Tag Archives: Body

License to Love Myself

theworstfilteredMy new driver’s license came in the mail yesterday. The picture is terrible. I can’t stand to even show you the full measure of it, can only bear to post this modified version. I expected it to be bad, but was shocked by just how bad. I wasn’t smiling because I was afraid I’d do that weird blank stare I sometimes do when I smile for a picture, or that I’d do that thing where I squint one eye so much smaller than the other, or that other thing where I tuck in my chin so that it completely disappears. In trying to avoid all those things I just look annoyed. It looks more like a mugshot. They tell you to look down because the light of the camera is so bright they don’t want you looking directly into it, and move your hair away from your face because they are using “facial recognition software” (um, wait, where did I agree to that?!), which made made me do the thing where my chin disappears anyway. One side of my collar is also flipped weird. The capture makes me look heavy and sloppy and mean.

Change, if it is to be long lasting, must occur on the unseen levels first. With understanding, inquiry, openness. ~Geneen Roth

You try to feel good about your body, okay about who you are, accepting and gentle and kind, and then your new driver’s license comes in the mail and the picture they took of you is so bad, and you have to live with it for the next five years, no Retake Day like for school pictures. But I’m not worried. My prediction is that in five years when I get a new license and a new picture, I’ll finally be in my authentic body. I’m not saying that I will necessarily look any different, but rather that my true self will be embodied in a way it just isn’t right now. This body is so tired, swollen with the expectations and judgments and criticisms it’s carried, puffed up by things that don’t belong to it, burdened by all the ways it’s been hurt, holding the weight of all the stuff I haven’t been able to release. This body is not free … yet. And still, I am free to love it, utterly and completely.

I made a list a while back of the 25 reasons I carry extra weight. At some point, I’ll dig it out and share it with you. What I can say for now is a lot of it has to do with protecting myself, having a physical barrier between myself and the world. So some of it is a choice, but some of it isn’t — cultural expectations, social norms, the way my metabolism has been ruined by years of starving myself to meet them, genetics, hormones, an autoimmune disorder, other mysterious imbalances, the food I eat, how I move, my environment, injury. My body and the way it works is a puzzle, a mystery. I’m only now giving myself permission to figure it out for myself, to know and understand what it needs, enjoys, and how to heal it, keep it healthy and happy and strong. It’s been interfered with, bullied, abused for so long. I’m not going to let that happen anymore.

 

Day of Rest

softdexterConfession: Even though I don’t talk about it as much as I did, I am still missing Dexter something awful. I was looking through my archive of journals this morning for something specific I wanted to write more about, stumbled across my entry from the day Dexter died, and maybe partly because Sam and Eric were gone on a walk and I was alone and knew no one would hear me or be upset by it, I started sobbing. It seems harder to “get over” this loss because I still wasn’t really over losing Obi or Kelly when “it” happened again. And to be quite honest, since I’m confessing, coming clean, in the past five or six years really awful stuff has happened, much of which I didn’t talk about here, either because it was someone else’s stuff or because the consequences of speaking out were too great. Add that to the fact I’m an introvert and Highly Sensitive Person who is easily overwhelmed and it’s a toxic mess.

Stress, suffering comes from resisting what is happening, when things aren’t going the way we wanted, and no matter how evolved we might be, how able we are to stay with, cope with the hard stuff, no one wants to see those they love suffer, get sick, or die. My delusion that I should be able to help, to fix it, and smashing myself to bits if I can’t, only adds more suffering.

Continuing in the spirit of confession, yesterday I ate an entire bag of Smart Puffs. They are all natural, gluten and trans fat free with no preservatives, and an entire bag is 630 calories, which is less than a Big Mac or a Peanut Buster Parfait, but still it was a deliberate binge. I was tired, frustrated that my energy wasn’t keeping up with everything I wanted to do, so I took a break to watch TV, a really good show from Mike Birbiglia, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend. I finished off the tail end of a bag, less than 10 puffs, could have stopped right there, but made the decision to open a new bag. Multiple times I made the decision to keep going, keep eating, and eventually finished the whole bag.

(This video has been helping me to be gentle with myself when I eat something I think I shouldn’t, I remember his sweet little voice listing off everything he’d eaten, groan about how it was too much, and it makes me smile, have a sense of humor about it rather than beating myself up)

Underneath any binge is always the collection of all the other hard stuff I haven’t quite been able to deal with, all the bad stuff that’s happened, the things I’m sad or worried about, what’s been lost, the various times and ways I’ve abandoned or denied myself.

The bottom line, whether you weigh 340 pounds or 150 pounds, is that when you eat when you are not hungry, you are using food as a drug, grappling with boredom or illness or loss or grief or emptiness or loneliness or rejection. Food is only the middleman, the means to the end. Of altering your emotions. Of making yourself numb. Of creating a secondary problem when the original problem becomes too uncomfortable. Of dying slowly rather than coming to terms with your messy, magnificent, and very, very short—even at a hundred years—life. The means to these ends happens to be food, but it could be alcohol, it could be work, it could be sex, it could be cocaine. Surfing the Internet. Talking on the phone.

For a variety of reasons we don’t fully understand (genetics, temperament, environment), those of us who are compulsive eaters choose food. Not because of its taste. Not because of its texture or its color. We want quantity, volume, bulk. We need it—a lot of it—to go unconscious. To wipe out what’s going on. The unconsciousness is what’s important, not the food. ~Geneen Roth, Women Food and God.

whatareyouhungryforI am rereading Geneen Roth’s Women Food and God. You already know, if you’ve been reading, that I am working with a therapist who specializes in dis-ordered eating. I’m also starting a book group with the book Intuitive Eating led by Rachel Cole. I’m making an effort, but in other ways I am surrendering, letting go of effort, letting go of pushing and trying and forcing. I also am back to weighing the most I’ve ever weighed, after losing this same 20 pounds six years ago, having hired a trainer and started yoga and even running and going on yet another diet, starving myself down to what seemed acceptable. Slowly the weight came back — some due to more food less movement, some because of the shame I felt being called obese by someone who was supposed to be helping me, some of it because my body is changing and my metabolism and energy levels just aren’t what they were — but mostly because I wasn’t dealing with the underlying issues.

Brave Belly

When you believe without knowing you believe that you are damaged at your core, you also believe that you need to hide that damage for anyone to love you. You walk around ashamed of being yourself. You try hard to make up for the way you look, walk, feel. Decisions are agonizing because if you, the person who makes the decision, is damaged, then how can you trust what you decide? You doubt your own impulses so you become masterful at looking outside yourself for comfort. You become an expert at finding experts and programs, at striving and trying hard and then harder to change yourself, but this process only reaffirms what you already believe about yourself — that your needs and choices cannot be trusted, and left to your own devices you are out of control. ~Geneen Roth

I don’t want to keep doing this, cycling through restriction and binging, punishment and control followed by rebellion, shame and smashing myself to bits. I’ve lost all sense of what my authentic body might be and I want to discover it, that point at which I am both happy and well, sane and healthy. I want to reach the point where I can stay open to what is happening, show up for what is exactly as I am, to feel the full weight of how sad I am, how much I have lost, allowing how much it’s going to hurt. And the one thing I know for sure — it’s not about the food.

Wishcasting Wednesday (on Thursday)

Change

image from Jamie’s post

I spent all day yesterday resisting Jamie’s wishcasting prompt: What do you wish to change? Change = to make or become different. It’s a risky, slippery concept for me, can quickly take me from good intention to judgement and criticism, to focusing on everything that’s wrong, practicing rejection and denial rather than working with what is from a place of curiosity and openness, understanding and acceptance.

For example, if I say I wish to change how I care for and relate to my body, it’s not long before I’m making a list of rules, shoulds, and restrictions, which leads to self-loathing, beating myself up, regret and depression, focusing on all the ways I’ve let myself down, rejecting the body I have now, denying it love and acceptance because it’s not good enough, because I want it to be different, because I wish to change it.

Wishing for change is also risky for me because it can so easily shift my focus to the future, pull me out of the present moment into planning and strategizing, doing, doing, pushing and pulling. In this state, there is no ease, no rest, no balance, no kindness.

Of course, I wish for change in all sorts of ways, specifically in the ways that the current state of things might be causing suffering. Alexandra Franzen always says she wants to leave the world a better place than she found it, to leave the people she encounters better than she found them, so I suppose this is a good, simple way to frame this wish: I wish to change things for the better, and in so doing may I release my agenda, avoid judgement and attachment, and ease suffering, in myself and in the world.

Self-Compassion Saturday: Courtney Putnam

I am posting late today, kind and gentle reader. I went hiking with my boys this morning, a long and quiet time together, space and silence that I sorely needed. This post was waiting for me to write it, but I knew that if anyone would understand the choice to be out in the green instead, it would be my dear friend Courtney Putnam.

I haven’t actually met Courtney in person, and yet she’s one of my favorite people, a true friend. A few years ago, a piece of her art was selected for the cover of a reader being used in the English Department at Colorado State University, and the Composition Program director at the time, friends with Courtney’s mom, told me, “you and Courtney need to know each other.” We became friends on Facebook, and the connection was immediate and true. We have lots in common, but more than that, Courtney is pure magic, pure medicine, full of courage and love and joy.

Courtney describes herself this way, “Solopreneur of Rising Bird Healing Arts in Seattle, WA. Massage therapist, Reiki Master, Intrinsic Coach®, artist, writer, teacher,” a Creative Healing Artist.

I told her when she emailed her responses to these questions, “As with every interaction, every time we connect, every time you touch or encourage or inspire me or make me smile, I feel the deepest longing, make a wish that we were closer, that some day, some day…” Some day we will meet, have a long conversation over tea, but for today I am so happy to share her perspective on self-compassion with you, a thing both powerful and gentle.

courtneyom1. What does self-compassion mean, what is it? How would you describe or define it?

I love that the word “compass” is nestled in that word compassion. So is the word “passion.”  In self-compassion, the compass points to yourself; the passion for self-understanding is part of our mission. Self-compassion is self-love, self-empathy, self-mercy. Self-compassion is the act of saying YES to yourself, of sending the message “I matter,” and of experiencing self-love even when self-loathing has the louder voice.

For me, self-compassion is making room for all that I am, even with my struggles, illnesses, challenges, pain, and insecurities. Self-compassion says, “That’s okay, I still love you” to pain even when pain writes me a letter that says, “Dear Courtney, I hate you. Yours, Pain.”

TrustYourself by Courtney Putnam

TrustYourself by Courtney Putnam

2. How did you learn self-compassion? Did you have a teacher, a guide, a path, a resource, a book, a moment of clarity or specific experience?

The human body has been my primary teacher in my journey with self-compassion. The body forgives us, doesn’t hold grudges, and is constantly working to create equilibrium for us. It does this naturally, innately, and autonomically. We don’t need to ask our bodies to work on our behalf: it does so with complete humility and love.

I have been a bodywork practitioner for over eleven years, and I have had the honor of working with people and their amazing, wise, truth-telling bodies. What I have learned is that the body we inhabit knows only self-compassion and self-acceptance, even though our minds often don’t. We can be very hard on our bodies – not only in how we ask a lot out of them physically, but also in the way we think about and talk to them.  And we can ignore the messages of the body completely, which makes the body’s self-healing/self-compassion system have to work harder.

ScarMatrix by Courtney Putnam

ScarMatrix by Courtney Putnam

The body is a barometer for how we are doing and in my work I see the deep interconnection between the mind and body. Our bodies want to be acknowledged. It’s a very simple process, but sometimes hard to do because we have so many thoughts and feelings in the way – worry, anxiety, self-loathing, grief, sadness.

Here’s an example of how self-compassion is my teacher and guide during my sessions:

When there is tension or pain, I place my hands where I feel stuckness and I ask my client, “What is here?” or “What is it like for you right in this spot?”

I hear answers like,  “My grief lives here. It’s spreading like wildfire. It’s red. Burning, burning.”

I ask: “What does this spot want?  Listen.  Allow the messages to come….”

Client: “It wants air, moist cool air. It wants to cool down. It wants me to cool down. My grief needs room to breathe. It doesn’t like being contained in the fire.”

Me: “Let’s give this place cool, moist air then, okay? Imagine your next breath is cool air filling your whole chest, soothing everything.” [I place my hands on my client’s diaphragm and ribs.]

Client: [She breathes a few times. The body receives the acknowledgment of the pain, of the hot grief, the constriction — and in response to the attention and intention, the breath deepens, the heart opens. Tears flow.] “I have more room now. The red is turning green with pink on the edges.” [Another big breath surfaces naturally.]

Me: “Now what does this spot in your body have to tell you? What are you noticing?”

Client: “I hear ‘Thank you’ coming from the grief. And the grief isn’t burning through me. It’s more like it’s flowing like a river. It’s cooler, softer.” [My client’s body whole body softens.] “I also hear that I’m okay, even with this grief, right in this moment I am okay.”

LetEverythingGo by Courtney Putnam

LetEverythingGo by Courtney Putnam

The body loves to be heard and our act of listening deeply and asking what our bodies want or need to tell us is self-compassion embodied.

Compassionate transformation happens when we notice + ask what is needed + listen + breathe in what is needed.

3. How do you practice self-compassion, what does that experience look like for you?

My self-compassion practice has many incarnations, including …

… asking my body what it needs and then obliging its request

… dancing to KC and the Sunshine Band in the living room wearing sequins and feathers

… napping with  my cat Selkie (in the middle of the day, even when it is beautiful out)

courtneyandselkie

Courtney and Selkie

… crying while creating mixed media collages and listening to Sigur Ros

… writing YOU ARE OKAY in dry erase marker on my bathroom mirror

… reciting these mantras when I feel anxious: “ride the wave, it will pass” and “just be with it, don’t resist”

… saying “no” to going to an event or party

courtneygrateful4. What do you still need to learn, to know, to understand? What is missing from your practice of self-compassion, what do you still struggle with?

Oh goodness, there are oceans and caverns and mountains I still need to learn when it comes to self-compassion.  For starters, it is much easier for me to help others with self-compassion than it is to help myself.  Helping my clients, my friends and my family with self-love and self-healing comes naturally, but when it comes to my own self-nurturing, I have to work at it.  I know a lot of people in the helping professions would agree with me on this. We often give and give and neglect to receive. We can fray at the edges, feel the weight of other people’s problems, and exhaust ourselves. We neglect to ask for help or to take the time to give ourselves the same attention we give to others.  I have to be very attuned to my own body’s messages – and learn to take breaks, say “no,” or ask for support from others. As of this writing, I am giving myself a huge helping of self-compassion: I am taking a summer sabbatical from my bodywork practice to recharge, recalibrate, and soak up some self-nurturing time. I hear my body gently whispering yes yes yes.

courtneygentleI am so filled with gratitude and love for Courtney, for taking the time to share her responses, for doing the work she does, for being just who she is. As I told her, I so needed to hear her talk about the body being connected to the practice of self-compassion, and when I read this the first time, “We don’t need to ask our bodies to work on our behalf: it does so with complete humility and love,” it made me have to pause and cry a little.

To find out more about Courtney, to connect with her:

Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Tammy Strobel.

P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning.

#augustbreak2013 Day 18

Looking Down

Eric and Sam went hiking without me today. I had planned to go with them, but this morning decided I shouldn’t. My right quadriceps muscle has been tender and irritable the past few weeks, getting tight and sore when I don’t pay attention, work it too hard. The last time I ignored an issue like that in my knee, kept hiking and running and pushing it anyway, I ended up with an injury that took almost a full year to rehab. I don’t want to do that again.

Now that I’m older, I have to give my body a different kind of attention. I can’t ignore the aches and pains like I used to, can’t insist that we keep moving in spite of them because any small thing can turn into a big thing, something chronic if I’m not careful. It sucks. I wanted to go hiking this morning so bad. I don’t want to be limited or held back, resist accepting this reality, the experience of an aging body.

Baring illness or accident, the women in my family live a long time. I can reasonably expect to make it to my early 90s if I continue to take care of myself. That’s great news, (and yet at 45, I am at the peak of my life, a literal middle age, half way there already). I’m looking forward to the wisdom, the ease that comes with time, even if I do have to take a lot more naps.

Something Good

1. Writing and Speaking for Introverts, from Chris Guillebeau on The Art of Non-Conformity.

2. Good stuff from Alexandra Franzen: And So It Goes and “If all else fails…” 10 of the BEST possible worst case scenarios and Terrified Of Missing Out? (Me, Too.) 31 Mantras For Me – And You!

3. Good stuff from Marc and Angel Hack Life: 6 Things You Will Regret About Today and 7 Questions to End Your Week With and 6 Reasons Your Relationship is Suffering.

4. Dear Body, by Vivienne McMaster on Kind Over Matter.

5. Jason Sudeikis, Ed Helms Parody Mumford & Sons in Band’s Video on Mashable. I like it when people can laugh at themselves, don’t take themselves so seriously.

6. Wisdom from Sakyong Mipham, “If we do not appreciate the sensitivity and subtlety of the human heart, how can we appreciate the sensitivity and subtlety of the natural world?”

7. Let’s Talk About Dogs and Euthanasia: When Is It Time? Should You Be Present? a good article by a vet on Dogster about an important topic if you live with and love a dog. I have made this decision twice for my dogs, determined when it was time, when their suffering had surpassed their quality of life, and needed to be there with them, was lucky enough to be, but that might not be the right decision for everyone.

8. Rawness of Remembering: Restorative Journaling Through Difficult Times a new class offered by Esmé Weijun Wang.

9. Good stuff from Be More With Less: How to Master the Art of Slowing Down and Simplicity is Not a Destination.

10. Sex Everyday for a Year from Brittany Herself.

11. How my cat Refurb accidentally raised nearly $1000 for charity.

12. Why I changed my mind on weed by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. I wish more people would take the time to do the research before forming an opinion, before passing judgement — but I think that about just about everything.

13. Somebody Went And Wrote the Ultimate Craigslist Missed Connection on Gawker.

14. You are enough. by Sherry Richert Belul.

15. Amy McCracken on 3x3x365, talking about grief, explains so perfectly what it’s like to live it. And just four days later, she shares the best news ever.

16. Vegan Zucchini Corn Fritters recipe. We have so much zucchini right now that I have an eye out for new ways to eat it. We are also going to try it as a pizza topping.

17. Dear Condescending Advertising Agencies: This Is What Your Ads For Women Look Like on Upworthy. In other advertising news, my dog Sam has real issues with the Kia Hamsters.

18. a ten point guide : the myth and magic of homo sapien introvertus in which Sas Petherick suggests the perfect introvert motto, “I’m okay, you’re okay. Please leave soon.”

19. Burglars Return Stolen Computers To Nonprofit With Heartfelt Apology Note on Huffington Post.

20. A beautiful art installation and explanation from the artist, originally shared by Karen Walrond on her blog Chookooloonks,

21. Crowdsourcing Hope from Hopeful World.

22. So much cuteness (and reminds me so much of my Dexter), As promised, more pics of my half German Shepherd Dog, half Norwegian Elkhound named Reboot! on Reddit.

23. From the Positively Present Picks list: Recipe Remedy, 5 Ways to Get Out of a Slump, 5 Tips to Stop Making Comparisons and Feeling Bad About YourselfConquer Clutter in a Month Infographic, and this wisdom from Robert Brault,

Optimist: Someone who figures that taking a step backward
after taking a step forward is not a disaster, it’s a cha-cha.

24. Emerging Women, October 10th-13th in Boulder Colorado. Just another thing to add to the list of amazing things happening that I won’t be doing but probably would if I had unlimited time, energy, and funding.

25. Wisdom from Geneen Roth on Facebook,

I think I’ve probably told you all this before, but I thought about it again this morning and so wanted to write about it again… My friend Natalie Goldberg once told me that we are always practicing something and most of us practice suffering. That really touched me. In each moment, depending on where our attention is, we are either practicing being awake, being presence, or being caught up in our stories. The past, the future. What he or she did, what I will do when, when a particular thing happens and I will finally be happy. You know the way it goes. So, in this very moment, what are you practicing?

When I remembered what Natalie said, I was practicing a familiar kind of suffering. I was believing one of my top ten stories about what’s wrong with me. And then, the moment I remembered what my friend said, I realized I had a choice. I could stop. Right now. Then I noticed that the sun came out in my body. I felt lighter. I felt free. The moment you realize you have a choice, the moment you stop being enthralled by your own fantasy, everything changes. It’s as if a bubble pops and you wake up from your own dream. So–what are you practicing right now?

26. Dancers Among Us, a beautiful set of images.

27. Does anyone know how to stop binge eating? from the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.

28. A Couple Leaves their Jobs to Build a House of Windows in the Mountains of West Virginia from This is Colossal.

29. How to Do Yoga With Your Cats, a sweet and funny video, (and P.S. most cats I’ve known would murder you if you attempted this).

30. This wisdom from Sharon Salzberg,

It is never too late to turn on the light. Your ability to break an unhealthy habit or turn off an old tape doesn’t depend on how long it has been running; a shift in perspective doesn’t depend on how long you’ve held on to the old view. When you flip the switch in that attic, it doesn’t matter whether its been dark for ten minutes, ten years or ten decades. The light still illuminates the room and banishes the murkiness, letting you see the things you couldn’t see before. It’s never too late to take a moment to look.

31. Dear Diary, from Jeff Oaks, in which he suggests, “Let it go. See what happens.”

32. Good stuff from Tiny Buddha: Stuff We Don’t Need: 5 Reasons Why It Doesn’t Lead to Happiness, Discovering the Elusive Truth and Falling in Love with Yourself, Finding Life Through Death: How Loss Teaches Us to Appreciate More, and Wabi Sabi: Find Peace by Embracing Flaws and Releasing Judgment.

33. Will this be the scariest thing I’ve ever done? in which Satya of Writing Our Way Home talks about her plans for a three week digital sabbatical.

34. Choosing to be formidable from Seth Godin. I want to be someone who is “magic about to happen.”

35. Hungry for the Impossible from Rachel Cole. (P.S. Her next session of Ease Hunting starts September 2nd, I took the first and highly, wholeheartedly recommend it).

36. Danielle Ate the Sandwich interview on Living Myth Media. I especially loved her last answer.

37. The story of Aero on K9Runner. If our Sam had been a bit older when Animal House rescued him, this story could have been his. I am so grateful for the people at Animal House and the volunteers like Pete who commit to giving dogs without a home another chance.

38. Caught this guy playing with himself. Don’t let the title fool you, this is one of the cutest, sweetest videos ever.

39. This wisdom from the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, from the book Beyond Anger: How to Hold On to Your Heart and Your Humanity in the Midst of Injustice

We all depend on one another. For this reason, whenever we act according to self-interest, sooner or later our selfish aims are bound to clash with the aims of the people we rely upon to accomplish our own goals. When that happens, conflicts will inevitably arise. As we learn to be more balanced in valuing others’ concerns with our own, we will naturally find ourselves involved in fewer and fewer conflicts. In the meantime, it is helpful to acknowledge that conflicts are the logical outcome of this combination of self-interest and interdependence. Once we recognize this, we can see that conflicts are nothing to feel shocked or offended by. Rather, we can address them calmly and with wisdom.

40. “All of us have special ones who have loved us into being.” *sob* 10 seconds isn’t going to be nearly enough, Mr. Rogers.

41. What Is a Diet vs. a Way of Eating? from Anna at Curvy Yoga. She’s so smart.

42. Meditation Practice is Your Ultimate Best Friend on Elephant Journal.

Something Good

1. Fort Collins, Colo., might be the happiest place on Earth on LA Times. I love where I live.

2. How To Boost Creativity With A Morning Routine from Fran Sorin.

3. Everyone saw the biracial Cheerios commercial, but kids saw it differently. This is a great video. The little girl with freckles is my favorite.

4. Dave Matthews breaks down on bicycle, gets a ride to his concert from fan. Reading this made me cry, thinking about how magic happens, how this person was just being a decent human, offering to help someone who needed it, and got such a great surprise reward for it.

5. how trusting my body makes my dreams come true, a great reminder from Sas Petherick.

parkinggaragebird

6. How I decide what to charge for {everything} I create from Alexandra Franzen.

7. Elizabeth Gilbert’s posts on Facebook. It’s like she’s writing a mini blog there, and her posts are so good that I can’t stop sharing them. Here’s one on Bringing Up The Light, which sent me to the paint department to look for my color. Does Running Away Work? was another really good post.

8. Do Whatever Makes You Happy, from Christian Novelli.

9. Also from Christian Novelli, 46 Reasons To Exist. What 46 things are on your list?

10. The Space Between and Learning How To Stop The Glorification Of Busy on Scoutie Girl.

11. Chris Rock Gives The Best 60-Second Piece Of Advice To Liberals, Conservatives, And Human Beings on Upworthy.

12. Most Celebrities Promote Products They Like. Ellen DeGeneres Is Not Most Celebrities. and BOOM, ROASTED: Here’s Why You Don’t Ask A Feminist To Hawk Your Sexist Product on Upworthy.

13. Take The Human Test, a brilliant set of videos from ZeFrank, who has a habit of making brilliant videos.

14. Golden Retriever Champ: Probably the Happiest Dog In The World and Meet Norm, Pug With the Best Selfies on the Internet on Bored Panda.

15. Terms of Endearment from Rachel Cole.

16. Louis CK – Animated: If God Came Back

17. Rest in Peace, Tiger.

18. Preorder the Humans of New York book. One of my very favorite projects.

19. My son and dog’s 2 1/2 year friendship on Reddit. The last picture in the set is so sweet.

20. 21 Cozy Makeshift Reading Nooks on BuzzFeed DIY. We all need one of these, a good book and a dog or two.

21. How To Be Happy: Simple steps to lead a simple and content life. Yes, please.

parkinggaragevine22. Coolest Dad Ever on Elephant Journal, a Latino Depeche Mode cover band that consists of one dad and his two kids, one girl and one boy. Cool.

23. Dad Captures His Son’s First Year, One Second Per Day, and It’s Lovely, another cool dad.

24. My Girlfriend Weighs More Than Me. So What?

25. 21 Things to Stop Saying Unless You Hate Fat People on Live Love Grow.

26. Confessions of a life coach : slogging through the muck from Amy Kessel.

27. from running to runner from Jessica Swift.

parkinggarageface28. We Shake With Joy, a short poem by Mary Oliver.

We shake with joy, we shake with grief.
What a time they have, these two
housed as they are in the same body.

29. 14 Things You Didn’t Know About Neil Gaiman on BuzzFeed.

30. 5 Powerful Resources for Decluttering Your Home and Living More Simply and How to Release the Grip on Your Comfort Zone on Be More with Less.

31. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

The next time you lose heart and you can’t bear to experience what you’re feeling, you might recall this instruction: change the way you see it and lean in. Instead of blaming our discomfort on outer circumstances or on our own weakness, we can choose to stay present and awake to our experience, not rejecting it, not grasping it, not buying the stories that we relentlessly tell ourselves. This is priceless advice that addresses the true cause of suffering—yours, mine, and that of all living beings.

32. Home Bound Blues, Raf Horemans travel blog which includes the most beautiful photography.

parkinggaragehands33. Evidence for the suggestion that racism isn’t natural, it is taught: The 40-Year-Old Photo That Gives Us A Reason To Smile and this more modern picture that shows the same from Reddit.

34. Wisdom from Tama J. Kieves,

You may think that making the “right” decision guarantees you success. But, really, knowing that you can’t fail is what guarantees success. You can’t fail because the Love that guides you is infallible and can always course correct.

35. Latest Parenting Trend: The CTFD Method.

36. Allison Mae Photography does it again. Oh Allison. Oh Idgie.

Photo of Idgie, a.k.a. Honey Badger, by Allison Mae Photography

I couldn’t bear to have Allison take pictures of Dexter, could never bring myself to go through with it, make that call, just knew looking at images this beautiful when the boy was gone would have hurt too much, would have felt too bad to have two of my dogs captured this way when Obi was already gone and would never have the chance. But now that there’s just Sam, and there will be another boy one day soon-ish, I think a session is in order.

37. 10 Epic Treehouses Cooler Than Your Apartment on Mashable.

38. 40 Days of Dating.

39. Just One Paragraph, from Christina Rosalie. This is a great idea, but I can’t take one more thing on right now. Check her comments section for other bloggers taking part in posting just one paragraph each day for 30 days. I am loving reading Christina’s posts, like this first one for example, Making Saturday Slow on Purpose {Just one Paragraph: 1/30}.

40. Things I want to remember from Susannah Conway. Oh my, the poop moment — who knew such a thing could be so sweet.

parkinggaragemural41. How you can ask for — and receive — cosmic guidance from Danielle LaPorte.

42. Something else Elizabeth Gilbert posted on Facebook,

Several years ago, I went to see an ophthalmologist on account of some recurring trouble with eye strain and general blurriness. During the exam, the doctor asked me, “Do you spend much time reading or writing?” I replied, “Only when I’m awake…”

Me too. Me too.

43. Walking Across America: Advice for a Young Man.

44. From Rowdy Kittens’ Happy Links list, Life is Not Perfect. Fortunately.

45. If I lived alone, this might be what my place would look like: anahata katkin: papaya! on SF Girl by Bay.

parkinga46. your daily rock : no expectations

47. How To Draw Mandalas (And Why You Want To) from Andrea Schroeder.

48. Shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend List: So, How Was Your Day? and So We’ll Always Remember.

49. This story, of how good people can be, and how important it is for us to share the good stuff, because apparently this wasn’t reported on the news.

The ashes of Sean Misner, one of the 19 firefighters who died last week in Arizona, were being transported by his wife back to their hometown on Tuesday. She was in his truck and is pregnant with their unborn child. On every overpass for nearly 500 miles there was a tribute similar to this. Pretty damn remarkable and worthy of more media coverage than most of the other stuff that has been on tv lately. Wanted to share because our media has seemed to overlook it.

firetruck50. love this: ellie’s current favorites from Liz Lamoreux. I love the sweet way that Ellie sees the world.

51. Dog Finds A Tiny Kitten, Risks Everything To Save Her on BuzzFeed. Hopefully these two get adopted together.

52. Calvin and Hobbes Documentary Trailer Gives Us All Kinds of Feels on The Mary Sue.

53. If I were to take another online class right now, it would have to be Be Your Own Beloved, “a 28 day photo adventure designed to cultivate self-compassion through the practice of taking self-portraits” with Vivienne McMaster. The next session starts on August 1st.

54. This wisdom from Audre Lorde, “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”