Tag Archives: inspiration

My Crow Self

By Shaena Lambert, who will be presenting Going Under the Words: Creating Fiction and Memoir at Hollyhock on June 2-7, 2017. This essay originally appeared in Quill and Quire, December, 2013, The Last Word, and was reprinted in The Huffington Post.

Margaret Atwood says in Negotiating with the Dead that writers are like jackdaws (a European crow): “We steal the shiny bits and build them into the structures of our own disorderly nests.” 

Collecting these shiny bits is an integral part of the fiction writer’s craft, but most writers, including me, are somewhat shamefaced and ambivalent about the process. What if these bits are woven out of other people’s secrets? Or pieces of skeleton from the family closet?  There’s an almost physical urge to use the material that speaks to you, especially once it starts to grow on its own, putting out twitching root hairs, but you don’t want to expose or hurt other people.

Nadine Gordimer’s famous solution was ‘to write as though everyone you know is dead.’ But few writers have the chutzpah to do this, or the moral certainty. For most writers, collecting material has a more secretive, illicit quality. It is gathered in the dark, kept under wraps, then released, with a mixture of pride and guilt, in what one hopes is a sufficiently transmogrified form.

Continue reading My Crow Self

Blessing for the Journey

Poem by Leslie Davenport, who will be presenting Deepening Climate Advocacy at Hollyhock on June 19, 2017.

When days rush past in a blur,
may you pause to receive the simple gifts that life generously offers.

When you are overwhelmed,
may you rest in the gentleness of your own heart.

When you are feeling hopeless,
may your imagination hold a torch to unseen possibilities.

When your mind is drowning in details,
may spaciousness arise, connecting you to the sacred mystery that you are.

When you are exhausted,
may you be refreshed by vibrant life forces always present within and around you.

When you are overcome with grief,
may precious tears bathe your heart with salty buoyancy and comfort.

When the world brushes you with harshness,
may you realize that we’re all works in progress, and life itself is a learning curve.

When nothing seems to be going your way,
may you make room for the unknown, finding patience with your unfolding life.

When you are disheartened by the suffering in the world,
may you find the courage and strength to stand for what you know is good.

When you believe that you are not good enough,
may you discover your inherent value and place in the family of all things.

May you receive earth’s bounty to nourish your body,
kindness and wisdom to nourish your heart;
and wonder to nourish your soul.

Leslie will be presenting Deepening Climate Advocacy at Hollyhock on June 19, 2017.

Register Now!


Leslie DavenportLeslie Davenport, author of Emotional Resiliency in the Era of Climate Change, is a licensed therapist and an international speaker in transformational leadership with an emphasis on the evolution of consciousness and societal systems to address global warming. She is on the faculty of the California Institute of Integral Studies and John F Kennedy University in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Love what you do and do what you love. Don’t listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. You do what you love.

By Cristi Christensen, who will be presenting Chakra Yoga at Hollyhock on July 12-16, 2017.

As of late I’ve been asked…
“How can I get more clear on what I want and really define my dream or next step?”

So, today i will share with you a simple practice to help you lift the veil and begin to find that clarity of vision you may be seeking!

Step 1: Start

“The only thing worse than starting something and failing… is not starting something” – Seth Godin

Bring yourself into a ritual space by first burning a little sage or incense and lighting a candle. Sit down, close your eyes and take a few deep slow breaths. Then ask yourself what would I do if money was no object and I had all the time in the world? Pause, slow down and listen to what arises. Spend some time here to connect to the yearning in your heart. Give space for the dream to start to crystallize.

Continue reading Love what you do and do what you love. Don’t listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. You do what you love.

Social Venture Institute Impact Bio: Meghan French Dunbar

Via Junxion

Meghan French Dunbar’s mission in life is to inspire and educate people on how business can be used as a force for good. Her ultimate goal? In 20 years, nobody will say “purpose-driven work” or “conscious business” or “sustainable business,” because doing good business will be the new ‘business as usual.’

Conscious Company Magazine CoversAs Co founder and Editor in Chieftess of Conscious Company Magazine, Meghan oversees the production of this nationally distributed publication that focuses solely on sustainable business and business as a force for good. Based in Boulder, Colorado, the magazine hit the shelves in January 2015, and is now in every US state, Canada and Mexico, and is quickly becoming a leading source of information for and about sustainable businesses.

Continue reading Social Venture Institute Impact Bio: Meghan French Dunbar

A Guide to Keep You Youthful and Happy

By Jude Bijou, who will be presenting Attitude Reconstruction: Build Joy, Love, and Peace in Vancouver on Oct 22-23, 2016.

While you can hear many old wise beings telling you the secret of their longevity, they run the gamut from a couple of stiff drinks every evening to playing bingo, I thought you might enjoy my list of a baker’s dozen suggestions that will help keep young and increase the amount of happiness you feel. They are in random order.

1. Live by the 3 Ultimate Attitudes in your thoughts, words, and deeds.

1) Honor and love yourself.
2) Accept other people and situations.
3) Stay present and specific.

These concepts seem simple but aren’t easy to live by. Each time you align with one or more of these Ultimate Attitudes the result will be a shot of joy, love, or peace. I believe if you embody all three, you win the grand prize.

  1. Handle emotions physically and constructively.

Emotions are natural to all humans. They are pure physical sensations in the body. EMOTION = E+MOTION. They just need to be expressed in a constructive and physical manner.

When you feel sadness, just allow yourself to cry big ole tears, you’ll feel better and have more room to experience joy.

When you feel angry move out the emotional energy by hitting, stomping, pushing, yelling, or flailing.  Express your anger physically and in a safe place. Do it hard, fast, and with abandon and the anger will lose its grip.

When you feel fear in your body (anxiety, overwhelm, worry, insomnia, or panic). Shiver, quiver, tremble, and shudder. It seems silly but it really works.

  1. Cancel your negative thinking.

Giving appreciations, praise, and gratitudes feels good and puts good vibes in the environment. Stop yourself when you’re thinking or saying something negative and look for what you do like and focus on that. Studies give credence to the fact that giving gratitudes isn’t just an airy-fairy exercise but actually increases psychological and physical well-being.

  1. Instead of being frustrated, critical, resigned, or bitter, work to accept that “People and situations are the way they are, not the way I want them to be.”   Do this by repeating the above phrase over and over, until it sinks in. After accepting what is, we can look within for direction about what’s true for us about the specific situation. Then we’re able to speak up and take action with confidence.
  1. Have good communication, without a lot of arguing.

 So stop arguing. Research has shown that couples that argue frequently die prematurely! I recommend adhering to Attitude Reconstruction’s Four Rules of Good Communication:  1)Speak in “I’s” — that is talk about yourself, not others; 2) Speak in specifics, not over-generalities(always, never, etc); 3) Focus on kindness, not negativity; 4) Truly listen 50% of the time.  With a bit of practice you will reap undeniable benefits.

 When differences arise, use the talk-and listen strategy. One person talks for a pre-agreed upon amount of time while the other ONLY listens. Then switch. Keep going back and forth until both feel understood. Then TOGETHER find the best win-win solution that honors everyone.  There has got to be a good alternative.

 6. Move your body.

Walking is good. Exercise is good. Team sports are good. Research is showing that too much sitting or sleeping is not kind for our bodies — our muscles, organs, bones, and our minds. Moving the body on a regular basis is what we humans were built to do. That means not just moving from the bed to the kitchen table to the computer, to the couch and television. Here’s an article about how walking increases creativity, and one that proposes that too much sitting causes us to lose years off of our lives.

  1. Eat well and in moderation.

You know the drill. Stay away from junk food and fast food. Eat your veggies. Eat fruit. Go back to basics that don’t have a list of ingredients that you can’t pronounce. And go for moderation, in foods, drinks, (and life).

  1. Hang out with others.

There are a ton of studies that conclude that enjoyable social interactions help keep the mind and heart flexible and running smoothly. Isolation allows for us to get stuck in negative mental loops and destructive habits, whereas social activities keep bringing new information and experiences. So join that bridge club, gym, or book club, take a class, pick up a musical instrument, or find a new social hobby. Prying our eyes from electronic devices opens up a whole new world.

  1. Laugh.

As this article suggests, laughing  releases stress, lifts our spirits, and connects us with other people. We have a choice. We can either laugh, cry, be pissed, be anxious, or be blah about what life presents.

  1. Make a bucket list and start doing some of those things now.

We never know what tomorrow will bring so it makes sense to treat ourselves well now because when we die, our bucket list also expires. Of course that means being financially responsible in the process.

  1. Volunteer.

Helping others or some cause outside ourselves is good for your heart and connects us to our world. Contributing to a group who holds similar values is an excellent way to step outside of our own lives, issues, and preoccupations. Selfless giving is a guaranteed way to increase feelings of love.

  1. Give it a break.

Shutting the noggin down and doing nothing gives us a pause from all the activity and distractions, and lets our bodies and minds integrate our experiences. Maybe that means a solo hike or walk on the beach, maybe meditation, maybe nothing but veg out and take a nap. Here’s an article that lends credence the idea that taking time off is good for you.

  1. Let go.

Life’s too short to live in the past. If you want to enjoy the present and future and live a nice long life, let go of all your crappy history — the injustices, violations, and hurts. As Ram Dass famously said and wrote, “Be here now.”

Jude Bijou, MA, MFT, is a respected psychotherapist, professional educator, and consultant in Santa Barbara, CA. Her theory of Attitude Reconstruction® evolved over the course of more than 30 years working with clients and students and is the subject of her multi award-winning book, Attitude Reconstruction: A Blueprint for Building a Better Life. attitudereconstruction.com

Join Jude in Vancouver for Attitude Reconstruction: Build Joy, Love, and Peace on Oct 22-23, 2016! 

Check out the event on Facebook!