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Danny Lyon shares an insightful look into the Civil Rights work of the SNCC, including John Lewis & Bernie Sanders’ work in it.

Bleak Beauty Blog

At the University of Chicago sit-in. Bernie, on the right, Bob Brown on the left, winter 1962. At the University of Chicago sit-in. Bernie, on the right, Bob Brown on the left, winter 1962.

47,851 have visited this site since we posted the pictures I made of young Bernie Sanders in 1962. They came looking for the truth. Three major news organizations have used a photograph I made of Bernie Sanders as a twenty year old student at the University of Chicago to attack his campaign and to denigrate his early place in history.

Danny at the SNCC headquarters, July 1962. Danny at the SNCC headquarters, July 1962.

In 1962, a few months before I made the pictures of Bernie as an early civil rights  activist, I made another picture of  another young man sitting quietly in the back of a church in Cairo, Illinois. I have published that in my book, Memories of the Southern Civil Rights Movement. I knew who John Lewis was when I saw him  that morning because of his…

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It’s not yet the seventh day of the new year, and I should have taken more time to rest. I worked extra last night to prepare for a pretty big morning, and woke up a little early feeling as though my sleep didn’t quite happen.

The morning went quite well, but left me fairly wiped out by the afternoon. I did my lunchtime yoga, made it through the rest of the workday, then came home feeling as though perhaps I should take it a bit easier.

I didn’t, really.

I made a fun, half-simple, half-involved dinner because my son wanted it to be my birthday. I then got onto the cross-trainer for my full new routine and lightly pulled a muscle in my leg. Fortunately I had the sense to soak it in a soothing Epsom salt bath, but by the time I was out of that and helped my son through his going-to-bed routine, I had just enough time to have a nice little dessert.

I’ve had a very busy 48 hours, and I want to stay up more and play a game, watch a silly movie, read philosophy… anything but go right to bed without really kicking back for some recreation.

But I’m tired. So I’m going to sleep.

Good night!

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People tend to assume that for something to be Special, it must be Bigger Than, Better Than, Greater Than… or any other kind of superlative that makes it extraordinarily exceptional.

But that’s only one kind of Special. The first definition of Special at Dictionary.com says:

  1. of a distinct or particular kind or character

That is, something that has a distinct character, particular to itself. It doesn’t have to be Bigger, Better, or any other kind of superlative. There’s no competition that can declare who or what is Special. Rather, it takes mindfulness to find what is Special in all that surrounds us.

In this way, each moment is Special: it carries lessons and sensations unique in itself, which we can take advantage of only if we stop to appreciate what the moment brings

Each experience is Special: it carries challenges and pleasures in good ways and bad, and we can best learn from them only if we recognize it for the opportunity it is.

Each person is Special: we each contain our own blend of experiences and perspectives, which we can share in only if we stop to appreciate what each of us have to offer.

As I get back into my daily routines this week, I’m going to try to remain mindful of the Special nature of what I encounter and experience. I’m interested to see how it helps me better identify the opportunities before me, and make greater use of them as I start this year.

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2016… A Leap Into

Take a moment to reflect on this transition with: 2016… A Leap Into

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I’ve been reading a lot this past year, and several people have shared that the secret to happiness and achieving your dreams is to not get too specific. Oh certainly, focus on the general parameters of your goal. What kind of success are you looking forward to? What will it feel like to enjoy it? What are some steps you can take toward reaching them?

When it comes to the specifics though, it’s best to leave those to life to sort out. Prepare for the path you think may lead you closer to your goals, but don’t get hung up on the exact steps you think you’ll have to take. Don’t even get too hung up on the explicit nature of the form you expect your success to take. Dream in vivid watercolor, allowing the details to take shape on their own.

After all, we aren’t omniscient. We don’t know what exactly will be the best path for us to walk toward where we’re headed. We can’t even be sure that we know now how beautifully wonderful our destination will be, let alone the exact time and place, or even shape it will take.

That also holds true for the backtracks and the sidesteps we’ll have to take to get there. So often, the disappointments I’ve faced have ended up being the best path toward a better place that I never even imagined existed. And too often, I’d wasted some time and energy sitting around feeling disappointed about a particular road not working out, when I could have been picking myself back up and walking down the better road that awaited me.

So for 2016, I’m trying to remember: No Explicit Expectations, No Enduring Regrets.

So that way, when it feels like things or even people try to get me down by interrupting the way I thought things should go, I can remember that mantra and say, “NEENER, NEENER, NEENER!”

🙂

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Every year by New Year’s Eve, I have a sense of a “New Year’s Prediction” for how the next year will go. I don’t usually share them outside a small circle of friends/family.

Last year, I felt that 2015 would be a turbulent time of rocky rapids, and that if you kept your oars in the water, the currents could carry you far. Slip outside that current, however, and you’d have rough waters trying to right your boat.

This year, I kind of feel like the rapids have shunted us out into the bodies of water we’ll be navigating for a while. Rough rivers, tranquil ponds – they’ll be different for each of us, but it’ll be where our navigation of the 2015 rapids brought us.

They’ll be new waters for us, not directly tied to what came before. We’re not stuck in that same old stream. It’s not as though the past never happened, but we aren’t beholden to it. It doesn’t own us. It doesn’t dictate what we do now, or where we go next. Our present is freed from the chains of the past. Our future is ours to create anew.

May you create a Happy New Year.

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I wanted to break my latest hiatus by letting you know I’ve been thinking of you. I know I haven’t reached that many people with my words in the grand scheme of things. That said, I do believe that those whom I have touched have in turn touched the lives of others, just as I continue to share the gifts of insight and love that others have given me. We are sharing the human experience, and we can’t stop our influence from spreading beyond our reach.

It is my sincerest goal that my life bring more love, more peace, and more joy to the lives of those around me than I would have thought possible. And that, through enjoying those blessings we share, those lives then shine their light forward to illuminate the dark spaces of others. In this way, the light and love that I have received with may continue that work throughout our world.

Please, take a moment to remember something that is special to you, that warms your heart. Remember a thought, an experience, a talent or a dream that helps you feel your spark inside. Take three deep, slow breaths, savoring this moment of precious peace. Feel the sacred beauty of nature, and of the human heart, savoring that precious unity-point where the outside world touches your skin. Remember we are one people, sharing one planet, and enjoy a moment of gratitude for the opportunity to be a part of it.

Take another moment, please, to experience the positive, warm peace that dwells within the stillness. Form a memory of what that feels like. And from now on, whenever possible, call up that moment of peace to your conscious attention, to help you through a hectic time, or even to periodically brighten your day.

As you practice this, you can’t help but create a positive influence for the world you inhabit. May that warm embrace of the joyful stillness come easier and easier for you, until it shapes your every day.

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