Category Archives: this i know: notes on unraveling the heart

I’m Back!

As I feared, kind and gentle reader, my internet access, technology options, and available time while I was in Portland attending the World Domination Summit (WDS) were such that I couldn’t post. And some of you had been generous enough to tell me it was okay to take a break. So I did. Thank you for that. I had an amazing time, but I missed this, missed writing and sharing with you. But, now I am back.

Fair warning, a disclaimer and a promise: this event, the full experience of it, blew my mind, expanded my heart to almost breaking, and there is so much to say about it, so much to tell you and to process…this is going to take a while.

I feel the same way I did after hosting Rachel Cole’s Well-Fed Woman Mini Retreatshop: grateful, inspired, encouraged, full, on fire with love, and ready to go. The sheer size of WDS (1000 attendees, 10 main stage speaker sessions, and 40 smaller workshops) makes me feel just like that, only times ten (and I got to see Rachel again while I was there, so bonus points).

As I’d heard from previous attendees, this is the kind of event where the energy of it propels you through the whole next year, giddy in your expanded effort and possibility, and that really amazing shit starts to happen, for you and because of you. After attending this year, I know exactly what they were talking about.

image by Armosa Studios

As I said, this is going to take some time to process. For today, I’d like to start simply by giving you a quick list of the highlights, some of the moments of magic, and a few items that would show up on my blooper reel.

Magic Moments, the Highlights of WDS

  • Prefunction event at Kelly Rae Roberts‘ Studio. Holy wow, when I walked in the room and saw all the amazing women who were there, the beautiful space, I almost fell over, passed out from the sheer overwhelm of joy and gratitude. It was so kind, so generous of Andrea Scher to invite me, made the start of WDS not quite so intimidating or lonely.
  • Meeting Tina, one of my favorite blog readers.
  • Amazing main stage speakers, and inspiring, moving, compelling talks. My favorites were Brene’ Brown, Scott Harrison, and Chris Brogan. I will be writing a post about each, so consider this “to be continued.”

    Brene’ Brown at WDS, image by Armosa Studio

  • The Mark Spencer Hotel. Just a few blocks from Powell’s Books and a Whole Foods, with a kitchenette and fridge, and within walking distance of everywhere I wanted to go.

    old school coffee prep at the Mark Spencer

  • Seeing my friend Molly, who moved to Portland last year, (which means she’s no longer across the hall from me at work, and that sucks). We had a few meals together, a few visits to Whole Foods, and it made me miss her more because it made me remember how much I love her, how amazing she is.
  • Meeting people “in person” that I have loved from a distance. I was able to look them in the eye and tell them how grateful I am and how much I adore them, or what a badass they are, and I didn’t even throw up on any of their shoes. Just to be clear about the magnitude of this, while at WDS, I met (hugged, hung out or ate a meal or laughed with, sat by, adored): Kelly Rae Roberts, Jennifer Louden, Flora Bowley, Laura Simms, Andrea Scher, Michelle Ward, Sandi Amorim, Kate “Courageous” Swoboda, Hannah Marcotti, Jamie Ridler, Courtney Carver, Susannah Conway, Cynthia Morris, Jennifer Lee, Marriane Elliott, Tammy Strobel, and so many more.
  • Susannah Conway’s Book Event. I was so lucky to get to stay for this, to be in a room full of other people who adore her and her work, listen to her read and talk about the book and the process. She really is one of the most honest, genuine, generous, creative people on the planet.

    me and Susannah Conway

  • Meeting new people I hadn’t expected but loved anyway. There were a few I really wanted to take home with me.
  • Group meditation in the park. Sadly, I didn’t get up early enough to go the first day, but made it on Sunday morning. We were a small but mindful group, and under the cover of gorgeous, tall, lush green trees, we sat and I watched the wind move the grass while I focused on my breath. It was beautiful.
  • Yoga class in the park. Marianne Elliott is a great teacher and it was a good group, a perfectly timed break in the day.

    image by Armosa Studios, that’s me in the green shirt, back row

  • Finding the dog people. The longer I’m alive, the more I think I’m either a dog in a human suit or just plain crazy, because in any group of people, gathered for any reason, I will find the dog person (or the dog, if there is one) and talk their head off about dogs. I was missing my boys so much one day that I stood outside a dog park watching other people’s dogs play, until I noticed some of them looking at me like I was a creepy alone dude standing at the edge of a playground staring at the kids.
  • Portland. It really is a great city, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t typically appreciate or understand cities.
  • Messages from the Universe. They were everywhere for me this weekend.
  • And this, which still hardly even seems real. I mean, who does this?!

My Blooper Reel for WDS

  • Tripping on the stairs into my hotel–every time I went in!
  • Almost getting lost just trying to find the parking lot for my hotel. I must have driven around those three or four blocks three or four times, and just when I was about to lose all sense of where I was, there it was.
  • For a moment, being the only person at the prefunction event not talking to anyone. I mean not being part of any conversation at all, not even standing near one, but rather on the edge trying to figure out what to do, how to join in, trying not to freak out or cry, feeling like the math tutor geek that got invited to the cool kids party because they felt sorry for her and she was always so nice to them–but it only lasted for a moment.
  • Taking a wrong turn and not realizing until many blocks later, which meant walking for a bit in an area where I shouldn’t have been alone.
  • Saying “hi” to Laura Simms, standing in front of her telling her how adorable she is like ten times in a row, and then not knowing what else to say so just walking away. Luckily, I got a chance to redeem myself the next morning at breakfast.
  • Telling Jennifer Lee that I “loved her doodles.” D’oh! She’s an amazing artist, and so kind (and a fellow dog person), and thankfully understood what I meant, but *sigh*
  • Eating Marionberry pie in my hotel room bed (I was having a moment, give me a break), with all white linens (can you guess what’s coming?), and dumping it over onto the duvet cover and part of the sheet. I left that bed looking like someone had been seriously injured there. Thank goodness for bleach, right?
  • And I almost forgot: buying hundreds of business (life) cards and only handing out ten. I wasn’t very good at knowing how or when to do it, felt weird, awkward, sort of jerky about it, and got so caught up in simply talking to people, I would forget.

Something Good

view of the high park fire as seen from my corner this afternoon

Kind and gentle reader, today’s post is hard. I need something good more than usual, keep asking Eric to “tell me something good,” but all I really want him to tell me is that this fire will stop, that no one else will lose their home or get hurt, that all the animals will be safe, that our favorite places to hike won’t completely burn up, and that it won’t reach us, that we aren’t in danger. The lizard part of my brain is having such a hard time with it, keeps screaming at me “grab the dogs and run!,” and my heart is just breaking for all the hurt and damage. The High Park Fire, as of the last update, was started by a lightning strike, has burned 36,930 acres and 100 structures, and is 0% contained.

So in light of all that, it feels a little silly, naive to share a list of things I saw this week that I thought where awesome, but at the same time, it feels more important than ever…does that make sense?

1. If you are interested in helping, one way to do so is to donate to the Larimer County Humane Society. They have taken in pets from evacuated homes, are “currently providing temporary shelter for cats, small mammals and farm animals (the size of a goat or smaller) displaced due to the High Park fire,” but are at capacity for dogs (in Colorado, we love us some dogs, so there are lots of them). They need help feeding the animals, so have set up a way for you to give a donation online. I’m sure there are plenty of other places to donate, this just happens to be the one closest to my heart.

2. The Denver Botanic Gardens. We needed a break from worrying about the fire today, so we took a spontaneous trip to Denver to look at things that were lush and alive. We walked around for over three hours, and I took lots of pictures, and we got lots of ideas for what to do with our new beds in our front yard. We were laughing at ourselves, because if you add in both dog walks, we did about 4.5 hours of walking today.

hidden bench, can you see it?

dreamy purple clematis

3. Kizuna exhibition at Denver Botanic Gardens. As a lover of most things Japanese and all things bamboo, I adored this strange and wonderful instillation spread throughout the gardens. “This season’s signature exhibition, Kizuna: West Meets East, brings together two installation artists working in bamboo: Tetsunori Kawana and Stephen Talasnik. Through different working methods, both artists employed this versatile natural material to create large site-specific works for the Gardens.”

4. I want to make this list: Jamie Ridler’s Discovering Delight. In fact, I think we should all make this list, throw out our “to-do” lists and live this one instead. I will if you will…

5. 7 Ways to Celebrate Summer from Positively Present. This list is a good start, but I bet if we tried really, really hard, we could think of more than seven ways.

6. How to Make a Living as an Artist at Create as Folk, by Laura Simms. Be sure to watch the video, if for no other reason than Laura is just so stinking cute.

7. How to Unstress and Truly Enjoy Your Vacation from the Positivity Blog. Can you tell where my head is at?

8. Welcome to the World, Book Baby by Susannah Conway. This is a really great post about her new book, This I Know: Notes on Unraveling the Heart, how it came to be, and links to her virtual, online book tour.

9. Really cool terrariums by the slug and the squirrel.

10. Photo a Day, June Challenge List. I wish I had time, because I love this idea and think it would be really fun, so I’ll save the link and maybe do the one in July.

11. A sweet little video about life and how fast it goes by, in honor of the baby robins next door who are learning how to fly today.

12. The color of. Oh, I could waste so much time here…”a system created to find out the colour of anything, by querying and aggregating image data from Flickr, a popular online photo sharing community. It is an attempt at answering a potentially complex and abstract question in an objective manner, by using simple algorithms on data originating from subjective human perceptions.” You can search any term. Here are the ones I just made.

Love is cooler, calmer, gentler than fire, but they are clearly similar.

13. Quotes from Ray Bradbury on Brain Pickings. Ray Bradbury passed away this week at the age of 91. I adored him for most of my life, and am sad he’s gone, but glad he left such a wonderful legacy.

14. Want To Know Yourself Better? Ask Yourself These Questions from the Happiness Project. These look good.

15. You Can Be at Peace from Jennifer Louden. Oh how I adore her…

16. I love Rosie Thomas, and apparently, so does Susannah Conway, who shared this link to an interview with Rosie. I love hearing stories about how someone “finds art” or “becomes an artist,” those magical origin stories, and this article also pointed out that Rosie has a new album that I didn’t know about, which I am listening to as I write this post, (oh, and it’s really, really good, so #16.5 on the something good list is her new album).

17. Do These Petals Make My Stem Look Fat? by Sunni on the Daily Breadcrumb. Oh that Sunni, so precious, so brilliant. This post, which I adore because maybe you’ve noticed by now how much I love flowers?, also reminds me of this quote: “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change,” (Buddha, who is precious and brilliant as well).

18. This quote, shared by Judy Clement Wall in her latest post on A Human Thing: “You can’t control what other people think about your art. Think about the part of yourself that you can control, which is your ability to be kind and loving and creative.” ~ Ann Patchett, Yoga Journal

19., my new favorite website. Go ahead, try it and you’ll see what I mean.

20. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zero, Man on Fire.

i’m still standing