Tag Archives: Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Day of Rest

driftwoodbeachbird

the beach at Waldport, where half my heart lives

On October 1st, Humans of New York posted the following. The picture wasn’t what drew me in, although she is a beautiful woman, it’s what she said. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since, keep wondering where I need to go deeper.

“If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?”

“When a wave comes, go deep.”

“I think I’m going to need an explanation for that one.”

“There’s three things you can do when life sends a wave at you. You can run from it, but then it’s going to catch up and knock you down. You can also fall back on your ego and try to stand your ground, but then it’s still going to clobber you. Or you can use it as an opportunity to go deep, and transform yourself to match the circumstances. And that’s how you get through the wave.”

This reminds me of a story I heard Pema Chödrön tell once, about an interview she had with Chögyam Trungpa where she asked him some version of “My life is falling apart, I’m totally miserable, and what should I do?” and his reply was,

Well, it’s like being in the ocean when the waves are really rough and high. They knock you over and you find yourself on the floor of the ocean with your face in the sand. The sand is getting in your nose and your mouth and your eyes and the waves are holding you down. But then the wave recedes and you stand back up and you walk until the next waves comes in and knocks you down and the same thing keeps happening. And each time you just stand back up and after awhile it seems to you that the waves are getting smaller and smaller, (from How I met Rinpoche).

So today, on this day of rest, there is this: with each difficulty, within struggle, we can go deeper, and with practice, we become stronger — in both ways, one can “transform yourself to match the circumstances.” This seems to me to be really good news, knowing that suffering is fundamentally workable.

Something Good

For those of you who are new to my blog, here’s the story behind my Something Good posts: When I am feeling bad, I will often ask my husband Eric to “tell me something good.” When I need something to hang on to, to make me feel better, something to show me that it’s not all bad. When I am in that dark hole, way down at the bottom, and the mean things with teeth are down there with me –”tell me something good.”

He’s really good at it, because even when all he can think of is “I love you,” it totally works. I mean, how great is it that the person that you picked and who said “yes” almost 20 years ago, and knows you better than anyone, knows all the embarrassing and ugly stuff, continues to love you? He usually is able to give me a whole list when I ask him, followed by a hug and “what can I do for you, how can I make you feel better?”

So on A Thousand Shades of Gray, Monday’s feature is: Something Good. I like the idea of gratitude generating joy, and the opportunity my gratitude has to spread joy when I share the good things, so every Monday, I give you a list.

Here’s this week’s list:

1. 5 Plants You (Almost) Never Have to Water on House Logic.

2. Stunning Self-Portraits by a 14-year-old Photographer on Bored Panda.

3. Diana Fayt’s Painted Rocks (& Other Lovely Things) from Lisa Congdon.

4. Be Brave: A Poem-Film for Anyone Asking for Courage to Create from Jeffrey Davis.

5. Cute Pets in Windows from Bold Italics, originally shared by Rachel.

6. Reflections on Fearlessness and Best Links (May), a great list of good stuff from Sandra at Always Well Within, (confession: one of my posts is on the list).

7. Reason to Forgive | DubStep, video of a 12 year old who is an amazing dancer.

8. You’re not needy. You’re starving. from Rachel Cole. Amazing.

9. Out of the water from Lisa Bonchek Adams.

10. Patrick Stewart Speaks About His Childhood, Domestic Abuse and PTSD. The woman involved in this specific moment wrote about it on her blog as well, Let me tell you a thing, about an amazing man named Patrick Stewart.

11. This message from Brave Girls Club came just when I needed it,

Dear Sweet Girl,

You don’t have to have special permission to take a break, you know. You have done enough. When you are tired, and weary and feeling worn out, you need to be kind to yourself and take good care of your body and your spirit.

Please be good to yourself, beautiful friend . . . the world is not the same without the best of you. The people that you love the most have better lives because of you and the people you have not even met yet will have enriched lives because of you.

Your life will be better, happier, more effective, more efficient and more meaningful if you stop and take care of yourself. No more putting guilt trips on yourself or letting anyone else do it. No more working yourself so hard that you can’t even feel anymore . . . it’s time to REALLY nurture and take care of yourself. You are a gift to the world, please take care of YOU. Today’s a great day to start.

12. There’s Just No Time from Paul Jarvis, shared by Laura of Create as Folk.

13. Rijks Museum Free Hi-Res Art Downloads shared by Pugly Pixel.

14. Introducing Prancercise, just silly enough to be kind of awesome.

15. Be the Giver from Danielle LaPorte.

16. 9 Rules for a Simpler Day from Zen Habits.

17. What is Your Gift to the World? on Scoutie Girl.

18. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Tigers Above, Tigers Below: There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs, and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.

Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life, it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.

19. 7 Things You Need to Stop Doing Every Day from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

20. Make Me: Fabric Gift Bags from Decor8.

21. Celebrate and Embrace Ventures and Adventures from Be More with Less.

22. Her Lilac Jacket on SouleMama. The sweetest pictures! This one is my favorite, (her little hand!).

23. Racists Very Upset Over Interracial Family in Cute Cheerios Commercial. The little girl in this commercial is super cute. Someone posted on Facebook last week about this and added, “Whomever has a problem with this better just go buy a white hood right now and be honest with yourself.” I couldn’t agree more.

24. it’s complicated from Sas Petherick. *sigh*

25. Inside the Paris apartment untouched for 70 years: Treasure trove finally revealed after owner locked up and fled at outbreak of WWII.

26. Your Daily Rock from Patti Digh: your daily rock : what would love do?, and your daily rock : just breathe, and your daily rock : you are enough.

27. Name-calling Has Its Place: BED is Now Named as a Distinct Eating Disorder. So what’s in it for you? from Drop it and Eat.

28. Another Origami Fox from How About Orange. I wish I was better at this. I’d be making some of these, (shared by Positively Present).

29. This quote, People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. ~Iris Murdoch

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30. Google Poetics, (shared by Positively Present). “This blog started collecting Google Poems on October 2012 and is run by its founder Sampsa Nuotio and curator Raisa Omaheimo. Google Poetics is born when Google autocomplete suggestions are viewed as poems.” I could get lost in this site for a very, very long time. For example,

pain is temporary
pain is weakness leaving the body
pain is inevitable suffering is optional
pain is love

Or,

I am a disco dancer
I am a dwarf and I’m digging a hole
I am a dynamic figure
I am a dreamer

Pure awesome.

31. Patti Smith, We all have a creative impulse, shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend list. The site where this video is posted, Channel Louisiana, has lots of other really cool stuff, if you want to get lost for a little while and haven’t already spent all your time on Google Poetics. Also on Susannah’s list this week was What’s Inside Our “Going Out” Bags.

32. Humans of New York. I’ve shared this site before, but it’s so good, I want to share it again in case you missed it the first time. You can also follow them on Facebook.

33. Issa Rae: Own Your Awkward on The Conversation.

34. From Rowdy Kittens’ Happy Links post: A Revolution of Contentment by Sandra Pawula on the Bridgemaker, and Chic Tiny House in Omaha Nebraska on Air BnB, (the loft beds in tiny houses always make me think of sleeping in a tree house — magic).

35. My Dentist Was Made To Believe I Was Dead And It Made Me Realize Why I Shouldn’t Kill Myself And You Shouldn’t Either on xojane.

36. This wisdom from Marianne Williamson, “The kind of rest you seek you will find not from sleeping but from waking.”

37. This Poster Might Just Change Your Life. by Nicole Duncan on Elephant Journal.

38. This wisdom from Lama Christie McNally, The Tibetan Book of Meditation,

Tibetans say we should do our meditation practice “as if our hair was on fire.” We should have the same urgency to get out of this pain filled place as someone who has just woken up in a burning, smoke filled house. But it’s hard- all the distractions of this life keep stealing away our time and our mind. We keep telling ourselves, “I’ll meditate later.” Then one day you look up and realize life has passed you by, the time is gone, and it’s too late.

39. This wisdom from Jen Lemen, “I don’t want to be famous or popular or known for anything other than that I was deep and wise and had a soul that was wildly beautiful, full of mercy and light.”

40. Amanda Palmer on Creativity as Connecting Dots and the Terrifying Joy of Sharing Your Art Online and Be All Your Selves: Joss Whedon’s 2013 Wesleyan Commencement Address on Embracing Our Inner Contradictions on Brain Pickings.

41. Quotes shared by Justine Musk, You cannot truly enjoy life through your mind…It’s through the heart + the body that we get to party,” (Kagiso Msimango), and “There’s nothing more powerful than a woman who has met the truth inside her. Nothing,” (Meggan Jane Watterson).

42. Are Children Natural Vegans? by Sara Crolick on Elephant Journal.

43. This quote from Cheryl Stayed, “That silence is such a beautiful thing. It’s like the stars at night in the great alone and you there beneath them, saying thank you.”

44. Karma and Smartphones: How to Use Technology From a Buddhist Perspective, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche on Huffington Post.

45. Dog People Problems, from Reddit.

goodmorning

46. 2 year old problems: cinnamon rolls aren’t instant, from Reddit.

twoyearoldproblems

47. Wisdom from Chogyam Trungpa,

Meditation is not a matter of trying to achieve ecstasy, spiritual bliss, or tranquility, nor is it attempting to be a better person. It is simply the creation of a space in which we are able to expose and undo our neurotic games, our self-deceptions, our hidden fears and hopes.

48. Father and 2-year-old boy sing Beatles’ ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ in viral hit.

49. Let go … again, still, more from Lindsey on A Design So Vast.

50. The Pros and Cons (But Mostly Pros) of Adopting a Shelter Dog on Hello Giggles.

51. you are worthy. from Liz Lamoreux.

52. Feeding the Right Wolf, with Marianne Elliot on Sacred Circle.

53. The Big Book Giveaway! from Susannah Conway. This is a great set of books, some of my favorites! You should totally enter this, (but just know, I plan on winning the Book Bomb).

bigbookgiveaway

P.S. I think this might officially be the longest Something Good list e v e r.

Something Good (on a Tuesday)

1. This quote from David Whyte, from his Readers’ Circle Essay, “Self Knowledge.”

Self-knowledge is not clarity or transparency or knowing how everything works, self-knowledge is a fiercely attentive form of humility and thankfulness, a sense of the privilege of a particular form of participation. It is a coming to know of the way we hold the conversation of life, and perhaps, above all, the miracle that there is a particular something rather than an abstracted nothing and that we are a very, very particular part of that particular something.

2. My 30-Day Blog Love Affair:: Day #1. It’s on! from Flora Bowley.

3. The Definition of Practice on Elephant Journal, in which James Carpenter says, “And what does not practicing mean? I think it means dealing with those times when you feel like you’re not good enough, strong enough or prepared enough to get what you want.”

Also on Elephant Journal, Finding the Courage to Be Yourself by Aimee Hoefler.

4. From Jennifer Boyken:

Did you grow up hearing this: “Don’t cry or I’ll give you a reason to cry.” If you rebelled, even just a little, did you hear: “You ought to be ashamed of yourself?”

Society and parenting was different a generation ago. Many little girls were raised to blend in and not make a ruckus. As a result, many of us are still uncomfortable and inexperienced at expressing anger. Instead, it comes out sideways — via depression, moodiness, passive aggressiveness, and the like.

5. 10 Reasons Why You Have To Quit Your Job This Year on Thought Catalog.

6. From Tama J. Kieves,

You will let go of attachment in your own right time. You will leap. You will stay. You will know what to do. Never believe you are doing it wrong. You are doing it the way you are doing it and that will teach you everything.

7. From Pema Chödrön,

The path of meditation and the path of our lives altogether has to do with curiosity, inquisitiveness. The ground is ourselves; we’re here to study ourselves and to get to know ourselves now, not later. People often say to me, “I wanted to come and have an interview with you, I wanted to write you a letter, I wanted to call you on the phone, but I wanted to wait until I was more together.” And I think, “Well, if you’re anything like me, you could wait forever!” So come as you are. The magic is being willing to open to that, being willing to be fully awake to that. One of the main discoveries of meditation is seeing how we continually run away from the present moment, how we avoid being here just as we are. That’s not considered to be a problem; the point is to see it.

8. How I Finally Gave Up Dieting, by Annabel Adams, a guest post on A Weight Lifted.

9. The Best Life Advice From Maya Angelou on Flavorwire.

10. Powering Down from Judy Clement Wall, which includes a bunch of good links, including Show the World Your Magic, a post by artist Mati Rose, and Relax. You’re Already Ok. Also: Pimp Suits in which Meg Worden says “But you should also know that just surviving all of the intensity and grief you have had to survive in this one go-round and still waking up every day and making a play for love is so beautiful it could crush my heart.”

11. Simplify for Your Best Health from Be More With Less. If I had to do a purge, this is one of the blogs that I simply would not give up.

12. Rodger Ebert died this week, only one day after I’d heard that his cancer had come back, barely enough time to comprehend that news before there was worse. A few of his quotes that I’ve been carrying around this week are:

Kindness covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.

And this,

When I am writing, my problems become invisible, and I am the same person I always was. All is well. I am as I should be.

He wrote a piece for Salon in 2011, I do not fear death, in which he said, “I will pass away sooner than most people who read this, but that doesn’t shake my sense of wonder and joy.”

13. My Well-Fed Life: Laura Simms, from Rachel Cole, in which Laura says, among other brilliant and wise things, “Well-fed is asking ‘what are you truly hungry for?’ and daring to act on the answer.”

14. Reasons My Son Is Crying–you’ll want to laugh, you’ll want to cry.

15. Finding Me Some Outgoing Guts and Imagination from the amazing teacher and wild writer Laurie Wagner. (P.S. I get to finally tell her to her sweet face how much I adore her later this year).

16. From Brave Girls Club Daily Truth Email, something I really needed to hear,

Sometimes the things that are tugging at our hearts come with strings attached that feel too risky, too difficult, to scary to follow.

Sometimes we keep doing the same things day after day, even though we are treading AGAINST the water, even though we really want to be doing something else, even though we want to be somewhere else or with someone else, even though all signs point to a totally different direction.

You know what you are supposed to do, lovely…you know the answer. Your intuition has been telling you for SUCH a long time, and every day that goes by, the little messages keep getting stronger, the miracles keep showing up, the signs keep appearing….in ways that you can not deny.

It doesn’t matter if your path is not a common one. It doesn’t matter if some people will not understand…sometimes it doesn’t even matter whether WE understand all of it. What matters is that you follow YOUR heart…that you listen to YOUR soul….that you do what YOU are meant to do.

That’s what matters. Now, get busy….you know what to do. You are so loved. xoxo

17. This truth, from My Son is Smarter than Me on Nourishing the Soul,

We are all born with a natural sense of what our bodies need to flourish. Nature doesn’t want us to eat too much or too little. It wants us to grow into the size and shape that’s right for us – and that takes eating as much as is right for us. Not as much as some “expert” tells us is the right amount. If we can cut through all the static, we are our own experts.

18. Some really important questions from Kristin Noelle’s post on Trust Tending, Where the race for change can’t lead, “How can my soul come more alive? How can I say YES to my callings? How can I cultivate what it takes to live beyond the dictates of my fear?”

19. 30 Beautiful Things Happening Now from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

20. This wisdom from a post on Scoutie Girl, A Little Restraint Goes a Long Way, “A little restraint goes a long way and it doesn’t work for me if it starts to touch on my inherent worth as a human being. As soon as refraining is beating myself up I’ve lost the game.”

21. sunken treasure – the house of sophie schellekens, a link originally shared in this post on decor8, Inspired by Plants.

22. How to Eat Real Food Without Spending Hours in the Kitchen, a guest post by Jules Clancy on Zen Habits.

23. On Being a Teacher by Susannah Conway. She is such an inspiration to me, how she is making her living.

24. good reads: elle decor uk. from SF Girl by Bay.

25. Your Daily Life: Only Kindness Matters on 37 Days, Patti Digh’s blog.

26. Note from The Universe,

And the day will come when all of the gold in the world will not appeal to you as much, Jill, as just one more day of being who and where you already are, with what you already have. If it hasn’t already.

27. Olivia Rae James, who takes gorgeous photographs, shared by SF Girl by the Bay in this post.

28. From Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list: 3 Paths Toward a More Creative Life, and How to do less and live more from Kris Carr (did I share this already?).

29. Thoughts on the Creative Career by Ze Frank

30. Happiness Images In Sidewalk Art, Stickers, Magnets And More (PHOTOS) on Huffington Post.

31. What’s in my Fridge by Kris Carr.

32. This wisdom, a wish and a warning, “In the garden of gentle sanity, may you be bombarded by coconuts of wakefulness,” Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche.

Something Good

message from a "secret admirer" on my car this morning :)

message from a “secret admirer” on my car this morning 🙂

1. The Makeover on SF Girl By Bay, in which Victoria Smith shares before and after pictures of her new cottage. I love her sense of design, scan through the pictures in her blog posts (*drool*) before going back to actually read them. Design Sponge wrote a profile about her in which she talks about being a business woman, (link originally shared by Susannah Conway on her Something for the Weekend list).

2. The Joy of Missing Outon the Aesthetics of Joy, originally shared by Pugley Pixel on her Links Loved list.

3. This quote from Louis Proto, “Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”

4. Hello 40: 40 Lessons from 40 Yearsfrom Susannah Conway. Also from Susannah, Self-Care in The Real World.

5. What Happened to Downtime? The Extinction of Deep Thinking & Sacred Space on 99U.

6. It’s Time to Come Out of the Closet…(& quit hiding!) from Kute Blackson, in which he says

There is a vulnerability in showing who you really are to the world. It is a risk to step out and say, “This is who I am!” But to hide the real you in the closet of your fears is to be a part of the living dead. There’s no refunds in life. Hiding and playing small serves no one. And the “love” you get by being someone other than who you really are is never truly fulfilling…and you know it.

7. This quote from Pema Chödrön, about being free from fixed mind,

Rather than living a life of resistance and trying to disprove our basic situation of impermanence and change, we could contact the fundamental ambiguity and welcome it. We don’t like to think of ourselves as fixed and unchanging, but emotionally we’re very invested in it. We simply don’t want the frightening, uneasy discomfort of feeling groundless. But we don’t have to close down when we feel groundlessness in any form. Instead, we can turn toward it and say, “This is what freedom from fixed mind feels like. This is what freedom from closed-heartedness feels like. This is what unbiased, unfettered goodness feels like. Maybe I’ll get curious and see if I can go beyond my resistance and experience the goodness.”

8. This quote from Jack Kornfield, “Peace is born out of equanimity and balance. Balance is flexibility, an ability to adjust graciously to change. Equanimity arises when we accept the way things are.”

9. Find Your Flow from Kristin Noelle on Trust Tending.

10. Note from the Universe“No matter how great the desire is to please another, Jill, let it be no greater than the desire to be yourself. Otherwise ain’t no one happy.”

11. Worthiness Wednesday #82: drop out, tune in from Kat at I Saw You Dancing. Also from Kat, Our mothers, our daughters.

12. Wings and Bones from Lisa Field-Elliot on Doorways Traveler. Beautiful and real, as always. Especially this line, “what there is time for in my life now is the depth and discomfort of introspection.” I think I might be living in this line.

13. Dear Photograph.

14. Her Idea: An Illustrated Allegory about Procrastination and the Creative Process on Brain Pickings.

15. From my Inner Pilot Light,

Please – take a breath – and let go of that drive to be perfect. I know you feel pressure to get it right, to deliver, to outperform, to be Superhuman. But let me fill you in on a little secret. Your imperfections are your gateway to intimacy. When you’re willing to be vulnerable, to expose your big ugly tail, to share your imperfections with others, they see in you their own imperfections, and they feel connected, and you give them a gift – letting them off the hook, giving them permission to be imperfect, just like you. Then – swoon – two imperfect beings can bond, and compassion grows, and intimacy thrives. You don’t have to always get it right. And when you don’t, you don’t have to keep it a secret.

And this,

The next time you’re tempted to judge someone, take a deep breath and add to the end of your judgment “And I am too.” Remember that what most irritates, angers, insults, or annoys us about others is often a reflection of something unseemly we see in ourselves, some shadow side of ourselves we’re running away from. Instead of running away, be brave enough to face your own shadows. Stare into the darkness and own it. Then stop projecting onto other people, and grant them the gift of grace instead. Remember that you just don’t know what’s going on for that person you’re tempted to judge. You don’t know what loss they suffered today, what trauma has been inflicted upon them, what disappointment they’re facing, what illness they’re up against, what heartbreak they’re in the midst of. Instead of judging yourself or others, try opening your heart, forgiving, letting go of expectation, and loving unconditionally. Such actions bless not just others, but YOU. Need help loving so big? I’m right here, darling.

16. This looks so yummy, Plum Crumble Cake Recipe on Decor8.

17. Pretty Girls Making Ugly Faces.

18. “All you have to do is to pay attention; lessons always arrive when you are ready, and if you can read the signs, you will learn everything you need to know in order to take the next step.” -Paulo Coelho, The Zahir (from 37Days, Your Daily Rock).

19. Secrets spilled in life’s final minutes on CNN.

20. Old Town Fort Collins Flickr pictures from CSU. I love where I live.

21. Dr. Weil’s Life with Dogs, a sweet video in which he says “I can’t imagine a dogless life.” Amen. He even has a Pinterest board, “Pets & Pet Care.”

22. Morality, My Ass on Elephant Journal, originally shared by Patti Digh on her Thinking Thursday list.

23. 35 Gut Checks When Founding Your First Company by Jordan Cooper.

24. This quote from Chögyam Trungpa,

Any confusion you experience has within it the essence of wisdom automatically. So as soon as you detect confusion, it is the beginning of some kind of message. At least you are able to see your confusion, which is very hard. Ordinarily people do not see their confusion at all, so by recognizing your confusion, you are already at quite an advanced level. So you shouldn’t feel bad about that; you should feel good about it.

25. Menswear Dog. He’s so handsome.

26. How 1 Hour on Sundays Will Change Your Life, on MindBodyGreen.

27. “You yourself are your own obstacle – rise above yourself.” ~Hafiz And, seemingly related, this: “The only person that can destroy you, is you.” ~Andrea Owen

28. Amo La Vida by Soul Biographies. “Look what you have.”

29. The Sweetest Friendship, a boy and his dog.

30. Relax! You’ll Be More Productive from the New York Times.

31. The Big List of Green Smoothies(link originally shared by Susannah Conway on her Something for the Weekend list).

32. “Drama in our lives is the greatest indicator that we’re not focused on meaningful goals. On the path to purpose you don’t have time for drama.” ~Brendon Burchard

Something Good

1. Pema Chödrön’s new book. Seriously, with this and Daring Greatly and Cultivating Courage, you’d think the Universe was totally on my side, sending me the very resources I need at exactly the right time.

2. Andrea Scher’s new website, Superhero Life. If you haven’t taken a look yet, you totally should. Her tagline is “no capes, just courage.” It’s beautiful and she has so much to offer, creative magic and other good stuff. It has my head spinning with ideas and my heart pounding with love. Her Creative Superhero interview series is soooo good. Here’s one with Rachel Cole. You know I love that well-fed woman.

3. 8 Ways You’re Wasting Your Life from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

4. This quote from John Wayne: “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” Giddy up!

5. From Brave Girls Club, Daily Truth email, (I really needed to hear this one this week):

Dear Amazing Girl,

You have done such wonderful things, you really have. You have made differences that you don’t even know about, and you have touched lives that you have forgotten about, but that will never be forgotten by the lives you have touched. You have inspired others that you didn’t even know were watching and you have taught lessons to others that you didn’t even know you were teaching.

Please be kind to yourself, dear friend. Please take this day to see what is right about you instead of being distracted by what you think is wrong with you. Please thank your body for carrying you through your life, and thank your soul for making everything so meaningful. Please see yourself, even if just for a moment, in the absolutely cherished way that you are seen by those who love you, and especially by the One who created you.

You are far too hard on yourself. It’s time to treat yourself with the kindness that you deserve. You are just right, you are beautiful. You are capable and you are strong. Your life matters and YOU matter.

Please believe it. You are so loved.
xoxo

And, more wisdom from the same source:

Life is as crazy and harried as we allow it to be. When we want to make things special for those we love, we need to remember that what they want most is US. They want time with us. They want us to feel good and to be in a good mood and to be present. They want happy memories that include us. Sometimes this means that we must simplify so that we do not fall apart. Some times this means we need to let go of our idea of perfection and just show up AS IS.

6. What gives YOU the authority? from Alex Franzen on Unicorns for Socialism.

7. A good reason to meditate. In fact, the best reason.

Meditation practice takes place on a personal level. It involves an intimate relationship with ourselves. Great intimacy is involved. It has nothing to do with achieving perfection, achieving some absolute state or other. It is purely getting into what we are, really examining our actual psychological process without being ashamed of it. It is just friendship with ourselves. ~Chögyam Trungpa

And this quote, also from Chögyam Trungpa:

We have a fear of facing ourselves. That is the obstacle. Experiencing the innermost core of our existence is very embarrassing to a lot of people. A lot of people turn to something that they hope will liberate them without their having to face themselves. That is impossible. We can’t do that. We have to be honest with ourselves. We have to see our gut, our excrement, our most undesirable parts. We have to see them. That is the foundation of warriorship, basically speaking. Whatever is there, we have to face it, we have to look at it, study it, work with it and practice meditation with it.

8. Feel Your Pain: mini-mission from Courtney Carver at Be More With Less. Again, the Universe seems to be sending me the very things I need to read right now.

Food, pills, shopping, or your drug of choice will not heal your brokenness. You might look put together. You may even feel better, but your pain will continue to do damage. Your pain will be evident in the way you treat yourself and others, and in how you let people treat you.

9. How To Start Your Life All Over Again – Especially After Loss Or Death from Tia Sparkles on Your Life Your Way.

10. Jennifer Louden interviews Brene’ Brown about Daring Greatly.

11. This quote from Brene’ Brown: “Courage has a ripple effect. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better & the world a little braver.”

12. More (super) power to ya! by Sherry Richert Belul on Cherry Blossom Soup. I loved this so much, so appreciate Sherry’s writing, and especially adore this line, “Laurie grabbed my hand, looked me in the eyes, and said: ‘I want you to know that this is who you are. You are the girl who can scrape the fallen pie off the ground and turn it into something delightful.’ ”

13. Brene’ Brown went on the Katie Couric show to talk about her new book. She’s so real and funny, like the best, smartest, kindest girlfriend you ever had. I could listen to her talk and tell stories for hours (and have!).

14. This is about the tattoo from Hannah Marcotti, the best tattoo story…ever.

15. Super cute dog portraits by Jessica Trinh. I dare you to look at her Flickr stream and not get a serious case of the warm and fuzzies.

16. This quote, from Geneen Roth: When we don’t allow ourselves to have what we already have, to be who we actually are, to taste what’s in our mouths, we walk around with anorexia of the soul. Always deprived, always starving for more, never able to get enough.

17. Facing the Fear of Death and Really Living Now on Tiny Buddha.

18. This quote from Cheri Huber: What we’re seeing here is how the layers of self-hate keep us from experiencing our intrinsic, inherent enlightenment. It’s simply a matter of realizing what already is. It’s not necessary for us to DO anything. What we’re seeking is available to us when we stop DOING everything else.

19. A Writer’s Manifesto from Raam Dev.

20. Nervous Christopher Maloney sings “The Rose” on XFactor.This is why things like Andrea Scher’s Cultivating Courage class and Brene’ Brown’s Daring Greatly book are so important, why the work that those women and so many others are doing, the encouragement they are giving people is so important, because without it, these sorts of voices are kept forever silent.

21. Sleepwalk with Me trailer. I really, really want to see this movie.

22. Susan Piver telling a story about the blues (as in the music), ecstasy (as in the drug), and the Buddhadharma at How I Learned It’s Complicated.

23. This quote, from Mark Nepo: How easy it is to be cruel when afraid, and how difficult it is to accept that we are all capable of terrible things, and how cleansing it is to realize that true kindness breathes just beneath this acceptance.

B is for Basic Goodness

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B is for Basic Goodness

Even though BOOK was a really close second, so close considering I am a bibliophile, I decided to use basic goodness for today’s post in the Blogging A to Z challenge.

This blog started because I was determined to rediscover my own basic goodness, and in sharing that process, I hoped to remind you of your own as well. I write about basic goodness just about every time I post. It’s the main theme, the center and guiding principle. It’s essential. My purpose for my own life is to remember that I am basically good, to rest in this truth, and to act with this at the heart of everything. It 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.

Here are some of the things I know about basic goodness:

It’s such good news, no one believes it. ~Chögyam Trungpa.

Basic: primordial, innate, fundamental, unalterable, unchangeable, continually present, foundational, simple.

Goodness: whole and complete, worthiness, without fault or mistakes, alive, awake, without parallel or opposition, complete perfection.

Basic goodness, most simply, is unconditional purity and confidence. 

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, in his book Turning Your Mind Into An Ally, says

When I’m teaching, people often ask me questions in hopes of hearing some esoteric truth. They seem to want me to tell them a secret. But the most fundamental secret I know is rooted in something that we already possess–basic goodness. In spite of the extreme hardship and cruelty we see happening throughout the world, the basis of everything is completely pure and good. Our heart and mind are inherently awake. This basic goodness is a quality of complete wholesomeness. It includes everything. But before we can begin the adventure of transforming ourselves into awakened people–much less the adventure of living our lives with true joy and happiness–we need to discover this secret for ourselves. Then we have the real possibility of cultivating courage, from which we can radiate love and compassion to others.

Basic goodness is inherent wisdom and compassion, the fundamental nature of all sentient beings. I might also call this love, because when we talk about love and when I contemplate love, the truth there is essentially the same. Every being is precious, has basic goodness, and their true nature is to be compassionate and wise.

Basic goodness is the original ground of humanity and is primordially complete. It is not something we own, or can generate or earn–it simply is.

The discovery of basic goodness is not a religious experience, particularly. Rather it is the realization that we can directly experience and work with reality, the real world that we are in. Experiencing the basic goodness of our lives makes us feel that we are intelligent and decent people and that the world is not a threat. When we feel that our lives are genuine and good, we do not have to deceive ourselves or other people. We can see our shortcomings without feeling guilty or inadequate, and at the same time, we can see our potential for extending goodness to others. We can tell the truth straightforwardly and be absolutely open, but steadfast at the same time. ~Chögyam Trungpa, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior.

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. You have a 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 and no matter what happens to you. You have everything you need already to save yourself.

As human beings, we are so wise. Our minds are vast and profound…this innate wisdom is known as “basic goodness.” It is the natural, clear, uncluttered state of our being. We are all appointed with heaven–great openness and brilliance. Bringing this heaven down to earth, into our daily life, is how we rule our world. ~Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Ruling Your World: Ancient Strategies For Modern Life.

The purpose of our practice is just to be yourself. ~Shunryu Suzuki

Basic goodness is whole and complete, as it is. It is unconditional and “does not depend on our accomplishments or fullfilling our desires,” (Chögyam Trungpa). 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, the smashing ourselves to bits, and accept ourselves. And the good news is:

We already have everything we need. There is no need for self-improvement. All these trips that we lay on ourselves–the heavy-duty fearing that we’re bad and hoping that we’re good, the identities that we so dearly cling to, the rage, the jealousy and the addictions of all kinds–never touch our basic wealth. They are like clouds that temporarily block the sun. But all the time our warmth and brilliance are right here. This is who we really are. We are one blink of an eye away from being fully awake. ~Pema Chödrön

Basic goodness is like buddha-nature, the seed of mindfulness and enlightenment in every person, representing the potential of every being to become fully awake. 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.

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 what 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. “As human beings, we are basically awake and can understand reality. We are not enslaved by our lives; we are free,” (Chögyam Trungpa).

In Buddhist teachings, as well as in the teachings of many other contemplative or mystical traditions, the basic view is that people are fundamentally good and healthy. It’s as if everyone who has ever been born has the same birthright, which is enormous potential of warm heart and clear mind. The ground of renunciation is realizing that we already have exactly what we need, that what we have already is good. Every moment of time has enormous energy in it, and we could connect with that. ~Pema Chödrön

During meditation instruction, Susan Piver of the Open Heart Project often shares this mantra, a contemplation she begins her sessions with: “I am basically good. I am aware that all other beings share this same basic goodness. Recognizing this, my heart opens. With an open heart, I can change the world.”

So, watch this video to get yourself energized, and get out there and change the world, dear reader.

Three Truths and One Wish

You might not know this about me, but I contemplate death a lot. From a Buddhist perspective, this is healthy and good. In fact, it’s one of the “Four Reminders.” Pema Chödrön describes them this way:

The traditional four reminders are basic reminders of why one might make a continual effort to return to the present moment. In your daily life, try to:

1. Maintain an awareness of the preciousness of human life. Beginning to realize how precious life is becomes one of your most powerful tools. It’s like gratitude … once you have this feeling of gratitude for your own life and the preciousness of human birth, then it takes you into any realm.

2. Be aware of the reality that life ends; death comes for everyone. Life is very brief. If you realize that you don’t have that many more years to live and if you live your life as if you actually had only a day left, then the sense of impermanence heightens that feeling of preciousness and gratitude.

3. Recall that whatever you do, whether virtuous or not, has a result; what comes around, goes around. The law of karma is that we sow the seeds and we reap the fruit. So when you find yourself in a dark place … you can think, “Maybe it’s time to get a little golden spade and dig myself out of this place.”

4. Contemplate that as long as you are too focused on self-importance and too caught up in thinking about how you are good or bad, you will suffer. Obsessing about getting what you want and avoiding what you don’t want does not result in happiness.

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche wrote about the Four Reminders this way:

Joyful to have
Such a human birth,
Difficult to find,
Free and well-favored.

But death is real,
Comes without warning.
This body
Will be a corpse.

Unalterable
Are the laws of karma;
Cause and effect
Cannot be escaped.

Samsara
Is an ocean of suffering,
Unendurable,
Unbearably intense.

Some things I know to be true about death (life?):


1. Truth: Grief is love unbound. When the form that we love is no longer with us, we don’t know what to do with all the love we feel. With no forehead to kiss, no ear to whisper into, no hand to grasp, nothing to hold, we are adrift, lost, maybe even angry and afraid. The lovely Courtney Putnam recently shared this quote on her blog, The Healing Nest, in a really great post, “Continuing to Love“:

We give our love to someone or something or someplace. We are attached to that love. And suddenly (or slowly) that object is gone from our sight. Where do we put the love then? We have this love with no place to put it. Grief becomes our experience of not having our love received, of not having anywhere to put our love. Healing our grief means continuing to love in the face of loss. ~ Deborah Morris Coryell, Good Grief: Healing Through the Shadow of Loss

I had never thought about grief in this way before, but this feels so true.

2. Truth: Form leaves us, love doesn’t. We may find ourselves with nothing physical to direct our love to, but it’s still there. I can no longer have a bodily experience of those I’ve lost in the past few years. I will never again smell the musky stink of Obi’s neck or touch the soft hair of his belly. I will never hear Kelly laugh or be able to hug her. And that is devastating, heartbreaking each and every time I think of it–but the love remains.

3. Truth: Faith is believing in something you can’t prove, and I have faith in Love. I can’t even explain what love is exactly. I would say that reality is anything you can experience through your five senses, and that means that our thoughts and emotions aren’t technically real, but rather a fabrication of our minds. And yet, what does that mean about love? I’m not even sure if I’d say it’s an emotion or a belief, or defined by actions, I just know that it is, and it’s the most powerful force in the universe. Love is everything.

One Wish: That you know love, even that which is unbound from form, even grief. Our life is precious, death will come, karma is real, and we will suffer–but if throughout all of that, we can know love, we can practice love, it will all be worth it.
Obi and Dexter