What one thing?

What one thing? There is a world of things I need to do, want to do. The list of goals is overwhelming me; I feel smothered by it. I realized this past weekend that I am teetering on the edge of depression over it. Eating poorly, getting too little sleep and too little exercise, caffeinating myself with Co-Cola (as we call it here in the South) to keep going, feeling weighty and heavy and full of pasta and unfocused. It’s easy in those moments to give in to the vicious cycle, to see no way out, to just keep repeating the pattern. Something in that pattern must be sustaining us, even if unhealthily. I knew I had to change something, even if only to feel in control about that one thing. And I needed to make it just one change, not more. It’s too easy for me to fall into all-or-nothing thinking, but honestly, that’s what has gotten me into this space. This happened a few years ago, and the only thing I could come up with to change was to start drinking my coffee black. I was a sugar-and-cream drinker at the time. The only simplification I could think of that I could be successful at was to ditch the dessert factor in my coffee and go simple with my java. Sounds silly now, but it made sense to me at the time. When I travel, I’ve often said, “oh, yes, I’m going to work out for an hour every day while on the road.” And I don’t. It’s madness, given my schedule, to think that I would....

why write?

My latest online writing class called VerbTribe just ended. To celebrate an amazing journey, I’m posting the work of writers in the group as they’ve responded to some of the prompts during this class. This beautiful piece by Carol Sanders considers why we write. My thanks, Carol, for this strong offer. (One of Carol’s compelling essays is also included in my latest book, What I Wish For You.) Why write?  -Carol Sanders We have so few opportunities for our voices to be heard,  to choose the subject, the tone, the occasion, to choose the exact right word or phrase, to craft something to endure. The words don’t have to be fancy.  One of our greatest living poets Mary Oliver uses the simplest of words, but puts them together in a way that resonates: “What will you do with your one wild and precious life?” Perhaps you are called to capture the morning sunlight glinting off a black truck full of furniture speeding down the highway or the gentle way the multicolored parachute drifts to the earth. Perhaps you are called to write a blessing of loving kindness. Perhaps it is the story of your grandparents enduring the Depression or your father’s bravery as a young World War II sailor. With your magic pen you can pluck those stories from the air and hold those moments up to the light, a sliver of reflection, a small rest stop in this hectic journey we are making. The world needs opportunities to see the morning sun, the joy of gentle descent, the blessing of loving kindness and stories of courage. Why would...

thinking thursday.

MIND If you are a functional art information geek like I am, you’ll like this reading list. (Thanks to Christine Martell for pointing me to it) How the brains of people with Asperger’s work. I found this very helpful. It’s a short film made by young people with Aspergers Syndrome explaining what it is like to have it, in their own words. BODY Oh, yes. Oh, yes. Stone fruit: summer in a jar. And yes, please, some Saag Paneer would be nice. And I’ve started making homemade granola bars (hence the photo of June Cleaver, above). I’ve got ankle issues. Do you? This video was helpful to me. (Hat-tip to Novo Wellness) SPIRIT These photographs born of grief and loss are breathtaking. EXTRAORDINARY. Such a testament to her beloved mother. So much beauty and meaning born of pain. How do you bear your pain? “Loss, our first and final teacher,” wrote John Wood in posting this story about a horse named Remedy on Facebook. Yes. VOICE “Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” -Og Mandino...

thinking thursday.

Thinking Thursday could also be called 9 short thoughts and a quote. But then again, “Thinking Thursday” has all that alliteration going for it. MIND Created and Estranged Alphabets of Visionary, Creative and Boring Things will give you some slight indication of the wacky and fanastic wanderings of Mr Brilliant’s mind. As will Paper Sculpting of Nothing, or pretty much anything on his bizarro and amazing blog. Turns out, a lot of folks are noticing the breadth and depth of his mind. Identity is an interesting concept, isn’t it? (Thanks to Betsy Blake Bennett for that Johnnylicious link) Meditation, Medication, and Where I’ve Been Lately: “In his Shambhala Sun article entitled ‘Depression’s Truth,’ Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche discusses another potential benefit of depression – clear seeing: According to Buddhism, the world that we perceive—the world we interact with and live in—is insubstantial. Through the experience of depression and despair we can begin to see things more clearly rather than less clearly. It is said that we are normally charmed or bedazzled by the world, like a spell has been put on us by the allure of samsaric excitements and entertainment. When we get depressed, though, we begin to see through that—we are able to cut through the illusions of samsara. Depression, when we work with it, can be like a signal, something that puts a brake on our excesses and reminds us of the banality of the samsaric condition, so that we will not be duped into sliding back into the old habits again.” There is an interesting thought about anti-depressants as well, from a 1993 Tricycle article by the...

poetry wednesday: monsoon

Today is Wednesday. That means poetry here on 37days. And today’s poem is by a member of the VerbTribe online writing course that is ending tomorrow (and that ending is simply a new beginning for these amazing writers). I have been blessed to be their guide for these past 37 days. This poem is by Atiya Hussain who lives in Switzerland. Monsoon Bathed in the full moon’s light I watch the big waves roll in. Over me pour the cool gusts Of wind that herald The monsoon is just days away The waves are huge now, swollen With mud and sand from the bottom Of the ocean. It’s a time of churning. Even the surf looks muddy. The monsoon is coming. The wind is cool, a shock to The still hot air over the land. Technology may be colder but This rush of air is cooling, refreshing Steady and delicious, a slaking of the heat That has baked our bodies for a year. The boys have already found the places Where the sea spills over, crashing Splashing over paths that are normally dry. People come to be blessed by the riotous, Filthy water, throwing back at us all our junk. Grey clouds come and go. They will gather and build, crackling With electric might. Thundering They will announce the rain. The first drops scatter, and we run … The rains are here. In fits and starts, the laden clouds settle over us Some days, the heat is stifling, humid and close. And then the skies pour down a rush of water. A mist envelops the heavy lines of rain,...