Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday's Inspiration Celebration - Martha Beck

Photo from Prevention

A couple of weekends ago, there was a quotation on Shutter Sisters that stopped me cold:

"There's a certain amount of love that wants to enter the world. And the ability to be part of the delivery system for that is probably the one goal that never goes away."

~Martha Beck

Wow! Thank you Irene Nam for bringing this into my life at just the right moment. I immediately dropped everything and listened to the 50 minute+ interview and linked to it here. Then last week when it felt like the endless winter in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and I had a horrible case of cabin fever and the crazies, I listened to another interview with her, this one focusing on her book Steering by Starlight.

I spent the rest of the week at work able to focus on what I love about my work, which is connecting with and helping people - being able to really listen to someone to hear what they need and then use my love of the hunt to try to find it for them. It's so easy to get pulled into the day-to-day annoyances that come up in any workplace, but it was really healing to remember to look for the juice of what I love about my work. And there is a lot of it. Then the light just shines!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

five (really) good things


1. January exhibits are all up and look great!

2. another warm day with blue skies

3. time to piddle around this morning

4. lovely cozy evenings with my sweetie, catching up on The Office

5. thoroughly enjoying wonderful Joan Anderson's A Walk on the Beach

Saturday, January 29, 2011



So grateful Nashville did its usual thing this week and blasted all the snow quickly after our big storm (we got more outside the city, especially on our side of town). It felt so good to wake to another bright blue sky today. Sometimes impermanence is on my side:)

Part of my job duties involve coordinating the library's gallery spaces and that's also a lesson in impermanence. Today we get to celebrate the opening of a really cool exhibit that our staff put together on the electrification of Nashville. So off to work I go! Hope you're having a wonderful Saturday!

Friday, January 28, 2011

five senses friday



lots of yummy comfort food


cozy fires in our fireplace


Music Within - uplifting and well-acted!


very, very, very tired of winter and very, very, very grateful all this snow melted yesterday:)


70's Dylan and singing my heart out - oh, I love that man!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Imperfection celebration, squared

I have to share this story with you because it's such a perfect imperfection celebration. So I have this wonderful family history with adoption. Many important people are in my life because of adoption, some traditional, some open. In fact, my whole family is made up of love more than biology - full of steps, halfs, in-laws, and by the grace of Gods. So beautiful.

Anyway, I've fallen in love this this great blog, Blessings in a Basket, which supports birth mothers who put their children up for adoption. The founder, Ashley Mitchell, is just the loveliest person and has been blogging lately about her experience with an amazing online class, Brave Girls Club's Soul Restoration.

I thought it would be a meaningful way for me to give back to the birth mother community that's been so generous with me in my life if I would sponsor one of Ashley's Big Tough Girls so they could take Soul Restoration at no cost. It's been a lot of fun working out the details with Ashley and I just completely love that today is the day the giveaway was announced. There is no better way to meet me than by seeing my crazy happy face in my goggles:)

Imperfection celebration


When I was younger we had to take my mom to the hospital a couple of times because she got stuff in her eye - once I think it was oven cleaner and another time chlorine for the pool. This makes me so nervous about the same thing happening to me that I started wearing goggles when I'm using household cleansers. It hit me recently how totally funny this is - however, it hasn't stopped me from doing it!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Six word story 25


Wondering, does someone have my back?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday's Inspiration Celebration - Ricochet

ricochet surf dog

OK, so this one may seem a little out of character. Liz writing about a dog, and not just that, but a dog that surfs? I haven't always been known for having a strong love of animals, but really that's just because of allergies. I do like them, especially from a distance:)

But this story (which I discovered on the fabulous When I Grow Up blog) is such a wonderful example of what I was just writing about on Saturday: letting go of who you think you should be and embracing who you are. Ricochet had been raised to be a service dog, but due to her love of chasing birds and other small animals it looked like that path was not going to come to fruition. However, her attentive owner looked to see what else Ricochet loved, and it turned out that she was great at surfing!

Now she's a fundraising surfing dog, and still is of service - helping counterbalance the board for a quadriplegic surfer. If this story inspires you, you may enjoy watching the video about it here.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

five (really) good things

More great stuff that I'm feeling very grateful for today:

1. A really comfortable new desk chair. I realized there were few comfortable places for me to sit down in our house and now that I'm embracing laziness and I spend a lot of time at the desk, working on the computer or watching/listening to things while making stuff, I went out and bought a really comfortable chair and put it together. Twice. Once all mixed up and once the right way:) Ah!

2. Super comfortable and warm sweaters from Mom and Steve. I am loving these ribbed full-zip sweaters from Eddie Bauer. And it looks like I wasn't the only one! I was able to get them in tall versions as a Christmas gift and I love being warm and snugly in them - perfect with yoga pants after a long day at work.

3. Totally amazing Osho Zen Tarot cards, thanks to Katie (and Kath)! So happy to have my own deck to handle, but have also been blown away by the online version you can explore here. Beautiful and insightful!

4. Learning about a fabulous "eccentric" 18th century Japanese artist, Itō Jakuchū, thanks to David. You can see two of his stunning paintings at the top of this post. Perhaps my favorite Japanese filmmaker, Hayao Miyazaki, didn't come out of nowhere...

5. Yoga in the evenings. On Monday I read this fabulous post on my friend Lis's blog, Dandelion Seeds and Dreams, and it reminded me to get up off my (then super uncomfortable) chair and get back into my body. I had an amazing experience in the pigeon pose and made a commitment to do at least that pose every evening after getting home from work. Crazy how much that helped. I feel like all kinds of things are being released. Plus it just feels great.

Update: Have to add a 6th that I'm listening to right now. Loving this interview with Martha Beck.

Saturday, January 22, 2011



Happy Saturday! I had kind of an aha moment this morning I thought I'd like to share here. I've been thoroughly enjoying the Winter Dream Lab's exploration of Brene Brown's amazing work around shame, especially focusing on her book The Gifts of Imperfection. I love the subtitle: "Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are." There's a challenge!

So our activity a couple of weeks ago was to write ourselves a letter from the "oldest, wisest and most kind" version of ourself as an exercise in developing self-compassion. As part of this letter we were asked to list three things we gave ourselves permission to do this winter. Suprisingly I had no problem coming up with three things I'd like to give myself permission to do forever, no expiration date. They are:

1. Be lazy

2. Make mistakes

3. Let people down

This list hits every shame button for me. How in the world could I be giving myself permission to do these three totally forbidden things? What kind of loser do I want to become? But, come on, don't we all do these things all the time, even with our best intentions? Or at least the last two? How about giving ourselves permission that these things will happen, so we don't have to beat ourselves up on top of having things go wrong.

There's a great Buddhist quotation that I love about life being one continuous mistake. That's how we learn. We try something and if that doesn't work, then we try something else. To think that won't happen is to set oneself up for a lot of frustration. I mean, seriously, this is even how scientists do their research. So I'm ready to acknowledge this and embrace it, despite my hard-wired perfectionism. (Love Jon Bernie's discussion of this in a recent talk.)

The third permission is another big one for me. I tend to be a people-pleaser. I'm an enneagram 9 - I want everyone to be happy. And I will do that at the risk of my own happiness. But really, how useful is this? And how in the world can we please everyone? That's crazy. So I'm officially giving myself permission to let this go, as much as I can. (Cheryl Richardson is a great role model for me on this.)

Lazy. Lazy is a really deep one for me. Growing up I received some shaming feedback about being lazy. I think there was a fear on the part of some very well-meaning adults in my life about my introversion and natural interest in quiet things, like drawing, reading, dreaming, listening to music. They wanted me to get out of my room, to go do something that would make them more comfortable about my social skills. There was a lot of emphasis on getting me out of my shell. Or at least that's how it felt.

But the truth of the matter is that I'm a naturally quiet person. I feel deeply and life can be overwhelming. I need time and space to take it all in. Going to school 5 days a week was enough of other people. I'm still this way, although I think most people would say I'm a fairly well-adjusted person. I can't tell you how affirming it was to read these lines in author Kris Carr's interview on Susannah Conway's wonderful blog this week about what nourishes her soul:

My dog Lola and my husband and my privacy. I really love being with people, but I really, really love being alone with Kris. If I don’t give myself time to think and dream and talk in the mirror, then I get lonely and blue. I need me.

Yes! So, this morning I found myself curled up in bed with Brene's book and I looked over at the ficus tree in our bedroom and I totally flashed to my teenage bedroom and the hours I spent about 25 years ago, reading and dreaming, looking at a different ficus tree. You know those time warp moments where you're both here and there? And I was able to totally be that teenage self and my middle-age self and to know that I am alright. To see the misunderstood bits as my strengths. To celebrate the journey I've been on. And to see the love, even in the misunderstanding. We truly are all doing our best. The concern was an expression of love, but I can let it go. I can let myself be lazy. (Thich Nhat Hanh's lazy days are great inspiration for me.)

Friday, January 21, 2011

five senses friday



the most incredible eggs benedict ever


a cozy meal of chicken and stuffing cooking on (another) snowy evening


a fabulous French film that I highly recommend, although it may be hard to track down: Oscar et la Dame Rose. A lot to this one.


profoundly moved by an email from a dear friend about his father's death this week. Written as a form of medicine for himself, it was so beautifully, brutally honest and full of deep love and grief, it felt like good nourishment for this reader's soul as well.


laughter, so much good laughter

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sweet respite


We are often in battle.
So often defending every side of the fort,
It may seem, all alone.

Sit down, my dear,
Take a few deep breaths,
Think about a loyal friend.
Where is your music,
Your pet, a brush?

Surely one who has lasted as long as you
Knows some avenue or place inside
That can give a sweet respite.

If you cannot slay your panic,
Then say within
As convincingly as you can,
"It is all God's will!"

Now pick up your life again.
Let whatever is out there
Come charging in,

Laugh and spit into the air,
There could be holy fallout.

Throw those ladders like tiny match sticks
With "just" phantoms upon them
Who might be trying to scale your heart.

Your love has an eloquent tone.
The sky and I want to hear it!

If you still feel helpless
Give our battle cry again,

Has shouted it a million times,

"It is all,
It is all the Beloved's will!"

What is that luminous rain I see
All around you in the future

Sweeping in from the east plain?

It looks like, O it looks like
Holy fallout

Filling your mouth and palms
With Joy!


(For those of you who didn't read this poem last week on lovely Pixie Campbell's awesome blog, Pink Coyote...)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Six word story 24


She can feel her roots growing.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday's Inspiration Celebration - Neil Pasricha

I always enjoying checking out what my friend Lily has to say on her fabulous blog. I was blown away by the video she shared last week of Neil Pasricha, whose 1000 Awesome Things I mentioned here last spring. I love checking out his awesome thing of the day, but I have even deeper appreciation and respect for him having watched his TED video and think you might find it inspiring, too. Enjoy! (And a big Thank You to Lily for bringing this to my attention!:) )

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Where I am


Oh, how I love three day weekends! And ones where the sun peeks out and the snow is melting and so far nothing too alarming on the Accuweather horizon (although I shouldn't jinx it...) and I have interesting streaming Netflix movies in my queue and an easy pork roast for my sweetie ready to go today and fun projects to work on and there's just a general feeling of lightness and ease. Ah! And every day we're getting over a minute more light. Honestly, right in this moment I'm feeling completely satisfied and content. I have to celebrate it, before my delightful little mind goes squirreling around for something to chew on and worry about... We all have our areas of expertise.

This week was the beginning of Winter Dream Lab and I'm planning to take some time today and review all the audio and skim through Brene's book to refresh myself and then work on some of the activities. I'm not great at following all the comments in the online space, but I adore having fun, beautiful, inspiring messages show up in my email all week. And I enjoy the activities when I do them...

I'm reading Wayne Muller's Learning to Pray these days and am loving it! He's going word-by-word through the Lord's Prayer and helping demystify it for me. I grew up saying this prayer. My mom had us start saying it every night at bedtime after my parents split up. I can't say I really took to this practice and my big achievement was being able to say it all in one breath.

But I teared up on the bus this week as I read it and could hear my sister's sweet childhood voice in my head, slowly and carefully saying the words. And how we used to sing it (again with the lovely Father Perry). Wayne Muller is just my guy these days and I've found myself calling on this prayer during my everyday life this week. Will wonders never cease? I tell you, this life is one beautiful ride. Hope you're having a great weekend, whether it is long or short, up or down, or in-between.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Great day with my sweetie!



Most weekends we love to just hunker down and enjoy our various pastimes at home, but a dear friend of mine lost her father this week and the visitation was today, so we actually ventured out and had a delightful day, including a trip to a local Japanese garden.

Friday, January 14, 2011

five senses friday



warm and delicious tomato basil soup


the comforting smell of sauteing onions on a dark winter evening


snow falling every morning this week


that rush of energy I get as the days get a little bit longer every day


and loving singing along with this beautiful song

Thursday, January 13, 2011



If you want to become full,
let yourself be empty.
If you want to be reborn,
let yourself die.

~Tao Te Ching

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Six word story 23


She saw things she hadn't seen.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday's Inspiration Celebration - Narayanan Krishnan

Image from the Akshaya Trust website

Around the holidays, the wonderful blog Operation Nice posted a description of Narayanan Krishnan's work feeding the poor in his home town in India:

Narayanan Krishnan, a former chef in a five star restaurant in India...was interviewing for lucrative culinary positions in Europe. But that all changed when [he] decided to make a quick trip home to his native Madurai, a small community in south India, before leaving to interview for a position in Switzerland...Narayanan Krishnan was so troubled by the image of an elderly man in his community eating his own waste out of desperate hunger, that a week later he quit his job in a 5 star restaurant to feed the hungry in his own community.

Krishnan founded the nonprofit, Akshaya Trust in 2003 and today he feeds nearly 400 people daily. At only 29 years old, Krishnan has fed over 1.2 million meals to the hungry, according to CNN. Every day, he wakes up at 4 am, cooks a simple hot meal and then, along with his team, loads it in a van and travels about 200 km feeding the homeless in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. Krishnan feeds, often with his hands, almost 400 destitute people every day. And for those who need it, he provides a free haircut too.

If you find this as touching and inspiring as I do, you can watch Narayanan Krishnan in action in this video.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

five (really) good things


The theme today is gratitude. There are so many things I'm feeling grateful for today, but here are five:

1. God in the form of people who come fix things in my house that I can't fix. We are so lucky to have over the years built something of a team of kind, honest people who care for our house. This week I'm especially grateful for my wonderful plumber and a toilet that's flushing like it's brand spanking new:)

2. Artists who make quiet, powerful films, like Ostrov, which I thoroughly enjoyed and did indeed feel nourished by listening to, as well as watching. Although I will say it's a bit of a tough watch in the winter, just because it's so easy to feel vicariously freezing cold.

3. A beautiful palm/tarot card reader who totally opened her heart to me yesterday and set my soul at ease. Also grateful to a very special art gallery owner who volunteers with me at my job and made sure I got a session with said beautiful palm/tarot card reader at her gallery opening last night.

4. Amazing advocates for the homeless who create powerful experiences like this one we thoroughly enjoyed last night, too. And grateful to the photographer whose artwork we will be lucky enough to hang in our home come February. She captured a beautiful view of Nashville that we'll enjoy for many years.

5. People who share their vulnerabilty and in the process share their wisdom, as Elizabeth Gilbert does in this short article.

And I'm also grateful for you! Hope you're having a beautiful day.

Saturday, January 8, 2011



Last night on the bus the kindly man behind me answered his cell phone and started speaking in Russian (or another Eastern European language - I'm no expert, but it sounded like Russian to me). I dropped the book I'd been engrossed in and drank up the sounds like nectar. Then when I was at the grocery store this morning, stocking up before (and during) more snow this weekend, a gentleman who'd been checking out cleansers started talking on his phone in what sounded like Russian to me. So I'm taking the afternoon off and heading over to Netflix to watch Ostrov (The Island), which looks pretty great and like it might be just the ticket: "Somewhere in Northern Russia in a small Russian Orthodox monastery lives an unusual man whose bizarre conduct confuses his fellow monks, while others who visit the island believe that the man has the power to heal, exorcise demons and foretell the future."

Will report back tomorrow to tell you it went. Hope you have a lovely Saturday afternoon, listening to what your soul is calling out for.

Friday, January 7, 2011

five senses friday


delicious Indian food with a dear friend and yummy leftovers all week - such a treat!

a ginger molasses cookie, right before gobbling it up:)

my lovely medicine bundle on my altar, welcoming love and light into the new year

excited about Brené, Andrea, and Jen's Winter Dream Lab about The Gifts of Imperfection starting on Monday

Michael Franti & Spearhead cheer me up and inspire me - another shout out to the amazing At-Wood team and their killer Christmas mix!

Thursday, January 6, 2011



"The things that have to be done must be done, and for the rest we must not allow ourselves to become infested with thousands of petty fears and worries, so many motions of no confidence in God. Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world."

~Etty Hillesum

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Six word story 22


F*@% it:) I'm letting it shine!

[So inspired by this video today]

Monday, January 3, 2011

Monday's Inspiration Celebration - Biblioburro


Photo by Jon Darwin Herrera

Working in a library, one has the great good fortune to have fantastic colleagues who share really inspiring things. Recently one of my co-workers shared a lovely video with me, which you can watch here. And here's a follow-up here. I love Luis Soriano's passion for books and learning, and for his country!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

five (really) good things


1. curling up by a roaring fire to read the Sun Magazine

2. enjoying time off with my sweetie

3. being totally inspired by Wayne Muller's Sabbath

4. the actual sun coming out today - so good to see it!

5. totally grooving on this sweet song - thanks Kath!

Saturday, January 1, 2011



Happy New Year! Hope your festivities have been everything you'd hoped they would be.

I do like the tradition of choosing a word for the year. Last year after mulling it over for a while I chose the word "delight" and I don't know if that word really sums up 2010. It was a good year, but I can't say it was really full of delight. Somehow that word feels a little lighter than the year I had. I would say there was deep joy last year, but delight feels bubbly - like a laugh versus a smile. And I feel like I could have forced myself into delight, but it wouldn't have been authentic.

So, for 2011 I'm going a totally different direction and choosing something I feel like I need deeply - rest. I'm hoping that by making this my word that I might be able to get into the habit of keeping it in the front of my mind and not over-committing myself. I love my beautiful, abundant life, but this year I'm trying an experiment of sufficiency. Instead of skimming across the surface, my soul is crying out to dig deep, to rest, and to appreciate the simplicity of my beautiful life.