For you, from me, with love - 2/12

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A blend of old and new offerings around and about that I've been dipping into this week, plus an announcement. Enjoy!

(Please note: Actions taken from hyperlinks on this blog may yield commissions for me.)

Oh, yes (the announcement!): I've got a Good News-letter! Each week I'll send you an awesome original photo, something cool to read/watch/listen to, and a quote to ponder. May I visit your inbox? Sign up here.

Give: Seeking a creative (and free) way to love on your significant other for Valentine's? Good Morning, Love is the co-brainchild of Winnie Kao (of the Your Turn Challenge).

Learn: Pee when you need too. (At least, that's my takeaway from Jill's much more eloquent post on self-compassion.)

Watch: A brand-spankin' new Simon's Cat, called "Butterflies."

Listen: On Being's Krista Tippett talks with poet Mary Oliver.

Eat: My #newrecipeaweek (that was so, so yummy): Grilled Aged Cheddar Cheese Sandwich with Pistachio-Sage Pesto.

Sing-a-long: I met Isaac Hayden in Nashville last week. Stunning voice. Mad guitar skills. Find him and his debut album here. And give one of my favs a listen:

Read: The Summer of Letting Go, by Gae Polisner.

Insight: From Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, by Mark Nepo.

In very real ways, we're drawn to what we need to learn. Often, it waits like a quiet blessing that we can easily ignore or just as easily open ourselves to, like that small wildflower. But for the soul to blossom, we must accept our deeper, humbler destiny. For the wildflower doesn't become rich or famous for blossoming. It doesn't live forever or become the greatest flower of all time. The wildflower's reward for trusting what it senses but doesn't yet know is to become what it was born to be — a flower whose inevitable place is realized in a small moment of Oneness, as it joins with elements that were here before it came alive and which will live on once it dies. This is the reward for every seed growing in the dark with no sense of what it will become. As a soul on Earth, this is all we can hope for, to feel the light and being of all time course through our veins while we blossom.

For you, from me, with love — 1/22

A blend of old and new offerings around and about the interwebs that I've been dipping into this week. Enjoy!

Street art in Colorado Springs photo credit Kirsten Akens 2014


Oh, yes: The Pleasure and Magic of Shared Silence

Read: The Your Turn Challenge Tumblr — after three days, we're up at more than 2,000 posts from people across the world. Go in (I've sent you to the archive page), find a few headlines that sound appealing and have a read.

Sing-a-long: Radio Romance's "You Comin Over"

Eat: Rosewater Shortbread, by 101 Cookbooks — how cute would these be in little bags for Valentine's Day?

Listen: Trapped in his body for 12 years, a man breaks free via NPR (after you listen to this short version, I recommend listening to the longer version on NPR's new radio show Invisibilia)

Watch: Undeveloped World War II Film Discovered

Learn: The Possibility in Blank Spaces: "If we choose to look beyond the emptiness, we will find something else entirely."

#TBT: Did you know you can clicker train cats? You can, and it's being done at Happy Cats Haven to help (some of the more difficult) stray felines find homes. Read my story here.

Plan: For creatives, entrepreneurs, small-biz owners, etc., one more week to sign up for the 2015 session of Cornerstone (this has been fantastic for me, seriously!)

Poetic Insight: "Blessing That Becomes Empty As It Goes," by Jan Richardson

This blessing keeps nothing for itself. You can find it by following the path of what it has let go, of what it has learned it can live without.

Say this blessing out loud a few times and you will hear the hollow places within it, how it echoes in a way that gives your voice back to you as if you had never heard it before.

Yet this blessing would not be mistaken for any other, as if, in its emptying, it had lost what makes it most itself.

It simply desires to have room enough to welcome what comes.

Today, it’s you.

So come and sit in this place made holy by its hollows. You think you have too much to do, too little time, too great a weight of responsibility that none but you can carry.

I tell you, lay it down. Just for a moment, if that’s what you can manage at first. Five minutes. Lift up your voice— in laughter, in weeping, it does not matter— and let it ring against these spacious walls.

Do this until you can hear the spaces within your own breathing. Do this until you can feel the hollow in your heart where something is letting go, where something is making way.

(This is my Day 4 contribution to the Your Turn Challenge. Read others' contributions and learn more here.)

For you, from me, with love — 1/15

Paris on my mind photo credit Kirsten Akens 2014

A blend of old and new things I've been dipping into this week. Enjoy!


Oh, yes: A love note from Mara Glatzel on meeting your own needs

Read: Give & Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, by Adam Grant (that's an affiliate link to the book there, just so you know)

Watch: "A Letter to My Dog: Exploring the Human Condition," by Andrea Gibson.

#TBT: My 2007 interview with Taylor Swift. She was adorable and chatty and, at the time, just 17. The final quote is my favorite.

Crowdfund: Esington Glass — the Ultimate Productivity Timer

Eat: 13 Virtuous Vegetable Soups by Food52

Learn: 30-Day Minimalism Challenge

Plan: For creatives, entrepreneurs, small-biz owners, etc., just a little more time to sign up for the 2015 session of Cornerstone

Poetic Insight: "Waking," by David Whyte (from Where Many Rivers Meet) (that's another affiliate link to the book there, just so you know)

Get up from your bed, go out from your house, follow the path you know so well, so well that you now see nothing and hear nothing unless something can cry loudly to you, and for you it seems even then no cry is louder than yours and in your own darkness cries have gone unheard as long as you can remember.

These are hard paths we tread but they are green and lined with leaf mould and we must love their contours as we love the body branching with its veins and tunnels of dark earth.

I know that sometimes your body is hard like a stone on a path that storms break over, embedded deeply into that something that you think is you, and you will not move while the voice all around tears the air and fills the sky with jagged light.

But sometimes unawares those sounds seem to descend as if kneeling down into you and you listen strangely caught as the terrible voice moving closer halts, and in the silence now arriving whispers

Get up, I depend on you utterly. Everything you need you had the moment before you were born.

(Note: Some of the links above lead to affiliate programs, for which I may receive benefits.)