Monthly Archives: December 2008

A three hour walk in the woods can solve almost any problem*

walk in the woods, Berkeley, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

Yesterday I had a little victory.

It was one of those days when all you want to do is crawl into bed, dive into work, take that pill, watch a movie, anything to distract you from the pain of your own thoughts. Anything to escape from your miserable self. When the sitter arrived and I knew I had three precious hours, I thought about what I wanted to do with it. Go shopping? Take a bath? Get back to work? Crawl into bed? Gravity was pulling me toward bed… the creamy pasta was kicking in, it was cold outside, a hot bath would be nice… But the wisest part of me was whispering even more loudly, You need to move your body. You need to walk. This is the only thing that will offer real healing.

The victory was that I listened.

I took myself to a pretty trail I had never hiked, made sure there were other cars in the parking lot (so as to avoid a stressful, creepy walk) and I promised myself one thing: that I would walk until something shifted in me. And then, when it shiifted, I would keep walking even further until I was dog tired and red cheeked and I knew for sure that my cells had been rearranged.

As I walked I remembered how natural it is for me to do this kind of thing, how much my spirit needs this to stay balanced and happy, and how I had somehow forgotten this fact in recent years. When I was kid and lived near the ocean, I would walk every night by myself to the beach for sunset. When I was a bit older and got my first mountain bike, I discovered that you could bicycle along the hard sand at low tide and get to the next town. I would ride and get hot chocolate at the cafe, my secret alone adventure. In college, crushed out on a boy who was an avid mountain biker, I cycled several hours every day in the hills in Santa Barbara trying to keep up with him. I would return scraped up and bruised, sweaty and very happy. (I never ended up getting the guy, he was gay it turns out! but we had great times together)

In coaching training, new coaches would often say to their clients, get out of your head and into your body! I loved it when one of my teachers remarked that your head is actually attached to your body, and being in your head is being in your body. As I walked I could see the inevitability of this, how moving my body so rhythmically and deliberately was literally moving around the stuck places in my brain. It took only 20 minutes before I felt better, but I happily walked for two more hours.

What’s my point, right? We all know this.

The trick is that little victory I pointed to earlier. The victory was in choosing this over the other. It was choosing self-care over all of the things I ought to have been doing. It was choosing the variety of self-care that my heart knew I needed, even though I didn’t initially feel like it. My gremlins wanted me to stay home and pay the bills, clean the house, you’re paying good money for this sitter for goodness sakes! The saddest part of me that gives up when things are hard, wanted to crawl into bed and hide for as long as possible. The unconscious part of me just wanted the distraction of shopping or work or bad tv.

Self-care comes in many different forms. Sometimes the best thing actually is to go to work and to be distracted by something bigger than you (or just different than you) Sometimes a hot bath and a juicy book is exactly the right medicine.

I am learning about the right medicine for me, the right tool for the right job. As I go into the new year, I am hoping to listen more to that wiser voice, and in the clamor that is sometimes my head, to be able to discern which voice is truly the most compassionate.

Happy Holidays + Ben video + winner of giveaway*

I’m feeling quiet these days so I will let Ben do the honors in wishing you all Happy Holidays! This is a video from Christmas eve when Ben entertained us all with his rockstar moves. Note that he is wearing little more than a set of striped Christmas socks.

Sending love and joy to everyone out there on the interwebs!

And the winner of the earrings from Michele Goldstein is Morgan who said, “Oh my! These are adorable… They are like Frida Kahlo, for ears. Love them.” Congratulations Morgan!

Oh, and in my hideout time I have been reading the most wonderful books. Here are some of them:

The Wishing Year: A House, a Man, My Soul A Memoir of Fulfilled Desire by Noelle Oxenhandler
Waiting for Daisy: A Tale of Two Continents, Three Religions, Five Infertility Doctors, an Oscar, an Atomic Bomb, a Rom by Peggy Orenstein.
Annie Leibovitz at Work by Annie Leibovitz
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

Giveaway! earrings by Michele Goldstein*

earrings by Michele Goldstein, Canon Rebel Xti

We have a great giveaway this week! These gorgeous earrings by the fabulous Michele Goldstein. I love how she mixes felt and glass in such colorful and creative ways. Definitely check out her holiday Bazaar here.

Giveaway Guidelines:
– You have until 9pm PST on Friday, December 19th to enter this giveaway.
– Just make a comment ON THIS POST to enter.
– One entry per person, please. (Just push “post” ONCE and wait a few seconds. The comment should appear)

following our art/heart

(via Laura)

Maggie Doyne is part of the superhero community and I wanted you all to know her. Her story is amazing and I encourage you to follow along as she continues to tell it.

Beckoning of Lovely

spools, Canon Rebel Xti

Someone named The The Ambassador of Lovely emailed me last night to share this video. You will be inspired by this. You will get teary and happy, and your heart will burst.

And you will probably want to make something.

P.S. The winner of the lovely flash bulb necklace is Rebecca who said, “Gawjus! I’m an aspiring photobug and would love to own this necklace. Thanks for the opportunity!”

pine cone magic

pine cone, Berkeley, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

Oh, I had so many things I was going to write about today and I threw them all out the window. All of them were thrown for the simplest of reasons: this pine cone that caught my eye today. It had fallen from the next door neighbor’s tree, and although that very same tree greets me every morning and every night, I had never fully examined until today. This one perfect pine cone gave me pause.

I rushed inside, pulled out my camera and started snapping. (I like to photograph something at that first moment I see it because It never looks quite the same after that) It is in that moment, suspended in time, in all its shockingly perfect beauty that I feel like I get a tiny glimpse through the veil, and poof! there it is, pine cone, as if I had never seen one in my entire life.

What am I pointing to? Perhaps the way that art helps us to see, or how every once in a while, when you’re not even expecting it, the world with throw you a little magic if you’re willing to catch it. I suspect that meditation helps increase our capacity for seeing our lives clearly, or maybe hiking in cool air or riding a horse? I don’t know.

All I know was that I was grateful for my little earthquake today. It shook me just enough to see what was right in front of me.

Flash bulb necklace giveaway*

Shutter Sisters necklace, photo by Kate Inglis Canon Rebel Xti

If you’ve been over at Shutter Sisters lately, you may have seen the pretty new flash bulb necklace! The design was inspired by the flash of a vintage camera, and was created from a collaboration between Blue Poppy Jewelry and Shutter Sisters. It’s perfect for all you shutterbugs out there.

Giveaway Guidelines:
– You have until 9pm PST on Wednesday, December 10th to enter this giveaway.
– Just make a comment ON THIS POST to enter.
– One entry per person, please. (Just push “post” ONCE and wait a few seconds. The comment should appear)

Happy Birthday Ben!

Ben, Berkeley, Canon Rebel Xti

Dear Ben,

You are two years old today! and what a gorgeous boy you are inside and out. I’m amazed at what you learn each day and the magic you bring to our lives. Just this morning you pointed to the corner of one of my paintings, to an indistinguishable smoosh of blue and yellow and orange, and said decidedly, “Buddha.”

We had a little party for you yesterday and even though you didn’t eat any birthday cake, you managed to find someone’s espresso cup and you shot it as fast you could. Most of it landed on your shirt (thank goodness) but the rest went down the hatch and you were pleased and punch. The taste of the elusive coffee mystery solved! You are an explorer.

You are all fire trucks and trains, airplanes and hot wheels these days. All boy through and through. The other day I let you sit in the driver’s seat of my friend’s minivan and you shouted gleefully, “On a plane! On a plane!” You also carry a key with you all the time. It’s a key to our house with a green rubber ring on it and you will scream if anyone tries to wrench it from you. You even sleep with it clenched in your tiny fist.

As I write this I wonder what kinds of things you would want to know about yourself if you read this 20 years from now. You are kind (doling out chips to everyone at the party) you are energetic (even without a shot of espresso) and you love the pretty ladies (but your current approach of tackling them and sitting down on them needs help). Nevertheless, you are incredibly charming and can work a room in seconds flat. You are also gentle.There’s a way you so kindly tell me to stop if I am bothering you or tickling you too much. You put your hand on mine, look me in the eyes and say, “Bye mama” and wave your little hand.

You just recently started to get opinionated about what you wear. Much to your parent’s dismay, your favorite onesie is a turquoise tie dye number with a big plasticized Harley Davidson logo on the front in orange. You LOVE this shirt and recently just said your first complete sentence after a long tantrum while trying to get you dressed. We couldn’t figure out if you were in pain or what you were so upset about, but at some point you led us to the washing machine, pointed to the Harley shirt and sputtered through exasperated tears, “This is the one!!!”

Ben, in your perfect world you’d have a key to every fire truck, car and minivan so you could sit in the cockpit and dream of flight (wearing your Harley shirt of course). For now, you have the key to our house, and dare I say it? our hearts.

As my friend Jen said so well, you’re the key holder.

Happy Birthday sweet Ben. We love you.

Shutter Sisters photo challenge + winner of giveaway*

Ben and his pal from the neighborhood, Berkeley, Canon Rebel Xti

My superhero photo challenge is up over at Shutter Sisters today along with a giveaway for a Superhero starburst necklace!

And speaking of giveaways, the winner of the Joy Spread the Word tee is Corinne who said, “Four of my favorite words . . . beautiful!”

growing pains

Rae Dunn mug, Canon Rebel Xti

These past few months have been full of growing pains. Ever since Squam really (where I was cracked open completely) I have been trying to put myself back together again. I knew what happened was big, but I wasn’t sure where to put that experience or what story to tell about it.

I still don’t know for sure. What I do know is that a new layer of vulnerability has opened up in me and my guess is that is a good thing, however uncomfortable it may feel. My hope is that I am carving out space for better, deeper and truer connection. This is the good news. The bad news is that it is painful! and not at all what I signed up for and my ego feels a bit crabby about it all.

Last week I spent a day with Kelly Rae on the eve of her moving to Seattle. We had a sweet girly afternoon shopping, having lunch and taking photos of each other on a street corner while men in trucks rolled by and whistled. It was fun and we laughed a lot… and while we ate lunch and she asked me how I was really doing, the tears rolled and tumbled and I couldn’t catch them fast enough and pretty soon i was crying in the middle of that pretty outdoor cafe and hoping nobody noticed. She held my words so gently that I felt sure a new layer of healing had happened right there on the spot. (thank you kelly)

At the end of the day we stopped by the Paper Source where I found some cardboard letters to glitterfy for a friend’s baby room and we commented on the beautiful Rae Dunn mugs.

Kelly: Don’t you love her stuff?
Me: She is one my all time favorites! Do you know she is local? I’ve met her several times over the years and she is lovely.


Me: You know what’s weird? Last week I found one of her mugs on the street, in perfect shape, just sitting in the middle of the sidewalk. It had a little tree on it and the word “Grow.” I took it home of course.
Kelly: And… it didn’t occur to you that it was a message from the universe?!!
Me: (smiling) Oh yeah…

Growing can often sneak up on you. You may not feel like it and it may seem like terrible timing and it might be against your will and it can be messy and vulerable, but the universe insists on it anyway. I’m noticing that the more I can trust that all of this opening up is creating space for more joy and richness, the more I can accept it with more grace and gratitude.

Where are you growing in your life right now?