Tag Archives: Allowing Myself

Something Good

orange

So great to be partnering with Wanderlust to share this list with a larger audience.

1. Multitasking is Killing Your Brain. “Multitasking is not a skill to add to the resume, but rather a bad habit to put a stop to.”

2. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön, from her book Start Where You Are: a Guide to Compassionate Living, “The reason that people harm other people, the reason that the planet is polluted and people and animals are not doing so well these days is that individuals don’t know or trust or love themselves enough.” So simple. So incredibly complicated.

3. Good stuff from Patti Digh: Your life is the vision board. Better get a new glue stick. and strong offer Friday : transform terror into commitment, and entitlement into hope, which includes the video and transcript of Laurie Foley’s Life is a Verb Camp talk.

4. The Best Female Rock Climber In the World is 14 Years Old (so cool) from Great Big Story, whose tagline is “From the cosmos to cosplay and pizza to our very planet itself, it’s time to feed your feed with the most curious and compelling stories being told.” Take some time and check out their other videos.

5. Let Them Eat Cake: My Weight Restoration Story. Because this, “The only weight that I needed to drop was that of internalized misogynistic self-hate. I didn’t need to lose any pounds. I needed to lose the sound of “You’re worthless” that reverberated in my ears — in my own voice — every time I had a craving for chocolate or was too tired to go to the gym.”

6. Husband Asks Wife To Draw What’s On Her Mind, Gets More Than He Expected. #same

7. New music: Paublo Nouvelle. This is my jam. There used to be an online radio station called Beach House Radio, and if they were still around, they’d totally be playing this. I heard him first on the Chill station I listen to on SiriusXM satellite radio (so good, “downtempo electronic and deep house”), but you can also find his stuff on SoundCloud and YouTube, or buy his new CD.

8. Bringing Kindness, Full Stop on Allowing Myself. Justine told me recently that when she got her yearly blog report, it showed I shared her stuff the most of anyone — because she’s so good.

9. Dog Breaks Out Of Kennel To Comfort Abandoned Crying Puppies. This story gives me all the feels. Here’s the video.

10. 13 Plus-Size Models Killing The Fashion Game Right Now. Next step: stop calling them “plus size” and just call them models.

11. You Get To Decide from Michele Woodward. This is an older piece, but I wanted to share it again in honor of Laurie, who entered hospice this past week. Here’s a podcast she did a few years ago, Episode 7 – Laurie Foley – A Practice to Find God.

12. Life Before And After Getting A Dog (9 Pics). Word.

13. One-of-Kind Wool Rug Artworks by Alexandra Kehayoglou Mimic Rolling Pastures and Mossy Textures. These are amazing.

14. The One Thing We Need To See In Plus Size Fashion In 2016, (p.s. besides that thing where we stopped called it “plus size” and just call it fashion).

15. the shutterbugs: salva lópez on SF Girl by Bay. The colors, the wood and the plants and the light, the patina — so gorgeous.

16. 10 Reasons I Ditched Dieting from Dances With Fat. Amen.

17. Toddler GoPro Hide and Seek. “Strap a GoPro to your toddler and play Hide & Seek. So much awesome!” So cute.

18. Refugee Girls Got To Dress Up As What They Want To Be When They Grow Up. “The International Rescue Committee recently sent photographer Meredith Hutchison to meet with young girls in two refugee camps in Jordan and ask them about their hopes and dreams.”

19.‘Stop using BMI as measure of health,’ say researchers. Yes, please. In related news, BMI mislabels 54 million Americans as ‘overweight’ or ‘obese,’ study says.

20. The new Beyoncé video is nearly five minutes of unapologetic blackness.

21. The 20 Funniest Tweets From Women This Week.

22. Not Just a Death, a System Failure.

23. No exceptions from Chookooloonks. “If you want to be good at your job, at parenting and/or at life, you must practice self care. No exceptions.”

24. The Powerful Super Bowl Ad That Washington Redskins’ Owner Dan Snyder Needs to See. Word.

25. Super Bowl commercials 2016: the 9 best and 5 worst ads.

26. “Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Me” from Amy McCracken, one of my favorite writers, one of my favorite humans, and this is just one reason why.

Something Good

Morning traffic, image by Eric

Morning traffic, image by Eric

1. Doing What You Love Is Going To Be Fucking Hard, wisdom from Jon Westenberg.

2. 16 Elevating Resolutions for 2016 Inspired by Some of Humanity’s Greatest Minds on Brain Pickings. “Cultivate honorable relationships, resist absentminded busyness, tell the world how to treat you, embrace enoughness, and more.” What a great list. One of my favorites is #6.

3. Debating Health at Every Size and Weight Loss and What Size We’re Supposed To Be from Dances With Fat.

4. A Simple Year, 12 months of guided simplicity, each month with a different topic focus, a course offered by some of my favorite people. Registration is open until January 31st.

5. Lemme just grab a selfie with my dogs, one of the cutest pictures ever.

6. Buttermilk Roast Chicken recipe. Looks delicious.

7. Andrea Gibson on the callus of hands and the softness of heart, on the Bawdy Love podcast, “Audaciously love your body.” I adore Andrea, and can’t wait to check out Lauren’s new book.

8. The Best Part of Life from Momastery.

9. Let 2016 be the year of the JOMO, a great cartoon from The Oatmeal. I’m in!

10. Who Says Plus Size Women Can’t? #iwontcompromise. This video is so great, and this project’s mission,

#iwontcompromise is a movement that celebrates doing what we love, wearing what makes us feel good, and being who we are without compromise. No limits, no fears, no judgments, just pure enjoyment. When we hold ourselves back in fear of how we may be perceived, society misses out. Let them stare. Let them see what we can do. Let’s inspire them together.

11. Cat Returns Home With A Note Revealing She Has A Secret Family on Bored Panda. Examples of one of the reasons I have dogs.

12. Tips for Properly Inserting a USB Cable on McSweeney’s, funny because it’s true.

13. Being overweight won’t necessarily make you unhealthy, but feeling bad about it will. Word.

14. People can’t get enough of this new organic, vegetarian fast food. I love Amy’s frozen food, so I bet this place would be yummy.

15. You do not have to be good from Meghan Genge.

16. Woman Goes Viral After Shutting Down Racist Co-Worker in the Most Hilarious Way Possible.

17. I Thought I Was Above Body Image Issues — Until I Lost A Lot Of Weight. “As a result of antidepressants, my weight has always been just outside my control. But when I changed my medication and unexpectedly lost a noticeable amount of weight, I was forced to confront body image issues I thought I was intellectually above.”

18. Our Absurd Fear of Fat. This is an older piece, but it’s still relevant.

19. How to Establish a Daily Practice Of Almost Anything, in Six Steps. So simple, so smart. #2 is one of my favorite hints.

20. A Useful and Incomplete List of Bright Lights, a really great collection of resources from Rachel Cole. Also worth noting is Rachel’s next round of her program Feast is open for applications, (deadline to apply: January 15th).

21. Regularly Scheduled Program from Allowing Myself. Everything Justine writes is so simple, but has such depth.

22. Melissa Harris-Perry has a great point about Oprah’s new weight loss ad. Word.

23. 36 Things I Know After 36 Years of Marriage. As a person in a long term marriage (22 years and counting), I really appreciated this one.

24. Black Bean and Sweet Potato Quesadillas recipe. I’ve talked about these before, many many times. You really should try them — so good. P.S. I double the spices for the potatoes, because they are so yummy.

25. When Can Women Stop Trying to Look Perfect?

26. 4 Principles That Guide My Year from Laura Simms. I love #3.

27. Austin Kleon’s latest newsletter. I was collecting a few things from this list to share with you, but I gave up when I realized the whole thing was too good not to share.

28. Good stuff from Rowdy Kittens Happy Links list: A Good Life, A Good Death, and What My Mother Wanted Us to Pack, and 15 Ways to Simplify Your Life (and Finances) Before the End of 2015.

29. Ylvis – a capella, a hilarious spoof of a type of performance I totally adore.

30. Creative Thursday | season 1 ep.1 | Erin Dollar “Meet Erin Dollar, the designer and founder of the gorgeous Cotton & Flax. Started in 2012, her hand printed home goods now sell worldwide. Join us as we talk creativity + biz on the premiere episode of Creative Thursday!”

31. What was Real and What Was Fake: The Inside Scoop on HGTV’s House Hunters International. I still love this show, even knowing the truth.

32. The Will to Change Must Come From Within from Jonathan Fields.

33. How To Keep Loving Someone.

34. 3 Myths about “Intuitive Eating” from Isabel Foxen Duke.

35. Salon’s guide to writing a memoir, an older post, but still worth reading.

36. A Stunning New Video: Stop. Look. Go. A “stunning, short film of un-hurried, un-plugged summer days with family and friends, beautifully illustrating Br. David’s simple ‘Stop. Look. Go.’ grateful living practice.

37. Is The Fuck It Diet just GIVING UP on My Health?

Day of Rest

image by Jan Tik

image by Jan Tik

This is one of my favorite pictures, and it always reminds me of one of my favorite quotes. I sent the quote to Justine last week because she’s living something really hard, and yet she is still grateful, still risks her heart by keeping it open to love. It’s the human experience to continually be cycling through joy and pain and back again, to live the good news and the bad. There are reminders of it everywhere, of both what is hard and “the tender gravity of kindness.” In my Facebook feed, in my student’s writing, on NPR as it plays on the radio in my kitchen in the still dark of early morning, in emails from friends asking for support and in the way I try to answer with something that will help even though I really have no idea what to say, in the way we all keep trying, keep going in the face of all the hard things, how we still manage to notice the gorgeous sunset and enjoy the warm slice of pie or Adele’s golden voice — life is tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal. Keep your heart open. Don’t give up.

Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could. ~Louise Erdrich

Big Magic Read-a-Long: Trust

trustjustine

My friend and one of my favorite bloggers Justine is hosting a read-a-long for Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Justine provides prompts for each section of the book on her blog, and invites readers to respond in the comments or send her an email. I decided to blog my responses.

Justine’s prompts for the fifth section of the book are:

  • Do you love your work? Do you believe your work loves you in return? (What a radical notion.) Sidebar: I can get so confused when contemplating my “work.” It can feel like two separate things — what I do for someone else in exchange for money (as in my CSU job), and what I create and then offer to the world mostly just because I want to (teaching yoga, offering workshops, blogging, etc.). Most of the time, the second one feels more meaningful but doesn’t translate into much money, if any. So when I think about the work I love, absolutely I love it and I believe it loves me in return. I’ve said it here before, said it even though I know it might sound weird especially coming from a Buddhist, but I believe that work is “God’s work.” It feels like what I’ve been called to do, it feels like it matters deeply, it feels effortless, it feels like it has the potential to ease suffering and as such is so important.
  • How has emotional pain or trying times affected your work? Do you believe that you can create when things are good? I used to think my depression and anxiety were what made me creative, but that was confusion. If anything, the most fundamental quality of depression is an inability to do anything and the most basic feature of anxiety is being so distracted by it I can’t focus on anything. Nothing much gets created in those states. However, difficult times have absolutely affected my work by breaking me down to the bare essentials, opening me up to the fundamental truth of life. Struggle and suffering, if I allow it to, can make me more compassionate, and it’s from this state that a natural wisdom arises, in which a gentle curiosity resides. Being in this receptive state, the best stuff can manifest. Ultimately, I can create when things are good or bad because I have the foundation of my practices to support the process.
  • Choose your delusion: trusting an infinite force you can not see or trusting your suffering and pain? Infinite force I can’t see, for sure. My own stink and mess aren’t irrelevant, but when I trust them as fundamental truth there’s gonna be trouble.
  • Where does the martyr energy show up in your life? How does it (or doesn’t it) serve you? How can you invite more of the trickster into your day? Ugh. In my CSU work and my relationships, I default to martyr. It goes way back to old beliefs that the way to get what I want in life (love, safety, happiness) is to be a good girl. It absolutely doesn’t serve me. It leads directly to despair and dis-ease, the exact opposite of what I’m seeking. As Justine mentions in her post, “Trickster energy is light, sly, transgender, transgression, animist, seditious, primal, and endlessly shape-shifting.” Being open, being curious, being relaxed and receptive are all qualities that I attempt to cultivate, even though I’m not so good at it. For me, the invitation comes in the moments I feel myself getting wound up, tight, angry or depressed, and asking myself “what is really going on right now? what do I really need?”
  • When it comes to passion vs. curiosity, where do you land? How does each one serve you? Where has a creative curiosity led you before? Passion has never been useful to me. It’s too unwieldy, too crazed, too messy. It wants to go too fast, act without thought. It rushes off without even knowing where it’s going. Passion is more likely to cause an accident than anything. It breaks trust, fosters disharmony. I’m saying all this as an intensely passionate person, but having been burned by it, having been hurt by its impulsive nature, I know that I need to be careful with it. Curiosity is much wiser. It’s like the minimalist form of passion, simpler and quieter and calmer. It doesn’t have to move so fast, and it can change it’s mind whenever it wants. Creative curiosity leads to an approach that is infused with ease, freedom, joy, crazy wisdom, and a particular kind of wildness. Curiosity means I’m not bound to one way of being or doing. I can evolve beyond my passion.
  • Ask your soul, “what is it you want, dear one?” and follow what it says. *sigh* It wants more rest, more space, more ease, and more joy. I feel glimmers of just that sometimes, but am still working out exactly how to allow more of it. Hang in there, Sugar.

Big Magic Read-a-Long: Persistence

persistence

image by Justine

You must learn how to become a deeply disciplined half-ass. ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

Before I even look at Justine’s prompts for this section of the book, I have to say that this is one of the best books on creativity and living a creative life that I’ve read in a long time. And for me, it’s perfectly timed, just what I need to hear at the exact moment I need to hear it. The particular shift it’s helping me make, the shift I seem to keep making and then slipping backwards and having to make again, is moving from working because I’m trying to prove myself, trying to earn the right to have what I want, hoping for permission to live the life I long for, to working because I like it, because it’s a good experience, because it brings me joy, because I want to. On to the prompts for this section…

    • Think about what it would mean for you to take vows for your creative life. What ceremony could you invent? What promises would you make? I’ve done this, but not always with ceremony. I did it when I started this blog, made various commitments to 30 day challenges and created other publishing schedules for myself, signed up for classes and went on retreats. I did it when I committed to yoga teacher training and then after to teaching a regular class. I did it when I stayed with Obi and Dexter all the way to the end, when I brought Sam and then Ringo home and vowed to do the same for them. I did it when I took Buddhist refuge vows, the one time there was an actual formal ceremony. I have four practices that form the foundation of my path, my creative life — writing, yoga, mediation, and dog — and with all four, ceremonially or not, I’ve vowed to stay with them, to show up with an open heart, no matter what.
    • What small, sustaining action can you take daily to show your devotion to your creative life? It doesn’t even have to be the same action every day, though rituals are always a lovely way to ground our fears, to call to inspiration and let them know we’re showing up, shining the homing beacon. I have a daily morning practice: I get up and stretch, meditate for 10-20 minutes, and then write for about half an hour. The other thing I do is I have tiny altars, mini shrines at all of the places I practice, including my CSU work office.
    • What things are you so curious about, enjoy so thoroughly, are so interested in that you are willing to eat the shit sandwich that comes along with it? When in your life did you turn away from a pursuit because you just couldn’t stomach the shit sandwich? I eat the shit sandwich that comes with all my regular practices. Writing is hard, trying to get to the truth and then maybe even create something that would be interesting to anyone other than myself, working my way through all the layers of what’s difficult and scary and boring. Yoga is hard when my body isn’t “perfect” or even entirely healthy, and when I can’t seem to let go of expectations, my own agenda. Dog is hard when they need so much and I don’t have it to give them, or when they need something but I can’t figure out what and they can’t tell me, when they get sick or hurt, when I love them so damn much and they die. Meditation, and by extension Buddhism, is hard because it asks so much of me, specifically that I get over myself, show up with an open heart, stay with whatever might arise. I turned away from the pursuit of a PHD, of a full on academic career, of even teaching in that formal environment because I couldn’t stomach that particular shit sandwich.
    • Have an affair with your creativity. What kind of actions can you take to present yourself as sexy to inspiration, to grab stolen bits of time to create, to fib and maneuver your schedule so that you can get that precious time alone, for you? I feel like I do some of this already, stealing time away from my CSU work and even my tiny family to pursue my creativity. Every morning and every weekend are dedicated to it. The remaining shift would be stealing time away from my own laziness, in all its forms, specifically as Adreanna Limbach describes them. For example, sometimes I watch TV and eat a snack because I’m tired, when reading a chapter from a book like this or listening to a podcast or practicing some yoga would be more restful, more energizing, more nourishing. Or, sometimes I make myself really busy by overcommitting to things, trying to prove something or avoid something, get caught up doing what I “should,” when what I really want is to do my creative work, to slow down and see what might happen. So the biggest thing I could do in that regard is get out of my own way, turn towards what I’m really hungry for.
    • Practice being a “deeply disciplined half-ass”. What does that term bring up for you? How can you change your approach to your work? What plan can you “violently execute” this week? This really struck me, as Justine already mentioned in her post. I really want a tshirt that says “deeply disciplined half-ass” on the front. Being a lazy perfectionist is slick with shame and suffering, whereas there’s a freedom, a joy, a satisfaction in being a deeply disciplined half-ass. It means that you happily keep trying, keep going, don’t give up no matter the outcome because the true measure of value in your work is the discipline, the devotion, the practice, just the joy of doing for the sake of doing. Adreanna Limbach says that laziness is essentially forgetting what we want. The antidote to laziness is discipline, which is simply remembering what we want. This shifts everything for me, again, to making sure that I show up because the experience brings me joy and satisfaction, not because I’m trying to prove something or earn anything. And again, I go back to what Elizabeth said in the last section as the why, “committed to living a creative life not in order to save the world, not as an act of protest, no to become famous, not to gain entrance into the canon, not to challenge the system, not to show the bastards, not to prove to my family that I was worthy, not as a form of deep therapeutic emotional catharsis…but simply because I liked it.” Shit sandwich and all.

Something Good

atriumfall

So great to be partnering with Wanderlust to share this list with a larger audience.

1. Good stuff from Seth Godin, The two-review technique and Are you interesting? Both of these are helping me to reframe the way I think about and approach my work.

2. Screw Finding Your Passion from Mark Manson. This post is really great, and yet I can’t offer it to you without also giving you another perspective, equally great (or maybe even slightly better), from Laura Simms: Why You Don’t Need to Find Your Passion to Do What You Love and Instead of Finding Your Passion, Find *THIS*

3. Mom, I’m Not A Girl: Raising a Transgender Child. I’m so glad there are parents willing to move beyond their own fear and confusion to parent with love.

4. Just F*cking Journal Class, an awesome four week course. The next session starts TODAY.

5. Big Magic: Resources Week 1 on Allowing Myself. Are you reading with us?

6. The Power of Maybe…A Story About Accepting What Is from Meg Casey, a powerful post about how we might shift our perspective. “If we are able to drop the story of ‘good or bad’ and just greet our life exactly as it is without judgement we create the maximum conditions for healing in our life. We also by the way, free up resources to help us through whatever life is throwing at us.”

7. Humorous Street Signs and Other Contextual Street Art Interventions by Michael Pederson, an artist in Sydney, Australia, who clearly has a partner in crime in Jeff Wysaski, a comedy writer in Los Angeles, because There’s a Man Scattering Very Funny Fake Books, Signs and Pamphlets Around L.A. It makes me stupid happy that there are people who are willing to make this sort of effort just to make other people smile.

8. 50+ Of The Cutest Baby Animals Of All Time on Bored Panda. As I put this post together, there are 149 submissions so far to this list. I’ve tried to figure out which is my favorite, but how is a person supposed to choose?! And if you were able to survive that, check this out, 15+ Animals Enjoying Autumn Magic (as I post this, the list is at 49). Baby lion playing in a pile of leaves?!

9. The Essence of Hayao Miyazaki Films: A Short Documentary About the Humanity at the Heart of His Animation. “His aim was to make films that would help us all further understand the human condition.” If you haven’t seen any of his films, I highly recommend them…all of them.

10. What I Wished I’d Known Before Setting Out to Become a Writer a guest post from Nicole Baute on Sarah Selecky’s blog.

11. My Lonely Robots Experiencing The Quiet Wonder Of The World, a collection from artist Matt Dixon on Bored Panda. These little guys are so sweet.

12. Did you hear that Oprah bought 10% of Weight Watchers? Here’s some good stuff that got written about it that says what I feel better than I could articulate it: Dear Oprah from Julie Dillon, and Oprah and Weight Watchers, a Match Made In… on Dances with Fat, and Dear Virgie: Oprah Buying 10% of Weight Watchers–WTF? I especially love what Virgie says, “you cannot be actively investing in the diet industry and actively investing in the improvement of women’s lives.” Word.

13. A Soulful Exploration of Inner Wisdom with Susan Piver, an episode of The Unmistakable Creative podcast. I could listen to Susan tell her story all day. What she says right at the beginning is friggin’ brilliant.

14. 17 Beautiful Rooms For The Book-Loving Soul. And yes, I want to go to there, BuzzFeed.

15. Wisdom from Virginia Woolf, “Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.”

16. Why I Focus on Simplicity (and How You Can Simplify Your Life in 2016) from Blonde on a Budget.

17. Qwerkywriter. I don’t know how comfortable this would be to type on, but I love the way it looks.

18. This Is How The Pro-Gun Crowd Sounds To … Well, Normal People. *gigglesnort*

19. Beyond Happy by Omid Safi on On Being, in which he suggests, “What if we strive for something beyond happiness? What if we aim for a life that is about being whole?” I love the poem at the end of this so much.

Here is to a life, everyday and spiritual,
Both individual and communal,
Meditative and ritual,
Embracing all the emotions that make us human,
Leading us to happiness,
And beyond happiness

To being
and becoming
whole.

20. 10 Fast Ways to Become a Better Writer from Sarah Kathleen Peck.

21. Good stuff from Zen Habits, The Underrated, Essential Art of Coping and Why You Should Write Daily.

22. Finding Your Creative Flow: 17 Writer’s Tricks to Get Un-stuck and Start Creating.

23. Beautiful Peace Mantra sung by Tina Turner.

24. Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul.

25. Truthbomb from Danielle LaPorte, “Love is your calling.”

26. Purification. Pain. Passion. And marrying your soul. Or…How to tap your deep creativity. from Danielle LaPorte.

27. 8 Amazing Things Will Happen To Your Brain When You Keep Writing Every Day.

28. 5 Mantras for When You Hate Your Job from Laura Simms.

29. “How I dearly wish I was not here,” a beautiful, heartbreaking story of what it’s like to lose your dog, to let them go. I read it a few days ago and I still can’t even read the title without crying. I don’t want to do this again, e v e r, and yet I keep getting more dogs knowing that this is exactly what will happen with every one of them — it’s a particular flavor of crazy.

30. Just Between You & Me, an unedited and unreviewed weekly conversation between Jen Lee and author/illustrator Tim Manley.

31. Why I opt out of the holidays: A Simple & Meaningful Christmas from Paul Jarvis. This is really, really tempting…

32. It’s Not You, it’s the Clothes from Sally McGraw. It’s so important to remember this.

33. 3 Ways to Say Goodbye to Busyness on Be More With Less.

34. Meditation teacher, medical expert Jamie Zimmerman dies in drowning accident. Yet another reminder to not wait, to not give up, to love what/who you love now.

35. Good stuff from Chookooloonks this was a good week list: “National Geographic is currently accepting entries for its 2015 photo contest, and you can scroll through the best ones so far here“, and “my friend Justin had an adventure in Peru, and since he’s a gifted photographer, he shows us how gorgeous it was.”

36. Bill Murray Talks The ‘Kasbah’ — And The Merits Of A Life Lived Phoneless.

37. After 59 years, Mattel gets it right: the new Barbie ad is awesome.

38. Behind the Scenes With Dani Shapiro, “Memoirist and best-selling author Dani Shapiro shares what she’s learned about herself from her daily practice of writing and completing her books.”

39. Starting a podcast for people who don’t want their lives taken over by podcasting from Paul Jarvis. SUCH good advice.

40. Raise Your Hand Say Yes with Paul Jarvis. Tiffany has interviewed so many great people. You should check out her archive.

41. 7 things I did to reboot my life from Wil Wheaton. “I deserve to be happy. I deserve to feel good about myself. I can do the work that I need to do to accomplish these things.”

Big Magic Read-a-Long: Permission

image by Justine

image by Justine

My friend and one of my favorite bloggers Justine is hosting a read-a-long for Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Justine provides prompts for each section of the book on her blog, and invites readers to respond in the comments or send her an email. I decided to blog my responses.

Justine’s prompts for the third section of the book are:

  • As you read about the idea of permission what came up for you? Are you seeking permission in any areas of your life / creativity? Permission is a huge issue for me in terms of my creative life, my life. For many many years, I knew what I wanted, who I was, but I thought I had to wait for permission. I thought there would be an invitation, or that I had to earn a certification. I misunderstood completely how the whole thing worked, so I waited, got stuck there, almost gave up. The permission I’m looking for now is to live without apology, to want without guilt, to know that I don’t have to earn the right to be here.
  • Gilbert explains the attitude of “insouciance” that allowed her parents to do whatever they liked when it came to their creative living, and how that influenced her own path. What are some of the attitudes and assumptions of your family-of-origin? And, as Gilbert suggests, go back through your family history, where are the makers? Where do you come from? And then, it doesn’t matter. We’re all creators. Make your art. I think there was a lot of fear and compliance in my family history, being rewarded for doing as required or expected, punished for not, and trying to control the chaos in a way that stunted freedom and joy. There was a lot of hurt and struggle. The conditions of living were just so different. Gilbert’s own experience with strong willed, stubborn, smart and gifted parents felt familiar to me. I come from a long line of teachers, fixers, farmers. All the women are crafty and all the men can repair stuff. They built things with their bare hands. They were funny and smart. The conditions of their lives didn’t always allow for full expression of their creativity, but it was right there, just below the surface all the time. In my family of origin, there’s a writer and a photographer and an artist, all who didn’t get to fully experience or express that, which only fuels my desire to keep trying.
  • Gilbert writes of her dad: “He didn’t quit his day job to follow his dream; he just folded his dream into his everyday life.” How can you fold your dreams into your everyday life? Gah. I’m totally doing it. I complain and want out of it (all of which I wanted to take back after reading this chapter), but this is how it’s working. I wake up early so I can practice before going to work at CSU, and then my days are a mix of work I do in the service of others and my own creativity — but they don’t really stay neatly separated, are blurring together and tripping over each other all the time. Like conjoined twins, they are two separate beings and yet they aren’t independent at all. They feed each other at the same time they steal from each other.
  • How are you living your “most vividly decorated temporary life”? By not compartmentalizing things. Practice isn’t just practice. My CSU work isn’t just work. My creativity isn’t just of and for itself. When I teach I learn. When I write, I simultaneously dig in and let go. When I’m by myself, I’m not alone. Being tired is its own form of energy, and work can be its own kind of rest. The lines between things, the boundaries fall away, and there’s nothing but wide open space.
  • Pretend you’re in your own hostage negotiation with those negative, internal voices. Speak directly, but lovingly and make your “statement of intent”. I’m not giving up. It’s that simple.
  • “I enjoy my creativity.” Go on, say it. The whole thing she says right before that is so great. “I told the universe (and anyone who would listen) that I was committed to living a creative life not in order to save the world, not as an act of protest, no to become famous, not to gain entrance into the canon, not to challenge the system, not to show the bastards, not to prove to my family that I was worthy, not as a form of deep therapeutic emotional catharsis…but simply because I liked it.”