Things have been quiet on the blog, but not with me. It’s been a season of last minute homework, lost soccer socks, false starts, and a whole lot of noise (both outward and inward). The summer left me drained, and it’s taken longer than I thought to get filled up again. It was not, as I naively expected, a matter of pushing the “go” button once the kids got into school. Apparently, when you neglect self-care and slip into old habits it takes a while before you can sprint again. Go figure.
I am taking baby steps as I wade back into the process, and in the spirit of wholeheartedness, releasing the feelings of guilt and shame for not having written (#sorrynotsorry).
With that, my first post of the season is simply to share some of the things I've been reading/listening to as I navigate this terrain:
If you are already a fan of Brene Brown, then this book will feel familiar but still illuminating. I listened to the audio book and was surprised at how fast I got through it, but don’t be fooled by the length, the content is dense. After the recording was over, I actually went back to the beginning and started it all over again. I plan to buy the hard copy for reference, too. Be ready to face strong emotions, to cry, laugh, and possibly throw the book against the wall. (It’s okay, she gets it)
This is a collection of three different talks, “Pure Meditation,” “Good Medicine,” and “From Fear to Fearlessness.” This is my first experience with Pema Chodron, (where have I been?). I haven’t finished the whole thing yet, but already I have found tremendous lessons and practices. In particular, the practice of “Tonglin” has affected me deeply. Pema Chodron’s open and inviting style was exactly the kind of gentleness I needed to confront some of the things I have been struggling with. In that way, it feels like a natural compliment to Rising Strong. If Brene Brown is your straight talking favorite aunt who cheers you on in the arena, Pema Chodron is your wise grandmother who wraps a warm blanket around you and gives you hot chocolate while she tells you you’ve got it all wrong.
These are video tutorials from the amazing Martha Alderson, who I came to know through her plot whisperer books, blog, and community. These are two separate series, but they both deal with the “Universal Story”, one in figuring it out for your characters, the other for yourself. I have been watching them and doing them simultaneously (each video is about 5-20 minutes long) in the mornings as a way to get back into the routine of writing. The videos help me to be consistent and give me a boost to get a little bit done every day on projects that I’m passionate about but don’t have any deadlines or external expectations attached to them. It’s not always easy or fun to sit down and start writing, and it’s easy to put off writing that is “just for me”. Some days it feels almost impossible. But watching a video is easy, and usually, that ten minutes gives me the motivation I need to dig in.
Reading poetry is a spiritual practice, y’all. You will never convince me otherwise. Harjo is one of my favorite contemporary poets, and this collection was the first I read of her. In the way that sometimes great art, whether it be a book or a song, finds you at the exact right time and strikes the perfect emotional chord, this collection did for me. Revisiting it many years later is a soupy mix of nostalgia and epiphany. I wrote a song back then based on the poem, “Promise of Blue Horses,” and reading it now still makes me want to sing.
What are you reading right now? What are your go-to reads/listens for a spiritual lift?