Midway check-in

30 Day Blog Challenge, 30 in 30 April
Blue skies swirl to pink lights. Fade to gray. It's dusk. I missed the blood moon eclipse last night, but I'm enjoying the sunset tonight. I've been sweeping away cobwebs, opening taps, stretching writing muscles. This is blog entry #15 in 15 days, and as usual, I'm glad I opted for the challenge. Also as usual, there are pros and cons to posting every day. But the benefits outweigh the drawbacks and I'm glad to get back into a writing rhythm. I've tried different approaches, but none seem to work as well as writing everyday. Writing everyday doesn't mean publishing my writing everyday, and that's the balance I'll work on once we enter May. For now, I shall continue with my daily entries. To strive even higher, to do even…
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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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What are your must-reads?

30 Day Blog Challenge, 30 in 30 April
The ladies of Whiskey, Wine and Moonshine have books on the brain. We may share some of our recent convos on an upcoming podcast. In the meantime, I want to know your thoughts about books. For all questions, you can choose more than one. Who is your favorite author? What's your favorite children's book? What's your favorite book? What makes it special? What book did you read that you wish you'd encountered earlier in life? How did you come to read it? What book would you recommend to someone? What makes it worthy? What notable book did you try reading, but abandoned? What book is on your "to read" list? Complete the following sentence: {Insert name of book} should be required reading for {insert individual or group} because (insert reason}.…
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Today I Ran

30 Day Blog Challenge, 30 in 30 April
Today I ran. Mostly, I jogged, if you want to get technical. I wasn't out there sprinting or going particularly fast. But I was out there. And it was great. Tough, yes, but really nice to be outside again. [caption id="attachment_2850" align="alignright" width="200"] My last run was a PR![/caption] It was my first run since my milestone of November 2013. Five months to the day. I didn't realize that when I decided today had to be the day. I just knew it wasn't too cold and the sun was beckoning. I decided to just go out a mile and back. I hit my target pace of 10 min/mile. I had some difficulty breathing on a few stretches and some histamine reactions in my muscles. Both of these were to be…
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Free write

30 Day Blog Challenge, 30 in 30 April
I've set a timer for 5 minutes and I'm just typing stream of consciousness. I had so many plans when I woke up, and I've been working through them, but, well, you know how it goes sometimes. A few interruptions here, a fire to put out there, and it seems there's been a lot of busyness, but not as much business. That's fine. I can still check a few items off my list and create a clear plan of action for tomorrow based on what I accomplished today. And really, that's the best you can do on any given day. Since the fourth agreement is "always do your best," I can close out the work day in peace and look forward to a productive day tomorrow. [caption id="attachment_2008" align="alignright" width="225"] Me…
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The Four Agreements

30 Day Blog Challenge, 30 in 30 April, Love, Spirituality
Elizabeth Gilbert's TED Talk had been on my mind earlier this week, and The Four Agreements have now taken up residence in its stead. I've been actively working on unblocking by committing to write, so I'll take these little bells as encouragement to keep going. Don Miguel Ruiz wrote a short book, based on Toltec Wisdom. In it, he elucidates four agreements, or practices, we can implement daily to enjoy a more fulfilling life. I'm very consistent on agreements #3 and #4, and I easily redirect myself #2. But I must admit, I abandon the very first one when I'm not careful. That's the one I'm revisiting  now. It would be a good exercise to (re)read the book and do some extended writing on each of the four principles. But for…
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TED Talk Tuesday

30 Day Blog Challenge, 30 in 30 April, Writer's Craft
Although I haven't seen it in over two years, this TED Talk has been on my mind the past few days. That means it's time to take another look. Elizabeth Gilbert is a writer, most famously known for Eat, Pray, Love. She quips early in the talk that it's quite possible her greatest success is behind her. Even so, she was born to write, and she wants to keep writing. Creative minds beset with the pressure to create and achieve outward measures of success are at times overwhelmed or downright tortured. Sometimes to the point of being unable to continue with their work. In the darkest cases, they are unable to continue living at all. Said Elizabeth, "I would prefer to keep doing this work that I love. And so,…
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Freedom of expression.

30 Day Blog Challenge, 30 in 30 April
Random things are feeding my spirit today. Namely, Lloimonicia's #bossy floor routine (2014) and Carter G. Woodson's The Mis-Education of the Negro (1933). In completely different, yet parallel ways, they are radical performances. They are unapologetic. They are in your face. They demand you pay attention. Whether you agree or disagree with Dr. Woodson's stance or Ms. Hall's choreography, you can't help but notice. They are energized and focused on conveying a message. That freedom, across time and space, inspires me today. The audaciousness makes me smile. Just as I was finishing this post, I noticed this from ForHarriet. It features the tap dancers Syncopated Ladies, led by Chloe Arnold. I followed them to YouTube and discovered joy. Maybe you will, too. [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWa-MDA2rYM] Wishing you audacity, creativity and inspiration.
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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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The magic of “and”

30 Day Blog Challenge, 30 in 30 April
People are binary thinkers. They revel in the use of or. You can be smart or you can be popular. You can be a tall woman or you can be pretty. You can be masculine or you can be a good parent. It's ridiculous to consider these things mutually exclusive, although some people do. And if we think about it, we can easily access counterexamples which prove "and" is possible in these instances. I enjoyed this article by Katy Brand. In it, she addresses sexism and the people who sometimes unwittingly perpetuate it (including a man she once dated). She opens with a vignette about a wedding toast, and closes with a nod to Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard, the main subject of the piece: Much has been made of Australian…
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