Tag Archives: Laurie Wagner

Where Music is Part of the Failure

onourwalk

I wrote this at the last meeting of my Wild Writing class this session. The prompt was “Music for Guitar and Stone” by Ruth Schwartz.

On our walk this morning, after being on our own for a whole week, two days longer than planned because of the snow, I start thinking about discomfort. The first “noble truth” of Buddhism is that life is suffering, but that’s hard for people to get their heads around. It gets confused with the perspective “everything sucks, so what’s the point?”

It’s easier for me to understand it as “life is uncomfortable.” And what follows is that the source of that discomfort is our desire to be comfortable. It pulls us out of every moment, a constant longing for some other now.

As we walk, my thinking, my internal narrative is constantly interrupted by the need to reroute, because of mud or another dog and its person heading straight for us or a rabbit frozen on the side of the path or a pile of horse poop. It’s also interrupted by the need to respond to the dogs, a tangled leash or the young one about to eat something he shouldn’t.

And that makes me think of the way Susan Piver shifted the Four Noble Truths, came up with Four Noble Truths of relationships, of love — the first being that relationships are uncomfortable. She explains that the root of that discomfort is the way we cling to comfort, the ways we blame the other person for causing our discomfort.

I call dogs one of my practices, (along with writing, meditation, and yoga), because in that relationship, primarily on our long daily walks together, I can see all of it — the ways I fuck up, the ways I’m winning, the mundane and the magic. When I see how happy Ringo is to find the perfect stick and carry it, I expand, my heart opens. When he tries to eat a huge pile of cat poop that will surly make him sick, I feel myself contract in fear and irritation. It’s all there, and I’m just trying to get comfortable. I notice that and try to shift, attempting to be okay with the discomfort, to allow it — “where failure is part of the music.”

Registration for the next round of Wild Writing with Laurie Wagner just opened. This time it’s a shorter session, only four weeks. After this, classes won’t start up again until the fall, so if you’ve been wanting to try it this is a great opportunity. It truly is a magic practice and Laurie is an amazing teacher.

Something Good

1. Reuniting a War Veteran with His Beloved Dogs. I’m a total sucker for those videos where a person serving in the military comes home and surprises someone who loves and misses them, (mostly because I wish they never had to go in the first place). I’m a complete mush for stories about people and pets reunited after time apart. And I absolutely adore stories of animals helping people with physical disabilities or things like PTSD or anxiety, whether they are certified service dogs or not. This video is a combination of all three and I love everything about it.

2. “The Day Beyoncé Turned Black” – SNL, so funny, because it’s true.

3. In related news: Dear White Reader, here is your weekend Beyoncé reading list from An Ordinary Life.

4. This 21-Year Old is Cleaning Up Our Oceans. “21-year-old Boyan Slat found a way to actually clean up our planet’s oceans. The largest ocean cleanup in history will begin by 2020.” Yes, please.

5. Give a Girl a Journal, an amazing project from the equally amazing Jamie Ridler. “With a journal, every girl has the opportunity to discover her own way of expressing herself. She has the chance to hear her own voice, to have an open and honest conversation with her own heart. In her journal, a girl can discover who she is. The ‘Give a Girl a Journal’ movement is about giving all girls a chance to be who they are, to be creative and to express themselves, all in their very own journal. You can help.”

6. 5 Life Hacks Fur Cat Owners. You don’t have to have a cat to enjoy watching the video, the kitty joy.

7. Karen Walrond, 48: Embracing What It Means to Be ‘a Woman of a Certain Age.’ I love this series, and I want to be just like Karen when I grow up — can I do that even though she’s a year younger than me?

8. If “dieting” doesn’t work, then what? from Isabelle Foxen Duke.

9. 7 Lessons From a Tiny Wardrobe (and pictures of what I’m wearing now) from Be More With Less.

10. How Sharon Salzberg Found Real Happiness on Lion’s Roar. “Facing her suffering head-on has made Sharon Salzberg one of today’s most relatable Buddhist teachers. Lindsay Kyte talks to Salzberg about her difficult life’s journey, establishing loving-kindness as a key practice in American Buddhism, and how we can all find real happiness.” Such a great interview.

11. Johnny Depp gives Donald Trump the Funny or Die treatment in surprise biopic. (I only watched the trailer, because I’m not sure if I could handle 50 minutes of Trump, even if it is fake and meant to be funny).

12. Celebrating Butch: A Powerful Photo Collection on Female Masculinity. A beautiful collection of images.

13. Gay at home dad, a sweet, funny Twitter account.

14. What Are You Practicing—Self-Judgment or Self-Compassion? Jamie Greenwood on Tiny Buddha. Jamie’s honestly is a compassionately fierce thing, and this article is no exception.

15. Wisdom from Aristotle, “Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” Oh, snap!

16. On the Eve of My Ex-Husband’s Second Departure, from Laurie Wagner, one of my most favorite women, writers, teachers, humans.

17. How to Find Your Voice, from Laura Simms, in which she says, “You gain nothing—we gain nothing—when people who are compelled to speak stay mute. We don’t need noise, but we do need caring people to speak up about the things they care about.”

18. An Open Letter to My Friends who Support Donald Trump. Word.

19. Wisdom from David Whyte,

Enough.

These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to life
we have refused
again and again
until now.

Until now

20. Sit Down, Shut Up, and Write Your Fucking Book: Uplifting Tips for the Aspiring Author from McSweeney’s.

21. Eric Garner’s daughter talking about Bernie Sanders will leave you breathless, a beautiful and heartbreaking video.

Wild Writing: “As You Go Through Life”

The Poudre River, from our walk this morning, just before I noticed a mink running along the ice

The Poudre River, from our walk this morning, just before I noticed a mink running along the ice at the edge

We recently started our spring session of my Wild Writing class, and I’m so glad to be back at it. In class on Friday morning, after I read my last piece, Laurie said “blog it” before moving on to the next person, so here it is.

Prompt: As You Go Through Life by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Laurie doesn’t typically share poems that rhyme, but like she said, this one just has too many good lines. I was surprised when I Googled it to find a link to share with you that it was published in 1910, that the poet is long gone.

“Bend and let it go over you.” I keep coming back to this when I’m teaching yoga — that balance isn’t about finding a fixed point and sticking there, stable and still, but rather it’s about all the tiny (and big) adjustments we make to keep from falling over, to stave off collapse, and how even collapsing, giving up and going over, is part of balance. We fall over, we soften into it, and then, if we’d like, we get up and try again.

It reminds me of the story Pema Chödrön tells about her teacher, how she asked Chögyam Trungpa in a moment she was having a really hard time what she should do, how to handle it, and he told her it’s like standing in the ocean, how each wave crashes into you, knocks you down, takes you in and under, but you get back up. And in time, you get stronger, you learn to move with the waves, and instead of feeling like you are drowning, like it’s so bad and so hard you are going to die, you are able to move with it, to meet and ride the wave. Bend and let it go over you.

I wonder if students who aren’t teachers understand that a teacher only ever teaches one of two things — what they know so well they have it memorized, so it’s safe and easy, requires no real effort and little attention; or we teach what we need to learn, what we are trying to figure out, what seems so big and complicated it feels like we’ll never be able to understand it, what terrifies us, what makes us tender. In one case we phone it in, in the other we send out an S.O.S., it’s almost a cry for help, but we know, we trust that there is help to be had, that our bones know, and if we keep asking the questions, either answers will come or we’ll surrender to not knowing.

Something Good

Image from Unsplash

Image from Unsplash

So great to be partnering with Wanderlust to share this list with a larger audience.

1. Savor: Daily Practices for a More Nourishing Holiday from Rachel Cole. Savor is six weeks of guided audio meditations and journal prompts to support you in being well-fed and centered this holiday season. As Rachel describes it, “Savor is about finding yourself in the small moments. It’s about tasting what’s already here. It’s about noticing the good and saying ‘thank you’ often. Savor is designed to help you find sanctuary amidst the hustle and bustle that’s headed our way. Savor is, no surprise, about savoring your life.” At only $35, this would make a great holiday gift, for yourself or anyone else on your list. Disclaimer: I first started working with Rachel almost four years ago. Since then she’s been a guide, a teacher, a precious friend. Everything she does is magic, and this is going to be no exception.

2. Random Acts of Kindness Generator. This is such a great idea. Doing something nice, either directly or in secret, is such a mood lifter for everyone involved. I can imagine a homemade version too, a jar with slips of paper filled with different ideas. Just pick one and do it.

3. Problems of output are problems of input from Austin Kleon.

4. An important question posed by Brave Girls Club, “What is calling to you? What is the deepest, most true message that is calling to you?”

5. A Note from the Universe,

It’s easy to look around at all the people who already have what you want, notice how they differ from you, and then think that they are the “kind of people” for whom having what you want comes naturally. Whereas you are not, otherwise you’d have it too.

Very rational thinking, and a super way for non-adventurers to avoid responsibility, rest on the sidelines, and watch more TV.

Adventurers, on the other hand, Jill, understand that they are exactly the kind of people who should have the things they now want. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be blessed with wanting them.

6. This is about the time I chose not to die.

7. If you accept your body, does that mean you give up?, a recent and brilliant newsletter from Curvy Yoga and Anna Guest-Jelley.

8. Parenthood Is An Act Of Hostage Negotiation With A Broken Robot from Terrible Minds.

9. This Guy’s Reaction To Patti LaBelle’s Pie Is Priceless. This guy understands pie like I do.

10. Wisdom from Hans Hofmann, “The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” Oh, snap.

11. It’s going to be okay, a really great, important and timely comic from The Oatmeal. “So get up, and help someone.” Also this video, “Runner. Cartoonist. Cake Lover. – A Seeker Story,” the story of Matthew Inman, creator of TheOatmeal.com.

12. Raising Imogen, “koala joey’s most adorable home video of all time.” Who knew baby koala’s were so stupid cute?

13. This Kid Should Work For Hallmark Because His Thank You Letters Are Spot On.

14. Buddhism, Bravery, Love and the Good Life, Lodro Rinzler on Good Life Project Radio. Lodro is one of my favorite teachers, and I always love Johnathan’s interviews. Jonathan posted on Facebook, about this interview, “What if meditation didn’t solve anything, it just let you see things better?”

15. Wisdom from Judith Lief, “To meditate, all you need are 3 things: a restless body, a wandering mind, and out-of-control emotions.”

16. Awkwarding is what brings us all together from The Bloggess. These tweets are so awesome.

17. On What People Think from Dani Shapiro.

18. This 17-Year-Old Cat Is The Laziest Internet Star In Japan on Bored Panda.

19. Deciding How and When to Quit, a brilliant post from Jen Louden about the difference between default quitting and compassionate quitting, which includes a really great set of prompts to help one contemplate how to decide what to do. “But in the end, it comes down to this: You must be willing to look yourself in the mirror and ask, ‘Am I suffering enough to do something about it?’ or ‘Am I hungry enough for something more to take this risk?'”

20. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

We make a lot of mistakes. If you ask people whom you consider to be wise and courageous about their lives, you may find that they have hurt a lot of people and made a lot of mistakes, but that they used those occasions as opportunities to humble themselves and open their hearts. We don’t get wise by staying in a room with all the doors and windows closed.

20. Wisdom from Seth Godin, Certain failure and Your progress report.

21. How to make your website credible from Paul Jarvis.

22. #naphopomo day 10: do not let the adorable nose fool you on Chookooloonks. Oh Karen, I feel your pain/joy.

23. Five Days of Mandala Magic, from Julie Gibbons, “a free online workshop that demonstrates how, with a little know-how + some tools + techniques, you can create beautiful mandalas anytime you feel called – even if you’re not an accomplished artist!”

24. Is Fat Stigma Making Us Miserable? Spoiler alert: YES.

25. 16 Stunning Works Of Origami Art To Celebrate World Origami Day on Bored Panda.

26. Riverside 433 sq. ft. guest cottage is a roomy floating retreat. So dreamy.

27. 30 Simple Ways to Take Care of Yourself Over the Holidays from Be More With Less, a great list for any time of year, not just the holidays.

28. A Healthy Way to Aspire to a Better Life on Zen Habits. The title says it all.

29. money talks with Laurie Wagner. I love this column. I love Sherry, the lovely host. And you know I love Laurie.

30. Wisdom from Jonathan Fields, “Never allow the false urgency of others to dictate where and when you place your attention.”

31. In April 2013, Diana Kim spotted her father for the first time in decades. “He was living on the street, disheveled and unkempt, and didn’t have a clue who she was.”

32. The fallacy of ‘go big or go home’: redefining ambition from Esmé Wang.

33. Organizers seat woman behind Trump ‘because she’s black’ — so she silently protests by reading her book.

34. I Quit My Job To Be A Travel Writer, And Now I’m Broke And Unemployed. I think it’s so important to have these narratives to balance out the “do what you love and the money will come” ones.

35. Calvin Harris & Disciples – How Deep is Your Love (Cover) by Daniela Andrade x KRNFX. The only thing better than a good song is a good cover of that song, and Daniela just might be the queen of covers.

36. The Roar Sessions: Lindsey Mead.

37. 9 Ways Generous People View the World Differently from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

38. A Thanksgiving Reader, a new tradition, offered by Seth Godin.

39. Cultivating Wonder, “4 weeks full of lessons, prompts, interviews + secret missions to grow your sense of wonder” from Andrea Scher, pay what you can. It starts today, but you can still sign up. Again, a disclaimer: Andrea is the reason this blog exists, and I adore everything she does — guide, teacher, and precious friend.

40. Social Media isn’t the point. Storytelling is. “8 things you can (and should) do to become an effective storyteller for your brand” from Christina Rosalie.

Something Good

Arthur's Rock, image by Eric

Arthur’s Rock, image by Eric (the zoom on my new camera is crazy good)

So great to be partnering with Wanderlust to share this list with a larger audience.

And P.S., I didn’t realize it until it was already published, but last week’s was the 200th Something Good list!

1. Watch Twilight Zone Creator Rod Serling Discuss Writing and Storytelling.

2. The root of the “food prison” from Isabel Foxen Duke.

3. Overcoming the 10 Biggest Obstacles to Creating on Zen Habits.

4. It’s been 19 months, a beautiful, horrible piece about the aftermath of a sister’s suicide.

5. Entitlement vs. worthiness from Seth Godin, in which he makes a really important distinction.

6. Good stuff on Positively Presents Picks list: 13 Ways Reading Will Improve Your Life and 30-day gratitude photo challenge: 2015 edition.

7. Trust by Maya Stein, one of her 10-line Tuesday poems. You can sign up to have one in your inbox every Tuesday. You should sign up. She’s an amazing poet. The way she lands a last line cracks the whole poem wide open, e v e r y time.

8. Why You Should Do NaNoWriMo…And Why You Shouldn’t on Terrible Minds. It started officially yesterday. Are you? Here’s a pep talk from Chuck if you need it, NaNoWriMo Pep Talk: The Perfect Machine Versus The Art Monster.

9. Take a Walk Around the Lake on Be More With Less.

10. 2nd Annual Awake in the World event. Starting on November 4th, you can get access to over 30 dialogues, presentations, and guided meditations in this FREE offering. “Over the course of 5 days you can explore teachings and practices with the potential to transform your personal sense of well-being, your relationships, your work life, and our society. Topics range from learning how to meditate, to applying mindfulness in everyday life, living with more purpose, getting involved in societal transformation and so much more.” Did I mention this is all FREE?! What are you waiting for? Go sign up!

11. 50 Questions to Help You Foster Gratitude and Feel Good About Life, an excellent set of contemplations from Tiny Buddha that would make great journal prompts or conversation starters.

12. So you want to have kids…A one-sided story of what to be prepared for in parenthood. “You will get poop on you.”

13. What I Wish I’d Known About Miscarriage. There are a lot of really good pieces on Medium about this topic.

14. Margaret Atwood On How Tech Influences Creativity.

15. Wisdom from Brave Girls Club,

Dreamers are not always treated with kindness and understanding. Visionaries are rarely taken seriously. People who seek for what is good and true are often scoffed, laughed at or shut down.

It’s brave to keep dreaming big dreams, to keep posing big questions, to decide not to settle for the status quo. It’s brave to seek for more beauty, goodness, joy and light in a world when it’s often so hard to find. It’s so courageous to keep your heart and mind on the good stuff and to ignore the fears that try so hard to keep us from all that our hearts are begging to have and experience.

16. Good stuff from Austin Kleon’s weekly newsletter: A reminder: If you want fans, you have to be a fan first and The Steal Like An Artist Journal Talk.

17. Simple But Not Easy: The Right Effort of Beginning Again by Sharon Salzberg on On Being.

18. ‘Wild’ author Cheryl Strayed says you need to be ‘be brave enough to break your own heart,’ an interview from The Los Angeles Times.

19. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck from Mark Manson.

20. Good stuff from Bored Panda: Wiener Dog Totally Photobombs Couple’s Engagement Photos, and Never Leave Your Bed Again With This Awesome Japanese Invention, and Colorful Murals Appear On Roads Only When It’s Raining.

21. Something is going to kill you. Life is about what happens before that. “Maybe bacon causes cancer. So does sunshine. Everything that might possibly sustain us and bring joy to our lives only hastens our inevitable deaths.” This doesn’t mean we don’t take care of ourselves, but it certainly means maybe we shouldn’t get so hysterical about every little thing that we miss the good stuff. It’s about discernment, silly humans. Besides, Research links cancer to fruit and vegetables. In related news, Forget the Bacon: Living in Poverty Means You Have An Advanced Risk of Getting Cancer.

22. You can’t pay your rent with “the unique platform and reach our site provides” by Wil Wheaton. Or you could look at it this way: What This ‘Star Trek’ Actor Gets Wrong about Working for Free.

23. A Room Of My Own, on the importance of making a space for yourself.

24. I lead, they teach from Laurie Wagner. This is about writing, but it’s also about the importance of community, and how even virtual community can be real. I take one of Laurie’s Wild Writing classes, and she’s totally right — it’s fucking magic.

25. “You Are Fat.”

26. 10/10 Would Be Fat Again from Meghan Tonjes. She did a really great cover of the new Adele song too.

27. A video by Jess Blank with a special thanks to Roz The Diva. Defying body-norm-expectations with her inspiring athleticism and determination, she’s reclaiming an activity many consider objectifying.

28. I have finally isolated the problem, wisdom from Anne Lamott on Facebook.

29. A Week in the Life of Maira Kalman. “The illustrator reads the obits, wanders New York City and embraces an attitude of gratitude.” This is so simple, so beautiful.

30. I’ve been wanting to tell you… from Tiffany Han. Just trust me, you need to go read this. Go ahead. Go now. I’ll wait.

31. Wisdom from L.R. Knost,

Life is amazing. And then it’s awful, And then it’s amazing again. And in between the amazing and the awful, it’s ordinary and mundane and routine. Breathe in the amazing, hold on through the awful and relax an exhale during the ordinary. That’s just living heartbreaking, soulhealing, amazing, awful ordinary life. And it’s breathtakingly beautiful.

32. 15+ Brutally Honest Illustrations Perfectly Sum Up Adulthood, which led me to my new favorite Instagram account.

33. Wisdom from Liza Palmer, “Angry is just sad’s bodyguard.”

34. Cracking the Codes: Joy DeGruy “A Trip to the Grocery Store.” So important.

35. No, it’s not you: why ‘wellness’ isn’t the answer to overwork. “No amount of multivitamins, yoga, meditation, sweaty exercise, superfoods or extreme time management, as brilliant as all these things can be, is going to save us from the effects of too much work.” Amen. Oh, and while we are at it, there’s no such thing as work/life balance — it’s all your life, silly humans.

36. Video: Taylor Phinney discovers his love for painting. “Phinney broke his leg in a crash at the 2014 U.S. nationals last May and has been on the mend since. He discovered his hidden talent of painting four months after the incident.”

37. ‘Ridiculous Fun’ Helps A Blogger See Through Depression’s Darkness.

38. Of naphopomo and the advent of light, two really great offerings from Karen Walrond of Chookooloonks.

39. Flow to the Music With This Trance-Inducing Playlist. I’m loving it, might even put Spotify on my phone so I can play it at my class tomorrow morning.

40. Feel-Good Yoga: 10 Poses to Feed Our Souls on Elephant Journal.

41. This Site Will Make a Stuffed Animal Clone of Your Pet. I’ve also seen felted mini clones, which I like even better. I need some.

42. A Healing Technique to Release Old Wounds on Elephant Journal.

43. Fiery Sweet Potatoes recipe. I need to try these. I read the list of ingredients and all I could think was “get in my mouth.”

44. A blessing from Elizabeth Gilbert and Rumi on Facebook.

45. HAES is Not Spooky, but Bad Research Methods Are on Dances with Fat.

That they loved…

twoIn my Wild Writing class yesterday, Laurie offered “On the Lemur” by poet Lisa Jarnot as a prompt. The line I chose to work with was “That they loved…” When I read what I’d written, Laurie said it could be a blog post, and because I trust her and also liked what I wrote, I’m sharing it with you here, kind and gentle reader.

That they loved to yell at the garbage trucks, the people with dogs walking down our street, the cats in our yard, the delivery trucks — the UPS and the FedEX, both with the same squeaky brakes. That they loved to bark and bark until they were just barking at each other or barking at nothing, or just barking so I’d tell them to come inside and they’d be so happy when they listened to me and shot back in as fast as they could go through the dog door that I’d give them a cookie in thanks. That they loved to sleep when I didn’t need them to but the second I needed quiet, needed for them to settle down, they would explode in a burst of noise. That they loved how that felt, that surge of energy, that feeling that if the people or vehicles or animals left they knew it was because of the noise they’d made and they felt success, again. That they loved to check every inch of the yard to see who’d been where, peed on what. That they loved to go back to sleep after breakfast, leaving me quiet time to meditate and write before having to leave the house on the long walk, which starts now in the dark and apparently there might be bears so we need to be awake, alert, ready, aware. That they loved watermelon and carrots and blueberries and frozen green beans and the skin off the smoked salmon. That they loved getting ready, getting to ride in the car, hanging out in the back yard or on the couch. That they loved even getting to go to the vet because they got cookies and Dr. Mulnix always told them how good they were but now he’s gone, not retired like he’d planned but gone gone and I’m afraid to go back, afraid the first time we go and he’s not there, that in the knowing why I won’t be able to stop myself from crying. That they loved that dumb fighting game they play where they lie on the floor and knock their teeth into each other, slobbing all over each other’s heads, getting dog hair everywhere. That they loved. That they loved has saved me, again and again, and will keep doing so as long as they do.

How to be Happy in Tiny Slices

feathergrassseedAfter spending so much time bitching about the heat, and having it last for so much longer than usual, I find myself today feeling melancholy about the end of summer. Eric is hiking with the dogs, and I’m trying to not feel too sorry for myself that by the time I can go with, the aspens will have dropped all their leaves. I was at the grocery store this morning and noticed that they had de-icer, ice scrapers, and snow shovels on display. Ringo will turn two years old in another few months, the day after I turn 48. It’s all going by so fast.

A few weeks ago, at the last minute and not knowing how I was going to fit it into my schedule, I signed up for Laurie Wagner’s online Wild Writing class. I’ve taken an online class with Laurie before, (Telling True Stories), and been lucky enough to do a few sessions of Wild Writing in person with her, sitting at the long wooden table in her dining room at 27 Powers. It’s a particular kind of magic, that place and that person and that practice. To say it’s transformative doesn’t even begin to explain it. Now that I’m back at it, I can’t believe I waited so long. As much as I do to be present and awake and engaged, this practice in particular makes me come alive.

Last week, one of the prompts Laurie shared was by one of my favorite poets, Maya Stein, a poem called “How to be Happy in Tiny Slices.” Maya has a way of writing an ending, a final line, a last moment that breaks the whole poem wide open, every time, and this poem is no different. I liked what I wrote in response to the prompt, a messy start to something or simply a glimpse of something passing, and wanted to share it with you, kind and gentle reader.

How to be happy in tiny slices: Feel the pop of the cherry tomato and taste the warm sour sweet of its juice. Notice the tiny yellow birds, pause to watch them knowing they are rarely still enough to allow themselves to be seen. Slide the mala beads between your fingers, noticing how they go from cold to warm in the heat of your hand. Halfway through, when the words of the mantra no longer make any sense at all, translate them to what you need, like on the dark mornings when the only thing that works is “it’s okay, I’m okay, everything is okay,” even when it’s not. Taste a fresh peach, the tart bright sweetness, knowing it won’t last, that even the very next bite of the exact same peach won’t taste the same. Remember all those that will never taste another peach or cherry tomato and how weird it is to be human and never really know which one will be your last bite, and how tender and sad it is, that hope that the last bite, if it’s to be the last bite, be sweet. Feel the way the sun warms his fur, smell that spot on the top of his head, remember what it was like when he was just a baby, at the same time you know how awful it will be when he goes. Sit in the sun. Be still. Be quiet. Breathe. Move, as Osho says, the way joy makes you move. Sleep, put clean sheets on the bed, take a shower and put on clean pajamas — but wait, I said that all backwards, didn’t I? So next would be to wake up, and when you wake up, get up. Stretch. Drink some water. Meditate. Light the candles. Turn down the lights, get a blanket for your lap, make sure you have your favorite pen, put one word in front of the other. Forgive them, let it go, start over. And when you find yourself confused, off track, stuck in a dream or caught up in a feeling, let go and come back.