“…respect your ability to communicate, and use it [your mouth] to say only what’s timely, beneficial, and true.” – Thanissaro Bikkhu, “Lessons in Gratitude (Part 1),” Shambhala Sunspace blog, December 22, 2010
Since this summer I have been contemplating a new format for the blog. I am very much in favor of allowing things to simmer, be tasted, new ingredients added, stirred, and waiting for ideas to boil in their own due time. In the meantime, things have drifted along, rudderless, content to follow the fickle winds and somewhat more predictable tides. Well, the pot has boiled, lunch is eaten, and it is time to come up from below deck and put two hands firmly back on the tiller.
Firstly, this blog is retiring. Blogger can no longer support the features I desire. So, with regret, I am putting this venerable steed who has carried me so far out (almost 400,000 words published over four and a half years) out to pasture. What began as Buddhist in Nebraska and recently morphed into Buddhist [from] Nebraska shall remain, but this is her last post. Henceforth, the blogspot address shall be an archive.
Secondly, Dharma Cowgirl will launch on January 1, 2011. As the new year begins, the new blog will start at a new location with a new name and a new focus. It is hosted by Wordpress, a similarly well respected blog machine. The design for the blog is for now utilitarian, but I hope to customize it in the future.
Thirdly, Dharma Cowgirl will have six sections which will be updated regularly – On Dharma, Horse Sense, Riding Lessons, Campfire Stories, Drunk Talk, and Bygone Times. All new posts will appear in chronological order on the main page, but thereafter will be archived under their subsections tabs. The first two will be weekly features. On Dharma will contain the more academic posts referencing current topics of study or research, often in relation to my coursework. There will be a weekly Horse Sense feature relating to a topic currently in the news or blogosphere ala my old opinion column style. The next two sections will be updated on a biweekly or monthly basis. Riding Lessons will deal specifically with lessons learned from and about college – how to write papers, deal with difficult professors, manage time, or work in student government, etc., – with a naturally Buddhist perspective. Campfire Stories is just that, stories from my life or those related to me from others. The final two sections will be updated randomly, as the mood strikes. Drunk Talk is a catchall for wandering thoughts whether composed while drunk or sober (as most no doubt will be). Bygone Times is a place to revisit old ideas and expand on topics explored at the old blog. Overall, I’m shooting for about a dozen posts each month.
Forth, I hope all of you who follow the blog as an RSS feed, via Blogger, or Google Reader will migrate over to the new blog at dharmacowgirl.wordpress.com. I’ll be waiting to meet you there in a few short days. I thank all of you who have honored Buddhist in/from Nebraska with your attention these last years and hope you’ll continue this trail with me.
Fifthly, you may be asking “To what end?” I have certainly been asking myself that these past few months, as I contemplated the Noble Eightfold Path. One may believe that keeping a blog falls under Right Speech, and for the most part, I would agree, but the Noble Eightfold Path is interconnected. Each part both relies on and is found within each other part. Right Speech and Right Action can be very similar and both feed into Right Livelihood. However, each of these three is predicated on Right View and Right Intention, which are both informed by Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. Some call the first three (speech, action, and livelihood) ethical conduct, the middle two (view and intention) wisdom, and the last three (effort, mindfulness, and concentration) mental discipline or Samadhi. However, they are all of a whole. We can contemplate them separately or together as one path, a single path. That is the path I hope to tread more firmly in light of this change.
Also, as a side note to Right Livelihood, you will notice for the very first time there will be advertising on the blog. Yes, I hope to make a little money on the side, because if I can do that it will preclude me from finding a part-time job and give me more time to write (this is the theory). You will also be able to make donations to this effort soon, via Paypal. I will not harangue you about it, but the button shall shortly be there and it will remain. Any donations you choose to make to the new blog shall not go to a charity or non-profit or organization; they go to me, Monica, a person in her own right. I will probably use them to buy groceries, or books, or go to a movie. I make no promises not to use donation or ad revenue to buy meat (unlikely, but not impossible given my spotty vegetarianism), alcohol (though I promise it be good alcohol), or other dubious (but always legal) or frivolous (choooocolate) things. And no, you’ll not get a receipt or tax deduction, but you’re likely to receive a hearty thank you and undying gratitude (plus karmic brownie points).
So, finally, there is little more to say that “See y’all next year!”