Standing Tall

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Photo: Ihlara Valley, Cappadocia, Turkey

I’ve always considered myself to be very lucky.  Through traveling and various lucky encounters I had the opportunity to meet a lot of really amazing people in my life.

Today, for whatever reason I thought about my encounters with Spencer West.  I was really lucky to have met him through Alex, a friend from SGI.  The first time I met him was through SGI meetings, then I saw him again when I volunteered for We Day.  I also have a few friends that work for Free the Children so I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of Spencer’s book, ” Standing Tall: My Journey”.  In the book he wrote, “Stand tall Stella”. It was so encouraging and inspiring.

Spencer’s story is amazing if you have not heard of him yet. Reading his story made me realize that the a lot of the limitations in our lives are the ones we place ourselves. We must overcome our own weakness and fears if we want to take on the bigger challenge of helping others become happy.

Along the same lines, when I took this picture I marveled at all tall and straight the trees are. It made me think of this quote from Nichiren Daishonin:

A blue fly, if it clings to the tail of a thoroughbred horse, can travel ten thousand miles, and the green ivy that twines around the tall pine can grow to a thousand feet.

This quote talks about the importance of having a correct life philosophy.  Something that will withstand the test of time, and a philosophy that is for the people.  I find this is true if you have true friends in life.  Friends and mentors that can become your tree, people that can help you surpass your limit.

Friends that can help you stand tall.
So that you can stand tall for others.

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Genius is divine perseverance.

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Photo: Cappadocia, Turkey

It seems that life never really gives you a break.  Just when you can almost see the light, just when you feel like you are almost there shit happens. Shit always manage to happen!  The next thing you know you are putting out one fire after another.  I’ve always wondered if life is just a tiring exercise of getting through all the curve balls, lemons, and *insert any object of your choice* that is thrown at you.

I remember a passage from Daisaku Ikeda.  He said (paraphrasing now) that anyone can go through rough patches.  It’s not enough to just get through it, but you have to get through it and come out a stronger, better person.  This passage is exactly what I needed at this very moment. So thank goodness for diligent reading and all the Buddhist meetings I’ve attended.  Problems in life never really do go away -if they do than you need to share your secret with me.  It’s not that life gets easier, or that problems go away.  It’s that we get better.  We expand our capacity to deal with shit hitting the fan and various flying objects coming your way.

So to all those people who are dealing with difficulties now, never give up.  Because..

…genius is divine perseverance.