Three Truths and One Wish


1. Truth: One of the ways I generate suffering for myself is by taking responsibility … for e v e r y thing. It can be incredibly painful. No matter what happens — someone I love is sick or someone else is in crisis or someone I don’t even know is suffering — my first reaction is I should do something. I feel responsible, think I should help or fix it, and when I can’t or I don’t know what to do, I suffer.

2. Truth: To not take responsibility is equally harmful. Someone I love very much is an addict, but the real issue isn’t so much her drug of choice but rather the ground of her addiction — her inability to take responsibility. It isn’t just that she doesn’t “take the blame” when she does something harmful, she also doesn’t see how she can make choices in her life, have some measure of control over what happens to her, that she can change things if she wants, make things better. She is trapped in the belief that her life happens to her.

3. Truth: There is always a middle way. We don’t have to take responsibility for everything, but it’s good to take some measure — to be accountable, involved, engaged, helpful. We can cultivate wisdom and compassion, have agency and practice the sanity of right action, and ask for forgiveness and make amends when we falter.

One wish: May we have “the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Something Good


Waldport beach at sunrise.

This was a tough week. Before sharing this week’s list, it seems like a good time to revisit its intention. Saying this is a list of “good” things doesn’t mean it’s all happiness, puppies, and sunshine. Rather, this list is things I think you need to see, stuff I want to share, items that either show the good that already exists in the world or can help us contribute to generating more good.

1. If you are white, educate yourself: Curriculum for White Americans to Educate Themselves on Race and Racism–from Ferguson to Charleston, and thinking thursday : racism edition, and On White Privilege and Taking Sides, and 4 Reasons Why the US Police Force Is an Extension of Slavery and White Supremacy (That You Were Probably Never Taught), and This advice on how to deal with “racist mouthy twats” has gone viral because it’s good advice, and Speak up. Say something., and 28 Common Racist Attitudes and Behaviors, and Hard Conversations: An Introduction to Racism, and Confessions Of A (Former) White Savior, and 70+ Race Resources for White People, and The next time someone says ‘all lives matter,’ show them these 5 paragraphs, and Please Stop Telling Me That All Lives Matter, and Advice for White Folks in the Wake of the Police Murder of a Black Person.

2. In related news: People Killed by Police in the U.S. (a database), and Protester makes important point about Alton Sterling (“society failed Alton Sterling long before he was killed”), and Obama On Shootings Of Alton Sterling And Philando Castile: We’ve Got A ‘Serious Problem’, and Police officers explain how they’re encouraged to act in racist ways, and I’m a black ex-cop, and this is the real truth about race and policing, and Dallas Shooting Eyewitness Says Exactly What We Need To Hear After This Week, and Following Horrific Violence, Something More is Required of Us, and I fit the description…, and It’s time to understand the experiences of those hurting in the black community, and I Just Saw this Picture and I’m So Disturbed. Because it’s Me., Ta-Nehisi Coates, a national correspondent at The Atlantic, gives us his take on race, violence and police reform in America, and The Bravest Little Girl in the World, and Black Lives Matter Co-Founder: We Can Grieve For Dallas And Still Demand Accountability, and One Tweet Exposes the Racist Hypocrisy of Gun Control Debates in the United States.

3. The List of Books Men Must Read Before Messaging Me About Feminism, a great reading list for anyone.

4. Recommitting from Karen Walrond, who says “angry is no way to live. Because if we live angry, the bad guys win. So, here’s to recommitting to leading with love.”

5. 20 Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists, Sociopaths And Psychopaths Use To Silence You.

6. #‎CarefreeBlackKids2k16‬ is anxiety relief after this week’s police killing news.

7. Couple Lets Their Dog Pick Out a Kitten at the Shelter and Now They’re Besties.

8. How one man repopulated a rare butterfly species in his backyard.

9. Recipes I want to try: Cheesy Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake, and Broccoli Rolls, and Asian Noodle Salad.

10. Ways to help: #AltonSterlingFamily Scholarship, and Lisa and Sydney’s Fire Recovery, and Please help me get my Service Dog!

11. You’re going to feel guilty from Danielle LaPorte. “The guilt of following your heart is a weight you can bear if your dream is strong enough.”

12. When your project just doesn’t “take off,” a good reminder from Alexandra Franzen.

13. 15+ Hilarious Pinterest Baby Photoshoot Fails.

14. What It’s Like to Have ‘High-Functioning’ Anxiety.

15. 16 Ways I Blew My Marriage.

16. Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules For Writers.

17. Every night before the show, Stephen takes a few questions from the audience. Here’s a special one. “Q&A: How did you know she was the one?”

18. Wisdom from Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “In the final analysis, the question of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it happened.”

19. Alicia Keys made this short film to illustrate what life might be like if Americans had to face the struggles of refugees.

20. Japanese Magicians ARE TOO DAMN FUNNY!

21. Surreal Photos Of Fireflies From Japan’s 2016 Summer.

22. Nude Portrait Of A Couple In Their 70s Goes Viral.

Day of Rest


“Starting here, what do you want to remember?” ~ the first line from William Stafford’s poem You Reading This, Be Ready

I want to remember the way the sun came out on a day it was supposed to rain, the way the sun rising that one morning turned the clouds pink and the ocean a particular shade of green blue, the clutch of tiny sparrows all flying in unison over the water and how when they turned together the sun hit their shiny bellies and turned the black cloud of them into stars, how the wind sounded like someone whistling so the dogs ran outside to see who it was, seeing the humming bird again by the tree outside our window, the way marionberries taste, the feel of walking into our bedroom in the early afternoon with the wind blowing in the window and the light a particular color that makes the world feel so quiet and calm, the taste of a real maple bar made by someone who knows what they are doing, the quiet dark of morning and the smell of Eric’s coffee, how warm the dogs bodies are when they sleep curled up, the sound of their sighs, the specific way their nails click on the floor, how sad Eric and I both feel when Ringo won’t finish his breakfast, all the sand fleas he eats and the holes he digs, the way Sam runs back into bed after he eats breakfast so happy to sleep in with me, the awful almost scream he makes when he gets too close to a seagull, all the rocks we found on the beach that one morning, how it was so nice we didn’t want to stop walking, my cough that wouldn’t go away, eating the best pancakes we’ve ever had, how hard Eric laughed at something I said that I can’t even remember now, the taste of the German Chocolate Cake my cousin made me, how taking a wrong turn took me right past my grandma’s farm which isn’t her farm anymore but will always be hers, my dreams that fade almost as soon as I wake up, the smell of the beach, sitting down to eat with family, the taste of real Oregon strawberries, having to take turns whipping the cream with a whisk because that’s all we had, picking out vegetables at the farmer’s market, how easy the trip here was, reading together in bed at night, that time I woke up in the middle of the night and saw the big dipper perfectly framed in our window but I didn’t wake him up to look and when I told him about it later he said, “next time, wake me up.”

Gratitude Friday

Waldport Bridge

Waldport Bridge

1. Waldport, where the forest meets the sea. I’m so glad we found it all those years ago, and have been able to come back so many times.

This is what stupid happy looks like

This is what stupid happy looks like

2. It didn’t rain on our walk this morning, even though it was supposed to.

3. All the great beaches along this stretch of the coast. There are so many places to pull off, to park, to walk for miles and miles.

Bridge over Beaver Creek at Ona Beach

Bridge over Beaver Creek at Ona Beach

Foggy morning at Ona Beach

Foggy morning at Ona Beach

govpatterson4. My tiny family. They are so content right now, all three of them.

mosquitotrail sambeachsmile ringobeachcouching5. The Pacific Ocean. Oh how I love her.

tideBonus joy: dinner with my BIG family, all the good food especially the German Chocolate Cake my cousin made just for me, a good visit with Eric’s parents, all the good food we’ve been eating while at the beach, a box of goodies from Depot Baykery, texting with my brother, a glass of cold clean water, an almost clean car, a washer and dryer, clean laundry, clean sheets, the most gorgeous weather ever, a mostly nice day when it was supposed to rain, dinner plans with friends I don’t get to see very often, long walks, naps, good books, a hot shower.

Three Truths and One Wish


1. Wherever you go, there you are. Being on vacation makes this very clear. I usually enter vacation, whether we stay at home for it or travel, thinking I’ll be a different me, that it will be a magic time. Somehow I’ll be more relaxed, happier, less worried, maybe more productive, healthier, better rested, not bothered by the normal stuff of life. This isn’t the way it goes.

2. What we do impacts others. We might not like it, but it’s true. And as it is true, it seems important to keep in mind when making decisions and choices.

3. None of us are safe, no matter how hard we try to be. We can’t predict or control the way things are going to happen. We can’t know how all the various conditions and causes will work together.

One wish: May we relax into the unpredictable, impermanent nature of being. May we soften the suffering by turning our effort towards joy and love.

Something Good


1. These people listen to strangers’ deepest, darkest secrets for free. I am in serious talks with a friend to have a booth at the next local yoga festival to do this.

2. Ask Well: Is Watermelon Good for You? *Spoiler Alert* … yes.

3. Tig Notaro, the luckiest unlucky person.

4. Recipes I’d like to try: Peanut Butter Sandwich Cupcakes and Four Ways To Make Spaghetti Squash.

5. Leslie Jones Said Designers Won’t Dress Her, So Christian Did The Best Thing Ever.

6. Things and Thoughts. Beautiful, simple, heartbreaking in the context of his larger story.

7. G. Star Swain sings “The National Anthem” live at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. If you haven’t seen this yet, I’m not sure how. I cried.

8. Take The Cake: ‘This American Life’ Is Really Bad At Talking About Fat. Disclaimer: I haven’t had a chance to listen to the episode yet.

9. Should I Leash My Dog? [Flowchart]. Notice how often the answer is “yes.”

10. Mislabeled As A Memoirist, Author Asks: Whose Work Gets To Be Journalism?

11. Dear advertisers: It’s time to stop supporting BuzzFeed Video.

12. Just don’t lose the magic from Austin Kleon, one of my favorite writers on creativity.

13. But Was it Life Changing? A great post from Laurie Wagner.

14. Training to Be a Good Writer from Zen Habits.

15. About oracles, cookies, cigarettes, and the only piece of wisdom you will ever need.

16. Struggles with body image and self-esteem are common for girls her age, and she wants the world to hear their message. *sigh*

17. Three little dots.

18. Elie Wiesel, Auschwitz Survivor and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Dies at 87.

19. A Thread So Strong from Jena Schwartz, because this:

And while the connections themselves may also be impermanent, there is a thread so strong I swear you can probably see it from space that binds us to each other.

If you’re ever shaky, reach for it and give it a tug. I’ll do everything I can to tug back.

20. How Can I Love You Better? by Omid Safi. “A simple and powerful question that has the power to transform our relationships.”

21. Dealing with Stuff (literally): sorting through a loved ones belongings. Seems like some good advice.

22. Actual Factual Reasons NOT to vote for Donald Trump from ArchDuke.

23. Koko — The Gorilla Who Talks. “Today marks Koko’s 45th birthday. Meet her on KOKO — THE GORILLA WHO TALKS August 3 @ 8/7c on PBS (via BBC Earth).”

24. The best of Gilda, a bittersweet, hilarious video of Gilda Radner clips. Which made me look up this quote from her again, one of my favorites, “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”

25. Woman Texts Her Husband Everything He Says In His Sleep, Hilarity Ensues.