How to get 100,000 views on your blog

Sometime in the early hours of December 13, 2013, my blog received its 100,000th view. My first post went up on December 30, 2009, so it took just short of four years to pass that milestone.

I think that perhaps that establishes this as a successful blog!

Some of the keys to getting there have been: Continue reading

Another story about last night at the Texas capitol

This account is by a woman in New York trying to keep up with the events of last night in Austin. It includes a lot of good information about social media’s role (and television’s non-role).

And the documentation that the Republicans tried to fudge on the time to make the bill pass.

Here’s the original: Messing with Texas. Thank you, Rachel Sklar!

Messing With Texas

The Texas GOP very nearly stole a vote with 180,000 people watching. The Internet stopped it. Here’s what you didn’t see on TV.

It’s 4:39 a.m. and Christopher Dido’s UStream channel has only just gone dark. I don’t know him, but the Austin-based citizen journalist has been my after-hours window into the Texas state legislature since shortly after 1 a.m., or midnight, Central Time, when the official Texas legislature livestream concluded on YouTube. Before that, I and 180,000 others had been glued for hours to the drama unfolding in the bare-knuckled fight over SB5 — Senate Bill 5 — which would all but abolish abortion rights in the state.

What should have been a dry parliamentary proceeding — like watching paint dry on C-SPAN — was a riveting spectacle featuring a thirteen-hour filibuster, a grassroots uprising, a stolen vote, a Twitter revolt, umpteen points of parliamentary inquiry, a stunning 3 a.m. reversal and a new national feminist hero.

Texas state senator Wendy Davis announced the filibuster on Twitter, vowing to stand, literally, against “the most anti-woman, anti-family legislation that Texas has ever seen.” SB5 was what’s known as an omnibus bill — one which bundles a number of measures together — and combined, they stood to knock out all but five of the state’s 42 abortion clinics, wiping out access in poorer rural areas.

She showed up to the vote wearing pink tennis shoes, knowing that the parliamentary rules governing the session would require her to stand and speak on the topic straight through, without a break to sit down, use a bathroom, eat or drink, or even lean on the podium for support.

And so she did. She read testimony from abortion providers and personal accounts of Texan women and explained how the proposed law was harmful to her constituents and their communities, and then, to keep the momentum going, welcomed testimony from across the country. She stayed studiously on topic, lest she be challenged by the Republican opposition for raising topics that were not “germane.” She had to be careful because it was a three-strikes-and-you’re-out rule.

Her first strike was for mentioning Planned Parenthood’s budget (ruled not germane, despite SB5 pointedly invoking expensive new demands on clinics). Her second strike was for a fellow Senator assisting her with her back brace. (Filibustering members must stand unassisted.) Her third strike, at about 10 p.m. CT, was mentioning sonograms — totally germane, since under Texas law sonograms are a prerequisite to obtaining an abortion — unless you’re Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, who declared sonograms not germane to the matter at hand and moved to end the filibuster.

This is when all hell broke loose, parliamentary style.

A dull roar rose in the room. The galleries above the Senate chamber were packed with activists, supporters and concerned citizens — polls showed that Texans overwhelmingly opposed SB5 — and a chant arose of, “LET HER SPEAK! LET HER SPEAK!” Dewhurst tried to restore order. State troopers started clearing the gallery. Sen. Kirk Watson moved to appeal Dewhurt’s ruling. Sen. Judith Zaffirini objected to Dewhurt’s summary decision, saying that filibuster ended only with a vote by the Senate. Sen. Leticia Van de Putte asked for a debrief on what she’d missed since she’d come straight from her father’s funeral. The clock ran down.

Meanwhile, protesters gathered in the statehouse rotunda, angry at the sketchy way the filibuster had been shot down. They refused to leave.

All of this was unfolding on two screens: the Texas legislature livestream on YouTube, which had been growing steadily all day and by now had hit 180,000-plus; and Twitter, where #standwithwendy was the #1 trend in the U.S. As the clock hit 11 p.m. in Texas I checked the third screen — TV — once more, thinking that by now the cable news execs would have gotten wind of the story and broken into regularly-scheduled programming. No such luck: CNN was re-running Piers Morgan, MSNBC was re-running Rachel Maddow, and Fox was re-running Hannity.

There was one hour to go. Sen. Davis was still standing by her desk, in filibuster limbo.A Republican senator moved to table Sen. Watson’s motion to appeal, and they squabbled about whose motion was on the floor. Other Senators from both sides made other motions. Dewhurst swapped out with another Republican, Sen. Robert Duncan, while they debated his ruling. There were many points of order, followed by long silences on the livestream while the chairs scratched their heads and tried to remember which motion happened when. It was a little like Lord of the Flies, except no one could find the conch. The clock ran down.

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, the one who had come from her father’s funeral, kept trying to be recognized. It was 11:45 p.m. Finally she got the chair’s attention: “At what point does a female senator need to raise her hand and her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues in the room?

The crowd went bonkers. The chair, Duncan, tried to restore order but there was no chance — it was a citizen filibuster. There was no way the GOP could wrap this up with a vote in 15 minutes, not with Watson’s motion still on the floor. Or could they?

Damned if I knew. The sound kept cutting in and out from the livestream and you couldn’t really tell what was going on, anyway. It seemed like some sort of roll call vote was being taken but for what was a mystery. Veteran newsman Mike Ward of the Austin American-Statesman, whose livetweets formed the backbone of any procedural clue I may have had, tweeted at 11:52 p.m. “No order in Senate. Chair can’t hear over jeering from gallery. Senators can’t vote. Never seen anything like this.” Chants of “WEN-DY! WEN-DY!” filled the hall, and my apartment where I was hunkered down to watch, sweltering. I had long ago turned off the A/C so I could hear.

The clock struck midnight. Victory! They had run out the clock! The chants continued. Twitter exploded. But that was weird, it seemed like that vague roll call was still going on. What, exactly, was going on in that huddle by the Chair?

This is what was going on: They were taking the vote. It was after midnight, and suddenly that strict adherence to rules didn’t seem so strict anymore. Whispers were trickling out, confirmed by the AP: SB5 had passed, 17-12.

Twitter was going bananas. I checked the networks again. CNN was re-running Anderson Cooper. MSNBC was re-running Lawrence O’Donnell. Fox was re-running Greta van Susteren. Journalist Lizzie O’Leary tweeted, “Interesting choice you made tonight, cable news executives.”

The Texas Senate legislative livestream had been dutifully trained on chambers as they slowly emptied out, while the action reverted to Twitter.

Journalist and Twitter-hound Anthony DeRosa posted a screenshot of the official Texas legislative record, which recorded the vote as taking place on June 26th, i.e. after midnight. Others were doing the same. This was nuts. Could they possibly be brazen enough to sail through that midnight deadline and think that would fly? Apparently not, because DeRosa posted another screenshot: the official record now recorded the vote as having occurred on June 25th.

If there is such a thing as a hive mind, then there must then be such a thing as a hive brain. And reader, it was at this point that the hive brain FUCKING EXPLODED.

Before an actual audience of hundreds and a virtual audience of thousands, the Texas GOP had falsified a record. Never mind that the filibuster had actually been honestly won, never mind that the clock had run out on its own course — this was fraud.

The senators squabbled over rules and timestamps in person while on the Internet screenshots whipped back and forth, multiplying. The protestors yelled shame.The senators retreated to chambers. Supporters tweeted mournfully. The cable networks ran reruns.

Somewhere in there, the livestream had ended. Vines had taken over, showing throngs of protesters in orange, shouting in unison. Someone tweeted a link to a new livestream — Christopher Didocitizen journalist, who was set up in the rotunda amongst the protestors, waiting for the senators to emerge. The tweets leveled off. It was almost 2 a.m. CT. Most of the people who had been gripped by the livestream had gone to bed thinking that SB5 had passed.

I confess I dozed off. But soon, something woke me, loud enough to pull me back out of 3 a.m. sleep. It was applause. Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood and daughter of beloved former Texas Governor Ann Richards, had emerged with some news.

She asked them to hold their applause, and paused: “The Senate members have agreed that SB5 is dead.

The room erupted. After all, it had been fifteen hours coming — plus one heart-dropping disappointment in between. “Tonight, we won,” said Richards. “And, most importantly, the women of Texas won.”

This woman of New York sort of felt like she’d won, too. Though by now I was in my sixth hour with my nose up to the glass and frankly, sort of felt Texan (particularly when Richards led the rotunda in “The Eyes of Texas”).

As Senator Wendy Davis finally walked out, elated, I felt elated for her, for everyone there, and for the women who would never know how close they came to losing the operative part of their fundamental right to choose.

That was it. Tomorrow was now today and the headline had changed. “Perhaps the Texas GOP’s biggest blunder tonight was forgetting that social media exists,” tweeted San Antonio mayor Julián Castro. It was no longer a victory for those who, as writer Roxane Gay said, “cheated, flagrantly, in plain sight, because they thought they could.

Instead it was a victory for the collective who were willing to do something, stand for something, stand with something, #standwithwendy.

Rachel Sklar is a writer and the co-founder of She still can’t believe that last night happened. If you want more information, the excellent Texas Tribune kept this detailed liveblog; Mike Ward from the Austin American-Statesman was an incredibly useful and detailed live-tweeter; and Tanya Tarr held it down on Twitter on behalf of those up in the Senate gallery. Don’t mess with Texas.

Anne Lamott on how to become yourself

lamottI love Anne Lamott. I follow her on Twitter (oh, my, she’s fierce and funny!) and have read her wonderful Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life and other books. She’s open about being a screwed-up human being, and she has a lot of wisdom to share and the writing skills to convey it truthfully, with humor.

Somehow I stumbled upon a post she’d written for O, The Oprah Magazine (does anyone ever say, “I got my copy of O in the mail”?), that I want to share.


We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvelously who we were born to be. The only problem is that there is also so much other stuff, typically fixations with how people perceive us, how to get more of the things that we think will make us happy, and with keeping our weight down. So the real issue is how do we gently stop being who we aren’t? How do we relieve ourselves of the false fronts of people-pleasing and affectation, the obsessive need for power and security, the backpack of old pain, and the psychic Spanx that keeps us smaller and contained?…

I had to stop living unconsciously, as if I had all the time in the world. The love and good and the wild and the peace and creation that are you will reveal themselves, but it is harder when they have to catch up to you in roadrunner mode. So one day I did stop. I began consciously to break the rules I learned in childhood…

Dealing with your rage and grief will give you life. That is both the good news and the bad news: The solution is at hand. Wherever the great dilemma exists is where the great growth is, too. It would be very nice for nervous types like me if things were black-and-white, and you could tell where one thing ended and the next thing began, but as Einstein taught us, everything in the future and the past is right here now. There’s always something ending and something beginning. Yet in the very center is the truth of your spiritual identity: is you. Fabulous, hilarious, darling, screwed-up you.

Actually, not on purpose, I’ve left out the funniest parts! Read more and enjoy:

Election, holidays: with respect for grace and sanity

The election is over. This time it was different. I felt more detached, less prone to let others’ emotions affect me.

I don’t own a TV. I do listen to public radio in my car sometimes, and I sometimes check out the headlines online, so I’m not completely unfamiliar with current events. I check Facebook and Twitter almost daily, and I caught a lot of people’s posts/tweets about the candidates, issues, things the candidates ignored that should have been issues, spin, and so on.

I didn’t get wound up about it. I knew who I would vote for, and I followed through. The candidate I voted for won, which isn’t always the case. Now we’ll see how the nation and the world fare for the next four years.

It was surprisingly serene.

Thanksgiving was also very low-key this year. I cooked, and a couple of friends came over for potluck, talk, and play. Then we went to see The Life of Pi in 3D. I’d read the book and thought the film was well-done.

I went to another movie the next day with my family. Did not go shopping. Worked Saturday morning. Danced with my ecstatic community in our new space on Sunday morning. Worked Sunday evening.

We’re supposed to feel grateful at Thanksgiving. I have gotten leery of “supposed to” thinking. I could have posted a feel-good post about Thanksgiving, yet something inside made me hesitate.

Even better than feeling grateful because it’s Thanksgiving: Listening to how you really feel.

What if your highest purpose in life is to be yourself and to love yourself no matter what?

Anyway, my best wish for us all is to get through this holiday season with grace and sanity.

Two years of blogging, and happy first birthday, wellbodymindheartspirit!

Two years ago today, I posted my first blog post on this blog. Back then, this blog was called The Zafu Report. After the first year, I expanded its mission and changed the name to The Well: bodymindheartspirit. The blog has evolved as I have evolved, and it’s been a great journey of learning by doing.

I am grateful to WordPress for providing templates and widgets that make it look good and take the skill and decision-making that goes with that out of my hands, freeing me up to write.

I thought I’d celebrate by listing the most viewed posts and thanking all of you who have connected. This, by the way, is the 503rd post I’ve published, and the blog has now received 26,847 views with 156 followers. My biggest lesson: persistence pays off.

  1. Home Page has gotten 4,493 views. Of course, the home page changes with each new post, so if you click a link that takes you to the blog, Home Page is where you land.
  2. Update on my Spartan trailer has received 1,844 views and the second most comments. A lot of people using search engines to find information about Spartan trailers end up here. (“spartan trailer,” “spartan trailer for sale,” “spartan carousel,” and “spartan trailers” are among the top 10 search engine terms to steer viewers to this blog.) I feel kind of badly for them because this is not a blog about Spartans. I happen to have purchased, transported, remodeled, and moved into a Spartan Carousel in the past year, and it’s definitely part of my lifestyle redesign to a more sustainable, less stressful way of life. In that way, it fits into my main topic of wellness, and after some internal debate, I decided to post about it here. Some Spartan-appreciating readers have lingered, commented, and/or checked out vintage or, and I’ve made a few new friends whose interests jive with mine in a broader way. This particular post was added in April 2011 when I had purchased the trailer but was still awaiting title and delivery.
  3. Trauma releasing exercises has gotten 1,132 views. This post in May 2010 was written when I first revealed that I’d been experimenting with them. I’ve written a lot of posts since then about both trauma releasing exercises and shaking medicine, but this one has gotten the most views, mostly via search engines, because of the simple title.
  4. More yoga tattoos! has been viewed 566 times. That post actually links to Alison Hinks’ blog post of yoga tattoos. She’s awesome with the visuals! The internet must have many users who are hungry for tattoos relating to Asian spirituality, since “yoga tattoos,” “yoga tattoo,” and “buddha tattoo” are also among the top 10 search terms that landed viewers here. I have a yoga tattoo myself, a small OM.
  5. About me is actually a page, not a post. It’s received 500 views. I actually revise that page every so often because how I describe myself changes and will continue to change. Good for you for coming back. This page has gotten a few comments, too.
  6. Comparing trauma release and shaking medicine videos has gotten 336 views, and I’m pleased to have posted it. My exploration of these healing modalities included locating videos of each online and sharing. Curious viewers can see each modality in action.
  7. Book review: Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson is the next most viewed blog post, at 326 views. I enjoyed reading this book and writing this review. I especially liked the appendix to the book that lists supplements for optimal brain health, written by Rick Hanson’s wife, an acupuncturist. I wrote about that in Buddha’s Brain: Supplements for brain health (236 views). I take them.
  8. The left brain right brain crossover has received 322 views. That seems surprising for an anatomy topic, but I guess a lot of curious brain geeks out there are wondering about this too. I got a few comments, and it was reassuring that one reader told me, “just to let you know that you could study this for years and it would still remain an enigma. such is the complexity of the human brain – even at a macroscopic level!”
  9. Spartan Carousel has arrived! got 319 views. That was posted in late June of 2011, the day after it arrived from southeast Washington.  It has some photos, and it’s received more comments than any other post. Thank you for sharing my joyous relief at its arrival!
  10. The tenth most viewed post is Fantastic prehistoric cave art movie, posted May 17, 2011, with 307 views. I loved that film by Werner Erhardt. This post was written before I saw the movie. It included online research I did in advance of seeing it. Okay, I know I’m geeky like that! My actual review, Movie review: The Cave of Forgotten Dreams, was the 20th most viewed blog post.

So there you have it, the most viewed posts in two years of blogging. Thank you for reading.

New blog feature: latest tweets

I recently added a new feature to my blog, my tweets to Twitter. I’m super slammed these days with three full days of massage school a week plus homework and practice, remodeling my Spartan trailer and researching and making decisions about flooring, fixtures, HVAC systems, and more (in addition to the regular party that is my daily life).

I’d sure like to be into it by the end of July and continue working on it from within. Floors, floor coverings, HVAC, refrigerator, window coverings all need to happen for it to be livable. So much more can come later.

It’s a little bit nonsensical to pay rent where I’m staying, pay rent on my trailer lot, and pay rent on a storage unit. I’ll be relieved when I can pay just one rent, especially since I don’t have much income right now, just the odd website writing and yoga teaching job.

Just thinking about it all this morning, I realized I needed to do some shaking medicine. Legs, arms, back, neck… That’s better.

With all this going on, I felt like I was neglecting my blog readers. has made it possible to add my Twitter feed to my blog, and I added it as a way to post quick updates. Writing a blog post usually takes me at least 15 minutes, sometimes twice or three times that. Twitter lets me just post a sentence or two.

I haven’t used it that much, but it seems to match what’s happening now.

Follow me if you like: @wellbodymind.

I just want to say how grateful I am to WordPress for making it so easy for a writer to become a blogger without having to learn web design in depth, and how grateful I am to you, my blog readers, who stop by, read the latest or meander from post to post, and sometimes leave great comments or write me great emails about how something on this blog relates to your own experience.