Friday, April 30, 2010

Awesome thing #1

Mind you, these are in no particular order and they're not necessarily the things I think are the MOST awesome, just a few things that popped into my mind as being awesome. And so I'll kick it off with:

When everything is suddenly green in the spring.

After a long winter it always amazes me when that same landscape is suddenly all green. It sort of makes me feel like I've walked into a fairyland.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

1,000 Awesome Things

I'm sure I keep you all busy enough with my scintillating daily posts:) But I did want to mention a blog that I recently discovered through The Happiness Project: 1,000 Awesome Things.

As it says on his blog, creator "Neil Pasricha never imagined that writing about the smell of gasoline, thinking it’s Thursday when it’s really Friday, or wearing underwear just out of the dryer would amount to anything. A self-described 'average guy' with a typical 9-to-5 job in the suburbs, Neil started his blog 1000 Awesome Things, as a small reminder — in a world of rising sea levels, global conflict, and a troubled economy — of the free, easy little joys that make life sweet. He certainly didn’t anticipate that his site would gain a readership of millions of people, win two Webby Awards ('the Internet’s highest honor' according to The New York Times), be named one of PC Magazine’s Top 100 Sites, or become a place where people from around the world would come to celebrate the simple pleasures of daily life."

I may be the last person to discover this joyful blog, but just in case I'm not I did want to pass this along. And I've been so inspired that I'm going to list some things that I think are awesome here for the next few days.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Black Crow

We listened to Joni Mitchell's wonderful Hejira the other night. Rodg is the most brilliant DJ - he has such a knack for putting on just the right thing. And this was definitely one of those moments. I love the whole album, but this song had me practically in tears it was so what I needed to hear right then. I love this creative video for it with fabulous crow imagery. Hope you enjoy, too!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Overcoming fear

Feeling quiet today, so thought I'd just share this Daily Dharma from yesterday. Plus I'm always up for a tip about dealing with fear...

April 26, 2010
Tricycle Daily Dharma
Overcoming Fear

Identifying with a desire or a fear tightens the knot that binds one to it and thereby increases the sway it can have over one. Only when Buddha was able to experience the desires and fears that threatened to overwhelm him as nothing but impersonal and ephemeral conditions of mind and body, did they lose their power to mesmerize him. Instead of perceiving them as forces of an avenging army intent on his destruction, he recognized that they were no more solid than brittle, unfired pots that crumble on being struck by a well-aimed stone. As soon as Buddha stopped compulsively identifying the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that arose within him as “me” or “mine,” Mara could no longer influence him.

- Stephen Batchelor, "Living with the Devil" (Summer 2004)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Everyone Is Beautiful

Gobbled up another wonderful book this weekend: Everyone Is Beautiful by Katherine Center. Enjoy this beautiful video excerpt.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Beautiful sky

This video knocked me out when I saw it linked from The Happiness Project a couple of days ago. I especially love the brief moon sighting in one of the squares - you may see more than I did. Here's a description of the project from The History of the Sky Kickstarter page:

"A History of the Sky is a dynamic, time-lapse visualization of the sky for an entire year.

"Time-lapse movies give us a glimpse of events that are continually occurring around us, but far too slowly to observe directly. A History of the Sky reveals the rhythms of weather, the lengthening and shortening of days, and other atmospheric events on an immediate aesthetic level: the clouds, fog, wind, and rain form a rich visual texture, and sunrises and sunsets cascade across the screen.

"This is a work in progress. Currently, an image of the sky is being captured every 10 seconds from a camera installed on the roof of the Exploratorium, on the edge of San Francisco Bay.

"Each day's images are assembled into a time-lapse movie. The final piece will consist of a large mosaic of 365 movies, each representing one day of the year, arranged in order by date. The days all play back in parallel, so that at any given moment, one is looking at the same time of day across all of the days."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Loved Joy Harjo!

I thoroughly enjoyed Joy Harjo's performance yesterday. As well as reading her poetry and singing some beautiful songs, she also talked a lot about her life and her connection to poetry and music. I think she hit the nail right on the head when she said that poetry has "the ability to communicate the mystery." Yes! I also bought her CD Winding Through the Milky Way and I just want to listen to it over and over.

You can hear "This Is My Heart" from the CD in this video:

Update: I keep finding myself thinking about Ms. Harjo's talk and just thought I'd share a couple more thoughts here. During part of the talk she spoke about how people collect things and find value in their lives based on what they've collected. Some people collect money or nice clothes, etc. and some people collect stories and songs. She said that she thinks about her moment of death and what she wants to have in her mind as she moves on from this world. Her fear is that she'd have an advertising jingle stuck in her head:) It reminded me of how I used to memorize Wendell Berry poems and how I really did see having them in my mind as some sort of hoard of treasure that I could draw upon if I were ever trapped somewhere and needed something to nourish me and give me something to hold onto. And I've definitely found them useful in dark times. It makes me want to pull out my trusty green anthology of Berry's poems and brush up on some of them.

And I've been listening more to the wonderful CDs I bought yesterday and loving how Joy Harjo has been incorporating jazz into her song poems. This winter I became very aware of how of almost all the music we listen to in our house, jazz makes me feel the most "at home". I just feel at home in my life and in my world when I'm listening to jazz, especially Coltrane, Mingus, Hutcherson, Hill, that warm and beautiful music. It was interesting to hear Ms. Harjo talk about the influence of Native Americans on jazz. Makes a lot of sense to me. In any case, I'm struck by how good it feels to listen to her music. So many things I love all together in one place...

Friday, April 23, 2010

Joy Harjo

I'm one lucky lady! I get to attend a performance of Joy Harjo's poetry today.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What is Dying to be Born?

I love Brene Brown! And I was excited to see that she's been included in a book that sounds wonderful and inspiring and that you can download for free! Lianne Raymond, the woman who created the book, describes it as "a celebration of the imagination and vision of women". Very cool! You can learn more about What is Dying to be Born here and download a copy here. Enjoy!

Oh, and an update! If you're needing some rejoicement therapy, head over to Jen Lee's blog to see a picture of Odette with her girls! And I dare you to keep a dry eye:)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Another book?!

I know - criminy! Am I on a roll or what? All I can say is that this beautiful spring weather just makes me want to lounge around and read all day and so I'm doing as much of that as I can. Thank goodness for Oprah's lists! I'm just warning you, The Postmistress is one sad story, but a great one with wonderful writing and compelling characters. So compelling that I started casting the movie adaptation. Julianne Moore, Naomi Watts, Natalie Portman, Ben Affleck, and Paul Giamatti inhabited the pages of this book for me. I'm sure you'd have your own picks.

I love this insight provided by the author in her "Story Behind the Story" at the end of the book:

"It's about the lies we tell others to protect them, and about the lies we tell ourselves in order not to acknowledge what we can't bear: that we are alive, for instance, and eating lunch, while bombs are falling, and refugees are crammed into camps, and the news comes toward us every hour of the day. And what, in the end, do we do?"

Good question.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I gotta be me

Every Sunday Gretchen Rubin posts a great quotation on her Happiness Project blog. I really loved her quote this past weekend:

“When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”
-- Lao-Tzu

Now there's a lesson I keep working on. And yesterday it came back to me in two short and far less poetic lines that popped into my head:

"I don't have to be right. I just have to be me."

Seems simple. Could take the rest of my life:) Hit it, Sammy!

Monday, April 19, 2010

I've found what I'm looking for

Sweet Rodg put U2's Joshua Tree on last night and I love hearing this particular song because I really do feel like I'm in a place where I've found what I'm looking for (a stark contrast to how I felt in 1987 when this album came out). I have a good life:)

Of course, saying this doesn't mean I don't have moments like Swirly Girl recently sooo aptly described here:) To quote Maude, "Ah, life!"

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Harold and Maude

Is it possible I haven't watched Harold and Maude since the forty or so times in my teens? I have no memory of having seen it since, but poor Rodg! Watching it last night I remembered practically every line and had to bite my tongue not to recite the whole thing along with the actors. Fun to see how my appreciation of the movie has changed a bit a couple of decades later. And what a treat to hear all those fabulous Cat Stevens songs again! This classic film is currently streaming on Netflix if you're interested...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Little Bee

I picked up Little Bee in the John Wayne Airport on my way home a couple of weeks ago, knowing I was going to finish Devotion and not wanting to be stranded mid-flight without a good book. I will admit I bought it for the fabulous cover and the rave blurbs. Didn't even peek at the writing itself, which could have been a disaster. But I loved it. And I love this video about the book by the author, Chris Cleave. Totally worth watching if you have any interest in reading the book and are nervous about the difficult content of the story. What a lovely man.

Quick update. Should you feel moved to help a refugee family about to be reunited and another beautiful story, click here. Jen Lemen befriended Odette years ago when she asked to borrow Jen's phone one day in a playground. It turned into a deep friendship and appears to have powerfully changed Jen's life. Not unlike the story in Little Bee, actually...

Friday, April 16, 2010

My favorite lizard

Break a leg/tail tonight, Katie! Wish I could be there in body, but I'm definitely there in spirit. Can't wait to hear all about it!

And hope you all enjoy this nice, quick interview with the playwright of Seascape, Edward Albee (who was expelled from my alma mater, Trinity College, in 1947, but they're still proud to claim him as an "alum" - go figure):

Thursday, April 15, 2010


And while we're on the topic of human rights, the wonderful Tibetan people who were affected by the earthquake earlier this week can definitely use our prayers and energy right now more than ever. If you feel moved to help financially the Konchok Foundation has established a disaster relief fund for anyone who would like to make a donation to support those affected by the earthquake. The aid will be distributed to those in need by the leadership of Surmang Dutsi Til monastery.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Family Snapshot

Yep, more from that same performance. None of these are easy songs, but they're all powerful and worth a listen for sure.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

San Jacinto

That wonderful Head Butler has once again reminded me of some really great music from the 80s. His latest post included a more recent video of Peter Gabriel singing "Solsbury Hill" and it was pretty fabulous. But that got me on You Tube checking out what else was out there and this one just totally knocked me out. See what you think...

I may be sharing other songs from this performance here this week. Too good not to!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Not just for kids

Loved both of these fun films this weekend!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


So, so, so, so delighted to have stumbled on this video! What a gift. I love this man. Lorin Smith is one of the dearest souls.

And a wonderful interview with Lorin here. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

More than this

Head Butler recently posted some Brian Ferry videos and I was reminded of how great Roxy Music's Avalon is. Love this song in particular. (Remember Bill Murray singing it in Lost in Translation? - Ah!)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes and the grass grows by itself

Really enjoyed seeing this Zen proverb today on Swirly Girl's blog. If you're not familiar with Christine Mason Miller, I highly recommend checking her out.

This paragraph of her writing really spoke to me:

"As I work to create a life that is meaningful, I do so within the context of it being meaningful all on its own, for its own mysterious reasons that I will likely never have a full understanding of. And in that sense, I can approach my life as something that has less to do with pushing, pulling, grasping and forcing and more to do with simply doing my best, drinking up each day, breathing deeply and letting the joy seep through my bones."

Yes! You can read the rest here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Why do I put off watching foreign films, even when I know they're going to be amazing? Maybe one of these days I'll learn. So glad I made the leap with this one recently. Oh to look at each person with this kind of loving care. These characters inspire me! And yes, my dear brother, it did make me want to visit Japan...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More than one right answer

Photograph by Dewitt Jones

Recently I was directed to a video by National Geographic photographer and motivational speaker Dewitt Jones. Initially I felt like he was maybe a little too motivational speaker-y for me to post here, but I keep thinking about his ideas and finding myself inspired by his message that there is more than one right answer. Here's a link to his website. If you click on the "Watch Dewitt now" link at the bottom of the page you'll see the video that's been opening up my sense of potential this week along with Jon's great message from yesterday.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

One continuous mistake

Got to love that wonderful Jon Bernie! This arrived in his April newsletter and I want to read it every day:)

"You can’t really follow someone else; ultimately it’s not even possible. A good teacher helps you to find your own way. Asking questions can be very useful, as you learn to simply keep on living while allowing yourself to deepen into the mystery, the insecurity, the not knowing. Of course you want to get it right, you want to succeed, and that’s fine for a while. But eventually that dynamic is recognized as a means of control, of holding on, of being somebody; and so gradually you learn simply to be awareness, which isn’t holding on to anything, or being anyone or anything. Rather, it is being everything. You learn literally to become one with everything.

"As our identity gradually shifts to awareness itself—as we, in a sense, become the light—whatever is still held in is illuminated, revealed, energized and ultimately disintegrated. This can be a very difficult, very painful process, but eventually the addiction or the attachment to getting it right—to being right—just isn’t there anymore. At a certain point you begin to welcome being wrong! You realize that it’s fun to make mistakes. It’s fun to not know. Surprise is a source of joy and aliveness.

"So allow yourself to explore and make mistakes, to be creative and not so careful. Instead of worrying about falling off the path, have the willingness to say, 'I wonder what would happen if...?' I think it was Dogen who described the path as one continuous mistake. If it wasn’t like that, he asked, how would you find your way?"

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Happiness Project

Just finished The Happiness Project and really loved it. You may remember it from several posts recently. Gretchen Rubin's suggestions for creating a happier life are thoughtful and effective. Plus it's just a fun read. If this sounds like something you'd be interested in, let me know and I'd be happy to send my copy along to you. As you can see, her resolution to "reduce clutter" is contagious!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The eternal Yes

These flowers make me think of George Emerson's creed from A Room with a View: "Beauty! Joy! Love!" Here in... Italian?

Friday, April 2, 2010

More beach fun

Fell in love with this little sandpiper and was so delighted when one of my very most favorite people joined in. Oh how I miss my sweet family. I'm the luckiest girl to have all those wonderful people to love!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I think I learned about this book from Oprah's monthly list of recommendations. Read it on my trip and loved it. It takes me forever to write an actual review, so will borrow this review from Booklist:

Approaching her mid-forties, novelist Shapiro (Black and White, 2007) finds her life dominated by a seemingly unending list of to-do’s and a constant feeling of anxiety over which she has no control. Much of her unease comes from the effort to make sense of certain events in her past—including her father’s death and a frightening health condition that affected her infant son—along with struggling to understand the turmoil that defined her relationship with her mother. While her childhood had been infused with religious tradition, Shapiro doesn’t consider herself a believer or a nonbeliever. Yet, she is pulled to understand and deepen her own personal sense of faith as a means to calm the deep-rooted uncertainty and chaos of everyday life. In doing so, she seeks out a variety of different experiences and practices, such as yoga and silent meditation retreats, along with visits to the local synagogue and her Orthodox Jewish relatives. Shapiro’s journey is a deeply reflective one, and her struggles are as complex as they are insightful, philosophical, and universally human. --Leah Strauss