Tag Archives: Candy Chang

Something Good

1. READ THIS when you can’t remember who you are, what you do, why you do it — or how to talk about it from Alexandra Franzen.

2. Intimate Portraits of Cosplayers at Home from Twisted Sifter.

3. Simplify Your Life by Writing It Down and The Greatest Secret to Productivity That No One is Talking About from Be More With Less.

4. From Chookooloonks: what are we looking for? which led to what we hope to find.

5. Wisdom from Danielle LaPorte, “With envy out of the way, you’ll have more room for your own greatness.”

6. Wisdom from the Dalai Lama,

When the teachings say we need to reduce our fascination with the things of this life, it does not mean that we should abandon them completely. It means avoiding the natural tendency to go from elation to depression in reaction to life’s ups and downs, jumping for joy when you have some success, or wanting to jump out the window if you do not get what you want. Being less concerned about the affairs of this life means assuming its ups and downs with a broad and stable mind.

7. Good stuff from MindBodyGreen: 10 Ways To Stop Stressing & Start Living Peacefully, and Is It Time To Stop Worrying About Sugar? (You Don’t Have To Quit It), and The Ultimate Bliss Salad With Ginger Miso Dressing.

8. My 10 favorite “Before I die” responses: Candy Chang celebrates the release of her book on the TED Blog.

9. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

We use our emotions. We use them. In their essence, they are simply part of the goodness of being alive, but instead of letting them be, we take them and use them to regain our ground. We use them to try to deny that in fact no one has ever known or will ever know what’s happening. We use them to try to make everything secure and predictable and real again, to fool ourselves about what’s really true. We could just sit with the emotional energy and let it pass. There’s no particular need to spread blame and self-justification. Instead, we throw kerosene on the emotion so it will feel more real.

10. No One is Coming from the Positivity Blog. Oh how I wish the right person would read this, really hear it. *sigh*

11. Hello 35!, a list of lessons Tammy from Rowdy Kittens has learned over the last thirty-five years. She’s one smart cookie.

12. Wisdom from Ronna Detrick, “It is one thing to admit, maybe only to ourselves, what we most want, need, and deeply desire. It is another thing entirely to trust that we might be worthy of such, to give that internal voice any semblance of credibility.”

13. Danielle LaPorte Truthbomb, “So much is a cry for love.”

14. Distraction or desiring? What you are choosing? from Jennifer Louden.

15. Good stuff from Elephant Journal: Can Yoga Save Us? and How I came to love my body–just the way it is.

16. 15 Reasons why Fort Collins is the Greatest City in America. I love where I live, but do not understand why Lee Martinez Park is not on this list. Wait, scratch that — let’s continue to keep it our little secret.

17. The Simple Guide to a Clutter-Free Home from Becoming Minimalist.

18. DIY: Hem Jeans Fast & Easy.

19. your daily rock : amazing grace and your daily rock : let someone help you

20. You don’t need to dance before your double mastectomy to be awesome from Lisa Bonchek Adams.

21. From Susannah Conways’s Something for the Weekend list, The Plant Whisperer.

22. Shared (first stanza) by Kelly Rae Roberts in her newsletter:

What in your life is calling you?
When all the noise is silenced,
the meetings adjourned,
the lists laid aside,
and the wild iris blooms by itself
in the dark forest,
what still pulls on your soul?

In the silence between your heartbeats
hides a summons.
Do you hear it?
Name it, if you must,
or leave it forever nameless,
but why pretend it is not there?
~Terma Collective

23. A 4-Year-Old Girl Asked A Lesbian If She’s A Boy. She Responded The Awesomest Way Possible, a really great talk Ash Beckham gave at the TEDx Boulder, shared here by Upworthy. I especially loved, “Hard is not relative, hard is hard,” and “When you do not have hard conversations, when you do not tell the truth about who you really are, you essentially are holding a hand grenade.”

24. Shared by Tammy Strobel of Rowdy Kittens on her Happy Links: Everything You Need to Know to Start Your Microbusiness and There are no rules.

25. Lessons in love – a tribute to Charlie on Life is Limitless. *sob*

26. This is an actual essay written by a college applicant to NYU.

27. Golden Retriever Puppy Cam. This is only going to get better.

28. Dogs vs. broccoli from Dog Heirs. I had no idea this was so popular.

29. 11 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Business from .

30. Comfort Food: No one brings dinner when your daughter is an addict on Slate.

31. There is no gone, on Painted Path. Amen.

32. Wisdom from Tama J. Kieves,

You want to know “how” you will do your dreams. You want a guarantee. I’ll give you one. Commit to tasting the nectar of anything that brings you joy or peace. Get hooked on your own idiosyncratic ecstasy. You will have found your reason. You will have experienced an undeniable power. Then you will listen to yourself. And that is how you find your how.

33. Wisdom from Parker Palmer, shared by Curvy Yoga, “The heart is where we integrate what we know in our minds with what we know in our bones, the place where our knowledge can become more fully human.”

34. Creating the Life We Want from Annie Neugebauer, in which she says really good stuff, like,

It can be indescribably difficult sometimes, to follow through with our desires. For me, the main push-back comes from intangible socieital pressures. I don’t want to care what others think about me, but holy crap do I ever. I really care. I want people to like me. (Why is that made into such a despicable sentiment? Doesn’t everyone want to be liked?) More importantly, I want people to respect me – or at least accept my choices. The problem, then, arises when what I want isn’t what society wants me to want, and I must overcome that natural instinct and step beyond its draw.

35. 2013 Holiday Gift Guide – Part Two from Rachel Cole. Registration for Rachel’s Wisdom Notes for a Well-Fed Holiday is now open. Most people have holiday traditions, and I think this is becoming one of mine.

36. Stunning Portraits Of The World’s Remotest Tribes Before They Pass Away on Bored Panda. Makes me think two things are natural about, fundamental to humans, that honoring these things is essential to our survival: we are creative and we have a relationship with the earth and its creatures.

37. The first lie… from Seth Godin.

38. Free High-Resolution Photos from Paul Jarvis.

39. Wisdom from Mark Nepo, “To be broken is no reason to see all things as broken.”

40. Day 1: ‘Hey, What’s The Neighbor Doing To His Lawn?’ Day 60: ‘OMG!!’ This is exactly what we are doing to our front yard, little by little.

41. From Positively Present Picks, Two people decided to surprise New York’s jaded subway conductors, and the results will make your day.

42. Photographer Takes Beautiful Portraits of Shelter Dogs to Find Them Homes, shared with me by Justine, who like me wants to rescue all the dogs.

43. New music on SoundCloud. I am obsessed with Furns, and Sales is good too. Furns “Power” might be my favorite new song.

44. Are You Happy And In Love? Here’s Why That Makes You So Sad. from Upworthy. The only thing I disagree with here is that he says the Buddhist practice of non-attachment means you don’t care, and that is just wrong, a misunderstanding of the basic concept.

45. The Control Myth, a brilliant blog post by Michael Baugh that combines dog training with the wisdom of Pema Chödrön and Brene’ Brown, and says “What do we want, control or connection?” Thanks for sharing it, Sarah (and thanks for about 100 other things too), my favorite dog trainer.

46. Two brilliant pieces on being self-employed from the brilliant Susan Piver, Self-Employment: Three Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me and The pain of pricing.

Start Today

There are two chalkboards hanging in the Lory Student Center at Colorado State University. They are based on the work of Candy Chang, a TED Fellow, urban planner, artist and designer. “It is the same concept as Chang’s other walls: a chalkboard with the repeated line Before I die, I want to… Anyone can walk up, grab a piece of chalk and write their hopes and dreams — serious or otherwise,” (Rocky Mountain Collegian).

At this point, the boards are kind of a big mess. People have written over the top of each other, and the boards haven’t been cleaned after being erased and smudged so there is a thick layer of chalk dust, which makes it difficult to read. There’s really no place to write anything new, to add a dream.

Candy’s story about why she created the original board is familiar, she lost someone she loved dearly, and it make her reflective, caused her to contemplate what she wanted out of her life. “Preparing for death is one of the most empowering things you can do. Thinking about death clarifies your life.”

Two of the most valuable things we have are time and our relationships with other people. In our age of increasing distractions, it’s more important than ever to find ways to maintain perspective, remember that life is brief and tender.

I have been contemplating this for the past four years, considering what I’m truly hungry for, what I want and what I have to offer, how I can ease suffering in myself and in the world. For me, this inquiry was also inspired by a loss, two actually. That grief, that radical shift in how things are, that direct and brutal encounter with impermanence reframed the way I see everything.

The harder part for me has been what do I DO now? I have worked hard to repair my relationship with myself, which was abusive and damaged, to love and care for myself so I can do good work from a place of sanity and strength. I have altered how I spend my time, who I spend it with. I have fully committed to practices that help me along my path. And yet, something still isn’t right.

The way I’ve lived and worked for so long clearly wasn’t working–allowing overwhelm, people pleasing, attempting perfection, denying and avoiding reality, smashing myself to bits, thinking I had to earn permission to do what I loved, that I had to prove that I was worthy of love. And yet, when I began to focus on my heart’s work, I found that I had brought some of those same habits, those ways of being along with me.

Recently I’ve been considering what I really want, how I want to feel, what I want my experience to be like. I’m aware that while I want to be connected, to help and be involved, to be accessible, I want a small, simple, quiet life. I have ambitions, but my deepest longing is for freedom, stillness, space, ease, clarity, surrender. I want to live deep in my heart, while keeping it open to the world.

Yesterday, I watched this interview with Susan Piver, part of the Tea Talks series with Jesse Jacobs, founder of Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco.

As she always does, Susan said some things that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about, that make so much sense, that are so applicable to the shift I am making. At one point in the interview (around 26 minutes), Jesse asks Susan if she has any advice for people who want to do what they love, strike out on their own, and she replies:

“Start today.”


“By doing one small thing, whatever it is… It has to be an action, not something you think about, and not trying to change yourself, not trying to become different, not thinking ‘positive thoughts’ or attracting things–none of that. Just do something.”

One small thing. That’s it. Just start. Stop thinking about it, stop wishing for it and start. Embody your intention, follow your instincts. Susan explains a bit later in the interview that the most important thing she learned from her days driving a cab, being Chapter Leader of the Boston Guardian Angels at only 19 (seriously people, she’s a rock star, superhero), was to “Trust your instincts.” She explains how you do so this way:

You can’t learn to uncover your instincts and then act on them. It’s through actions that you uncover your instincts, so it’s going towards what attracts you, starting to work with it and see what happens. And then following that impulse, and that impulse, and that impulse.

I hear this, have found this to be true. This is how it’s been for me. There hasn’t been a clear master plan, a practical or even rational series of steps, no program or method I could follow entirely. I simply had to show up with an open heart and allow what happened, surrender to my longing. And that can be incredibly frustrating. So many times I beg, bargain with the Universe, “I just want to know where this is headed, what’s going to happen, how this will turn out, if I’m doing the right thing.” Instead, I end up having to trust in things I can’t see, believe in things I can’t know for sure or prove, be patient and curious, present.

Near the very end of the interview, Susan shares the most important thing.

The only advice I could possibly give would be please relax, please relax, and observe the world around you, observe your own impulses, and soon you will start to observe how those things are constantly colliding and intersecting, and they will instruct you on how to build your life… if you are attracted to a more adventurous life, a more creative life, you have to slow down.

I have found it to be true, at least for me, that even when you are moving too fast and making too much noise to hear the message the Universe is trying to send you, it will find you, it will find a way in. For me, it’s often something I encounter online, in the thick of complete distraction and overwhelm a space opens up, a clear voice speaks, and I am touched. First it was Candy’s chalkboard. Yesterday, it was Susan Piver. This morning it was Christina Rosalie, one of my favorite writers, bloggers, artists.

Recently Christina’s been blogging about productivity, the creative process and doing less, and it’s been exactly what I’ve needed to hear. In her post today, How to Find Your True Velocity: Do Less to Achieve More, she said, “Yet we also know somewhere in our heart of hearts, that doing more isn’t the answer. Doing less is.” As I told her, when I read this, it touched a place so tender, my hand flew to my mouth to trap the sob, tears stung my eyes. I read it over and over, “we know somewhere in our heart of hearts,” letting it sink in, sinking into that deep knowing that is already there, waiting to be heard.

In a response to my comment, Christina said “I’ve heard you mentioning this longing, this desire for a smaller, simple life Jill. What would that look like, tangibly? What needs to shift?” So today, my one small thing is to answer that question, to consider what I want to do, how I want to be, to make one small shift, and to “remember that life is brief and tender.”

P.S. My answer to Christina’s questions:

Say no when I mean no.
Don’t apologize for or be afraid of who I am.
Slow down.
Be present.
Show up and keep my heart open, allowing what is, surrendering to reality.
Do one small thing at a time, giving it my full attention.
Let go of needing external validation or permission.
Instead of “please love me,” “I love you.”
Deep breaths.
Quiet, space, clarity.
A tender heart.
Let go of my agenda, judgment, control.
Invite ease, eat whole food, get lots of rest.