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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Lead Through Art

Personal Narrative
Before my blogging break, I had the wondrous opportunity to attend the Aspen Institute's Seminar on Leadership, Values and the Good Society. I found the experience a rewarding, albeit challenging one. It stretched me well beyond my introverted comfort zone. (Read my series about it here). The seminar was geared toward leaders, and I found myself uneasy that I was not a leader in the traditional sense. There was one professional artist - a novelist - in attendance, and she admitted she felt the same. It was something I pondered throughout the experience. I tend to take labels, categories and rules quite literally. And although I sometimes bend or break or mold things to suit me, other times I allow myself to feel confined and constrained. Quite often, the more constrained I feel, the more…
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Love, violence and transformations: A recap.

30 Day Blog Challenge
March was a great month of endings, beginnings, and transformations in general. I updated this space every day while in the midst of a whirlwind. The high energy and nonstop pace is in full swing for another couple of days, but I wanted to take a breath to share the top posts from last month. So I just moved. And I don't know about you, but for me moving is a special process full of resistance, excitement, and everything in between. I was slow to get started, but eventually, I did start packing. I've only spent one night in my new place, so no, I'm not settled yet. I'm always fascinated by narratives and the power of story, and maybe some of you are too? This blog about knowing your family's narrative,…
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Justice, conflicted. | #vaw #abolition

30 Day Blog Challenge, Abolition & Justice, Feminist Thought, Sexual Violence
The defendants in the Steubenville rape trial were found guilty yesterday. My initial reaction was elation. Jane Doe was sexually assaulted, then publicly humiliated, and despite the attempt to cast her as consenting to the abuse, her violators did not get away it. Only that's not exactly true. The chain of complicity in this case is long and tightly woven with bystanders who refused to intervene, friends and acquaintances who felt the ongoing assault of another human was worthy of laughter and sport, and still others who felt the need to rally against Jane, for the sake of young men who ostensibly had the rest of their lives ahead of them. These complicated factors aside, two people were found guilty, and for that I was glad. But I was also conflicted. They…
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No means no* #NaBloPoMo #vaw #fem2

30 Day Blog Challenge, Sexual Violence
At times boundaries are rendered ambiguous, when in actuality, they're sharply drawn. In rape culture, this means no is sometimes given an asterisk: No means no* when your partner says it three times. Or no means no* when your partner hits you in protest. No means no* when (fill in the blank). No means no. It means no when it's a stranger. It means no when it's an acquaintance. It means no when it's a family member. If it's your spouse, significant other or otherwise longterm partner, it still means no. Rape culture perpetuates the myth that perpetrators of sexual assault are always scary men with ski-masks and guns, hiding in the bushes for the easiest target. Or maybe they're burglars who break in to steal your electronics and get…
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Stories of Sexual Violence #NaBloPoMo #vaw #fem2

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative, Sexual Violence
I am a survivor of sexual violence. I've never stated it publicly, but I've hinted about it here and there. I'm tired of hinting. It's risky, claiming survivor status out loud. It's old wounds ripped open and sprinkled with salt. Once-dried tears, bubbling up, spilling over. Heart racing. Doubts. Anger. It's triggering. Digging into that history, thinking about it, remembering it, and sharing it is triggering. One could reasonably wonder why do it? I'll tell you why: to counter rape culture. Telling my story gives other survivors permission to tell theirs. It opens a channel for dialogue, healing and transformation. It creates a space for would-be perpetrators to see the effect of sexual violence and potentially make more loving choices. It adds to the public discourse about sexual violence, masculinity…
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More on Restorative Justice

Abolition & Justice
Today a girlfriend said, people are never going to operate from a place of love 100% of the time. I agree. But societally and individually, we could strive for it more often, yes? We can choose compassion over fear and closure. We can choose restoration and transformation over revenge. If there's a reaction to every action, what happens when every choice is a punitive, vengeful one? How can we break the chain of spite? I think about this quite a bit, but it's pretty theoretical. What does it look like to make such choices? This is where the idea of restorative justice comes into play. "Restorative justice recognizes that crime hurts everyone - victims, offenders and community. It creates an obligation to make things right." For many, the righting of things…
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Forever Changed | #30in30 #WriteLikeCrazy.

30 Day Blog Challenge, Personal Narrative, Sexual Violence
What is one thing that left you forever changed? I stumbled across this question while sitting, browsing and mulling – the trio known collectively as my process. Even when I have an idea in mind (I did) I often have to go through this period of germination. I embraced it in grad school, but I kinda want things to move a little faster. But this is me stalling. As soon as I read that question, an answer came to mind. I was inspired to respond, completely disregarding my initial plans to write about student ingenuity and punishment. Though as I began to type, I wondered how much I should or would share. I’m still deciding. I’ll ease into it and see what comes out. I experienced the first love of…
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On Living, or Dying, with Anger

Personal Narrative, Spirituality, Temple Building
It is dangerous to hold fast to anger toward another. Perhaps even poisonous. One may look around one day, only to find herself rotting, dying a slow death from the inside. And yet, aware as I am of this simple point, I catch myself, arms wrapped ‘round my body, one crossed over another, refusing to release it. It’s almost comforting, this anger. Terrifying to think of letting it go, and Goddess forbid, opening my heart again. Where would I be without this cloak ‘round me? Without this veil enclosing my heart? One shudders to think of it. And yet one shudders a great deal more to ponder the alternative. Praying to expel this poison. Move past the betrayal. Get on with life and the living. Anger, held too long and…
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Now Reading

Temple Building, Text Talk
Understanding and Promoting Transformative Learning: A Guide for Educators of Adults by Patricia Cranton I've just started, but I'm enjoying Cranton's book. She has a readable, accessible style and she's doing a nice job at integrating her discussion of theory and practice. As an outsider to adult education who finds kinship with transformative learning for many reasons, it's nice to find a primer with both heft and practicality. View all my reviews
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