Tag Archives: Letting Go

Gratitude Friday

ericwinterriver

image by Eric

1. Christmas cards. I’m not so good about sending them, but I sure like getting them.

2. Pine Ridge Holiday Project. I am only now remembering that I forgot to blog about this so you could take part too, if you wanted to — although, my guess is that if you email Julie, she might have some last minute people she needs to get gifts for that she’d love you to help with. I was able to get the same kids for the third year in a row, and this year I got their Grandma too. I love having enough that I can share.

3. Clearing stuff out, being able to let go — which is good, because there’s a lot that needs to go.

4. Warmer temperatures. Especially because that means I get to go on the walk in the morning (it’s a whopping 16 degrees today!). When it’s below 10, Eric takes Sam so they can run and stay warmer, which means I haven’t gone on the morning walk all week.

5. Intuitive Eating group. We had our last call this week, but there’s a longing to continue working together, supporting each other, and I am so grateful for that, for those women.

hiking yesterday with Dad, looking for deer

hiking yesterday with Dad, looking for deer

Bonus Joy: Sam, how he barks at stuff when I’m the only one home, and how when I come out to see what it is, if I say “shhh,” he stops barking. We are two different species who don’t speak the same language so the fact that we can communicate so effectively seems like some kind of magic.

Day of Rest

At Opening The Creative Channel last weekend, the creativity workshop I went to taught by Andrea Scher and Laurie Wagner, Laurie led us in session of Wild Writing. She describes the process this way,

For 15 minutes we write as fast as we can, pen never leaving the page. By writing so quickly we are able to push past our inner critic and our ego and all the ways we stay trapped in looking good. This gives us a chance to move into a less self conscious, loose groove where, if we’re lucky, we may stumble into the fertile imagination that lingers within us, conjuring up stories and memories that are waiting to be written.

At the start of each wild writing session, Laurie provides a prompt. Of course it is understood the writing can go anywhere, that we let go and allow it to move, but the prompt is a place to start, to come back to if we get stuck — in the same way our breath can give a focus when we meditate. In one particular session, Laurie shared a poem by Robert Bly, Things to Think.

Think in ways you’ve never thought before.
If the phone rings, think of it as carrying a message
Larger than anything you’ve ever heard,
Vaster than a hundred lines of Yeats.

Think that someone may bring a bear to your door,
Maybe wounded and deranged; or think that a moose
Has risen out of the lake, and he’s carrying on his antlers
A child of your own whom you’ve never seen.

When someone knocks on the door, think that he’s about
To give you something large: tell you you’re forgiven,
Or that it’s not necessary to work all the time, or that it’s
Been decided that if you lie down no one will die.

The specific lines Laurie offered as a place to start, to return to, were “Think in ways you’ve never thought before,” and “if you lie down no one will die.” I was surprised by what I wrote, and at the same time it made complete sense to me, I knew it was the truth — which is the magic of this practice.

This is it, isn’t it? At the heart of all the words and ripped paper and paint and roasted eggplant, there is this — if you lie down no one will die. Maybe sometimes what I’m really afraid of is that if I lie down, everyone will be okay, everyone will keep going, and when I die, no one will notice. I will lie down, I will die, and the world will keep on going. I’ll decompose there on the ground, with the sand and dead leaves, the bugs will devour what doesn’t rot away, I’ll turn to dust, and no one will see it, no one will remember.

So that’s it, isn’t it? The real worry, the true fear, the “creamy center” — I’m afraid of being lost, lying down and dying and having no witness, no one left weeping for me, nothing I ever did or said or made or felt remembered by a single person, the paper I wrote the words on shredded, torn and glue-sticked to someone else’s art, the painting I did with my bare hands handed off to someone else to cover in their own color. I will have lived, struggled and tried so hard and it won’t matter.

And yet, there is a part of me that doesn’t care, thinks maybe that is better, to not matter, to go without hurting anyone, to not leave anything behind that doesn’t get used up in someone else’s effort to make some kind of meaning out of something that can never make sense for any of us — 1000’s of us, years and years, painting in blood on cave walls, creating monuments that aren’t even understood by those who come after, speaking in languages no one will understand once we go quiet.

So it’s okay to let it all go then, the pursuit, the passion, because if you lie down, no one will die, and everyone will die.

Think in ways you’ve never thought before — if it doesn’t matter, you can lean in to the letting go, you can reach for the paint that makes you happy, no judgement, stone stupid, and it doesn’t matter. If a wave knocks you down, you ride it, get up and walk into the next. You notice what you are doing when you are happy and you lean in, and in two minutes, hand your painting to the person next to you, let go and go deeper.

Three Truths and One Wish

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1. Truth: Death is real. And it’s not always pretty. It doesn’t always happen painlessly at the end of a long, well lived and loved, full and finished life, with the one who’s leaving in a comfortable bed with candles lit and soft music playing and loved ones all around. It strikes those who are much too young, it is sometimes accidental, sudden, brutal, tragic. Sometimes it’s just not fair, not kind, not easy. But no matter how it comes, how it goes down, every mortal will go, be gone. No matter how well we love or how faithfully we care for each other, we will lose or be lost.

2. Truth: I am still trying to figure out how to live in a world where this is true, where what we love will die. Where we intentionally allow ourselves to be wounded, invite it, where we strip completely naked and hand the one we love the sharpest knife. I have seen death, understand it, have even felt a sort of peace in that moment of letting go, knowing that loved one has been released from their suffering. And yet, I am still trying to figure out how — how to fully surrender to this truth, accept it, stay open to it. Love unbound from form can feel almost like rage, running wild with the desire to smash and burn and break and scream, longing mixed with a strange confusion that insists someone must be to blame, must be punished, so much fierce energy with no place to go.

3. Truth: We are here now, together, and that makes all the eventual pain worth it. As much as I grieve those I have lost, I would not give up the time I had with them in order to avoid this suffering. And there is so much about this life to love. As I was reminded by one big heart today, when I reached out in my confusion, “and yet laughter and yet barbecued chicken and yet a glass of cold water on a hot day, Louis Armstrong, fresh raspberries,” and another reminded me that Winnie the Pooh says, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

Magic is all around, waiting for us to notice and be amazed. On our walk this morning, a butterfly, busy feeding on a flower, let me get closer than I’ve ever been and stayed still so I could take a picture. Ram Dass says “we are all just walking each other home,” and when I can remember that, when I can slow down and see the vivid color and surprise of a butterfly, I feel myself soften, feel the whole tight knot begin to unwind.

One wish: That we stay awake, rather than denying or disconnecting, that we recognize our limitless potential, that we stay open to the connections that heal us, notice the magic and cultivate the medicine.

We are all just walking each other home.

Something Good

1. 75 ways to live a positively present life from Positively Present.

2. Karen Walrond at TEDxHouston 2012, shared on Upworthy in their post This Is Why Your Lover Thinks You’re Gorgeous In A Holey T-Shirt And Sweatpants. I recommend her blog too, maybe start with this recent post, random thoughts: on happiness, gratitude & meaning. She’s a speaker, photographer, writer, and all around superwoman “wildly convinced you’re uncommonly beautiful.”

3. Sh*t Hipsters Say.

4. This wisdom from Aart Van Der Leeuw,

The mystery of life
is not a problem to
be solved,
but a reality
to be experienced.

5. When I Read This I Think of You and 10 Things to Do When You Get Up Before the Sun on Elephant Journal.

6. Wisdom from Anne Lamott on Facebook.

7. Wisdom from J.M. Porup, “The job of the writer isn’t to answer questions. The job of the writer is to ask the questions for which there are no answers.”

8. The Daily Life of a Grandma and Her Odd-Eyed Cat, a sweet series of photos by Miyoko Ihara on demilked.

image by Miyoko Ihara

9. The World’s Top 10 Most Unusual Bonsai Trees.

10. One of my favorite websites, Humans of New York, now has a theme song, and I have a new favorite band.

11. This wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook, and what she said about morning.

12. 11 Habits You Need to Give Up to Be Happy and 7 Effective Ways Happy People Think from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

13. Your Daily Rock from Patti Digh: your daily rock : make peace, and your daily rock : recharge your soul, and your daily rock : wholeheartedly.

14. What if the Gift is the Ending? We Can Reimagine Our Lives? from Rachael Maddox.

15. Just Because He Breathes: Learning to Truly Love Our Gay Son on Huffington Post. On her website’s about page, this mom says,

Although I am a Christian, I feel broken-hearted by the things that the church in America has become most known for. You will never find me marching in a parade against gay rights, abortion rights or immigrant rights. I do not resonate with those who are known for being AGAINST things, especially when what it amounts to is being against people’s hearts and souls.

16. How to Enjoy a Chore-less Weekend from Be More with Less.

17. Turning kindness inward, what Judy Clement Wall had to say about her Self-Compassion Saturday post.

18. How to Let Go: 5 Essential Tips on the Positivity Blog.

19. Home Retreat: The Practice of Doing Exactly What You Want from Susan Piver.

20. “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” ~Gloria Steinem

21. Wisdom from Natalie Goldberg,

There is no ultimate goal in meditation. Meditation is an acceptance of the mind, however it comes to you. And the mind changes all the time, just as the ocean waves change. Sometimes the water is turbulent, sometimes calm. Thoughts rise and then disappear; you don’t grab hold of them. The heart beats, the lungs breathe, and the mind continues to produce thoughts. Even if you’ve practiced for a long time, it will still produce thoughts, but you’re no longer thrown by them. You don’t have control of your mind; it goes where it wants to go. But with practice, you can have a relationship with it.

22. Discipline, devotion & dazzling charm: what I learned from three of the most famous bloggers in the world from Alexandra Franzen.

23. Wisdom from the book Zen Teachings on the Practice of Lojong by Norman Fischer,

We admire people who are wealthy, famous, or skillful in some way, but it’s not hard to be like that. If you are born with some talent, a little luck, and you know the right people, you can do that. Many people do that. Much more difficult and much more wonderful is to be a bodhisattva. Not someone that many people know about and talk about but someone who has the almost magical power of spreading happiness and confidence wherever he goes. What a vision for your life, for your family, to be a light for those around you! To think of everything you do, every action, every social role, every task, as being just a cover for, an excuse for, your real aspiration, to be a bodhisattva, spreading goodness wherever you go. This requires no luck (even if everything goes wrong in your life, you can do it), no special skills, no need to meet special people and get special breaks. We can all do this. This is the aspiration we should all cultivate for training the mind.

24. Wisdom from Tama J. Kieves,

When I was younger, “being different” cost too much. I did anything I could to fit in. These days, “being normal” costs too much. I’m not willing to fit in with the pack, if it costs me my soul, my strength, and my reason for being. I didn’t come here to duck. I came here to fly.

25. Becoming More Authentic: Accept Yourself and Stop Seeking Approval on Tiny Buddha.

26. Wisdom from Tulku Thondup,

For any spiritual training or mental activity, we need concentration. Learning how to concentrate makes our minds strong, clear, and calm. Concentration protects our inner wisdom, like a candle flame sheltered from the wind. If our minds are cluttered with plans, concerns, thoughts, and emotional patterns, we have no space for our true selves.

And

Learning to live in the moment is a great and powerful skill that will help us in everything we do. To ‘‘be here now,’’ relaxed and engaged in whatever we are doing, is to be alive and healthy. In Buddhism, the awareness of what is happening right now is called mindfulness.

27. Every place is under the stars, a really great quote shared on A Design So Vast.

28. Appreciating My “Regular” Job and 50 Ways You Can Be Brave Today on The Self-Compassion Project.

29. Twenty seconds away from more joy! on Cherry Blossom Soup.

30. Whitney Cummings on The Conversation

31. From Brave Girls,

Today we have a sweet little challenge for you. What if for the next 24 hours, you focus on what is right, and not waste a single minute thinking about what is wrong? What if you run towards what you want, instead of running away from what you don’t want? What if you notice the beautiful little miracles and ignore the big distractions. What if you listen to the voice inside of you and let all of the other voices go? Just for 24 hours? Will you take us up on it? We suspect that it might just end up being one of the best days of your life. Enjoy it! Every single second of it! You are so loved. xoxo

32. Wisdom from Mr. Rogers, “There isn’t anyone you couldn’t love once you’ve heard their story.”

33. Mark Bittman’s Spicy Cheddar Shortbread recipe. I make a biscuit like this that my friends call “crack biscuits,” so I am totally going to try this one.

34. From Positively Present Picks: How to let go of your ego, How to buy happiness, and A Dad had some weird conversations with his two-year-old daughter. So he reenacted them with two grown men, (two new episodes!).

35. From Rowdy Kitten’s Happy Links: Xanthe Berkeley Photos and Films, which led to this, her video set on Vimeo — really beautiful work.

36. From Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list: honeysuckle biscuits with sea salt peach butter + honeysuckle mint vinaigrette, gorgeous food, luscious recipe.

37. Lots of new episodes on Why We Rescue.

38. When Facebook Likes Meet Real Life, Things Get … Complicated on Upworthy.

39. This wisdom from Hafiz, “You yourself are your own obstacle – rise above yourself.”

40. This wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Whatever we’re doing could be done with one intention, which is that we want to wake up, we want to ripen our compassion, and we want to ripen our ability to let go. Everything in our lives can wake us up or put us to sleep, and basically it’s up to us to let it wake us up.

Sweet Dexter

goodbyed

We’ve known for a long time that this day was coming. Right now, that doesn’t make it feel any easier. At about 4 am this morning, Dexter went outside to go potty, and when he came back in, I could tell he was struggling, and when I turned on a light, I saw why. He had a massive nose bleed, the big bad that we’d been warned about. We were able to stop it within minutes, but it was clear that this was the moment, the day to help him, time to let go. When his cancer was first diagnosed, he was given 2-3 months, and here we are, just a few weeks shy of a year later. We are so grateful for the extra time we’ve had.

He ate breakfast and went on a walk. He’s still here in this moment, asleep in his crate, his nose still slowly bleeding and his breathing loud enough that I can hear it from here. The vet is coming in a few hours and we’ll let him go. In moments like this, it’s hard to know what to do with yourself, waiting for the thing you don’t want to happen even though you know it will mean that someone you love won’t have to suffer anymore, even though you know it is the wise and compassionate thing to do.

I’ve been following him around all morning, loving on him, and while he appreciates it, at a certain point he wants me to leave him alone, wants to rest, so I’m letting him do that too. This is a big day, a sad day, but it also feels good to treat it a little like a normal day, and this is just what we do — he rests near me while I write.

If you could, kind and gentle reader, we’d appreciate some extra love sent our way at 1:00 p.m. Mountain Time today. I have always wished for him an easy death, and I’m still wishing that today. He’s been such a good dog, we’ve had such a good life together, and I am going to miss him like crazy.

olderdexter

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
~Mary Oliver

Something Good

For those of you who are new to my blog, here’s the story behind my Something Good posts: When I am feeling bad, I will often ask my husband 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” almost 20 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, so every Monday, I give you a list.

Here’s this week’s list:

1. 5 Plants You (Almost) Never Have to Water on House Logic.

2. Stunning Self-Portraits by a 14-year-old Photographer on Bored Panda.

3. Diana Fayt’s Painted Rocks (& Other Lovely Things) from Lisa Congdon.

4. Be Brave: A Poem-Film for Anyone Asking for Courage to Create from Jeffrey Davis.

5. Cute Pets in Windows from Bold Italics, originally shared by Rachel.

6. Reflections on Fearlessness and Best Links (May), a great list of good stuff from Sandra at Always Well Within, (confession: one of my posts is on the list).

7. Reason to Forgive | DubStep, video of a 12 year old who is an amazing dancer.

8. You’re not needy. You’re starving. from Rachel Cole. Amazing.

9. Out of the water from Lisa Bonchek Adams.

10. Patrick Stewart Speaks About His Childhood, Domestic Abuse and PTSD. The woman involved in this specific moment wrote about it on her blog as well, Let me tell you a thing, about an amazing man named Patrick Stewart.

11. This message from Brave Girls Club came just when I needed it,

Dear Sweet Girl,

You don’t have to have special permission to take a break, you know. You have done enough. When you are tired, and weary and feeling worn out, you need to be kind to yourself and take good care of your body and your spirit.

Please be good to yourself, beautiful friend . . . the world is not the same without the best of you. The people that you love the most have better lives because of you and the people you have not even met yet will have enriched lives because of you.

Your life will be better, happier, more effective, more efficient and more meaningful if you stop and take care of yourself. No more putting guilt trips on yourself or letting anyone else do it. No more working yourself so hard that you can’t even feel anymore . . . it’s time to REALLY nurture and take care of yourself. You are a gift to the world, please take care of YOU. Today’s a great day to start.

12. There’s Just No Time from Paul Jarvis, shared by Laura of Create as Folk.

13. Rijks Museum Free Hi-Res Art Downloads shared by Pugly Pixel.

14. Introducing Prancercise, just silly enough to be kind of awesome.

15. Be the Giver from Danielle LaPorte.

16. 9 Rules for a Simpler Day from Zen Habits.

17. What is Your Gift to the World? on Scoutie Girl.

18. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Tigers Above, Tigers Below: There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs, and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.

Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life, it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.

19. 7 Things You Need to Stop Doing Every Day from Marc and Angel Hack Life.

20. Make Me: Fabric Gift Bags from Decor8.

21. Celebrate and Embrace Ventures and Adventures from Be More with Less.

22. Her Lilac Jacket on SouleMama. The sweetest pictures! This one is my favorite, (her little hand!).

23. Racists Very Upset Over Interracial Family in Cute Cheerios Commercial. The little girl in this commercial is super cute. Someone posted on Facebook last week about this and added, “Whomever has a problem with this better just go buy a white hood right now and be honest with yourself.” I couldn’t agree more.

24. it’s complicated from Sas Petherick. *sigh*

25. Inside the Paris apartment untouched for 70 years: Treasure trove finally revealed after owner locked up and fled at outbreak of WWII.

26. Your Daily Rock from Patti Digh: your daily rock : what would love do?, and your daily rock : just breathe, and your daily rock : you are enough.

27. Name-calling Has Its Place: BED is Now Named as a Distinct Eating Disorder. So what’s in it for you? from Drop it and Eat.

28. Another Origami Fox from How About Orange. I wish I was better at this. I’d be making some of these, (shared by Positively Present).

29. This quote, People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us. ~Iris Murdoch

peoniesonmydesk02

30. Google Poetics, (shared by Positively Present). “This blog started collecting Google Poems on October 2012 and is run by its founder Sampsa Nuotio and curator Raisa Omaheimo. Google Poetics is born when Google autocomplete suggestions are viewed as poems.” I could get lost in this site for a very, very long time. For example,

pain is temporary
pain is weakness leaving the body
pain is inevitable suffering is optional
pain is love

Or,

I am a disco dancer
I am a dwarf and I’m digging a hole
I am a dynamic figure
I am a dreamer

Pure awesome.

31. Patti Smith, We all have a creative impulse, shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend list. The site where this video is posted, Channel Louisiana, has lots of other really cool stuff, if you want to get lost for a little while and haven’t already spent all your time on Google Poetics. Also on Susannah’s list this week was What’s Inside Our “Going Out” Bags.

32. Humans of New York. I’ve shared this site before, but it’s so good, I want to share it again in case you missed it the first time. You can also follow them on Facebook.

33. Issa Rae: Own Your Awkward on The Conversation.

34. From Rowdy Kittens’ Happy Links post: A Revolution of Contentment by Sandra Pawula on the Bridgemaker, and Chic Tiny House in Omaha Nebraska on Air BnB, (the loft beds in tiny houses always make me think of sleeping in a tree house — magic).

35. My Dentist Was Made To Believe I Was Dead And It Made Me Realize Why I Shouldn’t Kill Myself And You Shouldn’t Either on xojane.

36. This wisdom from Marianne Williamson, “The kind of rest you seek you will find not from sleeping but from waking.”

37. This Poster Might Just Change Your Life. by Nicole Duncan on Elephant Journal.

38. This wisdom from Lama Christie McNally, The Tibetan Book of Meditation,

Tibetans say we should do our meditation practice “as if our hair was on fire.” We should have the same urgency to get out of this pain filled place as someone who has just woken up in a burning, smoke filled house. But it’s hard- all the distractions of this life keep stealing away our time and our mind. We keep telling ourselves, “I’ll meditate later.” Then one day you look up and realize life has passed you by, the time is gone, and it’s too late.

39. This wisdom from Jen Lemen, “I don’t want to be famous or popular or known for anything other than that I was deep and wise and had a soul that was wildly beautiful, full of mercy and light.”

40. Amanda Palmer on Creativity as Connecting Dots and the Terrifying Joy of Sharing Your Art Online and Be All Your Selves: Joss Whedon’s 2013 Wesleyan Commencement Address on Embracing Our Inner Contradictions on Brain Pickings.

41. Quotes shared by Justine Musk, You cannot truly enjoy life through your mind…It’s through the heart + the body that we get to party,” (Kagiso Msimango), and “There’s nothing more powerful than a woman who has met the truth inside her. Nothing,” (Meggan Jane Watterson).

42. Are Children Natural Vegans? by Sara Crolick on Elephant Journal.

43. This quote from Cheryl Stayed, “That silence is such a beautiful thing. It’s like the stars at night in the great alone and you there beneath them, saying thank you.”

44. Karma and Smartphones: How to Use Technology From a Buddhist Perspective, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche on Huffington Post.

45. Dog People Problems, from Reddit.

goodmorning

46. 2 year old problems: cinnamon rolls aren’t instant, from Reddit.

twoyearoldproblems

47. Wisdom from Chogyam Trungpa,

Meditation is not a matter of trying to achieve ecstasy, spiritual bliss, or tranquility, nor is it attempting to be a better person. It is simply the creation of a space in which we are able to expose and undo our neurotic games, our self-deceptions, our hidden fears and hopes.

48. Father and 2-year-old boy sing Beatles’ ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ in viral hit.

49. Let go … again, still, more from Lindsey on A Design So Vast.

50. The Pros and Cons (But Mostly Pros) of Adopting a Shelter Dog on Hello Giggles.

51. you are worthy. from Liz Lamoreux.

52. Feeding the Right Wolf, with Marianne Elliot on Sacred Circle.

53. The Big Book Giveaway! from Susannah Conway. This is a great set of books, some of my favorites! You should totally enter this, (but just know, I plan on winning the Book Bomb).

bigbookgiveaway

P.S. I think this might officially be the longest Something Good list e v e r.

Everything Changes

Another Wednesday without a wishcast prompt. And yet, I’m feeling a powerful need to make wishes — big wishes, important wishes, wishes for healing and peace.

I wish good health and healing for Jamie’s mom. I wish for strength, peace, and comfort for Jamie and anyone else loving and supporting her mom right now.

I wish for Dexter not to suffer, (he was at the emergency vet three weeks ago, his nose has been bleeding more that usual — whatever “usual” even means when cancer is involved — and on Saturday, he sprained his leg — a different one, not the one he’s already in physical therapy for). I also continue to wish that he have an easy death, whenever that might come.

I wish good luck, a safe trip and a workable outcome for my friend Ann. Today she’s making another visit to a doctor in Boston who might have a new treatment option for her cancer. No matter what happens, I wish her and her partner ease, comfort, and clarity.

I wish comfort for my friend Susan, my dear friend Kelly‘s mom. This past week had to have been so rough for her, with Mother’s Day and the three year anniversary of Kelly’s passing just days apart — but I also know that the arrival of a new granddaughter is offering so much joy. I wish for comfort for all of us who love Kelly and still feel so sad, miss her so much, who will forever carry that ache.

So many are suffering. It can feel overwhelming sometimes. But just when I start to feel like it’s all too much, someone does or says or makes or shares something so beautiful, that I remember: life is tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal — keep your heart open.

Today, it was a post on Hopeful World. It included beautiful words from Jen Lemen, who has been the healing balm for my own suffering so many times I’ve stopped counting. The video in the post is one she’d shared with me back in September, at a moment when it was just what I needed, and my response to it was just what she needed, but I was sworn to secrecy. I’ve been waiting patiently for her to share it with the world, so I could share it with you, and today is the day.

Everything changes. And when we can remember that during the low times, our hearts can fill with hope. And when we can tell each other this in the good times, our hearts can fill with gratitude. No matter what, we can be gentle, we can be kind. And we can remember, that even in this, we are never, ever alone. ~Jen Lemen