Small acts of celebration

September 29, 2011

Sometimes your ego is ready for a good challenge – is all chipper and open-arms about uncomfortable conversations or your growing awareness that you’re scared of something – maybe the very thing you’re most wanting or needing to do – and are finding every reason to stall instead of doing it.

“Bring it on!” your ego says. “I can take it!”

And with the onslaught of that discomfort or that deepened awareness, your ego stands up, flexes, and muscles you off to new and wonderful places.

Sometimes, though – okay, maybe lots of the time – your ego has much less spunk. It feels more like a weary, wounded animal.

Like…for instance…mine right now. The very challenges that start the Rocky theme song going on my best days are leaving me rocking this week, hugging my knees.

So what to do on weeks like these?…especially when there’s still work to be done and checking out completely isn’t an option.

I get this image in my head of lists. Running lists, almost like ticker tape, of all the things that could help:

  • More sleep
  • Journaling
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • More greens
  • Gluten-free???
  • A cleaner house
  • A cleaner desk
  • A cleaner head space…

Which really all sound like this when I’m feeling this way:

  • Blah
  • Blah
  • Blah
  • Blah
  • Get your act together!!!
  • Blah

Not so trust-inducing, right?

And then this other image comes to mind of those little stickers given at American polling places that say simply, “I voted”. Only in my vision, they say things like, “I chose self kindness,” or “I put my arm around my f*$%ed-up-ness and walked lovingly like that for a while.”

Wouldn’t that be cool???

I see so many warm looks of knowing in that scene – person to person. High fives, too.

So if your ego is feeling weak right now, and you’re tempted to respond with self condemnation, or your numbing-out habit of choice, or by drawing up personal marching orders or referencing self-help articles or buffing up your to-do lists, maybe you…maybe WE…could consider something much more gentle, and ultimately, more conducive to the natural growth of trust.

Maybe we could do something completely counterintuitive in the face of our own glaring weakness and try some small act of celebration – a lighted candle, a container of berries all to ourselves, a paper crown created for our head – to honor the steps we’re trying to take – even if only on our good days – into trust.

Because they matter. Every single move into trust matters. All of them till and feed and shine warm light on trust’s soil.

Me? I’m going to go crack the cover on the first for-fun book that I’ve opened in nine months. I’d love to hear what small act you might choose!

If you’re new here, welcome! I post articles once each week that explore trust, and how to nurture more of it. Signing up for my rss feed is a great way to get a feel for what happens here. I used to devote each month to a different theme, so if you’re interested in seeing those themes and an annotated page of articles for each one, click here. Again, my warmest welcome!
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What even the choir needs to hear sometimes

September 21, 2011

Quick note: Many of you subscribed to receive Trust Notes only (rather than Trust Notes + blog posts) via email. I’m having technical difficulties getting you sorted from those who want blog posts as well. I’ll have this resolved soon, so this will be the last (and only) blog post you receive this way. Apologies for any inconvenience!

There is so much talk these days about the power of the mind. So many deep and thoughtful people from a wide array of disciplines speaking of our power to shape, with our minds, the physical and emotional and spiritual landscape of our time.

I’m so on board with lots of this! Our minds are immeasurably more powerful than we give them credit for being most of the time. I’m stunned, really, by their power!

And…I’m uncomfortable with the implications of some of these your-mind-is-so-powerful teachings.

In particular, I’m uncomfortable with the assumption that ignoring the “bad” stuff – difficult emotions, painful memories – will make them or their power go away.

And I’m uncomfortable with fear as a motivation for “positive thinking” – the fear that apart from rigidly-controlled positive/happy thoughts, we will unwittingly create lives and relationships and inner worlds that we really, truly don’t want. Or, to put it conversely, we will miss out on everything we DO want.

It is true that wallowing around in yuck will not translate immediately (or sometimes ever) into rainbows and sunbeams.

But I want to give voice to the power of listening attentively to our whole range of emotions and experiences. You may not be a power-of-the-mind disciple, but you may be an average human being who instinctually assumes that distancing yourself from whatever feels or looks or smells bad is your best route to happiness.

I’m here to testify to the opposite.

I want to testify to the transformative effects of welcoming, rather than pushing away, things like bitterness, jealousy, anger, lust, depression, shame, and difficult memories.

I have Big Stories I could tell about what happened when I opened myself up to my own rage and despair – both things from which I had walled myself off before my mid-20s – but for now I’ll speak more to the present:

My son just started kindergarten this month. And he’s having a rough go of it. By the end of some evenings, once he’s in bed and all the day’s processing with him is through, I leave his room with a ball of tension in my gut and a really heavy heart.

I have work to do – always more than I can finish in a day – and much of it is deeply, wonderfully nourishing: finishing my book and starting the next, writing posts, responding to heartfelt emails, working on new art and new projects.

There is a school of mind-power thought that would say follow my bliss into work. Leave worry behind. Know that I’m doing what I can to support my child, communicate with his teachers, brainstorm and debrief with my husband about everything, etc…so by all means, don’t waste energy feeling tense and heavy-hearted about how things are going on the kid front. If anything, envision good things for the kid, trust that they’ll come to fruition, rinse and repeat. (Rinse and repeat, goddammit!)

But you know what? I’ve discovered that actually sitting inside my feelings on purpose for a while reduces their power WAY more effectively than trying to ignore or rush past them.

So last night I did that. I sat inside of them and listened. And I realized that my tension is about a LOT of things. I feel vulnerable about the job I’ve done as a mom to prepare my kid for life and about striking a balance, in this particular season, between legitimate concern about my son’s struggles and a more can-do confidence that all of us – he AND we (my husband and I) can make our way through this well.

I feel worried that this much time and energy poured into this situation will make my work deadlines ever more impossible to reach. And who knows when this “leak” will stop?

And I have a tiny niggle of fear that we’ll eventually decide some sort of home-schooling is what we feel is best – fear because I can’t see how I can home school AND do the Trust Tending work I feel is mine to do.


Maybe it doesn’t sound like it, but what a liberating list that was to name! It doesn’t answer my short or long-term questions or POOF my child’s challenges away. But wow, I feel so much lighter just knowing what’s going on in me, and can situate my feelings inside much broader conversations not limited to my little life and time – conversations about feeling vulnerable as a parent, about navigating the tug of more than one area of life at once, about what sacrifice means and when it makes to sense to make some and why and for whom.

I’m living an archetypal story of 21st century America!

I’m so not alone!

My point isn’t that, though. My point is good heavens, I feel better having not ignored my feelings. And darned if the physical outflow of that looking won’t be more beautiful in the ways I want it to be beautiful than if I taped a happy face over everything.

So what if instead of fearing the power of dark thoughts, we used our minds’ power to create safe havens within ourselves to explore them. Maybe literally envisioning cocoons inside our hearts where we can sit before cozy fires, hot drinks in hand, and ask of our fear and laziness and depression and shame and lust and rage and whatever other thing we might otherwise try to ignore: What is it you’d like to say to me? What indispensable nourishment do you have for the Life of trust I want to live?

If you’re new here, welcome! I post articles once each week that explore trust, and how to nurture more of it. Signing up for my rss feed is a great way to get a feel for what happens here. I used to devote each month to a different theme, so if you’re interested in seeing those themes and an annotated page of articles for each one, click here. Again, my warmest welcome!
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New book, new notes & a hearty P.S.

September 15, 2011

Oh, you guys. I am so thick in the midst of tending trust this week. I’m working on projects that are out of my comfort zone and having waves of inner freak-outs washing over me, punctuated by all the moves I can pull to step into trust again, and again, and yet again. I feel like I’m in trust tending bootcamp!

Ze book

One of the projects that’s both in AND outside my comfort zone is a book I’m writing called “Trust tending and the internet: A resource for transforming the way you use the web”. I’m listening deeply to all the ways my time online triggers fear and pushes me into comparison games, compulsive behaviors, and feelings of overwhelm. And I’m writing about the magic of tending trust alongside those feelings. I laugh sometimes at how much I need this book, and I’m pouring all my love into every word and illustration, hoping it will cultivate trust well beyond my self.

If you’d like to be one of the first to have it delivered, free, to your inbox, sign up for Trust Notes in the sidebar of my site. (If you’re already subscribed to my email list, you’re all set – no need to resubscribe.) My plan is to send it out to subscribers first, for any feedback or kindnesses you wish to offer. Kindnesses, with links back to your sites, will be posted on the book’s about page so people who haven’t read it yet know what they’re in for; constructive feedback will help shape what I do with the book going forward.

So about these Trust Notes!

I’m looking for ways to connect more personally with you than this forum allows. I want to be able to tell you some of the simple, rough, raw moments of fear and trust I’m facing and invite the kinds of stories and feedback that don’t always get shared in public comments.

So in addition to my once-a-week post on the blog, I’m going to try sending out a once-a-week note to those who wish to receive it – sometimes a brief thought or meditation, sometimes a simple sketch, sometimes questions I’d love company in trying to answer. And little gifts of love and thank-you sometimes, too!

If you’re already signed up to receive blog posts, you’ll automatically receive Trust Notes. And if you’d like Trust Notes, but don’t need blog posts sent to your inbox (I’m this way with people in my rss feed), you can sign up for the notes in the sidebar and simply highlight “Trust Notes only” in the drop-down menu.

I am so thrilled to be on this ride with you. I feel myself and ALL of us joining a movement that’s so big and so hopeful, of people growing trust, week by week, day by day, minute by minute. People transforming our world.

I love you, and bow deeply to all you are and all you’re becoming,

P.S. I’m speaking at The World’s Biggest Summit and would love your support as I do! This is a free, online event, organized by Leonie of, where 100 inspiring teachers are offering words of wisdom. I’m thrilled to be joining people like Julia Cameron, SARK, Jennifer Louden, and Fabeku Fatunmise in sharing some of my light. I hope you’ll sign up and come!!

If you’re new here, welcome! I post articles once each week that explore trust, and how to nurture more of it. Signing up for my rss feed is a great way to get a feel for what happens here. I used to devote each month to a different theme, so if you’re interested in seeing those themes and an annotated page of articles for each one, click here. Again, my warmest welcome!
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Letter from the Universe

September 7, 2011

Dear you,

I think you’re fantastic.

And I’ve been thinking…you know how life feels complicated so much of the time? Full of so many things to think and feel and learn and shed and change and pursue and celebrate and grieve and wonder and decide?

Exhausting, right?

I have this idea for making things more simple.

What if as you look at your life – which includes the Big Picture of it, as well as the minutia, like what you ate today, or how, specifically, you’ve just spent time online: what if as you look at your life, you peel away your layer of angst about not doing things as well as you know they could be done?

Wouldn’t that feel good?

I’m talking about EVERYTHING here, too. About exercise. Self care. Boundaries with loved ones. Leadership. Finances. Spending habits. Eating habits. Meditation habits. Listening to your deeper self habits. The sorts of things you say or feel or do when you’re angry, tired, or blue.

What if in ALL such things, and everything beyond, you peeled away the layer of angst you have about not doing them as well as you know they could be done?

Because here’s what I see:

You’re doing exactly what you can right now. And always. And when you’re able to do something different (“better”, to use your worldview), you will.

You will!

You are not set in stone. Oh, so far from it! The habits and “weaknesses” that drive you crazy about yourself and all the ways you haven’t matured like you’d wish; all the lessons you’ve learned already and continue to struggle with again; all the commitments you’ve made and then broken, and then committed to again and broken again and again; all the ways you know your power, yet consistently play into smallness: it’s all good.

I’ll say that again: It’s all good.

It’s all folding into your life’s story, and as you continue to wake up, you’ll see how essential all of it is. All of it! How beautiful. How important.

How your very addictions, your very “laziness” (your word!), your very blocks and griefs and fight-or-flight responses – all the ways you’re YOU, rather than like any of the people you shame-facedly compare yourself to: these things are waking you up in ways you cannot fathom.

So as you continue to wake up and you see something you’d like to do differently, take the action you’re able to take. When you’re blocked by your mind or fears or addictions from taking action at all, take no action. Seriously!

But either way, peel back that layer of self judgment. Of angst about not measuring up. Of acid in your gut about doing (or not doing) it again.

Whenever and wherever you can, peel that layer back.

You really are fantastic, and there’s nothing wrong or defective about you or your “limitations” or your differences from all the folks you admire.

You are fantastic, and I love you dearly,

The Universe

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