Sunday, August 27, 2017

One of my favorite things to do is to slow down and not rush. High Garden Tea is a perfect place to do just that. And the tea I bought there allows me to do that at home, too, although I can't wait to get back soon!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Is anyone surprised to hear that reading is one of the things that makes me the happiest? Books teach me, keep me company, entertain me, inspire me, calm me, allow me to travel through time and space... the list goes on and on. Heck, tangentially they even pay my mortgage!

I am deeply and eternally grateful to all the amazing writers throughout history who have performed this powerful magic!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

"I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." - Wendell Berry

How the heck did this plant know a support was there? I love how nature reminds me that the world is a place of mystery, wonder, and awe. Seriously, does this not blow your mind?! And these miracles are around us every day...

Sunday, July 30, 2017

“Take a walk at night. Walk so silently that the bottoms of your feet become ears.” - Pauline Oliveros

Wow!! These instructions by the late composer and deep listener Pauline Oliveros open up such a space of longing in me! Ah, to slow down and listen so intimately... At Big Ears this spring, I had the incredible fortune to witness Alvin Curran reminiscing about his dear friend. It's a memory and inspiration that brings nourishment to my soul.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Color, color, color!!! I've loved Marilyn Rusekas' gorgeous pastels since I saw them in Boston about 20 years ago. In searching for an image to show you I was delighted to see that I've already shared her work here. Yes, I still love her and even remember her name.

Thank you, Ms. Rusekas for two decades of inspiration and joy!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I saw an exhibition of Katherine Ace's beautiful paintings based on Grimms' Fairy Tales at the Parthenon during the spring of 2016. The memory of wandering through it still makes me smile and fills me with that glorious sense of possibility. I was enchanted by her use of rich colors and the way she played with the tales' symbols. Doesn't this just pull you in? So I have to kick off this series of posts here of course: "Many and many a year ago, in a kingdom far over the sea..."

Sunday, July 9, 2017

"Happiness is a form of courage" - George Holbrook Jackson

"We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world."
- Jack Gilbert

Let's be courageous, stubborn, and happy! Over the next few weeks I'm going to post things that make me happy. I hope it will make you think about what you enjoy and love.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Do not try to serve the whole world
or do anything grandiose.

Instead, create a clearing
in the dense forest of your life
and wait there patiently,
until the song
that is yours alone to sing
falls into your open cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.

Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to the world
so worthy of rescue.

-Martha Postlewaite

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Some of you may remember that I chose "rest" as my word for the year for 2011. It's also my motto for most Sundays - a day of napping and soul nourishment. I love rest. And one of the best things to happen this week was learning about Dan Howard, a man with a deep appreciation for rest. This feels like a big discovery for me and potentially a real game-changer. He makes a helpful distinction between telling oneself to relax and inviting oneself to rest. Relaxing still seems to be a doing. Resting is more innate. So, the relaxation project becomes a rest invitation. I can feel a change already and I invite you to join me by watching this introductory video and then checking out Intentional Resting for yourself.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

"Over and over, researchers studying happiness have found that the situational elements people crave — money, social status, possessions — don’t reliably lead to an experience of well-being. By contrast, learning to find joy in the present moment (a.k.a. focusing on experiences you truly want in your life) increases life satisfaction, improves health, and allows us to live longer, more fulfilling lives."
- Martha Beck

I've been enjoying playing around with Martha Beck's good magic that she describes here in more detail. Thinking of how I feel when I'm most myself — relaxed, content, and playful — and tapping into those feelings more and more often throughout my regular life, makes everything feel richer and more vibrant. Elena Brower describes this as my "home frequency" in her wonderful Sounds True audio, The Return Home, which provides practical ways to connect to it. So grateful for all the wisdom and support available to us on our journeys!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Love is the combination of self-love and compassion for others. -Emma Seppala

I listened to a wonderful podcast with two of my favorite people this morning and immediately knew what the topic of my post today would be! I wholeheartedly encourage you to take some time to enjoy this inspiring conversation with Sharon Salzberg and Emma Seppala, in which they discuss the importance of combining service with self-care. Big stuff, friends.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

How is your relaxation challenge going? I'm taking some slow turtle steps on my journey there. One thing I've been thinking about is how important self-care is in this process. And when I think of self-care, I think of wonderful Cheryl Richardson and her excellent book, The Art of Extreme Self-Care. I was browsing through it today and a couple of passages struck me that I thought I'd post here so I can come back to them and you might enjoy them, too. Hope so!

One of the harsh realities about practicing Extreme Self-Care is that you must learn to manage the anxiety that arises when other people are disappointed, angry, or hurt. And they will be. When you decide to break your patterns of self-sacrifice and deprivation, you'll need to start saying no, setting limits, and putting boundaries in place to protect your time, energy, and emotional needs. This poses a difficult challenge for any sensitive, caring person. Why? Because you will, for instance, disappoint a friend when you decide not to babysit her kids. Or you'll probably hurt your son's feelings when you tell him that he has to walk to his friend's house instead of always being chauffeured. Or you might anger your partner when you ask him to wash his own clothes. Because you'll be changing the rules of the game, certain individuals won't like it. But remember, if you want to live a meaningful life that also makes a difference in the lives of others, you need to make a difference in your own life first. That way your motivation is pure and without regret.

...[I]f you're going to disappoint people the right way, the idea is to tell the truth with respect and care, not manage their emotions. While you can't control how someone feels or how they react, you can control how you feel and how you choose to make your point. Don't measure your success by the response you receive. Measure it by how you feel once your anxiety disappears. Do you know in your heart that you made the right decision? Do you feel relieved? Are you pleased with the way you handled saying no? Are you glad you did it? If the answers to these questions are yes, then you've done the right thing for everyone involved.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Here's something I read in Get Out of Your Mind & Into Your Life this week that I want to learn to live:

In our context, the words willingness and acceptance mean to respond actively to your feelings by feeling them, literally, much as you might reach out and literally feel the texture of a cashmere sweater. They mean to respond actively to your thoughts by thinking them, much as you might read poetry just to get the flow of the words, or an actor might rehearse lines to get a feel for the playwright's intent.

To be willing and accepting means to respond actively to memories by remembering them, much as you might take a friend to see a movie you've already seen. They mean to respond actively to bodily sensations by sensing them, much as you might take an all-over stretch in the morning just to feel your body all over. Willingness and acceptance mean adopting a gentle, loving posture toward yourself, your history, and your programming so that it becomes more likely for you simply to be aware of your own experience, much as you would hold a fragile object in your hand and contemplate it closely and dispassionately...

...In essence, instead of trying to feel better, willingness involves learning how to feel better.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

So I have totally fallen down the amazing rabbit hole that is all things Martha Beck. And part of this is taking a writing workshop with her called Write Into Light, which is actually what prompted my dusting off Enjoy and Love. We just wrapped up the first of three sessions and in the last class Liz Gilbert blew us away with her insights into the creative life and life in general. This part especially has been keeping me company since:

And that actually, if you really ponder how much your worrying has helped so far, and how much it’s made you a better mother, and how much your worrying has helped your children, and how much your worrying has helped your community, and how much your worrying is helping the world. I think if you’re very honest and you get very quiet, you’ll discover that the answer is not at all. Not one bit. In fact, the opposite. It has harmed you and everything, everything it touches. To me, the most radical thing -- I mean a revolutionary thing would be to see a relaxed woman walking around.

Synchronistically two lovely little pocket-sized books have crossed my desk at the library in the past week: How to Relax by Thich Nhat Hanh and How to Change Your Entire Life by Doing Absolutely Nothing: 10 Do-Nothing Relaxation Exercises to Calm You Down Quickly So You Can Speed Forward Faster by Karen Salmansohn - fun!! I'll let you know how it goes being a radical, revolutionary, relaxed woman. Perhaps you'd care to join me?

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Today I had the great good fortune to hear David George Haskell read from and speak about his newest book, The Songs of Trees. You may know that I feel a deep connection with trees, so of course as soon as I learned about this book I knew I had to attend the talk, held at our wonderful local independent bookstore, Parnassus Books.

The Songs of Trees tells the stories of twelve trees from around the world, including one from Tennessee (he teaches at the University of the South, so not completely surprising). His first book, The Forest Unseen, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, is a meditation on a square meter of old-growth Tennessee forest, which he compared to a Tibetan sand mandala in a fascinating talk at the National Academy of Sciences. All great stuff that you might enjoy, too!

What I'm really loving about Professor Haskell's writing is how poetic it is and how it makes science accessible and interesting for the layperson. So far The Songs of Trees reminds me a lot of Mary Oliver's nature essays in Upstream - high praise indeed coming from me!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Are you the fool now?

Sometimes we need to be wrong

so that we can dance.

(The beautiful Fool card is from an old friend, the Aquarian Tarot Deck, illustrated by David Palladini.)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

For almost as long as I can remember, I've been scared to death of death. I went through a phase as a insomniac pre-teen where I would lie awake all night, imagining the void. The idea of having no consciousness for the rest of eternity absolutely terrified me. And hand-in-hand with this fear was the sense that I couldn't survive the eventual death of my beloved father. How would I exist in a world he wasn't in? These fears haunted me.

But the truth I've discovered is that even though my dear dad passed away in 2015, I don't live in a world without him. He lives every day in my heart and I often imagine that I can feel his funny, loving presence around me. In fact, I feel like we now have the relationship I always longed for with him. And so my greatest fear has become my most precious gift. I find I no longer fear death. It has made me re-evaluate a lot. I wonder what other great gifts await me. What great gifts await you in this beautiful alchemy of life?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

We all need places -

hidden and mysterious -

for our dreams to grow.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Go deep to go wild.

Darkness in the mountain lake

is most familiar.