Tag Archives: Kindness

Something Good (Part One)


I have been in California at a writing workshop all weekend, (the above image is of 27 Powers Court, where I spent the past few amazing, magical days — image credit: 27 Powers website), and won’t have the time or energy today to do a full list for you. Here are two things that are so good, they should hold you until tomorrow, when I will post Something Good, Part Two.

P.S. Today is my two year Blog Anniversary. Yay!

1. This Amazing Commercial From Thailand Will Make You Cry on Huffington Post. *sob*

2. Amazing from One eskimO

Gratitude Friday

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

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

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

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

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

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

Day of Rest

*sigh*

This picture is the last one I took at Lee Martinez Park, the place we walk almost every day, sometimes twice. On that morning, that walk, I had no idea that the next day would be the day Dexter died. I knew it was coming, we’d known for a year it was on its way, but on that particular morning it still felt unknown, uncertain, undetermined.

We haven’t been back to Lee Martinez since Thursday morning, the last time we walked there with Dexter, the walk we took knowing it would be our last. We’ve been to City Park, Big South Trail, and this morning we walked at Colorado State University, but we haven’t been back to “our park.” It still feels too hard, too sad.

We’ve managed other grief hurdles. Eric cleaned the living room floor yesterday. The raw wood in that room was covered with tiny spots where Dexter’s nose had dripped, (because of his cancer, he basically had a constant runny nose). I washed some of the blankets from his bed, along with his Little D baby, (I’d originally planned to have him cremated with Big D but in the end I couldn’t stand to lose them both). Eric brought home his ashes, and I put those on top of his mostly empty crate, along with his collar and a clay paw print.

memorialWhen I’m able to, I’ll open the ashes and put some in the urns I have that contain Obi’s ashes (one is on my writing desk and another on my meditation shrine) — I left room for Dexter so they’d be together again, they loved each other so much.

pawprints

I still haven’t been able to put clean sheets on our bed (the ones that are there were slept on by Dexter) and his toothbrush is still on the counter, and I’m still putting a tiny offering of food in his bowl every time I feed Sam. I know it’s silly, but I was devastated yesterday when I went out to do poop patrol in the backyard and couldn’t find any of Dexter’s. I was so sad that I’d never get to pick up anymore of his poop — that’s a crazy kind of love.

Eric has been dealing with his grief, in part, by cooking. Yesterday, he made three pies. We did a pie drive by to our friends’ house last night because even as much as I love pie, we couldn’t eat it all ourselves.

griefpie

Jamie Ridler’s mom, who also had cancer, passed the day after Dexter. Jamie invited me a few weeks ago to do a guest post in honor of her mom, the prompt being something her mom had recently said, “It’s not about being tough, it’s about being tender.” I have so much to say about that, will be finishing up my post and sending it to sweet Jamie later today. These losses (something we all face as we live and love), this prompt, has me thinking about how important it is that we have confidence in our basic goodness, the essential wisdom and compassion and power that rests in each of us, that we practice self-compassion and keep our hearts open, knowing that life is beautiful and brutal, tender and terrible.

In this audio recording, Pema Chödrön talks about basic goodness. She tells a story about burnt cookies and a fox that is such a great metaphor for how we can approach difficulty — we can allow ourselves to become hard, closed off, or we can stay open to reality, to be present for whatever might arise. Yes this means we will be vulnerable, we’ll get hurt, but we will also be amazed, healed.

My heart is broken right now. It’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last. But there is so much worth showing up for. Such as:

A chance to get away. We hadn’t wanted to do this when Dexter was still here, were worried about being too far away from a vet if something happened. But now, sometime soon, the three of us are going to rent a cabin in the mountains and spend some time together in the green and the quiet.

Pie. Especially the ones made by my person, who is as sad as me, who knows just how I feel, just what I’m missing, who will talk all day about what we’ve lost and never get tired of it, who wants to do whatever he can to make me feel better.

peachpie

Friends, near and far, sending us love and light. So many have reached out to me, offering such kindness, making this heavy thing so much easier to hold.

The sweet animal bodies that are still here, that long for love and need care. It’s Sam’s turn to become my favorite, and when we are all ready, there will be another dog.

sam

Laughter. Last night, on the way to our friends’ house to deliver the pie, Eric suggested that they expected this happy gift of pie, so it would be funny if when they opened the door, we gave them a pie in the face instead. It was such a ridiculous and awful idea we laughed the rest of the way to their house. It felt good.

Brilliant nature — blooms and fruit and animals and trees and landscapes and sky and deep water and weather.

Practice. Yoga, meditation, writing, and dog — this regular attention, showing up and being open to whatever arises, moving in ways old and new, creativity and discovery, is medicine.

Music. I heard this song for the first time yesterday, and am totally in love.

because nothing lasts forever
some things aren’t meant to be
but you’ll never find the answers
until you set your old heart free

I’m so sad, kind and gentle reader, but at the same time I am so in love with my little life, my heart so full of every last wonderful thing that sometimes it feels like it will explode.

Something Good

tulipbloom

1. “Find what you love and let it kill you,” James Rhodes (thanks to Jeff Oaks for sharing the link).

2. Middle Class Problems and The 13 Creepiest Things A Child Has Ever Said To A Parent on BuzzFeed.

3. A Story of Three Hummingbirds by Tracey Clark and Her Teen on Babble.

4. Wisdom from Susan Piver,

In meditation, it is not helpful to be mad at yourself for the inability to be peaceful. Start where you are. Start with sorrow. Start with rage. Start with boredom/anxiety. Start with high hopes. Start with disappointment. Start with your very own body, breath, and mind.

(PS This applies to everything.)

Your experience IS the practice. There is nowhere else to go. Within your own experience, the entire path can be found. I mean, maybe I’m full of it, but give it a try anyway and see for yourself. I will try too.

5. Why we rescueI’ve shared this link before, but at the time they only had one story. There are more!

6. Where Children Sleep Around the World, a really cool series of photos by James Mollison on Demilked.
earlyspringflower

7. This beautiful bit of poetry from John O’Donohuea reminder, a prayer, a mantra for a new day,

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

8. This wisdom from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, “We do not have to be anything apart from who we are. We can just be.” What a relief…

9. This wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Every act counts. Every thought and emotion counts too. This is all the path we have. This is where we apply the teachings. This is where we come to understand why we meditate. We are only going to be here for a short while. Even if we live to be 108, our life will be too short for witnessing all its wonders. The dharma is each act, each thought, each word we speak. Are we at least willing to catch ourselves spinning off and to do that without embarrassment? Do we at least aspire to not consider ourselves a problem, but simply a pretty typical human being who could at that moment give him- or herself a break and stop being so predictable?

My experience is that this is how our thoughts begin to slow down. Magically, it seems that there’s a lot more space to breathe, a lot more room to dance, and a lot more happiness.

10. 30+ Confidence Vitamins to pump you UP! from Alexandra Franzen.

11. Auto-Tune the New Girl. Just like the show, this video made me laugh.

12. Feel To Live: The Secret Life Of An Empath by Jonathan Fields, (although I totally could have written it).

13. Anatomy of a Leap by Maya Stein.

14. Portraits of 4 sisters every year for 36 years, 1975 – 2010.

15. This wisdom from Chogyam Trungpa, “Appreciate yourself, respect yourself, and let go of your doubt and embarrassment so that you can proclaim your goodness and basic sanity for the benefit of others.”

16. This Facebook post from Anne Lamottin which she says,

That’s all you have to do today: pay attention–being a writer is about paying attention. Stop hitting the snooze button. Carry a pen with you everywhere, or else God will give me all these insights and images that were supposed to go to you. Hang up a shingle on the inside of you: now open for business. Wow! You won’t have to wake up at 70, aching with regret that you threw your creative essence under the bus. And if you already are seventy, then you won’t have to wake up at eighty, confused and in despair about how you let your gift slip away. Because you will have been writing–or dancing again, or practicing recorder–every single glorious, livelong, weird, amazing day.

17. 3 Words I Wish I’d Heard When My Boyfriend Cheated On Me on Upworthy, a video made using advice from Neil Gaiman.

18. Family life frozen in time: eerie images of the abandoned farm houses where even the beds are still made, cool but creepy photos by Niki Feijen.

19. How Plant a Kiss Day Saved my Life from Sherry Richert Belul on Simply Celebrate, in which she says, “Our lives get saved every single moment we are able to fill ourselves with joy. Even, and especially, when that joy is mixed with grief, sadness, and fear. We are saved by kindness, over and over again.”

20. 5 Core Skills Your Life Depends On from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

21. From Brain Pickings: The Secret of Life from Steve Jobs in 46 Seconds and
A Natural History of Love, which gives this amazing description of love,

We think of it as a sort of traffic accident of the heart. It is an emotion that scares us more than cruelty, more than violence, more than hatred. We allow ourselves to be foiled by the vagueness of the word. After all, love requires the utmost vulnerability. We equip someone with freshly sharpened knives; strip naked; then invite him to stand close. What could be scarier?

22. This wisdom from Geneen Roth, “Trusting yourself means being willing to discover the truth about yourself. And value the process of discovering that truth.”

23. One Tree HomeI want this in my backyard. And if I can’t have it, I want this forest summer house.

24. This video. *sob*

25. I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet.

26. Invitation to Basic Goodness Day.

27. “We shall be a mighty kindness,” Rumi.

28. A Show of Hands from Susan Piver.

29. The Wheel of Kindness on Kindness Girl. Such a great idea.

30. Seeing the World in a Coffee Cup on Dwelling Here Now.

31. The Ever Present Possibility of Change on Be More with Less. This makes me think of the delicate balance that exists between acceptance and change.

32. Guy Recreates The Matrix After Asking His Mom to Describe It to Him

33. The 30 Happiest Facts Of All Time on BuzzFeed. Apparently, turtles can breathe through their butts.

34. Should You Turn Your Hobby into a Business? on Create as Folk.

35. your daily rock : every day is day one! from Patti Digh. And from Patti’s Thinking Thursday list: Creamy, Brothy, Earthy, Hearty customizable soup recipes on the NY Times and Ridiculously Easy Curried Chickpeas and Quinoa on FatFree Vegan Kitchen.

36. Two Important Voices. Yours and Mine. from Rachel Cole, who says, “I have a deep faith that some people need to hear the wisdom I share from my voice in order for it to have an impact.” Yes. Yes I do, Rachel.

37. Baby goat plays with huge pig. I have never understood why goats love to climb on and jump off of stuff so much, I just know it’s super cute.

38. Shared by Kat in her Savouring my Saturday postLife in Movement, what looks like a beautiful and heartbreaking documentary, and I Am Her, a book I really really want which also looks like a great gift idea.

39. Finding Your Way Online from Susannah Conway. I originally shared this video when it was posted on Kind Over Matter, but then they took it down. I’m so glad it’s back.

40. Shared by Susannah Conway on her Something for the Weekend list: Thug Kitchen (warning: there is strong language, but also some amazing recipes, information, and tips), the Disapproval Matrix, The Power of a Single Intention interview with Patti Digh, and I’m Triggered on Funny or Die.

41. soundtrack to your life | susannah conway from Sas Petherick. Makes me smile.

42. Isn’t it amazing how fast things can change? on A Design So Vast. Lindsey is such a good mom, a wonderful writer with a tender heart.

43. DeCluttering: the Power of Purging Inclusively on Scoutie Girl.

44. The New Path from Vivienne McMaster. I love seeing someone get so clear about their work, their purpose, their focus. I also love this video she made.

Gratitude Friday

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

1. Dexter and Sam curled up next to me in bed. All of us together, safe, warm, sleeping (well, except for me who is awake to notice the moment).

2. Food, satisfying and good. Grapefruit juice and avocados. Meatloaf with lots of ketchup. Biscuits and strawberry rhubarb jam from Lucile’s. Roasted brussel sprouts.

3. Small kindnesses, moments of beauty. The way the light hit the snow and made it sparkle, seeing someone’s glove fall out of their pocket and being able to return it to them, Dexter feeling enough better that he wants to play again, Sam pressing his head against mine and sighing his warm breath into my neck, friends sending me silly videos or posting cute pictures on my Facebook wall, love notes from Eric, kind comments and gratitude.

4. Things that could have been worse, but weren’t. I am especially grateful this week for talented and compassionate veterinary staff.

5. A supportive spouse, who helps me remove the cactus spines from Sam’s leg, gives Dexter the shot he needs twice a week, who convinces me to go to my paid work office for just a little bit so I can get out of the house and on my own even though I don’t really feel up to it, who feeds me so well and lets me rest, who tries his best to understand when I seem to be (am?) losing my mind.

Bonus Joy: Another week with Dexter, even though it was an especially rough one. I took him to see his regular vet this week, because when Dexter was diagnosed in August, he was given the standard prognosis of 95 days–that was six months ago. She took a good look at Dexter and conceded that considering how well he’s been doing, and the absence of any sort of facial deformity or other changes, there’s a good chance that his tumor is slow growing, and some dogs with those tumors live anywhere from 6-24 months beyond their initial diagnosis, even without treatment, (although, she did caution that some of the dogs that make it to 24 months are in really bad shape and should have been let go sooner). Maybe I’ll get to have a ten year old dog after all.

Gratitude Friday

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

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

spritehat

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

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

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

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

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

Something Good

1. This quote: “The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places.” ~Ernest Hemingway

2. From Marc and Angel Hack Life, 10 Critical Questions You Must Ask Yourself and 10 Life Lessons People Learn Too Late.

3. Kindness in the Smallest of Things on Kind Over Matter by Erica Staab, in which she says “And I was reminded yet again that it is the littlest pieces of kindness that we can offer to another, to truly see each other, to be present to the moment and bear witness to their pain, their joy, their struggle, their celebration- it is these little pieces that are worth everything.” Amen.

4. I am absolutely over the elections, but this recap is pretty cool.

5. Authors Anne Lamott and Cheryl Strayed discuss life and writing.

6. Think insurance as an entrepreneur is a “bad bet”? Think again (aka My response to Leo Babauta of Zen Habits and his ridiculous advice) from the fierce Michelle Ward. I’ve said it before: it’s dangerous to think that just because you’ve decided something is right for you, works for you, makes sense to you, that makes it a BIG TRUE for everyone.

7. Happy Birthday to Me by Sunni Chapman on The Daily Breadcrumb. I linked to this yesterday, but it’s so good, I really want to be sure you didn’t miss it.

8. Instagram created user profiles. I was already using Instagrid for the same, but here’s mine on Instagram. There’s a rumor that I’m getting an iPhone for Christmas, so I might be using this a lot more.

9. In related news, Portrait: A Documentary About a Popular Instagrammer and a Pro Photographer.

10. The Zen of Dogs: On Mindfulness, Compassion, and Connection on Tiny Buddha.

11. In related news, this cuteness:

12. Digital Detox: Unplug For The Weekend on Be More with Less by Courtney Carver.

13. Blog Mood Boards from decor8. Can’t wait to do one of these.

14. This quote from the Dalai Lama: “It is necessary to help others, not only in our prayers, but in our daily lives. If we find we cannot help another, the least we can do is to desist from harming them. We must not cheat others or lie to them. We must be honest human beings, sincere human beings.”

15. An interview with Cheryl Strayed on The Happiness Project, I Challenge You to Walk for 20 Minutes and Not Feel Better by the End of It.

16. DEAR SUGAR, The Rumpus Advice Column #92: Your Invisible Inner Terrible Someone, in which Cheryl Strayed advises “There’s a crazy lady living in your head. I hope you’ll be comforted to hear that you’re not alone. Most of us have an invisible inner terrible someone who says all sorts of nutty stuff that has no basis in truth.”

17. This video made me cry:

18. Choosing Joy from Corbae Café.

19. This quote: “When you bring consciousness to anything, things begin to shift.” ~Eve Ensler

20. My Inner Wonder Woman from Sas’ Magical Mystery Tour, in which Sas says:

There is a quiet solidity that comes from this turning inwards: what psychologists call a state of self-referral. This is when we identify primarily with our inner selves. In this state we have “an internal sense of joy regardless of what is happening around us because we aren’t identified with transient objects or events”. I read this and it felt like a clicking into place. Any fear of not being enough has dropped away, there is no compulsion to compare or compete, no struggle for approval or to have power over others. I have so much more to give, feel super-connected and my intuition is on fire right now.

She is on fire right now, about to launch her new project, (can’t wait!).