Things that will help #5

Friends and goals: Make a short list of your most important goals. (No more than 3) Pick the ones you have your head and heart around, and put the rest away. Tell at least 3 close friends about all 3 goals, your plan to execute them, and ask for support. Specifically, ask them to check in on you, hold you accountable, and ask you questions. Build a team to support your discipline, growth, and thriving success! I do this with my 5 am. writing discipline It is so so so helpful to have your prime people checking on you.

Creative space: I have been adding conscious creative space to my day. This is different than my meditation practice, and it feels less formal. I have set aside a small amount of time every day to daydream. No music, no phone, no stimulation, no chores, no reading, no people and no agenda. Just daydreaming and time to internally wander. This space has opened up so much creativity and new ideas. I used to do this as a child, but as an adult it didn’t feel productive enough. So many riches are coming from it now, and I cannot recommend it enough!

5 Minute standing forward bend: Need more grounding? Try a long standing forward bend (Uttanasana)~ at the wall, preferably. (With your back pressed up against the wall). Even if you don’t have time for any other pose, practicing this can turn your whole day around. It’s a great way to open the hamstrings, bring more space to the lower back and shoulders, and create a sense of peaceful grounding throughout your entire body. Try this pose in your home, office, kitchen, or local airport. It will drain the grumpy right out of you.

Foods to keep on hand: When I am the most healthy and eating the cleanest, it’s because I am prepared. I keep most of these on hand in the fridge, and when I am ravenous I reach for them instead of potato chips or something with empty calories. It seems like common sense, but for me it's really been a game changer. Click link here: https://www.buffybarfoot.com/wellness/2019/7/8/easy-foods-to-have-on-hand

Care Package: One of my favorite things to do is to send a surprise care package! Pick a friend, especially one that might be blue or overwhelmed, and send them something to brighten their day. Everyone loves getting real mail, especially when it’s unexpected! Once, I mailed a girlfriend some new underwear. She had just had a baby and wasn’t paying much attention to herself because she was taking care of everyone else. It was nothing fancy, just 4 or 5 new pairs of new, brightly colored, comfy underwear. I remember how much she gushed about it! That might be too personal for you, but pick something that will light them up.

Chakra test: If you are interested in yoga, you have likely heard of or studied the chakras. Even if you know all about them, it is fun to revisit and check in with your different energy centers. Which ones are open and which ones are out of balance? A great book that has been around for ages is “Wheels of Life” by Anodea Judith. Brush up on where you can balance and support yourself energetically. They even have Chakra tests online to help you discover where you are out of balance. (just google “chakra test”)

***Things That Will Help backstory:

More than a decade ago, my big brother, Benjamin, died from a drug overdose after struggling for years to survive the stranglehold of addiction. My mom and I found a small, spiral notebook next to Benjamin’s bed with the handwritten title Things That Will Help. Inspired by his, I have been writing my own list all these years. I decided recently to begin publishing them.

This practice has always been an homage to him—something that has gotten me through the hardest things in my life and has now blossomed into life medicine that I hope to keep sharing.

Things that Will Help #4

“You don’t have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you’re holding” - Cheryl Strayed

  1. Cheer loudly for other people. It doesn’t mean you are less positioned for victory if someone around you has found their pot of gold. In fact, surround yourself with as many lucky and talented people as possible. Celebrate them to the fullest, and begin to notice how happy you are. Your own miracles are coming too.

  2. “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis. Listen to the album in order, preferably on vinyl. If you have a front porch, pipe it out so you can sit outside and still hear it. One of our favorites in my house.

  3. Be the honest friend who says the hard things. Be the person who loves your people so fiercely that they come to you for the most clear and heartbreaking advice. Say to them what they cannot even bear to say to themselves, and then walk with them to the end of the earth.

  4. Up your intake of Vitamin D, Magnesium, and Calcium. As it turns out, almost all of us are deficient in all three of these. (Vit D cannot be absorbed effectively without taking Calcium alongside it, apparently.)

  5. Create a travel bucket list and book your next trip now, even if it’s months away. Plan ahead, and make seeing the world a priority. We just started this process, and it’s so liberating to action what we have wished for and put it into a plan.

  6. I consider us to be reasonably intelligent people. Matt and I have been homeowners for awhile now, and have owned two houses. Somehow, we both missed the common sense day when they tell you to change the air filter on your HVAC system every month or two. We had NEVER changed it (in either house), and ours blew up. So, now it’s on the calendar regularly. I feel certain that all of you reading already know this and are laughing right now, but just in case…..

  7. Wear the shorts even if you don’t like your legs. Let your face be naked even if you don’t love your skin. Put on your bathing suit even if you hate your body. Be comfortable, fearless, fun and unashamed. That is truest beauty of all.


Things That Will Help backstory:

More than a decade ago, my big brother, Benjamin, died from a drug overdose after struggling for years to survive the stranglehold of addiction. My mom and I found a small, spiral notebook next to Benjamin’s bed with the handwritten title Things That Will Help. Inspired by his, I have been writing my own list all these years. I decided recently to begin publishing them.

This practice has always been an homage to him—something that has gotten me through the hardest things in my life and has now blossomed into life medicine that I hope to keep sharing.







Things that will help #3

  1. “Imitation is the highest form of flattery” ~ A tough one- when you think you have come up with something new, brilliant, and particularly different. Especially in the age of social media, when it seems like everyone is fighting for space on the greenest grass. Maybe scroll and compare less, and spend more of that bonus time creating. Don’t get knocked off balance, and remember there is enough space for everyone to make an offering. Check that your intentions are on track, and that your ego is not driving the car.

  2. Dance Parties ~ I am lucky to have a small child who is obsessed with music. Currently, his favorites are Prince, Devo, The White Stripes and anyone who sings “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Remember that song? Daily, Otis requires that I stop what I’m doing to have dance parties with him, which have become a large part of my cardio workout. Our neighbors get quite the show, and we both work up a sweat. It is easily the best part of the day. Even if you don’t have a tiny coach like me, have a dance party daily anyway. Total anti-depressant.

  3. Stop Procrastinating~ Finish the manuscript. Clean out your inbox. Take the old bags to Goodwill. Change the oil. Clean out the garage. Write your mama a real letter, or if you are lucky enough to still have her nearby, cook her supper. Put down your phone and look at your people. Forgive the friend you are holding hurt about- and call them.

  4. Clean your headlights~ Every couple of years, have someone clean the inside of the plastic that protects your headlight. The first time I did this I couldn’t believe how well I could see at night on the road. Little thing- big clarity.

  5. Fill someone’s bucket~ As soon as you start wondering why something isn’t happening for you, spend some energy filling someone’s bucket. Ask how you can help, and do something that takes your mind off your own emptiness. Make a casserole, run an errand for someone, or pick them up off the floor. It is the fastest way to rise out of your own shit. It helps everyone.

  6. “Desperation is unsustainable”- Cheryl Strayed. Yes it is, Cheryl. Yes it is.

  7. Broccoli~ If you know broccoli is good for you, but, like me you don’t love it, here’s what to do. Get a few organic heads of fresh broccoli. Cut it into VERY TINY pieces (this is the key step), and put it on a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake until CRISPY at 375 degrees. Way better than your average broccoli situation, and as delicious as french fries. Well, almost.

  8. Be better at loving than you are at judging. It helps your insides heal and it makes everyone around you want to do it too. Gossip and judging breed more of the same. Love does too, thank goodness.

Things that will help #2

  1. PRIDE

    It is PRIDE month! I am embarrassed and floored at the recent ignorant and unbelievable musings of some straight people wondering why there is not a straight pride parade/month/day. The reason PRIDE month needed to be designated in the first place is because people needed to carve out a space to feel human, accepted, loved and celebrated. They came up with PRIDE because they were and STILL ARE being chastised, alienated, tormented, bullied and murdered for BEING THEMSELVES and loving who they love. When you exist in the full time privilege of being able to walk down the street as a straight person who can love openly without even a thought, you don’t need a month designated to celebrate that. You need to support, with the fullest heart and deepest listening you can muster, all other people who do not sit in that daily privilege. It is the least we can do. Happy PRIDE month!

  2. NEW SOCKS

    Get new socks. It helps. It feels like a wardrobe refresher, and sometimes even like a new life start. Spend time getting the good ones, and it will likely change your whole outlook. I always wear before washing, becasue once you wash, even once, they are never the same. Also, for as many new socks as you buy, throw out that many old ones. I am nicer to my family when my socks are on the newer side.

  3. ONE DOWN DOG

    One of the best things I have done for my life is to let go of “all or nothing” and just do some when I can. Today, I had a lot going on. I didn’t have time to fit in a whole yoga practice, but I really needed to stretch and breathe. I did ONE long, well aligned, present tense downward facing dog. I breathed deeply and soaked in the reverence I have for my body and my process, and that was it. One dog. It needed to be enough, and my day was better because I took time to do it. Afterwards, I didn’t beat myself up for not having the time to do a long practice, and that was a conscious decision.

  4. GRANOLA

    My childhood friend Courtney came to visit me a few years back and taught me the how to make the best homemade granola EVER. It makes my whole house smell like heaven, and my family loves it. It is grain free and perfect alone, with milk, or any kind of fruit served on top. I have even been known to put it on top of ice cream for a treat. This perfect granola tastes so different from the store bought kind that is often loaded with sugars and additives. I put the full recipe on the wellness page on this website. Check it out!

  5. MEDITATION

    How is that going? Meditation. You know it is “good” for you, but it is so hard to carve the time out. It is so often the last thing we “do” once we have “done” everything else on the list. Try starting with meditation, before anything else gets done. I cannot say enough about the luminous benefits that come from regular meditation. Make the time. You don’t need a book or a fancy course about it. You need to prioritize sitting down and slowing down your breath so you can clean out the cobwebs and make space for light, creative wealth, and enough-ness. Today is a good place to begin.

  6. “THE STORY I’M TELLING MYSELF”

    I don’t remember who told me about this first, but it may have been a therapist. One of the greatest tools I have been given to communicate well in relationships is the phrase “the story I’m telling myself is……” If I am feeling hurt by my husband, a friend, a colleague, or someone else, I try to lead with that phrase, followed by my feelings or assumptions. It has been a huge way to take responsibility of my own drama and feelings, while coming to the table without any knives showing. The person sitting across from me often is less defensive as a result, and we skip the posturing and right fighting. It allows a little air and light to get in, and for that person to extinguish an assumption I have made that might be wrong. It helps.

  7. QUIET TIME

    One of my greatest fears when becoming a mom was that it would be years until I could read a real book again. I was finding weeks turning into months that I did not have time to read. I wanted to change the pattern. After Otis’s bath, for the thirty minutes before bedtime, Matt and I started something new.  We call it quiet time, and all toys are put away. Everyone goes into the family room and if it’s winter outside we put on a fire. We each pull out a book and nestle in. Actually, Otis pulls out at least 20 books from his cabinet, because sorting and stacking is crucial in his process. But somehow, he’s bought into it, and with just that thirty minutes I am feeling more myself. We have to teach children but we also have to teach ourselves to connect to the things that matter even in the rush of the day. I hope it sticks at 6 and at 16, and is something he passes down. Super simple, non-negotiable, quiet time at the same time. Let your people see you practice what you love. It is better than anything you could describe to them. It helps everyone.

Things that will help #1

Below are some things that have helped me.

Each has been good medicine for me in one way or another.

Maybe it will help you, too.

  1. The remembrance that the people that are cheering for me are right at arms length, and that basing my self worth and value on the people ten rows back is toxic and destructive. This comes directly from my recent dive into Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly.” This is medicine to live and love by. I am amazed at how much energy and space this clears for much more productive endeavors.

  2. Sometimes, you just need to get new plants. You know, the crusty old ones that no longer really seem to be alive, but you’ve hated to throw out. You have been talking to them, but they no longer seem to want to be here. It’s time. Fresh, full plants that represent abundance. (Dear Matt: the succulents are dead, and I need a course before we buy any more of these)

  3. I am doing my best to cut out small talk. It makes my skin crawl, and most other people don’t like it either. If I go deep and wide right away, some people get uncomfortable and leave. Those are not my people, and it’s more efficient to honor that from the start line. It is feeling more honest, and life is flying. I want to be in great conversations.

  4. I went back to a paper planner. I bought one called “My next 90 Days,” and so far I love it. It has space for creative goals, tips to savor your days, food planning, and professional development. I still keep my digital calendar too, for the bare bones and sharing with my husband, but I am loving this vintage return to a planner that feels a little like a journal. They have multiple colors to satisfy my obsession with school supplies.

  5. Hard conversations about race, gender expression, privilege, and biases. I am finding renewed medicine in listening more than speaking, and I am committed to learning more and doing better to contribute to all people feeling both safe and celebrated. I am taking a specific look at my own white privilege and how my biases come into play in every aspect of my world. I am allowing myself to feel uncomfortable in order to understand better, and I’m listening to those who haven’t always been heard.

  6. Oat Milk- I know I am little late to the party…But holy creamy latte! I bought a milk frother and an espresso maker~ and the coffee shops are rarely getting my money anymore. I make the best oat milk latte in Denver.

  7. Zero Market (a store in Denver/Stanley MarketPlace) has such great products. They make fantastic skin care, in the form of a blend of oils they make in house. You just take your empty glass bottle back to have refilled, and just like the name, zero waste. I do the same with my laundry detergent and other soaps. It is all high quality, has healing essential oils, and is super affordable. It helps our family and the planet.

  8. I am trying to look at places I try to control because I am afraid. Some of these places have been pushed pretty far back, covered up with a solid veneer of patterning and protective layers. I am going to need a pick axe.

  9. Audible. I am flying through books during commutes and the spaces in between when I don’t have time to sit down with a book. Gamechanger.

Things that will help

Things that will help

 Our bodies and our art want to thrive and they are looking for material in which to do so.  It’s just like eating clean food.  Over time, it’s what the body prefers and we stop thinking about Cheetos. Sometimes. Unless, of course, you have a southern mama who stocks her pantry with such and you binge once a month or so. But as mama says, everything belongs in moderation.  .