Wednesday, May 19, 2021

June 2021


Hey! June! Over here...
     on the sunny side of the street!

Let’s say it’s a beautiful sunny day.
You’re walking along the sidewalk
On the shady side of the Danforth.
You walk and you glance
To the other side of the street… where
You see me.
Quelle surprise!
Bette’s tap dancing
On the sunny side of the street!
You shout, “Hey! Bette!”

And in that instant
You call forth all that you know
About me.
You give focus to all that
I know about me…
And to all that we know
About me together!
The word, “Hey!” gets
My attention
And all that I know about
Being Bette
Now focuses on you.
It’s like a reflection
Of my being onto yours.

That’s nice, of course,
Because we’re friends
And when I see your
Smiling face I’m reminded
Of all I know about you.
In that instant, then,
The complete you and
The complete me
Are in absolute harmony.

You decide to come over
To the sunny side
And we hang out with
A nice cup of coffee
At a sidewalk cafe.
Our nice chat
Is underscored by
That same total harmony
That we can see in each other’s eyes…
That we can feel in each other’s hearts…
That we can hear in each other’s souls.

It’s not intense.
It’s like the sun playing
With the clouds...
But always there.
Firm and resolute.

We know this kind of friendship.
We affirm ourselves with these
Interchanges… these exchanges…
These soul gatherings.
But what if there were a way
To call out our own
Highest potential for each day?
For each moment?
For each breath?
With the same intensity...
With the same force.

The historical Buddha,
Shakyamuni aka Siddartha,
Almost three thousand years ago,
Taught that those moments
Of compassion and happiness
Live always within every cell
Of every person’s life force.
Everybody’s got their own Buddha nature.
He taught about it in his final teaching
Known as the Lotus Sutra.
Everybody’s got a Buddha nature.
It is essential and unequivocal
Compassion and happiness.
Everybody’s got IT.

But it wasn’t until 13th Century Japan
That a monk named Nichiren taught
Us how to tap into IT whenever we want.
Nichiren taught us to say, “Hey! Buddha nature!”
Just by saying the name of the Lotus Sutra…
We call forth all that is contained within it
And all the intentions infused within it
So long ago.
And we call it into our lives
Here and now.

In Nichiren’s Japanese,
That name is Myoho Renge Kyo
Instead of “Hey!”
We announce our vow of intention…
But shortened to “Nam” because
That’s something they do in Japan sometimes.
So, this:
Nam myoho renge kyo.

We chant this daily morning and evening
To polish our own Buddha nature
Like a mirror to reflect
Our best potential self into
Our daily lives
While we’re busy
Living our daily lives.
And reflecting onto the world
Around us.
We change...
So changes the world.

Nichiren also taught us
To recite a small portion
Of the Lotus Sutra each
Morning and evening
To underscore our awareness
And our resolve.
So we chant
Nam myoho renge kyo
And we recite
A little of the Lotus Sutra
Twice each day
In a language we don’t understand
But with an intention we do understand:
To call out...
To activate…
To live
Our highest potential…
Our Buddha nature
In compassion and happiness.
I want to thank the Beaches District
Women's Group
Of Soka Gakkai Canada,
For sharing their heartfelt experiences
With practicing Nichiren's Buddhism
At Sunday's gathering.
We don't call IT a belief...
Although, we do learn to believe
And trust.
It's something we do.
We call it a practice.
And we do it twice a day.
Here's what chanting
Sounds like.
If you want to learn more
About SGI, you can start here.
Download the PDFs on that page.
I actually designed the booklet called
Buddhism: A Philosophy for Living
You can always ask me.
I've been changing for over 37 years
And I'm not out of breath yet.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Monday, May 3, 2021

May 4th 2021

oh, you know this...

I'll say no more. It's an alternative May calendar.
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Friday, April 30, 2021

May 2021

Tra-La! The flowers are abloom once more!

Bleeding Hearts…
They are, of course,
Glorious flowers,
Hanging in undulating
Row upon row
Often sagging under
Their own juicy weight.
It's that very weightful sag
That makes humans
Use their name to label
Politically liberal—others.


I let that sink in.
Simply caring
About the sufferings
Fellow humans
Turns some humans
Into “others.”

Certainly, these
Plants rejoice in
The warmth of
Spring’s sunshine
And invite us
To know our
Own hearts…
And to desire
To hold safe
The hearts of

After all:
The flowers that
Bloom in the spring..
Bring promise
Of merry sunshine…
For everybody,

Kate found these particular hearts hanging and bleeding in the park opposite her home in New Jersey. I couldn’t decide which image to use, so I’ve chosen to put that burden on you!

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course


Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Apr 2021

 Rory shows us how...

OK... Spring is showing
Me that my New Year's
Good Intentions
Haven't been enough.
Rory, here, offers
Reminder to add
More focus
More effort
More stretch.

I'll follow his lead,
And I"ll start with my
Hands and fingers.

Thank you Dennis for sharing Rory's first year with us.
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Happy Pi Day 2021

 You know you want to celebrate...

Bet you didn't know this though: Pi is represented by the lower case Greek letter, π, because it is the first letter of the Greek word περίμετρος, meaning perimeter. You pronounce it "per-REEM-eh-tos." Go here to hear it pronounced.

Some math nerds at MIT have a way to start big. HERE

Here are some other PI celebration ideas for the rest of us.

1. Curate your own Pi Playlist. Here's mine. Contents (OK you already know how old I am):

2. Crack some PI jokes:
  • 3.14% of the sailors around the world are “Pi”rates.
  • Divide the circumference of the sun by its diameter and you will get a Pi in the sky.
  • I tell you, do not talk to Pi. He never stops.
 3. Watch some PI movies:
4. Eat some circular PI foods:
  • Pies, sweet and savoury
  • Cookies
  • Pizzas
  • Sliced Pineapples (they've gotta be sliced to be circles!)

5. Click HERE below for a higher resolution of this Pi Day graphic to decorate your desktop for the day! 

How ever you decide to slice it, have a great day honouring how math is always looking for ways to explain nature.

The circle is just the beginning.

If this isn't nice, what is?

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Mar 2021


Hope’s tulips…
Stand tall
Like magnets
Attracting outliers
With their mutual
Straight strength.
Yes, storms might
Still come,
But these resounding
Harbingers of
The best that is
Yet to come,
Then willingly
This year
We can translate
Ourselves into
Their heralding
We might all be
Outliers today…
But soon we’ll
Be pulled back
Into our own folds
And rejoice
In our own
Spring and vaccine jabs
Are due to collide
Here in Canada.
As our ice and snow
Melt, so too can our
We’ll all continue
To watch, of course,
For slippery patches
On our sidewalks,
But the light is
Ablaze and we are keen
To revel and delight
In all the glory
It promises to bring
Back with it.
This month’s peaceful
Image of Hope
Comes from my friend
Whose very name
is Hope.
What could be
Any better than that‽‽
Oh, and what is that
Gold-letter day,
You may ask???
Last year it was
Friday the Thirteenth.
That was the day
I self-sequestered.
My life in 425 sq ft
Has been fiercely
Quiet for almost
A year now.
Wonder how I should
Mark the day?
Suggestions welcome.

If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Feb 2021


Get Ready to Celebrate the Year of the Metal Ox...

The Year of the Metal Ox is particularly focused on relationships of all kinds. The Ox is very hardworking and methodical. That means we can expect this to be a year when work will get rewarded. Prosperity is expected for those who put in consistent effort. This is going to be a year when we will fully feel the weight of our responsibilities, a year when it is necessary to double our efforts to accomplish anything at all.

This is considered to be a favourable year for economic recovery or consolidation, a year of long-term investments, especially for creating a reserve stock for any upcoming unproductive years. The Metal Ox year is particularly great for making order in the family life. Note, it's a year all about discipline and hard work. Think grasshopper and ant.

More passive ways we might attract luck include using specific colours. In addition to white, the lucky colours of the Ox are yellow and green. Colours that, in Feng Shui, attract prosperity and success. To increase your luck, wear metal accessories.

There are so very many rich traditions for this annual moon festival. Other Asian lands also celebrate, but here in the Americas, we have all become more aware of the Chinese celebration, even if we are unaware of many of the events.

First, there’s a deep breath, called Little Year, then 16 days of the Spring Festival, filled with visiting family and honouring people born under each of the 12 zodiac signs. Then it all culminates in the Lantern Festival.

Click here  to get a little doc I've prepared for you. It gives you the specific dates and their traditional activities and foods.

And speaking of FOOD!!! click!

Here are some things to do:

Please join me in wallowing in the riches of our world.

PleFeel free to publish a summary of this article (in English or translated into another language) along with a link to the full piece
This year is going to be lucky and also perfect to focus on relationships, whether we are talking about friendships or love. In the Chinese Zodiac, the Ox is very hardworking and methodical. 2021 is going to be a year when work will get rewarded, and those zodiac signs who are lucky in terms of money this year will be the ones that will make a considerable effort. The Yin energy, specific to the Chinese zodiac sign of Ox, will be quite poignant. This is going to be a year when we will fully feel the weight of our responsibilities, a year when it is necessary to double our efforts to accomplish anything at all.

Feel free to publish a summary of this article (in English or translated into another language) along with a link to the full piece
If this isn't nice, what is?

              ~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course