Sunday, November 15, 2020

Quote from Jewel in her book "Never Broken"

"Happiness is not a perpetual state. It's not like saying, "I found Europe, I'm living in Europe now." You have to get happy with the process. To me, there's a real peace in accepting that, and being able to say life is never one thing. It's all things. The whole universe is expanding, stretching, tearing down, and creating, and we are made of the same stuff. We expand, contract, decay, and grow all at once. We are mirrors of the universe and the natural world and what created us. We are made like trees, with our roots firmly planted in the ground, and if we can see we are built to bend and give, then the winds of life will pass through our branches without breaking us. Some days it passes through with fury. Some days with a gentle caress. Each morning I wake up with gratitude that I can have the confidence to meet these ups and downs without being uprooted. The faith to step into pain when it comes and the courage to let it ravage me and pass through instead of hanging on to it and letting it tear me down. Life is ever-changing. What is consistent is knowing I am up for anything. That I am never broken." Jewel

Saturday, November 7, 2020

"Being a good person matters." Van Jones


"Well, it's easier to be a parent this morning. It's easier to be a dad. It's easier to tell your kids character matters. It matters. Tell them the truth matters. Being a good person matters. And it's easier for a whole lot of people. 

"If you're Muslim in this country, you don't have to worry if the president doesn't want you here. If you're an immigrant, you don't have to worry if the president is going to be happy to have your babies snatched away or send Dreamers back for no reason. 

"It's a vindication for a lot of people who have really suffered. You know 'I can't breathe'? You know, that wasn't just George Floyd. That was a lot of people who felt they couldn't breathe. 

"Every day you're waking up and you're getting these Tweets and you just don't know, and you go in the store and people who have been afraid to show their racism would get nastier and nastier to you and you're worried about your kids and you're worried about your sister. Can she just go to Walmart and get back in her car without somebody saying something to her. 

"And you spent so much of your life energy just trying to hold it together. And this is a big deal for us just to be able to get some peace and have a chance for a reset. 

"And the character of the country matters. 

"And being a good man matters. 

"You know, I just want my sons to look at this--look at this--you know... it's easier to do it the cheap way and get away with stuff but it comes back around. It comes back around. And it's a good thing for this country. 

"I'm sorry for the people who lost; for them it's not a good day. 

"But for a whole lotta people, it's a good day."

Van Jones

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Guidelines by Lisa Suhair Majaj


If they ask you what you are,
say Arab. If they flinch, don't react,
just remember your great-aunt's eyes.

If they ask you where you come from,
say Toledo. Detroit. Mission Viejo.
Fall Springs. Topeka. If they seem confused,

help them locate these places on a map,
then inquire casually, Where are you from?
Have you been here long? Do you like this country?

If they ask you what you eat,
don't dissemble. If garlic is your secret friend,
admit it. Likewise, crab cakes.

If they say you're not American,
don't pull out your personal,
wallet-sized flag. Instead, recall

the Bill of Rights. Mention the Constitution.
Wear democracy like a favorite garment:
comfortable, intimate.

If they wave newspapers in your face and shout,
stay calm. Remember everything they never learned.
Offer to take them to the library.

If they ask you if you're white, say it depends.
Say no. Say maybe. If appropriate, inquire,
Have you always been white, or is it recent?

If you take to the streets in protest,
link hands with whomever is beside you. 
Keep your eyes on the colonizer's maps, 

geography's twisted strands, the many colors
of struggle. No matter how far you've come, remember:
the starting line is always closer than you think.

If they ask how long you plan to stay, say forever.
Console them if they seem upset. Say, don't worry,
you'll get used to it. Say, we live here. How about you?

—Lisa Suhair Majaj

—Lisa Suhair Majaj

(Sent from my phone)

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

From the documentary “13th”

"People say all the time, 'well, I don't understand how people could have tolerated slavery?' 'How could they have made peace with that?' 'How could people have gone to a lynching and participated in that?' 'That's so crazy, if I was living at that time I would never have tolerated anything like that.'

And the truth is we are living in this time, and we are tolerating it."

Bryan Stevenson

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Bout time - haven't you been feeling this way too?

Musician Jippy Lad created this song, "Bout Damn Time (BLM)" about the rising change we're seeing today for the #blacklivesmatter movement. I've got chills, take a listen:

Friday, June 26, 2020

A quote from Jewel's book, Never Broken, on presence and mindfulness.

"At first it seemed impossible to notice my thoughts--they came and went too quickly and I was not attentive enough to slow them down and assess them while they were happening. Instead I watched my hands. My hands were the servants of my thoughts. They carried out the physical impulses going on unseen in my mind. I spent several days trying to be present and just witness what my hands had been doing. They had been stealing. They had been writing about all the bad things that had happened to me and that would surely happen again. They were hypervigilant in predicting the next bad thing that might happen, so that I might somehow avoid it. They obsessed over when I would become sick again. They dwelled on all the belongings I did not have. They were not engaging in the opportunity that lies in the present moment. If I couldn't change my thoughts, perhaps I could reverse engineer the process. If I changed what my hands did, perhaps that would force me to change my thoughts. I began to notice and write down how many doors I had opened for others in a day. Then I tried to open more doors than I had the previous day. I found myself holding a door open for strangers envy when I wasn't going into the building. I began to notice and look for others who needed help. Helping others helps you get over yourself and your own problems. Instead of staring down at my feet I would look someone in the eye. This would force myself to remember we were all connected and help me let go of the illusion that I was alone. These were all practices in being present. 

"Whether it's a trick or not, I managed to gain some power over my sense of perception--I could experience myself feeling in control of my life, feeling capable, not being a victim. And the more empowered I felt, the more empowered I allowed myself to be. And the more my confidence bubble grew... to allowing myself to look at the blue water and say, I'm okay, right now this very second. I don't know what will happen an hour from now, but in this moment I'm okay and have all I need. I learned that if I could get through second by second, if I could allow myself to experience that right here, right now, and then just sink into that moment and expand it, and let myself feel that, let the energy of that move through my body, let my tension and my tightness melt away, I actually felt some joy. Real joy."


Sunday, June 7, 2020

"We will not go back to normal..." by Sonya Renee Taylor

"We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction... we should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature."

~ Sonya Renee Taylor @sonyareneetaylor

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The "Should I check on my black friends right now?" decision guide... (Twitter discussion from Wikipedia Brown)

Really important post on Twitter from writer & professor, Wikipedia Brown, @eveewing:

can i be REAL awkward for a sec? the thing about “reach out and check on your black friends” is some of “your black friends” are not your friends. They are acquaintances or coworkers who have tolerated your complacency or participation in creating a hostile environment for years.

They do not want you to check on them. They don’t want to think about you or hear from you right now. They want you to read a book or do some soul-searching or whatever you need to do to not be so racist or just annoying and DRAINING.

Your well-intentioned outreach can come across as “wow I just kinda remembered you’re black and I saw on TV that some black people stuff is happening right now” and be actively emotionally and psychologically taxing.

If you’re reading this & you pause and wonder if you shouldn’t in fact email Leslie from accounts receivable and tell her that you can’t stop crying over the news and you’re praying for her and her family and for America to heal

play it safe, and don’t! Leave Leslie alone!

people in the replies who want a flow chart to determine if your black friends are REAL friends, acquaintances, a wrong number you dialed or just a person in front of you in line at the grocery store, I'm sorry I am not able to do that but I wish you the best. thoughts & prayers

doing mental gymnastics wondering if your black friend is really your friend after reading this thread

Willy Shakes
Did they not sometime cry 'All hail!' to me?

See full thread: 

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Small Kindnesses, by Danusha Laméris

I've been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say "bless you"
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. "Don't die," we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don't want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handling it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress 
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, "Here,
have my seat," "Go ahead--you first," "I like your hat."

Danusha Laméris

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Powerful quote by Rachel Camille Terrell / Richard Oscar Terrell

"It can be easy to assume that your worldview is everything that exists in the world and that something outside of your own experience isn't real, however, it's important to remember that there are ways of experiencing the world that you're not going to have any concept of and that if you aren't experiencing the world that way, you are not in a good place to judge the needs and difficulties of people who are. No one is making up labels for attention. The attention is not positive. No one is asking to have a life that is more difficult. If a person is going through the danger, discomfort, and difficulty of telling you or anyone that they are an identity that falls outside of the heteronormative range of acceptability, it's likely that it's a core part of who they are, important enough that pretending to be something else is more painful for them than all of the trouble that society is going to give them. Please, take it seriously. They are likely facing trouble on a lot of fronts. Please, at the very least, don't add to the trouble, and if you can do something to make their lives easier, choose to do that. If you want to have a conversation about someone's experience of gender, let it be a conversation, not a debate or an argument, and remember that no one is obligated to explain who they are to you either. If they are taking the time to talk you through it, listen, learn, and say thank you."*

By Rachel Camille Terrell / Richard Oscar Terrell 
*This was written in a post for the Stonewall Employee Affinity Group, which is a group that promotes inclusion and awareness of the LGBTQIAP+ community in the workplace.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Pep talk, by Erin Brook

"Pep talk from a singing teacher (me):

"I don’t know if you have talent. I don’t know what talent is. To me, talent is just desire. Do you want to do the thing? Does it make you feel sparkly? Great. That’s enough talent for me. Everything else is skill, and that I know about."

By Erynn Brook (@ErynnBrook)

(See full thread:

Saturday, February 22, 2020

From singer / songwriter Jewel on comparison for creatives

"Don't compare yourself with what's popular. Doing so is like one child comparing himself with another. Greatness is never achieved by trying to imitate the greatness of another. Greatness is hipping away at all that does not belong to you and then expressing yourself so truly that others can't help but recognize it. It is in silence that we discover ourselves. The silence and the unknown can be frightening, but with time it stops feeling like there is nothing there. The darkness and silence will begin to feel like a void in a positive sense--the womb of creation. It is the magical nothing that something is birthed from. Feed yourself a diet of great work, and then go away by yourself and listen alone to your soul speak to you. Silence will be your greatest teacher." Jewel, from her book "Never Broken: songs are only half the story"


Sunday, February 9, 2020

Quotes on Writing

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”
― Terry Pratchett

“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”
― Jodi Picoult

“If the book is true, it will find an audience that is meant to read it.”
— Wally Lamb

"If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die."
Mik Everett

“Don't be 'a writer'. Be writing.”
William Faulkner

“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
― Thomas Mann

“When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”
― Kurt Vonnegut

“A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it is to be God.”
― Sidney Sheldon

“Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the Internet.”
— Anonymous

“Writing is easy; all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead.”
— Gene Fowler

“We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little.”
— Anne Lamott

“Having been unpopular in high school is not just cause for book publication.”
— Fran Lebowitz

“There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, no one can agree what they are.”
— Somerset Maugham

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Skye, from Marc & Angel

"Once upon a time, an aging king knew the end of his life was nearing, and he decided it was time to designate a successor. Since he had sadly lost his wife and children in a terrible accident, he chose to pass the throne on to one lucky child. So he summoned children from every corner of his kingdom and asked them to visit the castle immediately.

When the children arrived, he gave each of them one little brown seed. "I want you to plant your seed, give it sunlight and water, and take good care of it," he said. "In exactly six months from today, return to the castle with the plant you've grown. The child who grows the most beautiful plant will be mentored by me to become the next king or queen!"

One of the lucky children who received a seed that day was a young girl named Skye. She immediately ran home and carefully planted her seed in a pot of nutrient-rich soil, and then placed it on a well-lit windowsill. Every day Skye watered and cared for her seed. A few weeks later several other children in her school began bragging about their beautiful plants, but Skye's pot was still empty. Despite her constant care, her seed hadn't grown at all.

Six months passed by quickly, and it was time for all the children to return to the castle to show the king the plant they had grown. Skye didn't want to go with her empty pot of soil, but her parents told her to be honest about her failure. Discouraged and dejected, Skye listened to her parents and returned to the castle. She stood quietly at the very back of the room where the king would be evaluating everyone's plants, and waited to be judged.

As the king entered the room he looked amazed to see so many beautiful plants. He then proceeded to walk from child to child admiring what they had grown. And the closer the king got to Skye, the more her eyes welled up with tears.

The king eventually stood before her and her empty pot of soil. "What is your name?" the king asked.

"Skye," she said with a whimper.

"Where is your plant, Skye?"

Hanging her head in humiliation, Skye took a deep breath and then looked up at the king and told the truth: "Your majesty, I planted the little brown seed you gave me in this pot, and I gave it plenty of sunshine and water every single day, but the seed did not grow at all. I have failed."

Suddenly, the king's voice thundered throughout the room, "Behold! My successor! Your next queen! Her name is Skye!"

Silence and confusion swept over the room as the king continued, "Six months ago, I gave everyone here a boiled brown seed that could not grow into a plant. Only Skye had the heart and courage to share the truth with me today. Soon enough, she will lead our kingdom very well!"


As friends, as family members, as teammates… too often we feel the need to lie about our experiences and accomplishments, simply to make ourselves appear bigger and better than we are. We believe that if we constantly show off the "beautiful plants" we've grown, others will love and respect us. But this is far from the truth (no pun intended).

When we share our truths openly and honestly, not only do we build the kind of trust that opens doors to deeper relationships and real opportunities, but we also make it easier for the people we spend our lives with to be more open and honest with us, which makes every moment together healthier and more peaceful."
-from Marc and Angel Hack Life blog

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

The key to a healthy personality is flexibility.

"If we were sailors navigating the world on the open seas, we would need to have a set of precisely tuned, highly sophisticated instruments in order to navigate effectively. Our navigational tools would need to be capable of swiftly adjusting to changing conditions (weather conditions, cargo weight, etc.). The same is true of our personalities. In other words, we must be able to adjust our reactions to the specific circumstances of each situation. This means our perceptions and interpretations of the world must not only be accurate, but also nuanced. This requires of our personalities a high degree of flexibility in order to take into account the special needs and circumstances of every unique situation we encounter. Each situation may need to be interpreted differently. Our reactions must be finely tuned and properly adjusted to precisely correspond with the unique demands of each individual situation. Unfortunately, people with personality disorders lack this essential flexibility, and respond to situations and events with a characteristically rigid constellation of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. This inflexibility, and difficulty forming nuanced responses, represents the primary difference between healthy and disordered personalities.

"The question remains, how do we account for this fundamental difference between healthy and unhealthy personalities? The answer seems to lie in the "navigational instruments." It appears that people with personality disorders are missing an important tool. Research by Fonagy and his colleagues (1996) found that people with personality disorders seem to lack a highly necessary skill called "mentalization." Mentalization refers to the ability to reflect upon the behaviors, internal states, and motivations of both ourselves and other people. The ability to mentalize may enable people with healthy personalities to adjust their behaviors to the differing demands of each unique situation. In other words, what permits this flexibility may be the capacity to reflect upon one's own behaviors and motivations, and to reflect upon the behaviors and motivations of others. Thus, the ability to mentalize permits an accurate assessment of each unique situation that renders an appropriate response for that situation."

Simone Hoermann, Ph.D., Corinne E. Zupanick, Psy.D. & Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

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