Three Truths and One Wish

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1. Truth: My hunger/eating schedule doesn’t fit the norm. I like a light breakfast around 5-6 am, a bigger breakfast around 9-10 am, and lunch around 2-3 pm, which means sometimes I don’t want dinner, or “dinner” is more like a snack. For a long time I forced myself to to eat on a “normal” schedule, and ended up eating when I wasn’t hungry or not eating even though I was starving because it wasn’t “time to eat,” (I also did lots of weird things where I had to earn what I ate, or what I ate was a punishment, but that’s a whole other truth).

2. Truth: I don’t need to eat as much as I used to. After decades of disordered eating, starving and stuffing myself, and then a period of crazed eating because I was finally letting myself eat and was allowed to eat whatever I wanted and after years of deprivation I was always hungry, I finally feel like my hunger is starting to even out.

3. Truth: I can feel my body. I know that this statement is so strange to some that you might wonder what it even means. What I mean is for years I denied and ignored my body. I lived my entire life in my head. My physical body was mostly an inconvenience, an irritation. I was a hungry ghost. The other day, I was walking across campus, and I realized I could actually feel my body. I was aware of it entirely — feet, legs, torso, lungs, arms, hands, all of it. I also feel where it hurts — that’s the bad news.

One wish: May we honor our hunger no matter when it comes or in what shape. May we honor our fullness, and stop when we’ve had enough. May we honor our body, giving it what it needs, feeding it and letting it rest. “Don’t move the way fear makes you move. Move the way love makes you move. Move the way joy makes you move,” (Osho).

Something Good

Pasque Flower, image by Eric

Pasque Flower, image by Eric

So glad to be partnering with Yoganonymous to share this list with a larger audience.

1. Patton Oswalt Remembers His Wife, Michelle McNamara: ‘She Steered Her Life With Joyous, Wicked Curiosity.’ What his daughter says at the end is so wise, so heartbreaking — too much so for a seven year old girl, but this is how life happens sometimes.

2. Reincarnation a video on Bored Panda. “Body artist Emma Allen goes through the cycle of reincarnation by painting her own face.”

3. Apple Stole My Music. No, Seriously. So scary, so sad.

4. Patients should have the right to choose marijuana over prescription drugs, a new video from ATTN.

5. I ate frozen food for four months so I could do trauma therapy from The Fat Nutritionist. “Let me tell you, being human is enough work for anyone. Being alive in a world where terrible and wonderful things happen at random to anyone and everyone at any moment, and the labour we put into mounting defenses against this reality, is a hard damn job. You don’t need to impress yourself or anyone with doing extraneous work just to get fed.”

6. I like to call this collection of items “Welcome to Trump’s America,” Passenger mistakes math equations for ‘terrorist code,’ gets economics professor escorted off flight, and Using a Target bathroom got really uncomfortable really fast, and Tow Truck Driver Says God Told Him To Leave a Disabled Woman Stranded Due to Her Bumper Sticker.

7. At 12 I grew a beard and had a period. “When Alec Butler was born in 1959 it was assumed Alec was female. But after being brought up as a girl, Alec – now an award-winning writer and film-maker – realised they were intersex, someone whose anatomical, hormonal or genetic sex is neither completely male nor female.”

8. Necessary Healing from Jack Kornfield, an excerpt from one of my favorite books, A Path With Heart. “Wise spiritual practice requires that we actively address the pain and conflict of our life in order to come to inner integration and harmony.” Word.

9. The Source of Your Wisdom. “So how can we tell if we really want something or if we want it because other people have it or the media thinks we should have it?
We get really quiet and we listen.” Really great advice from The Girl Who Knows.

10. A really great post from Whitney Way Thore, in response to a New York Times article I shared on last week’s list. In related news, Why You Can’t Lose Weight on a Diet, “The problem isn’t willpower. It’s neuroscience. You can’t — and shouldn’t — fight back.” And two other related stories, The Biggest Loser’s Big Surprise?, and The Life I Could Have Had – International No Diet Day from Dances with Fat.

11. snarffle snarffle snot snot. Thank you. from Katwise, a sweet video about what it means to be an artist, what it means to be human in the age of the internet.

12. Recipes I want to try: Black Bean Beauty Burgers, and Kimchi Fried Rice, and Apple Pie Bake. I’ve also been watching Season 15 of America’s Test Kitchen on Amazon Prime, and want to make ALL THE THINGS.

13. Emotional Video Of Dogs And Their People Show Our Hearts Really Do Beat As One. I’ve always said canine therapy is the best therapy.

14. 25 courageous ways to make your life (even) better, some good ideas from Kate Courageous.

15. I swear I wanted to swear. But I can’t. Diet culture = “a sadness that’s almost unspeakable.”

16. Fuck body shaming, a great post from just a regular guy helping his girlfriend clean out her closet.

17. When The Addict Who Dies Is Someone You Love. “And when people ask what happened to Joey, I tell the truth — it was likely a bad combination of sleeping pills and alcohol. It was an accident in the way in which falling off a tightrope is an accident. But that’s not all I want to say because how he died is not all he was and I’m so afraid that people will go away not understanding what really happened to Joey. Not really understanding who he was.” Loving an addict is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and one of my biggest heartbreaks is I’ll probably be writing a post like this some day.

18. Calling your finding from Seth Godin, “I’m not sure that anyone has a calling. I think, instead, our culture creates situations where passionate people find a place where they can make an impact.” My favorite thing about Seth Godin is his economy of language, his ability to say so much with so few words.

19. A Call for Kindness from Susannah Conway. A great post about body image, external expectations, and how we treat each other. “I truly wholeheartedly believe that if we were all kind to ourselves, the world could change overnight.” Word.

20. Date While You Wait Brings Distraction, and Smiles, to Frazzled Subway Riders. I love that there are people who have these kinds of ideas and follow through. “Mr. Knox, 28, is the mind behind Date While You Wait, a pop-up booth in which he engages strangers in conversation during a board game. He said his mission was born of a simple desire to bring some levity to the scowling, harried masses who brave the subways of New York City. There is no tip jar or open guitar case. The concept is street theater, using the Internet as a digital bullhorn.”

21. The secret life of objects from wonderings & wanderings. I love hand-me-downs, second hand, used, and I love a good story. “What distinguishes rubbish from gold depends, partly, on personal taste. But when an object also comes with a great story, it becomes imbued with emotional significance and therein lies the treasure.”

22. Hello, I Have Anxiety, How Are You? from Chuck Wendig on Terrible Minds. A helpful, hilarious discussion of a serious topic that ends with a list of coping strategies.

23. To Insist That Sorrow Not Be Meaningless from Dani Shapiro. “It has come – all of it, every last bit of it – from the stubborn, dogged insistence that all I can do is make something of this life. Make books. Make a family. Make meaning. I can’t make my mother-in-law better. I can’t protect those I love from their own pain. But I build a path with words, one following the next like a trail of breadcrumbs out of the wilderness.”

24. Policeman Kills Young Black Man. Why is it always the Same Story? from Prince Ea. “We are all humans at the end of the day.” In related news, Is Racism Over Yet? from Laci Green.

(Mother’s) Day of Rest

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We don’t use our dining room table so much for eating. Usually, the chair that’s there for me to sit in instead holds my purse and coat with the pair of shoes I just took off tucked underneath. On that half of the table, there might be a book or a folder or the grocery list or something I need to put in the mail piled on top. But towards the end of the semester, especially the one at the end of the academic year, the one that comes right before summer vacation, my side of the table becomes a holy mess — as does just about everything else.

At this point, I’m just trying to keep it together for one more week. If I can just get through next week, there will be more space, more time, and I can finally clear off this table, clean out the garage, balance the checkbook, fold and put away all the laundry, weed the front flowerbeds, dust off my meditation shrine, wash my car, clean up my eyebrows and shave my legs, breathe — but until then, this pile is what my life looks like.

Right now, Eric is texting me pictures from the hike he’s on with the dogs. I wish I was there with them, instead of here trying to not feel too bad about the mess and procrastinating because the next thing I need to do is go to the gym.

I just took a break from writing to call my mom, wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. I’d already talked to her a few days ago, and the present I sent her had already showed up, (although, the books I sent, she’d already read, and there’s a good chance that’s because I’d already sent her the same ones some other time). I’m so lucky to be able to just pick up the phone and talk to her, to open my email and have a message from her, to be thought of so often and so fondly. She can’t call her mom anymore. S. can’t call her mom and misses her every day. S. won’t get a phone call from one of her daughters, and that daughter won’t be getting a Mother’s Day gift from her son. J. is still feeling the ache of grief from the loss of her two tiny ones. C. wanted babies, tried but never had the chance. People I don’t know have lost their mothers in all kinds of ways, and many mothers have been separated from their kids for all kinds of reasons. I’m keenly aware that today isn’t just happy.

It reminds me of a post Anne Lamott wrote about the day, Why I hate Mother’s Day. Which then makes me think of two posts from Dash and Bella, I Know a Mama Who (2012) and I Know a Mama Who (2015). I love all three of these posts because they are honest, about the mess and the confusion and the joy. Whatever this day is for you, may you feel some of that mother love, even if you have to give it to yourself.❤

“to all mothers, the motherless, the mothered well, the mothered terribly, to the ability to mother in any mammal, to mothers lost and mothers found. to the mother that is the planet. may we learn to lead with our hearts even through fire or dark.” ~Lidia Yuknavitch

Gratitude Friday

skyovereddy

1. Colorado sky. It’s just so pretty.

bathroomlilacs

2. Flowers in the bathroom, even better if they are from my own garden.

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3. My dogs. Sweet Sam and Ringo Blue.

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4. Korean Sweet Potato Falafel Tacos from The Blind Pig. Seriously, I am so obsessed with these things. They are a party in my mouth.

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5. Kitchen Counter Love Notes. And the guy who makes them.

Bonus joy: Wild Writing class (only four weeks, a short session, but so good to be back at it), my interns, a glass of cold clean water, sleeping in, napping, good books, good tv, bird song, the morning walk, getting stronger, being able to leave work early or come in late, everything blooming and budding, the anticipation of a garden, Ringo not being allergic to bees (since he insists on trying to play with them and got stung on the lip last week), cuddling with Sam in the morning, when Eric and I both think something is especially funny and start laughing and then laugh even harder because how hard the other person is laughing just makes us laugh that much more.

Three Truths and One Wish

From our walk this morning

From our walk this morning

1. Truth: I can be very judgmental. Things that irritated me just this morning: Donald Trump, Republicans, people who claim to have healed themselves (from everything from high cholesterol to cancer) through nothing more than diet and exercise and positive thinking, people with offlead dogs, bikes that ride on the sidewalk, shops that don’t open until 11 am, two people I haven’t even seen in at least 20 years, a teacher who is always quoting things but never giving credit to the original author, Ringo, my computer, myself.

2. Truth: The single most important and beneficial thing I could do for myself is to get enough sleep. I don’t do this, most of the time, and it leads to all sorts of other things that are bad for my overall health and well-being — not wanting to exercise, eating too much candy or even forgetting to eat, not being able to think or act with clarity, having trouble relating to other people, being easily irritated, getting depressed.

3. Truth: I can’t stop thinking about that thing Tiffany Han said, in a recent post on Laura Simms’s blog, advice about whether or not you should start a business. Tiffany said, “Try to discern if you really want a business or if you’re looking for relief from your current job situation.” I can’t stop thinking about it because I’d already realized that I didn’t necessarily want another job so much as I wanted a different kind of life, and to be honest that life might not include fulltime work at all.

One wish: May we all keep our hearts soft, may our bodies be well rested, and may we be able to relax with what is.

Something Good

flowerbedpaintedpiano

So glad to be partnering with Yoganonymous to share this list with a larger audience.

1. A new album from Furns. I have a particular soft spot for European style pop music, the sort that is sometimes called Chill, Beach House, Shoegazer, Dreampop, or Electropop. Musicians like Morcheeba, Zero 7, Tina Dico (my blog is named after one of her song lyrics), Dido, Galimatias, Flunk, Tycho, Gemma Stone, and Pablo Nouvelle. Furns talked about how they decided on their name, and I think it’s a really good description of their sound, “Mathias came up with it after battling for several months trying to find a proper name. We thought it was catchy, and it sounded good. It’s a mix of the words ferns, fur and furniture, we guess. Three things we like: The colour green, something warm and something comfy.”

2. Edouard Martinet’s Masterfully Sculpted Animals and Insects Made from Bicycle, Car, and Motorcycle Parts. And somehow, this seems to be related news, Macro Photographs Composed of Nearly Ten Thousand Images Show the Incredible Detail of Insect Specimens.

3. Mom posts pic of her post-baby tummy to prove that not losing weight doesn’t mean you’re “letting go.” It is so important that women push back in this way against the ridiculous, dangerous standards promoted elsewhere in the media.

4. A woman defending herself against a creep on a elevator has gone viral on Chinese social media. Take that, creep!

5. In related news, I Was Assaulted By A Married Man. I have always loved Meghan Tonjes’s honesty, her sense of humor, her strength, but I have never appreciated it more than in this video.

6. In 66 tweets, this woman perfectly explains how white privilege works. An important read.

7. Elisabeth Moss Will Star in “The Handmaid’s Tale” Mini-Series. Everything about this makes me happy. If you haven’t seen Moss in “Top of the Lake,” I highly recommend it.

8. The Sixty Second Photograph, a beautiful video project. “We are a group of still photographers who have come together to learn and grow in the art of making moving pictures. We believe that to grow as an artist requires exploring and pushing yourself to places you are no longer comfortable. The Sixty Second Photograph embraces the process of learning, feeling vulnerable, and sharing alongside our peers. Once a month we will make a 30 second to 2 minute film and share it here.” I want to live inside of some of these videos. If you have some extra time, follow the links offsite and check out their still photographs too. Beautiful.

9. Recipes I want to try: Triple Chocolate Banana Bread and Key Lime Poundcake.

10. Infographic: 3 Levels of Meditation, a really great explanation of what can happen when you practice. And in related news, this gif of what meditation is like is brilliant.

11. How to Take Yoga Photos for Instagram – Ultra Spiritual Life episode 34. This guy cracks me up. His take on meditation, gluten intolerance, coconut oil, etc. are hilarious, funny because they come so close to the truth.

12. A Tiny Pep Talk from Adam J. Kurtz. I’ve been keeping this link handy ever since he posted it. Just hit pause at any point in the video and get a special message. Mine for today was, “Of course you can.”

13. I Couldn’t Grow Real Plants So I Made These Paper Ones. These are pretty amazing. And in related news, Kate Alarcón, who makes similarly amazing paper flowers, “unusual paper plant life, handmade just outside Seattle.”

14. The Top 10 Self-Improvement Teachings that Hold People Back on Elephant Journal, (where oddly enough, you can find articles promoting the exact same teachings this author is suggesting hold people back). “There are many popular self-help teachings that—on the surface—seem to make sense and be helpful, but are actually disempowering. These teachings lead people to inaction, keep them dependent on their teachers, and prevent them from creating the life they desire.”

15. Justine has been writing some amazing, important stuff on Allowing Myself lately, such as Dr. W, as in, The Worst (Part 1), and Dr. W, as in, The Worst (Part 2), and To Touch That Deeper Level.

16. What I’d Like To Say To Young Writers, Part Two. Chuck Wendig gives the best writing advice.

17. On the Heartbreaking Difficulty of Getting Rid of Books, “Summer Brennan Attempts Marie Kondo’s Approach to Tidying Up Her Library.” Super interesting, (says the one who has WAY too many books, except in this case, what does “too many” even mean?).

18. Chobani CEO Giving Employees an Ownership Stake in Yogurt Empire. “The man who built Chobani yogurt into a multi-billion dollar brand is giving thousands of employees the financial surprise of a lifetime.” I love everything about this.

19. Should You Start a Business? 51 Female Entrepreneurs Weigh In. Laura Simms asked, “What 3 pieces of advice would you have for someone who is wondering if they should start a business?” and the responses are a rich collection of wisdom. One that I personally can’t stop thinking about is from Tiffany Han, who said “Try to discern if you really want a business or if you’re looking for relief from your current job situation.” Oh, snap!

20. Transformation tourism from Seth Godin, who says “Change comes from new habits, from acting as if, from experiencing the inevitable discomfort of becoming.” The inevitable discomfort of becoming… whoa.

21. Things Dudes Have Said to Me After Sex, equal parts funny and sad.

22. Your fat friend doesn’t feel fat. An important distinction.

23. Checking in, paying attention, and friendship, a great post from Lindsey Mead. In related news, “‘The worst thing that can happen is that friends disappear’: Love, loss, and the unappreciated art of checking in” (which in part inspired Lindsey’s post).

24. Ads Vs Reality: 20+ Hilarious Examples Of False Advertising. So funny.

25. 15+ Of The Most Beautiful Bonsai Trees Ever. I have a longstanding obsession with the art of Bonsai, and these are 15+ reasons why.

26. How to Release the Painful Memories and Emotions Stored in Your Body. Seems worth a try.

27. One of Many, “One of Many is a monthly series of photo essays about twelve American cities and their creative communities.” I found this site because they recently featured one of my favorites, Austin Kleon, but looked around and realized the whole project is way cool.

28. Padgett Powell’s rules on “What Writing Should Do”, a really great list.

29. Share your story: #WhenIAlmostDied. Be sure to scroll to the bottom and read the responses. And if that’s not enough, you could go listen to the podcast. Creepy good.

30. “Sweet Darkness” by David Whyte, read by the author (who could read me the phone book and I’d be happy).

31. Long Ambients1: Calm. Sleep. by Moby. “Over the last couple of years I’ve been making really really really quiet music to listen to when I do yoga or sleep or meditate or panic. I ended up with 4 hours of music and have decided to give it away. You can download it for free below or stream it.” Very cool. Thank you, Moby.

32. Depression Lies from Jena Schwartz. Word.

33. Rescue Hummingbird Won’t Leave The Dog Who Saved His Life. Such a sweet story.

34. A 12-Minute Guided Framework for Journaling and Gaining Clarity. “How I used Think Clearly’s Clarity Cards to inspire wisdom and peace at the end of my pregnancy.” I need a deck of these cards!

35. Powerful Project Gives Anyone the Opportunity to Become Frida Kahlo in 15 Minutes.

36. After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight.strong> “Contestants lost hundreds of pounds during Season 8, but gained them back. A study of their struggles helps explain why so many people fail to keep off the weight they lose.”

37. One year ago, today. “I know this much, a year later. Losing someone you love hurts. It hurts deeply, and it hurts for a long time; probably forever. But if I could tell Kelso something now, I’d tell him it was worth it. I’d tell him I’d do it all again.” Word, probably forever AND I’d do it again, (have, and will).

Day of Rest

A tiny library from our walk yesterday morning

A tiny library from our walk yesterday morning

One of my favorite things about Lindsey Mead’s blog (about the way she sees the world) is the poetry she finds and shares. This week, there were two in particular that made me pause, that I keep going back to. The first —

Be a good steward of your gifts.
Protect your time.
Feed your inner life.
Avoid too much noise.
Read good books,
have good sentences in your ears.
Be by yourself as often as you can.
Walk.
Take the phone off the hook.
Work regular hours.

~Jane Kenyon, A Hundred White Daffodils

I read this and thought, “could that be it? could it be that simple?” As you know if you’ve been reading my posts lately, I am trying to find some sort of “balance” in my life, balancing my effort with ease, but I’m not doing a very good job — and the fact that I would end that statement with that judgement, that I’m judging myself at all for how “well” I’m doing with this dilemma is at the heart of the problem. I don’t take very good care of myself, push too hard, don’t make room for rest or joy, and then make it worse by beating myself up about it.

I got a massage yesterday, and when my therapist asked me if the work I’ve been having done on my right hip was causing any issues with the left, I told her “no, the entire left side of my body is ‘normal,’ healthy, it’s just the whole right side that’s a mess.” She said, “well, there’s energetic reasons for that, that would make a lot of sense.” I asked her what she meant and she explained that often when we have issues with the right side of our body, it’s because that side is associated with work, working too hard, being busy, pushing ourselves, not getting enough of a balance between work and rest. Believe what you want about the validity of “energetic reasons,” but that sounds like a pretty accurate description of my current situation.

Add a heaping dose of anxiety, a bad night’s sleep, and three straight days of wet and gray, and I’m kind of a mess. I think about the too long to-do list for my day, feel the weight of it and want to crawl back into bed and hide. Then I go back and read A Hundred White Daffodils. Could there be another way to do this? Which reminds me of the other poem Lindsey shared,

The Thing Is

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

~Ellen Bass

To be honest, ever since Kelly died, I find myself getting trapped in a panic, a sense that no matter how fast I go or how much I do, it won’t be enough. I haven’t yet forgiven myself for the time before that now seems wasted, for the “mistakes” I’ve made. I’m still struggling under “an obesity of grief” that manifests in my physical body as well. I’m still trying to find my way in a world where so many bad things happen and so much goes undone no matter how diligent I am and no matter how hard I try.

For today, I’ll take out the trash, finish the laundry, put clean sheets on the bed, work on my Something Good list for tomorrow, read a little, go out to lunch with Eric, and the checkbook won’t get balanced, the windows won’t get washed, nothing will be dusted, the garage will remain a place to be avoided, and the weeds in the flowerbeds will live another day. But most importantly, I won’t give up.