Something Good

From our walk yesterday morning along the Cache la Poudre River. Fall is here.

1. This wisdom from Andrew Boyd, from his book Daily Afflictions: The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the The Universe,

Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others. You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst horrors.

4. People in Texas impacted by the flooding still need help. Here are some ideas: Charity Navigator, How to Donate Money and Other Aid to Communities of Color in Houston, Where to Donate to Harvey Victims (and How to Avoid Scams), #SupportBlackWomenHOU and #SupportBlackWomenHOU Hair Care List. Also, there are some local animal rescue organizations doing good work. They have Amazon wishlists filled with affordable supplies they desperately need, or you can just make a donation to their orgs: Austin Pets Alive!, SPCA of Texas, and Dallas DogRRR. In related news, People are urging donations for Harvey relief efforts — just not to the Red Cross and Making Sure Your Houston Relief Money Is Going to the Black Folks Who Need It Most Isn’t Easy. Also, The death toll in Sierra Leone continues to rise after mudslides and torrential flooding. (Video) Charity Navigator has also provided a list of where to give for Sierra Leone. This also happened: Texas ‘Dreamer’ from Mexico killed volunteering during Harvey floods.

3. What to Do About Charlottesville, another great list of ways to help.

3. Recipes I want to try: Crispy Barbecue Potato Wedges, and corn, cheddar and scallion strata, and Summer Jams 4 Ways, and 8 wow-worthy pie hacks, and Pistachio Raspberry Energy Bars, and 6 Late-Night Snack Recipes, and Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Crunch Balls.

4. Truthbomb from Danielle LaPorte: “Your fulfillment depends on your clarity.”

5. How You Can Responsibly Take Accountability When You Cause Harm To Another Person on Everyday Feminist.

6. For White People Who Compare Black Lives Matter to White Supremacy. In related news, L’Oréal firing Munroe Bergdorf isn’t championing diversity, it’s centring white fragility and Conversations on Racism With White People Getting Stuck or Looping? Thirteen Questions To Get It Moving Again.

7. A Letter to INFJs About Dealing With the Pain of Disappointment. In related news, 25 Illustrations That Perfectly Capture the Joy of Living Alone as an Introvert.

8. Nappy, “Beautiful, high-res photos of black and brown people. For free.” In related news,

TONL seeks to transform the idea of stock photography by displaying images of diverse people and their stories around the world. Our voices and visibility matter. Photography and storytelling can help humanize and hopefully diminish the stereotypes and prejudice against black and brown people, especially. We wanted to challenge the stale, homogenous look of traditional stock photography by showcasing the many ethnic backgrounds of every day people.

9. A Janitor Preserves the Seized Belongings of Migrants.

10. “Nothing matters more than results” from Seth Godin.

11. This urban farm has sprouted up in crowded NYC. (video)

12. Meet Ludwick Marishane, the South African innovator who created the waterless bath gel. (video)

13. My sister’s cancer might have been diagnosed sooner — if doctors could have seen beyond her weight. Every woman I know has a story about a doctor not taking her seriously, simply because she’s a woman, or because she’s a woman and fat, or because she’s a woman and old, or because she’s a woman and young, etc.

14. A Much-Needed Primer on Cultural Appropriation. It’s a confusing issue, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to understand.

15. “If the shoe fits” – A game for everyone bored while shopping. This made me giggle.

16. Stores Full Of Furniture, ‘Mattress Mack’ Opens His Doors To Flood Victims. In related news, Watch This Spontaneous Gospel Performance Lift Spirits At A Texas Shelter. (video)

17. A sweet baby chimp daydreaming about some sweet bananas. (video)

18. Karl Ove Knausgaard: what makes life worth living? “Apples, plastic bags, teeth – the bestselling Norwegian author brings his forensic attention to everyday objects to explain the world in a letter to his unborn baby.”

19. Over 600,000 Trees Are Planted in Response to President Trump’s Climate Change Views.

20. Free Hugs Project helping in Houston. (video) I’m not crying, you’re crying… “The Free Hugs Project is an initiative that spreads love, inspires change and raises awareness of social issues.”

Day of Rest

Think of a plum tree. In each plum on the tree there is a pit. That pit contains the plum tree and all previous generations of plum tree. The plum pit contains an infinite number of plum trees. Inside the pit is an intelligence, a wisdom that knows how to become a plum tree, how to produce branches, leaves, flowers, and plums. It cannot do this on its own. It can do this only because it has received the experience and adaptations of so many generations of ancestors. You are the same. ~Thich Nhat Hanh*

I would add three things. One, the trauma and suffering of the trees and fruit that came before are also contained in that pit, so each plum works with that as well.

Also, it not only has the benefit of its lineage, but is helped along by the soil, the rain, the sun, the air, the bees, and the occasional kind and gentle gardener. Similarly, it can be harmed by shifts in the environment, the weather, etc.

And finally, no plum tree ever questions what it has to offer. It doesn’t say, “am I doing this right?” or “should I make apples instead?” but rather trusts that the best it has to offer is exactly what it has to give. It trusts the season and when the fruit is ripe, it lets it go, unconcerned with what happens next.

*Thanks to @thedailytourist for sharing the Thich Nhat Hanh quote.

Gratitude Friday

1. Farmer’s Market flowers in the bathroom. This week’s bunch was so gorgeous, but because it’s the end of summer, it didn’t last as long. I won’t miss the heat (we are supposed to get to 96 on Sunday), I will grieve the loss of the flowers, fruit, and vegetables.

2. Morning walks with the dogs. It’s getting darker in the mornings now, which means we get to see the sunrise somewhere in the middle of our walk. I don’t want to jinx it, but the dogs have been so good for me lately when I walk them by myself. And my knee is better enough that my physical therapist doesn’t need to see me for three weeks.

3. The birds and bugs our garden attracts and feeds. This isn’t a great picture of the goldfinch who eats our sunflowers, but he’s pretty shy so I could only capture him if I stayed in the house, on the other side of the window.

4. Three day weekend!

Sam gets to ride in the way back all by himself because Ringo is sometimes a jerk

5. My tiny family. I love women, and my other family and friends are great, but these three dudes are my favorites.

Watching the dad cook some meat, “Can we haz some, please?”

Bonus Joy: kitchen counter love notes, water aerobics, Pilates, yoga, Wild Writing with two of my favorite people, cold root beer, good TV, sweet potatoes, a warm shower, a cold glass of clean water, sitting on the couch with a heating pad, down pillows and blankets, the way Ringo stands with one of his feet on one of my feet, the way Sam doesn’t like to cuddle except for when he gets in bed with us early in the morning, a new dog bed, how easy it is to text someone “I love you” or “how are you?,” clean laundry, being dry and safe and together.

Something Good

Sending good wishes to Texas

1. Hurricane Harvey in Photographs on The New York Times, (And btw, The New York Times has lifted the paywall on articles about the storm). In related news, A Catastrophe for Houston’s Most Vulnerable People, and The Trump administration will check people’s papers as they evacuate from Hurricane Harvey.

2. What you can do to help: Donate to Austin Pets Alive! who is helping shelters in the direct line of Hurricane Harvey, or check out this list from ABC News, or this list on Texas Monthly, or this list from Vox.

3. Old Feral Cat Becomes Grandpa To Foster Kittens. “This old feral cat hated living in a home — until he met the loves of his life.” I shared another video of him already, but this one was too good to keep to myself. In related news, as in “other examples of animal videos that make me stupid happy,” here’s one from West Coast Heeler pack, just a bunch of furry friends out for a walk.

4. Recipes I want to try: Two Ingredient Watermelon Ice Cream and Flour Tortillas.

5. Humans of New York, the series! (video)

6. The Running Activist. (video) “Running is not just about running fast…It’s a way to engage people in conversations, and really change the narrative on what it means to be a Black woman.”

7. 13 Nonfiction Books About Race, Written By Women Of Color. In related news, Amy Gallo’s Five Essential Books for Having Difficult Conversations, and 70+ Race Resources for White People.

8. The cover of Women’s Running, The Great Outdoors Special Issue. “On the cover is the inspirational Mirna Valerio, the woman behind the Fat Girl Running blog, who within the issue writes about how nature inspires every aspect of her life.”

9. An Ariz. Man Is Out of a Job After Posting About Plan to ‘Drive Through’ Trump Protesters. “I think we have a solid candidate for ‘Dick of the Year’ here.” Agreed, and yet, even worse is that this sort of nonsense is pretty common.

10. Wisdom from Patti Digh,

Just a suggestion to my white friends: Rather than spend energy asserting that you don’t have white privilege, investigate how you can use your privilege to dismantle racism. Because trust me, you’ve got it. The very color of your skin provides you with an unearned privilege that people of color don’t have. If you see “privilege” as “wealthy,” then you’re misunderstanding what I mean by white skin privilege. Unearned social advantage by virtue of just having white skin. You’ve got it. Don’t apologize for it. Don’t feel guilty about it. Don’t be ashamed of it. Just use it to dismantle racism.

11. 94-year-old man builds pool for neighborhood kids. (video) “After Keith lost his wife, his house grew silent and lonely. So Keith put in a pool, and the neighborhood kids now fill the silence with laughter.”

12. Buddhism’s Origins, a short video with Morgan Freeman.

13. This 4 year-old percussionist is amazing! (video) His teacher, Baba Donn, continues to teach at the Harlem School of the Arts where he has taught for over 25 years.

14. Wait, Do People Actually Know Just How Evil This Man Is? “Joe Arpaio’s reign was two decades of intimidation, cruelty, and abuses of power.”

15. Facebook is being accused of ‘racially biased censorship’ by the ACLU.

16. All Your Favorite HGTV Shows Are Totally Fake. I already knew some of this, but it doesn’t stop me from watching – it’s still good fiction.

17. Why I Stopped Talking About Racial Reconciliation And Started Talking About White Supremacy.

18. A Love Letter to Activist from Desiree Lynn Adaway.

19. What Trump’s Generation Learned About the Civil War.

20. #introvertproblems hashtag on twitter. In related news, 7 Things Introverts Will Never, Ever Understand.

21. From Alexandra Franzen, in her recent newsletter where she talked about publishing your writing: “To help you get started, I made something for you: CLICK HERE to download a list of 25 places that would love to publish your work. Yes, really. Yes, you. This is a list of blogs, websites, magazines, literary journals, and other places that are currently accepting submissions from new writers. I compiled this list along with my friend Susan—we run a writing class together—and we hope it’s super helpful for you!”

22. Jim Carrey: I Needed Color. (video)

23. Death to the Dichotomy from Be Nourished. “Our individual cycles of self-neglect are only mirrors of what is offered up by the culture, collectively and systemically.”

24. I’m 35 and I may suddenly have lost the rest of my life. I’m panicking, just a bit. “Stop just assuming you have a full lifetime to do whatever it is you dream of doing.”

25. Don’t forget the second step from Seth Godin.

26. The Diet/Beauty Industry Cycle of Dis-Empowerment. When I first looked at this chart, I stared at it for a really, really long time — stunned, gobsmacked. #truth

27. Consider a membership with Everyday Feminism. They do really good work, and need our help to continue doing it.

28. These sex toys are for women, engineered by women.

29. Where Will You Stand? If we are to uphold the dharma, says Rev. angel Kyodo williams, we must stand up to racism and expose its institutionalized forms—even in our Buddhist communities. “Our inability as a nation to atone for the theft of these lands and the building of wealth, power, and privilege on the countless backs and graves of Black people is our most significant obstacle to being at peace with ourselves, and thus with the world.” (Thanks for the link, Rita).

30. Love Everyone: A Guide for Spiritual Activists on Lion’s Roar.

31. ‘Let Us Eat Cake’: The Tina Fey Effect in 2017.

32. What becomes possible when you say No?

33. What do you expect? on Life is Limitless. “Suffering comes in when you have the bar too high for yourself with expectations that sound more like orders or dictates and most of the time stem from other significant people in your life (parents, teachers, etc)…Suffering is experienced in the body when your bar is set from a place of striving and expectation and/or is set by others or from societal pressures of who we think we should be, what we think we should have or what we think we should do.” *sigh*

Gratitude Friday

1. Grocery shopping. I know this might make me weird, but I love grocery shopping. The privilege of being able to enter a store and buy anything I want and know that I don’t ever have to go hungry is something I never take for granted, and as someone who lived with an eating disorder for decades, there’s a newfound freedom and ease there too.

2. Eclipse shadows.

3. Flowers in the bathroom. I got to the Farmer’s Market later this week, so there weren’t as many left at my favorite stall, but still they are gorgeous.

4. Having my car back. It was in the shop for almost two weeks getting a dent in the door fixed, and I didn’t realize how much I’d miss it. This little grasshopper hitched a ride with us to the post office and back today, reminding me of another thing I love so much about a summer garden — all the bugs and animals it houses and feeds.

5. My tiny family. I’m especially grateful recently because one of Ringo’s brothers has been missing for three weeks. I can’t even imagine how painful that must be for his family, and I hope I never know.

Bonus joy: Wild Writing with my cool girls’ writing nerd club, aqua aerobics, my heating pad (which I realized today I may have “borrowed” from you at some point, Mom…if so, sorry, and thanks), ripe peaches, a warm shower and a clean towel, sleeping with the window open, good interns, a fan in the bathroom, physical therapy because even though it hurts it’s helping, fresh watermelon, when Eric laughs so hard he can barely talk.

Something Good

from a morning walk

1. NASA is live streaming the eclipse here. In related news, from The New York Times, How to Watch a Solar Eclipse, and Annie Dillard’s Classic Essay: ‘Total Eclipse.’

2. Friends honor artist’s last wishes with water ballet in a Seattle kiddie pool. (video)

3. Charlottesville: Race and Terror – VICE News Tonight on HBO. (video) I’ve only been able to watch the first few minutes, but it seems worth it to keep trying.

4. “This Isn’t Us” from Chuck Wendig on Terrible Minds. “We are at our best not when we say this isn’t us, but rather, this is us, but we don’t want it to be. We are at our best when we are truthful to ourselves and our children as to how we got here and to the cost we made others pay — and the cost we continue to make them pay today.”

Also from Chuck, Last Chance To Get Off The Ride. “If you’re a person out there who supported this president and who supported the political party to which he supposedly belongs, here’s your chance to get off the ride. Well, first, fuck you, because you should’ve known better.”

5. Ep. 154 [Raise Your Hand and Say Yes]: Laurie Wagner on Telling the Truth. Laurie says of writing, “You never get so good at it that you get beyond it.” Laurie has a new offering, 27 Wild Days, a great introduction to the Wild Writing practice and Laurie’s teaching. She’s beyond brilliant. You should totally check it out.

6. Because there’s no ignoring this and we need to keep trying: Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide, and 6 Things White People Can Do To Reach Friends and Family Members to End Racism, and on racism, discrimination & bigotry, and I Studied the Alt-Right So You Don’t Have To, and Read the transcript of Donald Trump’s jaw-dropping press conference, and People Are Making Memes Showing Iconic Moments When There Was Violence “On Both Sides,” and A Flowchart For People Who Get Defensive When Talking About Racism, and White supremacy may be rearing its ugly head right now, but it’s nothing new (video), and Here are the words and phrases the “alt-right” uses to sanitize its racism and white supremacy (video), and 7 Unmistakable Signs Your Allyship Is Performative, and 17 Books On Race Every White Person Needs To Read, and For Our White Friends Desiring to Be Allies, and The White People Who Need “Proof of Racism,” and What Trump gets wrong about Confederate statues, in one chart, and Charlottesville’s Ongoing Fight Against White Supremacy (video), and Everything We Do Matters, But Two Things Are Critical, and The Sugarcoated Language Of White Fragility, and Racism Scale: Where Do You Fall?, and Crowdsourced Actions: things you can do re: Charlottesville, and So You Want To Fight White Supremacy, and On Fragility.

7. I need to talk to spiritual white women about white supremacy (Part One), wisdom from Layla Saad. “If it seems like I’m being judgemental, I am. That’s the very least white supremacy, racial hatred and domestic terrorism deserve.” And this,

…without meaning to, a lot of times nice, well-meaning white women can contribute in a big way to the problems we see because they don’t speak up, or they want to keep things polite, or they think the best thing they can do is just focus on being a loving person rather than ‘getting involved in politics’. This white silence, white privilege and white shame leads to a lot of white complicity in white supremacy.

8. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön, “Meditation practice isn’t about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It’s about befriending who we are already. The ground of practice is you or me or whoever we are right now, just as we are. That’s the ground, that’s what we study, that’s what we come to know with tremendous curiosity and interest.”

9. 4 Questions Introverts Who Are Feeling Drained Should Ask Themselves. These seem liked they’d be useful contemplations for just about anyone.

10. Violence Turned Inward, wisdom from Rachel Cole.

When we aren’t connected to our innate enoughness and our place in the family of humans our pursuit of enoughness and belonging too often turns violent. For some white men, this violence turns outward. For too many women, again, especially white women, the violence turns inward, toward the self. Through perfectionism, loathing of the body, suppression of hungers, silencing of voice, denial of pleasure, dismissal of intuition, resistance to rest, and constant comparison to others, we are violent to ourselves.”

11. Black pastors release video, announce NFL boycott in support of Colin Kaepernick. In related news, Colin Kaepernick receives support from both inside and outside the NFL, and Will ‘BlackOut’ Be the Movement to Shut Down the NFL?.

12. 4 Signs You’re Culturally Appropriating Buddhism – And Why It’s Important Not to.

13. Tina Fey did this thing, (video), and the discussion happening around it is fascinating. Here’s just some of it: Tina Fey’s Response to Charlottesville Is White Privilege Personified, and The Outrage Over Tina Fey’s “Sheetcaking” Bit Is a Waste of Collective Energy, and Not Everyone Found Tina Fey’s “Sheetcaking” Funny, And Here’s Why, and The Brilliance of Tina Fey’s Cake Satire, Explained, and this twitter thread from Leslie Mac of Safety Pin Box. In related news, Late Night Hosts React To Charlottesville, Virginia. (video)

14. Lizzo is a singer-songwriter using her voice as an instrument of change. (video)

15. Free Yourself of Your Harshest Critic, and Plow Ahead on The New York Times.

16. Arts council members call for Trump to step down in their resignation letter.

17. Living In Between Fat and Thin. “In a society where size means everything, we are constantly negotiating to fit in.”

18. Recipes I want to try: Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad with Peanut Ginger Sauce and 2-Ingredient Sorbet 4 Ways.

19. Reusable food wrap from etee. “Say Goodbye to plastic wrap, sandwich bags & bulky storage containers. Preserve your food and protect your family – naturally – with these reusable food wraps.”

20. Why We Need To Talk About Racism, Prejudice And Dog Rescue. P.S. the image they use for this article looks like baby Ringo.

21. The memorial service for Heather Heyer, the woman killed Saturday after the white supremacist rally, held in Charlottesville, VA. (video) Here’s another video of the same.

22. Jamila Woods – Holy (Official Video). #blackgirlmagic

23. Video footage of rare all-white moose in Sweden.

24. Waking Up Is a Prerequisite to Reckoning, wisdom from Jena Schwartz. “The past isn’t the past when it’s present in our everyday lives, in ways many white Americans continue to diminish, downplay, and downright deny.”

Day of Rest

I taught a yoga class this morning. Towards the end of savasana, the song that was playing came to a crescendo just as an ambulance drove past with its siren blaring. The contrast between those two external demands, the beauty of the music asking to be noticed and the siren needing people to pay attention, was a reminder that life is both beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible, and that no matter what arises, as practitioners we work to keep our hearts open, to stay with it, to try and work with it with wisdom and compassion.

It reminded me of the quote from Pema Chödrön, the one about tigers above and 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. ~Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape: How to Love Yourself and Your World

This is a good reminder. When the chaos of life seems unmanageable, when so many are suffering and there’s so much confusion, there is also this, “delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”

This absolutely doesn’t mean, “stay positive.” It doesn’t mean we deny the tigers above and below. It doesn’t mean taking no action either, because if you notice the story starts with the woman running from the tigers until she can’t run anymore. Instead, we make space for it all.

We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. ~Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart