Tag Archives: Rest

Take it Easy

ericaspens

image by Eric

I’d planned to write a post today about meeting Cheryl Strayed. I got up early, did my morning pages, took a long walk with Eric and the dogs, and then spent the rest of the morning doing laundry, going through my email inbox, sweeping, putting clean sheets on the bed, and straightening up the house. I am teaching a yoga class this evening, so I also need to prepare just a few quick things for it, then teach it of course. I realized somewhere around lunch time that I only had enough energy to either write a blog post or teach my yoga class.

In the not so recent past, I would have pushed myself to do both. I wouldn’t have listened when my body whispered, “it was a long week, and I sure am tired.” I would have listened instead to the pushy voice that insisted I plan out a whole new class for this evening because a few people coming may have already been there when I practice taught the same series, that I should write a blog post too, go on the afternoon walk with the dogs, do a little bit of CSU work that had come up late in the day Friday instead of waiting until Monday, start tomorrow’s blog post and even Monday’s if I had time — to do all the things.

Instead, I’m doing what is best for me. I’m going to rest this afternoon instead of putting a bunch of energy into writing about Cheryl Strayed, even though it’s something I want to do. I’m going to teach the class I’ve learned and am comfortable with so I can teach this first time with greater ease. I’m going to let Eric walk the dogs in the afternoon heat while I take a nap. It might seem like a small shift, but for me it’s revolutionary.

Wishcasting Wednesday

homeskyFor today’s wishcast, Jamie asks, “What risk do you wish to take?” I am immediately reminded of one of my favorite quotes, from Muriel Rukeyser,

What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.

I wish to risk telling the truth. Telling my story even though it’s often embarrassing and messy and hard, leaning in and letting go, loving myself, being my own best friend, “willing to be stone stupid,” showing up not knowing and unprepared, keeping my heart open, raw and tender, being vulnerable, willing to be wounded.

The truth today is that I am taking another sick day, and as soon as I finish this I will lie down and maybe stay like that the rest of the day, still tired and achy, tender and sad, feeling like I am right at my edge but finally willing to stop, be still, take care of myself, no matter what anyone else might think about that, even as I am working with feeling guilty, a sharp shame surrounding my suffering, my need to rest, that even though it’s my 20th wedding anniversary today a part of me still wonders “does he love me?” and needs to be reassured.

Sick Day

darntoughI have so much I want to tell you, kind and gentle reader, but I’ve been fighting with the crud for the past week and today it’s winning. I cancelled working out with my trainer and slept in, emailed work and apologized about the meeting I’m missing. My to-do list looks like this: a dose of Emergen-C with grapefruit juice, hot bath, clean pjs, soup, and back to bed. It’s also Kelly’s birthday, she would have been 41 today, and the sunrise was so amazing I just stood at the window saying “whoa” over and over again, so I’m really sad too. My socks might say “darn tough,” but I’m feeling awful tender.

Gratitude Friday

1. A short trip to visit family in Oregon. I only get to see them once a year, and miss them like crazy, so am glad to finally be able to go, even though I’m going to miss my boys.

2. Peach Pie Oatmeal.

3. Sleeping in, the double white noise of the sound machine and the whole house fan, Sam curled up next to me, no where I need to be, nothing I need to do.

4. Places that are old, but still vibrant, that remind me of good memories, places and times that no longer exist.

jbsphone5. Rain on a really muggy, hot day, the way a storm clears the air, waters the garden, and cools everything down.

Bonus Joy: Sweet Sam. I was depressed this week, lonely for Dexter, and Sam is really good at softening that hurt.

sweetsam

Day of Rest

We just got back from spending three nights at a cabin up at Crystal Lakes. After losing Dexter, we needed to get away to the green and the quiet, spend some time just the three of us, hit the reset button.

The cabin is called Lofty Lookout, and it has a gate at the end of a long driveway lush with aspens and wildflowers that hides the house from the main road (when Eric saw that, he said “I approve”), and is four floors high (basement, main floor, sleeping loft, and another sleeping loft). It was way too big for the three of us, but we rented it because of the location and the decks.

The view was amazing, there were hummingbirds at the feeder all day, and we could walk out the front door and land directly on a five mile hiking trail that wound through pine trees, aspen groves, and meadows. At the sight of one spot along the trail, filled with aspens and wildflowers, Eric said “you almost expect a unicorn to come walking out of there.”

We hiked every morning, took naps every afternoon. I watched some HGTV and one day read an entire book, Neil Gaiman’s latest, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It was a wonderful book, but I’m biased because I love everything he writes — graphic novels, adult fiction, children’s books, essays, blog posts. One of my favorite parts of the book was this,

I have dreamed of that song, of the strange words to that simple rhyme-song, and on several occasions I have understood what she was saying, in my dreams. In those dreams I spoke the language too, the first language, and I had dominion over the nature of all that was real. In my dream, it was the tongue of what is, and anything spoken in it becomes real, because nothing said in that language can be a lie. It is the most basic building brick of everything. In my dreams I have used that language to heal the sick and to fly; once I dreamed I kept a perfect little bed-and-breakfast by the seaside, and to everyone who came to stay with me I would say, in that tongue, “Be whole,” and they would become whole, not be broken people, not any longer, because I had spoken the language of shaping.

The land, the trails and the trees and the sky here in Colorado are magical. The time spent there was medicine, and yet I wasn’t without suffering, wasn’t beyond generating my own suffering. As a part guard, part herd breed, Sam takes a while to settle in anywhere new, is nervous and worried. I felt bad at first for forcing him along, even though I know that doing new things is good for him, that challenging him a little helps him to become a more confident dog. He panted and whined that first night, checked on every new noise and sound. Then on the second day, just as he was calming down, he got a spider bite on his belly and I worried about that.

The first night, I slept terrible, between Sam’s whining every time we moved and us choosing apparently the most uncomfortable bed in the whole cabin. Then there was the night we were boiling water to cook some corn on the cob and something that had been spilled on the burner drip pan caught on fire. And that night when we moved to a different, more comfortable bed, I had to move the carbon monoxide detector (the little green light would have kept me awake), and unplugging it set it off and I couldn’t figure out right away how to stop it.

Then on our hike the final morning there, our car alarm got triggered while it was parked at the trailhead, and malfunctioned so that it keep going off, stopping and starting for who knows how long, and someone left a nasty note on our car window (saying things like “rude” and “extremely annoying”), as if anyone would do such a thing on purpose. So even as I tried to relax, to heal, I continued to generate my own suffering. I can’t escape myself, no matter where I go, no matter how far I hike.

On our last afternoon, we saw a hummingbird sitting on its nest. When they are making their nest, they gather up anything soft they can find and they bind it all together with spiderwebs. They do this so that the nest will stretch as the babies get bigger. I was comforted seeing this, because earlier in the day, a war had begun around the hummingbird feeder on the cabin’s main deck. We’d been enjoying it so much, how we could sit right next to it but they would come feed anyway, letting us watch. But at some point, things turned sour and they began fighting over it, guarding the feeder by chasing and attacking each other, even though there was so much food available there was no way they could ever eat it all. We are like that too, I thought as I watched them, so convinced that there’s not enough, that the only way to get what we want, what we need is to fight for it.

Every time I feel anxious or sad, irritated or uncomfortable, I try to remember what Pema Chödrön teaches about working with groundlessness,

It’s not impermanence per se, or even knowing we’re going to die, that is the cause of our suffering, the Buddha taught. Rather, it’s our resistance to the fundamental uncertainty of our situation. Our discomfort arises from all of our efforts to put ground under our feet, to realize our dream of constant okayness. When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment, or awakening to our true nature, to our fundamental goodness. Another word for that is freedom—freedom from struggling against the fundamental ambiguity of being human.

We cause so much unnecessary suffering for ourselves and each other, can be so confused, allow ourselves to get caught up in the anxiety of “not enough.” I am trying to be gentle, to forgive myself for that. Every moment I try and keep my heart open, to soften and surrender to what is, to notice the magic happening around me, to generate compassion and ease suffering. Some moments I am more successful than others, but I keep showing up, keep trying.

Something Good

1. If You Have Unrequited Dreams, You’re Probably Making Some of These Mistakes from Life After Tampons.

2. New Origami Street Art by Mademoiselle Maurice on Bored Panda.

3. I hope you wake with a gasp, a thousand flutters in your heart, a 10-Line Tuesday poem from my new favorite poet, Maya Stein.

I hope you wake with a gasp, a thousand flutters in your heart **
Not from the whirlpool of worry. Not from a bad dream.
Not from a deadline or a string of demands, or the great to-do
of the still-to-be-done. Not from the lopsided weight of futility and failure
or some wayward mutiny shaking your bones. Not from the loss
of letting go or the grief of giving in. Not from the illusions of your metaphorical
imprisonment or escape. Not from grass-is-greener or anywhere-but-here.
I hope, instead, you rise from the tremble of something finding its edges,
earthquaking its way into being. That riotous pulsing of birth, and the cry that comes
just after, the lungs taking in their first overwhelmed breaths. That same lucid
sweetness of entry and release. The song of your life being sung.

** I stole this line from Jean Reinhold’s latest writing in her must-read blog: http://jcreinhold.blogspot.com/

4. NOW I know why my finger bleeds like a %*##@ when I get a paper cut, from Reddit.com. Eric emailed me the link to this image and said “it looks like a tree.” (Have I told you lately how much I love him?)

wearetrees

5. This wisdom, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” ~Chinese Proverb.

6. Your Daily Rock from Patti Digh: your daily rock : ask the question. wait for the answer and your daily rock : you belong.

7. My weiner dog kind of looks like snoop from Reddit. Makes me smile, every time.

snoopdog

8. Twelve Habits of Happy, Healthy People Who Don’t Give a Shit About Your Inner Peace from I Am Begging My Mother Not To Read This Blog.

9. This wisdom from Tulku Thondup,

By just allowing our minds to be caring, peaceful, and relaxed, our daily activities and work—even our breathing—can become part of our healing practice and we will gain strength spontaneously. If we are open to it, our ordinary life will turn into a life of healing. Then, even though we may not be spending hours in formal sitting meditation, our life will be meditation in action.

10. Judge Less: mini-mission and Why You Should Give Away 50% of Your Stuff from Be More With Less.

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

12. From Brave Girls Club,

Dear Gorgeous Girl,

Chances are, you are needing some rest right now…after all, being brave is hard and exhausting work.

Would it be so bad it you took a little break and let yourself recharge? Of course it wouldn’t be a bad thing….to the contrary, it would be a VERY GOOD thing for you to do, especially if you can’t even remember the last time you let yourself rest for a little while.

Choose a good, uplifting book and let yourself read it without interruption, take a hot bath….get under the covers for an afternoon nap. You’ve got to recharge or you will burn out…it’s just a fact of life. This doesn’t mean you are weak, it means you are human…and little breaks here and there are an essential part of a productive life.

Enjoy some time to yourself…you deserve it. You are loved. xoxo

13. Jamie King on The Conversation: Listen to Your Intuition.

14. “What you teach is what you are. You don’t teach by telling people things.” ~Milton Glaser

15. “Does one really have to fret about enlightenment? No matter what road I travel I’m going home.” ~Shinsho

16. This wisdom from Tara Brach’s Radical Acceptance,

New meditation students often mention the value of learning to focus and settle the mind, but they also name something more basic. As one person put it recently, “Just having those moments to be quiet is a gift to my soul.” It is a gift to the soul. Stepping out of the busyness, stopping our endless pursuit of getting somewhere else, is perhaps the most beautiful offering we can make to our spirit.

17. The Time You Have Left (in Jelly Beans) from ZeFrank

18. Like dollhouse rooms left abandoned, a poem from Lisa Bonchek Adams. *sob*

19. What If I Feel Like Giving Up On Self-Acceptance? from Anna Guest-Jelley on Curvy Yoga.

20. More new to me music, Royals from Lorde, shared by my friend Aaryn. Also new to me, what I’ve been listening to for the past few days, the band Daughter, specifically the Daughter radio station on Last.fm.

21. An interesting perspective from Notes from the Universe, “Anger is almost always a sign, Jill, that you’ve been quiet for too long.”

22. “Too sexy for the Internet?” 3 questions to help you decide which stories & shots to reveal — and which to keep sealed in a vault! from Alexandra Franzen. I think these questions work when you are considering anything you put on the internet, sexy or not.

23. Thinking about money from Seth Godin.

24. Wisdom from Tiny Buddha: After Tragedy: 3 Reasons And 21 Ways To Bring Joy Back into Your Life and Why We Need to Create Our Own “Normal”

25. Thoughts to contemplate from Raam Dev:

Live as though your life can make a difference, because it does. What difference it makes though is entirely up to you.

and

You have no idea what you’re capable of until you’ve done it, or until you’ve truly failed trying to do it. If unsure, fail again.

26. This wisdom from J.K. Rowling, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all — in which case, you fail by default.”

27. From Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list: 30 Important Websites For Highly Sensitive People, Master of Pen and Ink: The Monumental Drawings of Manabu Ikeda, and this wisdom from Arianna Huffington,

“I was lucky in that I had a mother that was full of this colloquial wisdom and she used to say to me ‘You know, failure is not the opposite of success, it’s the stepping stone to success. There is nobody who has not failed along the way.’ So I think its very important for young women, especially as they are starting in life, to recognize that because otherwise, they only see people’s success. So, when I speak, I speak of my failures.”

28. From Positively Present PicksCalm.com, 50 Life Hacks Your Future Self Will Thank You For, Major Radical Self Love Bible Inspiration! (what a great idea! and am realizing I already started making one of these, just didn’t know what it was called), Skillshare, and a reminder of this site, Tattly.

29. Pissed Off And Purposeful: Why Radical Self Love Incurred My Wrath This Morning from Gala Darling, (can’t wait to see her interview on Good Life Project).

30. A process for How to Never do Anything You Don’t Want to do Ever Again from Sas Petherick, in her July Love Note, (you really should sign up for her newsletter).

31. Defining Self-Care from Pittsburg PhD, one of my favorite people.