Tag Archives: Basic Goodness

Trust in Basic Goodness

In the Open Heart Project Sangha, our recent topic for contemplation and discussion has been basic goodness. I’ve written about it here before, but this morning I was reminded of something else I wrote that I want to share with you — specifically because I was thinking about how self-compassion begins with trust in basic goodness. Over a year ago now, my friend Joy put together a 30-day ecourse, called Illuminate Your Heart Whispers: 30 Days of Love Prompts. She invited me to contribute, and I wrote the following about basic goodness.


basicgoodnessskyMy mission in life is to ease suffering, in the world and in myself. My method is trust in basic goodness. My practice is knowing that I am basically good, resting in this truth, and living with this understanding at the heart of everything.

“Basic goodness is our inherent wisdom and compassion, the fundamental nature of all sentient beings. We all possess basic goodness — genuine openness, intelligence, and warmth. Basic goodness is whole and complete, as it is. It is unconditional and does not depend on our accomplishments or fulfilling our our desires,” (Chogyam Trungpa). It is not something we own, or can generate or earn — it simply is.

I am already whole, all of us are — this is basic goodness. I am not a problem to be fixed, or a project to take on, and neither are you, nor anyone else. You are not — no matter what advertising, religion, culture, or that little meanie with sharp teeth that lives in the dark might say — you are not basically bad, you are not unworthy or unlovable.

Certainly, we also might be confused, hurt, discontent, and lost in delusion, and we often cause suffering from this state, but our fundamental nature is always there, intact and available. Our basic goodness is like the sky, clear blue and spacious and enduring — everything else is simply the weather.

You have basic goodness, a deep wisdom and compassion, available to you every moment. It’s right there inside, waiting all the time. No matter what mistakes you have made or bad luck you have, it remains, it cannot be used up or smashed to bits, no matter how hard you might try, how violently you resist, how fast you might run, no matter what happens to you.

Basic goodness is what is precious about each and every one of us. It is what makes us shine and sparkle, what fuels love and right action and great work. It is medicine and magic and maitri, (“loving-kindness”). It is the only thing that is unchangeable, unconditional.

Basic goodness is freedom. “If you are ever going to be free, you must be willing to prove to yourself that your inherent nature is goodness, that when you stop doing everything else, goodness is there,” (Cheri Huber).

You are who you are, you are basically good and you can’t change that, no matter how you try. Certainly, you can change habits or opinions or affiliations or memberships or addresses or hairstyles, but that fundamentally true part of you, that collection of love and wisdom and dirt and breath and blood is basically good, and in a way that is you as only you can do it. It is the best, most brilliant you can give, and the most brave you can be.

It’s such good news, no one believes it. – Chogyam Trungpa

Take a moment with me right now to pause and rest in basic goodness. Right now, in this very moment, place your hand over your heart, feel the warmth there, the beating of your heart, the rise and fall of your breath, and say “I am basically good.” Notice if any resistance arises as you say those words. Be curious about that, but gentle. Take a deep breath and say it again, “I am basically good.” Rest in the deep knowing that this is true.

We can love and accept ourselves, our reality, exactly as we are and exactly as it is. No need for self-improvement or change, no need to earn this. We can simply drop the trying and accept ourselves, exactly as we are. It takes courage to trust in basic goodness, to believe that it is our fundamental state, to believe so of others, but if we can it is the path to freedom and love. Relax completely into who you are, aware in each moment of your basic goodness, your natural wisdom and kindness, and in this way you will be of benefit both to yourself and the world.

My meditation instructor, Susan Piver, has shared a mantra that I would like to offer to you as you develop your confidence in basic goodness. It goes like this:

I am basically good.
All beings possess such goodness.
Knowing this, my heart opens.
When my heart opens, the world changes.

I invite you, kind and gentle reader, to join me, in trusting and resting in basic goodness, in keeping our hearts open. In this way, we can ease suffering, in ourselves and in the world.

What I Don’t Want to Talk About

It’s been a tender morning for me. Ringo woke us up around 3 a.m., with that heaving and gagging that every half asleep parent knows will result in the need for a change of bedding. He threw up a wad of grass wrapped around a small rock, probably eaten when he dug a big hole outside at daycare yesterday, (he had help apparently, and they still adore him). I’m struggling right now with issues relating to the dogs, health and training specifically, some of which is Eric and I’s shared struggle (sometimes our struggle with each other) and some of which is mine alone.

Eric took the dogs hiking, so I’ve been by myself all morning, and yet not alone but rather in relationship with so many people, their wisdom and their suffering.

robinwilliamsrollingstonecoverI started my morning reading a recent Rolling Stone article about Robin Williams. In it, Tom Hanks says, “He had wisdom born of all the burns and scars of his life, and he was funny about it.” Revisiting that loss reminded me of another.

perfectpuppyI bought this book in the weeks before we got Ringo, firstly because of the Cattle Dog Lucy who’s the main subject, in so many pictures throughout. Truth be told, this book kind of made me feel like crap about myself, but reinforced what I was learning about the shift in dog training to positive methods, offers good strategies and sound advice.

The author Dr. Sophia Yin committed suicide this week at 48. She was a pioneer of the humane training movement. Both Sophia and Robin were healers in their own fields, her through her vet care and by helping people build good relationships with their pets, him through entertainment and laughter. I’m contemplating this morning how you can do so much good in the world and still suffer so deeply you can’t see a way through it.

After writing my morning pages, I took a shower and sat to meditate. After that, I watched the first video from Susan Piver for her newly launched Open Heart Project Sangha, which was all about basic goodness, what she calls “square one.”

For some reason, as Susan was talking about basic goodness, I remembered scrolling through my Facebook feed and seeing a picture of a cute fuzzy puppy with the caption, “Ready for a cuddle now.” I was shocked, surprised by my reaction, which wasn’t an immediate softening, no sense of “awww, how cute,” but rather a sense of dread, the thought that “one day that sweet fuzzy is going to break someone’s heart into a million pieces.” You know you are in a rough, tender place when the picture of a cute puppy, rather than making you feel warm & fuzzy, comforted and soothed, instead reminds you of loss, grief, and suffering.

Baby Sam

Baby Sam

Susan ended her dharma talk on basic goodness by sharing that she recently asked Tara Brach, “How is it possible to bear walking through this world in an open state?” This is an important question, because as Susan said herself, we all wonder how, “How am I supposed to walk through this world with an open heart when it’s such a crazy world, when it’s so hard and there are so many things that are so friggin’ painful that I feel like I might literally die if they touch me?”

Tara’s answer was simply “sangha.” The simplest definition of sangha is “community.” We can’t do it alone, and having a community, a place to belong where we can be genuinely ourselves, connect with others, find support, be in relationship, and as Susan describes “together and separately…dare to have confidence in basic goodness” is essential to being able to keep our hearts open, to be able to withstand what’s hard and feel the full wonder of what is beautiful.

I’m guilty of isolating myself. Of disconnecting, shutting down, spending too much time in my own head and by myself. Some of this is time I genuinely need to recharge, to rest and restore, but some of it isn’t so healthy. I get confused, think it’s up to me to solve every problem, to control and fix everything, that there is no help. I can easily sink into despair. I’ve had my own thoughts of suicide. I know there are some people who don’t want to believe that, who would reject and dismiss it, and I don’t feel entirely comfortable confessing it, but it’s true.

My life rehab started with the simple wish to “be a better friend to myself.” Not to be a better person, not to become successful or accomplish things and make stuff, but to practice maitri — loving compassion towards the self. I have a strong sense that right now that means two things: to accept help, to seek out connection and community, and to be gentle with myself.

kitchenbasicgoodnessI started to practice this open gentleness right after I finished Susan’s video. I went into the kitchen to make myself some French Toast. When I reached for the bowl, I noticed the greenness of the green, the way the light reflected off the smooth edges, how much it reminded me of jade. Then, the plate with its branch and buds, how it is square and round at the same time. Both of them sitting side by side on the countertop I chose over ten years ago because it reminds me of rice paper. I got out the bread, dense and whole and heavy with seeds. When I was done cooking my toast, I scrambled the remaining eggs to give to the dogs later and washed the pan. I noticed, let things touch me, was softened by the wholehearted effort I put towards nourishing myself.

It’s a start.

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

Wishcasting Wednesday

Yesterday, my therapist pointed out that I’m trying to find a formula. I was confused and uncomfortable and irritated by that — because she’s right. All of my research and work and searching and contemplating and pushing, all my suffering is a quest to find the right way, the perfect strategy, the foolproof plan, the trick to having a happy, content, successful, safe life. Every book I buy, every new blog I subscribe to, every new class I take, every workshop or retreat I sign up for, all of it is my tiny little heart looking for the secret to peace, to love everlasting and pure. I know it intellectually, but I can’t seem to get myself to accept that this is not going to work. I make grand gestures of letting go, only to feel again the familiar tightness in my chest, to look down and see my hands clenched into fists.

It’s Wishcasting Wednesday, and Jamie Ridler asks “what do you wish to discover?” To discover means finding something or someone unexpectedly, becoming aware — to find, detect, uncover, reveal, unearth.

I wish to discover my truth. The essential and fundamental fact of myself, reality.

I wish to discover my confidence. To manifest what Susan Piver describes as “the willingness to be as ridiculous, luminous, intelligent, and kind as you really are, without embarrassment.”

I wish to discover my basic goodness. To be fully aware of and connected to my innate wisdom and compassion and power.

I wish to discover presence in each moment. To become aware of what is, exactly as it is, to accept it without judgement — to show up for my life, with an open heart, at ease in the vast space of now.

 

Something Good

1. In honor of Memorial Day: Memorial Day: an open letter to our troops on the topic of bravery from Lisa Adams, and Shambhala Mountain Center is offering a special, extended weekend retreat for veterans and their families from August 1-4. “Outer War, Inner Peace will create a safe and intimate setting for discussions and a variety of mindfulness practices, including gentle and powerful healing work with horses. Scholarships are available.” Please share with anyone you think might benefit from this program.

2. New Hyperrealistic Sculptures by Ron Mueck on Bored Panda. So freaky.

3. 10 Simple Ways to Eat Clean & Save Green from Kris Carr.

4. Why it’s so hard to be good (and how to begin) from Sayta on Writing Our Way Home. This one really has me thinking.

5. 26 Steps to Living a Life You Love from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

6. Oklahoma Tornado Survivor Finds Missing Dog During Live Interview.
Instead of reading about all the scary, sad, terrible things, I watched this video.

7. The Obstacle is the Path on Zen Habits. I know this, but sometimes I forget. It’s good to be reminded.

8. Simplify Your Life and Quiet Your Mind on The Spin Cycle and Your Definitive Summer Slow Down Guide on Be More With Less. Courtney Carver’s posts end up on this list almost every week. Maybe I should just put a permanent list item that says “Read Be More with Less.” She’s also doing a Charity:Water campaign for her birthday, because she’s awesome.

9. “Fortunately, it is not required for happiness.” 7 words to re-focus your mind on what matters. from Alexandra Franzen. Same here — maybe you should just take it for granted that I will be telling you every week to read something Alexandra has written, consider it a standing order?

10. Indie Kindred Trailer, a documentary by Jen Lee. Can’t wait to see it.

11. Daily Rocks from Patti Digh: your daily rock : be selfish sometimes and your daily rock : trust yourself.

12. Luke’s Barely Habitable, a video tour of a 78-square-foot live/work apartment in Manhattan. He pays the same amount for rent as my mortgage on an 1100 square foot house. Every video like this inspires me to downsize, start getting rid of stuff, get clear about what I really need.

13. 2013 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest, a set of gorgeous pictures.

14. This wisdom from the Dalai Lama,

Whether one believes in a religion
or not, and whether one believes
in rebirth or not, there isn’t
anyone who doesn’t appreciate
kindness and compassion.

We are all the same — we just want to be happy and safe.

15. Super Summer Challange on Back to Her Roots. This would be super fun and of benefit, if I weren’t already doing one million other things, (yes, I said one million).

16. From Couch Potato to One of the World’s Fittest Menon Forks Over Knives — also very inspiring but probably not something I’m going to do this summer.

17. lisa congdon : THink — a glimpse into the studio + creative world of the artist from Woodnote Photography. I love Lisa Congdon, her art and her story, and love to hear the stories behind people’s tattoos, so this interview is a win/win.

18. My diet secret…The ONLY diet you will ever need! from Kute Blackson. If you have body or food issues, if you struggle, you have got to read this post, watch the video. What Kute has to say here is spot on, and he delivers his message with a huge smile and a ton of energy. Watch it. I’m not kidding. You can thank me later.

19. Creative Living with Jamie: Eric Maisel, Jamie’s weekly podcast interview with a creative person. I mention it this week for a special reason — that Jill she refers to at the very end is ME! But seriously, if you are a creative type, do yourself a favor and take a look at her podcast archive.

20. Convos with my 2-Year-Old, Episode OneI have it on good authority that this video is pretty accurate, not just of this guy’s 2 year old, but of kids in general.

21. roots, on Doorways Traveler, where Lisa Field-Elliot shares this poem,

Allow, by Dana Faulds
There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado. Dam a
stream and it will create a new
channel. Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground. The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild and the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.

22. This wisdom from Kurt Vonnegut,

Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.

Which is good news, because apparently, according to this comic, I am an artist.

you-might-be-an-artist-if-640

23. Fear & Loathing on Facebookfrom Real Mom Nutrition.

24. How buying a pair of mom pants led to an epiphany from Wellness by Design. All I have to say in response to this is amen, and thank you.

25. Frida Kahlo’s Wardrobe unlocked and on display after nearly 60 years.

26. When she comes home from a long day at school, having a bad day, been told off or sad… She cuddles her best friend. This was on Reddit, and I’m totally in love with it. It makes me wish my dogs were a tiny bit bigger.

girlandbestfriend

27. From Your Inner Pilot Light,

When you notice a sensation or symptom in your body, that’s me talking to you, my love. You know that, right? Sometimes you can be a wee bit stubborn. Sometimes you don’t listen when I whisper. Sometimes I have to get scrappy and start bellowing at you in ways I know will catch your attention. Don’t make me yell, my love.

28. Here’s How Austin Kleon Writes on Copy Blogger. At one point, Austin shares this John Cleese quote, “Creativity is not a talent, it’s a way of operating.”

29. Busy Philipps on The Conversation talking about body image.

30. Cabin Porn, shared by SF Girl by Bay. I could get really lost in this site.

31. Freebie | Ephemera from Goodnight Little Spoon, shared by Pugly Pixel.

32. 22 Ways To Get Your Vegan Snack Attack On from oh she glows, shared by Patti Digh on her Thinking Thursday list.

33. Avocado Frozen Yogurt recipe, shared by Kind Over Matter.

34. 70 Cutie Baby Animals Bring You a Good Mood, shared by Positively Present.

35. How to Dance Properly, shared by Susannah Conway on her Something for the Weekend post. Oh my, this brings back memories and brought up lots of laughs.

36. Shared by Tammy on her Rowdy Kittens Happy Links list: Three Essential Elements of Personal Power on Always Well Within (I found this super interesting because what she’s describing is what I would call basic goodness), Famous Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers on Brain Pickings, and My writing practise on Beautiful Again.

37. 21 Love Lessons They Didn’t Teach You in School from Rebelle Society.

38. 10 Best Cases of On Air Giggles from Hello Giggles.

Something Good

tulipbloom

1. “Find what you love and let it kill you,” James Rhodes (thanks to Jeff Oaks for sharing the link).

2. Middle Class Problems and The 13 Creepiest Things A Child Has Ever Said To A Parent on BuzzFeed.

3. A Story of Three Hummingbirds by Tracey Clark and Her Teen on Babble.

4. Wisdom from Susan Piver,

In meditation, it is not helpful to be mad at yourself for the inability to be peaceful. Start where you are. Start with sorrow. Start with rage. Start with boredom/anxiety. Start with high hopes. Start with disappointment. Start with your very own body, breath, and mind.

(PS This applies to everything.)

Your experience IS the practice. There is nowhere else to go. Within your own experience, the entire path can be found. I mean, maybe I’m full of it, but give it a try anyway and see for yourself. I will try too.

5. Why we rescueI’ve shared this link before, but at the time they only had one story. There are more!

6. Where Children Sleep Around the World, a really cool series of photos by James Mollison on Demilked.
earlyspringflower

7. This beautiful bit of poetry from John O’Donohuea reminder, a prayer, a mantra for a new day,

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

8. This wisdom from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, “We do not have to be anything apart from who we are. We can just be.” What a relief…

9. This wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Every act counts. Every thought and emotion counts too. This is all the path we have. This is where we apply the teachings. This is where we come to understand why we meditate. We are only going to be here for a short while. Even if we live to be 108, our life will be too short for witnessing all its wonders. The dharma is each act, each thought, each word we speak. Are we at least willing to catch ourselves spinning off and to do that without embarrassment? Do we at least aspire to not consider ourselves a problem, but simply a pretty typical human being who could at that moment give him- or herself a break and stop being so predictable?

My experience is that this is how our thoughts begin to slow down. Magically, it seems that there’s a lot more space to breathe, a lot more room to dance, and a lot more happiness.

10. 30+ Confidence Vitamins to pump you UP! from Alexandra Franzen.

11. Auto-Tune the New Girl. Just like the show, this video made me laugh.

12. Feel To Live: The Secret Life Of An Empath by Jonathan Fields, (although I totally could have written it).

13. Anatomy of a Leap by Maya Stein.

14. Portraits of 4 sisters every year for 36 years, 1975 – 2010.

15. This wisdom from Chogyam Trungpa, “Appreciate yourself, respect yourself, and let go of your doubt and embarrassment so that you can proclaim your goodness and basic sanity for the benefit of others.”

16. This Facebook post from Anne Lamottin which she says,

That’s all you have to do today: pay attention–being a writer is about paying attention. Stop hitting the snooze button. Carry a pen with you everywhere, or else God will give me all these insights and images that were supposed to go to you. Hang up a shingle on the inside of you: now open for business. Wow! You won’t have to wake up at 70, aching with regret that you threw your creative essence under the bus. And if you already are seventy, then you won’t have to wake up at eighty, confused and in despair about how you let your gift slip away. Because you will have been writing–or dancing again, or practicing recorder–every single glorious, livelong, weird, amazing day.

17. 3 Words I Wish I’d Heard When My Boyfriend Cheated On Me on Upworthy, a video made using advice from Neil Gaiman.

18. Family life frozen in time: eerie images of the abandoned farm houses where even the beds are still made, cool but creepy photos by Niki Feijen.

19. How Plant a Kiss Day Saved my Life from Sherry Richert Belul on Simply Celebrate, in which she says, “Our lives get saved every single moment we are able to fill ourselves with joy. Even, and especially, when that joy is mixed with grief, sadness, and fear. We are saved by kindness, over and over again.”

20. 5 Core Skills Your Life Depends On from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

21. From Brain Pickings: The Secret of Life from Steve Jobs in 46 Seconds and
A Natural History of Love, which gives this amazing description of love,

We think of it as a sort of traffic accident of the heart. It is an emotion that scares us more than cruelty, more than violence, more than hatred. We allow ourselves to be foiled by the vagueness of the word. After all, love requires the utmost vulnerability. We equip someone with freshly sharpened knives; strip naked; then invite him to stand close. What could be scarier?

22. This wisdom from Geneen Roth, “Trusting yourself means being willing to discover the truth about yourself. And value the process of discovering that truth.”

23. One Tree HomeI want this in my backyard. And if I can’t have it, I want this forest summer house.

24. This video. *sob*

25. I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet.

26. Invitation to Basic Goodness Day.

27. “We shall be a mighty kindness,” Rumi.

28. A Show of Hands from Susan Piver.

29. The Wheel of Kindness on Kindness Girl. Such a great idea.

30. Seeing the World in a Coffee Cup on Dwelling Here Now.

31. The Ever Present Possibility of Change on Be More with Less. This makes me think of the delicate balance that exists between acceptance and change.

32. Guy Recreates The Matrix After Asking His Mom to Describe It to Him

33. The 30 Happiest Facts Of All Time on BuzzFeed. Apparently, turtles can breathe through their butts.

34. Should You Turn Your Hobby into a Business? on Create as Folk.

35. your daily rock : every day is day one! from Patti Digh. And from Patti’s Thinking Thursday list: Creamy, Brothy, Earthy, Hearty customizable soup recipes on the NY Times and Ridiculously Easy Curried Chickpeas and Quinoa on FatFree Vegan Kitchen.

36. Two Important Voices. Yours and Mine. from Rachel Cole, who says, “I have a deep faith that some people need to hear the wisdom I share from my voice in order for it to have an impact.” Yes. Yes I do, Rachel.

37. Baby goat plays with huge pig. I have never understood why goats love to climb on and jump off of stuff so much, I just know it’s super cute.

38. Shared by Kat in her Savouring my Saturday postLife in Movement, what looks like a beautiful and heartbreaking documentary, and I Am Her, a book I really really want which also looks like a great gift idea.

39. Finding Your Way Online from Susannah Conway. I originally shared this video when it was posted on Kind Over Matter, but then they took it down. I’m so glad it’s back.

40. Shared by Susannah Conway on her Something for the Weekend list: Thug Kitchen (warning: there is strong language, but also some amazing recipes, information, and tips), the Disapproval Matrix, The Power of a Single Intention interview with Patti Digh, and I’m Triggered on Funny or Die.

41. soundtrack to your life | susannah conway from Sas Petherick. Makes me smile.

42. Isn’t it amazing how fast things can change? on A Design So Vast. Lindsey is such a good mom, a wonderful writer with a tender heart.

43. DeCluttering: the Power of Purging Inclusively on Scoutie Girl.

44. The New Path from Vivienne McMaster. I love seeing someone get so clear about their work, their purpose, their focus. I also love this video she made.

Something Good

1. You don’t have to pander from Seth Godin’s blog, in which he says, “The reason you don’t have to pander is that you’re not in a hurry and you don’t need everyone to embrace you and your work. When you focus on the weird, passionate, interesting segment of the audience, you can do extraordinary work for a few (and watch it spread) instead of starting from a place of average.”

2. Website designs I like, non-perishable goods and Positively Present‘s new look–both simple and clean, minimalist.

3. Daily Rocks from Patti Digh: your daily rock : love your layers, your daily rock : ignore all critics, and your daily rock : forget about the audience

4. From David Whyte’s poem Out on the Ocean,

Always, this energy smoulders inside,
when it remains unlit,
the body fills with dense smoke.

5. New video from Danielle of one of my favorite songs, The Have Nots.

6. one hundred journeys from Sas Petherick, “The disturbing ugliness and the profound love, the sheer bloody hilarity of being human.”

7. From Geneen Roth, “Peace and contentment are feelings that take practice to achieve. They are not a consequence of being successful or being in love or being thin. They are, among other things, a consequence of stopping in the present moment and looking around.”

8. Why being rash, hasty & stupid is the smartest thing you can do from Alexandra Franzen.

9. The Bigness of God from Julia Fehrenbacher.

10. My Best Mistake: Too Much Success by Gary Vaynerchuk.

11. How to write books and articles more quickly by Cynthia Morris. I will most likely never be this organized, and yet I still aspire to be.

12. Two things that made say “OMG!”: Royal Winnipeg Ballet to debut Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale” next season, and coming out this fall, Mary Oliver’s collection of dog poems, Dog Songs.

dogpoemscover

13. From Danielle LaPorte, these Daily Truth Bombs, “What do you really want to happen, really?” and “No dream will serve you if you’re forcing yourself to make it happen,” and New Age Judge Judy and Lessons in Yoga Class.

14. From Elephant Journal,  8 Blunt Truths About Becoming a Yoga Instructor,
Complete Protein? Complete Nonsense, The 10 Things You’ll Do Once You Start Yoga That Have Nothing To Do With Yoga, and The Positive Attitude Paradox.

15. A Miniature Bohemian World, which further reveals my love for book filled, messy spaces.

16. Pictures of people who mock me on Salon.

17. Off Camera interview with Aimee Mann.

18. Loveland’s Anthology Book Co. gets new lease on life. Such good news!

19. Masterpiece In A Mug: Japanese Latte Art Will Perk You Up.

20. From Bored Panda: 22 Unbelievable Places that are Hard to Believe Really Exist, (holy wow…), and Dad Illustrates Kids’ Sandwich Bags with Fun Drawings Every Day.

21. I have a crush on Jeff Oak’s writingI found his blog through another of my writing crushes, Guinevere Gets Sober. The fact that they both understand grief and addiction, and have beautiful black dogs doesn’t hurt one bit.

22. The Spiritual Journey, inner journeys and stories of personal growth.

23. Why you should write daily on Zen Habits.

24. On All the Sentimental Stuff and Clutter from Be More with Less, (speaking of writers I have crushes on who have amazing dogs).

25. This quote from Mark Victor Hansen, “Your belief determines your action and your action determines your results, but first you have to believe.”

26. Manifesto on Basic Goodness on Huffington Post–a plan I can get behind.

26. A Beginner’s Guide to Neil Gaiman

27. The Conversation is back! Well, sort of. There are two new, short interviews–better than nothing!

28. In celebration of being ordinary, from Jennifer Louden.

29. Finding a New Rhythm from Jen Lee in which she says,

It’s funny because the old-school approach to getting work done–the entrepreneurial, management-style approach–says that if we start clearing our spaces or wanting to read in bed, we’re just avoiding our work. That we should “push through” and keep in motion.

But that approach has never worked for me in the realm of creative work. Clearing space and resting are as essential to my productivity as the sun and water parts are for growing plants.

30. plumb the depths 26 questions for pure insight from Kylie on effervescence, the art of liking yourself. Also on effervescence, why it’s not selfish to make art…that’s just for yourself.

31. 30 DIY Ideas How To Make Your Backyard Wonderful This Summer. I probably won’t do any of them, but they are awesome, (especially the backyard beach and the tents).

32. Shared by Positively Present, 33 Dogs That Cannot Even Handle It Right Now and Alison Brie mimes your favorite memes.

33. From Susannah’s Something for the Weekend post, 30 Abandoned Places that Look Truly Beautiful and Sneak Peak: Paula Mills and Family, a beautifully designed living space.

34. I am in love with this treehouse.

35. This can still happen anywhere.

36. Shared by Stephanie in her Weekend Treats post, Self-Care Is Not A Punishment and 29 Ways to Stay Creative: Start with Darkness.

37. The calming manatee.

38. 39 Reasons Why You Must Read In Order to Write Well, shared by The Mojo Lab.

39. Writing advice from writers handwritten on writers’ hands [14 pictures]

40. Expiration Date by Lisa Bonchek Adams. Lisa’s story, her telling of it keeps breaking my heart, and sometimes I think it would be better to look away, to stop following her, to stop watching and reading, checking in and waiting, that it would somehow be a healthier choice, a saner option to disengage. But then I realize “Lisa is dying.” Someone’s mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend is dying. She may not be literally mine, and yet she IS mine, and for that reason, I won’t look away, won’t unsubscribe or ignore or wish it away. I will be a loving and kind witness to her reality, which in the end is the same for all of us.

41. The most difficult practice of allfrom Susan Piver–“stop feeling bad about yourself.”

Day of Rest

packagefromsusannah

I got the most precious package in the mail yesterday. It got me thinking about how grateful I am for all the amazing women in my life. This morning as I was writing in my journal, I made a list of names. It took up two full pages, and I wasn’t even done–friends and teachers and artists, women who offer support, wisdom, inspiration, and encouragement.

I have a clear vision about where my life is headed, an “exit” plan that will make my paid work and my heart’s work one and the same. I aspire to make my living, my loving teaching ecourses and workshops and retreats and “face to face” courses, blogging and writing books, maybe also offering some kind of one-on-one creative coaching or therapeutic support. Writing and yoga and meditation would be at the center of these offerings, my core practices, with the intention of bringing women into relationship with their creativity, opening their hearts to what is and who they are, and helping them to develop trust and faith in their own basic goodness–their essential wisdom, kindness, and power.

I feel so lucky that I have support and such amazing role models. The books and blogs they write, the classes and workshops and retreats they offer, the art they make, the friendship they extend, their open and tender and brave hearts. I aspire to be like them, and in so doing be more deeply and authentically me.

superhero earth necklace made by andrea scher, a gift to myself

Today I rest in honor of the essential kindness, wisdom, and power of all women. I offer my rest, my self-care, my gentleness, my joy, my mindfulness in gratitude to all those women who’ve shown me how to sink into myself, how I might love myself, and what I have to offer. They have collectively crafted a map to the center of my own heart, at the same time that they have urged me to trust myself, to make my own way.