Tag Archives: Julia Cameron

Something Good

1. From Brave Girls Club,

Let it go.
Let it fall.
Let it be.

2. Tattoo Stories on The New Yorker.

3. 11 Ways to Let Go and Feel Less Stress from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

4. 9 Mind-Bending Epiphanies That Turned My World Upside-Down.

4. Wisdom from TKV Desikachar, “The more you teach the more you must practice.”

5. Wisdom from Jane Austen, “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”

6. Good stuff from Elephant Journal: The pith teaching of all Buddhadharma, and The 10 Things We’ll Never Tell You in Yoga Teacher Training (But Should), (Thanks for sharing this one, Keri), and How to be Naked in front of Strangers, (Thanks for writing this one, Keri).

7. I Decided to Live My Truth on Rebelle Society.

8. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

It helps to remember that our spiritual practice is not about accomplishing anything—not about winning or losing—but about ceasing to struggle and relaxing as it is. That is what we are doing when we sit down to meditate. That attitude spreads into the rest of our lives.

9. Wisdom from Mara Glatzel,

In order to show up, we must “indulge” in the quiet comfort of restoration.

In order to show up, we must fill our reservoir of strength.

In order to show up, we require: quiet, sleep, touch, love, foods that nourish us, and space to acknowledge our own divinity – the places where we belong in the family of things.

Restoration is not passive. Instead it the a mandatory process of filling the well so that you will have the resources that you need to keep moving, keep desiring, and keep showing up.

10. Time folds like an accordion on A Design So Vast.

11. Wisdom in poetry form from Nayyirah Waheed,

“in our own ways we all break. it is okay to hold your heart outside of your body for days. months. years. at a time. – heal

12. What It’s like to Fly the $23,000 Singapore Airlines Suites Class.

13. Depression and Suicide In Animal Care Professions: What Can We Do? (Thanks for sharing, Sarah).

14. More wisdom from Pema Chödrön, “The life force of the path of fearlessness is genuineness, that is to say, to not be afraid of ourselves.” (Thanks for sharing, Susan).

15. I Am a Woman Reclaiming Body Trust on Huffington Post.

16. They Were Friends, But She Was In Love. When She Tells The Crowd What He Said, They Go Silent. on Upworthy.

17. Mary Lambert Does One Mic, One Take Version of “So Far Away.”

18. Comparing Grief: A Useless Endeavor.

19. Erin Moon: Walking The Path Back To Life on the Good Life Project.

20. Your Career Homecoming with Laura Simms. I told her yesterday that “I seriously feel a little sad for myself that [my career] is the one place I have my shit figured out. It’s like being too old for the most awesome summer camp ever.”

21. Wisdom from Dallas Clayton,

You are as beautiful now
as when you were a beautiful child
before anyone told you what everything meant
and your beautiful heart could run wild.

22. True Stories Series: Meet Lisa Sadikman from Laurie Wagner.

23. friday’s confession: I’m not here to save you from Tiffany Han.

24. On Liam and Balloons and Staying Open on Momastery.

25. Practicing Nonviolence Toward Self, an important article from Phillip Moffatt, in which he says,

The Trappist monk and spiritual author Thomas Merton once said, “To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is itself to succumb to the violence of our times.”

26. I’m Giving Up on My Son, and I’ve never had a more acute feeling of failure on Medium.

27. 10 Reasons You Don’t Want to Be My Friend Now That I Have Kids on Huffington Post.

28. Meredith Woolnough’s Embroideries Mimic Delicate Forms of Nature on Colossal.

29. Good stuff from Laura Pritchett: The Brutal Truth About Writing About a Father’s Alzheimer’s and Soapbox: Discuss Alzheimer’s disease openly. P.S. Her latest novel, Stars Go Blue, is so good, I read it in a single day.

30. Wisdom from Julia Cameron, “The seeds of our creativity require enough solitude and space to grow unhindered,” and “As creative beings, we need silence.”

31. Skillful Service is Born of a Quiet Heart from Jack Kornfield.

32. Wisdom from Mark Wagner, “Who doesn’t have something for which they need to atone, someone with whom they need to reconcile, something for which they need forgiveness, or someone they need to forgive?”

33. Wisdom from Geneen Roth on Facebook.

34. 17 Mom Confessions about F’ed Up Things Their Kids Have Done on Huffington Post. I get an extra giggle from how many of these involve poop.

35. Other lists of good things worth checking out:

Something Good

Horsetooth Reservoir, image by Eric

Horsetooth Reservoir, image by Eric

1. Wisdom from Saint Thomas, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” (Thanks to Gemma Stone for sharing).

2. Good stuff on Upworthy: A Baby Survives A Situation That Could Have Killed Any Of Us. Now They Call Him ‘Miracle Baby.’ and This Kid’s Scary Personification Of Depression Gives Me Chills.

3. Good stuff from Buzzfeed: This Artist Turns Her 2-Year-Old’s Doodles Into Gorgeous Paintings, and 21 Women Remember Their First Periods…For Better Or For Worse, and If Andy Dwyer Quotes Were Motivational Posters, and If Nick Miller Quotes Were Motivational Posters.

4. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook: Love your neighbor and How not to be overwhelmed.

5. 24 Signs That Life is Amazingly Awesome (Even When It Doesn’t Feel That Way). (Thanks for sharing, Sandi).

6. Anne Lamott on Facebook, “Life or life: This strange situation we find ourselves in, with no clear answers or meaning — well, you know, I mean besides love, or Love; taking care of the poor; and being amazed by beauty.”

7. The 7 Lies That Keep Us From Success from Jonathan Fields.

8. One of my favorite quotes, from Thich Nhat Hanh: “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.”

9. 23 ways to relax when you’re stressed from Positively Present.

10. Wisdom from Hafiz:

Ever since happiness heard your name,
it has been running through the streets
trying to find you.

11. More wisdom from Thich Nhat Hanh:

Our practice is to find our true home. When we breathe, we breathe in such a way that we can find our true home. When we make a step, we make a step in such a way that we touch our true home with our feet.

12. Good stuff on Bored Panda: 17 Of The Most Unusual Beaches Around The World, and Mesmerizing Paper Art Made From Strips Of Colored Paper by Yulia Brodskaya, and These People Turned Log Piling Into An Art Form.

13. Vegetarian Sweet Potato Chili recipe.

14. Anahata Katkin’s Flickr Photostream.

15. The Creamy Kung Foo of Writing True Stories from Laurie Wagner.

16. Why I Think This World Should End from Prince Ea.

16. New Backlit Paper Sculptures by Hari & Deepti on Colossal.

17. Then and now photos: Colorado flood recovery one year later from Colorado Public Radio.

18. You Cannot Hate Yourself Into Change from Jo Anna Rothman.

19. Wisdom from the poet Stonehouse:

I meditate alone in the quiet and dark
where nothing comes to mind
I sweep the steps when the west wind is done
I make a path for the moonlight

20. 5 Questions to Instantly Transform Your Family Relationships from MindValley Academy.

21. Accepting Ourselves…and our true delights from Julia Cameron.

22. 7 Steps to Living a Bill Murray Life, by Bill Murray.

23. The Horrible Awkwardness and Angst of Being a Beginner: In Aikido or at Anything on Huffington Post.

24. Learning How to Draw a Mandala from Jamie Ridler.

25. Good stuff from Be More with Less: 10 Strategies for Absolute Clarity and Identify Your Real Treasures and Finally Let Go.

26. Navigate Your Life: Justine Musk from Jennifer Louden.

27. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

In the morning when you wake up, reflect on the day ahead and aspire to use it to keep a wide-open heart and mind. At the end of the day, before going to sleep, think over what you’ve done. If you fulfilled your aspiration, even once, rejoice in that. If you went against your aspiration, rejoice that you are able to see what you did and are no longer living in ignorance. This way you will be inspired to go forward with increasing clarity, confidence, and compassion.

28. Wisdom from Natalie Goldberg:

[A practice] is something you choose to do on a regular basis with no vision of an outcome; the aim is not improvement, not getting somewhere. You do it because you do it…you have an opportunity to meet your own mind, to examine what it does, its plays and shenanigans.

29. Wisdom from Isabel Foxen Duke:

…binge-eating is ALWAYS the result of restriction, and/or judgement of our food choices, and is there anything that triggers you into these feelings and behaviors more than wishing your body was different than it is?

30. Words for the Day :: No. 40 from Lisa Congdon.

31. Mortality as Muse.

32. If I Knew The Way, I Would Take You Home from Rebelle Society.

33. Louis C.K. Exposes My Stupid Brain on McSweeney’s.

34. Shake it off, the song that won’t get out of my head, has inspired some pretty cute tributes.

35. Elizabeth Gilbert Shares Her “Really Weird” Advice About Following Your Passion on Huffington Post.

36. Hey White People: A Kinda Awkward Note to America by #Ferguson Kids.

36. The #1 Secret on How To Engage With a Narcissist on Huffington Post.

37. From Brave Girls Club:

Dear Insightful Girl,

You already know the answers to the questions that are eating away at you. You just have to trust yourself enough to really listen and be brave with your decisions.

You know oh-so-much-more than you give yourself credit for. You have a good heart and powerful intuition and you really do know the right way to go, that doesn’t mean it’s always the easiest way to go…but the easiest path never was the most fruitful path, and you are one of the courageous souls who seeks the best fruit.

Trust your gut. It has never led you astray. You can do it — you are a Brave Girl. And you are so loved.

38. Women’s greatest threat isn’t misogyny, it’s counting calories on the Washington Post.

39. A Photographer’s Moving Tribute to the Pine Ridge Reservation on Slate.

Something Good

1. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

We all have parts of ourselves that need working on. We all think thoughts that aren’t the best thoughts we could be thinking. We all do things we wish we would have done better, or differently, or not at all. We all make mistakes, every single day….every single one of us. And then, we all wake up every day with lots of chances to start over. It is one of the miracles of life…Let yesterday go, be done with it. Walk onto your light-filled path and make today a better day.

2. A Pathetic Internet Troll Called This Mom’s Little Boy Ugly. Her Reply Is Perfection. on Viral Nova.

3. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

The opposite of samsara (the cycle of suffering) is when all the walls fall down, when the cocoon completely disappears and we are totally open to whatever may happen, with no withdrawing, no centralizing into ourselves. That is what we aspire to, the warrior’s journey. That is what stirs us: leaping, being thrown out of the nest, going through the initiation rites, growing up, stepping into something that’s uncertain and unknown.

4. Yo Oprah, I’mma Let You Finish But Amy Poehler Has The Best Body Image Advice Of All Time on Upworthy.

5. You are a writer. So, write. Deeply. on Rebelle Society.

6. Prompt of the Week: Junk Mail Poetry from Wolverine Farm Publishing Co. & Bookstore, and my dear friend Chloé, the 2014 Poet Laureate of Fort Collins.

7. The generosity boomerang from Seth Godin.

8. Five things you can do to overcome fear on Life is Limitless.

9. The Bite I Chose Not to Take, from Mara Glatzel.

10. Truthbomb from Danielle LaPorte, “Make the necessary adjustments for your life to become more meaningful.”

11. A Conversation with Julia Cameron about Channeling Your Creativity on Huffington Post.

12. The ultimate guide to naming your “thing” from Alexandra Franzen.

13. Good stuff from Zen Habits: The Habit Action List and The Reality of This Moment.

14. Be Yourself – Short Documentary.

15. 6 Things That I Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement from the Militant Baker.

16. Wisdom from Geneen Roth,

For some reason, we are truly convinced that if we criticize ourselves, the criticism will lead to change. If we are harsh, we believe we will end up being kind. If we shame ourselves, we believe we end up loving ourselves. It has never been true, not for a moment, that shame leads to love. Only love leads to love.

17. Good stuff from Bored Panda: Photographer Takes Stunning Surreal Photos With An Old $50 Film Camera and WTF? 22 Of The Weirdest and Most Unexplainable Pictures Ever and Hidden Macro World Revealed By Japanese Photographer Miki Asai.

18. Use These 19 Genius Cleaning Hacks This Spring. I Can’t Believe I Never Thought Of #13 Til Now. on Viral Nova. Seriously, #13 is brilliant.

19. Success, failure and the drive to keep creating, Elizabeth Gilbert’s second TED Talk, in which she says,

For me, going home meant returning to the work of writing because writing was my home, because I loved writing more than I hated failing at writing, which is to say that I loved writing more than I loved my own ego, which is ultimately to say that I loved writing more than I loved myself. And that’s how I pushed through it.

And,

Your home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself. So that might be creativity, it might be family, it might be invention, adventure, faith, service, it might be raising corgis, I don’t know, your home is that thing to which you can dedicate your energies with such singular devotion that the ultimate results become inconsequential.

Word.

20. The Moment This Man Finds Out He’s Going To Be A Grandpa Will Make You Tear Up on Huffington Post. Somehow “we’re getting a new puppy” never manages to elicit the same emotion…

21. Friday’s Confession: I Was Copied from Tiffany Han.

22. How to Be a Writer by M. Molly Backes on Medium.

23. The art of Sarah Jarrett.

24. By Another Way, a poem by Jan Richardson shared by Ronna Detrick on her blog.

25. My Formula for Stumbling Through with Grace from Be More with Less.

26. Wisdom from Kristin Noelle, who describes so perfectly where I am right now,

…those stretches when you’re still close enough to some “before” version of yourself to remember him or her well, to still have his or her knee-jerk feelings and reactions to things….but you’re not that version of yourself anymore either, and you’re noticing a whole new paradigm, a whole new way of being in the world, vying for attention and time.

27. Newspaper + marker = poetry: The story behind my newspaper blackout poems, on Medium from Austin Kleon.

28. Shared on Rowdy Kittens Happy Links: The Scratch Interview with Cheryl Strayed, and On the Long Haul from Dani Shapiro, and 10 Ways I Embraced Simplicity and You Can Too from Sandra Pawula.

29. What I Wish I Knew After My MFA Ended on the Brevity blog.

30. New Age Bullshit Generator.

31. Writing Practice – why it’s time to stop thinking of writing as a profession by Damien Walter.

32. Teachasana, “An online resource for yoga teachers and teachers-in-training.”

33. On writing, courage, and showing up on Life with Lucia.

34. 28 T-Shirts For When You Literally Cannot from BuzzFeed.

35. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook, Are you feeling more afraid than you need to feel?

36. How To Stop Making A Big Deal About Your Problems, Pema Chödrön on MindBodyGreen.

37. Having No Expectations: The Secret to Freedom and Happiness.

Something Good


1. 12 Things You Should Start Making Time for Again from Marc and Angel Hack Life. Also from Marc and Angel, 3 Questions that Will Free Your Mind and Turn Your Life Around.

2. Your Life Is Not The Problem from Erin Geesaman Rabke on Body Happy.

3. The Fat Boi Diaries: Why Selfies? from Blaqueer. He’s so beautiful, and what he has to say is so important.

4. Pharrell – “Happy (Woodkid Sad Remix)” (Stereogum Premiere).

5. You Shouldn’t Need A Reason For Not Having Kids on Thought Catalog.

6. 10 Ways to Live an Extraordinary Life on Be More With Less.

7. Wisdom from Thích Nhất Hạnh,

Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions — we cannot be free.

8. How INFJs Deal with Conflict: 10 Confessions from Introvert, Dear.

9. Good stuff from Zen Habits: You’re Not Worse Than Other People and The Cure for Your Distraction Syndrome.

10. On Daily Creative Rituals on Rowdy Kittens.

11. A Celebration of The Stop Doing List from Danielle LaPorte.

12. After Mudslide, Family Miraculously Finds Dog While Sifting Through Rubble, good news on Huffington Post.

13. Couple Buy an Abandoned French Chateau, Start a Blog to share their Journey. Total eye candy…I want to go to there.

14. How to Ignite Your Creativity: Advice From World-Renowned Artist Julia Cameron on Huffington Post.

15. Blessing #11 from Ronna Detrick,

Dear One: No matter how hard the stories you have had to live through, it’s in their telling, their sharing, their being seen and heard that both justice and healing come. Secrets and shame do not suit you. And you deserve whole armies going to battle on behalf of your honor. You are worth that much.

16. Wisdom from Sas Petherick, “When we say yes to something we don’t want to do, we are being dishonest: we turn an invitation into an obligation.”

17. Truthbomb from Danielle LaPorte, “Denying your personal pain won’t lessen other people’s suffering.”

18. From Good Life Project, (which I’m not sure how I missed, but thanks to Tammy from Rowdy Kittens and her Happy Links list this week, I didn’t), Craft As a Spiritual Practice With Dani Shapiro.

19. Shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend list, Outbuilding of the Week: A Backyard Writer’s Shed. I want this so bad, I could cry.

Life Rehab Resource: Practice

liferehabresourcesDisclaimer: I could write a whole book (and am) about practice, so to imply I’m going to be able to say everything there is to say, or even only the very most important things there are to share about practice in a single blog post is just silly. And yet, this is the life rehab resource that wants to be shared today.

I started thinking about it when I was writing my morning pages. This is a practice I first learned by way of Julia Cameron, who describes it this way,

Morning pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages* – they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind – and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.

She even made a video about the practice.

As I was writing my morning pages today, I was thinking about how they are a life rehab resource I’ve been able to maintain no matter what else is going on in my life. There are lots of other things on my to-do and to-be lists right now that I’d love to be doing but had to give up, temporarily. For example there are stacks of books I want to read, a list of movies I’d like to watch, Nia and yoga classes I’d like to attend, letters I want to send, courses I’d like to design, two books and various essays I want to write, but for now there just isn’t time. But morning pages, those get done every day no matter what. For me, they are like warming up before exercising. It’s the thing I need to do to be ready to write the stuff I plan to share.

Just as Julia describes it, much of what I write as part of my morning pages is garbage — whining and complaining, rants, confessions, anxiety, speculation, disillusion and confusion, lists, “and then he said” nonsense. A record of confusion. It gets it all out of the way, clears a path, makes space for the truth, what needs to be said, wants to be shared — the lotus that pushes its way out of the muck.

morningpages

there is a tattoo of a lotus on the inside of my right wrist to remind me of exactly this

In writing out all the crap I can see how silly it is, how ridiculous I am. It’s the same when you watch your thoughts and emotions arise in meditation, where the instruction is to observe them arise and let them go without getting attached. I realize through sitting practice how much of my life is spent in reaction to my thoughts and emotions, getting triggered and hooked. Someone says something, judgement kicks in, and off I go. A thought arises and I run after it, trying to catch and hold it, turn it into something solid.

A fundamental quality of all practice is the cultivation of observation without attachment. Practice helps me to see the ways I habitually react, sometimes allowing me to interrupt myself and rest in the gap between thoughts/emotions and action. Through practice I contemplate how my habitual patterns and discursive thinking are no longer serving me. In this way, practice helps me to ease suffering. Over time I start to realize how blindly driven I’ve been by my thoughts and emotions, see how empty they actually are, and start to relax, consider other options, access a deeper wisdom and compassion, and employ more skillful means.

For example, on the yoga mat, I observe how in a pose I might criticize myself for not doing it “right.” Maybe I compare myself to the person on the mat next to me who seems to be doing it “better,” or I judge myself against a “perfect expression” of the pose. The thought arises that I’m doing it wrong and I begin to criticize myself. Shame quickly follows and soon I am smashing myself to bits, not really practicing yoga at all. In a final act of aggression, I force my body further into the pose, causing discomfort or pain, possibly even injuring myself.

sundaymorningyogaThe longer I practice, the more I am able to interrupt this pattern. I notice the thought or emotion arise. I pause and am curious about it instead of immediately acting on it. I consider what might be triggering it, notice how it feels in my body, all while trying my best to not start telling myself a story about it. Staying with this, I might understand that my body is unique (in the case of the yoga pose “gone wrong”), and at this particular time this is what is. Maybe my quads are especially tender after lifting weights or doing a lot of walking earlier in the week, or maybe I didn’t get enough sleep the night before and I have less energy. I recognize that the compassionate thing to do in this moment is a slight modification of the pose to maintain alignment and accommodate my body’s current state. My self talk shifts to love for my body, appreciation that I showed up to practice, gratitude that I’m paying attention and working with my body in this way, listening and trusting, being gentle.

Suddenly there is space, ease where before there was struggle. As in yoga, it’s best when writing morning pages — with all practice, actually — to not force or attempt to control, but rather show up with an open heart, be curious about what is, and in this way sink into and allow the truth of the moment.

Something Good (and a few confessions)

1. Radio Enso #73: Buddhist teacher and author Susan Piver. “In this in-depth and inspirational conversation, we’ll discuss meditation (what IS meditation?, misconceptions about it, etc.), Buddhism, dharma, The Open Heart Project, and Susan’s life journey from a young girl who was always seeking to her life as a teacher, author, and lifelong spiritual practitioner.”

2. How Change Can Save Your Life, from Positively Present. A really great discussion of change, which is inevitable. And, Mourning Sickness: 6 Steps for Coping with Loss, a beautiful contemplation on a brutal experience, in which she says,

Despite the sadness and pain, the true despair of losing a best friend, there is still beauty in life. The beauty of now doesn’t override from the pain of remembering what was, but it helps. Loss will never be painless, but we have some control over how much we suffer.

3. 10 Trust Habits to Support Your Next Scary Step, from Trust Tending with Kristin Noelle.

4. Marina Abramovic and Ulay.

Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in. When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again.

At her 2010 MoMa retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, where she shared a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay arrived without her knowing and this is what happened.

5. These Aren’t Your Average Snapshots: Bill Gekas’ Portraits of His Daughter as Classic Paintings.

6. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer, a super interesting TED Talk. And Chuck Wendig’s response on Terrible Minds, The Art of Asking: For Writers and Storytellers.

7. The Art of Reframing Difficult Emotions, on The Freedom Experiment.

8. Losing Your Mind and Finding Your Self, Ed and Deb Shapiro on The Huffington Post.

9. The Young Girl Who’s Best Friends with African Wildlife. A really fun set of pictures.

Born in Africa to French wildlife photographer parents, Tippi Degré had a most unusual childhood. The young girl grew up in the African desert and developed an uncommon bond with many untamed animals including a 28-year old African elephant named Abu, a leopard nicknamed J&B, lion cubs, giraffes, an Ostrich, a mongoose, crocodiles, a baby zebra, a cheetah, giant bullfrogs, and even a snake. Africa was her home for many years and Tippi became friends with the ferocious animals and tribespeople of Namibia. As a young child, the French girl said, “I don’t have friends here. Because I never see children. So the animals are my friends.”

10. Meditation And Mourning: 3 Obstacles to Successful Grieving, by Lodro Rinzler on The Huffington Post.

11. This quote, so important: “The bad news is you’re falling through the air, nothing to hang on to, no parachute. The good news is there’s no ground.” ~Chögyam Trungpa

12. Open Your Heart to Change the World, an older post from Susan Piver, but fundamental.

13. How I Got the Job and Lost Myself, from Liv Lane, (I confess, I sometimes feel this way about my paid work).

14. Ash Beckham at Ignite Boulder 20, a sane argument for not using the word “gay” as a pejorative, for acceptance rather than tolerance of gay people, (I confess, I love and accept gay people).

15. Book Porn: The 30 Best Places To Be If You Love Books(I confess, I am a bibliophile).

16. Flora Bowley post it notes, oh my, (I confess, I love post it notes).

17. She’s Worth It Fundraising Campaign. A more than worthy cause.

18. Pema Chödrön’s Three Bite Practice.

You can do this anytime you eat a meal. Before taking the first bite, just pause and think of those men and women of wisdom and mentally offer them your food. In this way, you connect with the virtue of devotion.

Before taking the second bite, pause and offer your food to all those who’ve been kind to you. This nurtures the virtues of gratitude and appreciation. The third bite is offered to those who are suffering: all the people and animals who are starving, or being tortured or neglected, without comfort or friends. Think, too, of all of us who suffer from aggression, craving, and indifference. This simple gesture awakens the virtue of compassion.

In this way—by relying on our teachers, our benefactors, and those in need—we gather the virtues of devotion, gratitude, and kindness.

19. When the Universe Has Been Listening All Along, a beautiful post from Christina Rosalie. Also from Christina, 35 Words, “A project with my friend Willow I are doing: 35 Words + an image every day for the year.”

20. The Burning HouseI knew about the book, but hadn’t heard of the blog until I read about it on SF Girl by Bay.

21. A quote from Goldie Hawn, “If we can just let go and trust that things will work out the way they’re supposed to, without trying to control the outcome, then we can begin to enjoy the moment more fully. The joy of the freedom it brings becomes more pleasurable than the experience itself,” (I confess, I can’t remember who originally shared this quote).

22. This quote from Barry Magid, (shared by Carry It Forward), “Happiness or enlightenment is not something that takes place in our brains. They are functions of a whole person living a whole life.”

23. And this quote from William Henry Channing, (shared by Patti Digh as a Daily Rock on 37 Days),

To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not, rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common–this is my symphony.

24. Weight Loss and Recovery—Can they Coexist? Is Recovery Even Possible After So Long? I so appreciate Lori’s sane discussions of dis-ordered eating.

25. With Gratitude, Hope Growsa post about surrendering to the creative process, showing up and allowing what happens, written by Juliette Crane for Your Heart Makes a Difference.

26. Quote from Ram Daas,

The question we need to ask ourselves is whether there is any place we can stand in ourselves, where we can look at all that is happening around us without freaking out, where we can be quiet enough to hear our predicament, and where we can begin to find ways of acting that are at least not contributing to further destabilization.

27. A really good question from Rumi, “Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?” Why, indeed.

28. Keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing, a great post by Rita on This (Sorta) Old Life which shares this quote,

we can’t do it all. but we can all do something… the path is set before us and we only need take a little step each day. soon we will look back and be amazed at how far we’ve come. and we can do it without sacrificing those things that matter most in our life and our heart: the main thing. keep the main thing the main thing. (from Grace Uncommon via Leilani at Tales of a Clyde Woman)

29. This quote from the brilliant Geneen Roth,

When I realized I didn’t have to keep “paying” for my life in pounds of suffering, there was a shift. I realized that living wasn’t about deserving, but allowing. Allowing myself to have what I already had. And each of us has so much all the time…

If, today, you made a commitment to allow yourself to have what you already have instead of constantly having to prove that you are worth it in the many ways we strive to prove ourselves, what would you see? What would you know? Can you allow yourselves to have the safety, the love, the beauty, the breath that you already have? Will you give yourself that much–now?

30. A grieving mom’s advice to the rest of us: Love purely, and take it easy, a beautiful and heartbreaking post from Emily Rapp.

31. This song has been in my head, A Thousand Tiny Pieces, from The Be Good Tanyas.

32. soundtrack to your life | rachel cole, in which Sas Petherick interviews Rachel, (the reason that song has been in my head).

33. When Your Work Life is Destroying Your Good Life, on Be More With Less.

34. This song is also in my head, Ellie Goulding – Dead In The Water (Live At iTunes Festival 2012)

35. Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling.

36. You can’t do any better (but you can feel better), from Marianne Elliott.

37. How Mindfulness Can Help You Discover What You Want to Do in Life, on Tiny Buddha.

38. Lowering Your Standardsa Daily Rock on 37 Days.

39. Minimalism, a post on Smalltopia.

40. Eight years, by Susannah Conway, a post on grief, healing, and tattoos.

41. Daily Happiness: 9 Simple Ways to Find it in Your Life, a post on the Positivity Blog, originally shared on Positively Present.

42. A quote by Lao Tzu, “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”

43. Approximately 3 Minutes Inside The Head of My 2 Year Old by Jason Good. Funny, and I might be a two year old.

44. Observe These Hands, My Dear. from Guinevere Gets Sober, in which she says,

I watched the dogs chase each other in the snow and heard the robins singing—a sure bellwether of spring—and the happiness welled up a little bit in me because I was right there, just doing the next thing, and it’s those moments I feel no need to change myself, Fix Myself, do anything to myself to make myself different so other people will be OK with me and my actions. Actually it wasn’t happiness, it was just contentment. The opposite of “discontent.”

“Content”—the word comes from the Latin for contain or to hold. In those moments I feel held, safe.

45. This quote from Julia Cameron, “I love to write. Which isn’t to say that it’s always easy.” Amen.

Something Good

A reminder about why I write this list: When I am feeling bad, I will often ask Eric to “tell me something good.” When I need something to hang on to, to make me feel better, something to show me that it’s not all bad. When I am in that dark hole, way down at the bottom, and the mean things with teeth are down there with me–”tell me something good.”

He’s really good at it, because even when all he can think of is “I love you,” it totally works. I mean, how great is it that the person that you picked and who said “yes” nineteen years ago, and knows you better than anyone, knows all the embarrassing and ugly stuff, continues to love you? He usually is able to give me a whole list when I ask him, followed by a hug and “what can I do for you, how can I make you feel better?”

So on A Thousand Shades of Gray, Monday’s feature is: Something Good. I like the idea of gratitude generating joy, and the opportunity my gratitude has to spread joy when I share the good things, and there are so many good things, and every Monday, I give you a list.

1. Binge Monsters and Chocolate Teapots from Sas Petherick.

2. Complaints and Requests: Two Halves of a Whole on Scoutie Girl, in which Tivi Jones says “Every complaint you have is a request you haven’t made.”

3. The Daily Loving Practice from Jen Louden.

4. “Writer Robert Olen Butler explains that the plot of any story is a yearning meeting a series of obstacles,” (from Your Daily Rock on 37 Days). This makes total sense to me.

5. “Rest does not need to hold hands with guilt. We do not have to pay for rest when the rest is over,” from a little bird told me, Brave Girls Club Daily Truth.

6. Quotes from Karen Salmansohn. “Be so full of love and light that none of what is going on outside of you can hurt you,” and “Let go of what you can’t control. Channel all that energy into living fully in the now.”

7. Bullies Called Him Pork Chop. He Took That Pain With Him And Then Cooked It Into This.

8. “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow. It only robs today of its joy.” ~Leo Buscaglia

9. Journal Your Life: Writing Your Dreams Into Reality, a new ecourse from Susannah Conway. Registration opens tomorrow, and I am predicting it’s going to be an amazing class, (a pretty safe bet, since everything she does is all kinds of awesome). She writes a bit about her own journaling practice in this post.

10. Lost Generation, a poem with a twist.

11. Succulents Galore Etsy store, (link shared on Pugly Pixel, Links Loved). Also on Pugley Pilxel’s list this week, The Ink Nest Etsy store and a recipe for Baked Espresso Glazed Doughnuts and a CSS Patterns Gallery.

12. The Self-Acceptance Project from Sounds Truea FREE 12-week Video Event Series, beginning Monday, March 4, 2013. I probably already mentioned this, but it’s worth saying again, as this includes all the “big names.”

13. Swords into plowshares and hate mail into origami from Rachel Held Evans. Such a great idea.

14. From SF Girl by Bay’s Thoughts for a Friday listproof that people are weird and magic, Japanese floral artist Takaya-Hanayuishi, and beautiful photos by Lisa Warninger and Chelsea Fuss.

15. From Susannah’s Something for the Weekend list: Learn How to Meditate and Finding Vivian Maier, the Official Movie Trailer.

16. Vulnerability is The Path, from the brilliant and compassionate Susan Piver (another great resource for learning to meditate is her Open Heart Project).

17. How to REALLY Find Your True Life’s Purpose… Once and For All! from Kute Blackson, in which he says,

All that’s needed is that you put one step in front of the next as you go boldly in the the direction of your heart. As you trust, then the universe will rise to your support. Your true life’s purpose is then not something you wait to find, but something that you live into. It is the invitation that life gives you to live each moment of each day as love.

18. may you feel connected + seen + adored by Jessica Swift, in which she talks about an amazing retreat she attended (that I envied from afar as I viewed the photos being posted to Instagram and Facebook that weekend by various amazing women), in which she links to a post Kelly Rae Robert’s wrote about how to set up such a retreat. I am predicting that my Courage Camp this summer (you know who you are, ladies) will be such an event.

19. This quote from Julia Cameron, “Creativity is a spiritual practice. It is always ongoing and changing, not something that can be perfected, finished, and set aside.” Amen.

20. What my life looked like before Self Love, a brave and vulnerable post from Dominee at Blessing Manifesting.

21. This quote from Mark Whitwell, (by way of the amazing Jessica Patterson),

To be yourself is very easy; you don’t have to do a thing. No effort is necessary, and you don’t have to exercise your will. But try to be something other than what you are, and you have to do many unnecessary things and struggle a lot. To be yourself requires extraordinary intelligence. You are blessed with that intelligence; nobody need give it to you, and nobody can take it away from you.

22. 30+ of the most beautiful abandoned places and modern ruins i’ve ever seen, from Francesco Mugnai.

23. Sir Nicholas Winton, BBC Programme “That’s Life,” aired in 1988. This video is so sweet, and heartbreaking, and inspiring. Would that we could all do something so good and important with our lives.

24. This quote: “The spiritual life does not remove us from the world but leads us deeper into it.” ~Henri Nouwen

25. Kid President. I shared his A Pep Talk from Kid President to You video already, but here it is again if you missed it.

Here’s a new video, The True Story of Kid President.

And another, which he made for Valentine’s day with two of my favorite singers, sisters Lennon & Maisy, (who are apparently now on TV, on a show called Nashville).

This was Lennon and Maisy’s first video, one of the sweetest, most beautiful things ever.

26. You can slow down. I mean REALLY slow. from Jen Lee.

27. This quote, from Geneen Roth,

I heard this from Rick Hanson, author of Buddha’s Brain (I love that book): each morning, do what he calls a “flight check”: remember that 1. You Are Safe. You are not getting bombed, invaded, destroyed. You really are safe, in this moment, now. Number 2. You have Enough. Enough food, enough clothes, enough warmth. And the last one: 3. You are Loved. By a cat or a dog. By your child. By your friend. By your spouse. You are loved and you have love in your life. We usually are reacting unconsciously to old patterns, many of which were about safety, enoughness, and love. We act as if we don’t have them, when, if you check in to the present, we realize we do. And then, it gives us a ground upon which the rest of the day can proceed with a different kind of knowing and relaxation. Try it now. Say those things to yourself. Take them in.

28. What you think about… from Hannah Marcotti.

29. May I Be Happy: A Conversation with Cyndi Lee on Body Image on Curvy Yoga. I love what Cyndi says about how yoga is being “sold” now that it’s gone more mainstream (“as a fitness and de-stressing program”),

We know that barely touches what yoga is really about and has basically nothing to do with the traditional benefits of yoga. But they don’t know how to sell yoga in any other way. And let’s face it, the audience for getting enlightened, or being honest and genuine, or living a life that is based on being connected to everyone and everything or talking about death as a way to appreciate our precious life, this audience is always going to be smaller than the “Let’s Get Fit in 30 days” audience.

30. Because it feels strange to end on an odd number, and because it’s totally something good in my life, my friend Carrie had a baby boy yesterday! Welcome to the world, Vincent. You are a very lucky boy, have an awesome family. (P.S. And just to warn you, I will probably be calling you Vinnie. Don’t tell your mom.)