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Showing posts from 2019

Happy Solstice and 28 Days of Stillness

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Today was supposed to be the day my next book, "28 Days of Stillness," came out. However, based on some feedback I have gotten, it just isn't done. While "finishing" it, I had the feeling that it needed something more, but I wanted to be "done," and so I didn't listen. I pushed. I rushed. And now I need to take a step back, reassess, and start again.

This time of year is good for that. Winter
can feel so hard - the cold, the dark, the wet - but it can also be an opportunity, an invitation, to go within, to pause, and to find stillness.

I cannot offer you a new book today, but I can offer you this: an invitation. Spend some time today (the shortest of the year), in stillness. Allow what wants to be felt time to be felt. Allow what wants to come up, to come up. And allow what wants to be let go, to go.

Breathe. Trust. Allow. Stillness is perfect for this.  


28 Days of Kindness: Day 28

Shall we make a new rule of life... always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary?
--JM Barrie

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Live by a new rule. Practice kindness. 28 Days of Kindness.

Slow Down

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"Do less, enjoy it more."  --The Universe

It seems like everywhere I go in Seattle these days, I see one of these signs. SLOW. It has happened three times today and it isn't even noon.

My first inclination was to be annoyed. WHY are "they" (some anonymous they, probably the government) doing all of this road maintenance during the holiday season when "we" (all the rest of us who are not the government) are all trying to get sh** done?

But yesterday, while complaining silently to myself, another voice chimed in, Maybe it's not a hindrance, but a reminder...

A reminder to slow down, to take it easy, to enjoy.

A few years ago during "the holidays," I was feeling stressed out and overwhelmed. Instead of pushing myself, I decided to lie down and meditate for a few minutes. As I lay there breathing, The Universe sent me this little piece of wisdom, "Do less, enjoy it more."

Do less, enjoy it more. This became my motto for that holi…

28 Days of Kindess: Day 27

Simple kindness to one's self and all that lives  is the most powerful transformational force of all. 
--David R. Hawkins

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Be a force for good. Practice kindness. 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 26

No blame, be kind, love everything. 
--Terrance Keenan

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Love everything. Practice kindness. 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 25

Every generation is a life-and-death struggle between wisdom and ignorance,  and there is no guarantees wisdom is going to win.  We have to try to be as human as we can be,  and as kind as we can be, and detach from our need for results. 
--Peter Coyote

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Be as human as you can be. Practice kindness. 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 24

...[W]hen you're living your everyday life, be kind. Your job isn't to correct others. Just help the Holy Spirit clean up YOUR wrong mind by switching to your right mind, and then leave the rest to Him. 
--Gary Renard

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Switch to your right mind. Practice kindness. 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 23

Kindness is more important than wisdom,  and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom. --Theodore Rubin

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Find wisdom. Practice kindness. 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 22

Every kindness I received, small or big,  convinced me that there could never be enough of it in the world.  Kindness can change the lives of people. 
--Aung San Suu Kyi

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Want to change lives? Practice kindness. 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 21

It's hard to be in the world.  We can make it easier by being nicer to ourselves,  and then that kindness ripples outward. 
--Kate Caroll deGutes
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Want to make the world easier for yourself and others? Practice kindness. 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 20

The natural warmth that emerges when we experience pain includes all the heart qualities: love, compassion, gratitude, tenderness in any form. It also includes loneliness, sorrow, and the shakiness of fear. Before these vulnerable feelings harden, before the story lines kick in, these generally unwanted feelings are pregnant with kindness, with openness and caring. These feelings that we've become so accomplished at avoiding can soften us, can transform us.
--Pema Chodron
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Looking for transformation? Practice kindness. 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 19

In any moment you behave with loving-kindness, 
even when you don't feel like it, 
you have ascended, for that moment, to sainthood.
--Dan Millman
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Want to experience a moment of sainthood? Practice kindness. 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 18

A kind heart finds paradise everywhere.
--Alan Yuen
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Find paradise everywhere. Practice kindness. 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 17

My religion is very simple.  My religion is kindness.  
--The Dalai Lama
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Practice the religion of kindness. 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 16

Deal with the faults of others as gently [and kindly] as your own.
--Chinese proverb
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Learn to be kind to self and others with my twenty-eight day kindness challenge:
28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 15

No one could ever be unkind or withhold love unless they were first wracked with guilt and fear.

--Ken Wapnick

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Get the book here: 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 14

Kind words do not cost much.  Yet they accomplish much.

--Blaise Pascal

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Kindness is free; the book costs just $4.99! 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 13

Thank you God for showing me what it means to be kind,  for teaching me how to be kind and for filling my heart with kindness.

--A kindness prayer from The Universe

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Fill your heart with kindness. 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 12

'J'aurais du etre gentille,' I should have been more kind. 
That is something a person will never regret. 
You will never say to yourself when you are old,
'Ah, I wish I was not good to that person.'
You will never think that. 

--Khaled Hosseini

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Learn how to be more kind in the next twenty-eight days. 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 11

When given the choice between being right  or being kind, choose kind. 
--Wayne Dyer

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Want to learn how to choose kind? Practice with me in 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 10

Let no one ever come to you without leaving you better and happier. 
Be the living expression of God's kindness: 
kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile. 

--Mother Teresa

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I call this "the Kindness Creed." Make it yours. 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 9

Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. --Philo of Alexandria

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What battle are you fighting? Kindness can help. 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 8

The key to JOY is unconditional kindness to all life, including one's own, which we refer to as compassion. --B.J. (Betty) Eadie

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Want more JOY in YOUR life? Be kinder! 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 7

Before you speak, ask yourself: 
is it kind, is it necessary, is it true, 
does it improve on the silence? 
--Shirdi Sai Baba

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One of my favorite quotes of all time. Learn more about my experience with this quote and with kindness in my new book, 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 6

Being kind doesn't mean sacrificing yourself or putting yourself last or being unkind to yourself. It just means saying NO with kindness. --The Universe

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Want to practice saying NO with kindness? Practice with me in 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 5

Here's something I know to be true, 
although it's a little corny...
I'd say, as a goal in life, 
you could do worse than: 
Try to be kinder.  --George Saunders

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Want to try kinder? 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 4

Hurt people hurt people.  --From the movie, Greenberg

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Want to try kindness? Get 28 Days of Kindness.

28 Days of Kindness: Day 3

Be kind to yourself.  Do not harm others.  Purify your soul. 
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Want more kindness in your life? Try 28 Days of Kindness.


28 Days of Kindness: Day 2

Kindness is love in action. --The Universe
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Find even more kindness in my book 28 Days of Kindness, available now.


28 Days of Kindness: Day 1

May YOU be filled with lovingkindness May YOU be well May YOU be peaceful & at ease And may YOU be happy!  --The Metta Meditation, from the Tibetan Buddhist tradition  ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Find even more KINDNESS in my book, 28 Days of Kindness.

World Kindness Day & 28 Days of Kindness

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Today is World Kindness Day AND ALSO the birth-day of my new book, 28 Days of Kindness.

Four years ago I set a challenge for myself: practice kindness for twenty-eight days and see if it makes a difference in your life. Did it ever! As I focused on kindness, meditated on kindness, wrote about kindness, and practiced kindness in my daily life, I could literally feel the kindness in my world increase.

I want the same for you and today - World Kindness Day - is a fabulous day to begin!

What kindness practice can you commit to?

Can you commit one random act of kindness today? (See the World Kindness Day website for some ideas.) Can you commit to 28 Days of Kindness? Subscribe to my blog by entering your email in the sidebar, or follow me on Twitter (@be_and_become) or Facebook for the next four weeks. I will be posting kindness quotes every day to inspire you.

Want to go deeper? Pick up my book. Copies will be available for FREE if you live in Seattle in the Little Free Library on N 43rd S…

COMING SOON: 28 Days of Kindness!

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Today I am pleased to announce that my third book is coming soon! It will be published on November 13th in honor of World Kindness Day. This book has been a labor of love over the past four years and it is finally - FINALLY - finished. A slim volume, it is chalk full of inspiration for a kinder world. Based on my own 28-day kindness challenge, the book asks you to commit to kindness for twenty-eight days and then takes you on a journey to and through kindness. And, if you live in Seattle, a limited number of copies will be available for FREE. The location will be announced on November 13th so check back here for more info.

I hope you will enjoy it and that it will bring more kindness into your life!


Many Voices, Many Rooms: WRAP UP

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Summer is over, school has started and the sun is warming us a little less, which must mean it is time for my final summer reading, watching, and listening challenge post. Here are some highlights from the past 3 weeks:

BOOKS

The Color Purple by Alice Walker - I know I have read this before, but it jumped off of my bookshelf three weeks ago, and once I picked it up I couldn't put it down. In the back of the book Alice Walker thanks "everybody in this book for coming," and I don't believe I have ever read a book whose characters felt so true to life, as if they were channeled and not written. An amazing read.

Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail - I picked this book out of our Little Free Library months ago, but it never made it to the top of my stack until I started this challenge. What a shame. This is such a beautiful book. Told from the perspective of a journalist who joins a number of families from Cherán, Mexico on their journeys across the border f…

Many Voices, Many Rooms: UPDATE

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Quick update on my summer reading challenge, Many Voices, Many Rooms: Although I will be continuing to read, watch, and listen to diverse media during the last two weeks of summer, I am going to be take a hiatus from writing this blog for the next couple of weeks. I am taking some time off to enjoy the last days of summer AND, I am also in the process of finishing not one, but two, new books, which I will be self-publishing in early September.

I hope you will continue to think about reading, listening, and watching more widely -- and outside of your cultural comfort zone -- and I will publish a complete list of highlights from the last three weeks of the challenge in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, here are some wicked smart kids talking about why we need diverse books (and media!). Find out more at www.diversebooks.org.



Thanks for coming along with me on this journey and see you again soon!

Many Voices, Many Rooms: Week 8

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Highlights This Week

The first highlight this week is another "I'm late to the party" entry, Radiotopia's podcast Ear Hustle. Produced by Nigel Poor, a visual artist and now podcaster, who has been volunteering at California's San Quentin prison for eight years, and Earlonne Woods, an inmate at the prison, this podcast gives listeners a look "inside." The stories they tell are both shocking and sweet, and also important as we as a nation are forced to take a closer look at the inequities in all of our systems, including the penal system. No spoilers in this review, but season three includes a very happy ending for one of the inmates. A great listen.

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray -  Another entry this week about the penal system and its effect on a family. This is a hard read, covering a wide variety of difficult human issues including bulimia, infidelity, aging, divorce, fraud, betrayal, estrangement, and abuse, but with …

Many Voices, Many Rooms: Week 7

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Highlights of the Week 

Becoming by Michelle Obama - Like Crazy Rich Asians from last week's post, this is a book I had been "meaning to read," but had kind of put off because everyone I know was reading it (I am nothing if not a band-wagoner). While browsing the airport bookstore shelves, however, it leapt off the shelf demanding to be purchased. At first I was disappointed, the beginning chapters read like summary of my own life in a tight-knit family in Iowa. Little did I know this would soon make this book feel like a conversation I was having with an old friend. In the book Michelle talks about the instant affinity she felt for Iowans while on the campaign trail, "I was in Iowa, but I had the distinct feeling of being at home. Iowans, I was realizing were like Shieldses and Robinson. They didn't suffer fools. They didn't trust people who put on airs. They could sniff out a phony a mile away."
Soon, it became a book I couldn't put down. Her stru…

Many Voices, Many Rooms: Week 6

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Highlights of the Week
The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich - Years ago I read - and loved - Louise Erdrich's early books: Love Medicine, The Beet Queen, and The Crown of Columbus (written with her late husband), but it has been years since I picked up one of her books. Recently my mom gave me a copy of this book, the first in a series about an Ojibwa girl named Omakayas. A spare, beautiful tale of life lived in community and with family according to the seasons, this book makes clear how much was lost when the white man ("chimookoman") "discovered" this land. I have already downloaded the second book from the library. This is another book I can't wait to share with students.

Crazy Rich Asians - After hearing about it for the past year, I finally watched this movie on the plane ride home from Brazil last week -- I also watched a sweet Brazilian rom com that I wanted to include here, but I didn't write the name down and no matter how much I search I just …

Many Voices, Many Rooms: Week 5

Highlight of the Week

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz - The New York Times book review calls this, a “mesmerizing, poetic exploration of family, friendship, love and loss.” I call it a heart-warming read and a book I can’t wait to share with my students. From the acclaimed author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which I also read and loved, my favorite quote comes from the Dad (Vincente), “No extra credit for being a decent human being.” In other words: just be a decent human being. Great advice for these troubling times.

Other Highlights

Closer Than They Appear a podcast featuring Carvell Wallace - The tagline for this podcast is, “If America is an estranged family, this podcast is our awkward holiday dinner,” but I found it softer than that. At once honest and hopeful, I am going to let two quotes from the podcast speak for themselves:

     "Hate and anger are guard dogs to fear." --Carvell Wallace

     “That is the cha…

Many Voices, Many Rooms: Week 4

Highlight of the Week

This week’s highlight is the podcast “Tell Them, I AM,” which is about "the small moments that define who we are and who we are not" featuring all Muslim voices. My favorite is still the very first one I listened to, a story by Akbar Ahmed about a train journey that changed his life. The host, Misha Euceph, starts each episode with an anecdote from her own life and then lets her guests take it from there. Notable guests include Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development), Iqbal Theba (Glee and Community), and Tan France (Queer Eye), but some of the best stories are from people I had never heard of. Simply lovely.  Other Highlights

"Late Night" - written by and staring Mindy Kaling (The Office and The Mindy Project), and directed by Nisha Ganatra, Late Night deals directly, but also gently and with humor, with issues of racism, sexism and discrimination in the writers' room of a late night television show. Rogerebert.com describes it as…

Many Voices, Many Rooms: Week 3

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Highlight of the Week

The highlight this week is a podcast called "The Nod," dedicated to "telling the stories of Black life that don't get told anywhere else." Hosted by Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings, this podcast is sometimes funny, sometimes challenging, and always entertaining and educational. Some of my favorite episodes are: "One-On-One," in which a young woman tells the story of how she reinvents her relationship with her dad after she stops playing basketball; "Rapper's Dismay" tells the story of a fifteen year old boy who uses argumentative writing to shine a light on redlining and oppression in his community (during my student teaching I used this episode with my students and they were rapt); and any episode featuring the game "Six Degrees of Black Separation." Maybe the most stirring episode I listened to was, "I am a White Woman," a review of the movie "White Chicks." Uncomfortable and important,…

Many Voices, Many Rooms: Week 2

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Highlight of the Week

My number one highlight this week is, without a doubt, "The Parable of the Sower" by Octavia Butler. An African American Sci-Fi writer, Butler wrote this freakishly prescient book (The New Yorker describes it as, "Octavia Butler’s Prescient Vision of a Zealot Elected to 'Make AmericaGreat Again'") in 1993, but reading it feels like looking into our near future a few years before it happens. If you are a secondary ELA teacher, this is the perfect book to replace "1984", "The Handmaid's Tale," or any dystopian novel you normally teach. Featuring a young African American female hero you can't help but fall in love with and root for, this is one of the best books I have read in years.


Other Highlights

Always Be My Maybe - A heart-warming romcom starring Ali Wong and Randall Park, this movie earned a solid 91% on Rotten Tomatoes and was the perfect way to spend a vacation evening with my sister having a girl…

Many Voices, Many Rooms: Week 1

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This week I worked on decolonizing the stack of books beside my bed, my Netflix queue, and my podcast feed. Here is what I have been reading, watching, and listening to this week:

 Highlight of the Week

My reading, watching, listening highlight this week is the Netflix show “On My Block,” described on IMDB as,"A coming-of-age story about four bright, street-savvy friends navigating their way through high school in the gritty inner city of South Central Los Angeles.” This show features four excellent young actors and has a lot of heart. It’s not without its problems: the character called “Jasmine” plays into a lot of stereotypes about Latinas in the inner city and [spoiler alert] the fact that Jamal actually finds the Roller World money borders on the fantastical, but for me the importance of the show is summed up in one line from Cesar, “They don’t think we’re real. They think we’re a costume.” I believe that all evil that happens between humans starts with a dehumanizing of “the…

Many Voices, Many Rooms: A Multicultural Summer Reading, Watching, Listening Challenge

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I recently finished a graduate program in teaching (which is why you haven’t heard from me on the blog in awhile...) and will be graduating on June 16th with a Master in Teaching degree from Seattle University. One of the topics we covered was the desperate need in this country for a more inclusive, multicultural curriculum. As a white person, the need for representation in the curriculum was something I hadn’t had to think about before because my stories  - or at least the stories of my white male ancestors - were represented in the curriculum, but in order to engage students (ALL students), they need to see themselves in the curriculum, they need to hear their stories and the stories of their ancestors.

How do we do that? 

One of the things I have really been looking forward to about finishing this program (besides working with kids in schools) is the opportunity to read for pleasure again. I really miss picking up a good book and diving into another person’s world. As I perused my “…