Monday, December 29, 2008

active spirit.

from Daisaku Ikeda's Learnings from the Gosho, a quote:

"Buddhism only exists in action. Through action, the Mystic Law inherent in our lives begins to shine. The Buddhist gods and all Buddhas protect people of action; those who consistently take action for justice are truly happy."


I would name my child Justice. It would be difficult to name a child Love, though I feel that this is probably the ethical principle closest to my heart. But justice, for all people, for each life that flourishes on this earth... this is the manifestation of love, love activated and I believe that we can all be catalysts of this change. Activism exists in our daily conversations with people, in our one-on-one interactions where we ask people to consider truly what they believe. I only ask people to question, to open their minds enough to delve into different perspectives. To fight for the freedom of all people, from the freedom to love whoever you choose, toward safety from hate crimes, and universal needs being met for all humans.

This is why I do the work I do. Indoctrinating my students is not a goal of mine. We talk about religion, we read stories from religious texts as literature and consider the range of beliefs we've met in cultures throughout the world. I want them to understand their own beliefs, to be able to voice them... be them spiritual, political, academic, ethical or social. Even more, I want them to act in accordance with their beliefs, to be strong and stand up for them.

It was a lovely holiday home. I am back in the Bronx, doing work: reading, thinking, writing, chanting. It feels to close out the year on quiet reflection. Enjoy your journey into 2009!


Sunday, December 14, 2008

a life of lists.

every weekend i get up early on saturday morning to make a list. what MUST i get finished this weekend? what are my goals? what would i be happy with completing? what can i let go for another day? i usually end up completing half of them, if i'm lucky.

the exception to this rule has been thanks to the International Poetry Guild (IPG), one of the interactive communities of U of M's ICS program. i will spend all weekend writing comments on my poets' work. they've started posting poems from home, responding to each others' work, asking if they can post another poem even though they've already posted 5. students are helping each other navigate and sift through comments on the site, responding to the U of M poets' comments thoughtfully. i'm so proud of them.

so before the break, as a culminating event for the IPG, for the semester, we're having a poetry reading/awards ceremony in class and inviting the school to attend. this provides another event for which i need to make a list. just to be funny, i'm going to make a list of the lists i need to make. ah, subdividing lists in order to further promote my procrastination techniques.

- poetry reading needs/supply list
- Marking Period 3 assignment list, add to gradebook
- holiday party playlist (and to-do list)
- putting together the All About Me zine list
- things to do for Unit 4 - Rise of Islam list
- emails about China (RRG, Joshua, Jeremy, Amanda, to list a few)
- procedure for Detroit/AMC grant (possible donors? fundraiser ideas?)
- HW completion list
- obama letter checklist

aye, tomorrow i have much to do. have a lovely weekend.