Thursday, June 30, 2016

New Beginnings - Next Post is from Florida!

The sky welcoming us to Georgia
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Almost there! Today I am arriving at my new home after a fantastic send-off from my best friends and family, and a long fun 1200 mile ride with Tracy. 

Mystically, on the day we began the journey, Neha, my friend from India, delivered my package to Sensei at the Great Hall of the Vow of Kosen Rufu. It contains the experience about Ben and our book "Our Forever Ben," along with newspaper clippings and promotional materials for Ben's Memorial Mile which just raised $22,000 for schizophrenia research (less expenses). My determination to turn poison into medicine is contained in this package! Thank you Neha! 

Several times we encountered traffic and I started chanting and boom, the traffic began moving. We drove about 700 miles yesterday. Today we will arrive at the the Starlight Tower in St. Pete Beach. I'll stay there for at least a few months as I navigate my future. 

This is the week....the week Ben "died" last year...and a great week to start my new life. I arrive with just what I can fit into "Champagne", my lovely "new" 2000 Lexus RX I got this spring. We have a roof bag, and all my clothes and belongings in it. I gave everything else away...

I chant today in appreciation for this practice, for you, and for having enough faith in the power of my own life to make this momentous change through chanting the name of the Mystic Law. Everything is possible...for me and for you!  


Friday, June 24, 2016

We Make Everything Magical and Every Moment Count!

"Know you, I salute the air, the ocean and the land, 
Every day at sundown for your dear sake my love."

From Walt Whitman's poem "Out of the Rolling Ocean the Crowd"
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I'm doing it! 
I am blessing most of my possessions 
and offering them to people who will love them and appreciate them just like I did, 
so I can travel to my next home. 

Every morning I am chanting in appreciation that I have become this brave person ready to take on this great adventure of going to live on the beach. 
Alone...with all the new friends I am going to make...and all my treasured friends available by technology, including you!  
I was meant to live in the beach in the warmth. 
It is time to begin my new life. 
I'm one of those people that loves hot and humid weather. 
I always have. And I adore the ocean/water. 
Will I love Florida? I embrace it with an open heart...and we'll take it from there. 

Every morning I chant to be where I can be my happiest self and make the biggest difference in the world. I will host a book launch for the book I just wrote with Ben called "Our Forever Ben." It's the poetry he and I have been writing back and forth since last summer. I just put my pen to the paper and write to him, keep my pen on the paper and he writes back to me. Incredible messages. Every time. I am working on this for you. I'll let you know when it's available! I'll publish some excerpts for you, too. 
Ben's last two lines of the book are: 
"Close your eyes.
I'll still be right here." 

Chanting brings such fortune. I'm mostly calm, happy, enjoying every moment of the goodbyes, and staying centered on my Gohonzon...on my life and the depth of my prayer. I'm bringing forth every ounce of power through chanting the name of the Mystic Law of the Universe, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. I feel it. 
Yesterday morning I chanted for 2 hours washing my worries away and feeling great. When I get to St. Pete Beach I plan on having a long daimoku toso on Saturday the 2nd of July, the anniversary of Ben becoming eternal. I am chanting for the state of the world as well. Shoten Zenjin, protective forces of the universe...NOW IS YOUR TIME! 

I'm chanting with Daisaku Ikeda's words below in mind:


"Pray that instead of devils or negative, 
destructive forces infiltrating your being, 
Brahma, (Bonten in Japanese), 
Shakra, (Taishaku in Japanese) 
and the gods of the Sun and the Moon - 
~ the positive, protective forces of the universe - 
will enter your life! 
Pray that they will enter the lives 
of all the members in your region 
and the entire membership of the SGI, as well. 
If you do this, 
your strength will multiply a hundredfold, a thousandfold. 
With such prayer, 
with such faith, 
you will realize a fundamental transformation 
in the very depths of your life. 
This is the secret to achieving your human revolution." 

Daisaku Ikeda World Tribune, 9/8/2000


My greatest good fortune is that my friend Tracy is helping me almost every day. Fortune, as you know, is the precious treasure that money can't buy. Having Tracy show up happily and willingly to help me now is a my great, great fortune, and a further sign that I am not alone in this. The protective forces of the universe, and our eternal Ben are right here with me. 

Last Monday I called Tracy right after I gave notice at work. And she said unexpectedly said: 

"Wow! I just downsized and sold my 3 bedroom, 2 bath house so I know just what to do to support you. Everything is fresh in my mind. I'm free till after the fourth of July so I can come right over and give you a hand." 

And she has taken over the managing of the move in a way that makes me feel the deepest appreciation imaginable. We are laughing, working, enjoying each other's company. She is patiently listening to the stories I tell when I see a picture of Ben, whole life, and listening to my various stories as I sort through all of my possessions and find the "treasures." These I keep, the rest is going.  
And when I ask her "Should I keep this thing or give it away?" she answers: "Well...I don't think it will fit in your backpack when you travel around the world." And I think "She does have a point," and bless it on its way. 

My goal is to put all I need into my wonderful 2000 Lexus Rx 3000 - my new car I call "Champagne," and drive to St. Pete Beach in Florida (with Tracy, bless her heart) where I am renting a furnished studio overlooking the vast waters of the Gulf of Mexico and every single sunset. Ben and I are going to love this! All I'm taking is will fit inside or on top of my car. I feel like Louise Hay. She left everything behind when she left the east coast to find her incredible fortune and happiness. She inspires us all as the founder of the Hay House Publishing empire. I love you Louise! She's in her 80's saying "EVERY decade of my life is the best decade EVER!" 

Did I tell you we raised over $21,000 for Schizophrenia research (less expenses) in the glorious Ben's Memorial Mile? We are still accepting donations at through the month of July, when we will close out this year's books and begin to work on next year. My personal goal is to have it net $22,000, which is the age he became eternal, and my favorite number since I was born on September 22nd. It looks like we will have it at Downers Grove North High School on June 10th, 2017, but we are waiting for confirmation from the school. I will let you know. 

Goodness, I have to go to bed so I can enjoy my last few days here in Chicago making every moment count!  

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Becoming a Brilliant Beacon of Happiness!

Me and my friend Michelle out on her boat in Lake Michigan yesterday ~ 
taken by her husband Gary

By Daisaku Ikeda, 
From For Today and Tomorrow, page 256

"It is not a question of your environment 
or those around you, 
nor what the organization or leaders may be like. 
To be swayed by such externals is pointless. 
It all comes down to one person: you. 
What matters is that you become a brilliant beacon, 
shining with joy and happiness, 
and live your life with confidence and courage. 
If you shine with a radiant light, 
there can be no darkness in your life." 
A resounding yes! 

Every morning when we chant we have the brilliant opportunity to tap into the power that exists within our lives and focus it for the day. Every evening when we chant we can seize the moment, stay focused and continue to shine the light of appreciation and love into our lives. 

I have never felt more powerful or creative. Each moment is flowing with appreciation and rich with possibility. 

I chant to open my life to the best possible person I can be, and that my moments in front of the Gohonzon bring my life to even greater purpose...and to bring all my skills, talents and loves to the forefront so I can inspire every single person with my life and through my happiness! 

It is happening. 

By two weekends from now I will be living on the beach in St. Pete's Beach on the 5th floor overlooking the water and the sunset. I'll tell you, when the benefits come in...when we don't give up...everything flows. 

When I got back from my visit to Florida in February, I spent the next week chanting three hours a day for it all come together perfectly for my move...for everything I needed to present itself at the perfect time. Then I took the bold move of giving the required 60 day notice on my apartment. 

And I keep chanting ~  

Every day I chant to be that brilliant beacon Daisaku Ikeda talks about in this quote. 

I radiate love and light, smiling and loving everyone I see...even those that are harder to love...even those who don't smile back. In my heart I bless them. 

Immediately after Ben's Memorial Mile (where we raised $20k for schizophrenia research and mental health awareness - see or like us on Facebook) my friends helped me start packing.  We went through a closet and seeing Ben's sock drawer just broke my heart. But the shoten zenjin are surrounding me at all times. 

I have the incredible fortune to have a friend dedicating herself to helping me move. She's helping me find new homes for all my furniture, donate what I don't love, and bring or store my treasures. She's even going to drive with me to St. Pete's Beach from here! THAT is fortune. Money cannot buy this! Nam-myoho-renge-kyo!

And along the way, I'm sharing my story of turning poison into medicine. I KNOW my son Ben is cheering me on, because every time I pick up my pen to write him he writes me right back. Now I carry around my book "Our Forever Ben," and people are buying it right out of my hands. 

It touches a chord. 

Soon I will have a book launch and make it available for you. It is a story of such hope and eternity. 
I still occasionally get sad that Ben is not here in person, but more often I feel the appreciation that I HAD that bright light with me for 22 years! He was a Buddha in life and he is an eternal Buddha, just like your eternal loved ones. 

I am so grateful to be sharing this journey with you!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Ben's Memorial Mile Victory!

My great fortune is as vast as the sky. Chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo absolutely works. Whatever you are facing - don't give up. Keep chanting to the best of your ability and keep moving forward! 

This weekend was Ben's Memorial Mile and it was one huge benefit after another. I am in awe of the power of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo - I can feel it in every moment of my life. 

I have more photos to share, and you can friend Ben's Memorial Mile on Facebook and Instagram to see more. We had PERFECT Ben weather, and a stunning sunset. I could feel him every moment, as I do now.  

It was held at the outdoor track of Downers North High School and there were over 400 people there. We raised over $20,000 gross, but we have some expenses to pay...still, for a first year event it was a rousing success. 
$1100 of that was due to sales of my book - "Our Forever Ben." I will offer that to you as soon as I can! 

And the best thing is everyone was happy, there were smiles all around. People came to walk and run in Ben's honor. It was a thrill to cheer for them all! 
We have photos in the paper today. It was a pure victory!

And now - I am packing up and have 2 weeks until I'm in Florida - at St. Pete's Beach - right on the beach with a view of the sunset every day and the beach at my feet. I'm taking a huge leap of faith and just going for it. I have a furnished apartment that I found through a family member. 

It's a new beginning! The anniversary of Ben entering his eternal life is coming up on July 2nd. I plan to be in my new apartment chanting by then. Join me in chanting if you can!  

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Have No Fear!

enables us 
to make any hardship or setback 
the source of our new advancement 
and our treasure for the future. 
you don't have to be afraid of making a mistake or encountering an obstacle. 
In short, 
as long as you are devoted 
to staying in the correct orbit of faith, 
you won't ever cease to advance toward your victory, 
even if you may go through 
some twists and turns in life." 

Daisaku Ikeda
Buddhism Day by Day, June 7, page 85

This was the perfect wisdom for me today. 
I don't know about you, but I am one of those people who can be afraid to make a mistake. I feel like it's "part of who I am." Sometimes I'm bold...but also I can be afraid.

And, as we all know, we don't practice Buddhism to just just say "Oh well...that's just me." If we are going to have that kind of attitude, we might as well not even practice Buddhism.  

This quote just says it all. 

We don't have to be afraid of making a mistake because there are no mistakes if we keep our practice strong and stay in the orbit of faith. We can turn any "mistake" into a benefit. ANYTHING. So we can put it all on the line and forge fearlessly on. 

Even if we've made a "wrong turn" if we keep chanting to turn poison into medicine...keep chanting for kosen rufu every morning and evening...DO our practice...we will keep winning! 

As we know... 

We practice Buddhism to break through the shell of our lesser become people we never thought we could be...and to practice expansion in all we desire. 

This is the Year of EXPANSION! 

I'm making some huge and fearless goals. I'm chanting for strength, wisdom, and to live every breath of my life as an inspiration to others that anything is possible. Let's expand together! 

Monday, June 6, 2016

4 ways to Keeping a High Life Condition While on Vacation

I just got back from a whirlwind of activities and travels. Aaron graduated medical school. This weekend  is Ben's Memorial Mile at Downers Grove North High School (in Illinois, USA)  ~ Check out if you want to donate to the exceptional cause of finding a cure for schizophrenia. It looks like we'll have at least 400 runners and walkers gathering in the name of my sweet son, Benjamin Lee Silver. Many of you are part of his story!

During my my travels my schedule has been crazy. And we all know that keeping a high life-condition is especially important while on vacation. How can we do that while still "vacating?"

(As always, these are my personal reflections as a 31 year practicing Buddhist. I don't represent the SGI, although I am a devoted member.)  

SO how can we do it? 
How can we keep the our life conditions high when we are traveling? 
Here are my

1. We can give ourselves a little room for variance, and not be too worried about it. I think we need to realize not everyone we are traveling with chants, and know that being a little off our normal schedule is not the worst thing in the world. In other words - we can relax and enjoy our vacation. 

2. Chant whenever possible.
While I was on my travels, I visited the Phoenix SGI center with my son Aaron who will be doing his medical residency in Phoenix. We chanted in the center's Gohonzon room, and I bought him a beautiful new bell. We shopped for a new altar/table for him....and found the perfect thing. Whenever we could, we chanted sincere daimoku and did gongyo...but we also slept a little later, and ran out to the golf course really early. 

3. We can make every daimoku count. When we chanted, we kept our cell phones far, far away. It is so EASY to be distracted. But while on vacation every single Nam-myoho-renge-kyo matters more than ever! Concentration counts. 

4. We can do shakubuku! We can keep our Nam-myoho-renge-kyo cards close, and give them out often. On this last plane ride I sat next to the mom of an olympic skater and she was really interested in hearing about chanting. I always bring a huge stack and see how many I can give out. believe me, it makes travel go smoothly! And planting seeds is how we make our garden grow. One of the people I visited is a person who finally started chanting after knowing me for over 20 years. She recently bought a large tract of land in California to form an intentional cohousing community. 

Daimoku works, and can make all our dreams come true!