The wise will rejoice

Zaimu Challenge
I watched a short video this weekend, and it featured excerpts from a piece by Buddhist philosopher and peace activist Daisaku Ikeda. I haven't felt anything resonate so deeply in a long time. I quickly jotted down all the words I could remember and then found part of the poem excerpted online: [caption id="attachment_3446" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Morning sky by nicole denise.[/caption] Quietly ask yourself if it isn't in fact true that each of us, before being defeated by an external adversary, is first defeated by ourselves. The weak in spirit, the cowardly, even before wandering reluctantly at the foot of the wall that towers in their path, shrink first before the sight of their own shadow. Terrified of illusory figures of our own creation, we are defeated by the bandits that…
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On Mission

You will not find your mission by standing still. The only way to find it is by challenging yourself in something - I would almost say it does not matter what. Then by making consistent effort, the direction you should take will open up before you quite naturally, just as wide, new horizons open up before someone walking up a hill. Little by little you will come to understand your mission. That is why it is so important to have the courage to ask yourself what it is that you should really be doing right now, at this very moment. It is likewise important to set your sights high. The greater the tasks you chose to take on - one step at a time - the more rewarding and joyful…
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Have you made art today?

I've been asking myself this question daily as of late. In part, because it reminds me that I am an artist – something I've only recently embraced. And in part, because it spurs me to action if the answer is no. There's a lot going on these days. It seems some of us have become caught in a cycle of  seeking and finding the worst in each other. Of creating solutions that perpetuate vengeance and violence rather than compassion or healing. When reality is ugly, brutal, far from utopia and idealism, art shows us beauty and possibility. It encourages. Resonates. Reminds. It gives us new questions and new ideas. It pushes. Heals. Helps us to expand. Art is activism. Whether you paint or dance or cook or sew or write or act…
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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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Welcome to cocostudio

Personal Narrative
Last night, Blue glanced over at the clock and smiled as he asked, "How do you feel in your last minute of being 39?" I laughed. I felt great. I still do. In my late 20s, I looked forward to turning 30. I was sad though, in those last few minutes. My mother had passed away a few months earlier, and I hadn't considered greeting that milestone without her in my life. Despite my grief, I joyfully welcomed the new decade and all the excitement 30s held. [caption id="attachment_2727" align="alignright" width="259"] Blue's brown sugar bourbon bundt.[/caption] It seems as though I merely blinked, yet here we are at the dawning of another decade. I'm not sure how one is "supposed" to look and feel at 40, but I truly believe…
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Can’t build your temple without laying bricks

Temple Building
Today was a cardio day, but yesterday was weights. I got down. Crushed it today. Really knocked it out. o/ #champion #fitgoddess— nicole means victory (@ndcollier) February 13, 2014 Weight lifting is interesting for me. On the one hand, I love seeing progress. I can lift the weight with less effort as time goes on and see real strength. My muscles get sculpted. I lift and carry heavy groceries in a single bound. On the other hand, it's hard for me to get psyched up to do it. A run in the early morning? No problem. My favorite aerobic workout before sunrise? No sweat. Weightlifting, however, requires some mental gymnastics to get motivated. But yesterday? Crushed. I do a full body workout with a barbell and plates. Ten tracks including warm up, squats, chest,…
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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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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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What is happiness?

30 Day Blog Challenge
I'm not short on ideas, but I'm short on the energy to write about them. I started working on a post in my drafts just now, and just petered out. I'm low on focus at present, but not low on determination. I said I would show up, so here I am. Today I'm rereading one of my favorite essays by Daisaku Ikeda. It's called What is Happiness? and it challenges us to remember that true happiness is forged through inner work. Writes Ikeda, Happiness is not a life without problems, but rather the strength to overcome the problems that come our way. There is no such thing as a problem-free life; difficulties are unavoidable. But how we experience and react to our problems depends on us. Sometimes I feel stagnant,…
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