Thursday, March 31, 2011

enjoy and love adventure - day twelve


Man, what is it with this week? Busy, busy, busy:)

But not too busy for some soul nourishing goodness!

"Be great by being honest, by seeking the truth and telling that truth when no one else will. Create amazing things. Contribute to the world, make the version of the world you want to see."
~ Leo Babauta

"You are allowed to keep doing what you love and trust the rest to take care of itself."
~ Jen Lee

"You can get outside and walk
You can give God a chance
You can ask for help and then ask for help again
You can save your best stories for the moment when they will do their truest healing work"
~ Jen Lemen

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

enjoy and love adventure - day eleven


Really nose-to-the-grindstone these days, so no huge insights to share. But during lunch today I helped break down bundles for the paper release for The Contributor and look who made the cover!!

Other things I'm loving:

- John O'Donohue is seriously rocking my world. He even talked about the thing that tortured me for a lot of my youth (damning the Holy Spirit) in one of his talks - his interpretation made my jaw (and shoulders) drop. And he mentioned my dear Chogyam Trungpa in another. It's like this guy travelled the same landscape as my soul. And I could listen to his accent forever...

- My new reiki prayer shawl - warm and beautiful!

- Kohinoor Heat & Eat Curries, Punjabi Kadhi Pakora - super yummy! Keeping my fingers crossed that Publix gets more in soon...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

enjoy and love adventure - day ten

This was a long work day with a very short lunch break, but I have wonderful goodness for you nonetheless.

"I am on a journey of learning to follow my heart." This totally sums up what the Enjoy and Love Adventure is all about. Brené Brown posted this fabulous video by Liz Song today and it knocked my socks off. Enjoy!

And this still image reminds me of an amazing John O'Donohue poem I fell in love with recently:

I would love to live
like a river flows,
carried by the surprise
of its own unfolding.

Monday, March 28, 2011

enjoy and love adventure - day nine


Today was kind of a mixed bag. I got to work and immediately realized that in rushing to catch the bus I'd forgotten to shut my computer down at the end of the day on Friday, which we'd been repeatedly asked to do since the power would be off and on over the weekend. Clearly someone else had turned it off for me, but I had a hard time letting myself off the hook for this one. Earlier on my drive in to work I totally mis-timed a signal and ran a red light - thankfully no cops and really no one else at all was around - but that still felt very out of character. And then on my way out of work I put my water bottle in my backpack and immediately realized that the top wasn't fastened and dumped a good bit of water in there - thankfully down the pocket I keep my umbrella in, so my new camera, phone, wallet, book, outgoing mail, and other paper odds and ends stayed dry. Fairly miraculous.

The good news is that someone kindly turned my computer off for me, I didn't cause an accident (or get a ticket), and the contents of my backpack were pretty unscathed. Poor Maxine - I've already got her watching out for me! And the other good news is that I was kind to myself in each incident. I'm just rushing too much these days. In each case I was hurrying, which I truly believe is a form of violence, but one I'm very susceptible to.

So I'm turning back to my intention for this year, to remember to rest. Listening to an amazing John O'Donohue talk this afternoon I loved hearing this: "[Meister] Eckhart says nothing in the universe resembles God so much as rest." And very interesting that when I googled this quotation it appears that he actually said "nothing in the universe resembles God so much as silence." Oh John, how did you know that I needed rest more than silence?:)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

enjoy and love adventure - day eight

Mom - Bella Vista Summer 1995

[photo by Rodger]

Today's adventure began last night with a phone call that Rodger's mom had died peacefully in her sleep earlier that evening. After long weeks of waiting there was an immediate sense of relief, that surely Maxine herself must also have felt, and then a deep sadness and grief.

I was blessed with pretty much the perfect mother-in-law. We clicked immediately, from the evening when we first met, 18 years ago, and I couldn't stop laughing as I told a favorite story about my brother claiming to be an amphibian when he was a little guy. I was suddenly laughing so hard I couldn't get the words out, and I looked across the table and there she was laughing just as hard, while our men looked on with bemused looks on their faces.

She was always fun company and when her health was good we loved the same kind of adventures - lunches in interesting restaurants, poking around fabric and craft shops, and visiting museums. We also enjoyed the same kinds of movies and spent a good bit of time watching those together. I even remember she and my father-in-law came to visit for our birthdays (my sweetie and I have the same one) when I was turning 30 and she kindly sat through a completely narcissistic afternoon of home movies as I took a long trip down memory lane.

But what we really excelled at was talking. Maxine had the heart of a philosopher. We solved all the world's problems together, mixed in with much laughter. And she was never anything but supportive. I can still hear her voice in my head saying, "I love you, Liz." Oh, my dear, dear Maxine, I love you, too! Thank you for everything. You were the bee's knees, Billie Maxine!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

enjoy and love adventure - day seven


Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, "Stay awhile."
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, "It's simple," they say,
"and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine."

~ Mary Oliver ~

The Adventure today has been very quiet, full of sleep and taking care of our home and catching up on my work for Susannah Conway's wonderful Unravelling: Living in My World class. But I've been thinking this week as I posted my 500th entry here and have been listening to Mary Oliver's wonderful new CD, Many Miles, which includes "When I Am Among the Trees" quoted above, that I might share with you where the phrase "enjoy and love" came from for me.

A couple of years ago when I was riding to work with my sweetie, who was doing the driving, and we were stuck in traffic in the usual spot, I was spacing out looking at the woods along the highway. I was just in a sort of reverie. And then I felt like I got a strong message from the trees: enjoy and love. That if that's what I accomplished in that day, to enjoy and to love, that would be a successful day. It was such stark contrast to all that I'd been worried about, the things I felt I needed to make happen and the way I felt I needed to prove myself on some subtle level. To enjoy my life and to love those around me seemed like a radical approach. But it felt like the best wisdom I'd maybe ever heard.

Friday, March 25, 2011

enjoy and love adventure - day six


Today's was a bit of a sleepy adventure. It's been a long, hard week and the weather has turned cold and rainy. Tonight my sweetie built a fire, perhaps our last for a while, and it's nice and cozy in our little country cabin.

Certainly the highlight of my day was volunteering at the local street (homeless) newspaper, The Contributor, which I started doing shortly after posting this last August. The staff and volunteers I assist are such wonderful people. It's 2 hours of laughter and fun and always lifts my spirits. I just open bundles of papers and count them into these neat stacks of 10 for the vendors to buy from us for $.25/paper and sell for $1.00. I love my interaction with the vendors, many of whom know me as the Library Lady.

People have really turned their lives around selling these papers. Working for themselves is perfect for a lot of these folks and there's a lot of pride in selling a great paper. The office provides a few of the things people get from a workplace, too, like water, a clean restroom, and respect.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

enjoy and love adventure - day five


Today's adventure was a routine trip to the doctor, just for an annual physical. If only I could convince my sweet nervous system of that. The good news is that my bloodwork and EKG looked great. Oh, and that I don't have to go back until next year:) But I clearly still have some work to do with my frequent guest, Anxiety, who loves to show how hard my heart can pump while they take my blood pressure. Thanks.

But that really is my attitude. Thank you, Anxiety, for wanting to protect me. Still, I think we can rethink this approach for the 21st century. In the most gentle, loving way I'm trying to greet the first signs of Anxiety in my body and remind it that I will actually, despite its best intentions, do better if I can relax my throat, heart, and stomach, if I can feel my breath in my belly and my feet on the ground or seat in the chair, if I can open my senses to everything that's going on around me.

We're working on this one together, Anxiety and I, because I know we both have my best interests in mind. But we're not quite there yet.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

enjoy and love adventure - day four


"It’s okay to fall apart.
You don’t have to know the answers.
All those pieces you’ve been holding for so long while you raced around your life looking for the last roll of scotch tape, go ahead, let them fall.
Let them fall.
Every last piece."
~ Jen Lemen

Today was about letting the pieces and the facade fall. I got to work and wrote "don't pretend" on a little sticky note and stuck it to my computer, to remind me:
Don't pretend everything is OK when it isn't.
Don't pretend you know more (or less) than you do.
Don't pretend you are more (or less) than you are.
Stand in your truth.
And don't forget to laugh.

It felt good. It felt real.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

enjoy and love adventure - day three


"If you visit a dragon's domain, keep your spirit light and jingly."

I read this in Rob Brezsny's horoscope for scorpios after I'd already maneuvered this territory earlier today and I will attest that this is definitely the way to go.

One thing that always keeps my spirit light is a trip to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and today was no exception. Thoroughly enjoyed their current Vishnu exhibit and an excellent docent tour. What a fun lunchtime treat!

Another spirit lightener for me is chatting with my checkout friends at my favorite grocery store. The stories from their lives that they share are wonderful! This evening my lovely bagger, an older gentleman with a Spanish accent, told me amazing tales of going to Radio City Music Hall in the 1950s, while we stood together under a pink, sunset-lit sky. Such food for the soul!

Monday, March 21, 2011

enjoy and love adventure - day two


"That’s why I believe that meditation and yoga are so successful in bringing about my own creativity. They create space for inspiration to flow into."
~ Nicola's Monday Mantra

"May it shape a new space in your heart..."
~ John O'Donohue's Blessing for a Friend on the Arrival of Illness

"I really think there's something gained by slowing down the ideas..."
~ Jen Lee's video about her awesome new project

"Why do I return to Haiti again and again?
Well, it's simply to plant a tiny seed
of Presence--and then water it
with great Openness."
~ Joe Zarantonello's newsletter

Today the theme for the dispatches from the universe seemed to be about space, so I headed to the most spacious-feeling destination in my local downtown environment - the plaza surrounding the William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower.





There's something about the whole feel of the space and the new, spring plantings that reminds me of visiting the Getty Center when it first opened years ago, so it all seems lovely, artful, and intentional to me.

It felt great to open to the physical space and feel the wind rushing all around me, blowing all my thoughts and cares away. And I found myself returning and returning to the question of authenticity. When all the extra "stuff" blows away, what's left?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

enjoy and love adventure - day one


Today my sweetie and I headed to Cheekwood to see if the cherry trees were in bloom in the Japanese garden (and to check out the totally cool Modern Masters exhibit from the Smithsonian - such a treat to stand so close to a Franz Kline and a Sam Francis here in my home town!) We were not disappointed. So delightful to wander slowly, looking carefully, and smelling all those amazing flowers in bloom! Total enjoyment.




Saturday, March 19, 2011

the enjoy and love adventure


Lately I've run across some amazing things that people are doing, such as Susan Piver's Open Heart Project and Jennifer Louden's Savor and Serve Experiment. And then there's the wonderful Dream Lab with Andrea Scher and Jen Lemen that I've gotten such benefit from the several times I've joined them.

As spring officially begins and I'm responding to the call I'm hearing to clarify my sense of purpose and live a more soulful life, I thought it would be fun to explore that here, as a project/experiment/lab. So after a trip to the thesaurus, today I'm beginning my Enjoy and Love Adventure! I love how this sounds like a children's mystery book or TV show title and implies that risks will be taken, that there will be wrong turns and plenty of scrapes:)

Each evening I plan to record how the adventure unfolded that day, for better or worse, and hopefully how I fed my soul through moments of beauty and connection. We'll see what happens...

fully living


"Imagine if rather than focusing all your energy on proving your worth you were free to focus on fully living your life."
~ The Mindful Way through Anxiety (this book totally rocks, by the way)

"As Einstein liked to say, 'God doesn't play dice.' This isn't some random crapshoot--this is your life. If you've forgotten what you are supposed to be doing here, no time like the present to remember! And if you haven't discovered your purpose yet, keep looking. Don't give up on the one thing that really matters! Follow your star!"
~ Joe Zarantonello's weekly newsletter

"When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms."
~ Mary Oliver

"Slow down, slow down, slow down. Look down, look up."
~ Carol Tatsumi on Trust Tending

~ John O'Donohue (this video is short and such a treat)

Conversation with Jennifer Louden from susan piver on Vimeo.

~ Susan Piver and Jennifer Louden (this video is about 35 minutes long and such a treat)

~ scene from Blade Runner that our friend, Stan Link, spoke about so eloquently at a beautiful event we attended this week

So these are the dispatches from the universe that I'm receiving these days. And I'm actually starting to listen...

Friday, March 18, 2011

five senses friday



nourishing lunches with kind friends


crisp spring air in the mornings and bowing down to pay homage to the amazing scent of hyacinths in our yard


blue skies and flower blossoms


worried about my brother and his sweet family in Japan, grateful for their continued safety, and sad for my husband's (and my) impending loss of his lovely mother


Mary Oliver remind me of everything beautiful in this world

Thursday, March 17, 2011

An Irish Blessing for you

This blessing is really lovely. I encourage you to hang in for the English translation that starts at 1:20. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011



Lately I've had a front row seat to my inner faults and failings, especially to how critical and self-absorbed I am, much to my dismay of course. But I'm trying something radical for me - the power of gentleness. I'll let you know how it goes...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

a beautiful mess


And I can't pass up mentioning these posts as well:

Dani Shapiro on The Noble Failure: "So. Failure. What does it mean, to attempt failure? I think it's actually incredibly liberating."

My Squam yoga instructor, Michelle Madden Smith's account of her vacation in "paradise": "i want to wrap this all up in a nice little package and put a bow on it…but i can’t seem to find the lesson that ties it all together. because there isn’t one."

Kal Barteski's Ugly Beautiful Truths here and here - and the comments: "Sometimes the truth isn't beautiful. Sometimes there's beautiful in the truth."

And, of course, there are situations in the world that just aren't beautiful. Looking at images of the tragedy in Japan and worrying about family members there, feeling overwhelmed by the scale of the suffering, my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected. My deepest wish is that in the midst of the sadness and fear and loss that there may still shine moments of beauty and love and hope.

Monday, March 14, 2011

more good stuff


I hope you enjoyed this past week and my own humble version of one of the most popular books in a fine press book collection I help oversee at my work, The Temple of Flora. It was such a fun treat on that gray Sunday when I visited Cheekwood to find all of those glorious flowers!

Once again I've been knocked out by so many wonderful, inspiring posts on the blogs I follow. I just have to share a few excerpts here:

"What takes a lot out of me is trying to be someone I’m not. Truly, when I can settle in to being utterly myself and not think I’m supposed to be wise or know it all, I have a blast." from Susannah Conway's interview with Jennifer Loudon

"For me, the spiritual journey is not about growing more certain about the world, but embracing more and more the mystery at the heart of everything. In a world where so many people are so very certain about the nature of things, especially in religious circles about who God includes and excludes, I believe unknowing calls us to a radical humility." from Kristin Noelle's interview with Christine Valters Paintner on Trust Tending

"But the things that are before us must be walked through, whether words come along for the ride or not. My body has come to mean so much more to me these days--I feel things in my joints and in my chest and remember that I have not quite laid them down. I feel my toes pressing into the earth when there is nowhere to stand but here, and when I'm not sure which way to go I let one foot simply move in front of the other." from the ever-lovely Jen Lee

Sunday, March 13, 2011



When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

You can read the rest of "The Peace of Wild Things" by Wendell Berry here.

Saturday, March 12, 2011



One thing must not be forgotten.
Forget all else, but remember this, and you will have no regrets.
Remember everything else, but ignore this one thing,
and you will have done nothing.

You can read Coleman Barks's version of this poem by Rumi here.

Friday, March 11, 2011



Good poetry begins with
the lightest touch,
a breeze arriving from nowhere,
a whispered healing arrival,
a word in your ear,
a settling into things,
then like a hand in the dark
it arrests the whole body,
steeling you for revelation.

You can read the rest of "The Lightest Touch" by David Whyte here.

Thursday, March 10, 2011



Let us thank the Earth
That offers ground for home
And holds our feet firm
To walk in space open
To infinite galaxies.

You can read more of "In Praise of the Earth" by John O'Donahue here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Growing is Forever from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.

In case you haven't seen this beauty yet... Wowza! Also, totally recommend checking out the amazing post on Superhero Designs where I discovered this and also the other post she links to. So much powerful redwood goodness!



The temple bell dies away
The scent of flowers in the evening
Is still tolling the bell.

You can read more about poet Matsuo Basho here.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011



i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

You can read the rest of "i thank You God for most this amazing" by e.e. cummings here.

Monday, March 7, 2011



Every day
I see or hear
that more or less

kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle

in the haystack
of light.

You can read the rest of "Mindful" by Mary Oliver here.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Let's go for a walk


I don't know about you, but even though spring is seriously just around the corner, where I am the gray days are still outweighing the sunny ones. So I got out today and gathered a bouquet of flowers for you, which I'll be sharing over the next several days. Will you join me on my walk?

As we meander along, I may share a poem or two with you. Here are some lines from one of my current favorites by Joy Harjo:

This is my soul. It is a good soul.
It tells me, “come here forgetful one.”
And we sit together with a lilt of small winds
who rattle the scrub oak.

You can read the rest here.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Web goodies


This has been quite a week for wisdom in the blogs I read! In case you haven't seen these, here are a few that I'd encourage you to check out:

A guest post by Leonie Allan on Superhero Designs about amazing elders

Gretchen Rubin muses on "Preference Cards" and encourages us to love what we love

Kate Northrup asks us to try getting out of the driver's seat

As always, I love everything this man has to say

Martha Beck stands up for the power of sleep

The ever-inspiring Elizabeth MacCrellish gives a glimpse into her inner transformation

Oh, and so, so good to hear from the lovely Jen Lemen again!

Friday, March 4, 2011

five senses friday



peach preserves on my whole wheat bagel in the morning - it just tastes like a jar of sweet sunshine to me


delicious geranium oil - can't get enough of it


fabulous Mr. Fox made for me by one of my dearest, most favorite pals. Is that amazing?? Thank you, sweet Susan!!


man, can I say tired and raw and grateful again?:) Maybe less raw than last week, but I'd say just as tired and definitely grateful.


this song on my dear brother's 33rd birthday earlier this week. Happy Birthday, David!


I found Mr. Fox checking out this display at the library - who could blame him?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

This is a good smile, too

So you can ask yourself anytime, anywhere, any place: am I in harmony with myself, right now? Am I in alignment, right now? Or is there some discord? Is there some grating, some friction in the system? And if there is, that’s ok! Drop the judgment, drop the blame, drop the explanations. Surrender to what’s actually happening, and give your attention to that which is in friction. See what happens. What you often find is that things get more vivid, more intense. Suddenly there’s more fear, more anxiety, more grief, whatever. But as you fully allow that intensity, that grief, whatever it is in that moment, then all of a sudden, poof, it can simply dissolve. I’m sure you’ve had that happen. It’s mind-blowing, isn’t it?

~ Jon Bernie

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

More smiles

pomegranate creature

Continuing with my theme of smiling animal art we have in our house:) Some folks may recognize this variation on an image I used years ago on one of my little anthologies. I love this funny little fellow.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Hippo

happy hippo

Just a sweet, smiling face and a splash of color to brighten your day! Or, I suppose, it could be "In like a hippo, out like a ...?"