Tag Archives: Hugh MacLeod

Joy Jam

This is always so hard.  I am supposed to only list 3-5 things and I always have so many more than that! It’s a wonderful problem to have!

“Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” the Glee version. I was wrapping presents for “my” Pine Ridge kids and watching Glee on hulu.com, and love the version they did of this song. The tempo and tone completely changed it. And it always kills me when Santana cries.

These quotes from Marc Nepo: “Those who truly love us will never knowingly ask us to be other than we are,” and “fish learn from the water and birds learn from the sky.” The last one has me thinking what do we humans learn from?

This quote that Tara Brach shared on Facebook: (Love Quotes by Children) “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.”

Hugh MacLeod’s books on creativity, Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity” and “Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination.” And, this quote from him: “If you try to make something just to fit your uninformed view of some hypothetical market, you will fail. If you make something special and powerful and honest and true, you will succeed.”

My new metallic markers.

Something Good

1. Monday is almost over. This is the last week of classes at CSU, and as in love as I ever was with my class and as much I adored my students, I am ready to be done now.

2. The art of Hugh MacLeod. He posts his work on his website, gapingvoid, and it is this lovely mix of sharply funny (like the edge of a knife sometimes), smart, and open-hearted.  In honor of the first item on this “Something Good” list, here’s one of my current favorites:

art by Hugh MacLeod

3. Seven Day Weekends. Not having to go to work for almost the whole week of Thanksgiving was great.  We should do that more often.

4. This kid, and everything about him and this video. The moment he takes a deep breath, wipes his tears, and holds up “But…I’m not going anywhere,” was the best, so brave. After you watch the video, make sure to read his update, which says, in part: “The video is real, and true…Love and peace to all who are hurting.” Amen.

5. Pine Ridge Holiday Project. Sorry to sound like a broken record, but I am just so in love with this, and I really think you should try it. You don’t have to be in Colorado, people from all over the world have taken part in the past, all you need to do is email Christine or Julie and get some names. In the last few days, they got more lists, specifically infants, and have so many kids, infants, and elders left who really need your help this season. From my heart: if you have enough this season and you are loved, please share that with someone who might not be so lucky.

6. “Women, Food, and God” Eating Guidelines. These are so simple, so complicated, and have been so helpful to me. I highly recommend this book to any woman who struggles with her relationship with food. Here they are, the seven guidelines to eating more consciously, (and if you can already do this, good for you–please be kind to those of us who are struggling):

Eat when you are hungry.

Eat sitting down in a calm environment. This does not include the car.

Eat without distractions. Distractions include radio, television, newspapers, books, intense or anxiety-producing conversations or music.

Eat what your body wants.

Eat until you are satisfied.

Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others.

Eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure.

7. Felted animals. I have been in love with these since I first saw them.

by artist Alisha Harms

There are artists that will use a picture of your dog and make you one that looks just like them. If the ones who are really good at it didn’t charge so much ($299!–the work is worth that amount, but I just can’t justify spending it), I’d have ones made of Obi, Dexter, and Sam and take them with me everywhere. I’d especially like one of Obi. He’s gone, but I could carry his miniature around in my pocket. And I know just who I’d hire to make them for me: Kay from Canada, of Kay’s K9s.  Her work is amazing! Here are a few of her custom pieces:

Dexter’s Mini D is pretty good, but not quite as close of a match.

8. Sharing a banana with Sam every morning. No matter where he is in the house, no matter how soundly asleep, he hears the snap of the top of a banana and before I can get the first side peeled, he’s sitting in front of me asking for some. One thing I love so much about it, besides the cuteness of a dog eating a banana, is that Obi loved bananas too.  Right after he died, the first banana I had all to myself was the saddest thing ever, so Sam has returned eating a banana to a joyful practice.

9. The Idea Manifesto. This is the work of Bernadette Jiwa, a “Results Coach” born in Dublin and living in Perth, Australia.

10. Twinkly lights.

  • Love and peace to all who are hurting.

Being Clear, Being Open, Saving Myself and Saving the World

I have been getting all kinds of messages about getting serious about what I care about and what I really want, and using that knowledge to determine how exactly to spend my time.

art by hugh macleod

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) was a bust. I wrote with that goal in mind for only one day at the beginning of the month. I was so uncommitted, I didn’t even bother beating myself up for not following through. And yet, I wrote every day last month, posted almost every day to this blog. For December, I’ve entered another “post every day” challenge, NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). The theme for December is “gift” and BlogHer provides daily prompts if you need them (today’s is “What was the first tangible gift you remember receiving?”), but the fundamental goal is to post every day.

This blog, and the work that it represents, my life-rehab, are where I need to be spending my time right now.  I still don’t understand how this will translate into something bigger, lead to my great work (whatever that’s going to be), but I do know that I need to keep showing up, keep sharing what is happening, and to have faith in the practice, the process.

Last week, I was reading “The Comfort Queen’s Guide to Life” by Jennifer Louden, and the first set of questions the book offers are “What is the one thing I need more of in my life right now?,” “What one modest step am I willing to take to get more of this in my life?,” “What do I need less of in my life?,” and “What one, modest step am I willing to take to decrease one of those things in my life?”

As I worked with these questions, I kept coming back to the notion of needing time.  A balance of time alone to be creative, think, study, write, and time to do body work to keep me healthy, flexible, and centered, and time to rest and rehabilitate. Time, time, time. Sometimes when I start to think about how little time there is and how much I aspire to, in addition to all that I have to or should do, I panic.  My throat and chest tighten, and it’s hard to breathe or think clearly. Even right now, as I write this post, I feel the panic–“I need to write this, walk the dogs again, eat lunch, make a post to my class blog, send a few emails to students, go to campus to conference with students about their final projects, and when am I going to find time to put clean sheets on the bed (since Sam left a big muddy paw print on them this morning), get groceries, or even think about making, buying, wrapping, and shipping Christmas presents?!”

I determined that the one modest thing I could do is to stop wasting time in the ways I know that I am:

  • Mindless internet surfing, and email, facebook, twitter, blog stats checking, to stop myself before I do it, and kindly suggest another time when I might, and limit that time.
  • Work better and smarter, letting go of busywork or working the way I think other people want or expect me to.  I know how to get done what needs done and I can, if I leave out have to, should, and perfect.
  • Stop doing should, stop doing extra.  Focus on one thing at a time, and commit to it wholeheartedly because it truly is worth doing.
  • Stop doing anything with the intention of proving or earning something–I’m worthy, smart, and loveable standing still and quiet, so there’s no reason to put on a show if all I want is to be loved and accepted.

Once I am clear about that, the answers to the other questions are obvious:

  • What do I need less of in my life? Busywork, “shoulds,” junk reading, distraction, and numbing out.
  • What one, modest step am I willing to take to decrease one of these things in my life? Reschedule or replace the “checking.” For example, on Sunday, I checked in at 9 am, and then told myself we wouldn’t check again until 12 pm.  I knew it would be hard, but the first hour turned out to be torture. I am so used to being connected, constantly caught in a loop of seeing what’s happened, that it was really tough to disconnect, but such a gift once I did. One trick was when the urge to check came up, I asked myself: “What am I looking for? What do I need, (attention, reinforcement, distraction)?” and “What could I do instead to get what I need, or what else needs doing?” and “Could I reschedule this to another time?” and to think about what I’m feeding by following the urge, what am I making stronger?

And, as I said, the Universe sending me so many reminders. First it was the new post on 37 Days, “Letting go. And Creating,” in which author Patti Digh suggests considering two questions: “What do I need or want to let go of as 2011 ends? ” and “What do I want to create in 2012?”

And then, on The Organic Sister, “Why Am I Choosing ‘Productive’ Over Actually PRODUCING? (How Digging Deep, Deep Breaths and One Simple Question Changes Everything)” in which Tara Wagner admits that as “I looked at my days I was seeing that I spent so much time on things that were NOT productive to my two main purposes in life: feeding my soul and helping others.” She discovered a set of questions that were helpful to her: “Is this: 1. Feeding my soul, 2. Feeding my greater vision and purpose in this world, or 3. Feeding the souls of others?”

And on A Design So Vast, in a post titled “My Life Has Simultaneously Narrowed and Widened,” author Lindsey Mead says “I have been thinking about that a lot lately, of the immensely different ways we each populate our hours and what they say about what we value…Every hour of our life is a choice, a trade-off between competing priorities and desires.  We are all given the same number of hours in a day.  What do you prioritize?  What do you care about?  Where are you spending your time?

And then, Caroline Leon, writer of Life is Limitless, posts a piece called “A Few Thoughts on Inspiration” in which she talks about the importance of showing up and having faith. I was compelled to post a response, which in part said

Like you, I practice and show up, and have to trust, have faith that something will be there, waiting for me. If I can show up and relax, let go and let it happen in the way that naturally arises, I am manifesting the truest of true. This gets easier the more I do it, (as is the way of all practices). What I just realized as I explained this is that I think I carry inside myself, as the core of my very nature, the seed, the wisdom and compassion necessary to birth inspiration. And it really is about the mindful presence I give to the doing that calls it, opens me up and makes it possible for me to receive it. It’s like tuning in a radio.

And then, Susan Piver’s Open Heart Project talk and meditation for today, “You are good” reminds me that to believe in our own goodness:

It means letting go, first, of the idea that anyone is watching. No one is.

It means being who you are rather than who you thought you were supposed to be.

This is an act of love, not to mention authenticity, joy, daring, kindness. Vulnerability.

And, the meditation, the mantra she suggests to begin practice is this:

I am good.
All beings possess such goodness.
Knowing this, my heart opens.
When my heart is open, I can change the world.

This led me to think about what matters to me, why I am doing any of this, and what value it has. I saw two other things this week, two projections of very difference perspectives, that helped me to clarify my own vision, my aspirations and values.

The first was (forgive the language):

And the next was:

art by hugh macleod

I chose to have faith in the second one, in Susan Piver’s suggestion that “When my heart is open, I can change the world.” For me, giving in to my impulse, my aspiration to create, to discover and share what truth is for me, is the only way I know to save myself, and maybe help save the world.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: Some issues cannot be solved through abstinence. I offer up myself and my “life-rehab” as a specific example of this.  The difficulties I am currently working with are that I have been in a long term abusive relationship, with myself, and need to learn how to relate to myself differently, to heal that relationship.  Also, as I mentioned just the other day, I have a damaged and distorted relationship with food.  In both cases, I cannot simply abstain.  I can’t abstain from eating or relating to myself. I would die.

by Hugh MacLeod

2. Truth: Difficulties such as these require continued effort and sustained practice. You have to keep trying, keep showing up and doing the work, practice, and even start over when necessary, stay with it, and ask for help. “To stay, you have to believe there is something worth staying for…and then you have to bring yourself back, again and again,” Geneen Roth.

by Hugh MacLeod

3. Truth: Things are workable, and you already have what it will take to succeed. You have basic, innate kindness and wisdom.  You know who you are.

“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

by Hugh MacLeod

One wish: I wish you, all of us, the joy that comes with this hard work, of being who we are, of loving who we are, all the messy and stinky and beautiful bits. Our difficulties aren’t something to rush through or get over or past, but rather they are our life, they are living. Despair and even happiness are simply the weather and our basic goodness the sun, always there even when we can’t see it.

“It doesn’t matter how long we may have been stuck in a sense of our limitations. If we go into a darkened room and turn on the light, it doesn’t matter if the room has been dark for a day, a week, or ten thousand years — we turn on the light and it is illuminated. Once we control our capacity for love and happiness, the light has been turned on.” ~Sharon Salzberg

by Hugh MacLeod

  • Okay, it’s your turn. Speak your truths and make a wish.