Tag Archives: Zebra Sounds

Something Good

1. 40 Things To Say Before You Die, which I first read about on Judy Clement Wall’s blog Zebra Sounds. Everything I share on my something good list is here because it’s, well, something good, but this is one of the best. I seriously am going to write these out on index cards and start carrying them around with me, and when I don’t know what to say, I’m going to flip through them until I find the right one, or pick a random one and trust the magic.

2. Saying Goodbye to Bingo: A Life Lesson in Letting Go of Life.

3. A Woman of Wholeness from Jennifer Louden. I especially love the opening lines:

Somewhere there is a room
made of bee’s wax and heart honey
and the sound that is left after the meditation gong has gone still

In it sits the woman you actually are

4. This quote from Herman Hesse, so comforting and wise:

You know quite well, deep within you, that there is only a single magic, a single power, a single salvation, and a single happiness and that is called loving. Well, then, love your suffering. Do not resist it, do not flee from it … It is your aversion that hurts, nothing else.

5. This quote from Parker J. Palmer: “I will always have fear, but I need not be my fears, for I have other places in my inner landscape from which to speak and act.”

6. Transformation Talk with Erica Staab + book giveaway. If you’ve been reading these lists for long, you know how much I love blogger Erica Staab. This video was the first time I got to see her “in person,” to hear her wisdom, her story in her own voice. Loved it.

7. Vulnerability, Daring Greatly and Stretching by Erica Staab. Another reason to love her.

8. I’m in Here, Can Anybody See Me? by Amy Ippoliti on Elephant Journal. Simple, short, and so true.

9. I preordered a copy of Marisa Anne’s new book, Creative Thursday – Everyday Inspiration to Grow Your Creative Practice.

10. This poem, shared on Carry It Forward, and from the beginning of Pema Chödrön’s new book, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change, (which arrived in my mailbox this week–yay!).

Living is a form of not being sure,
not knowing what next or how.
The moment you know how
you begin to die a little.
The artist never entirely knows.
We guess.
We may be wrong,
but we take leap after leap
in the dark.
~ Agnes de Mille ~

11. You’re going to hurt someone by Danielle LaPorte.

12. 10 Sheds/Cabins- Would You Live In These? on Relax Shacks. I might not live in them, but I sure want to play in them.

13. This, from my Inner Pilot Light (by way of the Daily Flame), made me cry.

You can’t see it now, but just around the corner of what’s hurting you now is what will arise to meet you and help you make room for what is next. In order to enjoy the blessing of this precious gift, you must endure the hurt you feel right now. Please, my dear, trust the journey. Wait ’til you see what I see in your future…

14. This quote, from John Irving: If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.

15. You Have Permission (Right NOW!) from Leonie, complete with a free podcast reading.

16. From The Jump, a poem by Maya Stein on bentlily.

The language for courage is so stripped of words, a lump
of a secret only the heart knows the translation to. And yet, unsure
as we are, we recognize the call from down below, and find the edge and leap
even when we don’t. Once we wake up, we can never fall asleep.

17. Who Gave You Permission? a poem by Marianne Elliott, also on bentlily.

An Open Love Letter to Judy Clement Wall

This is my adorable and amazing friend Judy Clement Wall. I have never met her in person, face-to-face, but I get to enjoy her writing, her art, her big heart, loving and kind, from a not so far afar. In both moments of celebration and grief, Judy has offered her encouragement, inspiration, and support. I am so lucky, so grateful.

I can’t remember how I first encountered Judy’s work, but I do know the first community project I took part in was her collaborative project with Julia Fehrenbacher, 41 6-word Days. I don’t know anymore which of their blogs I encountered first, but remember seeing Judy’s “Choose Love” icon and feeling compelled to click on it. I immediately adored her gentle, kind, brave and funny spirit, and her ability to connect people.

Everything she writes, (she has two blogs, A Human Thing and Zebra Sounds, because one is not enough to contain her, as well as various other essays and books), invites readers into a conversation, into connection, to community. It might be her superpower, that and love, which is also her religion.

Judy always challenges me to open up a little more, to contemplate, to feel and to think. We have a lot in common: writing, dogs, hiking, and yoga. We also both apparently tend to be a little Lucille Ball-ish, slightly clumsy and adorably goofy from time to time. We both are in love with love. I think it’s the answer to every question, and she wrote a manifesto about it.

a doodle by judy

I admire Judy for many reasons. She’s a mom, (dogs and kids), a wife, a yogini, a warrior of love. She’s a shared project instigator, a master doodler, a practitioner of hiking, a seer of beauty. But most of all, I admire and aspire to her writing success. She’s both self and other published, (I’ve heard a rumor she’s working on a novel, among other things), committed to her work, to engaging with the world and her experience, and sharing that with her readers, inviting them to do the same.

I will be tender with other people’s hearts.
I will be fearless with my own.
~Judy Clement Wall

I wrote and am mailing her a long, loopy love letter today. You should check her out, keep an eye on her, connect with her amazingness, and if you feel so moved, write your own love letter to someone in your life, formalize and verbalize, embody the love you feel for them. You can never go wrong with a thank you, with a love letter.

P.S. Further proof that Judy has the biggest heart, that love is one of her superpowers: Just hours after I hit “publish,” she’s already thanked me in three different ways for this one, single post.

Something Good

This post is late. I had a long, long, hard, busy day yesterday, and by the time I got home at almost 8 pm, I just didn’t have it in me to do it. So, here it is–better late than never?

1. Creative Superheroes Interview: Laurie Wagner on Superhero Journal.

2. Neil Gaiman announced that he’s writing another Sandman. You might not already know this about me, but I love Neil Gaiman’s writing and his voice, and the Sandman series was how I first encountered his work, so I’m very excited that there will be another.

3. This quote: I couldn’t live without dog. ~Arthur Schopenhauer (German Philosopher). Me either.

4. Land Art. I was reminded of this when I found a post on This is Colossal about the work of Andres Amador. There’s also this post and this one and this, and of course there’s Andy Goldsworthy, whose work is the first Land Art I’d ever seen.

5. Maybe. Maybe Not. on Nourishing the Soul. “If we are caught up in defining the events of our lives as positive or negative, we lose our ability to see and to hear the quiet ways in which other opportunities are presenting themselves.”

6. Convalesce on SouleMama. “I don’t know that we currently live in a world in which we can all lay low, painting in the sunshine and spending weeks recovering from illnesses. But I do know for certain that in small but important ways, we can all be a little bit gentler on ourselves – and each other. And that a cure for so many things lives in moving slowly and being still. ”

7. How to Become Open to Life on Zen Habits.

8. Manifesto love: three manifestos for creatives on Zebra Sounds. I love a good manifesto, and I love Judy Clement Wall.

9. How to Be an Explorer of the World on Brain Pickings. 

10. This quote from Raam Dev:

There are times in life when we need to go with what feels right. Ignore all the critics, the naysayers, and those who will judge us by their own definition of truth. Create your own path, forge your own destiny, and make all the mistakes and dead-end turns necessary to arrive alive. Sometimes what we need cannot be put into the context of right or wrong but must be defined and acted upon by the compass of our soul.

11. This quote: What most of us think of as fear is primarily a mental process of imagining situations that do not exist in the moment. ~Cheri Huber

P.S. Tuesday’s Three Truths and One Wish will be a day late this week too, will be written and posted tomorrow. I’m sensing a theme, seeing a pattern to this week…

An Ode to the Backyard

the sky over my backyard

This post is Judy Clement Wall’s fault. A little over a week ago, on her Zebra Sounds blog, she wrote a post that was an ode to hiking. In a related post a few days later on her A Human Thing blog, she wrote about places of solace, and asked readers to share theirs in the comments. This led to a conversation between Judy and I in the comment thread about my love for the backyard, where I said “someone should write an ode to the backyard” and she replied “you should.”

Okay.

sam and dex in the backyard

An Ode to the Backyard

My whole life, from the very first house I remember living in (we moved there when I was still a baby), the backyard has been a place of solace. I find comfort and relief there, safety and peace. Almost everywhere I have ever lived, the backyard has been my favorite spot.

According to me, a good yard needs four things:

  • Lots of green stuff, (bushes and trees and grass and fruits and vegetables and flowers and at least one Lilac)
  • A privacy fence
  • Chairs and a good mix of sun/shade for sitting
  • Dogs

obi (oh how I miss that boy) and dexter in the backyard

The first yard I remember was magic. We lived in a small house (by today’s standards, but the same size as the one I live in now) with a huge yard, almost a full acre. In fact, the yard was so big that when my mom and dad sold that house over twenty years later, they sold the “garden” as a separate lot and someone built a house on it.

I remember a huge cherry tree, plums, lilacs, a weeping willow, maples, birch, pine and fir, and a hazelnut. When I was in the second grade, a forester visited our class and gave us all Douglas Fir seedlings. I planted mine in the corner of our yard, years later buried my hamster underneath it (apparently my second hamster, my dad informed me a few years ago–the first one had died and he’d replaced it because he knew I’d be upset). The last time I saw that tree, it had grown to over 25 feet tall, and made me feel small, old and so young all at the same time.

I remember pink roses, purple irises, tiger lilies, bluebells, and in the garden raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries. There was a long slopped hill that we attempted to sled on when it snowed (which wasn’t often or much where we were in Oregon), and a long, wide field of grass below that saw many a football and baseball game. Our patio was a big enough stretch of concrete for both a basketball hoop and rollerskating. There was a family of Quail that lived in our backyard, came back year after year to have their babies, protected from the neighborhood cats by my dad. Quail babies are still one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen in my life, running in a line behind their Mama.

I remember my favorite spot, under the biggest maple tree. I would take a book and my green blanket and sit for hours under that tree. When I looked up, this is what I saw:

it was magic, it was medicine

Over the years, Eric and I have shared a few backyards, (we moved 12 times in the first 10 years we were married).

our very first backyard

this one was so small, I “mowed the lawn” with a pair of grass clippers

The backyard we have now, at the house we’ve lived in for 12 years, where all of our dogs have lived, is one of my favorites. When we were looking, we kept telling our realtor how important the yard was to us, that we planned on getting dogs, that it was in fact the whole reason we were looking for a new place (our condo had a patio but no real yard), but I don’t think she really believed us until we picked the one we would buy. She kept showing us nicer houses with little to no yard. When we picked this one, she said “I guess you were really serious about the yard being more important.”

obi at six months old, the first boy to enjoy our yard. i’d give just about anything to see him back there again…

the current residents, “helping” the mom garden

why the backyard needs grass

We live just a block away from an elementary school, so during the day, while they are at recess, our backyard fills with the sound of kids playing.

Because our neighborhood was built in the early 60s, there are lots of mature trees. In the early morning, this time of year, the sky is filled with bird song.

the view from my chair

succulent garden on the back step

There’s a Jeb Loy Nichols song called “Heaven Right Here” that is its own ode to the backyard.

So I’ll just take my time
And relax my mind
So I’ll stop – slow down
Watch the sun go down

Come on over to my yard
Sit around and let your troubles all disappear
Come on over to my yard
‘Cause right now heaven’s right here

raised beds, lilacs along the fence, a gifted garden of flowers, and a chipmunk we adopted after he was abandoned by the previous owners

sweet boy tomato plant

Maybe it’s because there is farming in my blood, encoded in my DNA, that makes me want to pick, plant, dig, and tend the earth, and this gives me a place to do so.

Maybe it’s because I love dogs and they love being in the yard, playing and lounging, rolling in the grass and chasing squirrels and barking and peeing on stuff.

Maybe it’s because I love to read and it’s a quiet, comfortable place to do so.

Maybe it’s because I am an introvert who loves solitude, being alone, but also loves nature, would rather be outside and barefoot.

Whatever the reason(s), I love a good backyard. It’s a place to retreat, to rest and relax, to read, to play, to listen, to be calm and still and quiet. It is my place of solace, magic, medicine, a living meditation on the preciousness of life.

Something Good

Hammock

I first heard of Hammock on Susannah Conway’s “Something for the Weekend” list. She posts every Friday, and quite often, a few things from her list end up on my Monday’s Something Good post. I have been listening to them all morning, and their music is so beautiful, it breaks my heart. On Rhapsody, they are classified as “Shoegazer,” which is one of my favorite genres of music.

Slow Living

I’ve been obsessed with the Voluntary Simplicity Movement since I first discovered it in graduate school. It named and defined a longing I felt deep in my belly, the way I wanted my life to look, to be. This weekend, I read a description of Slow Living and felt the same recognition, a longing named.

Slow Living is the choice to live consciously with the goal of enhancing personal, community and environmental well being. Slow Living recognizes the role that time plays in shaping the quality of our lives. By slowing down we make time to savor our experiences and to connect more fully with others. The process of slowing down involves simplifying our lives and minimizing distractions so that we have more time and more energy to focus on what is meaningful and fulfilling. By consciously choosing to do less, we contribute to reducing some of the negative social and environmental impacts of our actions.

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche Quote

“The point of meditation is to feel alive.” Oh yeah. I want to go to there.

Blog post by Justine Musk

Things Smart Women Know.”

A Human Thing

I’m sad, because yesterday we finished our 41 6-Word Days on A Human Thing, but happy because Judy Clement Wall, author of the site, has only just begun. She also writes the blog Zebra Sounds, another good thing.

Great posts on Scoutie Girl

Taming the Giant Incongruence” and “Gestures, Ripples, and Wealth: What Does it All Mean?

Post from Sandi Amorim of Deva Coaching

Are You Ready to Listen?” describes a really powerful, yet simple practice.

Promise #90 from Twisted Pinky

You are Perfect,” which says ‎”If you think you need to change, then change, but know this: you won’t become more perfect or most perfect or perfecter or perfectest.”

New post on Truth Tending with Kristin Noelle

I am wishing you a wonderful Monday, dear reader. May you have your own long list of good things.