Tag Archives: Generosity

Gratitude Friday

1. Generosity and kindness and love, between friends and strangers, enemies even, the way it can transform a moment or a life, how the benefit goes both ways, giving and receiving.

2. Fresh, local food. Strawberries, still in season. Watermelon, season almost done and being savored, devoured. Peaches, a moment of sunshine in my mouth. Tomatoes and cucumbers from our garden, still and so many.

gardensweetberries3. The surprise of a humming bird feeding on our Bee Plants, the happy return of the bees after they’d sprayed for mosquitoes the night before and I worried about them all night, the sweet way Eric rinsed off the plants at dawn just in case, the crazy loud commotion of their breakfast later that morning.

4. My new tarot deck. I am learning so much, feeling guided, helped, loved.

magicallittleme5. Morning walk at Reservoir Ridge. We had to make it a short one because as soon as the sun came up it started getting hot, but it was a good reminder that we live in a beautiful place.

Bonus Joy: Sam, what he teaches me about change, what he shows me about the confusion of my anxiety, and the comfort of his companionship.

Day of Rest

packagefromsusannah

I got the most precious package in the mail yesterday. It got me thinking about how grateful I am for all the amazing women in my life. This morning as I was writing in my journal, I made a list of names. It took up two full pages, and I wasn’t even done–friends and teachers and artists, women who offer support, wisdom, inspiration, and encouragement.

I have a clear vision about where my life is headed, an “exit” plan that will make my paid work and my heart’s work one and the same. I aspire to make my living, my loving teaching ecourses and workshops and retreats and “face to face” courses, blogging and writing books, maybe also offering some kind of one-on-one creative coaching or therapeutic support. Writing and yoga and meditation would be at the center of these offerings, my core practices, with the intention of bringing women into relationship with their creativity, opening their hearts to what is and who they are, and helping them to develop trust and faith in their own basic goodness–their essential wisdom, kindness, and power.

I feel so lucky that I have support and such amazing role models. The books and blogs they write, the classes and workshops and retreats they offer, the art they make, the friendship they extend, their open and tender and brave hearts. I aspire to be like them, and in so doing be more deeply and authentically me.

superhero earth necklace made by andrea scher, a gift to myself

Today I rest in honor of the essential kindness, wisdom, and power of all women. I offer my rest, my self-care, my gentleness, my joy, my mindfulness in gratitude to all those women who’ve shown me how to sink into myself, how I might love myself, and what I have to offer. They have collectively crafted a map to the center of my own heart, at the same time that they have urged me to trust myself, to make my own way.

Gratitude Friday

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

1. The kindness and generosity of friends. A poetic message from Sherry, a thank you from Andrea, a gorgeous and silly hat from Susie, a pack of poetry and the sweetest squiggly doodles from Laurie, a link to a funny video from Chloe’, interesting questions and the space to answer them and a kind heart to listen from Kimberley, clarity and an open heart from Kathy, laughter and wisdom from Susan, kind words from Beth, a guest post on Niight’s blog. It is so good to be loved, to be surrounded by such wise, creative, open hearted women.

spritehat

2. Good food. Scrambled eggs with spinach and whatever else I might find to throw in. The perfect avocado. Pancakes with strawberry jam, both homemade.

3. Snow. Just enough to make everything sparkly and quiet for a single, glorious morning walk.

4. Downton Abbey. I watch it online, which means not until Monday, which makes Monday something to look forward to. If you like this show too, and you haven’t yet seen the spoof, Downton Arby’s, go watch and have yourself a giggle.

5. Feeling full of ideas, and sensing the Universe’s support of them. A force of pure love and power conspiring to make sense out of the longing, the calling, the hunger in my belly, my heart. It’s a busy, productive, fertile time for me, sometimes so strange after such a long season of fallow.

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter. Some of it was very exciting for him, like the part where he chased a cat down the street (I explained to him that this would not have been as much fun for either of us if he’d been hit by a car), and the time he ran in to his doggy friends Roxie and Riley at the park and got to walk with them for awhile. I asked him this morning to be my valentine and I think he said “yes,” (it was that or “give me a cookie”).

Reverb12: Day Two

reverb12Again, I am answering many prompts, from the various Reverb lists. I might not be able to keep that up, but for now I’m having such a good time, having so much fun with the process–answering all the prompts!

Limits

The full prompt is: “We often learn our limits the hard way. Were there any limits you realized this past year? Alternately, what self-imposed limits were you able to move beyond this year? (Author: Carolyn Rubenstein).”

I definitely felt limited by time and energy. This is an ongoing, lingering issue. I try to be really smart about what I commit to, what I say yes to–it has to be “hell yeah” or I say no. I work to to stay away from energy vampires, time monsters and shadow comforts. I have to keep a close eye on my physical limitations, my energy level and available strength, my body’s capacity for whatever activity it might be.

The self-imposed limits, (besides the ones that are setting reasonable restrictions intended to protect my health and wellbeing), are my beliefs about what is possible, what I’m capable of, my worth and my value. I spent so much time waiting for permission to participate, thinking that the gatekeepers would let me in eventually, that the party planners would send me my invite, that I’d finally earn my certification, my entry into the guild, that the project, my thing, would fall out of the sky fully formed. Then I realized, if I wanted something to happen, I needed to stop waiting and happen.

Help

The full prompt is: Asking for help can be the hardest thing we ever do. When and how did you ask for help? Alternatively, did someone ask you for help, and how did it play out for you?

This year, I realized that one of my superpowers is generosity, I love to help, want nothing more than to ease suffering in the world. With organizations like Kickstarter, Kiva, and Charity:Water (my birthday campaign runs for 28 more days, if you have any interest in helping me raise some money–100% of your donation directly funds clean water projects in developing nations), it was even easier to find ways to help those who needed it. I gave my cousin the $100 I got at the World Domination Summit to help her fund charity work she hopes to do in the near future, I helped John F. Ptak get the cancer surgery he needed, I regularly give to my local dog rescue and meditation center, and I helped save our local independent theater. In return for that last donation, I got to make a slide that is currently playing while people sit and wait for their movie to start.

lyricslidefinal

Writing

The full prompt is: What piece of writing are you most proud of from 2012? How does this piece differ from your other pieces?

This blog, for sure, is the writing I am most proud of from this past year. The fact that I kept at it, that I have continued to show up, have been open and authentic in my posts, that there are kind and gentle souls reading, sharing and connecting with me. I have loved everything about it. The other writing I’ve done that I feel especially good about has the same quality, of being wild and real and on purpose, not fake, not trying to get you to like me, but telling the truth–beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible.

Two Final prompts so related, they had to be combined for one single answer

Part one: What was your most significant expenditure in 2012? It doesn’t have to be necessarily the biggest expenditure, just the one with the most impact. What difference has it made to your life?

Part two: What was the most memorable gathering you attended (or held) in 2012?

Answer for both: World Domination Summit. It cost me a lot of money–plane ticket, summit admission, car and hotel room rental, food. It was expensive, more than I would normally spend on myself, but it was so worth it. I met so many amazing people, some I already knew but had never met in person, some I didn’t even know existed until I met them there. I was inspired, overwhelmed, gobsmacked. I have stayed connected with many of them. Just this morning on Skype, I had the most heartwarming, encouraging, spontaneous, fun conversation with someone I met at WDS, felt an instant connection to (seriously, it was one of those moments where you meet a complete stranger and think “there you are, I’ve been looking for you”). I continue to do good work, to plan great work, to make a difference because of the spark of that event, that experience.

An Open Love Letter to Patti Digh, Mary Anne Radmacher, and Karma

poster gift from Patti Digh to her mailing list

I am cradled today in the comfort of kindness, the awareness that every kindness you ever offer somehow finds it’s way back to you. In the simplest way, this is karma–every action has a consequence. Today, I am humbled by it, my heart softened, opened by the practice of generosity, and the kindness that has found it’s way to me because of it. I feel tender and raw, sad and weepy because of it, but also so joyful and grateful.

card from Mary Ann Radmacher

Patti Digh is one of my favorite authors, humans. I have learned so much from her about showing up, keeping my heart open, cultivating courage and compassion. She’s given me so much, and there is no way to repay that kind of gift directly or completely.

live shot of Patti during a virtual party for the launch of her new 37 days website, oh that smile!

And yet, at the end of this summer, I had an opportunity to help her, to give what I could give. Her husband was diagnosed with kidney cancer during a time when he had no health insurance and he needed an expensive surgery. The John F. Ptak Relief Fund was created and I was happy to donate, happy to offer some small kindness to a woman who’d already given me so much.

The story doesn’t end there. Just as I was about to make a donation, Mary Ann Radmacher announced on Facebook that the first ten people to make a $100 donation and contact her would get an original piece of her work. She’s an amazing artist and writer. I love everything she does. Her quote “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow” has offered me so much comfort in the past year.

To create my original piece, she asked for my most favorite colors (purples, blues and greens–colors of flowers, the ocean, and the trees), shape (infinity symbol) and most treasured iconic image (lotus flower). When the package arrived in the mail and I saw what she’d made, my heart was so full it felt like it would break.

Holy Wow. I can’t stop staring at it. And that’s not all, she also sent me a signed copy of her new book, Honey in Your Heart: Ways to See and Savor the Simple Good Things. Do you understand, kind and gentle reader? She didn’t have to do that. The book wasn’t part of the deal, a deal that was already super sweet, above and beyond, but she sent it along anyway, added a bonus gift. One generous act beget a kindness that, as it was passed along from person to person, heart to heart, grew so big, got so bright. I have faith that it won’t stop with this.

“Honey is a sweetness, occurring as the result of creatures doing what comes from acting according to their nature,” says Mary Anne in the introduction to her new book. We humans are fundamentally good, inherently compassionate and wise, and this sweetness, these kind acts (Patti giving, me giving to her, and Mary Anne giving to me because I gave to Patti), this infinity loop of generosity and love is, I believe with my whole heart, just that: the result of creatures doing what comes from acting according to their nature.

Wishcasting Wednesday

image from Jamie’s post

If anything was possible, what would you wish for?

When I first thought about my answer to this question, maybe I thought too small, but then I looked back at Jamie’s post, at this picture, and rethought it from the perspective of “if pigs could fly,” which is an altogether different view.

If anything was possible my dogs would live forever, and I could bring Obi back.

If anything was possible no one would ever again lose someone they love to cancer. In fact, cancer would no longer exist, other than something to kick in the butt when you needed to get out some bad energy, wanted to break something or felt stabby.

If anything was possible those who were confused, sick, angry, sad, lost, and addicted would be whole, sane, healthy. They would remember that they are innately wise, kind, and strong, they would embody and manifest basic goodness. They would practice creation rather than destruction, rediscover that things are workable, realize joy through gratitude, and discover healthy practices to help maintain their sanity. They would heal themselves and then turn towards serving others. With open, brave hearts, they would change the world.

If anything was possible no child would ever again go to bed hungry or sick or scared. They would all be safe and well and know that they are loved. And in this way, they would grow up and make sure the same thing was true for the children who came after them.

If anything was possible there would be world peace, health and happiness for every being, no war or famine or sickness, clean water, a healthy environment.

If anything was possible for me, I would experience whole health for the rest of my long, happy life. Self-love and self-care would be my middle path, my regular practice and primary way of being. With an open, brave heart, I would first save myself and then help change the world.

If anything was possible for me, I would live the life of a writer and artist and yoga & meditation practitioner full time, with no need for paid work that wasn’t both enjoyable and easy.

If anything was possible for me, I would publish with ease, books and essays, and facilitate retreats, helping others recover and reconnect with their basic sanity and innate creativity.

If anything was possible for me, I would be able to happily and kindly follow every interest, take care of every need. I would live an entirely wholehearted life, with complete confidence and love, embodying and manifesting wisdom and kindness.

If anything was possible for me, I would be remembered for my kindness and generosity and wisdom, for being gentle and relaxed and joyful, inspiring others to be brave and do good by being brave and doing good, my whole life an offering.

*sigh*

I want to go to there…

I’m Back!

As I feared, kind and gentle reader, my internet access, technology options, and available time while I was in Portland attending the World Domination Summit (WDS) were such that I couldn’t post. And some of you had been generous enough to tell me it was okay to take a break. So I did. Thank you for that. I had an amazing time, but I missed this, missed writing and sharing with you. But, now I am back.

Fair warning, a disclaimer and a promise: this event, the full experience of it, blew my mind, expanded my heart to almost breaking, and there is so much to say about it, so much to tell you and to process…this is going to take a while.

I feel the same way I did after hosting Rachel Cole’s Well-Fed Woman Mini Retreatshop: grateful, inspired, encouraged, full, on fire with love, and ready to go. The sheer size of WDS (1000 attendees, 10 main stage speaker sessions, and 40 smaller workshops) makes me feel just like that, only times ten (and I got to see Rachel again while I was there, so bonus points).

As I’d heard from previous attendees, this is the kind of event where the energy of it propels you through the whole next year, giddy in your expanded effort and possibility, and that really amazing shit starts to happen, for you and because of you. After attending this year, I know exactly what they were talking about.

image by Armosa Studios

As I said, this is going to take some time to process. For today, I’d like to start simply by giving you a quick list of the highlights, some of the moments of magic, and a few items that would show up on my blooper reel.

Magic Moments, the Highlights of WDS

  • Prefunction event at Kelly Rae Roberts‘ Studio. Holy wow, when I walked in the room and saw all the amazing women who were there, the beautiful space, I almost fell over, passed out from the sheer overwhelm of joy and gratitude. It was so kind, so generous of Andrea Scher to invite me, made the start of WDS not quite so intimidating or lonely.
  • Meeting Tina, one of my favorite blog readers.
  • Amazing main stage speakers, and inspiring, moving, compelling talks. My favorites were Brene’ Brown, Scott Harrison, and Chris Brogan. I will be writing a post about each, so consider this “to be continued.”

    Brene’ Brown at WDS, image by Armosa Studio

  • The Mark Spencer Hotel. Just a few blocks from Powell’s Books and a Whole Foods, with a kitchenette and fridge, and within walking distance of everywhere I wanted to go.

    old school coffee prep at the Mark Spencer

  • Seeing my friend Molly, who moved to Portland last year, (which means she’s no longer across the hall from me at work, and that sucks). We had a few meals together, a few visits to Whole Foods, and it made me miss her more because it made me remember how much I love her, how amazing she is.
  • Meeting people “in person” that I have loved from a distance. I was able to look them in the eye and tell them how grateful I am and how much I adore them, or what a badass they are, and I didn’t even throw up on any of their shoes. Just to be clear about the magnitude of this, while at WDS, I met (hugged, hung out or ate a meal or laughed with, sat by, adored): Kelly Rae Roberts, Jennifer Louden, Flora Bowley, Laura Simms, Andrea Scher, Michelle Ward, Sandi Amorim, Kate “Courageous” Swoboda, Hannah Marcotti, Jamie Ridler, Courtney Carver, Susannah Conway, Cynthia Morris, Jennifer Lee, Marriane Elliott, Tammy Strobel, and so many more.
  • Susannah Conway’s Book Event. I was so lucky to get to stay for this, to be in a room full of other people who adore her and her work, listen to her read and talk about the book and the process. She really is one of the most honest, genuine, generous, creative people on the planet.

    me and Susannah Conway

  • Meeting new people I hadn’t expected but loved anyway. There were a few I really wanted to take home with me.
  • Group meditation in the park. Sadly, I didn’t get up early enough to go the first day, but made it on Sunday morning. We were a small but mindful group, and under the cover of gorgeous, tall, lush green trees, we sat and I watched the wind move the grass while I focused on my breath. It was beautiful.
  • Yoga class in the park. Marianne Elliott is a great teacher and it was a good group, a perfectly timed break in the day.

    image by Armosa Studios, that’s me in the green shirt, back row

  • Finding the dog people. The longer I’m alive, the more I think I’m either a dog in a human suit or just plain crazy, because in any group of people, gathered for any reason, I will find the dog person (or the dog, if there is one) and talk their head off about dogs. I was missing my boys so much one day that I stood outside a dog park watching other people’s dogs play, until I noticed some of them looking at me like I was a creepy alone dude standing at the edge of a playground staring at the kids.
  • Portland. It really is a great city, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t typically appreciate or understand cities.
  • Messages from the Universe. They were everywhere for me this weekend.
  • And this, which still hardly even seems real. I mean, who does this?!

My Blooper Reel for WDS

  • Tripping on the stairs into my hotel–every time I went in!
  • Almost getting lost just trying to find the parking lot for my hotel. I must have driven around those three or four blocks three or four times, and just when I was about to lose all sense of where I was, there it was.
  • For a moment, being the only person at the prefunction event not talking to anyone. I mean not being part of any conversation at all, not even standing near one, but rather on the edge trying to figure out what to do, how to join in, trying not to freak out or cry, feeling like the math tutor geek that got invited to the cool kids party because they felt sorry for her and she was always so nice to them–but it only lasted for a moment.
  • Taking a wrong turn and not realizing until many blocks later, which meant walking for a bit in an area where I shouldn’t have been alone.
  • Saying “hi” to Laura Simms, standing in front of her telling her how adorable she is like ten times in a row, and then not knowing what else to say so just walking away. Luckily, I got a chance to redeem myself the next morning at breakfast.
  • Telling Jennifer Lee that I “loved her doodles.” D’oh! She’s an amazing artist, and so kind (and a fellow dog person), and thankfully understood what I meant, but *sigh*
  • Eating Marionberry pie in my hotel room bed (I was having a moment, give me a break), with all white linens (can you guess what’s coming?), and dumping it over onto the duvet cover and part of the sheet. I left that bed looking like someone had been seriously injured there. Thank goodness for bleach, right?
  • And I almost forgot: buying hundreds of business (life) cards and only handing out ten. I wasn’t very good at knowing how or when to do it, felt weird, awkward, sort of jerky about it, and got so caught up in simply talking to people, I would forget.