Tag Archives: Simply Celebrate

Something Good

1. Wisdom from Tulku Thondup,

In order to help others, first we must make ourselves into a proper tool for serving others by improving our own qualities. If our mind is filled with negative emotions, whatever we do will be the expression of those emotions, and therefore, in whomever we reach we could cause ill effects. If we are equipped with loving-kindness, however, even our mere presence could bring authentic peace and joy to those around us. So we must improve our own mental state first, through meditation training.

2. Tiny Humans Lost In The Majesty Of Nature on Bored Panda.

3. Should women shave their legs and under-arms? from The Guardian.

4. A Man With Alzheimer’s Drew Himself For 5 Years. These Photos Are Heartbreaking. on Viral Nova.

5. You Don’t Have a Purpose (Yoinks! I said it.) from Create as Folk.

6. This beautiful poem by Mary Oliver, Mindful, (thanks to Erica Staab for sharing it and reminding me).

Every day I see or hear something that more or less
kills me with delight, that leaves me like a needle
in the haystack of light. It was what I was born for – to look, to listen,
to lose myself inside this soft world – to instruct myself over and over
in joy, and acclamation. Nor am I talking about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful, the very extravagant – but of the ordinary, the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations. Oh, good scholar, I say to myself, how can you help
but grow wise with such teachings as these – the untrimmable light
of the world, the ocean’s shine, the prayers that are made out of grass?

7. Bearing witness to the journey on Visible and Real.

8. The unchangeable past from Judy Clement Wall.

9. Note from the Universe,

See, Jill? I told you everything was lining up for you; that the right people were headed your way; that the right things would be said; that you’d become a total love magnet; and that very little of this would be apparent as it was unfolding, yet in hindsight you’d see the stunning perfection. It’s just that right now, you’re mostly in the unfolding part.

10. Transforming Difficulty into Joy from Zen Psychiatry, in which Elana says, “We suffer not because there is no joy in our life; we suffer because there is joy all around us that we fail to notice.”

11. I Don’t Want to Eat this Way on Be More With Less.

12. Good stuff on Medium: I’ve been blogging for 8 freaking years. Here’s what I learned as I went along. and Behind the Till.

13. Do you wish your food and exercise was “consistent?” from Isabel Foxen Duke.

14. Motivation and bravery from Hannah Marcotti, who was able to clarify something for me in this post that I have been struggling with. Also from Hannah,
A woman’s thirst. {A 40 day *free* adventure}.

15. Little Book on Simply Celebrate.

16. Grandpa Just Lost His Dog And His Wife Of 63 Years. How His Family Surprised Him Made Me Cry. Me too. meeeee toooooo.

17. Good stuff from Anne Lamott on Facebook.

18. Don’t mind me, I’m just lost (in the existential sense, thanks) on Renegade Mothering.

19. Here’s What Happens When Your Joke Goes Massively Viral On Twitter, a really interesting article on Business Insider.

20. Wisdom from Dallas Clayton

Much as I love to soul search, there are moments when you realize that perhaps today you are further complicating life by relentlessly seeking elusive answers to profound questions. Perhaps today is a day where you take what you already know to be true and apply it. Simple things we’ve had figured out for decades like the value of exercise, of dipping your feet in the nearest body of water, or having a good laugh with a few close friends. Fruits and vegetables are obvious in that way. Not too complicated, nothing really to fuss over, but simple, delicious, and just as good for you as they’ve ever been.

21. Are You the Judging, Comparing, or Fixing Type? on Dharma Wisdom.

22. An important reminder from Brave Girls Club,

You are doing so many good things. You are going so many wonderful directions. You are spreading so much goodness and kindness and wild-happy energy. You are making goals and dreaming dreams and trying to do even better than you did yesterday. You are thinking about people you love and how you can serve them, you are a loyal friend and family member. You are making an enormous difference in the lives of all who know you, and in so many lives you don’t even know about too.

It’s time to give yourself a break…time to stop and thank your body and your soul for everything it does to keep you going. This would be a great weekend to do just that…give yourself a break. Pat yourself on the back and take a nap and a hot bath…even eat some chocolate! 🙂 Sure, there are still lots of things for you to work on…and you will get to that. You are doing great, and sometimes you just have to stop and let yourself breathe…evaluate…rest…recharge…restore. Take good care of yourself, fabulous friend…we need all of the fabulousness of you! You are loved, loved, loved.

23. Everything is Wonderful. Everything is Terrible. on Wit & Delight, shared by Susannah on her Something for the Weekend list. My favorite part is the paragraph near the end,

Some days, everything is wonderful. Some days, everything is terrible. It’s par for the course, even for those free of mental afflictions. Being human means riding these waves. If you have one or two bad days a week, you’re doing great. If you have one melt-down every few years, you’re doing spectacular. If you are having the worst year of your life, hold on to hope, because it does get better.

24. Hello Wonderful, “a deliciously free series of email love notes meant to usher us sweetly into the new season” from Mara Glatzel.

25. An artist compiled all her rejections in an ‘anti-resume.’ Here’s what can be learned from failure, (shared by Alison Luterman), which says,

So the anti-resumé remains my deceptively simple answer to the question, ‘How do you do it?’: that I persisted during all those years of rejection for no other reason than that I loved writing so much I wanted to spend all my time doing it. Writing must be its own reward, even for the most talented and hardworking writers, or they’re going to have a tough time.

26. Today I Will Do Nothing, (shared by Sandi Amorim).

27. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook.

28. I am Andrea Gibson, a queer touring poet with extreme stage fright. AMA! on Reddit. One of my favorite poets. Here’s a video of one of my favorite poems by Andrea, “A letter to my dog, exploring the human condition.”

Something Good

1. Why You Need to Stop Bragging About How Busy You Are from Fast Company.

2. The Not List from Rachel Cole. Rachel has a new Intuitive Eating Guided Reading Group starting in mid-May.

3. From Seth Godin: “How do I get rid of the fear?” and The bottomless pit of pleasing strangers and They’re your words, choose them.

4. Show Your Work! – SXSW Interactive 2014, a talk by Austin Kleon.

5. Here Are The 31 Best Incidents Of Irony Ever Photographed. #9 Must Be Some Kind Of Cruel Joke. from Viral Nova.

6. Jeff Oaks is on a break from teaching, so he’s writing all kinds of good stuff. For example, Writing/Dreams and April: some notes.

7. 10 Ways to Own Less from Be More With Less.

8. A Magical Miniature World Of Snails By Vyacheslav Mishchenko on Bored Panda.

9. Kids From All Around The World Show Off Their Favorite Toys In Disarming Photo Series on Huffington Post.

10. Open Letter to Dr. Oz from be nourished.

10. Mabel Magazine, “is a print magazine that is here to tell real stories about making a living and creating a life.” I have a piece in the first issue, the theme of which is “beginnings.” I think Mabel’s going to be a good thing.

11. 27 Hysterical Haircuts. #6 Made Me Cringe. on the San Francisco Globe. We all do such silly things sometimes.

12. 10 Ways to Do What You Don’t Want to Do on Zen Habits.

13. Heartwarming Thai Commercial – Thai Good Stories By Linaloved. Of everything on this list, this just might be the very best.

14. How a Rescue Dog from Taiwan and Baby Boy from LA became Best Friends on Twisted Sifter.

15. The Worst Thing That Can Happen Rarely Does from Chris Guillebeau.

16. Shared on the Chookooloonks This Was a Good Week list: Artist Rachel Sussman Photographs the Oldest Living Things in the World before They Vanish and the teeniest, tiniest.

17. A sweet Easter poem from James Broughton, “Easter Exultet.”

Shake out your qualms.
Shake up your dreams.
Deepen your roots.
Extend your branches.
Trust deep water
and head for the open,
even if your vision
shipwrecks you.
Quit your addiction
to sneer and complain.
Open a lookout.
Dance on a brink.
Run with your wildfire.
You are closer to glory
leaping an abyss
than upholstering a rut.
Not dawdling.
Not doubting.
Intrepid all the way
Walk toward clarity.
At every crossroad
Be prepared
to bump into wonder.
Only love prevails.
En route to disaster
insist on canticles.
Lift your ineffable
out of the mundane.
Nothing perishes;
nothing survives;
everything transforms!
Honeymoon with Big Joy!

18. being enough from Pia Jane Bijkerk.

19. Opening the Creative Channel with Andrea Scher and Laurie Wagner on Simply Celebrate.

20. Truthbombs from Danielle LaPorte: “Put down your shield and stand in the rain of blessings,” and “You will always be too much of something for someone. Be yourself anyway.”

21. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön,

Many of our escapes are involuntary: addiction and dissociating from painful feelings are two examples. Anyone who has worked with a strong addiction—compulsive eating, compulsive sex, abuse of substances, explosive anger, or any other behavior that’s out of control—knows that when the urge comes on it’s irresistible. The seduction is too strong. So we train again and again in less highly charged situations in which the urge is present but not so overwhelming. By training with everyday irritations, we develop the knack of refraining when the going gets rough. It takes patience and an understanding of how we’re hurting ourselves not to continue taking the same old escape route of speaking or acting out.

22. Wisdom from Mara Glatzel, a practice,

Take a moment to sit comfortably. Plant your feet on the floor. Settle into your breath, slowly and intentionally.

Feel into your body as you run your mind over the content of your day – your schedule, your obligations, your desire for self-care.

Where are you craving for permission?

Let any answer that comes guide you into your day.

Let it be simple, but follow through.

Know that every time you pause, take stock, and move forward with your own spirit, heart, and need in mind, you are working to feel a little more at home in your life.

23. Watching these two old women fly for the first time is pure gold on Sploid.

24. Wisdom from A Conversation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Parabola, in which he says,

…if you utilize obstacles properly, then it strengthens your courage, and it also gives you more intelligence, more wisdom. Because there is obstacle, you make attempt; so have to think, have to try something. Have to try certain way; so this gives strength and also wisdom and intelligence. If you use them in wrong way, then discourage, failure, depression.

25. The Metric of More from Paul Jarvis.

Self-Compassion Saturday: Sherry Richert Belul

I first met Sherry Richert Belul in an online writing class, Telling True Stories with Laurie Wagner. In her profile picture, she was wearing a bright orange hat and feather boa, and the pieces that she wrote for class were sharp and sweet, beautiful and heartbreaking and true. After class was over, I kept bumping into her around the web, always loving our interactions. She is the brightest light, this one.

orangesherryAt some point, we became real friends. Sherry is the very best sort of friend, kind and generous, openhearted and full of joy. One of my favorite things she does for me is send me ninja poems where she records a short message using her phone, reads me a poem and says sweet things, and then she emails me the sound file. There is almost nothing better than a voice mail ninja poem love bomb from Sherry.

She even made it onto my vision board for 2013, in the most magical happy accident. I was selecting pictures, and cut out one from Taproot that I didn’t realize was her, was just a woman at a bright blue typewriter wearing a snazzy hat, an image illustrating an article about one of my favorite poets Maya Stein, a picture about which I said, “that hat looks suspiciously like one owned and worn by my good friend Sherry Richert Belul. If it’s not you, Sherry, please don’t tell me. The thought that it might be her/you, that she/you might represent the friendship and support of a collective of kindreds, of like-minded artists and warriors, of all those in my tribe, including all my kind and gentle readers, gives me so much joy.” She later commented and said “but it is me!” and I knew that I would somehow get to meet her in person this year, which I did — twice!

Sherry Richert Belul is an ordinary gal seeking poetry, color, spontaneity, and connection in everyday life. She and her company, Simply Celebrate, offer unique experiences through products, services, stories, adventures, and a community that helps people wake up to all the joy, spontaneity, color, and connection that is available in every moment. Her mission is to “Turn ordinary days into an extraordinary life!” and through her work, she “offers products and practices that help people celebrate ourselves, the people we love, and the shape of our lives — even when none of it looks the way we had imagined.” Her practice is celebrating the ordinary, unwanted, and unexpected. (And everything else that comes along). “Joy is a practice. What can you celebrate in this small moment of your extraordinary life?” I am so happy to share her perspective on self-compassion with you today.

1. What does self-compassion mean, what is it? How would you describe or define it?

Self-compassion is that way we whisper, “Oh honey” to ourselves while we wrap Grandma’s frayed purple quilt a little tighter around our scared body. It’s the way we quickly take it back when we mistakenly say “you idiot” to ourselves. It’s what inspires us to ask for a re-do and murmur, “That’s okay; anyone could have made the same mistake.” Self-compassion is having the spinach-pineapple-mango smoothie instead of the cinnamon roll ‘cuz we know what really nourishes. It’s saying no even when our best friend pleads, because we are over-booked and over-committed and over the idea of thinking we need to sacrifice ourselves for someone else. It’s saying yes to the lime green nail polish, to that crazy notion, to his kiss, to the giddy risk. Self-compassion is the way we look in the mirror and wish the wrinkles weren’t there, but change our focus to how damned sparkly our eyes are. Self-compassion is having the patience to listen, listen, listen to that all-knowing Self deep inside of us — because there are no rules, pat answers, should-be’s, or this-is-how-it-is’s; there is just this moment, this is what’s calling to me. There is this collection of me’s inside of me, and the desire to help all of them feel safe and warm and vital. Self-compassion is that feeling of “I’m here with you, no matter what.” It’s letting ourselves love the rose and gold fingerless gloves, the smell of cotton yoga blankets, the sound of our son’s silly songs, and our own plump toes. Self-compassion is drawing the circle around us bigger and bigger and bigger, to accept it all: all the glitter, all the dance, all the mud, and all the mess.

santa-cruz-bike2. How did you learn self-compassion? Did you have a teacher, a guide, a path, a resource, a book, a moment of clarity or specific experience?

I learned self-compassion from my cat Tiger, who used to try to jump to the high shelf and sometimes missed. She’d look at me, give a little sniff, wash her face, and walk away, tail held high. Next day, she’d try that jump again. Best I can tell, she didn’t beat up on herself for the fall. And she just kept attempting to go where her instinct told her to go.

I leaned self-compassion from my Grandmother, who had none. She’d shop for size 18 brown or gray shapeless dresses, all the while berating herself and her body. I always wished she’d buy herself something flowered, silky, or sexy.

I learned self-compassion from guy sitting outside his little house at college. While everyone else was boozing it up at frat parties, he had dragged a comfy armchair outside in the warm spring air and was reading “The Tao of Pooh.” He was all alone, but seemed to be about the happiest person I’d ever met.

I learned self-compassion from every honest soul I’ve ever met. From the seventy-year-old woman who wouldn’t let herself have even the smallest slice of cake for fear she’d get fat. From the sixth-grade girl who slumped her shoulders in sorrow. From the middle-aged professor in Indiana who set off in a brand new direction, despite his age and great fear. All the people who abandon themselves and don’t abandon themselves are my great teachers.

For the past 20 years I’ve been soaking up self-compassion tools and tricks from my spiritual teacher, Cheri Huber. Cheri starts with “There’s Nothing Wrong with You” and takes us on a journey to discovering absolutely everything that is right with us, which happens to be everything we are.

sherrysunflower3. How do you practice self-compassion, what does that experience look like for you?

Like many of you, some of the go-to practices I use include yoga, meditation, dance, hot baths, hot sex, and hot tea. But here are a few favorite practices that aren’t so obvious:

Recording and listening: This is a practice I learned from Cheri Huber. Basically, you know how Squawky Polly is always yammering in your head about what you could’ve done better or how you should be or “what’s da matter with you?” Well, recording/listening (R/L) is the antidote to that. R/L is turning on a recorder and saying all the things we wish our best friend/lover/mother would have said to us. It’s our own voice using the words we know we love offering us the compassion and wisdom that exists always, always, always within us when we quiet enough to hear it. Because it is such an awesome tool, I’m hoping Jill might let me share a link to Cheri’s book, which outlines this practice.

Sending notes to strangers: It sounds counter-intuitive, but one of the biggest and fastest ways to offer myself compassion is to write a note to a stranger. I’ve launched several small projects in which I’ve asked folks to tell me if there are people in their lives who are going through a hard time and need a little kindness. I swear to you, as soon as I pick up the pen to write to these folks, I’m writing to myself. Yep, it is that crazy cosmic thing that happens when I just feel utterly connected energetically. So I am writing to someone’s mom who is depressed and hopeless because she broke her hip again. And while I am writing to her, I am absorbing all that love and compassion into my own bones. I feel it. Can’t explain it, but I know it.

Wearing clothes that make me feel like the me who wants out. Some folks might thing that clothing is kinda silly and shallow. But for me, it is a straight shot to self-compassion. There’s a part of me who wants to be alive and expressive in a certain way. Offering her the chance to wear artful clothes is like opening a portal to possibility and joy. It’s like one of my all-time favorite poems by Kaylin Haught, full of “yes, yes, yes.” For you it may not be clothing, but maybe it is the art on your walls or the music you listen to or your flower garden. It’s that invitation.

Allowing poetry to sooth and thrill. Speaking of poems (“yes, yes, yes”), learning poems by heart and living with poetry in my life are like insta-compassion. Poetry links my crazy bouncing ball of a spirit to all the other humans out there who are experiencing bliss or grief or confusion or depression. One poem I’ve learned by heart to say to myself whenever I am lost and sad is this Hafiz poem.

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4. What do you still need to learn, to know, to understand? What is missing from your practice of self-compassion, what do you still struggle with?

For me, the answer to this question is buried within the question itself! In my own life, a lack of self-compassion often comes in the form of looking for what’s missing or what’s wrong.  It slips in like this, “You need to earn more money. You need to lose a few pounds. You need to be more generous.” So at the risk of being confoundedly meta — I’d have to say that what I most need to learn and practice, moment by moment by moment is turning my attention away from any question of “what’s missing” and replace it with a focus on “what is.”  The recording and listening practice I mentioned above is one of the best ways to do this: simply underscoring all the things I’m grateful for about myself and all the things I love about my life can usher in profound feelings of compassion.

This journey of self-compassion is most definitely a lifelong adventure. I feel INCREDIBLY lucky to be able to explore this with you, Jill, and with all these other amazing women writers, teachers, and artists.

P.S. Here’s a little story about self-compassion and this piece of writing. Ole Squawky Polly mind wants to tell me that this isn’t good enough. That I missed the mark. It wants me to feel bad about something. But what I know is that I tried my best to be present and to write what wanted to be written. I showed up, let life live through me, and now it is done. Self-compassion is turning away from that squawk-squawk and simply seeing what the next moment holds, which is … lunch. No reviews, no regrets, no what-ifs. Ahhhh.

srbhwyI am so grateful to Sherry, for so so many things. Her simply being in the world, truly unedited Sherry, gives me such comfort, so much joy. To find out more about Sherry, to connect with her:

Next on Self-Compassion Saturday: Me. Yup, you heard that right — it’s my turn.

P.S. If you didn’t see the first post in this series, you might want to read Self-Compassion Saturday: The Beginning. Or make your way through all the posts tagged Self-Compassion Saturday.

Something Good

1. Fall session of ZenPen, “Body-Based Writing for Healing, Transformation, and Personal Growth” from my dear friend Courtney Putnam starts September 30th.

2. Finding Freedom and Writing Memoirs with Meg Worden, an interview on BlogCast FM.

3. Funny stuff from Elephant Journal, Sorry about all the poop: The 10 Commandments of Your Dog and Conan O’Brien and Louis CK “Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy.” And not so much funny as true, The Truth About Hitting Bottom.

4. An excerpt from The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert’s new novel.

5. A Bunch Of Young Geniuses Just Made A Corrupt Corporation Freak Out Big Time. Time For Round Two. on Upworthy. Boulder certainly is one of my favorite things about Colorado, for reasons just like this.

6. 36 Surreal Instagram Images From Burning Man. I’m not hip enough to attend, and besides it would be too hot and there would be too many people for me, but I’m so glad that something like it exists.

7. Are You a Highly Sensitive Person? on Tiny Buddha, (and, the answer is “uh, yes!”). Also from Tiny Buddha, 10 Journaling Tips to Help You Heal, Grow and Thrive.

8. Honor the Signs Your Future Self is Sending You and Finding Your Creative Flow: 17 Writer’s Tricks to Get Un-stuck and Start Creating on Scoutie Girl.

9. A few thoughts & actions that will help you open up more and Money: A Love Story. Kate Northrup & I talk debt, cash, freedom. from Danielle LaPorte.

10. This post from 3x3x365, in which Patti Digh describes the very best reason to marry someone.

11. Brene’ Brown interview, Vulnerability and Shame, on How She Really Does It with Koren Motekaitis.

12. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön, in her book Comfortable with Uncertainty,

Compassion practice is daring. It involves learning to relax and allowing ourselves to move gently toward what scares us. The trick to doing this is to stay with emotional distress without tightening into aversion; to let fear soften us rather than harden into resistance. We cultivate bravery through making aspirations. We make the wish that all beings, including ourselves and those we dislike, be free of suffering and the root of suffering.

13. Wisdom from Thich Nhat Hanh, “For things to reveal themselves to us, we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.”

14. Wisdom from Atticus Finch,

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyways and you see through it no matter what.

15. Truth from Gloria Steinem, “Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.”

16. Wisdom from Tara Brach,

When we identify with a small self, we are perceiving ourselves as a cluster of ocean waves, not recognizing that we are made of ocean. When we realize our true self is ocean, the familiar pattern of waves—our fears and defensiveness, our wants and busyness—remains a part of us, but it does not define us.

17. Wisdom from Tama J. Kieves,

When you’re in transition, you walk in two worlds. You walk in the world in front of you, which may seem stark or burdened. Yet you also walk in the world you carry in your heart. You know you are blossoming & the fruit trees hang heavy, the sun shines, & the clients call, & money is not an issue. The life you are feeding is the life that becomes true.

18. 10 Paradoxical Traits Of Creative People from Fast Company.

19. 10Q, a really fun thing that Rachel Cole shared last week,

Answer one question per day in your own secret online 10Q space. Make your answers serious. Silly. Salacious. However you like. It’s your 10Q. When you’re finished, hit the magic button and your answers get sent to the secure online 10Q vault for safekeeping. One year later, the vault will open and your answers will land back in your email inbox for private reflection.

20. The Magic of Impermanence from Lisa Congdon.

21. Stop Chasing Success. Seek Significance. from Becoming Minimalist.

22. Interview with Jen Smith of LivingLegendary.org from Lisa Bonchek Adams.

23. Wisdom from Elizabeth Gilbert on Facebook, and even more wisdom from Elizabeth.

24. 10 tips for a mindful home from Karen Maezen Miller.

25. Staying Awake from Jeff Oaks.

26. I Found A Blind Baby Sparrow Below My Balcony After A Storm from Bored Panda.

27. {this moment}, a beautiful end of summer image on SouleMama.

28. 8 Good Morning Questions that Create Happiness on Marc and Angel Hack Life.

29. What this internet addict learnt from three weeks offline from Satya on Writing Our Way Home.

30. Truthbomb from Danielle LaPorte, “It takes as long as it takes.”

31. My friend Sherry sent me this last week, a poem from Hafiz,

How did the rose ever open its heart and give to this world all its beauty? It felt the encouragement of light against its being, otherwise, we will remain too frightened.

32. Wisdom from Geneen Roth’s latest newsletter,

…binge eating is not defined by the amount of food you eat but by the way you eat it. Two cookies can be a binge if you eat them with urgency, desperation, and the pressing need for an altered state. Food is a drug of choice, and when you binge, you are using your preferred substance to deny, swallow, or escape your feelings.

33. Whatever Happens Next, a beautiful and heartbreaking story of saying good-bye on Huffington Post from Judy Clement Wall.

34. I want to talk about Body Positivity, OK? from Mary Lambert.

35. Here Come the Good Movies: A dozen films opening before Thanksgiving are more than worth your time and money on Purple Clover.

36. Stop beating yourself up…It’s a WASTE of time! from Kute Blackson. I already shared this yesterday, but I really want to make sure you don’t miss it.

37. The Value of Suffering, an opinion piece by Pico Iyer on The New York Times, also something I already shared, but want to make sure you see it.

38. Shared in this week’s Positively Present Picks list: Custom Pet Stamp on Ebay and Do You Suffer from the “Easy to Buy, Hard to Use” Phenomenon? on Happiness Project.

39. From Susannah Conway’s Something for the Weekend list: It’s OK Not To Want It All from Amy Palko, Amelia the Airstream, a Vacation Home on Wheels on Design Sponge, and A poem a day from Austin Kleon. Bonus: Susannah shared two of my links!

40. Speaking of Susannah, How I Do It: An Interview with Susannah Conway (+ a Giveaway!) on In Spaces Between.

41. Wisdom from Kute Blackson, “Every feeling is a signal, which if you pay attention to will point you in the direction of something that you actually need to deal with, a part of you that needs loving compassion or needs to be released.”

42. 55 Quick Tips to Start Your Self-Care Practice from Anne-Sophie.

Something Good (Part One)

1. Todd McLellan’s ‘Things Come Apart’ Showcases Beautiful Photos Of Disassembled Technology on Huffington Post. So cool.

2. Worst Client Comments Turned Into Posters on Bored Panda.

3. Rest in Peace, Clifford, a beautiful meditation on death and the loss of furry ones by Elizabeth Gilbert.

I had to say goodbye this weekend to my dear cat Clifford — the king of all cats, heart of my heart, coolest of the cool, best of the best, friend to the whole world — who had finally, after a life that was both deeply noble and entirely absurd, reached his end.

We haz sad.

Clifford came to us nearly six years ago from the animal shelter, by way of a supermarket parking lot, where he had been found wandering hungry. He has certainly never been hungry since, as you can see by his comfortable girth in this photo. We never had the first idea how old he was, or anything about his backstory. I only know that chose him above all others at the shelter because of his giant Falstaffian belly, because of his slightly drunken-looking face (not a day has passed that I don’t laugh whenever I lay eyes on him), because of his purr (the loudest I have ever heard), but mostly because the way he fitted himself deeply into my arms the moment I picked him up. Saturday night, I held him in my arms again while he floated off peacefully.

While it was clearly Clifford’s time to go (as I joked in tears to a friend, “What kind of unfair God would pluck a geriatric, diabetic, toothless animal with arthritic legs and increasing incontinence right from the prime of his life?”) it is still heartbreaking. We love our furry-headed friends in a way that is different, more inexplicable, and more tender than other kinds of love, and when they go, it makes us ache to our core.

But here is what I keep thinking. I met a monk once in India who told me that one of the karmic roles of our beloved pets (“part of their service,” he said) is to come into our lives as teachers. They are sent here not only to teach us how to love, but also to teach us how to die — because they do it so well, and so uncomplainingly. We need these lessons, you see, because we are so famously bad at death, we humans. We are so afraid of it, so angry at it, so resistant to it. But our furry-heads, they see death differently. And as they slip away from us, they try to show us, “Watch me do this: It’s really not that difficult. You just have to let go…”

Thank you, Clifford. You did great. I watched carefully. I tried to learn. I will always love you. There will never be another like you.

3. Sara Bareilles’s new video for her latest song, Brave.

4. Food is Gross, and this blog is funny.

5. What I Ate Wednesday: Intuition on Back to Her Roots.

6. Two photo apps that I really want, but will only work on my ipod: A Beautiful Mess and Over.

7. Anne Lamott on writing,

I get to start a new section of something I’m working on, which means, all the bad voices will be sitting on my bed when I wake up; and they will have already had coffee. But I will drown them out by getting to work. They will talk more loudly: “You’re beating a dead horse. The well has run dry. It’s all over for England.” But I’ll push back my sleeves and plunge in. Things will go badly, and I’ll make lots of mistakes, but I’ll also make some progress on getting a shitty first draft down on paper–and at that point, I will be halfway home.

8. Thoughts on Creative Joy and a Lightbulb Moment by Tracey Clark.

9. Shy Dog Studio. I saw this painting at the emergency vets last week when we were there for Dexter’s physical therapy appointment. I love it. It reminds me of Sam, but I loved it even more when I found out that Nicole, one of our favorite staff members, is the painter.

shydogstudio

10. Sacred Love: 12 Things at the Bottom of Everything from Rachel Maddox.

11. Are you Tired of Life? Encouragement for the Overworked, Stressed and Exhausted from The Freedom Experiment.

12. soundtrack to your life | anna guest-jelley from Sas Petherick. I adore Anna Guest-Jelley (and Sas, of course) and especially love this part of the interview, “How do you take care of your body? By listening to what it actually wants, rather than telling it what it should have/do/be.” Amen.

13. I Have An Eating Disorder And No One In My Life Knows by Kristen Forbes on Role/Reboot.

14. Girl Talk: I Don’t Know What I Weigh — The Case for Stepping Off the Scale by Claire Mysko on The Frisky, in which she says,

The choices you make about what you eat, how much you exercise, how proactive you are about attending to your physical and emotional well-being — those are the choices that impact your health. The number on the scale might change as you make healthier or less healthy choices. But you know what? It might not. A woman who binge eats will be healthier if she starts seeing a good therapist who can help her curb the disordered eating behavior and address the underlying issues that fuel it. Whether or not that results in weight loss isn’t the point. If I suddenly start eating more crap takeout food and start taking cabs everywhere, I will definitely have less cash. I will probably have less energy. It might affect my blood pressure and my cholesterol. Will I gain weight? Maybe. Again, not the point. I gained and lost weight through years of disordered eating (and believe me, I tracked the number by the minute in those days). I was in a “healthy” weight range when I was a raging bulimic. Bingeing and purging? It ain’t healthy. The reality is that weight is not a reliable or holistic indicator of a person’s health.

15. Zach Sobiech died today. I knew it’s how his story would end (how all our stories will end) but that doesn’t mean my heart didn’t break a little anyway. While he was here, he lived.

16. Why I Don’t Diet – An Ode to My Father.

17. 59 Reasons We’re Going To Miss “The Office” on Buzzfeed.

18. On being uprooted. Or, finding home. from Sherry at Simply Celebrate.

19. Serving Sizes.

20. Milla Jovovich on The Conversation.

Uh-oh! I got so excited that I pushed publish before I was done making my list. Part two is on its way.

Gratitude Friday

gnomedoor

gnome door at lee martinez park, where I walk with the dogs

1. Last week of classes at Colorado State University. I am not lying when I say that I had an awesome class, a great group of students this semester, funny and smart and creative, but there comes a moment when you are done, you are ready for it to be over, and I think that moment was two weeks ago…

2. Sherry Richert Belul, founder of Simply Celebrate. The compassion and generosity she has shown me has left me gobsmacked so many times. We haven’t yet been lucky enough to meet in person, and still she continues to extend such kindness to me. Her personal audio notes and her laugh are some of the best things ever. I am humbled by and grateful for her presence in my life, and a little unsure of how to really thank her.

3. Homemade cookies. 

4. Snow in the forecast. Not sure if it will actually happen, but I’m ready for it, and we could use it (it’s so dry). It makes everything so cozy, and will make it seem more real that Christmas is not that far away.

5. My iPod. I have really been enjoying it lately, appreciating being able to trick myself into turning off the “big computer” in the evening because I could always check my email or facebook on my iPod if I really needed to, playing silly games, apps, Instagram, being able to listen to a podcast while I put away laundry.

Bonus Joy: Yet another week with my sweet Dexter.

dexter

Day of Rest

At one point in Elizabeth Lesser’s book Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, (gifted to me by the most generous and open-hearted Sherry Richert Belul), she describes rest this way:

when you put down the burden of striving and a sense of well-being spreads like honey into every corner of your consciousness…no where else to go, nothing to do, no one to be–just now, just this precious day

Kind and gentle reader, may we all find this honey flavored rest today. May we let go and sink into it, surrender to it, this precious day.