Dropping into the body...

Week of dares to remember what a gift it can be to inhabit a body. 

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When was the last time you felt mud squishing through your toes or plunged your hand into a bag of rice?  It feels like days go by when the only thing we hold with intention is the steering wheel or our cell phones.  

When I saw a recent post from a wise yogi reminding us to drop into the sensations of the body, I immediately began to think of how to make a dare for all of us around doing just that.  

    As children we are constantly seeking out sensations of the body- running our hands along bumpy walls until they are buzzing with sensation, playing with silly putty and green slime- often getting into trouble for making a mess by sticking our hands into a lovely piece of cake.  

   As we grow and our heads fill with responsibilities, worries and thoughts we can sometimes even forget we have a body- unless it reminds us with some ache or discomfort.  

  So this week your dare is to drop into the body every day. 

Plunge your hands into a bag of rice.  

Find mud and sink your feet into it.  

Go out walking in wet grass at night with your bare feet.  

Use organic soap to make a lather in the sink- hold it up to your face and feel the tiny bubbles burst against your skin.  

Put your pajamas or your sheets into the freezer for 10 minutes, then put them on.  

Heat river stones in the oven and hold them on different places on your body.  

Run the fringe of a shawl along your legs.   

Lie on the grass and put your bare feet on the bark of a tree.  

How do you drop into the sensations of the body? Share your ideas with me and I will add them. Please let me know how it goes.  

Befriending Fear

Your weekly dare, wolves, and the surprising appearance of my inner amazon...

a case for fear....  I am on the road headed south to Mission Wolf, an off the grid self, self- sustaining sanctuary for rescued wolves.  We are travelling south in a 1990's Suburban trailing a pop-up camper I am using my visit to a misunderstood animal to explore a misunderstood emotion. I have awary love and appreciation for the fear that has kept me alive all of these years..The very same gem of an emotion by proxy has kept my children alive. How could I not be grateful? I love fear. It has always been a good friend- maybe too good at times- but always faithful.  I hate it when I hear people say.  "oh if only I could get over my fear I would ......" Stop there. This will probably never happen. Fear is part of our design. Some of us carry more than others but we all have it and it is good. Yet when we don't have a good relationship with fear it can easily be used to control us. The corporate giants are making a killing off of unchecked fear- they would have many of us staying inside safe, watching TV-, nurturing more fear. While the self-help industry would have us buying books to conquer our fear and achieve our dreams. It is as clichéd as it sounds and anyone who tries it ends up feeling defeated. Fear is an underdog of emotions- but one that cannot just be banished or conquered.. I know I am not the first writer to propose that we should get over expecting fear to go away. (If anyone knows of another writer I should credit here just let me know). If fear is just another aspect of ourselves maybewe can collaborate? Get conversational? Interview our fear?  Maybe strike a compromise? So here is your dare for this week Conversation moves energy and brings clarity. So this weeks dare is something you can do with another person.    Befriending Fear: your weekly dare... Write a list of ten non-life threatening fears you have. Describe them. Why are they fears? What do you think could happen? are they standing between you and something that you want? Ask a friend to do the same and discuss the list. It could end here. This would be a great inquiry. As I write I am thinking of the talking trees in the wizard of OZ moaning their ominous warnings to frighten away trespassers in the Witches forest. As soon as Dorothy engages them in conversation they change their tune and apologize. It's a cute scene but the message is more profound. When we examine what we are afraid of we find it changes. Like the truths a few blog posts back, things look different when we pull them out of the shadow and shine consciousness on them.  Good then. Done.  But,  if you've been following this blog for a while you know there is often a double dare. So here it is.  This week's double dare: Act Anyway Trade lists with your partner and choose something off of their list. Dare each other to do one thing that scares you. Just one. Do the same without a partner. Make a date to get together again and talk about how it went. A musician friend of mine, Xanthe Alexis,  says that fear is a gage she uses to measure what is worth doing.  I adore this perspective. I spent an evening recently with her friend stuffing 250 envelopes with her labor of love- a full length album of original music and a one page press kit- these were to be sent to radio stations around the globe. She had danced with so much terror to get to that moment. With a stable career as a holistic healer, a lovely home and two children still at home- she still chose to be unreasonable and choose her vision over comfort. Fear never left. Several tears were shed as we stuffed those envelopes at the vulnerability of this act- but she just kept going. Each envelope represented the possibility of rejection along with the possibility ofsuccess. A link to her music can be found at the bottom of this post.  There are so many things I have been afraid of and lived through. I was scared to be onstage performing as a musician in front of people, I was afraid to become a parent, I was afraid to teach for the entire first year and even beyond that. I am afraid now as I begin this new project of writing and daring. But all of these things have been worth doing and I can't imagine my life without the richness that they have brought to it. Being afraid and acting anyway changes us a little each time we do it.   Back to my adventure;  the trip itself seemed to be a even more relevant to this post than I had initially intended. As if the universe were a sentient presence- with perhaps even a sense of humor. Fear said, I heard you were looking for me... I got more than my share of fear to write about. While first night was heavenly,  we arrived late Thursday night at the Well Hot Springs just as they were closing down to the public. With our fee to stay the night at the RV lot on the property we were given free access to the pools all night. It was pure magic to bathe in the warm mineral waters looking up at the stars with perfect quiet all around us.The next day we made our way over to the beautiful Pueblo Reservoir. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we pulled the kayaks off of the car. We sent the kids off in the boats over to the other beach and rented a couple of paddle boards. It was my first time on a stand up paddle board. I paddled over to my daughter Evalina and we went over to explore the opposite shore. Its soft clay disc rocks like wet bars of ivory soap. I felt a light wind and looked up in its direction to see that beyond the shimmering sunlight on the water- there was an angry pinkish purple sky.  I glanced in the other direction and saw our friends at a the opposite shore about a mile down from thedock site. We hopped back on to our vessels and made our way across as thewind was picking up. The wind was becoming so intense that it practically slammed us into the opposite shore and spit a massive gulp of water into the hull of the kayak. On shore we contemplated what to do. The wind was beating our boats against the rocks. We tried dragging them along theshore for a while, but the soapy clay rocks disintegrated beneath our feet giving way to a suctioning clay whichmade progress slow. We thought of calling the marina to ask for a boat to come and rescue us but there was minimal service on the only phone we took with us.    I looked at my daughter Evalina's face and she was smiling- almost laughing,  What?! I am again reminded what an amazing being she is. Her attitude changed everything. I realized that rather than being frustrated, she was treating the situation withcuriosity and humor. I took inspiration from her as I often do. My heart is just filled with love and awe for this girl, even as I write this.   We finally reached a cove that provided a smallish wind shelter. We shored the paddle boards there. A wild thought occurred to me then. Nothing creative - just a a rising ferocity bubbling up from the stew of my DNA. Maybe i can lick this storm. GGGRRRRRAAAA.!!!! I lifted the kayak and poured out the water yet again. I plunked it in the water and started to paddle. The first few attemptsslammed me back onto theshore, but I dug in my paddle and pushed hard against the mud. Then I just started paddled like a maniac against thewind. RAWR! I loved this warrior feeling rising up in me. My deltoids were burning, my core deeply engaged as a solid mass. (I should not here, I visit a gym occasionally- but I am NOT an athlete- I actually had to look up the names of the muscles i thought I was using).  My arms would get tired and the instinct to want to rest would kick in, but the second I did the wind began to push me back toshore. So i pushed past the it- all of it. At some point I found I was vocalizing- so I decided to go with it... howling, laughing, swearing, beating the storm at its own game. I was loving it. I saw my friend behind me doing the same. Hell yeah,  I thought. We found our inner amazon women. Finally reaching the shore was so satisfying.  I felt fierce. Wet and muddy we all got back in the car and began to make our way towards the wolf sanctuary- we had lost two or three hours and it was beginning to get dark and fear decided to hang out a little longer. A missed turn brought us deeper and deeper into the a healthy dense forest somewhere in southern Colorado. I mama bear an cub peeked out from the road, an owl hooted but no howling of wolves. We were definitely lost. Really lost. All cell phone reception gone we finally had no choice but to set up camp in an unsanctioned clearing in this mystery forest. But we could do this...of course we could. Our inner amazons never left us.  All night the wind whipped against the rickety aluminum supports of the tent and we wondered if bears could smell traces of our dinner. It was a restless nigh,t but the morning revealed the most amazing green and lush pine forest and a meadow full of vibrant Colorado wildflowers. Nearby a lovely little creek cascaded into a glittering clear bow shaped lake. This was a part of Colorado I had never seen in my twenty years of living here. Again, says this journey. Rewards abound on the other side of scary. - The wolves were the least scary and most beautiful leg of our journey. We arrived at 2pm in the lush plains that house the mission wolf sanctuary. On our tour we got to walk through the spacious hills that housed these most beautiful creatures. Wolves are shy. They mostly want nothing to do withhumans. The last thing they want to do is tear us apart as fairy tales and Hollywood movies would have us believe. We also learned that re-introducing wolves to thewild could stimulate the tropic cycle that could literally save the environment. The rare wolves that demonstrate an affinity towards humans are designated as "ambassador wolves". Their job is to teach the human visitors that wolves are not the enemy. After a brief lesson on wolf communication behavior we were allowed to enter the wolf area with another group of visitors, the youngest of which was a cute little green eyed girl of four. We were told to keep our eyes open and smile as the wolves way of greeting is to smell our teeth. There were four wolves, two black pups, an adult grey male and Timber-wolf- dog mix female who had just lost her mate. The interaction with humans was part of the healing process from her grief. Thewolves were active and excited as a group of high school students had just chopped up their anticipated meal- a cow from a nearby ranch that had been hit by a car.  While all of the visitors waited patiently for a chance totouch one of these majestic animals, the wolves went directly for the little girl. The wolves see children as pups- not ameal. our guide explained. The little girl laughed and reached her hands into the animals fur. He sniffed her face and sauntered on to meet the other humans. It is so clear and easy to see that these beautiful creatures pose no threat to humans. We need only understand them to see that they are an asset to the land we share a powerful ally in the effort to heal the environment. As we walked back to our campsite, the compounds lone wolf- Max began a low howl, another soon joined and yet another and another until the environs blossomed into a symphony of wild mournful sound.( I've included a sound file of it at the end of this post.) I felt warm gratitude and peace in every cell of my body- and I am left with the most perfect of metaphors. Could understanding and cooperation turn fearful things into an allies? All the while, throughout this trip i was re-reading Madeline L'Engle's A Swiftly Tilting Planet. The story of a young boy taking a journey in time to find th "might have been" that could save his world. I realize that without the presence of Echthroi- the visceral enemy, that is constantly threatening to throw theyoung hero off of his unicorn into eternity- there is no story. The Ecthroi really are the generators of the entire plotline- reminding us again that no story worth reading is devoid of fear. Our lives are are like that. Allowing in fear can change our narrative from mundane routine to adventure. So here is my request. I am searching for guest bloggers out of those who are participating in The Truth and Dare Project. If you could interview your fear self, what would it say? How would the conversation go? What happened when you wrote down your fears, shared them? Did you do the double dare? What happened? Write to me at sarah@souldaring.com I will include your stories here on the blog.           . Send me evidence, reactions, anything at sarah@souldaring.com

a case for fear.... 

I am on the road headed south to Mission Wolf, an off the grid self, self- sustaining sanctuary for rescued wolves. 

We are travelling south in a 1990's Suburban trailing a pop-up camper

I am using my visit to a misunderstood animal to explore a misunderstood emotion. I have awary love and appreciation for the fear that has kept me alive all of these years..The very same gem of an emotion by proxy has kept my children alive. How could I not be grateful? I love fear. It has always been a good friend- maybe too good at times- but always faithful. 

I hate it when I hear people say. 

"oh if only I could get over my fear I would ......" Stop there. This will probably never happen. Fear is part of our design. Some of us carry more than others but we all have it and it is good.

Yet when we don't have a good relationship with fear it can easily be used to control us. The corporate giants are making a killing off of unchecked fear- they would have many of us staying inside safe, watching TV-, nurturing more fear. While the self-help industry would have us buying books to conquer our fear and achieve our dreams. It is as clichéd as it sounds and anyone who tries it ends up feeling defeated.

Fear is an underdog of emotions- but one that cannot just be banished or conquered.. I know I am not the first writer to propose that we should get over expecting fear to go away. (If anyone knows of another writer I should credit here just let me know).

If fear is just another aspect of ourselves maybewe can collaborate? Get conversational? Interview our fear?  Maybe strike a compromise? So here is your dare for this week

Conversation moves energy and brings clarity. So this weeks dare is something you can do with another person. 

 

Befriending Fear: your weekly dare...

Write a list of ten non-life threatening fears you have.

Describe them. Why are they fears? What do you think could happen? are they standing between you and something that you want?

Ask a friend to do the same and discuss the list.

It could end here. This would be a great inquiry. As I write I am thinking of the talking trees in the wizard of OZ moaning their ominous warnings to frighten away trespassers in the Witches forest. As soon as Dorothy engages them in conversation they change their tune and apologize. It's a cute scene but the message is more profound. When we examine what we are afraid of we find it changes. Like the truths a few blog posts back, things look different when we pull them out of the shadow and shine consciousness on them. 

Good then. Done. 

But,  if you've been following this blog for a while you know there is often a double dare. So here it is. 

This week's double dare: Act Anyway

Trade lists with your partner and choose something off of their list. Dare each other to do one thing that scares you. Just one.

Do the same without a partner. Make a date to get together again and talk about how it went.

A musician friend of mine, Xanthe Alexis,  says that fear is a gage she uses to measure what is worth doing. 

I adore this perspective. I spent an evening recently with her friend stuffing 250 envelopes with her labor of love- a full length album of original music and a one page press kit- these were to be sent to radio stations around the globe. She had danced with so much terror to get to that moment. With a stable career as a holistic healer, a lovely home and two children still at home- she still chose to be unreasonable and choose her vision over comfort. Fear never left. Several tears were shed as we stuffed those envelopes at the vulnerability of this act- but she just kept going. Each envelope represented the possibility of rejection along with the possibility ofsuccess. A link to her music can be found at the bottom of this post.

 There are so many things I have been afraid of and lived through. I was scared to be onstage performing as a musician in front of people, I was afraid to become a parent, I was afraid to teach for the entire first year and even beyond that. I am afraid now as I begin this new project of writing and daring. But all of these things have been worth doing and I can't imagine my life without the richness that they have brought to it. Being afraid and acting anyway changes us a little each time we do it.

  Back to my adventure;  the trip itself seemed to be a even more relevant to this post than I had initially intended.

As if the universe were a sentient presence- with perhaps even a sense of humor. Fear said, I heard you were looking for me... I got more than my share of fear to write about.

While first night was heavenly,  we arrived late Thursday night at the Well Hot Springs just as they were closing down to the public. With our fee to stay the night at the RV lot on the property we were given free access to the pools all night. It was pure magic to bathe in the warm mineral waters looking up at the stars with perfect quiet all around us.The next day we made our way over to the beautiful Pueblo Reservoir. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we pulled the kayaks off of the car. We sent the kids off in the boats over to the other beach and rented a couple of paddle boards. It was my first time on a stand up paddle board. I paddled over to my daughter Evalina and we went over to explore the opposite shore. Its soft clay disc rocks like wet bars of ivory soap. I felt a light wind and looked up in its direction to see that beyond the shimmering sunlight on the water- there was an angry pinkish purple sky.  I glanced in the other direction and saw our friends at a the opposite shore about a mile down from thedock site. We hopped back on to our vessels and made our way across as thewind was picking up. The wind was becoming so intense that it practically slammed us into the opposite shore and spit a massive gulp of water into the hull of the kayak. On shore we contemplated what to do. The wind was beating our boats against the rocks. We tried dragging them along theshore for a while, but the soapy clay rocks disintegrated beneath our feet giving way to a suctioning clay whichmade progress slow. We thought of calling the marina to ask for a boat to come and rescue us but there was minimal service on the only phone we took with us.

   I looked at my daughter Evalina's face and she was smiling- almost laughing,  What?! I am again reminded what an amazing being she is. Her attitude changed everything. I realized that rather than being frustrated, she was treating the situation withcuriosity and humor. I took inspiration from her as I often do. My heart is just filled with love and awe for this girl, even as I write this.

  We finally reached a cove that provided a smallish wind shelter. We shored the paddle boards there. A wild thought occurred to me then. Nothing creative - just a a rising ferocity bubbling up from the stew of my DNA. Maybe i can lick this storm. GGGRRRRRAAAA.!!!!

I lifted the kayak and poured out the water yet again. I plunked it in the water and started to paddle. The first few attemptsslammed me back onto theshore, but I dug in my paddle and pushed hard against the mud. Then I just started paddled like a maniac against thewind. RAWR! I loved this warrior feeling rising up in me. My deltoids were burning, my core deeply engaged as a solid mass. (I should not here, I visit a gym occasionally- but I am NOT an athlete- I actually had to look up the names of the muscles i thought I was using).  My arms would get tired and the instinct to want to rest would kick in, but the second I did the wind began to push me back toshore. So i pushed past the it- all of it. At some point I found I was vocalizing- so I decided to go with it... howling, laughing, swearing, beating the storm at its own game. I was loving it. I saw my friend behind me doing the same. Hell yeah,  I thought. We found our inner amazon women. Finally reaching the shore was so satisfying.  I felt fierce.

Wet and muddy we all got back in the car and began to make our way towards the wolf sanctuary- we had lost two or three hours and it was beginning to get dark and fear decided to hang out a little longer. A missed turn brought us deeper and deeper into the a healthy dense forest somewhere in southern Colorado. I mama bear an cub peeked out from the road, an owl hooted but no howling of wolves. We were definitely lost. Really lost. All cell phone reception gone we finally had no choice but to set up camp in an unsanctioned clearing in this mystery forest. But we could do this...of course we could. Our inner amazons never left us.  All night the wind whipped against the rickety aluminum supports of the tent and we wondered if bears could smell traces of our dinner. It was a restless nigh,t but the morning revealed the most amazing green and lush pine forest and a meadow full of vibrant Colorado wildflowers. Nearby a lovely little creek cascaded into a glittering clear bow shaped lake. This was a part of Colorado I had never seen in my twenty years of living here. Again, says this journey. Rewards abound on the other side of scary.

- The wolves were the least scary and most beautiful leg of our journey. We arrived at 2pm in the lush plains that house the mission wolf sanctuary. On our tour we got to walk through the spacious hills that housed these most beautiful creatures. Wolves are shy. They mostly want nothing to do withhumans. The last thing they want to do is tear us apart as fairy tales and Hollywood movies would have us believe. We also learned that re-introducing wolves to thewild could stimulate the tropic cycle that could literally save the environment. The rare wolves that demonstrate an affinity towards humans are designated as "ambassador wolves". Their job is to teach the human visitors that wolves are not the enemy. After a brief lesson on wolf communication behavior we were allowed to enter the wolf area with another group of visitors, the youngest of which was a cute little green eyed girl of four. We were told to keep our eyes open and smile as the wolves way of greeting is to smell our teeth. There were four wolves, two black pups, an adult grey male and Timber-wolf- dog mix female who had just lost her mate. The interaction with humans was part of the healing process from her grief. Thewolves were active and excited as a group of high school students had just chopped up their anticipated meal- a cow from a nearby ranch that had been hit by a car.  While all of the visitors waited patiently for a chance totouch one of these majestic animals, the wolves went directly for the little girl. The wolves see children as pups- not ameal. our guide explained. The little girl laughed and reached her hands into the animals fur. He sniffed her face and sauntered on to meet the other humans. It is so clear and easy to see that these beautiful creatures pose no threat to humans. We need only understand them to see that they are an asset to the land we share a powerful ally in the effort to heal the environment.

As we walked back to our campsite, the compounds lone wolf- Max began a low howl, another soon joined and yet another and another until the environs blossomed into a symphony of wild mournful sound.( I've included a sound file of it at the end of this post.) I felt warm gratitude and peace in every cell of my body- and I am left with the most perfect of metaphors. Could understanding and cooperation turn fearful things into an allies?

All the while, throughout this trip i was re-reading Madeline L'Engle's A Swiftly Tilting Planet. The story of a young boy taking a journey in time to find th "might have been" that could save his world. I realize that without the presence of Echthroi- the visceral enemy, that is constantly threatening to throw theyoung hero off of his unicorn into eternity- there is no story. The Ecthroi really are the generators of the entire plotline- reminding us again that no story worth reading is devoid of fear. Our lives are are like that. Allowing in fear can change our narrative from mundane routine to adventure.

So here is my request. I am searching for guest bloggers out of those who are participating in The Truth and Dare Project. If you could interview your fear self, what would it say? How would the conversation go? What happened when you wrote down your fears, shared them? Did you do the double dare? What happened? Write to me at sarah@souldaring.com I will include your stories here on the blog.

 

 

 

 

 

.

Send me evidence, reactions, anything at sarah@souldaring.com

sentient universe.jpg

I Ain't Sorry

Today’s dare is a both big and small

 

camille

 

So big it could change the fabric of consciousness if it were to spread far enough.Yet it is also as small as the flap of a butterfly wing… it is a quiet warrior of a dare.It is harder than you may think and has more impact than you can imagine…

 Today I dare you to omit the word sorry from your vocabulary for the entire weekend.

Double dare: I dare you to omit the word sorry for a week- for a month…?

Giving up the word "sorry" is a hard dare. Fear Not. There are replacement words for sorry. We can thank my clever friend Szaz for the following public service announcement to help us with this dare.

  PSA:

The word sorry and all of its derivatives has been cancelled. SORRY

Replacement Options Include:

    A) Surprise!

   B) You're welcome?

   C) Thank you

I have been testing out this dare for a few days now and I can attest that it is a sleeper hit. It is harder than it may seem at first. It maybe harder for some than others.This weekend with a group of friends, I practiced cancelling sorry. Some of the conversations that ensued were hilarious.

-          I threw up on your shirt… SURPRISE!

-          I ran over your foot with my bike!… You’re welcome??

-          I ate all of your olives!.... THANK YOU, they were so good.

  We played with this for a long time conversing about what it would mean to omit “sorry” from your vocabulary. It would definitely have an impact on the fabric of meaning. If you accidently bumped in to someone’s cart at the grocery story- surprise!.... challenged someone’s belief… you’re welcome?

   The same day I wrote this, I accidentally forgot to tell a friend that I could not make it over for a movie night she invited me to. When I realized this, I felt awful. I could not say "Sorry", but I was naturally contrite. Because I couldn't say or use the word ‘sorry’, all I could do was own my part in it and tell her how I was feeling. The conversation went like this:

          "I completely forgot to tell you I couldn't come to over tonight!   I hope you still love me... Ilove you!"

   The challenge deepened my connection to the experience, and tell a rather- new friend how I felt.

        I am not saying on any level that I am against apologizing. I love apologies- I would even go so far as to say I crave them.  They are the verbal equivalent of “rinsing or showering” – if they are sincere. But...

.How would you change things if you couldn’t just say ‘sorry’?”

  We would have to become more mindful around what we do and less eager to blame when there is no fault. Apology can be overused. We tend to apologize for things we shouldn’t be sorry for. We can even an unconscious energy of apology simply being or getting basic needs met . I am sorry Ineed help… I am sorry I can’t do this alone.  Being apologetic can block us from getting what we want- or feeling that we are worthy of it. .

ajanotsorry.JPG

"Sorry" can be dangerous. There is a hungry, clumsy energy that hovers around this word sometimes. "Sorry" can also permit a certain carelessness that actually dismisses or passes over the truth behind an issue. I am proposing that we try to shake things up. Shake up the energy around apology with a little fast for apology.

  I am challenging you to give up the word for a few days to stir up new energy in your life. While you are at it, get clear on where you feel apologetic and have nothing to be sorry for, it will create space to clear on where you truly need to seek forgiveness and where you do not.

 

 

 

 

 

#notsorry

So tell me…

What are you not sorry for? send me pics, journal entries, comments or essays at or even apply as a guest blogger sarah@souldaring.com

Also be sure to check thecommunity folder for participants notsorry pics.

Here are ten things I am not sorry for:

I am not sorry for having a human body

I am not sorry for being a female- and everything that goes with it

I am not sorry for having an impact in the world

I am not sorry for needing help

I am not sorry for NOT needing help

I am not sorry for taking time for myself

I am not sorry for not having money and for having money

I am not sorry that I want to be ridiculously happy

 

matt chmielarczyk
miette notsorry

Lights out...honey, sea salt...and the magic of presence.

Your weekly dare

lightsout

This week’s dare is rich and delicious… possibly even... sexy?

I will explain, but to do so I will have to weave together a series of events that co-created yet another masterpiece of a dare. I had written this dare when I first began the souldaring project, but it morphed-as dares do. Over time it took on a life of its' own. The beauty of souldaring is actually contained in this statement;  This is what happens; you do something-, in your way, because it is your life- so it looks different. Life is not linear or predictable. When you change one thing, something else happens- you get an idea-you see something you didn't before, and the adventure begins.

If you are busy, like me, you may not want the whole story- you may just want your weekly dare. I get it. So here it is. Reading on is optional- but you knew that.

Dare number 3:

This week I dare you to have a no-technology night.

That is, turn off all phones, computers, and televisions in the house.

Double dare: Turn off the lights too- using only candles.  (highly-highly recommended)

 

 I will be joining you joyfully, because I already know how good this one is.

 You see, back in June my aunt, Aunt Honey, had a stroke. She was in a coma- and would not recover.

 My first thought was throw some clean clothes into a backpack and drive to Montana- just to be near- be with the family, but the fifteen-hour drive was too much to pull off at the time.

 Still I wanted to connect with her somehow. I wanted to find a way to hold a space in my heart while she was in this in-between place. I took inspiration from a clever artist and dear friend, Marina Eckler, who used only candles to light her house for the entire month after her father passed. I loved this idea-an meaningful dedicated and private vigil. I knew it was the perfect way to honor my aunt.

 I told my daughter and husband about the idea and they agreed. Surprisingly, Evie, my -tech-savvy teen daughter, was especially into the idea and decided to come home early to be a part of it.

 Matt made a fire in the back yard, and I filled the house with candles. I didn’t know exactly what we would do. The though of no distractions seemed both peaceful and lovely and a little vulnerable and scary somehow. I don't know why.

 Sometime during the preparation it occurred to me that it would be nice to enjoy some of my Aunt Honey’s favorite foods. The problem was, most of the foods I remember her loving- were fresh seafood. Our family always gathered at the family home on Cape Cod where seafood was abundantly available. In landlocked-Colorado, fresh clams, lobster, and crab cakes are not easy to find or afford- plus it isn’t really the same to eat these things without the smell of the ocean and the sound of distant seagulls.

Seafood was not going to happen- but I did have a more literal tribute; raw honey from local bees. I have a vague memory of eating homemade vanilla ice cream with honey drizzled on top- I don't know if this was something I did with my Aunt or not- but it seemed a fitting choice. I sent Evie to the store to pick up some Haagen Dazs vanilla and stashed it in the freezer for later.

 As the sun went down, we quietly put away our phones shut down our devices and sat by the fire. We rolled through phases of talking and silence- easily noticing the change in light and outlandish phases of the sunset- drinking in the moment where the sun disappeared behind the tallest peak that towers above our town. There have never been words that I find adequate to describe the Colorado sunsets-or any sunsets- suffice to say that they are twice as good without distractions- or even the temptation to want to hold on- or grasp the untenable with a photograph.  

Although I did not see her often in my adult life- I was able to share some of the things I loved about my Aunt Honey with my husband and daughter, many of which were the impressions of a child- rather innocent and curious. Here is my Aunt as a child.

 And here are some of the things I really loved about her.        

  • She was a classic beauty- with Honey colored hair and fine features- yet she did not appear to spend a great deal of time on her appearance- no need really. She would simply comb her hair put on a summer shift or linen pants and pull a hot pink bougainvillea from the bush at the side of the house to put in her hair before dinner.
  • In the 1950’s portrait of my fathers’ family in the dining room of the Cape Cod summer house she is young – maybe 12- she is wearing high waisted pinstriped gray pants. There is a look of savvy, relaxed defiance on her face. Even then, she seemed ahead of her time.
  •   She never spoke in hushed tones-not even around the children as the other adults did. She swore frequently and openly used inappropriate words, if they best served the story she was telling at the time. As a child, I adored her for this- as I hated to be talked down to. She never did that to me.
  • She was a brassy raconteuse, Matt likens her to Judy Garland later in life- smart, sassy, sharp-witted and classy with signs of hard-living but obvious charm. She was anything but demure- even when women were expected to be.
  • She was very capable person-, a professional woman with a stylish modern house we used to visit in Fort Lauderdale. My sister remembers her as a strong person.
  • But the most fascinating and probably my favorite trait was the fact that never tried to hide her shadow material. She openly admitted her mistakes in her life- shared her misadventures, owned her vices, and told things like they were. She was BRAVE AS F*CK- and no matter where she is I will always honor and admire her for that- and I know not everyone did.

   After sharing memories and watching the sky and the fire for a while, we decided to make the sundaes. Evie and I pulled out the vanilla ice cream and honey by candlelight and spooned them into bowls. While drizzling the honey over ice cream ( a beautiful sight by candle light) I spotted some pink Himalayan Sea Salt and decided to sprinkle a little over the top of the sundaes. The result was –delicious. So so good.

honey pink salt sundae

  Maybe it was twice as good without distractions- maybe not.

I do know that removal of technology and even lights gave this personal little memorial some impact.

Later a friend of Evie’s dropped by. He came to the back yard and sat down and said-

“Evie said I could come by if I left my phone in the car… I’m down with that”

 We all sat by the fire for a while longer. Matt played the mandolin and we talked about Tolkien and science. Evie said- I guess- this is what you do when you don’t have your phone- you talk about books and science.

After a while, Evie and her friend left. Matt and I put out the fire and most of the candles. Two of the larger ones we took to our bedroom.

Here is the mild TMI I mentioned so…. Consider yourself warned.

We found ourselves feeling very connected- a side-effect of the removal of distraction.

With not enough light to even read by, we had nothing in the way of intimacy.

The result was...-umm… amazing marital relations.

 It seems we found the sexiest thing we had was... presence.

Sexier than a drawer full of lingerie... we had the magic of presence.

Full intentional presence- is, perhaps the best aphrodisiac I have ever experienced.

If I could wrap it and sell it or write a little jingle maybe...

"Everything is better with presence..."

"Give them all a little dab of presence

"Or (said in a husky female voice)... presence... put it on before you put on anything else- your man WILL notice.

or for guys...

"I don't always use presence...but when I do, the ladies find me irresistible."

"The power of presence."

 I know I am being silly now. But this dare reminds us, that simple and real presence is so so good. and it is free.

I also know I am not reinventing anything here. The Buddhists, Sufists and Yogis have been saying this for thousands of years. I did not invent presence. I just found it again, buried in a closet- and remembered once again its' magic. Presence is "the wheel" of traits- a design that cannot be improved upon.

  Brene Brown has encouraged tapping into the concept of daring- and before her, generations of adolescents playing Truth or Dare. I also know I did not invent daring. The idea is that of tapping into a forgotten power and the beauty of these simple things is that each human manifests them differently. 

   We have had a couple of subsequent no tech nights since then. We have invited friends over (not to our bedroom, of course!). We’ve played instruments, we’ve laid down and looked at the stars- things we might do while camping but we never left the house.

   I hope you enjoy your no-tech/no-lights dare. I would love to hear your stories, thoughts, ideas, or revelations. Tomorrow is our next no-tech night (Matt does not know- he is out of town) – maybe you are somewhere sharing the experience. Tell me about it.

 

P.S.

Yesterday we photographed the honey-vanilla sundae for this blog post with the help an artist friend, Sophia Rose. We recreated the sundae for the image. Because the pink sea salt was so pretty I used a lot of it for the photograph- maybe too much. After the photos were finished, we ate the sundae together. I thought I may have added too much salt for it to be tasty. But I was wrong- it was amazing- mmm out-loud good.

The Honey Sundae was like my aunt; unique, sweet, layered, lovely and maybe a bit too salty for some. But not for me. 

Aunt Honey Sundae

1 scoop vanilla HaagenDazs Ice Cream

drizzle of raw local honey

sprinkle of pink Himalayan sea salt

 

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Memorial  Stone for Aunt Honey

I dare you to climb a tree today.

Write to me. Tell me how it felt. Send me pics. 

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Today I woke up, got my coffee and began to write my daily to-do list, when the feeling washed over me that there was nothing more important I could do today than climb a tree. 

    With the recent news of the death of the Great Barrier Reef on my mind, there is a temptation to fall into despair. Yet- there is another force that calls; the vibrant green of the newest leaves against the rich dark of the older leaves,  the rustle like glittering coins, the exploding scent of the Lindens-. 

    Maybe I will set the to-do list aside and dust off the childlike friendship with nature- Not the mature hiking, backpacking relationship of adulthood- but the one of awe, danger, imagination and bewilderment.

 There is really nothing on this to-do list that is more important than that. It occurs to me that if we can find that innocent relationship with nature we can allow the earth to help us remember how to take care of her. 

Climb a tree with me today. Send me a picture, a story, a poem. Share this post- dare 10 friends. If you cannot physically climb a tree, lean your body against one- linger there. Find the innocence that runs beneath knowledge. Play. 

Dare to check your privilege

Last Wednesday I took a break from writing to go to Sprouts, a grocery store that has great organic produce. There are a few reasons I chose this store, the staff is always friendly, they make a practice of hiring staff with developmental challenges, and they have great sales on Wednesdays. Even though I have a good job, I still live paycheck to paycheck and seek out deals where I can find them.

       It was about 95 degrees that day and when I got to the store I was really really thirsty. I grabbed my cart and headed towards the refrigerators. I scanned the delicious array of drinks in glass bottles and selected a lime coconut sparkling water with probiotics. mmmmm I was so ready to end my thirst with thisdrink. I was getting ready to open it with the intention of paying for it when I got to the counter- when a jarring thought occurred to me. What if I were a black man right now instead of the white woman that I am? I froze. If that were true, I would definitely not open this bottle without having paid for it first. I certainly wouldn't assume that people would give me the benefit of the doubt assuming I was going to pay for it. When I was a child an adult in my family probably taught me that this was an acceptable practice. -but I imagine that other children, especially those of color, did not get the same message. I had never really thought about it before.

       Even if I were a black man making ten times the salary of the salary that I do, I still wouldn't feel entitled to open that bottle in the store. This realization shook me to the core and I gently put the bottle down. For the duration of my shopping trip I considered my thirst and the mild discomfort of it. It felt like an important discomfort- the beginning of something. -Perhaps it was a small act of conscious disequilibrium.

      Back in April of this year, I met John B. Smith, a renowned civil rights activist one of the pioneers of the influential Invaders movement of the 60's. I was invited by a friend to provide music for the an event for Smith's latest project- in which he is inviting people to tell the true stories of lynchings in this country. This is a beautiful and terrifying invitation for all of us to face the shadows and the beastly cruelty in our own history. I asked my profoundly talented friend Aja Black of the pro-social hip-hop band The Reminders and my equally talented friend Harriet- of the solo project, I am Harriet to this with me. We created a hybrid of the Bob Marley's' "No Woman No Cry" and the Beatles "Let it Be." Then the speakers came out and one by one told the true stories of lynching, courageously relaying the most horrific cruelties imaginable. Everyone was in the audience was crying. The pain in my heart was almost unbearable- no wonder we don't want to hide from these things- but we know we can't. I felt heavy and inadequate.

     I tried to raise my children as kind and equitable beings. When they asked if we could sing the gospel song "Swing Low", we first agreed that we must try to understand cultural appropriation, and know that that song was sung by people whose reality was so terrible that they were wishing for the mercy of death. I taught them about the difficulty of being a woman in the world, and the realities of rape and violence against women but I never sat them down and talked to them about the lynchings on the south- nor the concentration camps on our own soil for Japanese Americans during WW1. I imagine that the reality in other households is probably different- especially in households where there are children of races that have been victims of oppression. Do they have to learn about potential prejudice before ever even going to school? Probably.

     During the presentation John B. told us if the incident in which he was accused of stealing his own gas cap as maybe the defining moment of injustice that finally turned him into the bold activist he became. This event and the painful awareness of the sea of dark violence and cruelty in our history makes me feel inadequate to begin to try to reach past the invisible lines. He looked directly at me with so much genuine compassion and said simply, "You just have to. You are a good person. You can do it. White people have guilt about the past and black people have anger. We can't let it keep us apart." 

          YESSSSS! 100 times over. I want to do something, anything- yet already I am worried about the response to this post. I have journalist friends who claim they wouldn't dare write about race or racial issues, and many have suggested that I don't try to either. Perhaps doing this will be early career suicide- but I can't live like a coward. I could never be proud of myself or be a good example for my children if I tucked these feelings away to stay safe and comfortable. I promise that I know there is much more to it and much more to be done to address this monumental issue, but we have to start somewhere. We all have privileges and disadvantages be it economic, racial, social, physical, age related, emotional or otherwise.         

      My daughter who is now 19 grew up with a leg deformity and has had several painful surgeries and procedures to correct it over the course of her life. This year, her senior year in high school, she had another corrective surgery which again put her in a wheel chair after several years of enjoying relatively normal ambulation. During this time she experienced things differently. Many of the changes were positive, people wanted to help carry her books or get through difficult doorways or over curbs. While her leg often hurt, her elevator pass gave her the chance to meet a friend in the elevator who didn't have a left leg. She had to concentrate on the content of her courses through the haze of medication, like many others do on a daily basis. Although it didn't characterize her daily experience, she definitely experienced discrimination. Once while in a retail store that she loved and frequented often the shopkeeper scowled at her and said "Don't knock anything over." and then muttered under her breath "if you do you won''t be able to afford to replace it." My daughter had shopped there many times before without a visible handicap and the staff had been friendly and eager to help. This was an eye opening experience for her.

      The interesting thing about this time in history- when we have an elitist president in office who blatantly and publicly favors the rich- we are acutely aware of the ways that oppression has crossed racial lines. It may become even more obvious once the health care bill begins to manifest. This disillusionment, I believe, puts us in a unique position to try even harder to understand one another and connect. Indeed many people are already doing just that.

       This truth and dare project has been my way to engage with the world in ways I haven't before. Again, I invite you to come with me. I make no promises, and offer nothing. I don't even know what will happen, but I could use some company on the journey.

Dare to check your privilege

1. Today when you go out imagine you are a different race, or gender. Check in with that before everything you do. How is it different? Can you even know. Write it down.

2.Do the same thing as above but imagine you are a transgender or gender neutral. How would things be different then?

3.Do the same imagining you are handicapped, in a wheelchair or without one of your limbs.

4.Ride the bus- if you don't normally. Talk to someone if you can.

5.Share your lunch with a homeless person. Sit down with them and talk.

6.Try leaving your wallet at home. Instead take only $10 dollars with you. Double dare: take only $5.

7.Read the memoir of someone who has experienced a brain injury.

8.Have a meal at a homeless shelter or soup kitchen, bring your children or a niece or nephew.

9.Read the story of a lynching out loud to anyone who lives with you.

10.Ask anyone over 70 if they remember the civil rights movement talk about it. Listen only and ask questions.

11.Have an evening dedicated to talking about one of the types of oppression this country has seen. Do it weekly.

12. Try going for 3 days without changing your clothing.

13. Leave your jacket at home on a day you would normally wear one.

14. Pick something that you use daily... give it up for the day.

15. Eat a meal that comes from a can. Double dare.  Eat it cold.

These are only a few ideas. Please share more if you have them. Give me your feedback- thispost feels lonely and scary. So if you feel like chiming in, comments are enabled, I'd love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

John B. Smith in Colorado Springs

John B. Smith in Colorado Springs

Daring Truths

 

     Earlier this summer I confessed to a friend that I want for this truth and dare project to be big- really, really big with a million or more followers. I use the word confess here because saying something like this feels totally unreasonable- delusional even, as I imagine it does to many other dreamers. Anyway, this friend is someone I admire for being very honest- even to a fault. I told her I I had considered that if I dared to create this movement and it caught-on, I would likely face a rash of criticism.  I asked her how I could "practice" dealing with negative feedback and being criticized.

     Being a good friend and a brassy loud-mouth from Ireland who actually loves me deeply, she was happy to oblige. We set up a sacred space of love and acceptance between us. My heart was racing with fear just as it has when I climbed to the top of Bishops Castle last summer. I wondered if it wasn't too late to back out. Funny, I thought to myself, that I would have the same level of fear at being confronted with criticism that I had at the prospect of falling to my death. I considered this for a moment and laughed out loud and then I dove straight in to the conversation. I did my best to consider everything she said without scrambling to defend myself. I heard about my dorkiness, my safe and guarded behavior, my less than stellar rhythm and a bit more and I found that... I liked it!  A lot. The fear... the living through it. All of it felt very alive and new. Rather than feeling less loved I felt more loved. Crazy!

     I spent the rest the day spelunking in my psyche. I put a microscope to my emotional triggers and asked myself why these things bothered me.  I behaved as a field researcher- an archeologist in my the shadow caves of my inner universe. Then I started poking and prodding at things to see how they would respond to light. 

      At the very top of the list of my emotional triggers sat the queen herself. Gossip; The idea of people might say bad things or untrue things about me behind my back. This was a big thing in the world I grew up in,- talking about people the minute they left the room. Sometimes it would be in a sappy-pitying tone other times just plain ridicule and judgement. It always made me uncomfortable because I knew that they would do it to me too- just as soon as I left the room. As an adult, I carefully curated my community to be full of sincere and honest friends so I had all but forgotten about this old trigger cut. 

     Earlier in the year, I found out that my sister had been talking about me behind my back to our father. I was enraged. ENRAGED. To me, it was the absolute worst thing she could do to me. I was so furious that I blocked her on facebook and cut her out of my life completely- I even blocked her number- refusing to receive any communication from her whatsoever. I thought it would solve the hurt that I felt, but honestly it did not. It was stressful and painful and came at a great cost to me. Yet, I was so self-righteous and convinced of the justness of my stance that I stayed in that unpleasant muck for months. I was sad and lonely, I still loved my sister despite the betrayal- and it felt terrible.

    Now I was asking myself Why did I care so much? -The easy answer was that she had disrespected me and betrayed me in a cowardly way by talking about me when I wasn't even there to defend myself. Certainly, I could garner a lot of support for that position, and I found a plethora of that kind of support by collecting Pinterest meme quotes. But that answer did nothing but help to fortify the position that was already making me suffer- so I looked deeper. The vulnerable truth beneath it all was that I just wanted my dad to love me. My mother and I have had a long history of problems getting along, but my dad always seemed to 'get me'. At the time I felt that she was interfering with my right to be loved by the one parent who still talks to me. Now I was onto something, I thought. This was the truth of my inner-child, the vulnerable being inside that just wants to be loved and accepted. Yes yes yes! So painful and so true. 

   Since I had some time on my hands I kept asking questions, kept venturing ever deeper into the narrow tunnels of my ego. Did I just want to be loved by my dad or did I want to be loved and validated by everyone?  I found the latter to be true and it felt vulnerable and real. I both liked and disliked this naked feeling. I thought, I don't like gossip or to be disliked so I manipulate the way others see me by always trying to put my best foot forward. Aha!! THIS! . This was something true but shameful,- something I would try to hide from anyone else at all costs. It was the verbal equivalent of an ugly-selfie.

     Inspired by the introspective author Glennon Doyle and her book Love Warrior, I did something very daring and strange.

     Rather than hiding this unattractive thing about myself from people- I decided to do the exact opposite. I posted it on facebook.

truth: A big fear I have is that people will gossip or say bad things about me behind my back. Why? Because it deprives me of the right to manipulate how others see me.

OOHmygoodness. When I hit post I felt like I had jumped off a cliff. A social cliff.  I was breathless for a moment. I had to leave my phone at home and go for a walk to prevent myself from scrambling to take it down. I wondered if the next time I logged on to social media I would find that I had only three remaining friends, my husband and my two daughters.

    Of course that didn't happen, but I definitely got a wave of response. I got a lot of big-eyed wow emoticons, and some sad-crying emoticons. There were some heart emoticons from friends who probably wanted to reassure me that they loved me anyway. A few people wanted to know if I was ok- and I assured them that I was. Lots of people responded with the quote "What other people think of you is none of your business."-Something I decided I could agree with to a point- but had never freed me from my fear of it. Other people responded with comments such as "don't bother worrying about what others think, they don't matter. Just be yourself and have fun" and a dear friend responded with the quote- from Bernard Baruch-Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." I agree that these quotes have value but yet I still had to disagree. What if the person who talks behind your back is a family member- or a friend that you hurt? What if all people matter? No matter what they have done. Pretending not to care or that the perpetrators of hurt don't matter may do the trick in the moment and help us move on but I think it is a defense mechanism. Honestly, the truth is, I have never been good at it. I still care, and I still think people matter.

        Really, I think there is a reason that we wish to be lovable to others and the reason isn't inherently bad.- Perhaps the reason is a natural longing for "connectedness". Maybe longing for approval means we are simply hoping that we can be good enough to be connected to others- to be part of the tribe. Is that really so wrong? Maybe not.

      Maybe even the pussy-grabbing malignant narcissists of the world, the sex offenders, the cheaters and the liars, the polluters, the murderers, the gossipers and back stabbers matter too. Maybe they are reaching out for the love and approval of their parents and peers. Maybe they are trying desperately to be approved of to be worthy of connection to be loved and lovable. Maybe they are settling for negative acknowledgement when they have failed to get the affirmation they were seeking. No doubt the way they go about it may be totally messed-up but many of us are guilty of that. Sometimes when I am mad at some one I imagine blowing them up in smoke in my mind. I don't do it, of course, but am I really so different than the person on prison for life who actually did? Maybe not.  While we try not to, many of us are still protecting the ego in some way that hurts or blocks other people or even damages the planet. Yet we still want to matter and we do. ( I am prone to tangents- yet another one of my delicious flaws.)

       As you probably guessed- I did not lose all of my cyber friends and I did not die from admitting the truth. People probably did not even think it was a very big deal. The thing that appeared as a gnarling, drooling dragon/monster in my personal underworld was more like a cranky kitten when I brought it into the light- or better yet an awkward hairless kitten looking confused and bewildered. I liked how I felt when I did this. I felt strange, vulnerable, impossibly uncool, naked in the cafeteria- yet very, very alive. It was a tingly new feeling and I wanted more. 

     So I kept going.  Here are some awkward creatures from my shadow places. Rest assured I still love myself a lot- maybe more- there isn't anyone I would rather be than me. There may be a self -deprecating tone- but doubt lives in the shadow. I cannot pretend otherwise. You may want to roll your eyes- some of them aren't so bad, but believe me, they seemed scary when I first found them down there. Others are worse. Either way here, are my fifteen. That is probably enough.

15 Truths

truth: A big fear I have is that people will gossip or say bad things about me behind my back. Why? Because it deprives me of the right to manipulate how others see me.

truth#2: despite the fact that I am outraged by racism, few of my actual friends are of different races. I don't know how to change it and I am uncomfortable talking openly about race- I fear rejection and ridicule.

truth #3: I am so so disorganized and I am not at all ok with with it. I have read books and gone to trainings- and bought countless magazines to fix this but I have not been able to.

truth #3: I don't really believe in belief. I'd gladly take curiosity over belief any day.

truth #4: I don't really like achievement. Graduations and awards ceremonies are really boring and tedious to me. I prefer human connection over awards and certificates- even it it amounts to nothing on paper. ( I am afraid this truth could cost me my job because I am a high-school teacher.)

truth #5: I am an avoider of confrontation. I am afraid that I will lose people forever or find out that i am the one who is wrong.

truth #6 I prefer my human smells even body odor to that of perfume. I think I shower less that the average person.

truth#8: I procrastinate. A lot. To an embarrassing degree. I even procrastinate on things I WANT to do. I still don't know why.

truth #8: I have spent most of my life trying to fit in with the cool kids but deep inside, I know

I will never be cool. not ever.

I am warm and alive.

(The fallout and the comments from this one were so interesting and funny that they deserve their own blog post- which I will deliver after procrastinating for a while)

truth #9: I feel that I am a disappointment to my parents, even though I am an adult. To my mother I feel that I am not sweet or generous enough, and that I am waaaayyy to brassy and sassy-Also that I am not as good a cook as my sisters- and I definitely do not cook often enough.

To my father I feel that I am not successful enough nor do I make enough money- also that I lack a masters or a PHDfeels like a disappointment.  ( I did not publish this one on social media- because I didn't want to hurt them)

truth#10: I sometimes feel like a crummy parent and wife. Too wild and untamed- not structured enough. I marvel that my two daughters turned out to be so amazing- and that I am still happily married to an awesome husband.

truth#11: Medicine is a secret passion of mine. I wanted to become a doctor, like my father, but never admitted it. I figured I was too lazy or not intelligent enough to get through medical school- still he has always been one of my heroes. I still sometimes read medical journals in my free time.

truth #12: Even more than being a doctor I dreamed of being a writer. I feared that it would be nearly impossible to make a living that way, or even worse finding out that I had no talent. Also writing a book seemed to require a lot of stillness and a lot of alone time, neither of which I like. So I became a socially acceptable coward instead.

truth#13: While I like my job as a teacher a lot, it is not my true passion. I learned Spanish to be able to communicate with lots of different types of people all over the world- but that is not how I use it.

truth#14: I have been told on several occasions that I come off as "aloof". The truth is so so different than that. I can appear that way because I am either daydreaming or I deliberately learned to behave that way so that people would not find out how much I want to know and connect with them and think that I am weird. I am.

truth #15: Daydreaming is still one of my favorite things to do. I often have delusions of grandeur with my daydreams. For example, I imagine that this daring movement could cause a ripple and affect millions of people somehow- and that I will be on the New York Times best seller list and giving a TED talk, traveling all over the world giving talks, leading life changing retreats. etc...

 

    Two bonus truths- just for fun and because I am bad at following rules, even if I made them up.

truth#16- The main reason that I am not procrastinating and actually writing this chapter is because I hurt my back and I am lying in bed on a heating pad rather than puttering around the house and I had dared myself NOT to turn on the TV for the month of June so I am just writing.

truth #17- I sometimes let envy prevent me  from fully enjoying the gift of other humans. especially women

       The unexpected side effect of bringing the shadow lurkers to the light is that many of them seemed to scatter and run away. That is to say, a few weeks after this exercise  some of these truths were no longer "true". It seems that having  released the idea of wanting to manipulate how others see me by looking good or putting my best foot forward- I no longer could even "find" the desire to do so. Instead with nothing to fear I came in as a full expression of true self. My willingness to do so at times seemed to give others permission be authentic as well and I found myself enjoying deeper more fulfilling interactions- being fed by the  joy of authentic connection rather than the hollow and temporary boost of the ego. 

    

 

So there they are. Why not tell me some of yours? I promise you unconditional love and acceptance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

52 Dares

If you are here and you wish to engage in this project, choose ten of the following dares and try to do one a day for ten days. You may be very busy. If that is the case do two a week.

If you find that you love doing this, do this for thirty days. Keep a journal. Enlist a friend. Enlist lots of friends. dare me back. I will be daring with you.

There are no real rules to this game, play or don't play. It is better if you say that you were dared to do the things you do, but if you must, don't let it stop you. Blog your experiences, or don't. Video posts and photo evidence are welcome. Ready... set.. Go!

1.    Change sides of the bed or put your pillow where you normally put your feet.

Bonus- journal your dreams in the morning

2.    Today- pick a different route to work and an even different one home..

Bonus- write three observations in your journal

3.Today- Make plans with someone who is a facebook friend only. You must not tell them why you are doing this.

4.This weekend- Go see live music of a type or genre that you normally do not listen to.

Bonus- Go alone double bonus- make conversation with someone.

5.Buy a pack of popsicles at the store and sit outside and eat your popsicle without doing anything else. Do not take your phone or anything to read. If someone walks by offer them a popsicle.

6.Go to a religious service of a religion that you do not practice or know anything about. Double dare: talk to someone there.

7.Today- stop by a playground and play on the equipment there for at least 10 minutes.

8. Today- If you are able, climb a tree. If not, lean your entire body against a tree for at least 3 minutes.

9.Give up complaining. Spend the entire day without uttering a single complaint. -Double dare- do this for the rest of the week.

10.Tell a coworker or someone who you encounter daily such as a barista, yoga teacher, employee or student something you admire about them.

11.Write on the wall of a public bathroom. Some ideas- a quote or poem that inspires you, a true confession a compliment- encouraging words.

12. Go buy some sidewalk chalk. Make a drawing or write a poem or message anywhere. If someone walks by invite them to do it with you.

13.Buy an acre of rainforest for $10 in the name of someone who has passed away.


14.Make an extra portion of whatever you are planning to make for dinner tonight. Walk over to a neighbor's house with a container and offer them what you have made.Bonus- if you know that there is a place in your community where there are homeless people bring it there instead.

15.Sing at the top of your lungs in your car with the windows down.double dare- make it a public bathroom

16.Take the ugliest selfie you can possibly take. Look at it and say “I love you” then send it to your best friend- ask for one in return.Double dare: send it to 10 friends Triple dare: post it on facebook and Instagram

17. Say yes to the very next invitation you get no matter what it is….if you cannot… say yes to the one that comes after it.

18. Sit on the couch or on the floor set the timer for 10 minutes. During that ten minutes do absolutely nothing. Nothing.

19.Take a silent hike with a friend. Going alone does not count.

20.Tell a stranger a secret of yours.

21.Pick a random city and a random residential address… send a postcard there…write anything, a line from a poem, song, a feeling you have about the world… a question.double dare- send a postcard with a dare.

22. Take a board game to a local coffee shop and play with a friend turn off your phone for the duration of the game. Double dare- play with a stranger…

23. Go commando today...Bonus- go all week

24..Call a cousin or childhood friend. Talk about a happy memory you shared with them. You cannot say why you are doing it.

25. Go to a cemetery and sit on a grave. Bring flowers or don’t. Double dare- go at night eat dinner there or have a glass of wine.

26.Go to the event section in the paper close your eyes and put your finger down on an event. Go to it…

27.Look at your invites on facebook… find the one that you are least likely to go to. Go to it.

28.Go to a funeral home and ask them if you could be presented in an open casket as a skeleton…with a crown of flowers

 29. Make a list of 10 beliefs that you have. Take one of them and search opposing views online. Read at least two articles that challenge this belief. Double Dare: Find someone to talk to that has an opposing belief. Go out for coffee and listen.

30. Make a list of the foods you do not like. Eat three of them this week. Double dare: eat foods that you say you don't like all week.

31. Today when talking to people do not say a single thing about yourself. Only ask questions about what they say.Double dare: do it for a week.

32. Omit the word sorry or any of its synonyms from your vocabulary for an entire day. Double dare: do this for a week.

33. Leave your phone at home or in your car for the duration of the very next thing you do.Double dare: Go without it all day.

34. Retire your TV for the entire day. Double dare: do this for the entire week. Triple dare: retire all technology for the night. turn off the lights. Use only candles.

35. Turn up your music and dance outside. Double dare: get someone to do it with you.

36. Refrain from giving advice for the entire day. Only ask questions if you are stuck or tempted.Double dare: Make it a week.

37. Write down a list of people you need to forgive. Forgive one of them today- whole heartedly. If you can, tell them. Do it. If not tell, tell yourself. Write it down and burn it with a prayer. Say the Hope Onopono prayer if you know it.

38. Get or borrow a hula hoop or two. Take it to the corner and try to keep it up. If someone comes by offer them the other one and challenge them to do it with you.

39. Sing a song to or with someone today… anyone.

40. Eat your dinner outside tonight on your front stoop if you can.

41. Go on a good long hike…. All alone. Pee outside.

43. Write down a list of questions that you wonder about from time to time. Ask them to someone over 70..Double dare: ask them about sex

44.  Write down 10 things that scare you about yourself. Tell a friend. or tell a stranger one or all. Double dare: Post your list on social media.

45. Take your favorite item of clothing or favorite accessory out of your closet- (not an heirloom or a gift) but something you really -really like. Give it away to someone- in person. If the item has a pocket write a wish or prayer and place it in the pocket.

46. The very next place you go in public... when you enter say... "I'm here!".

47. The very next meal you have in a restaurant make sort of a sculpture from what is a available on the table. The more elaborate the better.

48. Create a piece of public art without being arrested. Use an ephemeral material such as leaves or twigs.

49. The next time someone asks if you need help smile and say... "yes, always!" Do this whether you need it or not. If this does not occur.. ask a stranger for help.

50. Write down unreasonable requests.  Make one unreasonable request to another human.

51. Eat lunch in a nursing home or retirement community. Ask questions.

52. Give away 20 things.

Adios.

 

 

 

 

 

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