be. ~Leo Tolstoy

15. This quote: Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind. ~ Henry James

16. This quote: Underneath it all, we are wild and we know it. ~Reggie Ray

17. This quote from Mary Gaitskill:

Writing is…. being able to take something whole and fiercely alive that exists inside you in some unknowable combination of thought, feeling, physicality, and spirit, and to then store it like a genie in tense, tiny black symbols on a calm white page. If the wrong reader comes across the words, they will remain just words. But for the right readers, your vision blooms off the page and is absorbed into their minds like smoke, where it will re-form, whole and alive, fully adapted to its new environment.

18. The Daily Routines of Famous Writers from Brain Pickings.

19. Recipes I want to try: Sweet Potato Biscuits, Apple Hand Pies, and Graham Crackers.

20. Shirley and Jenny: Two Elephants Reunited After More Than 20 Years, which I’ve seen before, but was reminded of this morning by Sas, and is why I drank tear flavored coffee.

21. Rachel Cole’s Holiday Gift Guide. I’m totally going to make some of the homemade surprise balls.

22. I may have posted this before, but it’s worth repeating: 55 gentle ways to take care of yourself when you’re busy busy busy

23. Every time I read Ken’s story, I am amazed at how similar it is to my own.

24. This sweet interview. “Joshua Littman, a 12-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome, interviews his mother, Sarah. Joshua’s unique questions and Sarah’s loving, unguarded answers reveal a beautiful relationship that reminds us of the best—and the most challenging—parts of being a parent.”

25. This quote from Geneen Roth:

Right here, this exact moment, is the doorway to the peace and the joy you want. No matter how much you ate in the last few days, no matter how much you did or didn’t do, can you stop your mind’s nattering? Can you, are you willing to, take in the fact that you have a body, arms, legs, eyes. That you can see, hear, touch, taste. Are you willing to break the trance of unworthiness right now?

26. PicMonkeyI love photo editing, adding quotes, and this site makes it so easy. I can’t wait to waste some serious time with this.

27. Don’t Just Create. Liberate., a great post from yogi Jonathan Fields.

28. Deck the Blog: Favorite Design Resources from Laura Simms on Scoutie Girl. This is going to be fun.

29. This quote: “When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.” ~Thich
Nhat Hanh

30. No Shit from Whatever, Etc. Every woman who has ever cried in a dressing room, or wanted to when she looked in the mirror, or thought she would lose her mind shopping for a swimming suit or pair of jeans that fit needs to read this.