Tag Archives: Natalie Goldberg

Day of Rest

From our walk, the morning after the big snow day

From our walk, the morning after the big snow day

It’s a naked thing to show that we are fractured, that we do not have it all together. Broken all the way through to the bottom. What freedom that is, to be what we are in the moment, even if it’s unacceptable…

Think about it: We are always doing a dance — I’m good; I’m bad; I’m this; I’m that. Rather than the truth: I don’t know who I am. Instead we scurry to figure it out. We write another book, buy another blouse. We exhaust ourselves.

Imagine the freedom to let it be, this not knowing.

~Natalie Goldberg, The Great Spring: Writing, Zen, and This Zigzag Life

Something Good

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

1. This American Was Shocked When His Facebook Post About England Went Viral. “A few weeks ago he visited England, and he decided to share his observations on Facebook.” This list is both interesting and funny.

2. Wildlife is absolutely thriving at Chernobyl disaster site.

3. Living a Full Life, a dharma teaching from Natalie Goldberg. “A writer, for better or for worse, gets to live life twice.”

4. This offensive photo sparked a whole lot of love for the boy who deserved better.

5. It’s here and it’s being claimed “The first zero-waste grocery store in the world.”

6. Nutritower is a vertical farm for your tiny condo.

7. The Just F*cking Journal Class: October 12th-16th. “5 days. 5 fresh prompts. 5 ways to get present with YOU.” This is a great opportunity, a great practice — FREE.

8. Wisdom from Mara Glatzel, on the page for her The Deep Exhale offering, something I needed to hear so badly I signed up for it,

When we are well-rested, well-nourished, and well-loved we are able to show up in the world to do the work that we were put on the planet to do with ease and grace. It really is that simple and yet, so many of us tie ourselves up in knots believing that working hard(er) is the only way forward.

9. Begin Again: How Yoga Unlocks the Writer Within from Dani Shapiro, in which she says,

The writing life is painstakingly slow. We toil invisibly, tearing our hair out, steam escaping from our ears, our hearts frozen in fear, our poor small selves so full of the tension of what we hope to express and the impossibility of ever getting it exactly right. It’s just about unbearable, which is why we look to our totems to help us along the way. But perhaps the wisdom we crave isn’t to be found inside those objects we imbue with magic and meaning. Perhaps—just perhaps—to quote Woolf once more, “We are the words; we are the music; we are the thing itself.”

10. Squirrel Rescued After Hurricane Becomes Family’s Cutest Member. A squirrel named Jill.

11. The True Secret of Writing: A Talk With Natalie Goldberg, wisdom from one of my favorite teachers.

12. #3bravethings : Have You Done 3 Brave Things in 2015 Yet? from Diana Dellos.

13. Money Talks with Jill Salahub I love the Money Talks series on Mabel Magazine with the lovely Sherry Richert Belul, and was so happy when she asked me to take part. It’s so timely, because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I make my living.

14. The Simple Technique that Changed My Life on Elephant Journal. This article explains why I meditate better than almost anything I’ve ever read.

Our tendency at grasping for the next thing to fill a hole that we perceive in our being is demonstrated in our thoughts during meditation practice. By cutting the pattern of discursive thought we learn to relax and just be. We can actually sit and be content. But, we’re not doing all of this to just be good little meditators, or to have short reprieves during our day from our constant state of anxiety and dissatisfaction. We’re doing this during our sitting time so that it begins to affect our entire life.

15. The corporatization of higher education: With a system that caters to the 1 percent, students and faculty get screwed. I could only read this in short doses. It’s so true, so disappointing, that it makes me feel sick.

This exploitation of low-wage faculty is part of what’s known as the corporatization of higher education. Increasingly, both public and private colleges are being run on the cost-cutting model of American business. Which presents a burning question: If faculty are being paid less, class sizes are growing and tuition is higher than ever, where is the money going?

16. Dog Refuses To Leave The Side Of Man Who Saved Him From Flood. This story had me in tears.

17. This Is What You Should Eat. Any Questions? This is so great, highlights how hard it can be to know what to eat when we listen to something other than our own body, our own inherent wisdom. And, it’s funny at the same time.

18. Instead of a ‘dislike’ button, Facebook tests new set of reaction emojis.

19. Mom’s Viral Facebook Post Offers Powerful Message After Miscarriage, “Scars tell stories. Scars mean survival. Scars mean you showed up for the fight instead of running from it.”

20. Awake in the World, 2nd Annual Online Free Event, November 4th – 8th. Last year this was great, and this year promises to be the same. So many great teachers.

21. Raise Your Hand Say Yes with Austin Kleon. A great podcast, a great guest.

22. The Brutal Economics of Being a Yoga Teacher.

23. Good stuff from this week’s Positively Present Picks list: 25 Hilarious Tweets That Perfectly Capture Your Feelings About Animals, and 5 Positive Reasons for Saying No, and The Two Best Ways to Uncover Your Truth.

24. Austin Kleon on Mary Karr’s new book, The Art of Memoir.

25. the shutterbugs: kate holstein on SF Girl by Bay. Such dreamy pictures. I clicked through to her full website and got lost in it.

26. 5 Ways to Manage Stress at Work, some great tips from Laura Simms, who is also offering Your Career Homecoming Training Series videos for FREE on her new website.

27. The Crossroads of Should and Must. “This is a story about two roads — Should and Must. It’s a pep talk for anyone who’s chosen Should for far too long — months, years, maybe a lifetime — and feels like it’s about time they gave Must a shot.” This post ended up inspiring a book that I really want to read.

28. Why you should stop saying should on Positively Present. Stop shoulding all over yourself.

29. Wisdom from Anam Thubten,

If we were asked to be free right now, to jump into the sea of love in this very moment, we might turn our attention inward and try it, and it may not work. Why? Because of a hindrance, a block. That block is the very sense of “I am” that is the false image of who we are. It is the shell that is veiling, covering our true nature. So the goal of all spiritual endeavors is to actually realize the enlightened part of who we are, not sometime in the future, but right now.

30. Wisdom from Kiki Smith,

Just do your work. And if the world needs your work it will come and get you. And if it doesn’t, do your work anyway. You can have fantasies about having control over the world, but I know I can barely control my kitchen sink. That is the grace I’m given. Because when one can control things, one is limited to one’s own vision.

31. The Geography Of Sorrow: Francis Weller On Navigating Our Losses.

32. Claritude from Jena Schwartz.

33. Breathe, an eleven week, (self-directed), deep breathing, creative recovery retreat for your spirit with the lovely Julia Fehrenbacher.

34. A dirty secret called grief. “After her mother’s death, Kiran Sidhu found she was expected to ‘move on’ with such bewildering haste that her only option was to conceal her sorrow.”

Taking Refuge

my meditation shrine

my meditation shrine

The first time I attempted meditation was almost 20 years ago. I was reading Jack Kornfield’s A Path with Heart and books on writing by Zen Buddhist Natalie Goldberg. I was fascinated by the philosophy, the perspective, the practice, and willing to try anything that might help me cope with the difficulty of my life, my emotions and my mind. Even though I found it beneficial, sat regularly for a short time with a Zen meditation group and on my own, the practice didn’t stick. I didn’t even finish reading Kornfield’s book.

I continued to struggle for eleven more years before finding my way back to a cushion. A friend recommended Pema Chödrön’s When Things Fall Apart and mentioned that the local Shambhala Meditation Center had a program coming up I might be interested in, “The Art of Being Human.” I read the book and went to the training, and started to practice in earnest. For two years, one weekend a month I was either attending a retreat or staffing one. I read and studied and practiced. This was the same time I started to practice yoga regularly. Things were falling into place.

And then everything fell apart. I had already been dealing with a difficult work situation, was stressed and in crisis, when my Obi was diagnosed with a treatable but ultimately incurable cancer. At the same time, my friend Kelly was diagnosed with cancer. That summer I went to Shambhala Mountain Center to participate in a longer retreat, Warrior Assembly, the culmination of the two years of training I’d been doing. Not long after I returned home, Obi died. Six months later, Kelly died. Even though I didn’t leave CSU entirely, I effectively quit the job that was so problematic.

Meditation Hall at Warrior Assembly, Shambhala Mountain Center, Summer of 2009

Meditation Hall at Warrior Assembly, Shambhala Mountain Center, Summer of 2009

I was completely heartbroken, utterly lost, so confused. After two years of regular practice, I couldn’t do it anymore. Every time I sat on my cushion to meditate, I fell part, felt so raw, came unhinged and couldn’t stop crying. I was angry — if this practice couldn’t help me feel better when the worst happened, what good was it? I smile to remember it now, that way of thinking about what practice was supposed to do for me. What I understand now that I didn’t then is that my raw and tender broken heart, being able to feel that, experience it, sit and stay with it is exactly the point, not making it “go away” or fixing it like I thought.

Practice starts precisely where we find ourselves, which for many of us is a place of heartbreak, suffering, alienation and doubt. But it is precisely there, within those circumstances, that we start. ~Ryushin Sensei

For at least a year, I tried to find my way back to my cushion. I would practice in fits and starts, but it never seemed to stick. I continued to practice yoga and slowly started to write more regularly. I started taking ecourses and began this blog. I started building a routine, finding a rhythm. And then I found Susan Piver and her Open Heart Project, (OHP). I signed up for her newsletter and started meditating with her. Her wisdom, kindness, and friendship, along with the OHP community, helped me find my way back.

meditating with Susan

The great gift of a spiritual path is coming to trust that you can find a way to true refuge. You realize that you can start right where you are, in the midst of your life, and find peace in any circumstance. Even at those moments when the ground shakes terribly beneath you — when there’s a loss that will alter your life forever — you can still trust that you will find your way home. This is possible because you’ve touched the timeless love and awareness that are intrinsic to who you are. ~Tara Brach, True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart

For the past few years, I’ve been thinking about taking refuge vows. I’ve been telling people for so long “I study and practice Buddhism, but I’m not actually a Buddhist, haven’t taken vows or anything,” that I wondered if I ever would. But I’ve been feeling a longing, a growing awareness — this is my path, I’m committed to it. Like I told a teacher once, “if this doesn’t work, nothing does.” For whatever reason, this is just what makes sense to me. It helps me to live my life, to be in the world, to cultivate kindness and wisdom, sanity. And yet, I have been waiting, for either an opportunity that was close to home or one Susan Piver could attend, because it felt important to me to have her there somehow, since she’s the primary reason I’d be there.

Then I got certified to teach yoga. We studied yogic philosophy as part of our training, meditated, did mantra and kirtan practice, learned various breath practices and the sanskrit names for the yoga poses, read the yoga sutras — and I loved it all, saw so many similarities between it and my tradition, but also became very aware that it wasn’t my path. Yoga is one of my practices, and part of my path as such, but I’m not so much a yogini as I am a Buddhist who does yoga.

Becoming a yoga teacher made it clear it was time to make a true commitment to my path. I searched to see where I might go to take my vows, and saw that the Boulder Shambhala Center was offering the ceremony two days before my birthday. Susan couldn’t be there, but she did write my letter of recommendation. The teacher who would be performing the ceremony had taught at my Warrior Assembly, and when I arrived the night we went to make our official request to make the vow, a friend was leading our meditation session. It was time.

boulderrigden

Boulder Shambhala Meditation Center Main Shrine Room

I asked Susan her advice about taking vows in the weeks leading up to the ceremony, and she said, “Relax. Watch your mind. Enjoy. Relax. Repeat … And remember, you have nothing to prove. This ceremony is to mark something that has already happened.” I tried to remember this as I waited for my interview with Acharya Ferguson (“Acharya” in this tradition basically means “senior teacher”), and even though he’s the kindest person and I’d met him before, I was still nervous. The purpose of the interview is to make a formal request to take the vow and for the teacher to come up with the dharma name you’d be given the day of the ceremony. We were told that he might ask us questions, but might not. The person who went in just before me was talking and laughing with him, and I wasn’t sure what to wish for — if he didn’t ask me any questions, was that good or bad? Part of me wanted him to see me and for my presence to be so vibrant, my true self so clearly embodied and present that he would know just by seeing me. I think I was also afraid if I opened my mouth, I might say something weird because I was anxious and end up with an odd name that didn’t fit, didn’t make sense to me.

In Tibet, children are given a nickname when they are born. This is what everyone calls them until they are old enough to take their refuge vows and receive their adult, Buddhist name. In that culture, everyone given a name uses it. In the West, many dharma students don’t actually change their name, but rather use it as a contemplation. We were told that the name isn’t meant as a compliment or a challenge, but rather something to consider as we practice, intended to offer insight, and that it was entirely up to us whether we wanted to officially change our name, use it in that way. I felt sure my name would be a message, that it would provide me a new understanding of my path. And during my meeting with Acharya Ferguson that night, he did ask me a few questions, and I could see the exact moment he knew the name he’d offer me.

heartgiftOn the day of the ceremony, I focused on Susan’s advice. I relaxed and enjoyed myself. Acharya Ferguson gave a talk in the morning about what it meant to take refuge, and then we did sitting and walking meditation until lunch, contemplating what we were about to do. After a break to eat, we came back and had a rehearsal and then the ceremony itself.

In the Buddhist tradition, the purpose of taking refuge is to awaken from confusion and associate oneself with wakefulness. Taking refuge is a matter of commitment and acceptance and, at the same time, of openness and freedom. By taking the refuge vow we commit ourselves to freedom. ~Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche

The ceremony itself was a funny combination of something like a baptism and a wedding, along with something else entirely. After you take the vow, reciting it three times after performing prostrations, the teacher (referred to in this case as a preceptor) snaps his fingers, and it’s at that moment the vow is made. My favorite moment was that finger snap. It was so simple and yet so definite. My next favorite moment was receiving my dharma name.

As I stood in line, listening to all the other names, I wondered if mine would be so good. Every person’s name seemed so rich, so full of beauty and possibility and wisdom. Every name that was read, I thought “oh, I wish that was mine!” I worried I’d get something that would be awkward or confusing. I’d talked to other people about their names, and listening to them describe their lingering confusion, I anticipated my own.

dharmanameI didn’t need to worry. There’s a rightness to the name I was given. I will continue to contemplate it, but my first thought was an appreciation of the way it married the concept of vastness, openness, emptiness with embodiment, movement, physical expression. I used to long to be a visionary, an oracle, a seer, a prophet of some sort, but I’m understanding more and more than my purpose is to be a container, an embodiment of wisdom and compassion.

You go through this ceremony which is like part baptism and part wedding and you expect to be born again somehow, cleansed or something, a new beginning, but really I’m just back in the heat of my own stew, laughing at how silly I was to think anything was going to be magically changed by it. I have to do the work, show up and practice, it’s up to me and that’s never going to change. This is my path, for sure and for real.

The biggest illusion about a path of refuge is that we are on our way somewhere else, on our way to becoming a different kind of person. But ultimately, our refuge is not outside ourselves, not somewhere in the future – it is always and already here. ~Tara Brach, True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom in Your Own Awakened Heart

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. 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.