Tag Archives: Ingrid Michaelson

Gratitude Friday

This post is 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 afterglow of “Fearless Creativity.” It was magic, and it was medicine, and it continues to shine, to soothe me.

2. Photo Editing. This black and white from this weekend makes me look at least ten years younger, and editing makes photography doubly fun–first taking the picture, then playing with it.

3. Older Dexter. At almost nine years old, he is so adorable and sweet and gray, and so much calmer and complacent than he was as a younger man. I want to keep him forever.

4. Young Sam. He is equal parts cute and handsome, playful and calm. I want to keep him forever.

5. Confidence. After so many years without it, it feels incredible.

6. Seeing Eric. Between his conference and my retreat last week, over the course of seven days we only saw each other once, for three hours. Seeing him again was so great. I want to keep him forever.

7. English Department Retreat. I don’t think it’s news to anyone that I don’t always love my paid work. And at yesterday’s retreat, there were moments of eye rolling and tension, but for the most part, it was great to reconnect as a whole department, to dream together about how good things can be, to give support to the suffering that can happen along the way, and to be reminded how funny, smart, creative, and interesting we all are.

8. Ingrid Michaelson concert with a dear friend. My friend and I are both busy, don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like, and when we do, we don’t get to talk as much as we like, so this was a good chance to do that. And, the concert was really good. Seeing Ingrid sing “Ghost” live gave me goosebumps. Her voice is so much bigger and she rocks so much harder than I expected. And, there was a super sweet stranger who had his friends scoot over and who sat by himself on a step, on the floor, so we could sit in regular seats. Dude, wherever you are, I hope you know how awesome you are.

9. The surprise smell of lilacs. They are in crazy bloom right now, all over town, and I keep getting surprised by them, smelling before seeing.

10. Being told I have the perfect mix of comedy and insight.

11. People clapping when I talked about how important it was to value having a healthy whole life, not just “work/life” balance.

12. A message from someone I admire, saying it had been a delight to meet me in person.

13. Unravelling class started, and Telling True Stories continues. And, I have some serious catching up to do with them this weekend.

landed on both my broken hearted knees

I had a bit of a meltdown today. I came home sick yesterday afternoon, felt generally cruddy, achy and tired. I woke up this morning feeling the same, inside and out.

I am becoming aware, but still stuck in the same old patterns–I can see where I am, but I can’t seem to move. Reading “The Great Lesson of Loneliness” on Metta Drum this morning, I broke down. This was the comment I left for Daniel:

Crap…crap, crap, crap.


The thought swirling around in my head this past week is “This isn’t working for me anymore. It never really did.” I think this as I continue to keep on keepin’ on, as if I think I simply haven’t figured out the right way to get this to work, like if I can just get the mix right, more of this and a little less of that, move that over here and get rid of that altogether, this can still work, I can make this work–but it won’t.

And this, “There’s just no other way around it. Without self-love, you look to others for validation and approval. You externalize your power. You wait for outside signals to let you know that it’s OK to accept yourself, to love yourself, to be yourself” cuts right through, right to the heart of it, cracks it wide open and won’t let the lie stand.

So, you say “Once you begin this process in earnest, you’ll find that when approval and validation do come to you from others, it feels beautifully complementary rather than vitally necessary.” Do you promise? I need this to be workable, because I can’t do this anymore. I can’t keep doing it like this, it’s not working…and yet, it’s still so hard, because I am in that place of being able to see it, but also knowing the change comes so slowly with something so deep and old and sticky.


Thank you.

I was shaky and raw, I was dizzy and felt like I had heartburn. Sometimes, something can be so true that it feels like a knife, cutting right through the delusion, right through your skin and bone.

His response was:

I promise… based on one condition: You start with “No one in this world can ever give me more than I can give myself.” And then be the source of what you need, let it come from that central still point. When you feel that restless searching bubbling up, stay with it — let it show you where that healing and restoration is needed. The rest is a journey that unfolds in time, not always easy, but so worth it.

I accepted his deal, and walked around today repeating the mantra: No one in this world can ever give me more than I can give myself. And then, I read the “a little bird told me, your daily truth” for today from the Brave Girls Club, and it said:

If we can close our eyes and slow our breathing and think really really hard for just a moment, we can look back and find moments when we met exactly the right person when it seemed that all hope was lost, or found exactly the right article to tell us what we needed to know, or heard exactly the right song with exactly the right words that we were absolutely sure was written just for us.

If we are honest down to our very souls, we have to see it, we have to realize it, that no matter how dismal things may seem, no matter how alone we might feel in this moment, that all along, from the very time we were born, all along things happened that got us through. It wasn’t always easy and sometimes we were clumsy, sometimes we did it through eyes so filled with tears that we could barely see.

This is workable. I can do this, make my way through. Tonight, I sat at my writing desk and put together this found poem:

Joy Jam

What were the 3-5 things that gave you joy this week?

1. Oatmeal with peaches.

2. Sick days. Okay, I don’t like feeling sick, don’t like having to take time off from all the things I wish I were doing instead, but…paid sick leave, clean sheets (my favorite set), down blankets on both the couch and the bed, naps, flannel pjs and wool slippers, hot soup and oatmeal, new episodes of 30 Rock on hulu.com (finally), snow falling outside, dogs who like to cuddle–it’s not all bad.

3. Sleeping dogs. Way too cute, probably so cute it’s not even legal. I came out yesterday, and Dexter was napping in the sun in Obi‘s chair, and then, just now, I caught him cuddled with Sam on the couch.

4. Ingrid Michaelson‘s new album, “Human Again,” and tickets to go see her when she’s next in Boulder, at my favorite venue with one of my favorite people.

5. “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” by the women of Glee. I have a sentimental attachment to Roberta Flack’s version of this, but as they often do, Glee stayed true to what was good about that, and made it their own, not better but different while just as good.

Joy to you, lovely people. It’s time for me to take another nap.

Wishcasting Wednesday

image from jamie's post

What do you wish for your health & wellness?

I don’t know if anyone else doing Wishcasting with Jamie feels this way, but it’s like she’s gotten inside my head, read my journals, or followed me around for the past week to determine the exact question to ask–the very thing that I need to clarify, get clear about, wish and claim for myself.

For my health and wellness, I wish for balance, rest, and maitri.

:: Balance: I’ve written about this before, my ongoing effort to find a middle path, the middle way when it comes to my health and wellness. Instead of taking the middle path to begin with, I tend to practice one extreme (e.g. eat a huge bowl of Marshmallow Mateys when that’s not even what I’m really hungry for), freak out because I’ve gone too far, and in an attempt to balance that excess, go just as far in the opposite direction (e.g. restrict what I eat the next day or work out too hard). I practice too tight (e.g. write for 10 hours straight) and then too loose (e.g. spend five hours on the couch watching TV because I’m too tired to read or think), tricking myself into believing they even each other out.

This doesn’t work for me anymore, (if it ever did). It’s like Sisyphus with his boulder, pushing it up a hill only to have it roll right back down. I am stuck in this loop, this push and pull, the falling down. I had been thinking specifically this morning about the 20 pounds that I have gained and lost, over and over, for the past 20 years. I weighed myself yesterday, knowing I wasn’t going to like it, but it was worse than I expected, and made me feel bad, and then I felt doubly bad that I wasn’t evolved enough to love myself no matter what the number, to not care about the number, to just throw away the stupid scale already.

To find balance, I need less food, weight, pain, suffering, secrecy, shame, self-loathing, self-criticism, clinging, attachment, and more ease, space, light, love, joy, rest, grace, strength, bravery, and self-care. I’d like to even out, start from the middle, the stillness and wisdom and kindness of my center. Balance.

:: Rest: I was talking to a friend the other day about this, and in explaining it to her, I had a realization: the comfort I get eating too much or eating food that doesn’t support my desire for more health, is numbness. I knew that already, but what I hadn’t realized is that my desire to dull, check out, be numb is because there’s all this stuff I want to do, writing and practicing and studying and living, and I don’t want to stop, don’t want to waste any more time, so I go until I am so exhausted, I have nothing left.

Unless I am asleep or sick, it is really difficult for me to accept stopping, resting. The only way to turn off my desire to keep going, the guilt about resting, the shame about wasting time, is to numb out, and food is the way I have learned to do this. What I need to do instead is give myself permission to stop, to rest. I need to embody the understanding that I need to pace myself, that I have to restore and regenerate, I need to eat for nourishment, I need to get enough sleep, I need energy to do the great work I hope to do, and it won’t come if I keep smashing myself to bits.

:: Maitri: As I have always heard it defined, this is “cultivating unconditional friendliness,” (also simply loving-kindness, friendliness, friendship) to oneself in particular, because as we’ve heard time and time again: without self-love, you don’t understand how to truly love anyone else. My only resolution last year was to “be a better friend to myself,” and it was a good start, but I still have a long way to go. So many of my issues with health and wellness center around learning to love and care for myself.

I did a Q-Cast this morning, asked the question “Is there a way to do this lovingly, cut back and let go of some weight, get healthier without it being punishment?” The cards I pulled where “cut ties” and “jackpot.” Which means to me that the trick is cutting ties with the comfort of overeating, the numbness, find balance and learn to rest.

I need to cut ties with swinging between extremes and find balance. I need to cut ties with pushing myself so hard and learn to rest. I need to break up with this self-hate like it’s an abusive boyfriend, quit it like the worst job ever, move away from it like a bad neighborhood, throw it out like a pair of socks that have holes, toss it in the garbage like spoiled food, abandon it like a car that won’t start, replace it like a roof that leaks, trash it like a pen out of ink.

Yesterday, Ingrid Michaelson released her new album, “Human Again.” I’ve been listening to it all day. This song “Ghost” makes me think about how terribly I’ve been treating myself for so long, how that made me feel. I made my true self a ghost, invisible and unloved. I don’t want to do this anymore. It’s not working.

For my health and wellness, I wish for balance, rest, and maitri. 

Something Good

It’s Monday, and I’ve heard from a few people that they are having a rough one, so I am sending this list of good things out to those who are feeling raw, struggling or stumbling this morning. May good things, ease and peace, head your way soon.

The Crimson Petal and the White: BBC Miniseries

One of my favorite books from the last few years was The Crimson Petal and the White. It’s dark and melodramatic, but epic and wonderful too, (just my opinion–I gave it to my mom and she hated it, wasn’t able to finish it, “too dark and depressing”). I was recommending the book again to someone the other day, and did a Google search to find the author, only to discover the book had been made into a four part mini-series by the BBC, with one of my favorite actors from The IT Crowd (a super funny, smart show) playing one of the leads. Now I just have to figure out how to get my hands on a copy.

Handcrafted Bird Wings for Children from Second Star Designs on Easty

Oh, how wonderful these are!

Dou Dou Birds

I am so in love with these. Now I just have to decide which ones to buy myself. One of the owls for sure.

A Human Thing

This website just launched, but I already love it. Judy, the author, says of the site’s focus “I write about love because I truly believe love is the most powerful weapon we have to affect change – in ourselves, in each other, in the world.” Amen! I’ve been doing her “41 6-word days” and it’s been really fun.

“You Will Survive”

This is a video made by Dyana Valentine, who “woke up at 4:44am with the unbearable urge to tell you this. and, i mean it. go out there and do it. i believe in you. send this to someone you believe in.” If you can stand bad words and want some encouragement, you must watch this.

“Letting Go of What You Are Not” on Metta Drum

Daniel Collinsworth does it again, straight to the heart with this post.

You won’t find any long-term solutions in the less of this, more of that approach. Instead, consider the idea that the You you’ve been searching for is already present within you, just waiting for conscious connection. Let go of the idea that you need fixing, because deep down, you aren’t really broken. You’ve only taken on layers of concepts, habits and dogmas that aren’t serving you, and certain basic needs have gone unmet for awhile. So begin to strip away those layers that you’ve built up over the course of your lifetime and discover the truth of who you are.

Can I get an “Amen”?

“Where I’m From” Poem Template

I wanted to have time to play with this over the weekend, but didn’t. However, it looks really fun, so still on my to-do list and I hope to get to it soon.

“What Took You So Long?” by Bruce H. Lipton, Ph.D.

Thanks to Lori-Lyn at DreamLifeWellness for sharing this link. The article has a collection of really great definitions of compassion: loving participation in the world, practice of enlightenment, something we cultivate in daily life based on a sane understanding of the world and our relationship to it, an expression of human freedom, flowing from a sound intuition of the unity of life and all living things, what connects all things, both a force in the universe as well as a human experience, both the field and the intention we put into that field, and the freely willing choice of any individual to act in a particular way [that] directly impacts humanity as a whole. And this too: “No wonder Glaser refers to Bodhisattvas as ‘citizens of the universe.’ ” Amen!

“Things we can learn from a dog.”

I don’t know who to credit for this, because it’s one of those things that got forwarded to me by a fellow dog lover, but it’s a great list, so I wanted to share it.

Things We Can Learn From a Dog
Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joy ride.
Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
When it’s in your best interest, always practice obedience.
Let others know when they’ve invaded your territory.
Take naps and always stretch before rising.
Run, romp, and play daily.
Eat with gusto and enthusiasm.
Be loyal.
Never pretend to be something you’re not.
If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
When you are happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
No matter how often you are criticized, don’t buy into the guilt thing and pout. Run right back and make friends.

New Album from Ingrid Michaelson, Releases January 24, 2012 (Tomorrow!)

Ingrid has a new album coming out (yay!), “Human Again” (such a great title!), and she’s been sharing links to samples of it on Thinglink. Here’s a preview of “In The Sea.” If you follow the link and click on the gramophone, you can listen to the song.


A kind and gentle reader shared this link with me yesterday, and it is so beautiful, I wanted to pass it along to you.

It’s Okay. Cheer up. You’re Perfect.

This seems like what you might need to hear today, and last night, I had a dream that I was walking in the snow and saw three ladybugs. Ladybugs have been a sign to many who love and miss Kelly that she’s still close, that love endures, and it’s just what she would tell you if you were feeling down: It’s okay. Cheer up. You’re perfect.