Internet Inspiration – April 11, 2014

4.11.2014

Next week I may even have some food links for your perusing pleasure. As I might have mentioned, I’m throwing a Bridal Shower this weekend and I have all the recipes lined up, but since my sister-in-law-to-be sometimes reads this blog, I gotta wait till after the fact to share.

I’ve never heard of Layla Martin before this video, but I’m crazy about it. What to do if you’re worried about “taking too long” in bed. Wonderful notes on experiencing pleasure. (Note: this video is about sex, so click accordingly, that said, it’s not in any way explicit.)

Loved these updates on Michael Vick’s fighting dogs and their Life After. Pitbulls are so awesome.

So the A.V. Club has a segment called HateSong where people talk about a song they hate and why. I’m super glad it exists. I think if they interviewed me I’d hate on a lot of songs where men sing about how the best part of themselves is their significant other. To that I say, “Step up your game, gents! I am already the best and most interesting thing about myself, thank you very much. I don’t have the time or desire to be the best and most interesting thing about you, too!”

I don’t remember if I’ve told you guys about my BFF Julie, but… she knits things. And not things you’d expect. Here is her contribution to dog owners matching their dogs. I can’t even. It’s too cute. It ALMOST makes me upset that I’ll never have a pet.

I needed to read this post from Mike this week on writing one true sentence. I find that I often only have one sentence to say, and so I keep myself from publishing. This was a balm to my anxious mind.

Sometimes when I was starting a new story and I could not get it going, I would sit in front of the fire and squeeze the peel of the little oranges into the edge of the flame and watch the sputter of blue that they made. I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” So finally I would write one true sentence, and then go on from there. It was easy then because there was always one true sentence that I knew or had seen or had heard someone say. If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.

- Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

hr

Lastly, this week I think I’ve had 5 friends give birth and several friends die or have family members die. The circle of life in practice, I guess. And it’s fine, it’s just a surreal. And that’s what I’m having trouble with. I’m not sad enough to believe that I’ve really… understood what’s happening, you know? Or maybe it’s just that my old paradigm of experiencing death isn’t right for me anymore.

In any event, my favorite band in the world is Zac Brown Band, and they have a beautiful song that’s been on my mind this week. It’s called Day that I Die, and I really love that for most of the song the chorus is,

On the day that I die,
I wanna say that I,
Was a man who really lived and never compromised.
And when I’ve lived out my days,
Until the very end,
I hope they find me in my home, a guitar in my hands.
I hope they find me in my home with my guitar in my hands.

and then the very last round of the chorus changes to:

On the day that I die,
I wanna say that I,
Was a man who really loved and never compromised.
And while I live out my days,
Until the very end,
You can find me in my home, a guitar in my hands,
And you can find me in my home with my guitar in my hands.

I love this: that I can think about how I’d like to die and let it inform how I live.

Internet Inspiration – April 4, 2014

4.4.14

Happy Friday, Friends! Today I’m busy prepping for a new Groupon offer at my gym! Gotta get all the systems in place before people come. Is there anything you wish your gym would have told you or taken care of for you before you joined?

And my other big job is that I’m throwing a bridal shower for my sister-in-law-to-be and I need to get some deets ironed out. The theme is mostly colors of the rainbow and gemstones, so I think this is going to be a success no matter what.

hr

If you are any sort of musical cast traveling together on a plane, please take notes because I do want to be serenaded by your songs as people board. The Lion King cast knows what’s up.

I’ve read about this pattern of sleep before as part of research on polyphasic sleep, and to be honest, I’m wondering if I could do it. The idea of having the middle of the night all to myself to create, relax, and just be is so appealing.

And here are some animals you didn’t know existed.

I love these whimsical city maps!

hr

I LOVED this post by Ashley Ann about drinking coffee with two hands. I had never put words to that feeling,

The idea was simple – when we drink coffee (or tea or Dandy Blend or whatever you choose) with two hands we are usually moving slow and soaking it in a bit more. Usually we are really enjoying that cup of coffee, that moment. When I think about two handed coffee drinking, I think of camping trips, Craft Weekends, Saturday mornings…basically, I think of slow. Most days I pour a cup of coffee and drink it with one hand. The other hand is busy doing a host of other things. Sometimes the cup sits on the counter and is never finished.

Let’s give it a whirl, friends.

hr

My body is not a democracy. My body is an empire and I am its dictator. You do not get a vote. There will be no coup d’etat. Rebel forces will not overthrow me. I am in charge of it forever.

PREACH! [hat tip: Susannah Conway]

hr

This is the kind of recipe I want to memorize and use forever: an architecture, a loose plan, and then the present moment fills in the details.

And another one courtesy of Susannah: Why we love repetition in music. Amazing.

Your Appetite is Not a Weakness

your-appetite-is-not-a-weakness

I opened one of my favorite catalogs the other day, so psyched for a new season of workout clothes (and hopefully some good swimsuits). The magazine habitually asks their models some trivia questions and includes them in the shoot, and the Letter from the Editor discussed how most feedback they get from readers is about how the models must be superwomen. The Editor asked us to imagine what some of our answers would be to these trivia questions. These models are real women, with real lives, and every woman is capable and worthy of answering these questions. Everyone has an interesting answer.

Awesome, Editor. I’m digging it.

And then on the very first page of the magazine, the model listed her biggest strengths: Training polo ponies.

And her biggest weakness: Mac n’ cheese, Phish food ice cream.

I read that with incredulity, shouting, “Food could never be a personal weakness. That’s the same as saying breathing air is a weakness! Why are you vilifying appetite and food?”

But of course, none of that was the intention of this catalogue or the model. This idea of being weak around food is so ingrained in our culture people think it’s really true that food is their personal weakness. This model was giving an answer that was true for her, and that would be recognized by readers.

hr

When someone says that food is a weakness, what they usually mean is that they feel like they lose all control and willpower around this food. So really, they think they have a willpower problem, and this food is the culprit.

When I hear this logic, I hear distrust and suspicion of appetite. I hear fear of hunger.

They are afraid of being consumed by their hunger, that if they acknowledge it, they’ll never have control ever again. Or maybe they are afraid that there is not possible way for them to be sated, that they could never eat enough to be filled.

It’s hard to live life if you’re afraid of yourself.

You don’t have a willpower problem

I don’t believe that willpower even comes into the equation when we’re talking about food, weight, hunger, and nourishment.

I believe that the heart of these issues is desire, appetite, fulfillment, and trust.

Of course these issues are treacherous and tender. We’re talking about soul here.

hr

Feeling the icy kick, the endless waves
Reaching around my life, I moved my arms
And coughed, and in the end saw land.

Somebody, I suppose,
Remembering the medieval maxim,
Had tossed me in,
Had wanted me to learn to swim,

Not knowing that none of us, who ever came back
From that long lonely fall and frenzied rising,
Ever learned anything at all
About swimming, but only
How to put off, one by one,
Dreams and pity, love and grace, —
How to survive in any place.

- Mary Oliver, “The Swimming Lesson”

If I tell you you don’t have a willpower problem and call on you to eat whatever you want, whenever you feel like it, that’s me telling you that the ocean into which you’ve been unceremoniously dumped is actually not treacherous, that you’ve been wasting your time trying to swim, when you really should sink (and drown) into reality.

Instead, let’s take baby steps, with plenty of encouragement.

Who would you be without the thought?

Would you be willing to imagine that you don’t have a willpower problem?

You don’t have to believe it, you don’t have to know what comes next.

I’m only interested in knowing whether or not the idea even appeals to you.

Who would you be without thoughts of resisting your hunger? Who would you be if you trusted yourself to honor not only your physical hunger, but your emotional hunger as well? Who would you be without the idea of “bad” food and “good” food? Who would you be if you knew that what nourishes you has nutritional value?

How do these thoughts land for you? Exhilarating? Panic-inducing? We’ve had this paradigm for a long time, that the body somehow is not trustworthy, that if we don’t manage it it’ll run amok. It might seem safer to keep the “rules.”

hr

Wherever you are is ok. What’s true for you? Would you be interested in a reality where your hunger isn’t a weakness? Where your appetite isn’t threatening to derail the life you created? What would that look like for you?

How
Did the rose
Ever open its heart

And give to this world
All its
Beauty?

It felt the encouragement of light
Against its
Being,

Otherwise,
We all remain

Too

Frightened.

- Hafiz, “It Felt Love”

Could you think about your hunger for a little bit? Geneen Roth writes beautifully about food as a microcosm for life, and what might happen if you ate what you really needed when you were hungry:

The amount [of food] that you want is often not as much as your body wants. Ask yourself what you are feeling and why you want to eat more than your body needs. What is is that you want from food beyond its nourishing your body?

While it’s true that eating nourishes you visually, tactily, ofactorily, it does these best when you are hungry. When you are not hungry, you are using food “to glue your life together between hungers.”

What are you wanting from food? In an ideal world, what would that relationship look like? What are the roadblocks that stand in your way?

Take some time and think about what you want.

Desire isn’t about self-improvement, it’s not change, it’s not control.

It’s soul-making. How does food fit in? How does weakness fit in to desire? What does weakness around food really mean for you? Where did it come from?

How do you want to relate to hunger and desire?

Tell me. xo

Internet Inspiration – March 28, 2014

3.28.2014

Hilarious. I’m surprised no one did this sooner. Pride and Prejudice set to “Hungry Eyes.”

This is also hilarious, even though it’s a tease. A magician confuses dogs by making their treats disappear. Slightly related, an old video of a magician who very creatively gives people $100.

I really loved reading about this principal that tossed playground rules out the window and let kids do whatever they wanted at recess. It reminds me of the day I taught the crew kids I coach 3 assistes yoga moves and had them partner up. I was a little nervous because the assists were for deep backbends and arm balances, but the kids were so careful, so respectful of each others’ boundaries. It was marvelous to witness.

But the results spoke for themselves, he said. The students weren’t hurting themselves — in fact, they were so busy and physically active at recess that they returned to the classroom ready to learn. They came back vibrant and motivated, not agitated or annoyed.

Back to photoessays! This article juxtaposes iconic pictures of world landmarks against more… pedestrian views.

A beautiful story on the importance of saying what you really mean, rather than just reciting words.

Recently, an adult learner who is teaching her children the language in her home asked our Elders if they could teach her to tell her son that she loves him. They told her that we have no word for that. But, the learner insisted, I need to know because I never heard my parents say that to me, and I will not let my son grow up without hearing me tell him that I love him. The Elders asked her, What is it you really want to tell him? The learner was emotional at this point, her words had caught in her throat. Instead of speaking, she made a gesture with her arms of pulling someone closer to her, and then she closed her eyes and hugged her arms against her chest. Ohhh, one of the Elders exclaimed, Nowwe have a word for thatwakavar.

Australia and Antarctica are the only continents I haven’t visited. And I think Australia just creeped me out bigtime with their crazy-intense wildlife.

Sometimes “Let It Go” is BS

when let it go is BS

Sometimes, in our rush to “let it go” and be equanimous, like all the gurus tell us, we forget that some sh*t is just not ok.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had clients describe a problem, and they’re fixated on the fact that they are unable to get over something, and I sit listening with wide eyes as they describe an absolutely outrageous situation. They move on to lament about the fact that they can’t get their mind right, and I hurry to make the Time Out sign as quickly as I can so I can say:

Let me pause you right there. The reason you’re upset is because that entire situation is f*cking bullsh*t. You are not the problem here. Your reaction is not the problem here. I don’t want you to feel better. I want you to be pissed. What you’ve described is a nonsense situation, and it is not ok.

Can you relate?

hr

So I want to make a few distinctions. The first is the difference between your nature (primarily comprised of feelings) and your behavior. I think we often view them as one and the same. That’s where thoughts like, “If I eat good food, it means I’m a good person. If I eat bad food, I’m a bad person” come from.

Behavior can be controlled. Feelings cannot.

It’s not your job to judge your feelings. It’s not your job to call them wrong. It’s not an option for you to say, “Here are all these ‘bad’ emotions: shame, fear, anger, rage. I don’t want to feel those. Let me bury them.” Your job is to provide them a place to land.

We so often feel out of control because we’re trying to control the wrong thing. We try to control our feelings. We try to control our hunger, our anger, our sadness, our elation, our shame, our ecstasy, our desire. We put a story to the emotions before we have fully experienced them.

But the emotions must be borne, and they will express themselves somehow. If not in the body, in unwanted symptoms, behavior, and habit.

Feelings also can’t hurt other people.

If I’m angry at you, my anger is not what hurts you; my harsh, bitter words (behavior) could hurt you. My smack across your cheek (behavior) could hurt. The knife I use to stab you (behavior) might hurt. The silent treatment (behavior) could hurt you. But my anger is mine and and mine alone.

hr

So when someone hurts you, that’s a behavior over which they had control that hurt you. Your reaction starts with feelings, which are beyond your control. You don’t need to reciprocate their behavior; you need to allow yourself to feel what you need to feel. Bless those emotions.

Anger can bring clarity and strength. When we let ourselves feel the full force of our anger, the clarity we receive can be amazing. When we recognize, “this is what ticks me off, this is why, and this is how I need things to be different!” we can experience the relief that such clarity can bring.

- Anita Johnston, “Eating in the Light of the Moon”

You may need anger to remind you of your standards and your boundaries. Get angry! And THEN figure out why.

The Indian philosopher Krishnamurti said:

It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.

There is intelligence in anxiety. There is intelligence in anger.

hr

In terms of steps to take, the most important thing is to give yourself space and time.

  • Start to notice how it actually feels in your body. Get specific. Is your chest tight? Has your stomach dropped? Are your shoulders hunched? Really feel it. And call to the Divine, asking, “Is love available, even here?
  • And then decide whether or not there’s anything to “do.” As Liz Gilbert says, ”We must sincerely try to love all people. But when some people act like total dicks, love them only from a safe distance.”
  • Once you get clear on what bothered you, I highly recommend you make yourself a dammit list. As Havi beautifully says:

When you put stuff on your dammit list, you are practicing sovereignty.

You are reminding yourself that the things you know and want are important. That there is room in the world for your needs.

I love you, and I love your anger. You can love it too.