Free Your Mind Friday

Freedom Friday, Personal Narrative
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7iQbBbMAFE?rel=0] "Why oh why must it be this way Before you can read me you gotta Learn how to see me, I said Free your mind and the rest will follow" This song is on repeat in my brain. I can't point to a reason why, but I've found myself thinking, saying and writing free your mind all this week. Maybe it's because I'm reading Assata. Or because I'm being more intentional about nurturing my passion. Perhaps it's a divine message requiring meditation and integration because I've spend too much time thinking inside the box. Sometimes think boxes are okay. They're predictable. Comfortable. You know the boundaries. You understand the rules. But I've always been a tad bit claustrophobic, and if we're being honest, comfort doesn't alway suit me. Thinking through…
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The Drum at the Gate of Thunder and other gosho to women

30 Day Blog Challenge, 30 in 30 April
One of my projects-in-progress is a review of Nichiren Daishonin's gosho to women. Nichiren was a Buddhist monk who came of age in 13th century Japan, and a gosho is an honorable writing (go is an honorific prefix and sho means writings). Nichiren wrote many letters and treatises in his lifetime, and the extant among them were translated and published with background about the recipient when it was known. English versions of his writings are in two volumes published by the Soka Gakkai International: Writings of Nichiren Daishonin Vol 1 and Vol 2. Over the course of several years, I read all of the writings in volume 1 in chronological order. I thought it would be an interesting project to reread them in a new way, through a different lens.…
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Probability, Possibility and Change

30 Day Blog Challenge, 30 in 30 April, Love
I believe in the potential for change. Change is, after all, one of the few constants in life. Even at the cellular level, there is always change. Birth, aging, sickness, death. Rebirth. Change. I'm speaking about it in grand terms, but what I'm really talking about is the potential for individuals to evolve. To shift in attitudes, ways of thinking, and behaviors. To learn new things and be affected by them. Ultimately, I believe in the potential of humans to be human. ...humans are always evolving (Freire). Not in the sense that humans are some how deficient, but rather that they, like plants, continue to seed and bloom and remake themselves. To live is to grow. Stagnation is, in effect, death.  ~Nicole D. Collier, In Defense of Inquiry Earlier today…
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On living, aging and growing old.

Personal Narrative, Spirituality
It is important to remember that aging and growing old are not necessarily the same. ~Daisaku Ikeda  I cringe whenever my peers claim they're getting old. Of course years pass and we physically age, but a lot of what they are claiming is more about mindset than time. A friend argued that maybe those people are beaten down by life - they're getting weary, not getting old. Perhaps. My favorite models in life are my aunts and uncles. Three of them are active on social media and in real life. Here's a picture: [caption id="attachment_2741" align="aligncenter" width="614"] Uncle Grisby, Auntie Jessie, Cousin Big Sis, Me, Uncle Arnsel. 2011.[/caption] Auntie Jessie, who will be 85 this year, called to wish me a happy birthday Wednesday. When we spoke around 9:30 p.m.,…
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Quote of the day

Text Talk
You must never slacken in your efforts to build new lives for yourselves. Creativeness means pushing open the heavy door to life. This is not an easy struggle. Indeed, it may be the hardest task in the world. For opening the door to your own life is more difficult than opening the doors to the mysteries of the universe. ~Daisaku Ikeda
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Plot Twist!

Spirituality, Temple Building
In My Dear Friends in America, Daisaku Ikeda wrote: "You are the playwright of your own victory.  You are also the play's hero.  Shakespeare wrote, "All the world's a stage, / And all the men and women merely players" (As You like It, act II, scene vii, line 139). Buddhism teaches us that the individual writes and performs the script for his or her own life.  Neither chance nor a divine being writes the script for us.  We write it, and we are the actors who play it. Despite the fact that we can take responsibility for our lives and plot out the life we'd like to live, there's no getting around the fact that some things are simply out of our control. Even in a real stage play, props…
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What are you creating?

Productivity, Text Talk
I've come across a lot of things worth sharing as of late. Long ago I used this space, not only for musing, but also for sharing news articles or other things of interest. Sometimes a video catches my eye. Other times, it could be a picture. Today, it's a word. Something to ponder: There is no one lonelier or more unhappy than a person who does not know the pure joy of creating a life for himself or herself. To be human is not merely to stand erect and manifest intelligence or knowledge. To be human in the full sense of the word is to lead a creative life. ~Daisaku Ikeda
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Dancing Buddha

30 Day Blog Challenge
I'm a salsera. Specifically, a casinera. I've been dancing casino-style salsa off and on for maybe 7 years. In the past couple of years, mostly off, but yesterday, I rejoined my fellow casineros! Dance, like running, is a great teacher. When I take lessons, I often learn much more than the turns being taught. Yesterday I learned about being swayed by self-doubt. [caption id="attachment_2187" align="alignright" width="258"] Jorge and I getting down![/caption] Casino salsa reminds of square dancing in a circle. There's a caller, and everyone does the called move in sync. Afterwards, we're told to switch partners and complete another move. Sidebar on partner dance: if you're a good follower, you needn't know the move by heart, but you should still be able to execute it well, provided a good…
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When in doubt…

30 Day Blog Challenge
In 2010, I wrote a long letter of encouragement to a friend in faith who was mired in self-doubt at the time. I subsequently shared it with a mutual friend Tia, who graciously reminded me of it today. Perhaps I'll do some revising and share it more fully. For now, here are a few excerpts: With regards to cause and effect, you must remember that every single thought, word and action is a cause. All the minutes and seconds you spend in worry and doubt are causes for failure. Every single moment. Whatever is in your heart becomes your prayer and that is what becomes manifest. You must guard your heart and really challenge yourself to stop that negative thinking when it appears. It's going to appear (you're human), but…
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What did you give today?

30 Day Blog Challenge
Lots of things going on today, but I still want to contribute to the blogosphere. Enjoy! If a person is hungry, we should give them bread. When there is no bread, we can at least give words that nourish. To a person who looks ill or is physically frail, we can turn the conversation to some subject that will lift their spirits and fill them with the hope and determination to get better. Let us give something to each person we meet: joy, courage, hope, assurance, philosophy, wisdom, a vision for the future. Let us always give something. ~Daisaku Ikeda
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