Tag Archives: Christmas

We aren’t blind, we just have our eyes closed

We celebrated Christmas yesterday. The best present for me was that Dexter was here with us, having another good day. We hadn’t expected that, hadn’t even wished for it because it seemed so impossible. On Christmas Eve, he slept in bed with me almost the whole night, curled up and warm right next to me, something he rarely ever does anymore. In these moments, I remind myself that this time is short, to surrender to it, to sink into the space I have left with him.

In the same way that having Dexter here but at the same time still dying, Christmas is always a mix of happy and sad for me. I love Colorado and my little family here, but I am also homesick, nostalgic for that other home, that other family, remembering so many Christmas’s past spent at the Farm, the laughter, the good company, and the food. I don’t mind telling you, I miss my mommy. Christmas music and twinkly lights are just as likely to make me feel joy as they are sorrow. For example, this song from A Charlie Brown Christmas makes me tear up every time.

A friend and I were talking the other day about issues we both have with perfectionism, feeling unworthy and thinking we need to earn love, permission, rest, self-care. At the end of our conversation, she said “well, how are we going to help each other with this? we are like the blind leading the blind.” I responded “we aren’t blind, we just have our eyes closed.”

I find this oddly hopeful, comforting, that once there’s even a slight shift in awareness, once I understand that this isn’t permanent or fixed and therefore choosing another option is always possible, I can open my eyes, things can and will shift.

Today is the first day of a seven day retreat for me, the final week of a year of retreat, (my guiding word, my intention for 2012). When I told Eric that’s what I was doing, he asked what that meant exactly. I said I’d be meditating, reading and writing, but not much of anything else, and his response was “how’s that different from any other time?”

I was telling that same friend that I mentioned before about this week of retreat, all the contemplating, reverbing, inward looking, unravelling, and reset.revive.restart.-ing I was planning, and she said “I think maybe you need someone to tell you, you are doing too much.” I’ve been telling myself that for months, asking “how are you going to keep this up?” to which I typically have answered, “shhh, I’m working.”

As far back as late 2011, I was trying to figure this out, wrote about it in Turn the F*ckin Faucet On! and Pace Yourself, about how much I wanted, but how I also realized “There’s just not room for all of it, at least not in this space and time continuum.  I am greedy, taking on more than I can possibly do, but there is just so much I want.” I went on to say “Don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying that I shouldn’t dream so big.  Obviously, I believe in that.  Dreaming and wishing and opening myself up to new possibilities and different options is propelling me after years of being stuck.  What I am saying is that I need to ‘pace myself.’ ” I’m not quite there yet, kind and gentle reader, but I keep trying.

lastretreat02As I write this, I have about 40 pages of reading and prompts, along with two books sitting next to me–the “plan” for this retreat. Some of the prompts I’ve already answered in other ways–what I accomplished this year, what kind of relationship I had with my body. This was the plan, but instead I found myself allowing the day to unfold naturally. Instead of the plan, I: slept in a bit (Sam joined me after he had breakfast), played with Dexter and one of his Little D babies, wrote and drank half a cup of coffee while snuggled in my purple fleece robe, went to a yoga class, worked out with my trainer, took a hot shower, cleaned my shrine, ate a bowl of apple pie oatmeal while I watched an episode of the Good Life Project, took a nap, talked to my brother on the phone, meditated, walked the dogs, played with Sam in the backyard, looked up at the sky, ate a big salad and a cookie.

Maybe this retreat isn’t about having a plan after all, isn’t about doing or accomplishing anything. Maybe it’s about a rest, a reset, finding a workable rhythm, experiencing both the joy and the grief, maybe it’s about not being in such a hurry to get somewhere, but rather relaxing, surrendering and sinking into being here.


Something Good

frozenpond021. My heart is broken, but please don’t try to fix it from Heather Plett.

2. On clarity, crapness & tiny flames from Susannah Conway.

3. Silence and Grief and Permission from Annie Neugebauer.

4. Yelling Mime, “Quiet People, Loud Minds… To those who silently live in their heads.”

5. “If you do good, you’ll feel good”: Ann Curry explains origins of #26Acts of Kindness, and the 26 Acts of Kindness Facebook page. Also, #26acts of Kindness, I’m in @AnnCurry :: Are you? Plus a ton of ideas, videos & printables to aid you! from Kind Over Matter.

6. Dear 2012… a writing exercise, from Sarah Salway.

7. SPCA Driving Dogs. I sent the link for this to Eric, and told him to make sure that Sam didn’t see it, because I am convinced that when he rides in the back of the car, standing facing front the whole time unless it’s a really long ride, already thinks he’s driving, so I don’t want to give him any ideas.

8. Holiday, a beautiful post from Walking on My Hands. Especially this, “The holidays seem to be made of extremes: brilliance and shadow, joy and sorrow, twinkling lights and the longest darkness.”

9. The Week of Inward Looking is happening again! I’m planning to organize a personal retreat around the week, love the prompts from these brilliant beings.

10. “If you really knew me, you’d know…” (the ultimate conversation starter & story-sparker) from Alexandra Franzen.

11. “The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” ~Eckhart Tolle

11.5 “We don’t see the things the way they are. We see things the way WE are.” ~The Talmud

12. Wishing You Love and Light on Ordinary Courage from Brene’ Brown.

christmasevemorningsky1013. Sitting in Sadness Together on Nourishing the Soul.

14. From Pema Chödrön:

DISSOLVING OUR SELF-IMPORTANCE: The fixed idea that we have about ourselves as solid and separate from each other is painfully limiting. It is possible to move through the drama of our lives without believing so earnestly in the character that we play. That we take ourselves so seriously, that we are so absurdly important in our own minds, is a problem for us. We feel justified in being annoyed with everything. We feel justified in denigrating ourselves or in feeling that we are more clever than other people. Self-importance hurts us, limiting us to the narrow world of our likes and dislikes. We end up bored to death with ourselves and our world. We end up never satisfied.

We have two alternatives: either we question our beliefs—or we don’t. Either we accept our fixed versions of reality, or we begin to challenge them. In Buddha’s opinion, to train in staying open and curious—to train in dissolving our assumptions and beliefs—is the best use of our human lives.

15. “When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without
flinching — they are your family.” ~Jim Butcher


16.”We must have the daring to be nothing but ourselves if we are to know what true power is.” ~Danielle LaPorte

17. Interview with Sandra Juto and Johan Pergenius, (from Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list). The pictures of their Berlin apartment (especially the very first one), the character of the space, the history, the big windows, the wood floors, the simplicity, the wabi-sabi, makes me want to go to Amsterdam, rent an apartment and stay there for a few months, maybe forever.

18. Leaf Type, leafs made into a font (also from Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list). I love this, but even more I love that there are people out there who have such ideas, take the time to do, to make them, and then share. If you were to ask me why I am so in love with us, with life, this would be one of my answers, one example of many.

19. Mini Gingerbread Houses, (from Dani’s list on Positively Present). For some reason, tiny things are extra special.


20. Compawssion: Portraits of Rescued Dogs. If you want a serious dose of cute, check out the gallery.

21. This quote from John Steinbeck in Steinbeck: A Life in Letters on Literary Jukebox

There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you — of kindness and consideration and respect — not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.

22. Blog Post Idea Generator. Check out the others, some are funny, some are pretty useful, (although, I’m not naming my next dog Bunk or Gilligan).


23. My Charity:Water campaign still has a few days left, if you have a few bucks burning a hole in your pocket, or your stocking. I am so excited that even if no one donates another penny, we gave enough so that 20 people will be served, have access to clean water. Best birthday present e v e r.

24. Rachel Cole is launching a new six week course, Ease Hunting. It’s going to be magic, just like everything she does. And yet, this will be extra, more than magic because this, this is what she does, this is her superpower.

25. Feel It from Hannah Marcotti.

26. And this great post from Kris Carr, The myth of finding your purpose, in which she says:

Your purpose has nothing to do with what you do. There, I said it. Your purpose is about discovering and nurturing who you truly are, to know and love yourself at the deepest level and to guide yourself back home when you lose your way. That’s it. Everything else is your burning passion, your inspired mission, your job, your love-fueled hobby, etc. Those things are powerful and essential, but they’re not your purpose. Your purpose is much bigger than that.

27. The Stuff We Let Go from Judy Clement Wall.