People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you.

Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others will destroy overnight.

Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today will often be forgotten.

Do good anyway.

Give the best you have and it will never be enough.

Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.

It was never between you and them anyway.

–at Mother Teresa’s home for children in Calcutta

Snow Maiden

My Soul

by Peter Mayer
There are a hundred billion snowflakes swirling in the cosmic storm
And each one is a galaxy, a billion stars or more
And each star is a million earths, a giant fiery sun
High up in some sky, maybe shining on someone

And deep inside a snowflake, I am floating quietly
I am infinitesimal, impossible to see
Sitting in my tiny kitchen in my tiny home
Staring out my window at a universe of snow

But my soul is so much bigger than the very tiny me
It reaches out into the snowstorm like a net into the sea
Out to all the lovely places where my body cannot go
I touch that beauty and embrace it in the bosom of my soul

And so brief and fleeting is this tiny life of mine
Like a single quarter note in the march of time
But my soul is like the music, it goes back to ancient days
Back before it wore a human face, long before it bore my name

Because my soul is so much older than the evanescent me
It can describe the dawn of time like a childhood memory
It is a spark that was begotten of the darkness long ago
What my body has forgotten, I remember in my soul

So we live this life together, my giant soul and tiny me
One resembling forever, one like smoke upon the breeze
One the deep abiding ocean, one a sudden flashing wave
And counting galaxies like snowflakes, I would swear we were the same

Oh my soul belongs to beauty, takes me up to lofty heights
Teaches sacred stories to me, sanctifies my tiny life
Lays a bridge across the ages, melts the boundaries of my bones
Paints a bold eternal face on this passing moment, oh my soul

~*~

Wishing you beauty and a happy forever.

Originally posted on Grace Flow Yoga:

Dear Friends,

I hope you will join us this week for a restorative yoga practice. Support your own health and well-being while supporting the health and well-being of your community.  Win-win.

Donations Yoga March 2015

View original

Originally posted on Grace Flow Yoga:

Feb 2015 095

Nope, we won’t be meeting for core awareness class tonight, I decided with a twinge of disappointment as I flailed and skated down the driveway on a solid sheet of ice. I’ve been stuck in the house for two days straight and I was really  looking forward to getting some exercise and seeing the faces of friends. The disappointment faded as I stood taking in the scenery around me: the icicles adorning the magnolia tree and a pansy’s petals unfurled against the ice.  I remembered two things in that moment. First, I had not intended the core awareness class to be merely physical exercise, but an exploration of the core in body, mind, and spirit. Second, I recalled excerpts from Parker Palmer’s words on winter:

The rigors of winter…are accompanied by amazing gifts…One gift is beauty…I am not sure that any sight or sound on earth is as exquisite as the hushed descent of a sky…

View original 249 more words

Originally posted on Grace Flow Yoga:

In our practice of core awareness we stretch and move in ways that help us learn new things about ourselves.  Sometimes we assume yoga poses that take up a lot of space, for example Warrior I, II, and III. In these poses our stance is wide as we stretch our arms to their full span or reach skyward. At other times in our practice we fold into ourselves and lie close to the ground. In child’s pose for instance, we make ourselves as small as possible. In her book The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, choreographer Twyla Tharp calls this latter exercise Egg and she does it daily. Using the movement as a metaphor, it is a physical lesson in solving an intellectual problem: How do you get a new project off the ground? Tharp writes,

Once you shrink yourself into a fetal ball, you have no choice but to do something expansive. You cannot hold the starting…

View original 131 more words

This pig might make sense later.

This pig might make sense later, or it might not.

Usually by this point in the New Year I am busily tracking my progress on any number of resolutions which I have typed up and posted in a prominent place in my daily line of vision. One year I decided to quit consuming mass quantities of caffeine. Another year I decided to make a point to smile more.

Quit job, start college.

Exercise at least twice a week.

Travel to another country.

These are the sort of “big picture” directives that have guided my weekly schedules and daily “to-do” lists. At the end of each year, progress on the resolutions would be thoroughly reviewed and summarized in my journal. Through this process of recapitulation I would decide what I wanted to resolve for the coming year. The current year’s resolutions would then be added to the collection from previous years in a file folder, the new resolutions typed up and posted. Last year I even had a theme song: Katy Perry’s Roar. Obnoxious, but true.

This whole recap-resolution ritual has been a staple practice in my life for more years than I can recall and so it is with a sense of disquiet that I have come this far into the new year without having made a single resolution. As of right now there are no grand plans to guide me through this year. When I typed that last sentence all the little people that populate the village of my pscyhe went screaming and running through my head as meteors of the apocalypse rained down on them; that’s how much it pains me.  My poor little village people think anarchy will reign surpreme without a theme song and chieftain telling them what to do.

Speaking of anarchy’s reign, I may be perimenopausal according to today’s consensus.  That’s probably an overshare, but now that I’ve turned forty and I don’t have resolutions I might as well put it all out there, eh? Oh! Maybe my resolution is: I’m giving up resolutions? No, that’s just way too crazy to even consider.

So, yeah, perimenopause….I’ve been having these episodes of near spontaneous combustion day and night.  It’s as if I have held aloft my sword and said,

“By the power of Greyskull!”

  ~  ~ ~~> >>} >>> BAM <<< {< << ~~ ~  ~  

“I have the power!”

I am She-Ra and I am on fire. My body radiates heat and energy. I am solar euphoria flaring – the moon girl becoming the sun. That the body is capable of doing this sort of thing is amazing.   And then it all goes away and I’m back to being a cold little moon again.

Hm…what else can I tell you?

El-D went as a “leather-clad vegetarian” on one of our recent outtings.  Tonight he went out as a Grizzley’s fan, which is possibly  one of his strangest transmutations yet. Who is this man? I have no idea.

I took the Christmas decorations off the tree and made it a Valentine’s Day tree. There are pink monkey’s in repose all over it, courtesy of Nanook the Barbarian. I would show you a picture, but getting up to take one would require more effort than I’m presently willing to expend, so just use your imagination. Maybe when I’m feeling ambitious again I’ll make some resolutions and post a picture. A picture of the tree, I mean. Or maybe pictures of the tree, and resolutions, and hell, why not – maybe a to do list while I’m at it.

While we’re on the topic of to do lists, I went to Crystal Bridges Museum last weekend and there was this artwork that I really need to show you because it totally resonanted with me and because it’s relevant to this post, which means I am gonna have to get up and get a cord to download the picture I took of it, so I might as well take a picture of the tree while I’m at it. Aw, there’s a puppy!  …on my phone…I’m scrolling through pictures… and here’s a picture of a pig mask, which is going at the top of this post, just because.

Ok! Without further ado, here’s the picture I took of the artwork that has inspired me to get up:

Jan 2015 126

Ta Da! That was hanging in a museum.  It was like someone had drilled a hole in my head and shone a flashlight inside and tried to capture it all.

Here’s my Valentine’s Day tree:

valentine's day

And here’s a puppy:

Jan 2015 132

 That’s all for now!

family

1. The Invention of Hugo Cabret

A young friend read the story of Hugo Cabret to me over the course of several months this year. It’s a work of art, both the stories and illustrations. As we giggled together over the sassy antics of Isabelle, my friend exclaimed, “This is fun!”- something I never imagined I’d hear him say about reading anything, much less a book over 500 pages. For that reason alone it’s one of my favorites of the year.

 

2. The Writing on my Forehead

A friend passed this book on to me, knowing I’d love it. The story centers on a daughter in a Muslim-American family and explores the notions of tradition, culture, the cyclical nature of mother and daughter relationships, and the push and pull of individual will bound by family ties.

 

3.  Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking


Read my quickie review here.

 

4. Outliers: The Story of Success


After reading my first Gladwell book I went on a Gladwell binge, watching his Ted Talks, recommending him to everyone, and rushing out to buy his other books. He’s such a rockstar genius.  I love his hair. I wanted to hang posters of him up in my bedroom, but that’s where El-D drew the line.

5. The Myth of You and Me

This story left me devastated and crying like a lunatic in my bathtub. It’s about a beautiful friendship that goes horribly awry.

6. Freakanomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything


After taking two economics courses in college, I was convinced the topic could never be made interesting even with buzz words like “freak” and “rogue” attached to it.  I was wrong. This was fascinating.

 

7. Poser: My Life in Twenty-three Yoga Poses


Read my quickie review here.

 

8. The Retreat: A Novel

I met the author of this novel, Carol Kortsch, on a retreat during fall break. Reading the book helped keep me in a retreat frame of mind after I returned back to my semester.

 

9. Fowl Weather


Read my quickie review here.

 

10. Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation

Parker Palmer always takes me on a deep dive into Self. He makes me want to be a better person with all his Quakerness. Here’s a flavor of what this book offers:

 …the word vocation…is rooted in the Latin for “voice.” Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear.  Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. I must listen for the truths and values at the heart of my own identity, not the standards by whch I must live – but the standards by which I cannot help but live if I am living my own life (p. 4).

Let your life speak…Let the highest truths and values guide you. Live up to those demanding standards in everything you do (p.2).

11-13. Fifty Shades Trilogy


Oh yes I did – because sometimes I need to balance out my psyche with some lowbrow smut. It’s called equilibrium people!  And I can’t wait for the movie.  Read my quickie review here.

 

14. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

It seemed like something I should read to follow up Tolle’s The Power of NowIt read more like an extension of the earlier work than a stand alone whole.

15. The Museum of Dr. Moses: Tales of Mystery and Suspense


Read my quickie review here.

16. The Hand: How its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture

When I finished reading this book I felt like my small brain grew three sizes. This is a masterpiece work by the brilliant neurologist, Frank Wilson. It took me quite awhile to read it – two years –  because it’s packed with so much fascinating information, including references and footnotes, which sent me reeling down unexpected paths. And then sometimes I just had to stop reading and stare at my hands like “Whoa, these are my hands…” in a trippy sort of way because this book took me down the rabbit hole to the jungles of Hadar to meet australopithecines and there were all these bones to look at there, but we couldn’t stay long because there were chimpanzees, musicians, jugglers, rockclimbers, and puppeteers to meet.  Wilson’s writing style reminds me a bit of Oliver Sacks. It was a really good book, I tell you.

17. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats


Read my review here.

18. When You are Engulfed in Flames

I don’t know how El-D discovered David Sedaris.  I’m almost certain he hasn’t read any of his work. But several years ago he gave me Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day , an audiobook he found at the Goodwill.  Last year it was his idea for us to sit in the glow of the Christmas tree and  listen to SantalandThis year he gave me When you are Engulfed in Flames, another Goodwill find.  I loved it. This one also left me a lunatic in the bathtub, this time cackling.

19. Full Dark, No Stars


Read my quickie review here.

 

20. Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel (P.S.)

Read my quickie review here.

21.  One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd


This one was a fun adventure – vivid characters, almost cariactures, but in a good way.

22. An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life


El-D found this one for at the Goodwill and brought it home as an early Christmas present. Everything about all of that made me happy. It’s a good book.

23. Trapping the Butterfly

This romance novel is set in the 1920s in one of my favorite cities, Hot Springs.   It was a super quick read and I didn’t want the sweet love story to end.

24. Burn: An Anna Pigeon Novel

Read my quickie book review here.

25. Talk Like Ted: The 9-Public Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds

Loved this book and all the new talks it introduced me to.  It really warrants its own post, which I may write later this week.

 


Disclaimer:  I am an Amazon Affiliate, which means 1.) I can use their book cover images in my posts without having to worry about them suing me, and 2.) if you use one of the links I provide in the blog to purchase the book on amazon.com I’ll get like a nickel or something.

I’m disclosing this so you will be aware that if you click on a book link, our electronic “footprints” will be walking together toward amazon.

Oct 2014 Ocean Springs 001

 

Before leaving shore we were instructed, “When you get to the island, just do whatever comes naturally.”

For me, these words triggered an automatic response of anxiety:

Ok, so ‘act natural.’ What does that mean? Ohmygod! What am I gonna do?! I don’t know how to be natural on command…

With that thought came a hyper-awareness of everything I was doing. The simple act of standing upright became a test of memory.  Is this how I stand? What is my face doing? Is this natural? Then suddenly I was responding to people in a British accent because even my mouth had grown confused about how it normally worked.

By the time I set foot on the island I was functioning as a parody of myself. Fortunately, it didn’t take long for Nature, in the form of hunger, to rectify the situation.  For awhile El-D and I walked side-by-side feeding the emaciated mosquitos as I unwrapped a sandwich to feed myself.

We had all brought different types of baggage to the island. I’m not sure where we thought we were going needing that much stuff.  Along the way we came to a tree that was strung with the possessions of those who had passed before us.  El-D and I paused here to marvel at what was left behind and to add our own unnecessary things to the collection.  We each left carrying only what was deemed absolutely necessary: for him, his guitar and phone; for me, my yoga mat and phone.

We wound up on the other side of the island. I picked up a shell and was suprised and mildly horrified to find it housed a creature.  I found another shell and discovered someone living in it too.  El-D picked up a third shell.  Larger than the other two,  it contained yet another being. He brought it over to me and then knocked on its shell.  A little guy popped out – all hairy legs with eyes on stalks. The three of us spent a moment looking at each other in awkward silence.

Then I remembered my phone and I decided to take the little hermit’s picture.  But before I could, he ducked back in his shell as if to say, “I don’t think so Paparazzi.”

Oct 2014 Ocean Springs 011

El-D handed me the creature and walked down to the water’s edge to sit with his guitar and do what comes naturally:  compose the soundtrack of our lives.

Meanwhile, I took the hermit to my mat so we could chat for a bit. We are kindred spirits, this hermit crab and me.  I put him in the sand and began tracing runes around him. Eventually he came out of his shell to co-create.

And soon we were all just being who we are without having to think about it at all.  The video below is the love song and scenes from Dear Island,

 

 

 

One of my dear teachers sent me an exerpt of desiderata today.  Good advice to tuck into the heart:

 

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
Be on good terms with all persons,
Speak your truth quietly and clearly,
and listen to others.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
Be gentle with yourself;
no less than the trees and stars you have a right to be here.
Whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Whatever your labors and aspirations
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.

 

–Max Ehrmann c.1920

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