Tag Archives: Hope & Fear

Something Good

1. The moment of highest leverage from Seth Godin.

2. I Know I Need This Now Because I Don’t Have Time for It and Enough, wisdom from Marianne Elliott.

3. Do People Know They’re Alive? a beautiful post from Laurie Wagner, and a question worth considering.

4. This quote from Kate Courageous, “Safety is an illusion we invoke, in order to grasp onto another illusion–control,” and this one, “Control is just another expression of fear, after all.”

5. Poetry (the good news and the bad news):

As you unfold as an artist,
just keep on,
quietly and earnestly,
growing through all that happens to you.

You cannot disrupt the process more violently
than by looking outside yourself for answers
that may only be found by attending to your innermost feeling.
~Rainier Maria Rilke

6. Have I told you lately how much I adore Anne Lamott? She posted this on Facebook this week:

But what I believe, and what my moderately left–and right–wing Christian brothers and sisters believe, is that Jesus preached a gospel of radical sacrifice, of giving away everything we possibly can–our time, our money, our prayers–to the have-nots, the same old/same old suffering people of this world, widows and whole nations.

Let us go in peace then, to be people of goodness and service and sacrifice. I keep trying to do better, like most people do, but I don’t have a magic wand. I am learning as I go; and boy, am I humbled by my failings. And “humbled” is always a great place to start anything, from being a better parent, writer, mate; or still, after all these years, trying to save the world.

7. From Pema Chödrön, (who I also adore):

Abandon All Hope and Fear: Hope and fear is a feeling with two sides. As long as there’s one, there’s always the other. This is the root of our pain. In the world of hope and fear, we always have to change the channel, change the temperature, change the music, because something is getting uneasy, something is getting restless, something is beginning to hurt, and we keep looking for alternatives.

In a nontheistic state of mind, abandoning hope is an affirmation, the beginning of the beginning. You could even put “Abandon hope” on your refrigerator door instead of more conventional aspirations like “Every day in every way I’m getting better and better.”

8. He still doesn’t have a name, but boy oh boy is he cute, (by Allison Mae Photography–do yourself a favor and go to her site and see the rest of her pictures for a whopping dose of the super cutes).

9. “If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” ~Maya Angelou

10. Photos of Children From Around the World With Their Most Prized PossessionsThe two with just a single stuffed monkey are my favorites.

11. You will be called on to expand. And this is why we practice. a beautiful reminder from Danielle LaPorte.

12. 18 principles for highly creative living from Justine Musk.

13. Foster the Folk: Daria Marie & The purpose of plainness.

14. From SouleMama, baby chicks in teacups, because.

15. “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” ~Confucius, from The Daily Rock on 37 Days.

16. 40 Days of Deep Wisdom, another brilliant offering from Erica Staab, “a free eCourse designed to help you tap into your own inner wisdom.”

17. Shared on this week’s Positively Present’s Picks: Nine Creativity-Sparking Tips from Daring to Live Fully, How to Find Your Purpose on Think Simple Now, and 5 Easy Ways to be Nicer to Yourself on Pick the Brain.

18. Shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend list: How I keep my (natural) beauty routine sane on Simple Mom, Smitten Kitchen, Joy the Baker, Sprouted Kitchen, Super Snack Suggestions from Kate Skinner Nutrition, and this gloriously weird dude and his crystals,

19. How to Make a Major Life-Changing Shift from Stuck to Unstoppable, an interview with Bridget Pilloud on Below Zero to Hero.

20. Oh my, how I adore Zooey Deschanel.

20. What I Know About Fear Now That I’m In My 30s, by Margaret Wheeler Johnson on The Huffington Post.

21. Girl Rising Montage, a documentary with a powerful message–Want to see change? Educate a girl.

21. This explains so much for me, “Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness.” ~Shakti Gawain

22. Find the Others, from Ze Frank.

23. This Dad’s Stamp Of Approval Might Be The Best Thing You See On The Internet All Day. My wish is that every kid has parents like this, is loved like this.

24. I Don’t Like You, but I Want You to Want Me. from Positively Positive.

25. This quote, shared in this post by Hannah Marcotti, “And if you feel free, you feel empowered. And every negative emotion that exists—hear this—every negative emotion that exists is because there is some sense of loss of freedom somewhere in there.” ~Abraham

26. Austerity and the Arts — and George W. Bush on Pop Matters, in which author Josh Indar says,

In the end, I decided that doing art during a recession is about the same as doing art during any other time. You have to believe in it, be open to it, trust it, do it. You have to embrace it as blindly and fervently as a spinning Sufi if you want to get anything out of it.

27. My Amazon bestseller made me nothing on Salon, (in case you are a writer and not depressed enough by the previous article).

But the truth is, there’s a reason most well-known writers still teach English. There’s a reason most authors drive dented cars. There’s a reason most writers have bad teeth. It’s not because we’ve chosen a life of poverty. It’s that poverty has chosen our profession… Even when there’s money in writing, there’s not much money.

28. Susan Orlean on Writing, on Brain Pickings, (in case you are a writer, and that doesn’t change no matter how depressing those past two articles were), in which she advises writers that,

  • You have to simply love writing, and you have to remind yourself often that you love it.
  • You should read as much as possible. That’s the best way to learn how to write.
  • You have to appreciate the spiritual component of having an opportunity to do something as wondrous as writing. You should be practical and smart and you should have a good agent and you should work really, really hard. But you should also be filled with awe and gratitude about this amazing way to be in the world.
  • Don’t be ashamed to use the thesaurus. I could spend all day reading Roget’s! There’s nothing better when you’re in a hurry and you need the right word right now.

29. First Grade Proverbs.

30. Have Faith That Slowing Down Will Be Good for You, on Tiny Buddha.

31. The Big, Scary Thing I Do Every Week, from Life in Z-D.

32. Living with Less. A Lot Less. on the New York Times.

33. Wisdom from Geneen Roth:

If you are waiting to be thin or thinner, to be happy, happiness will elude you no matter what you weigh. If you are waiting to really begin your life until you have success or a relationship or the perfect place to live, you won’t get that sought after joy.

What we want most, what we think we can only have if we meet certain conditions, is to inhabit our lives. To love our sweet lives. And if you believe you need to get “there” to enjoy “here”, the problem is that when you get there, “there” looks very much like “here.” Because wherever you are, you are always here, where you are.

The challenge is to pay attention here. To be alive here. To learn how to wake yourself up here. It’s a habit, this learning to be awake and alive because we are so used to distracting ourselves and deadening ourselves. And we carry this old belief that it’s impossible to do it any other way. But that’s not true. Anyone can learn this. There is so much goodness here, right here, in the middle of our messy imperfect lives, right in this very second, that it turns out that here is, after all, as good as there. (Which is not to say that your body wouldn’t be more comfortable at a different weight or that you wouldn’t feel a sense of satisfaction in success).

When we pay attention, there is nothing missing. It’s all here. And you don’t have to wait to get it, you don’t have to achieve anything to be in it. Will you allow yourself to have the messy imperfect life you have? Will you stop, even if it’s just for today, waiting for your life to begin and realize that it’s already begun?

34. Andrea Gibson: “Letter To A Playground Bully from Andrea (age 8).”

35. Exit 245 – Titanium (David Guetta feat. Sia) [Official Music Video]. I’m a total sucker for glee club music.

36. More good stuff from Brain Pickings: Sorted Books Revisited: Artist Nina Katchadourian’s Playfully Arranged Book Spine Sentences, and The Adverb Is Not Your Friend: Stephen King on Simplicity of Style.

37. From my Inner Pilot Light,

What do you mean it will never happen? How can you say you don’t deserve it? Why would you ever think such things? Let me clear things up, my darling. It will happen. You do deserve it. I was just making sure you really wanted it. Do you?

Yes, please.

38. This quote from Satya,

The trouble with making space is that it might mean you do have to go somewhere unpleasant. You might realise that you really don’t like your job, or that you feel lonely. You might have to admit that you haven’t a clue about what you’re doing. This is the most common reason for keeping our lives nicely filled up. We don’t want to risk falling down into the gap.

40. Desire: A Story, a beautiful post from Sunni on The Daily Breadcrumb.

41. Quote from Oriah Mountain Dreamer, shared on Facebook last week,

It seems fitting tonight to offer a nod to St. Patrick’s Day with a quote from my friend John O’Donohue: “Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey,” from Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom.

42. This quote from Rachel Naomi Remen, MD, “At the deepest level, the creative process and the healing process arise from a single source. When you are an artist, you are a healer; a wordless trust of the same mystery is the foundation of your work and its integrity.”

43. The Still Point of the Turning World, a beautiful reflection on a heartbreaking but beautiful book on A Design So Vast. I really want to read this book, even though I know it will wreck me. Lindsey shares a quote in her post from the book,

This is precisely why grief, like love and any other foundational, deceptively simple human emotion or state of being, is the terrain of artists. And it is a writer’s even more specific job to give voice to loss in whatever ways she can, to give shape to this unspeakable, impermeable reality beneath all other realities.

44. How to do less and live more, from Kris Carr, in which she says, “lately I’ve been wondering if we’re busier than we really need to be.”

45. I’m actually not that busy. a good reminder, a dare from Andrea Scher. I’m in!

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: Letting go of something you love is difficult, one of the hardest things. But, I will survive it. I have done this before, watched someone I love die, been separated even though the thing we both wanted the most was to stay together always, and I am still alive, even without them, even with no guarantee I will ever see them again, heart broken but still bound, tethered to an invisible but tangible love.

2. Truth: I can’t change the facts, but I determine how I respond. It’s staying dark later in the mornings now, that’s a fact of nature. This morning, so dark that I’d need to wear a headlamp for our walk, I was feeling grumpy, resistant, wishing away the dark. And yet, a few blocks from our house I looked up at the still dark night morning sky and saw stars. I thought about how on the way back, I’d see the sunrise, how I was taking this walk with two of my dogs. Instead of being cranky that it was dark and cold and early, things I can’t change, I noticed. I felt gratitude, thankful for the grace of one more morning to be awake and alive and together. I can’t alter nature, can’t keep Dexter from dying no matter what I do or how I feel about it, so instead of resisting or wishing things were different, I choose to open my heart to all of it, to be fully present and alive, wakeful and wise and compassionate.

3. Truth: It is okay. As I am surviving this loss, as it washes over me, passes through me, there will be messy moments. I will feel panic and cry in public. I will get angry and fall into despair. I will blame and accuse and rant and regret. I will wish and hope for things to be different. I will vow to never love again. I will hold my grief like it were a physical thing, with warm breath and sharp teeth. I will numb out, sleep and eat too much, say I’m okay, insist on it when I am anything but alright. This is the way love goes, the way the physical form where we focus our love leaves us. There is nothing to be done but to surrender, to be wounded. Eventually there will be another dog, and I’ll do the same thing again–open my heart knowing full well it will be broken. This is the way love goes. It is what it is, and this is workable.

One wish: My single wish underneath all my other wishes right now is that Dexter has an easy death. But, I also wish that those of us in this process of letting go feel some peace, some relief, and have faith in our innate wisdom and kindness and strength, being certain that we’ll know what to do and that whatever arises, it’s all workable.

Day of Rest

It’s not about letting go of worry or getting over fear.

It’s about letting go of the idea that you can control everything, or anything.

It’s about making space for uncertainty and doubt.

It’s about surrendering to impermanence and getting past resistance to change.

It’s about “having the life you want by being present to the life you have,” (the subtitle to Mark Nepo’s The Book of Awakening).

It’s about confidence, “the willingness to be as ridiculous, luminous, intelligent, and kind as you really are, without embarrassment,” (the brilliant Susan Piver said that).

It’s about paying attention, being mindful and present.

It’s about letting go of both hope and fear.

It’s about having faith in basic goodness, our innate and fundamental and natural wisdom and compassion, our essential and shared humanity.

It’s about risking heartbreak and failure, knowing that it’s so much better than being numb.

It’s about living a wholehearted life–“engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging,” (from Brene’ Brown’s new book, Daring Greatly).

It’s about refusing to smash yourself to bits, and not being afraid of yourself.

It’s about choosing vulnerability over safety and predictability, letting go of the longing for solid ground, for a life of nothing but happiness and security.

It’s about love.

It’s about having the courage to face your own life, show up, keep your heart open, and allow yourself to be seen.

It’s about being brave.

a winnebago parked in my neighborhood, the brave model

Who’s with me?

August Break: Day Fifteen

The other day, after a day of no reverse sneezing, Dexter was playing in the backyard. Sam was distracted because he was on sprinkler patrol, so Dexter had me, the toy, and the yard all to himself–he was having so much fun. I loved seeing him play, enjoying himself, so happy. I want more of this.

first, distract sam with the sprinkler

next, bring mom the toy

catch the toy when mom throws it

own the toy, rule the world

rest and smile

August Break: Day Eleven

The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next. ~Ursula K. Le Guin

In these past weeks, I have been working with an uncomfortable sense of groundlessness, of uncertainty. Not knowing what will come next, unclear about what is really going on, confused and unsure about what to do, unable to control the chaos that is life.

As human beings, not only do we seek resolution, but we also feel that we deserve resolution. However, not only do we not deserve resolution, we suffer from resolution. We don’t deserve resolution; we deserve something better than that. We deserve our birthright, which is the middle way, an open state of mind that can relax with paradox and ambiguity. ~Pema Chödrön

I am uncomfortable and anxious when I can’t be certain and in control. All kinds of ugliness gets triggered by my desire for certainty, my attempt to find a safe place and stay there forever, grasping for a promise of calm and peace, a solid and unshakeable plan, waiting and wishing for someone or something to save me, protect me, keep me.

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart.
…live in the question. ~Rainer Maria Rilke

I wanted to be certain that Dexter was better, okay, fine, nothing to worry about. I even listed him yesterday as my bonus joy, announced that he hadn’t reverse sneezed in a week. And then, this morning on our walk, two loose dogs rushed at us, Dexter got excited and upset and reverse sneezed, giving himself a bloody nose. It’s not that I believed he’d never do it again, in fact I expected it, but I had also made the mistake of hope, hoping that it was done, that at some point the number of days that had passed since the last episode was so many it no longer made sense to count them, and he’d be perfectly and completely happy and healthy until he slipped away of natural causes at about age 14.

But this morning it happened again, and there was blood, and immediately I am right back in not knowing. What is causing it? How do we help him? How many frantic emails and vet visits are reasonable? What is the next step? What else might we try? Should we worry? If they can’t figure out what’s wrong, what then? Will he do this the rest of his life? Will it get worse? Is it cancer? Will he die? When?!

To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. ~Pema Chödrön

But I know that the only answer is to relax and be gentle. I need to practice being okay with not knowing, surrender to the chaos, become friends with groundlessness. I have to accept that the only thing I can do is love him, to be here with him now, to not squander the joy of this moment with worry about what might come next.