Tag Archives: Absence

Reflection for today…Potential -Doris Lessing

26 Mar

“Any human anywhere will blossom in a hundred unexpected talents and capacities simply by being given the opportunity to do so.” 
Doris Lessing

Photo Courtesy of: http://intotheshadows.org/

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Society is not a level playing field.

Equal opporunities are mostly urban legends.

Spoken word poets and hip hop artists often speak about social inequalities and injustice through social commentary.

Some hip hop artists educate, enlighten/uplift consciousness and inspire.

Stic Man & M-1 are Dead Prez: My favourite hip hop artists/activists/revolutionaries

Tupac Shakur was a brilliant poet/artist/activist/revolutionary

This poetic narrative story telling made me fall in love with hip hop because it gave a voice to the voiceless.

It was the poetry of the streets.

tupac-shakur-quotes-sayings-about-yourself-community-wise

Many will not like the social commentary.

It is so incisive and critical but it has to be because the living conditions are full of suffering and injustice.

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It should be noted that conscious hip hop and punk music have many parallels.

They both fight against the status quo.

They both subvert the dominant paradigm.

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Black ice is such a gifted poet and spoken word artist.

He shoots from the hip and his poems go straight to your heart and mind.

In his poem Imagine, he meditates on social inequality and how different life would be if equal opportunities actually existed.

He proposes to “put love where the hate is.”

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Please enjoy his poem Imagine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kVT89O6cLo

What happens in neighborhoods where the self-esteem has been overshadowed by the decay and the children no longer play the way they used to?

Where young boys choose to follow figures that had no father figures…

Whatever happened to that we shall overcome shit?…

Cold winters are sheltered by crack houses instead of recreational centers that they claim to not have the paper to keep open for operation…

What’s a young boy to do when he doesn’t want to do wrong but there’s a lock on the right door?

When he has the heart of a soldier, the aggression of a prize fighter but no one’s taught him what to fight for…

Young Tupac was one of many boys without fathers {as Black Ice says}.
However, the absence of his father was eclipsed by his mother’s fierce love.
Afeni {a former Black Panther} passed on infinite wisdom to her son so it isn’t true that “no one taught him what to fight for.”
“My mother taught me three things: respect, knowledge, search for knowledge.
It’s an eternal journey.” -Tupac.

I included this caption of Tupac because he had “the heart of a soldier and aggression of a prize fighter”- not to mention the mind of a revolutionary leader..
 

In the end, Tupac defined manhood for himself and became quite the revolutionary man.

I would have loved to see Tupac become a father…

 

 

See, most of our families are fatherless and quite poor so we miss out on meals as well as kisses and hugs.

Photo Courtesy of: http://zunlee.com/

You’ve got the audacity to cut the funding for the facilities that keep us off the streets then ask us why we sell drugs.

Imagine if we put down our dices and guns, picked up our daughters and sons and put a little love right there where the hate is…

Imagine if these little inner city kids had the same type of schools that these rich kids have way out there in the sticks…”

Black Ice

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Imagine we lived in a world where there was no suffering, injustice/oppression, “third world” class distinction or any class distinction whatsoever.

This is the world that I want to live in…

Art by BANKSY

Peace & Namaste.

{More posts about poverty/social inequality/injustice, sociology, spoken word poetry, Tupac, Dead Prez, Black Ice and hip hop coming up in the future…}

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For more information…

Dorris Lessing…http://www.dorislessing.org/

Black Ice…https://twitter.com/BLACKICETHEPOET

Tupac…http://www.2pac.com/

The Tupac Shakur foundation…http://www.tasf.org/

Dead Prez…http://deadprezblog.wordpress.com/blog/

Tupac’s Legend

Tupac Amaru Shakur was an inspiration to millions.

While  2Pac was most famous for his rap career,  he was also a gifted actor, poet and thoughtful while outspoken advocate for the poor and the overlooked in America. During his life, he produced an immense amount of artistic work, which included studio albums, major Hollywood feature films, and published works.  He was most prolific in the music industry, selling over 75 million albums. 2Pac’s unapologetic lyrics were relevant, important, and reflective of the hard lives led by many. His music earned attention and respect through a poetic style that embraced street vocabulary while being innovative. Today, 2Pac is still considered by many to be one of the biggest influences on modern hip-hop.

2Pac’s career has earned him six Grammy nominations and three MTV Video Music Award nominations. In 1997, Shakur was honored by the American Music Awards as the Favorite Hip Hop Artist.

Born on June 16 1971 in New York City, Shakur’s parents were both members of the Black Panther Party whose militant style and provocative ideologies for civil rights would come to influence 2Pac’s music. At an early age, Tuapc’s love for performance and the arts began to show, as he began acting at age 13 and later enrolled in the Baltimore School of the Arts before dropping out at 17. Shakur broke into the music business with rap group Digital Underground as a back-up dancer and roadie. Eventually Shakur released his first solo album in ’91, 2pacalypse Now. 2Pac’s music career began to grow as his second album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z included two top 20 pop chart tracks: I Get Around and Keep Ya Head Up.

Shakur’s legal battles began after he established his rap career. In the early nineties Shakur faced a wrongful death suit which settled out of court, accusations of assaulting police officers where charges were ultimately dropped, and even an incident where Shakur sustained five gunshot wounds from shooter Dexter Isaac. In 1995 2Pac was sentenced one-and-a-half to four-and-a-half years in prison for sexual abuse. However, not even prison could slow the success of Shakur’s career.

While incarcerated 2Pac’s latest album at the time, Me Against the World, was number one in the pop charts and would later go double platinum. Shakur became the first artist to reach number one in the pop charts while serving a prison sentence. Making the most of his time in jail, 2Pac became a passionate reader. Among his favorites were the works of Niccolò Machiavelli, an Italian Renaissance writer whose works were in part the foundation for western political science. Shakur’s appreciation of his work inspired the nickname: Makaveli.

After serving only eight months of his sentence, 2Pac was out on parole thanks to a 1.4 million dollar bond paid by Suge Knight, CEO of Death Row Records. Now signed with Death Row Records, Shakur went on to create All Eyez on Me, which featured hits How Do You Want It and California Love.

2Pac’s life was cut short in September of 1996 when Shakur became the victim of a drive-by shooting while his car waited on a red light. While Shakur survived the surgery that followed he was pronounced dead almost a week after the attack.

Even today, 2Pac’s influence is wide-spread. From the Library of Congress where his song Dear Mama was added in 2010 to the National Registry, to artists like 11 time Grammy winner Eminem who in an interview with MTV said:

“He made you feel like you knew him. I think that , honestly, Tupac was the greatest songwriter that ever lived. He made it seem so easy. The emotion was there, and feeling, and everything he was trying to describe. You saw a picture that he was trying to paint.”

2Pac leaves a legacy of honesty and passion in his songs. Respected by many,  2Pac has become an inspiration for artists and a standard in rap music.”

-Copied & Pasted from: http://www.2pac.com/legend/

The Tupac Shakur Foundation

“MISSION

Our mission is to provide training and support for students who aspire to enhance their creative talents. Each and every child desires freedom to creatively express themselves. We provide an environment that encourages freedom of expression, serves as a resource for families, and empowers via education.

ABOUT

The Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation (TASF) is home to the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts, just outside of Atlanta in Stone Mountain, Georgia. TASF was founded in 1997 originally as the Shakur Family Foundation by Afeni Shakur, mother of multi-talented Tupac Amaru Shakur. Since its inception TASF has offered performing arts camps, essay competitions, youth book clubs, visual arts workshops, community development projects, and scholarships to students pursuing undergraduate degrees.

On June 11, 2005 the TASF opened the Center! The Center is dedicated to providing youth and the community with educational programs in the arts. It is a fact that early arts education improves school grades, as well as offers invaluable life lessons while building self-esteem and confidence. For nearly 15 years, the Foundation’s programs have served youth of all social and economic backgrounds, giving countless young people the courage to get off the streets and learn vital skills that have the potential to positively impact their communities. The Center is open to the public and hosts several noteworthy events throughout the year.

MORE ABOUT TUPAC

Tupac Amaru Shakur dealt with great obstacles such as homelessness, hunger, and pain, amongst other situations during his youth. Performing arts provided the hope that would seed the expression that would one day influence generations worldwide.

Tupac accomplished a lot before his murder at the age of 25. At an early age, he wrote and organized family productions, casting himself as the lead and his older cousins in supporting roles. Tupac formally trained at the 127th Street Ensemble and Baltimore School for the Arts. At the age of twelve, he experienced his first formal stage role as the character “Travis” in the stage play ‘Raisin In the Sun’ at the prestigious Apollo Theatre in Harlem.

Tupac was eventually cast in several feature films and recorded several chart topping albums. In fact, he released the first ever double hip-hop CD.   Today, years after his physical departure, he is the second highest selling Hip-Hop artist of all time. His gift- his words and creative talent- continues to inspire others around the world!

-Copied & Pasted from: http://www.tasf.org/the-foundation/about-tasf/

Tupac Sends You Peace…

Japan’s Suicide Forest Teaches About Compassion & The Human Need For Real Connection…

18 Sep

Suicide is a very uncomfortable and necessary subject to discuss.

I recently came across a YouTube video that left such an impact on me that I was not able to write a blog post until now {approx. 18 days}.

The vice documentary left such a deep impression on me that I had to reflect for a while before I could decide what to write.

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Japan’s Aokigahara (青木ヶ原) forest also known as the Sea of Trees (樹海 Jukai) or the Suicide forest is a place where many people go to contemplate suicide.

Sadly, many actually commit suicide.

I feel so much compassion for people who are considering suicide as a way to end their pain.

I strongly believe that people do not actually want to die but to end their pain and they do not see another way to achieve this.

Below is an actual suicide note found in the forest.

I find it heart breaking.

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Many moons ago, I had a friend that was considering suicide.

I pray that he finds the strength to fight against his darkness.

I am still haunted by the fact that he felt this depressed but I could not do anything to heal his pain.

I know that only he can heal his pain.

I did my best to be a loving friend but I know that we cannot truly save anyone.

We can only save ourselves. 

In fact, we always had a friendly argument about saving and being saved.

It revolved around the graphic novel and film Sin City.

Here is the trailer in case you are interested

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKFLrTYKIXk

Please click this link for more information on the movie: Sin City.

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Marv was so madly in love with Goldie and he loved her so much that he wanted to go to hell to save her.

My friend fiercely defended his thesis of loving someone so deeply that you go to hell to save them.

Art Made By Nat Wellington at http://boodoyouthinkyouare.blogspot.ca/

Conversely, I went for a different thesis. I said that you can love someone so much that you get out of hell because of your love for them and possibly their love for you. Your love for them is so powerful and/or their love for you is so strong that you pull yourself up with your own strength and get out of hell- your personal hell or the other kind. In essence, you save yourself instead of saving someone else.

No one was right or wrong. It was fun to discuss but I stand by my point of view even though I recognize his had merit. It all depends on how you look at things. It was a healthy discussion nonetheless.

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Can we actually save someone?

Dita Von Teese & Marilyn Manson in Vogue Magazine

Dita Von Teese & Marilyn Manson in Vogue Magazine Photo By Steven Klein

 Azusa Hayano makes me question my beliefs that we cannot save anyone but ourselves.

I do believe we can help someone to save themselves and this is what I think he does so brilliantly and compassionately.

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We meet an extraordinary soul, Azusa Hayano, in this vice documentary.

He is a geologist that does the most important job of suicide patrol in the forest. {I discovered from another video that the police also seem to do suicide patrol}.

Azusa also studies how people co-exist with nature because he says it is part of environmental research.

He still does not know why people kill themselves in such a beautiful forest (18:53) although he does explain that it may be because of a popular book written in the past.

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Azusa patrols the forest looking for people who are contemplating suicide in hopes of convincing them otherwise.

He even finds a man in a yellow tent that appears to have been contemplating suicide. According to the VICE website comments found at http://www.vice.com/vice-news/aokigahara-suicide-forest-v3, the man in the yellow tent had been camping in the forest for one month. He had to be taken out in an ambulance.

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The police even put up signs to try to stop people from committing suicide. They also provide the number for suicide hotlines.

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I found it fascinating that many people leave a trail of tape to find their way back in case they change their mind. This is hopeful because people who are undecided can finally decide to leave the forest.

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With his gentle and compassionate manner, one can see how Azusa could convince someone who is struggling to live.

I was struck by how much this man cares.

He really cares and that is so rare these days.

In a forest where traditional compasses do not work, Azusa uses his compassion and wisdom as his guides.

He also looks for people who have committed suicide.

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Azusa reminds me of the value of a life and how much difference one life can make in the world.

If we could find our purpose and live our potential, then we could make our contribution- our gift to the world.

We need more people like Azusa in this world.

We need more people who really care and have compassion for those who are suffering. I don’t know if he technically “saves” anyone but he does help people to save themselves and this is priceless.

Azusa is actually living the Buddha’s teachings- especially that of compassion.

I am also reminded by how the absence of one life can be a tear in the fabric of existence and humanity. I think about how that person had so much more life to live, love and wisdom to give and receive, experiences to be had and potential to be lived.

I think of the apocalyptic loss for their loved ones.

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Azusa states in the documentary that the internet and technology may be the reason why there is such a disconnection between oneself and others. It is as if a schism is caused between our waking lives and our onscreen lives. Our lack of face-to-face communication has a price. Disconnection, depression, further loneliness and numbness may develop. Azusa discusses the human need for connection in real life- not through the filter of a computer screen.

“Face-to-face communication used to be vital, but now we can live our lives being online all day. However, the truth of the matter is that we still need to see each other’s faces, read their expressions, hear their voices, so we can fully understand their emotions to coexist.”
 -Azusa Hayano

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The essence of what Azusa teaches and lives is filled with compassion and wisdom.

This documentary also reminds me of the urgent need to discuss mental health issues.

I am and continue to be a mental health advocate.

I deeply believe in the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

We can transcend our suffering and transform it into something beautiful and meaningful.

The phoenix always rises from the ashes… 

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To those of you suffering and feeling depressed…I offer you my compassion.

This post is for you.

Please speak to someone who cares- even if they are a stranger.

You will never know what a difference it could make in your life. They might have some life changing wisdom to give you or messages from the universe.

*Please reach out to someone.

I pray that the Buddha’s teachings, wisdom and compassion can alleviate your suffering. 

Conversely, you never know how you can help someone who is suffering and in need.

You never know what impact you can have on someone’s life- even a stranger.

We are all interconnected.

By helping others we are actually helping ourselves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuUhBuSgmik

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Here is the documentary friends.

Please be warned of the graphic subject matter of this video and of some sad and possibly disturbing video footage…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FDSdg09df8 

Here is part of the transcript:

Aokigahara: Suicide Forest

I’ve been living here for more than 30 years. My job is mainly environmental protection, I study volcanic eruptions and the plantation at the foot of Mt. Fuji. 

In the year 864, Mt. Fuji erupted, and the forest that grew over the dried lava was named “Jukai” or “Sea of Trees”. Aokigahara is the actual name of the place, but people started calling it “Jukai”, because the forest as seen from halfway up of Mt. Fuji, is green all year round, and it looks like the ocean. 

We’re entering the forest now. There’s a car that’s been abandoned for a few months, let’s take a look. I’m assuming the owner of the car went in from here and never came out. I guess they went into the forest with troubled thoughts. 

In the old days in Japan, suicide was mainly known as the samarai’s act, as in “Seppuku” (harakari). In other cases poor families would abandon their elders in the mountains. That’s how it was back then, they weren’t killing themselves cause they couldn’t adapt to society. That didn’t happen like it does now, it’s a modern phenomenon.

This is a sign to stop suicidal people.

“Your life is a precious gift from your parents,
Please think about your parents, siblings, and children.
Don’t keep it to yourself. Talk about your troubles.”

Then it says to contact the Suicide Prevention Association. 

Locals don’t commt suicide here. As children they’re told not to come near here, that it’s a scary forest. This path is open for the public, but you can’t follow the trail beyond this point. It says not to enter because you can easily get lost. In the Jukai, I think I’ve found more than… 100 suicide corpses in the last 20 years or so. 

I found something strange, I’ll show you. People who are indecisive about dying, wrap this tape on trees along their way, so they can find their way out. There’s something that looks like a tent. I’m going to see if anyone’s inside, please wait here.” -Azusa Hayano, geologist

The forest is a popular place for suicides, reportedly the world’s second most popular suicide location after San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. This popularity is often attributed to the 1960 novel Nami no To  by Seicho Matsumoto, which ends with two lovers committing suicide in the forest. However, the history of suicide in Aokigahara dates from before the novel’s publication, and the place has long been associated with death: ubasute was allegedly practiced there into the 19th century, and the forest is reputedly haunted by the ghosts of those left to die…”

Copied and pasted from: http://ponury.tumblr.com/post/15293840018/aokigahara-suicide-forest-ive-been-living-here

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Here is a short video about the Aokigahara forest and the plague of suicide in Japan (2:34). There is thought to be one suicide every fifteen minutes in Japan.

An expert postulates that societal pressures and culture is to blame for the high suicide rate in Japan (1:55). He notes that even from a young age weakness is not allowed to be displayed.

“Whether it is within the family, at work or in society, it is very hard to show weakness. From a very young age, from primary school on, dynamic and happy kids are held up as examples to follow. If you don’t live up to that, other people treat you harshly and that’s is why people don’t ask for help.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq1-0FvME8U&feature=player_embedded

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This video offers a different perspective of the Aokiagahara forest (4:57).

It attempts to answer the question of why people come to die there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PD2cJlx-caQ&feature=player_embedded#!

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It is intriguing to note that Dante wrote about a suicide forest.

His writing was also translated into art.

Dante Alighieri’s Inferno from the Original by Dante Alighieri and Illustrated with the Designs of Gustave Doré (New York: Cassell Publishing Company, 1890).

Dante Alighieri’s Inferno from the Original by Dante Alighieri and Illustrated with the Designs of Gustave Doré (New York: Cassell Publishing Company, 1890).

Dali’s depiction of the ‘Wood of Suicides’ from ‘Inferno’ 13
©2006 Salvador Dalí, Gala–Salvador Dali Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

I would love to hear your thoughts about this post.

Peace & Namaste…