SGI UK – a look back and a look forward

So, it’s now almost 8 months since I made the decision to quit the SGI. My reasons for quitting were primarily my inability to stomach the Ikeda worship, but since that time I have also come to regard the whole Nichiren movement as too entangled with materialism at a fundamental level. It’s pointless trying to explain this to anyone who is still in the SGI why this is so, but anyone who has spent any time studying Buddhism in a broader context with an open heart will hopefully understand where I’m coming from.

Anyway, the point of this little article is not to try and convince SGI Buddhists they are doing anything wrong, but simply to report on my experience of the SGI since I left. So here it is…

… that’s it. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

Nobody has hassled me to come back to the collective lest I fall into the Avici Hell. No ominous visits from district leaders, or threats regarding the Gohonzon I still have in my possession. In fact nobody has contacted me at all apart from a good friend who I help in a work related capacity – and he has never pressured me or even made the slightest suggestion regarding my practice. In fact things have remained as cordial as ever since I left.

So, regardless of the history of SGI USA and how things may or may not be over there right now, over here in the UK I see no evidence of cult behaviour in the membership itself. Yes, I’m sure that the Art of Living is still a monthly journal of Ikeda worship, but that’s to be expected as the SGI’s brand of Buddhism is evangelical and personality led, but I just felt it was right to report to the world that the SGI in the UK is pretty harmless in a conventional sense, and certainly not the dangerous organisation it has been cracked up to be by some.

I suspect if I had stuck around for much longer, then I might have begun to “feel” more locked in, but then that would have been a fabrication of my own mind. When I left, I felt nothing more than the mild disappointment that any friend might feel when a member of a group decides to leave.

I’m currently practicing a mixture of silent meditation and chanting of various mantras depending on what life is like at the time. The more I have read, the more I have come to realise how ridiculous it is to think I am any authority on the subject. While I enjoy writing about Buddhism I’m unsure what I can contribute as the Internet is already full to bursting with more academically (and spiritually in a lot of cases) competent commentary.

The book I wrote has just gone past 700 downloads, but I’ve yet to receive a single comment, which perhaps says more than I need to know about any value it has added to it’s reader’s lives.

The good thing to come out of all this is that I am happy to accept my place, for now, simply as a guy who is handy with WordPress, who likes to blather on about his spiritual beliefs in the hope that he might reach out and encourage even one person to transform their suffering. I have come to realise that I can only write with any authority on my own experience – if I try to teach people Buddhism I will probably fail, but if I write about how it’s helped me, then that may help someone, so that’s what I’ll do from here on in. As my friend David at theendlessfurther.com says “Practice is everything” – without daily practice, you’re basically not connecting with yourself at all.

 

 

 

 

32 Responses to SGI UK – a look back and a look forward

  1. Nichiren Buddhist in China June 17, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

    Thank you for your most recent post.

    I am a nichiren buddhist, I got into it by reading authors affiliated with the SGI i.e. buddha in the mirror, etc. However, I never got so far to actually attending any SGI meetings. The books did allow me to understand a lot about buddhism and Nichiren to the extent that I started to look into other Nichiren schools.

    The main reason I continued to look for other schools is because I really like Nichiren Buddhism as it has a great mixture of different ideas which are very complimentary, however, through reading information on the internet I have found that SGI is really dirtying Nichiren-buddhisms name. SOmething I find very saddening.

    At first I looked into Nichiren-shoshu and read some of their newsletters but they kind of scared me. SO i continued to look until I came across Nichiren-shu. This is the school that Nichiren originally established when he was alive, they are somewhat smaller, internationally, than many other schools, but seem to be very down to earth and true to buddhism. Not only do they chant the odaimoku but also practise silent meditation, nor do they say you must have a gohonzen.

    There is a temple in London which I plan to visit next month as well as a few in South East Asia, Singapore is where I plan to join the Sangha.

    I can point you in the direction of some of their websites and a great blog by one of their reverends located in the US. I do not want to post them here, as I would not want you to get the impression I was trying to advertise others’ sites.

    I strongly recommend you at least consider them before giving up on Nichiren-buddhism and moving towards a different school (not that different schools are better or worse, as all doors lead to the same house).

    Gassho

    • steve June 19, 2013 at 7:42 am #

      Hi Gassho, thank you for writing. I am aware of the Nichiren-shu movement and their London based temple. I did look around at the time, and also thought that they were probably the most faithful group regarding Nichiren’s original practice and training (of which we know). I wouldn’t say I gave up Nichiren buddhism, because there are elements of it that overlap with core/traditional buddhism, but the more time I have spent practicing away from it, and studying the core teachings, the less inclined to it I have become.

  2. David June 17, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

    No one hassled or contacted me after I left either. My theory is that they try to turn you around for a while, then when they realize that it’s pretty much hopeless, they go on to someone else.

  3. kanika November 25, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    Why did u leave the SGI. I would like to get into the reasons for your doing so.

  4. Louise December 30, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    Hi Steve,

    I enjoyed your book and think it’s very good. I think the reason that you don’t get many comments is that there isn’t any obvious place on the website to leave them.

    Best wishes and happy new year – the days are longer now, so things are getting a bit easier for those of us affected by the hours of daylight,

    Louise

  5. sam tharby February 26, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    9 plus five =95 hello mate i didnt know you was Nichiren buddhsit kinda thought so but hey does it matter , i am sam i am ordinary guy in england been nichiren buddhsit since 1989 quite a whie ,i winder how long you was practising when you was and was you doing the meetings disscusion meeting as well as other meetings like district planning , ive never been to japan i dont idolise daisaku ikeada i think hes alright ive got no propblems with people giving him a big audience he not gonna be around for that long and maybe retire any time ,so i think people trying to get as much out of him as possible
    ive had manny exsperiences in time ive chanting and am sure my life be worse if i wasnt it helps me in so manny ways , if somtimes just givving me rythum for my day ,My last job i been driving lorries around London for three years i am simple ordinary guy i dont take nonsence lightly and stuff daisaku ikeda comes out with is right on i think ,i also think the stuff the nichiren shoshu priest come out with is nonsence ,i like Ikead i dont worship him i would buy him a pint and sit out a pub and have a great chat love to do that , i think maybe somtimes people get to much buddhism like what do you want out of life what was Shakyamuni punching at what did he really mean when in fact the buddha meant i think just be happy today just be sam tharby today and that is what nichiren is saying and what Josie Toda and Maciguchi and daisaku Ikeada are saying but because we are human with think we have to get three mellons in a row or we cant have the jack pot keep pulling the arm of the bandit when theres no need as Nichiren said a peach is a peach a plum is a plum each is supream in it self we dont need to win jack pot ,we allready are the jack pot ,its like all the buddhsit teaching in history we trying to get it all in our head when we have enough teacher in Toda Maciguchi or Ikeida they are only trying to make the simple reality understanable thats all , dont worship ikeida worship yourself be happy ,

    • steve March 7, 2014 at 8:22 am #

      Dear Sam, thanks for writing… Yes, I went to the various meetings, although for no longer than a year as I simply could not accept the cult of personality. “as Nichiren said a peach is a peach a plum is a plum each is supream” – I don’t think Nichiren was the first, and I don’t think Ikeda will be the last to say words to this effect, but if this is what helps you to find peace, then who am I to argue :) Have a nice week.

  6. sam February 27, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    i think its just having faith ,
    there is a lot of anti sgi
    stuff on internet and about daisaku ikeada in particular
    i think if your own faith is solid and grounded by actual proof
    then not really to much need to go into reading to much negative stuff
    as i have felt somtimes i read negative stuff undermines my faith
    but i dont want blind faith
    i want to know the truth

  7. Liesl March 19, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

    Hello Steve
    I stumbled across your website when googling: “is the matrix movie buddhist”, and you had done an entry on the topic. Thank you, I found your overview and opinions very helpful.
    Then I started reading some of your other entries and found this one reflecting on your decision to make a change. I’ve never even heard of SGI, however I felt like I could relate to your experience. I’ve also chosen to leave programs, groups, jobs, relationships that felt like they had ‘run their course’ and it’s not an easy thing to do. Like you, I have a meditation practice and I’m thankful for that as it definitely helps when going through changes/transitions such as this.
    I look forward to reading more of your writing and thank you for sharing.
    Liesl

    • steve April 9, 2014 at 1:52 pm #

      Thank you Liesl!

  8. David July 4, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    Hi Steve, I mailed you a while back to say how much I was enjoying your book (as a fellow anxiety sufferer)… At the time I wasnt sure which way I would go in terms of Buddhism, but since then I have come across the writings of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, a Tibetan Buddhsit teacher. He has two books out and the great thing about him from my perspective is that he also suffered from Anxiety and panic attacks for many years. Well worth reading. Thanks again for your ebook, and best wishes for the future… I hope you will continue to post on here!

    • steve August 3, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

      Dear David,

      Many thanks for your kind comments – I was not aware of Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche and will look up his work. Which books of his have you read, and which do you feel helped you the most with your anxiety? Sorry for delay in replying – I’m afraid I have not been attending to the site as frequently as I probably should! Have a great week ahead.

  9. Charlie July 31, 2014 at 5:47 pm #

    Same here … had a HQ leadership responsibility too which I stepped down from intending to focus more on local meetings but ended up stopping altogether. Same here .. no one contacted me which didn’t surprise me as I never saw them outside the practise in most cases.

    It’s been over a year and I’m as happier, probably more so than when I practised. That said, I’ve just set the butsudan up to chant for the first time in years .. I do miss aspects .. mainly the daimoku but meetings .. nah lol

    • steve August 3, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

      Dear Charlie,

      I hear ya :-) I think the primary issue I had with the whole SGI thingumabob was the dogmatic and exclusive approach. The pressure to practice and also to take part in the district activities were frankly a turn-off. Daimoku isn’t a bad thing, if practiced in moderation – like without the million Diamoku booklets. I still do it from time to time, but it has a very different flavour nowadays.

  10. Michelle August 24, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

    Hello!

    I am an SGI member in the USA – I just got into it about 3 – 4 months ago. I appreciate the principals of this modality from a psychological/ research perspective. I have studied a ridiculous number of spiritual traditions/ psychological and philosophical perspectives as well as some of the harder sciences. I am interested in SGI/ Nichiren Buddhism from the perspective of improving perception for over-all life improvement.

    I wanted to tell you how helpful your site is as I try to understand and put together the concepts. So thank you =) I completely respect your decision to leave SGI and after reading your work I am confident you will find what works for you and I wish you all the best with that!! I did want to express my gratitude that you have left your SGI articles up though. The way you put the material together is amazing. It takes it from a spiritual realm and puts it into a practical realm which is much easier for me to understand (and relate to). I really appreciate your contribution to the material and further respect that you still contribute even though you aren’t a part of SGI anymore.

    Best to you in your future endeavors and thank you once again!

    • steve August 25, 2014 at 9:51 am #

      I would like to thank you for your kind comments, particularly as you are aware of my departure from the organisation. Enjoy your practice and have a wonderful week.

  11. David Fletcher September 9, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

    Steve, i think the book “The Joy of Living” by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche is the one that covers anxiety.. He himself had spent a long time suffering from anxiety and panic attacks. Its a great read too, so if you get chance take a look.

    • steve November 19, 2014 at 8:54 am #

      Thanks David – I will do!

  12. Sharon March 17, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

    Hi, I’ve just given up my SGI leaders role. I agree with the comments here – a lot of what I read online is about the practises of SGI-USA and I couldn’t really square it with my experience in the UK at all, seems like a very different animal in the USA, thankfully. And so far, I have been totally left alone, which is a relief.
    I have had a bad experience though – I suffered a breakdown last year and was not supported, my cry for help was totally ignored, I could not believe it. I now know who my friends are and they are not SGI members. I was only reminded to support members and attend as many activities as possible, when I was (and still am) totally exhausted and struggling to take care of myself. At one time last year when going through hell, I was told to keep my problems to myself to avoid putting off new members. This is wrong. I am not a happiness robot, I am a human being. This experience has left me feeling uninspired, paranoid and with crushing anxiety. I dislike the way it has made me OCD and superstitious and I’ve decided I’m not going to live like that anymore because it is miserable. My final decision to leave was when people started asking me about the practise, again. I would not be able to live with myself should I introduce someone and they then developed the same or similar mental health problems as me.. So, no shakabuku, not going there. Fortunately I’ve always had a full life outside of SGI – I do feel quite sorry for some of the leaders, they look absolutely exhausted to me and don’t seem to have any life whatsoever out of the circle of SGI members that they know, seems very insular to me. And I shall now download your ebook – thank you!

    • steve March 17, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

      Dear Sharon, I’m looking at your message and feeling such a connection with your sentiments. It’s been a long time now since I had anything to do with the SGI, and I think if there was one word I would use to sum the negative aspects of the organisation, it would be “dogmatic”. My practice these days consists of a great many moments when I ask myself if I am being dogmatic – or “too sure” of something. It’s ironic that an organisation that dedicates itself to compassion completely fails to practice it when doing so might mean that a member, or leader needs something more than “you’re obviously not chanting enough”. It’s funny how good people when they desperately need to “do good” (or worse, need to be seen to be doing good) so often end up hurting those around them. I hope you find some peace, and I hope you find a buddhist practice that allows you to accept what has happened and move onwards. A lotus for you…

  13. Sharon April 17, 2015 at 9:11 am #

    Aah thank you Steve for your kind words. A month now since I posted this and I feel much more relaxed. A huge weight has lifted from my life. I am now exploring other ways of tackling anxiety.

    I feel I can now look at the practise objectively and would say I even used it as a way of avoiding tackling my mental health issues. Does this make sense? As in,’ I will just chant’ rather than taking concrete actions.

    I now feel that I can move forward. And it feels great!

    • steve May 1, 2015 at 3:12 pm #

      I’m glad things are improving for you. Life is full of ups and downs if we allow ourselves to ride along the ground. Any buddhist practice can become a diversion/distraction from the reality of being you. Mindfulness practice is one of the elements of my mental health – being aware of everything – but not hyper-aware, where the imagination takes hold – just “aware” – in the moment, without predicting what “might” happen. Best wishes.

  14. Eric June 20, 2015 at 8:56 pm #

    Well, well. Perusing through this web site so far looks like Steve’s Buddhist experience is much in the foreground. At the risk of not getting too drawn into this SGI negation talk I’ll venture this and maybe a few other comments.

    To be fair I will first provide some context for myself. I am what some call a New Yorican or Puerto Rican New Yorker, born and raised in the Bronx New York and actually still live here. Due to practicing Gongyo for over 35 years in front of Gohonzon however, my mind takes flight at will and I do not feel confined to any one place at all. Human nature is also pretty much the same everywhere albeit with some different flavors and colors.

    In many respect I consider myself a pioneer of the SGI movement here in New York City if not the country and the western world itself. I believe that we are still at a very early stage in our world wide kosen rufu movement. I also believe that Sensei Ikeda has always been very well aware of this and simply worked his tail off seeking to establish a solid global foundation and pulling forth as much wisdom as he could to build a core in a state of solid unity as Nichiren requested. The practice as it was carried forth through a priesthood over these last 750 years or so was simply a product of a Feudalistic Asia, an aspect of a form of social order that, just as in the west, is quickly going the way of the dinosaur. Japan has its own unique social trajectory across time and just as you find many different social constructs across the world evolving rapidly on the basis of rapidly moving and increasing individual and group interactions, it appears that Japan officially began to cut ties with the Feudalistic social order after the 2nd World War and still remains a work in progress. Daisaku Ikeda himself has written and commented quite insightfully about such issues as the spread of democracy, rapidly changing social orders, decolonization, social revolutions and so forth. I personally have never met Daisaku Ikeda but I have come to know of him intimately through friends who have interacted with him as well as his extensive writing and management of the Kosen Rufu movement.

    Among the things that I would share here is that the way in which the Soka Gakkai International under President Ikeda’s leadership has practiced and managed the Buddhist movement has changed in various respects but also has held to some basic fundamentals as the discussion meeting format, an organizational structure of leadership that serves various purposes for individuals and the organization as whole and an emphasis on youth development to insure continuous growth and freshness.

    I myself began as a young youth leader at the start of the 1980’s and the training I received in faith under the direction of mostly first and second generation Japanese leaders both male and female and early pioneering 1st generation American leaders has provided me with a truly very stable and powerful sense of self identity that has carried me through decades of struggles and challenges, wonderful personal and social growth and development and many wonderful victories and accomplishments notwithstanding all the stupid mistakes, character flaws, weaknesses, failures and challenges that ever remain in front of me as well. My incredibly wonderus and mystic practice to the Gohonzon and my wonderful and deep relationship to the truly marvelous SGI community provides me with a literally inexhaustible source and supply of encouragement, inspiration and deep inner psychological pride in the confident belief that I am a member of the eternal sangha that is grounded in the mystic and eternal gathering of the Lotus Sutra.

    Yet, I am also aware that the times have changed and the state, and characteristics of the leadership of the organization in any given place are undergoing many challenges due to the difficulty of practicing NIchiren Buddhism within foreign cultures where the local leadership must invariably struggle with their own human revolution.

    The way I measure the value of the movement with all its challenges and internal struggles is to accept that life is a struggle under any circumstances. Even if I were to know nothing of the NIchiren Buddhist practice and lived under an alternative reality I would probably have discovered other forms of Buddhism or bonded with other progressive movements and felt motivation and inspiration through them. But I would still have this nagging feeling that all affairs appeared to possess a relativity to their trajectory and would have pursued another religious teaching seeking to discover or uncover a form of wisdom that is consistent with modern scientific knowledge yet profound enough to offer insight into the meaning of it all. Buddhism generally with its long term practices and Nichiren Buddhism with its principle of immediate awakening offer the best framework and practicing within a community is critical to understanding your own contribution within this dependently originated universe.

  15. Simon August 6, 2015 at 11:23 am #

    I am sorry to hear about these negative comments, however I often find that when people leave the SGI due to disputes with other members or organisational stuff it is putting people before the law and ignoring the fact that this practice is not outside of yourself.
    I have been practicing in the SGI for 12 years and of course it is not always easy. Due to the phenomenally varied social demographic it is a challenge to get on well with all people in the organisation. However this is not the pint. The SGI training for daily life and not as TODA puts it an ‘intellectual game’ or a cult. If you do not like people in your district, it is not a reflection of NamMyoHoRengeKyo and its greatness.
    Moreover, earlier on this year I had a serious illness and the love and support I got from fellow members was something I will never forget. TOZOs where occurring from so many sources and this I have to say was successful. The SGI is not a magic organisation. Some people keep to themselves too much and are not open about there struggles and problems ( as I can testify to being at times) and they run into problems with misunderstanding and not being fully embraced or supported. However, buddhism is daily life and you join to create a magnificent life outside of the organisation, which exists for the people, not the other way around. I personally do find the overly structured somewhat bureaucratic nature of the organisation at times a little hard to relate to due to being a maverick in many of my views. However, as Ikeda says we need to guard against authoritarianism and formalism, therefore it is up to us the members to stop this from happening.
    On the whole I love the SGI but I love NamMyoHoRengeKyo more and the impact it has on my life and society. I am sorry to hear about these negative posts. However often we take our karma with is whatever organisation we belong to. Onwards and upwards.

    • steve September 12, 2015 at 8:00 am #

      Thank you Simon. So, when someone leaves the SGI, they are wrong/misguided to do so under the belief that the SGI or Nichiren are in any way not helping them end their suffering?

  16. Simon October 20, 2015 at 12:58 pm #

    Hi Steve
    I do not think this in the slightest. It is purely a matter of personal choice and of course, SGI buddhism is not for everyone and is difficult to keep up with. I understand that there are alot of heavily dogmatic members who vehemently are involved to the point that even Daisaku Ikeda or Nicheren himself would think to be excessive. Of course, there is not a person who does not have doubt sometimes.
    All I am saying Steve is not that members are misguided who leave. In fact I am an HQ leader and most of my friends and family are unconnected to the SGI so in no way do I see people who do not practice to be in any way inferior to those who do. As Ikeda puts it ‘many members base their opinion of others on whether they practice or not, if they practice they feel reassured and if not they do not. This is wrong. It is not buddhism. There are plenty of lifestyle features of those who do not practice that very much constitute the buddhist way of life’. So no I in fact am very anti the whole gung-ho evangelical rhetoric myself. However, I think that slandering the SGI as an entire body and the teachings as a whole is completely misguided. So basically it is entlrely up to people whether they leave or not, and some of my best freinds are in fact taitan and I do not judge them at all. However, it works brilliantly for me and I have nothing but respect and admiration for the practice and the SGI. I do hovere respect peoples own belief systems.

    • steve February 11, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

      Dear Simon. Sorry for my tardy reply – Life has interceded somewhat! I hear what you say, and I agree that the SGI lifestyle certainly requires high energy. For me, it was simply too much, and looking back I recognise now that one of the reasons I felt very negative towards the SGI was that a close friend, albeit with the best intentions, intimated that if my practice was stronger, then I would somehow find the energy to do better. As you say, everybody brings their own baggage to an organisation, and very few people I have ever met could remain innocent of evangelising, even in the slightest, about their own perspectives on faith. And after all, this blog is simply my perspective – without any qualification other than my own experience. Onwards and upwards! A Lotus for you.

  17. Dave Smith December 3, 2015 at 11:16 am #

    I am an active SGI member of over 20 years.
    I love the SGI in the UK.
    However, I feel that under the current general director Robert Harrap, FAR too much is expected of members and leaders who are almost bullied into dedicating their lives to the organisation. This was not the case with the previous general directors.
    Members who do not have at least two meetings a day are socially ignored and berated to feel like failures under this ‘new era’ excessive meeting Harrap era. Wake up! This is why the SGI’s active membership is at an all time low as there are FAR too many meetings, and they are increasing. This current system only works if people do not have any life. Most people leave as they cannot maintain the level of socially acceptable meetings which is constant and increasing under Harrap. Less meetings =happier members= growth. Come on!

    • steve February 11, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

      Dear Dave, as I have said to Simon, for me the SGI was simply too high energy. If I hadn’t struggled with chronic fatigue for so long and I was more extroverted in nature, then I dare say the SGI may have been more attractive to me – notwithstanding differences in doctrinal approach. I suppose one result of spending more time in meetings is clear – you spend less time Reading an independent life mixing with the non-Buddhists – and that, I am sure, is not-a-good-thing™

  18. Gregory C Smith January 6, 2016 at 2:48 am #

    I’ve practiced Nichiren Buddhism in L.A. (SGI. Formerly NSA) and in Chicago, Illinois for the last 25 years. I still do but lately it has been more lonelier. Maybe this is good for me and will require me to see the good in all.

    I have some friends who don’t chant anymore. I never put restrictions on friendship; like you have to do what I do or I will end our friendship.

    I have gone through many challenging situations in life – more than most!

    Only a few SGI members have reached out to me. Only a few. Maybe 2 or 3. As Nichiren states in his writings, “No Affairs of life are seperate from buddhism”. Why would my true friends abandon me?

    I have severe ADD/ADHD. Nobody understands. With ADD comes anger, frustration, problems and anxiety.

    I will work on myself. I revere Nichiren and his stand alone spirit. But he did depend on the generosity of stangers. We all need hope and true friendship – and help at times.

    Again, in the SGI, I have 2 people I can depend on. These two people aren’t even leaders. Just good hearted human beings who look beyond religion.

    Steve, your site is awesome and inspiring. No matter what. Please do not stop your blog. I just found it by accident.

    Please find your true self in life and keep inspiring your readers.

    Gregory C Smith
    Chicago, Illinois

    • steve February 11, 2016 at 3:33 pm #

      Hi Gregory – thank you for your kind words – it’s really cheered me up as I am feeling a little down having broken my arm A couple of weeks ago, and not being able to be as physically active as I would like. People come and go – this, I have found, to be a constant. Even people with whom fairly intense friendships have existed Will fade away into the background if it becomes clear that your interests are not so aligned with theirs. That doesn’t make them bad people, and in fact makes them good teachers! I think I could also Count on the fingers of one hand the people on whom I could rely if needed. That does not mean that I should regard the rest of the world with a negative perspective – but it has taught me to respect my own boundaries, and to manage more effectively where I spend my energy so as to maximise benefit for everyone. Nichiren, although not unique, had many great qualities and if you can look beyond his proselytising, it is clear he was a compassionate teacher. As you say, just goodhearted human beings is all we really need for a better world! Have a great week, and thank you for writing – I always intend to return to and add to this blog when my life settles down a little more!

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