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2004-02-15

IMPORTANT NEW NOTES FROM JUSTIN:

Ive been traveling for 184 days! I left Nashville yesterday and am now in Blacksburg, Virginia. Life is busy, as I am working very hard to find a manager company to work with on the release of my album. And, I've been working with my designer on my new web site: http://justinwinokur.com.

And, Im converting the diary entries and photos of my travels into a book. Im still collecting content, too. So, Im looking for nice, fun people who can put me up for a few nights, host me, feed me, and show me their funique lavor of America. Im looking forward to learning about your world and writing about our times together! If you think it might be fun to host me for a day or two or three, email me.

Please make sure to include your address and phone number in your email.

I am especially looking for places to stay anywhere on the East Coast north of Virginia.

Please contact me ASAP if you want to hang out!

If you believe in what I am doing and want to help support me, please do so! You can donate money to me using PayPal or with a credit card. Email me for more information! Make sure to check out my photo sales page!



US Tour Day 154: My Birthday, Part 2


Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached. It was an honor to walk on the streets he used to frequent.

Inga and I showed up early to Atlanta's Apache Cafe. They were having an open mic music showcase and I wanted to make sure I got on the list to perform. I ended up getting there too early, though. I walked in on a young people's open mic poetry/spoken word event instead. Pushing the modern renaissance, youth from around the city gather there each week to read, sing, and recite their creative works to one another.

The mediator gave an assignment to all of us, to take ten minutes and write a piece using the following words:

revolution
power
positivity
maverick
downtrodden spirit

Afterwards we were given the opportunity to read our texts to the audience. I didn't get use all fivwe words, but I did my best in the time I had. I didn't have time to edit the flow as much as I wanted, but I was very excited to have an audience to share my view on this subject with.


The people cry about forgiveness. They say that what we need is to forgive. But, in my observation, forgiveness is very low on the food chain of spiritual development. What this country needs is a revolution of compassion.

Now, first let's talk about forgiveness and why it is insufficient. Forgiveness describes a state where we say to someone, "I think what you did was stupid. I wouldn't have done what you did. But, I'm willing to do my best to overlook your little mistake in the future." Sure, forgiveness is ambitious and hopeful. It tries to do what is right. But, it carries with it judgment.

I ask you, who are we to judge? When has judgment bred peace among people? I tell you today that there is something we need more than the judgment of forgiveness.

Rising high above forgiveness is compassion. If we are to truly utilize the powers we have been blessed with we must strive to transcend even the holy forgiveness we have strived for for generations.

But, what does this mean? What is the nature of this thing which is above forgiveness?

Compassion. To many this word has been worn smooth like the cliffs near the ocean—eroded by overuse, shapeless from ages of rhetoric. But, I tell you that compassion is this: Compassion describes the set of human actions and behaviors that are bred by understanding. Understanding is the precursor—you can't have compassion without understanding.

So, how can we be understanding? To understand is to look at every single facet of every situation and consider that every single thing that has ever happened is inextricably tied to every event which is happening right now and forever into the future. We can't consider one event without considering the countless things which have led up to it. This is understanding.

And, if we seek to truly understand the deep and interconnected nature of life we will start to see why people do things. We will know why our parents screamed that day or why the suicide bomber sacrificed their life. These things don't happen in a vacuum. Something happened. Something else happened. And then this happened.

With this understanding comes this compassion that I speak of. Compassion is looking at someone and saying, "I know the path you have walked. And, I know that if I had lived your life in your shoes I would probably not have even done half as well as you have." And compassion is wishing blessings on that person, the blessings you can only have for someone who you can empathize with. Judgment cannot live in this climate, it melts away into the distance.

I urge you to be brave and seek to understand each other's lives in a deep way. By doing this you are a salve to the wounds of the downtrodden spirit and a maverick for good in an era full of war and unnecessary suffering.


It was a great end to a challenging birthday.


Ria sent me a cake for my birthday. I had no plates in my hotel room, though. So, I did what any resourceful person would've done. I ate it off of the Gideon's bible.




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