Tag Archives: Beauty

Something Good

1. 75 ways to live a positively present life from Positively Present.

2. Karen Walrond at TEDxHouston 2012, shared on Upworthy in their post This Is Why Your Lover Thinks You’re Gorgeous In A Holey T-Shirt And Sweatpants. I recommend her blog too, maybe start with this recent post, random thoughts: on happiness, gratitude & meaning. She’s a speaker, photographer, writer, and all around superwoman “wildly convinced you’re uncommonly beautiful.”

3. Sh*t Hipsters Say.

4. This wisdom from Aart Van Der Leeuw,

The mystery of life
is not a problem to
be solved,
but a reality
to be experienced.

5. When I Read This I Think of You and 10 Things to Do When You Get Up Before the Sun on Elephant Journal.

6. Wisdom from Anne Lamott on Facebook.

7. Wisdom from J.M. Porup, “The job of the writer isn’t to answer questions. The job of the writer is to ask the questions for which there are no answers.”

8. The Daily Life of a Grandma and Her Odd-Eyed Cat, a sweet series of photos by Miyoko Ihara on demilked.

image by Miyoko Ihara

9. The World’s Top 10 Most Unusual Bonsai Trees.

10. One of my favorite websites, Humans of New York, now has a theme song, and I have a new favorite band.

11. This wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook, and what she said about morning.

12. 11 Habits You Need to Give Up to Be Happy and 7 Effective Ways Happy People Think from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

13. Your Daily Rock from Patti Digh: your daily rock : make peace, and your daily rock : recharge your soul, and your daily rock : wholeheartedly.

14. What if the Gift is the Ending? We Can Reimagine Our Lives? from Rachael Maddox.

15. Just Because He Breathes: Learning to Truly Love Our Gay Son on Huffington Post. On her website’s about page, this mom says,

Although I am a Christian, I feel broken-hearted by the things that the church in America has become most known for. You will never find me marching in a parade against gay rights, abortion rights or immigrant rights. I do not resonate with those who are known for being AGAINST things, especially when what it amounts to is being against people’s hearts and souls.

16. How to Enjoy a Chore-less Weekend from Be More with Less.

17. Turning kindness inward, what Judy Clement Wall had to say about her Self-Compassion Saturday post.

18. How to Let Go: 5 Essential Tips on the Positivity Blog.

19. Home Retreat: The Practice of Doing Exactly What You Want from Susan Piver.

20. “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” ~Gloria Steinem

21. Wisdom from Natalie Goldberg,

There is no ultimate goal in meditation. Meditation is an acceptance of the mind, however it comes to you. And the mind changes all the time, just as the ocean waves change. Sometimes the water is turbulent, sometimes calm. Thoughts rise and then disappear; you don’t grab hold of them. The heart beats, the lungs breathe, and the mind continues to produce thoughts. Even if you’ve practiced for a long time, it will still produce thoughts, but you’re no longer thrown by them. You don’t have control of your mind; it goes where it wants to go. But with practice, you can have a relationship with it.

22. Discipline, devotion & dazzling charm: what I learned from three of the most famous bloggers in the world from Alexandra Franzen.

23. Wisdom from the book Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong by Norman Fischer,

We admire people who are wealthy, famous, or skillful in some way, but it’s not hard to be like that. If you are born with some talent, a little luck, and you know the right people, you can do that. Many people do that. Much more difficult and much more wonderful is to be a bodhisattva. Not someone that many people know about and talk about but someone who has the almost magical power of spreading happiness and confidence wherever he goes. What a vision for your life, for your family, to be a light for those around you! To think of everything you do, every action, every social role, every task, as being just a cover for, an excuse for, your real aspiration, to be a bodhisattva, spreading goodness wherever you go. This requires no luck (even if everything goes wrong in your life, you can do it), no special skills, no need to meet special people and get special breaks. We can all do this. This is the aspiration we should all cultivate for training the mind.

24. Wisdom from Tama J. Kieves,

When I was younger, “being different” cost too much. I did anything I could to fit in. These days, “being normal” costs too much. I’m not willing to fit in with the pack, if it costs me my soul, my strength, and my reason for being. I didn’t come here to duck. I came here to fly.

25. Becoming More Authentic: Accept Yourself and Stop Seeking Approval on Tiny Buddha.

26. Wisdom from Tulku Thondup,

For any spiritual training or mental activity, we need concentration. Learning how to concentrate makes our minds strong, clear, and calm. Concentration protects our inner wisdom, like a candle flame sheltered from the wind. If our minds are cluttered with plans, concerns, thoughts, and emotional patterns, we have no space for our true selves.

And

Learning to live in the moment is a great and powerful skill that will help us in everything we do. To ‘‘be here now,’’ relaxed and engaged in whatever we are doing, is to be alive and healthy. In Buddhism, the awareness of what is happening right now is called mindfulness.

27. Every place is under the stars, a really great quote shared on A Design So Vast.

28. Appreciating My “Regular” Job and 50 Ways You Can Be Brave Today on The Self-Compassion Project.

29. Twenty seconds away from more joy! on Cherry Blossom Soup.

30. Whitney Cummings on The Conversation

31. From Brave Girls,

Today we have a sweet little challenge for you. What if for the next 24 hours, you focus on what is right, and not waste a single minute thinking about what is wrong? What if you run towards what you want, instead of running away from what you don’t want? What if you notice the beautiful little miracles and ignore the big distractions. What if you listen to the voice inside of you and let all of the other voices go? Just for 24 hours? Will you take us up on it? We suspect that it might just end up being one of the best days of your life. Enjoy it! Every single second of it! You are so loved. xoxo

32. Wisdom from Mr. Rogers, “There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.”

33. Mark Bittman’s Spicy Cheddar Shortbread recipe. I make a biscuit like this that my friends call “crack biscuits,” so I am totally going to try this one.

34. From Positively Present Picks: How to let go of your ego, How to buy happiness, and A Dad had some weird conversations with his two-year-old daughter. So he reenacted them with two grown men, (two new episodes!).

35. From Rowdy Kitten’s Happy Links: Xanthe Berkeley Photos and Films, which led to this, her video set on Vimeo — really beautiful work.

36. From Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list: honeysuckle biscuits with sea salt peach butter + honeysuckle mint vinaigrette, gorgeous food, luscious recipe.

37. Lots of new episodes on Why We Rescue.

38. When Facebook Likes Meet Real Life, Things Get … Complicated on Upworthy.

39. This wisdom from Hafiz, “You yourself are your own obstacle – rise above yourself.”

40. This wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Whatever we’re doing could be done with one intention, which is that we want to wake up, we want to ripen our compassion, and we want to ripen our ability to let go. Everything in our lives can wake us up or put us to sleep, and basically it’s up to us to let it wake us up.

Gratitude Friday

This post started as a mashup of The Little Bliss List and Joy Jam, and as such is meant to celebrate: the little things that brought me hope and happiness this week, the sweet stuff of life, those small gifts that brought me joy this week. By sharing them, I not only make public my gratitude, but maybe also help you notice your own good stuff and send some positive energy out into the world.

1. Dexter and Sam curled up next to me in bed. All of us together, safe, warm, sleeping (well, except for me who is awake to notice the moment).

2. Food, satisfying and good. Grapefruit juice and avocados. Meatloaf with lots of ketchup. Biscuits and strawberry rhubarb jam from Lucile’s. Roasted brussel sprouts.

3. Small kindnesses, moments of beauty. The way the light hit the snow and made it sparkle, seeing someone’s glove fall out of their pocket and being able to return it to them, Dexter feeling enough better that he wants to play again, Sam pressing his head against mine and sighing his warm breath into my neck, friends sending me silly videos or posting cute pictures on my Facebook wall, love notes from Eric, kind comments and gratitude.

4. Things that could have been worse, but weren’t. I am especially grateful this week for talented and compassionate veterinary staff.

5. A supportive spouse, who helps me remove the cactus spines from Sam’s leg, gives Dexter the shot he needs twice a week, who convinces me to go to my paid work office for just a little bit so I can get out of the house and on my own even though I don’t really feel up to it, who feeds me so well and lets me rest, who tries his best to understand when I seem to be (am?) losing my mind.

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter, even though it was an especially rough one. I took him to see his regular vet this week, because when Dexter was diagnosed in August, he was given the standard prognosis of 95 days–that was six months ago. She took a good look at Dexter and conceded that considering how well he’s been doing, and the absence of any sort of facial deformity or other changes, there’s a good chance that his tumor is slow growing, and some dogs with those tumors live anywhere from 6-24 months beyond their initial diagnosis, even without treatment, (although, she did caution that some of the dogs that make it to 24 months are in really bad shape and should have been let go sooner). Maybe I’ll get to have a ten year old dog after all.

Day of Rest

I was reminded of this video today, shared it once already, almost a year ago, but am compelled to offer it again. I first saw it on Susan Piver’s blog, where she said “We could start each day by watching this: how to open your heart.”

#Reverb12: Day 4

reverb12There’s an odd magic happening with the Reverb prompts I’m using. Checking five different lists, one not even from this year, you’d think it would be a random collection of things, but it’s not. As I work my way through, they weave together, connect and support each other, giving a universal answer, telling a single story about the year I’m leaving behind and the one I’m entering into. They reveal things to me I hadn’t considered or seen, give me the space and opportunity to reflect and contemplate. Magic.

Fear

The full prompt is: “When were you most scared? Why? How did you respond? How do you wish you would have responded?” (Author: Mary Churchill).

Two things come immediately to mind: Dexter’s “bloody scare” and the World Domination Summit prefunction of sorts party at Kelly Rae Roberts’s Studio, (I talked about that second one just the other day).

bloodyscare

Before Dexter was diagnosed with cancer, we took him in to have a nasal scope, to rule out something stuck in his nose that might be causing his symptoms, and for a biopsy if they didn’t find a foreign object. It’s always stressful having your dog put under anesthesia, and it’s even more nerve wracking to know that the procedure might find cancer. It ended up being even worse then that, because when they tried to wake Dexter up after, he started hemorrhaging profusely from the biopsy sites (multiple tiny tissue samples that shouldn’t have caused such a bad reaction, but did), and the only way they could stop the bleeding was to sedate him again.

When we went to pick him up later in the day, they wouldn’t let us take him home, and suggested it was probably best if we didn’t try to see him, (we agreed, getting him excited and then leaving him again wouldn’t have helped). We had to leave him with the emergency vet overnight, and when we left him, they weren’t sure what was going to happen, which meant I didn’t know if I’d ever see him again. It was one of the worst nights of my life, and I was so scared I could hardly sleep, couldn’t eat, had to force myself to drink anything, felt sick with worry and panic. Things worked out okay (other than the fatal cancer diagnosis), and we now refer to it as “The Bloody Scare.”

P.S. I forgot to answer the last part of the prompt! I reacted by loving Dexter something fierce when he came home, accepting his cancer diagnosis with grace, so happy to have him back, to see him again after not knowing if I would, that instead of resisting his loss, I opened myself completely to it, grateful for whatever time we would have left together.

Place

The full prompt is: “What places anchored you this year? Or were you in search of new places and spaces to call your own and call home? Describe the place you love and why it means so much to you.”

beachgrassWaldport, Oregon. Half my heart lives there. Every other year, we try to plan a month long vacation there, and the rest of the time, I dream about it, miss it. I’m not sure I could ever again live year round with the gray sky and rain of the Pacific Northwest, but it still is home to me. I love everything about it (in my dreams it is always summer)–walking and walking, hiking, looking for shells and agates, gazing at the sky and listening to the waves, eating good food, taking long naps, renting movies at Waldport Video, being at ease, laughing, spending lazy afternoons reading books or listening to the radio. My heart breaks a little when we have to leave it, but I also love my little house in Colorado, my bed, my studio space, my garden, my routine here and my friends.

Music

The full prompt is: “Did you discover a favourite song or musical artist in 2012? What is it? Where did you discover it? Does it hold any special meaning for you? If you do not listen to music, how about your favourite book or author? Or artist across all mediums?”

My favorite new artist is Yuna. Her voice, style, lyrics, sound all are so spot on perfectly lovely. I wrote all about her when I first discovered her, and shared this video.

Beauty

The full prompt is: “How have your standards of beauty shifted in the past year?”

thanksgivingsky08The shift has been from perfection to wabi-sabi. In our culture, if you are a woman, perfection of body means straight and white teeth, skin that is slightly tan but has no wrinkles or blemishes or scars, all over tone, no cellulite, big boobs and small waist, young and fit, blah, blah, blah. Our homes are supposed to look a certain way, our families and children, our relationships and our work, our lives are suppose to look a certain way. We can never measure up to that standard, so in the last year, little by little, I’ve let it go.

I’ve surrendered to the brilliant mess. Things broken and dirty, old and dying, loved and worn, alive and full of joy, imperfect and impermanent. When I talk about beauty, I mean something more like the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which is all about accepting transience, and about knowing what is beautiful is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. Something is wabi-sabi if “an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing” and this view “nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect,” (Wikipedia entry on wabi-sabi).

Celebrate

The full prompt is: “How are you going to celebrate your self this festive season?”

eyeiI’m going to honor myself. Ask myself what I want, what I need, what I’m craving, what I’m truly hungry for, what I want to stop doing, what I want to let go of. I am going to ask, really listen, respond. I am going to do what the brilliantly compassionate Sunni Chapman suggested on Facebook today, listen to my heart and be truly, madly, deeply alive:

In the quiet of your heart, lies every answer. Take it up with her first. Mind will always offer a second opinion. Thank it for it’s opinion, and go back to the truth that moves you. If it doesn’t move you, it’s not alive… and all you’ve ever wanted to be was truly, madly, deeply ALIVE.