Tag Archives: SARK

Something Good

Bench at Greyrock, but Eric Salahub

Bench at Greyrock, by Eric Salahub

1. The Sunday Rumpus Essay: Grief Magic by Emily Rapp.

2. How To Thrive At Work (Even If You Can’t Stand Your Job) on MindBodyGreen.

3. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook, Is Your Gut Instinct Your God Instinct?

4. Celebrating Little Steps on Becoming Minimalist.

5. Always Go to the Funeral, a This I Believe essay on NPR. I learned this the hard way.

6. First Listen: Neko Case, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight…, Neko Case’s new album on NPR.

Bench at Greyrock, by Eric Salahub

Bench at Greyrock, by Eric Salahub

7. On Recovering the Body, Monday Discipline: Rest and Mindful Friday: You’re Already Awesome.

8. For Apologists, a Confessional Phone Line Is Reborn on The New York Times.

9. Wisdom from Tama J. Kieves on Facebook,

The only thing in your way right now — is an idea. Let go of that one idea or story and the universe can rush in with a thousand new possibilities. Everything is waiting to support you. Let go of what you “think” is in the way and discover the way.

And,

Are you waiting for your one big chance? There is no one big chance. There are a thousand chances every day. In an inspired life, we keep loving, showing up, practicing our promises ourselves. We’re not looking for a ship to come in. We’re sailing daily.

10. The story I cannot edit from Lisa Bonchek Adams.

11. A Love Note to the “Hypersensitive,” “Too Nice,” & “Takers-of-It-Too-Personally” from Randi Buckley.

12. The Blessing Is Next to the Wound, Dani Shapiro on Positively Positive.


13. 23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert on Huffington Post. I’m pretty overtly an introvert, but I still liked this list.

14. Wisdom and other good stuff from Elephant Journal: 50 Reasons Why You Are Absolutely Beautiful, and Ashton Kutcher Reveals His Real Name & Inspires in Speech at Teen Choice Awards and Baby, I was Born to Blog (amen, Britt).

15. How Four Years Can (and Should) Transform You: Mark Edmundson’s Essays Ask, “Why Teach?” from The New York Times.

16. When you shouldn’t give up sugar on first ourselves, in which Karly Randolph Pitman says,

But if you feel that your desire for sugar is really a symbol of a deeper desire – a desire to let your deepest essence unfold in the world – don’t cut out the sugar. Instead, listen to your desire. Befriend, allow and listen to your longings for sugar. Sit with them. Let your tears fall and ask yourself: How is my longing for sugar my voice, and what is it trying to say? What I am truly needing?

Listen to this voice. There’s so much wisdom in it.

And then be willing to go out on that limb – trusting what you hear – and live it. Let your deepest self speak, and your essence, unfold.

How many times, how many ways has Rachel Cole tried to tell me this? How many times do I need to hear it, from how many, before I finally get it?

18. Charity:Water is at it again.

17. Of tiny pink dumbbells and fat chicks from Carrie Patrick.

18. Thin Women: I’ve Got Your Back. Could You Get Mine? on Jezebel, in which Lindy West says, “ALL of our energy, collectively, no matter what our size, should be directed at the system that makes us hate ourselves for profit.” Amen.

19. What Happens Here Matters, living on the internet like I live on my block from Brit Hanson.

20. How I revolutionized my relationship to “doing”: Meet The Divine Medicine Woman & The Impeccable Street Sweeper from Danielle LaPorte. I think I need to fire my street sweeper.

21. Wisdom from Seth Godin, “Do you have three minutes?” The conservation of mental bandwidth and 120 seconds (shipping vs. rushing)

22. Wisdom from Marc and Angel Hack Life, 7 Questions You Are Too Scared to Ask and 10 Ways Happy People Prioritize Their To-Do Lists and 9 Things You Will Regret Not Doing Sooner.

23. The Many Flavours of Freedom from Deva Coaching.

24. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

You can cruise through life not letting anything touch you, but if you really want to live fully, if you want to enter into life, enter into genuine relationships with other people, with animals, with the world situation, you’re definitely going to have the experience of feeling provoked, of getting hooked, of shenpa. You’re not just going to feel bliss. The message is that when those feelings emerge, this is not a failure. This is the chance to cultivate maitri, unconditional friendliness toward your perfect and imperfect self.

25. Creating Your Habit Environment on Zen Habits.

26. #Inbound13 and the Culture of Caring from Susan Piver.

27. Architecture Student Bought a School Bus and Turned It Into Cozy Mobile Home from Bored Panda.

28. 10 small things you could do today that just might change your life (or at least your state of mind) from Justine Musk.

29. Monday Blues on SF Girl by Bay.

30. The 30-Day Negativity Cleanse on Live After Tampons. I’m in. What about you?

32. Wisdom from Your Inner Pilot Light,

Not sure whether you’re making the right decision, sunshine? Ask yourself these questions. 1. Does it make you feel free? 2. Is it in line with your vision and mission? 3. Does it feel authentic? 4. Will it help more people than it hurts? 5. Does it make you break into a happy dance? 6. Will it light my fire?


32. 18 Everyday Products You’ve Been Using Wrong on BuzzFeed.

33. Wisdom from Sharon Salzberg, “Generosity is the very first quality of an awakened mind.”

34. Poem shared by Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook, There’s a Hole in my Sidewalk.

35. Motherhood: The Big, Fat Fuck You on Scary Mommy. I’m not a mom, but I totally get this.

36. The Days Before Classes Begin by Jeff Oaks.

37. A free video series by SARK. Don’t miss it! on Superhero Life.

38. From Brave Girls Club,

Keep looking for goodness, beauty and truth. It is worth the effort. While life is sometimes dull and gray and even downright miserable in patches, there is always even more beauty and truth than darkness and ugliness. May you find other beautiful souls who are seeking just like you are. If you cannot find what you are seeking today, may you go out and create it. You are more than capable and you will effect more lives that you could ever know . . . especially your own. Keep looking. It is there, and you will find it.

39. From Positively Present Picks list, The Psychology of Color.

40. More on the wisdom of grief, from Amy McCracken on 3x3x365.

41. Bright Flashes, from Danielle Ate the Sandwich, just because.

42. 7 Truths About Being A Yoga Teacher That No One Will Ever Tell You on MindBodyGreen.

43. Brené Brown On Why Courage, Vulnerability And Authenticity Have To Be Practiced on Huffington Post, in which she says, “The people who practice authenticity work their ass off at it.”

44. Modern Love: Picking Up the Scent on the Road to Bliss on The New York Times, in which Tatjana Soli says,

Necessity creates opportunity that can lead to bliss… In my life, dogs have always been a part of that equation, a way to find the small, grounding moments in life — the grass, sunlight and sweet bite of plums — that we commonly call happiness.

45. If I Were a Dog, a beautiful poem by Richard Shelton.

The Thing

I love hearing stories about artists who are just doing what they enjoy, not thinking about it in terms of it being a project or product, not planning it out or considering how marketable it might be or who the audience is–just having a good time, when they stumble upon “The Thing.” Some small, seemingly random and unimportant thing that ends up being the big thing, the thing that they are known for, paid for, maybe even famous for–The Thing.

image by Tim

For example, artist Hugh MacCleod. His story, in his own words, is:

art by hugh maccleod

When I first lived in Manhat­tan in Decem­ber, 1997 I got into the habit of dood­ling on the back of busi­ness cards, just to give me something to do while sit­ting at the bar. The for­mat stuck.

All I had when I first got to Manhat­tan were 2 suit­ca­ses, a cou­ple of card­board boxes full of stuff, a reser­va­tion at the YMCA, and a 10-day free­lance copyw­ri­ting gig at a Mid­town adver­ti­sing agency.

My life for the next cou­ple of weeks was going to work, wal­king around the city, and stag­ge­ring back to the YMCA once the bars clo­sed. Lots of alcohol and cof­fee shops. Lot of weird peo­ple. Being hit five times a day by this strange desire to laugh, sing and cry simul­ta­neously. At times like these, there’s a lot to be said for an art form that fits easily inside your coat poc­ket.

Now Hugh writes a wildly popular blog, has published two books, is commissioned for his art on a regular basis, gives talks at conferences, is the CEO of a wine company, and sells prints of his work for hundreds of dollars. He found his thing.

art by Hugh MacCleod

Then there is author Dallas Clayton.

Dallas Clayton is a person who wrote a book for his kid, and it ended up starting a revolution of sorts, certainly led to a career where he got to work doing what he loved. He says, in an interview with Brene’ Brown: “Do what makes you happy. Use that to make other people happy.” He’s a guy who wrote a book for his kid, and it ended up being his thing.

And Austin Kleon, “a writer who draws.” His story, in his own words:

I’m probably best known for my Newspaper Blackout Poems—poetry made by redacting words from newspaper articles with a permanent marker. I started making them in 2005 when I was right out of college and facing a nasty case of writer’s block. The poems spread around the internet, and in April 2010, Harper Perennial published a best-selling collection, Newspaper Blackout. New York Magazine called the book “brilliant‚” and The New Yorker said the poems “resurrect the newspaper when everyone else is declaring it dead.”

Currently, he’s writing a new book called Steal Like An Artist. His work has been featured on 20×200, NPR’s Morning Edition, PBS Newshour, and in The Wall Street Journal. He speaks about creativity, visual thinking, and being an artist online for organizations such as SXSW, TEDx, and The Economist. But he started by just doing what he did and sharing it, and “it” turned out to be his thing.

And there’s SARK. In a dark moment of her life, after a failed suicide attempt, she wrote a poem in her journal called “How to Be an Artist,” her statement that “we are all artists of life.” Her friend saw it and said “wow, that should be a poster,” so SARK tore it out of her journal and put it on her wall, saying “there, it’s a poster.” Her friend said, “no for the world!” and SARK replied, “I wouldn’t have any idea how to do that.” She found out, and four days later there were orders for hundreds, and she ended up making 11,000 by hand.

Now she writes books, makes art, gives talks and workshops. She found her thing.

And one final example, Patti Digh. She explains:

In October of 2003, my stepfather was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died 37 days later…The timeframe of 37 days made an impression on me…What emerged was a renewed commitment to ask myself this question every morning: “what would I be doing today if I only had 37 days to live?”

It’s a hard question some days.

But here’s how I answered it: Write like hell, leave as much of myself behind for my two daughters as I could, let them know me and see me as a real person, not just a mother, leave with them for safe-keeping my thoughts and memories, fears and dreams, the histories of what I am and who my people are. Leave behind my thoughts about living the life, that “one wild and precious life” that poet Mary Oliver speaks of.

During the launch party for her new website, Patti shared how she started. She said that at first, she was simply writing for her girls, making something for them, and then she started a blog, to give herself and the project some accountability. Not so people could tell her if what she wrote was good or bad, but so that if she didn’t post on Monday like she said she would, someone would say “where was it?” She wrote her blog for two years, and was contacted by a publishing company: “We’ve been reading your blog and we’d like to publish a book with you.”

That first book was “Life is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally,” and it’s filled with art created by her readers. She’s published six books and is at work on another, and still writes an award winning blog. Patti Digh “travels the world teaching others about mindfulness: to live fully, love well, let go deeply, and make a difference. Patti’s comments have appeared on PBS and in The New York Times, Fortune, the Wall Street Journal, the London Financial Times, and many other international publications.”

On the main page of her new website is this statement: “I’ve learned to say yes to life–and that’s why I write, why I speak, why I teach: to open space for others to say yes to their lives in a big, joyous, fantastic way. I want you to live fully, love well, let go deeply, and know that you matter. Together, let’s re-discover the extraordinary in everyday life, every day. No urgent striving, just amazing being. And room to breathe.” She found her thing.

Here’s what I think is so magical and important about these stories and others like them: to be an artist, to be fully awake and alive, you don’t have to wait for permission, you don’t need to have a great idea or a plan first, you can simply start. You don’t need to wait for something to happen, you can happen. Simply start, and don’t get too caught up in “what does this mean? where is this leading? who will want to buy it?” because that’s not what it’s about. It is about being present, showing up and allowing whatever is going to happen, being open to whatever arises, being alive and loving the process without having to know where it’s leading–and trust that eventually you will find your thing.

So often we get caught up in trying to come up with a marketable idea, with determining who the audience is and what they want and how we get them to buy our product, that we forget we are all open, raw hearts looking for something true. We all just want to be happy and free from suffering, and we need to be reminded that we are loved and alive and good.

art by hugh maccleod