Category Archives: Simplify

Something Good

For those of you who are new to my blog, here’s the story behind my Something Good posts: When I am feeling bad, I will often ask my husband Eric to “tell me something good.” When I need something to hang on to, to make me feel better, something to show me that it’s not all bad. When I am in that dark hole, way down at the bottom, and the mean things with teeth are down there with me –”tell me something good.”

He’s really good at it, because even when all he can think of is “I love you,” it totally works. I mean, how great is it that the person that you picked and who said “yes” almost 20 years ago, and knows you better than anyone, knows all the embarrassing and ugly stuff, continues to love you? He usually is able to give me a whole list when I ask him, followed by a hug and “what can I do for you, how can I make you feel better?”

So on A Thousand Shades of Gray, Monday’s feature is: Something Good. I like the idea of gratitude generating joy, and the opportunity my gratitude has to spread joy when I share the good things, so every Monday, I give you a list.

Here’s this week’s list:

1. 5 Plants You (Almost) Never Have to Water on House Logic.

2. Stunning Self-Portraits by a 14-year-old Photographer on Bored Panda.

3. Diana Fayt’s Painted Rocks (& Other Lovely Things) from Lisa Congdon.

4. Be Brave: A Poem-Film for Anyone Asking for Courage to Create from Jeffrey Davis.

5. Cute Pets in Windows from Bold Italics, originally shared by Rachel.

6. Reflections on Fearlessness and Best Links (May), a great list of good stuff from Sandra at Always Well Within, (confession: one of my posts is on the list).

7. Reason to Forgive | DubStep, video of a 12 year old who is an amazing dancer.

8. You’re not needy. You’re starving. from Rachel Cole. Amazing.

9. Out of the water from Lisa Bonchek Adams.

10. Patrick Stewart Speaks About His Childhood, Domestic Abuse and PTSD. The woman involved in this specific moment wrote about it on her blog as well, Let me tell you a thing, about an amazing man named Patrick Stewart.

11. This message from Brave Girls Club came just when I needed it,

Dear Sweet Girl,

You don’t have to have special permission to take a break, you know. You have done enough. When you are tired, and weary and feeling worn out, you need to be kind to yourself and take good care of your body and your spirit.

Please be good to yourself, beautiful friend . . . the world is not the same without the best of you. The people that you love the most have better lives because of you and the people you have not even met yet will have enriched lives because of you.

Your life will be better, happier, more effective, more efficient and more meaningful if you stop and take care of yourself. No more putting guilt trips on yourself or letting anyone else do it. No more working yourself so hard that you can’t even feel anymore . . . it’s time to REALLY nurture and take care of yourself. You are a gift to the world, please take care of YOU. Today’s a great day to start.

12. There’s Just No Time from Paul Jarvis, shared by Laura of Create as Folk.

13. Rijks Museum Free Hi-Res Art Downloads shared by Pugly Pixel.

14. Introducing Prancercise, just silly enough to be kind of awesome.

15. Be the Giver from Danielle LaPorte.

16. 9 Rules for a Simpler Day from Zen Habits.

17. What is Your Gift to the World? on Scoutie Girl.

18. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Tigers Above, Tigers Below: There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs, and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.

Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life, it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.

19. 7 Things You Need to Stop Doing Every Day from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

20. Make Me: Fabric Gift Bags from Decor8.

21. Celebrate and Embrace Ventures and Adventures from Be More with Less.

22. Her Lilac Jacket on SouleMama. The sweetest pictures! This one is my favorite, (her little hand!).

23. Racists Very Upset Over Interracial Family in Cute Cheerios Commercial. The little girl in this commercial is super cute. Someone posted on Facebook last week about this and added, “Whomever has a problem with this better just go buy a white hood right now and be honest with yourself.” I couldn’t agree more.

24. it’s complicated from Sas Petherick. *sigh*

25. Inside the Paris apartment untouched for 70 years: Treasure trove finally revealed after owner locked up and fled at outbreak of WWII.

26. Your Daily Rock from Patti Digh: your daily rock : what would love do?, and your daily rock : just breathe, and your daily rock : you are enough.

27. Name-calling Has Its Place: BED is Now Named as a Distinct Eating Disorder. So what’s in it for you? from Drop it and Eat.

28. Another Origami Fox from How About Orange. I wish I was better at this. I’d be making some of these, (shared by Positively Present).

29. This quote, People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. ~Iris Murdoch

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30. Google Poetics, (shared by Positively Present). “This blog started collecting Google Poems on October 2012 and is run by its founder Sampsa Nuotio and curator Raisa Omaheimo. Google Poetics is born when Google autocomplete suggestions are viewed as poems.” I could get lost in this site for a very, very long time. For example,

pain is temporary
pain is weakness leaving the body
pain is inevitable suffering is optional
pain is love

Or,

I am a disco dancer
I am a dwarf and I’m digging a hole
I am a dynamic figure
I am a dreamer

Pure awesome.

31. Patti Smith, We all have a creative impulse, shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend list. The site where this video is posted, Channel Louisiana, has lots of other really cool stuff, if you want to get lost for a little while and haven’t already spent all your time on Google Poetics. Also on Susannah’s list this week was What’s Inside Our “Going Out” Bags.

32. Humans of New York. I’ve shared this site before, but it’s so good, I want to share it again in case you missed it the first time. You can also follow them on Facebook.

33. Issa Rae: Own Your Awkward on The Conversation.

34. From Rowdy Kittens’ Happy Links post: A Revolution of Contentment by Sandra Pawula on the Bridgemaker, and Chic Tiny House in Omaha Nebraska on Air BnB, (the loft beds in tiny houses always make me think of sleeping in a tree house — magic).

35. My Dentist Was Made To Believe I Was Dead And It Made Me Realize Why I Shouldn’t Kill Myself And You Shouldn’t Either on xojane.

36. This wisdom from Marianne Williamson, “The kind of rest you seek you will find not from sleeping but from waking.”

37. This Poster Might Just Change Your Life. by Nicole Duncan on Elephant Journal.

38. This wisdom from Lama Christie McNally, The Tibetan Book of Meditation,

Tibetans say we should do our meditation practice “as if our hair was on fire.” We should have the same urgency to get out of this pain filled place as someone who has just woken up in a burning, smoke filled house. But it’s hard- all the distractions of this life keep stealing away our time and our mind. We keep telling ourselves, “I’ll meditate later.” Then one day you look up and realize life has passed you by, the time is gone, and it’s too late.

39. This wisdom from Jen Lemen, “I don’t want to be famous or popular or known for anything other than that I was deep and wise and had a soul that was wildly beautiful, full of mercy and light.”

40. Amanda Palmer on Creativity as Connecting Dots and the Terrifying Joy of Sharing Your Art Online and Be All Your Selves: Joss Whedon’s 2013 Wesleyan Commencement Address on Embracing Our Inner Contradictions on Brain Pickings.

41. Quotes shared by Justine Musk, You cannot truly enjoy life through your mind…It’s through the heart + the body that we get to party,” (Kagiso Msimango), and “There’s nothing more powerful than a woman who has met the truth inside her. Nothing,” (Meggan Jane Watterson).

42. Are Children Natural Vegans? by Sara Crolick on Elephant Journal.

43. This quote from Cheryl Stayed, “That silence is such a beautiful thing. It’s like the stars at night in the great alone and you there beneath them, saying thank you.”

44. Karma and Smartphones: How to Use Technology From a Buddhist Perspective, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche on Huffington Post.

45. Dog People Problems, from Reddit.

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46. 2 year old problems: cinnamon rolls aren’t instant, from Reddit.

twoyearoldproblems

47. Wisdom from Chogyam Trungpa,

Meditation is not a matter of trying to achieve ecstasy, spiritual bliss, or tranquility, nor is it attempting to be a better person. It is simply the creation of a space in which we are able to expose and undo our neurotic games, our self-deceptions, our hidden fears and hopes.

48. Father and 2-year-old boy sing Beatles’ ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ in viral hit.

49. Let go … again, still, more from Lindsey on A Design So Vast.

50. The Pros and Cons (But Mostly Pros) of Adopting a Shelter Dog on Hello Giggles.

51. you are worthy. from Liz Lamoreux.

52. Feeding the Right Wolf, with Marianne Elliot on Sacred Circle.

53. The Big Book Giveaway! from Susannah Conway. This is a great set of books, some of my favorites! You should totally enter this, (but just know, I plan on winning the Book Bomb).

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P.S. I think this might officially be the longest Something Good list e v e r.

Something Good (on a Tuesday)

1. This quote from David Whyte, from his Readers’ Circle Essay, “Self Knowledge.”

Self-knowledge is not clarity or transparency or knowing how everything works, self-knowledge is a fiercely attentive form of humility and thankfulness, a sense of the privilege of a particular form of participation. It is a coming to know of the way we hold the conversation of life, and perhaps, above all, the miracle that there is a particular something rather than an abstracted nothing and that we are a very, very particular part of that particular something.

2. My 30-Day Blog Love Affair:: Day #1. It’s on! from Flora Bowley.

3. The Definition of Practice on Elephant Journal, in which James Carpenter says, “And what does not practicing mean? I think it means dealing with those times when you feel like you’re not good enough, strong enough or prepared enough to get what you want.”

Also on Elephant Journal, Finding the Courage to Be Yourself by Aimee Hoefler.

4. From Jennifer Boyken:

Did you grow up hearing this: “Don’t cry or I’ll give you a reason to cry.” If you rebelled, even just a little, did you hear: “You ought to be ashamed of yourself?”

Society and parenting was different a generation ago. Many little girls were raised to blend in and not make a ruckus. As a result, many of us are still uncomfortable and inexperienced at expressing anger. Instead, it comes out sideways — via depression, moodiness, passive aggressiveness, and the like.

5. 10 Reasons Why You Have To Quit Your Job This Year on Thought Catalog.

6. From Tama J. Kieves,

You will let go of attachment in your own right time. You will leap. You will stay. You will know what to do. Never believe you are doing it wrong. You are doing it the way you are doing it and that will teach you everything.

7. From Pema Chödrön,

The path of meditation and the path of our lives altogether has to do with curiosity, inquisitiveness. The ground is ourselves; we’re here to study ourselves and to get to know ourselves now, not later. People often say to me, “I wanted to come and have an interview with you, I wanted to write you a letter, I wanted to call you on the phone, but I wanted to wait until I was more together.” And I think, “Well, if you’re anything like me, you could wait forever!” So come as you are. The magic is being willing to open to that, being willing to be fully awake to that. One of the main discoveries of meditation is seeing how we continually run away from the present moment, how we avoid being here just as we are. That’s not considered to be a problem; the point is to see it.

8. How I Finally Gave Up Dieting, by Annabel Adams, a guest post on A Weight Lifted.

9. The Best Life Advice From Maya Angelou on Flavorwire.

10. Powering Down from Judy Clement Wall, which includes a bunch of good links, including Show the World Your Magic, a post by artist Mati Rose, and Relax. You’re Already Ok. Also: Pimp Suits in which Meg Worden says “But you should also know that just surviving all of the intensity and grief you have had to survive in this one go-round and still waking up every day and making a play for love is so beautiful it could crush my heart.”

11. Simplify for Your Best Health from Be More With Less. If I had to do a purge, this is one of the blogs that I simply would not give up.

12. Rodger Ebert died this week, only one day after I’d heard that his cancer had come back, barely enough time to comprehend that news before there was worse. A few of his quotes that I’ve been carrying around this week are:

Kindness covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

And this,

When I am writing, my problems become invisible, and I am the same person I always was. All is well. I am as I should be.

He wrote a piece for Salon in 2011, I do not fear death, in which he said, “I will pass away sooner than most people who read this, but that doesn’t shake my sense of wonder and joy.”

13. My Well-Fed Life: Laura Simms, from Rachel Cole, in which Laura says, among other brilliant and wise things, “Well-fed is asking ‘what are you truly hungry for?’ and daring to act on the answer.”

14. Reasons My Son Is Crying–you’ll want to laugh, you’ll want to cry.

15. Finding Me Some Outgoing Guts and Imagination from the amazing teacher and wild writer Laurie Wagner. (P.S. I get to finally tell her to her sweet face how much I adore her later this year).

16. From Brave Girls Club Daily Truth Email, something I really needed to hear,

Sometimes the things that are tugging at our hearts come with strings attached that feel too risky, too difficult, to scary to follow.

Sometimes we keep doing the same things day after day, even though we are treading AGAINST the water, even though we really want to be doing something else, even though we want to be somewhere else or with someone else, even though all signs point to a totally different direction.

You know what you are supposed to do, lovely…you know the answer. Your intuition has been telling you for SUCH a long time, and every day that goes by, the little messages keep getting stronger, the miracles keep showing up, the signs keep appearing….in ways that you can not deny.

It doesn’t matter if your path is not a common one. It doesn’t matter if some people will not understand…sometimes it doesn’t even matter whether WE understand all of it. What matters is that you follow YOUR heart…that you listen to YOUR soul….that you do what YOU are meant to do.

That’s what matters. Now, get busy….you know what to do. You are so loved. xoxo

17. This truth, from My Son is Smarter than Me on Nourishing the Soul,

We are all born with a natural sense of what our bodies need to flourish. Nature doesn’t want us to eat too much or too little. It wants us to grow into the size and shape that’s right for us – and that takes eating as much as is right for us. Not as much as some “expert” tells us is the right amount. If we can cut through all the static, we are our own experts.

18. Some really important questions from Kristin Noelle’s post on Trust Tending, Where the race for change can’t lead, “How can my soul come more alive? How can I say YES to my callings? How can I cultivate what it takes to live beyond the dictates of my fear?”

19. 30 Beautiful Things Happening Now from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

20. This wisdom from a post on Scoutie Girl, A Little Restraint Goes a Long Way, “A little restraint goes a long way and it doesn’t work for me if it starts to touch on my inherent worth as a human being. As soon as refraining is beating myself up I’ve lost the game.”

21. sunken treasure – the house of sophie schellekens, a link originally shared in this post on decor8, Inspired by Plants.

22. How to Eat Real Food Without Spending Hours in the Kitchen, a guest post by Jules Clancy on Zen Habits.

23. On Being a Teacher by Susannah Conway. She is such an inspiration to me, how she is making her living.

24. good reads: elle decor uk. from SF Girl by Bay.

25. Your Daily Life: Only Kindness Matters on 37 Days, Patti Digh’s blog.

26. Note from The Universe,

And the day will come when all of the gold in the world will not appeal to you as much, Jill, as just one more day of being who and where you already are, with what you already have. If it hasn’t already.

27. Olivia Rae James, who takes gorgeous photographs, shared by SF Girl by the Bay in this post.

28. From Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list: 3 Paths Toward a More Creative Life, and How to do less and live more from Kris Carr (did I share this already?).

29. Thoughts on the Creative Career by Ze Frank

30. Happiness Images In Sidewalk Art, Stickers, Magnets And More (PHOTOS) on Huffington Post.

31. What’s in my Fridge by Kris Carr.

32. This wisdom, a wish and a warning, “In the garden of gentle sanity, may you be bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness,” Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.