I spoke about wings / You just flew

I find it so inspiring to see what happens when one commits 100% to something, and here’s an excellent example: Fiona Apple in the zone, without flashy lights, without makeup, without any of the unnecessary extras that so often obscure performances like this:

I can’t help but imagine what might have been possible in that room without the headset, microphone, or camera tethering her to the material plane…

The Whole of the Moon
Michael Scott / The Waterboys

I pictured a rainbow
You held it in your hands
I had flashes
But you saw the plan
I wandered out in the world for years
While you just stayed in your room
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon

Hmm, you were there in the turnstiles, with the wind at your heels
You stretched for the stars and you know how it feels to reach too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon
I was grounded
While you filled the skies
I was dumbfounded by truth
You cut through lies
I saw the rain dirty valley
You saw Brigadoon
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon

I spoke about wings
You just flew
I wondered, I guessed and I tried
You just knew
I sighed
But you swooned, I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon

(The whole of the moon) with a torch in your pocket and the wind at your heels
You climbed on the ladder and you know how it feels to get too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon, hey yeah!

Unicorns and cannonballs, palaces and piers
Trumpets, towers and tenements
Wide oceans full of tears
Flags, rags ferryboats
Scimitars and scarves
Every precious dream and vision
Underneath the stars, yes, you climbed on the ladder
With the wind in your sails
You came like a comet
Blazing your trail too high
Too far
Too soon
You saw the whole of the moon

Lauren Ruth Ward channels some serious Vajrapani energy

I’ve been studying up on Vajrapani, wielder of the thunderbolt, protector from fear of unknown places. He’s got a wrathful side. Look at his mudra! \m/ He’s ready to burn it all down; all the delusion and hatred, that is.

Lauren Ruth Ward channels this energy perfectly in this Jam in the Van performance:

Even the lyrics are spot on, complete with poison, pride, and a fight to lead with one’s heart. Om Vajrapani Hum!

Valhalla by Lauren Ruth Ward

You’ve got beauty coming out your ears
Aw, must make it hard for you to hear
Give me the wheel
And I will take you off course
I’ll put your money on the speckled horse
I’ll put your money on the speckled horse

Communication is the only ointment
(But) You give me poison
You give me poison

They’ll memorize my name on the list
At the door at Valhalla
I’ll tell them how I died
In the battle of Madonna
Some will scratch their balls
And wonder how I conquered
Befriend the male gaze
Make my own money
Forming my own phase

I ate shit on the walk of fame
Yeah, I tripped looking down looking for my name
I saw the L saw the A saw the U
Saw the aRe you gonna gonna make it thru?
You can’t take tomorrow
Won’t fake today
When are you going to make
A name?

They’ll memorize my name on the list
At the door at Valhalla
I’ll tell them how I died
In the battle of Madonna
Some will scratch their balls
And wonder how I conquered
Befriend the male gaze
Make my own money
Forming my own phase

It’s a sleepy time
For the ones who choose their hearts
One of a kind, bedroom eyed
Pair of dice
Take my hand you will understand
My side
Be my friend
Woman or man
We will fight

They’ll memorize my name on the list
At the door at Valhalla I’ll tell them how I died
In the battle of Madonna
Some will scratch their balls
And wonder how I conquered
Befriend the male gaze
Make my own money
Forming my own phase

How did she do it?
How did she do it?
How did she do it?
They all will ask

Compassion for all beings is compassion in action: Viveka on The Buddha as Social Revolutionary

Lately I’ve been wondering if my belief that I’m acting on behalf of other beings is actually a form of delusional spiritual bypassing.

How can we balance the energy needed to do our own work to address our own delusions, and the energy and work to support the liberation of all beings?

I posed the question above to Viveka during a talk she gave on The Buddha as Social Revolutionary; a month later, I feel even more strongly that we Buddhists could muster a bit more socially-engaged energy while we also use the tools for our own comfort and self care.

Check out her fantastic answer at 45:25 (thank you Viveka ❤ ) or for even more inspiration, watch the entire talk! It starts at 10:07 in this recording and continues for an hour:

Why it’s so important to support each other through hard times (if we’re in a position to do so)

During a video call with my family earlier today, I learned that my parents had just received delivery of 10 pounds of duck. Turns out that after reading an article explaining that small farms and food processors are suffering because they’ve lost the bulk of their restaurant business thanks to the coronavirus situation, my dad immediately called his favorite duck purveyor and placed an order. For… an awful lot of duck for just him and Mom! I’m sad I’m too far away to help them eat the massive batch of Chinese marinade duck wings that will soon be bubbling on the stove 😦

My parents are also donating generously to a fund that’s providing support to their musician friends whose gigs and concerts — their livelihoods! — have been cancelled.

These are both excellent illustrations of interdependence, and how those of us who still have income and/or assets right now can pitch in to support those less fortunate.


Here’s a great video from Hadassah Damien, the “punk big sister of financial real talk,” waxing poetic on the limitations of the belief that we can ever be truly financially independent, with some great suggestions for what we can do to acknowledge our interdependence, particularly when it comes to supporting small businesses and fellow humans during times of crisis:

Independence and freedom only matter if I have people to be independent with and be around and get weird and smart and BE with.

I’m fully with Hadassah that the FIRE movement often takes on a very self-centered flavor. It’s a fascinating dynamic to observe, and I’ll confess it takes a lot of work for me to remember to be generous — because I can be! — when the fight-or-flight system gets triggered.

I also believe that this more selfish, believe-in-the-myth-of-independence view is more a function of the way many people currently practice FIRE, rather than what the founders of the movement intended, or practice(d) it themselves.

As an example of what I’m talking about, the latest blog post from Vicki Robin (who wrote Your Money Or Your Life — the book that sparked the FIRE movement – along with the late Joe Dominguez) asks some very juicy questions, acknowledges the dark side of FIRE, and reveals her own values, which in my view are very much aligned with Hadassah’s.

Here’s hoping that more and more people can get onboard with the benefits of financial INTERDEPENDENCE, and thanks to Vicki and Hadassah for all you do to steward this important shift! ❤

These are generous times: some online yoga offerings from my favorite teachers (etc)

Be Kind Stay CalmAs tempting as it may be to focus on what’s falling apart, I’m in awe of the generosity I’ve experienced and witnessed lately, and doing my best to pay it forward.

All this time
The Sun never says
To the Earth,
“You owe me.”
What happens
With a love like that.
It lights the

Ashley Sharp invoked this twice during the yoga class she streamed yesterday from her Pudding Creek refuge. Whether written by Hafiz (Hafez?) or Daniel Ladinsky, these words released an enormous sense of… relief? gratitude? after weeks of feeling so incredibly fortunate while also wondering: “Am I doing enough to help?” Not to mention the more frequent thought, “I know I could do a LOT more, but wow I’m exhausted.”

I am beginning to recognize that my desire to keep doing more and more is an attempt to avoid feeling certain emotions: anxiety, grief, confusion, overwhelm. I would like to trust that we’re all doing as much as we can with whatever edible, technological, financial, and emotional (etc) reserves we’ve got available.

A remarkable gift emerging from these times is that we suddenly have unprecedented access to healing practices offered from afar, so we can continue to fill our own cups! I am so grateful to many of my favorite yoga teachers from my California days for making their teachings available online (see list below).

Last weekend I had the immense privilege of taking Devi Daly’s first remote yin yoga teacher training course — thank you thank you thank you Devi for a lovely and inspiring three days! — and yesterday I taught my own first remote yoga session ❤

If you feel you would benefit from a bit of yoga instruction in your living room, here are a few resources from teachers I love:

I haven’t actually tried these yet, but you might find the yoga offerings on these sites useful?

  • Yoga for the People offers free live-streamed classes, videos you can watch whenever, and even a podcast if you’d prefer a simple voice to guide you.
  • MyYogaWorks has a massive online class library, and you can sign up for free for the foreseeable future using the code “ONLINE“.
  • DoYogaWithMe is offering their premium subscription for free for 2 months.
  • Down Dog (and all associated fitness apps) are offering their courses free through May 1st for most of us, and through July 1st for K-12 teachers and healthcare professionals.
  • Yoga with Adriene has been teaching yoga on YouTube for longer than just about anyone… check out this awesome Yoga for Uncertain Times playlist! ❤
  • Fitbit offers streaming yoga classes through their app as part of their premium offering; if you haven’t already taken advantage of the trial offer for newbies, you can get 90 days free at the moment.

There are probably many, many more online yoga options available; I’d love to hear about your favorites in the comments and I’ll be updating this post as I hear of new resources 🙂

Thoughts on the way to the climate strike

I’m off to the climate strike in Auckland today, with all my intersecting identities, mixed feelings, and no sign, because what words could ever be… right?

I love that sometimes a piece of music, words that aren’t organized in the usual fashion, and/or movements of the body can express those ineffable so effectively. More Love indeed. May all beings be well!

Thanks to my colleague, friend, and most-committed yoga student Daniel for sharing these ❤

(My other) Scott is back: an ode to my favorite business pundit

My commitment to television is poor. The notable exception was with Game of Thrones, though even then my attention was spotty: I watched a few episodes of seasons 1-2, binge-watched every episode from seasons 3-5 over 3 weeks to get caught up in time to watch season 6 in real time, started back from the beginning to complete the set, and complained along with everyone else when the final season 7 circled the drain. Sigh.

Despite moving to New Zealand to become a small business YouTuber (an endeavor that never went much of anywhere, which is fine by me!), I don’t follow anyone on that platform either.

At least, I haven’t since the last episode of Winners and Losers, a series I watched every Friday morning like clockwork until they killed it about 8 months ago. NYU Professor and businessman Scott Galloway’s weekly series was one of the references for what would have been my channel; I loved the research, the infographics, his fast-talking confidence, his willingness to get personal, his unflinching taking-of-sides, the infinite flexibility of the white background, and the absurd endings, a brilliant move designed to game the YouTube algorithm.

I loved everything about it… even if I occasionally hated him. Is he not, for instance, sexually harassing a member of his staff in the series finale?!

Fortunately for Professor Galloway fans like me, he never stopped writing his fascinating (and often surprisingly personal) weekly newsletter, No Mercy / No Malice. Today’s issue included a tiny PS at the bottom:
ScottsbackOf course I clicked, and am so glad I did! Scott is back! I was subscriber 814, and I’ll bet that number goes up fast.

There are only 2 episodes up on Professor Galloway’s mysterious new YouTube channel — and he hasn’t donned a wig yet — but because of those videos I now know that:

  • A fifth of the people who purchased houses using Redfin in 2018 didn’t even visit those houses before buying;
  • Louis Vuitton was the first to design shipping trunks with flat lids so that you could stack them more efficiently (he didn’t say when though, so I had to look it up: in 1858);
  • The fanny pack I’ve been wearing almost daily since 1993 is apparently back in style! Well, fanny packs in general are. Mine was probably never stylish, alas, but oh-so-practical…

All of this to say, if you care at all about the digital economy and are searching for another reason to stare at a screen, get amongst Professor Galloway’s stuff. Enjoy!


Four reminders in two songs

As I get deeper into my Buddhist studies, I’m increasingly seeing things through the lens of its teachings. While I have no interest in claiming anything as “Buddhist” when I notice resonance, I do feel a bit like the proverbial little boy who, when given a hammer, starts to see everything as a nail!

Consider this Chastity Belt song, for instance (and in case you’re wondering whether or not to hit play, that’s the name of the band, not the subject of their song… though that would be an interesting read on it):

I’ve been playing this song over and over in the car for weeks. When I finally sat down to read the lyrics (see the end of this post) I immediately thought to myself, “Oh! What a great representation of the Four Mind-Turning Reflections!”

I like thinking of the Four Mind-Turning Reflections, AKA the Four Reminders, as a Buddhist “Facts of Life” of sorts, designed to keep us focused on the things that are really important.

Here’s an attempt to paraphrase them into my own words:

  1. Being alive, in this body, right here and right now, is a unique opportunity;
  2. We’re all going to die eventually;
  3. Our intentions and our actions have an impact; and
  4. We’re fooling ourselves if we think we can control everything to suit our preferences, and ultimately the attempt to do so leads to even more suffering.

I’ll spare you my line-by-line analysis of the song’s lyrics but I’m satisfied that they cover off all four pretty effectively 🙂

Then this morning I remembered another song I’ve appreciated for ages, the classic Feel So Different, from the person formally known as Sinéad O’Connor:

The songs’ titles are similar, obviously, but they share a lot more than that. This one too feels distinctly “Buddhist” to me right now.

Is it though? I have no idea how she identified when she wrote Feel So Different nearly 30 years ago (and she recently converted to Islam)  so I can only guess: probably not, and it doesn’t matter; I care a lot less about assigning labels, and a lot more about appreciating reminders to stay awake to my life’s priorities, no matter what form they take.


Lyrics to both songs below. Continue reading “Four reminders in two songs”

I Love Lizzo

Feeling the same kind of way about Lizzo that I did when I discovered Janelle Monae’s Pink and then some. Hat tip to Mitra Jouhari on The Creative Independent for turning me on to this wonder. Oh, to be this positive!

Juice mantra:

If I’m shining EVERYBODY gonna shine

And she is so shiny… just dumping all my faves here (and I thought it was funny when 2 Chainz married himself), including an Anchorman spoof at the bottom. #flutegoals


Road trips: 20s vs 30s vs 40s

It’s been four and a half years since my last proper road trip. “Proper” as in just me and my car, plus the bare necessities required to cook and sleep wherever I happened to find myself. Most importantly, aside from one scheduled speaking gig, I had no agenda on that trip, no end date or even a route to stick to. I was on the road for nearly four weeks.

That much time on the road would have felt like nothing to my 20s self, who spent months-at-a-time traveling. I never have that much time off work at a stretch these days, but I’m not sure the time would make a difference anyway; we cut our four-day New Year’s road trip short to come home early, not because we don’t love the Far North, but because we love being home even more.

Last week, when I’d rather have been anywhere other than moving Home from one house to another in seemingly-endless short drives, I happened upon two videos that brought that big road trip energy back in a major way:

I love how they each evoke so differently that sense of a road trip’s freedom and independence and vulnerability and power and space to contemplate and just be. I also love the contrast of Maggie’s 20-something urgency compared to Sarah’s 30-something reflective mellow. I’m probably projecting. Nevertheless… yay for women taking to the road alone, may this tradition persist. One of these days I’ll get back out there.