Buddha behind bars – interview with Sabra Williams

Ignore what you might read on Wikipedia or IMDB, my fellow SGI member Sabra Williams is much more than an actress and TV presenter. I first met her on a Buddhist summer course in the UK nearly 30 years ago, when she was an energetic and focused Lilac (Byakuren) Chief inspiring half a dozen other young women to care for 200 SGI members on the course. I knew that since then she’d swapped London for Hollywood, finding her professional feet with The Actors Gang, a theatre company run by Tim Robbins (of Shawshank Redemption fame). So, why the move from London to LA? “We were too comfortable,” says Sabra, referring to herself and husband Yogi, “We wanted to shake our lives up, so we sold everything and jumped on a plane!” That’s the first answer I wasn’t expecting…

SGI Buddhist actor Sabra Williams
SGI Buddhist actor Sabra Williams

So much wisdom pours from Sabra’s lips that it’s hard to know where to start. So let’s rewind to the beginning of her own Buddhist practice in 1985. “I was a crazy off the rails teenager from Notting Hill Gate, London. I felt so frustrated that I often wanted to put my fist through a wall. And although I was a talented dancer, I was doing too much cocaine. Two of my dance teachers introduced me to Buddhism. They told me I had bags of potential but would waste all of it if I carried on the same way. They just said ‘chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. To be honest I thought they were taking the piss. But then I thought, what the heck, it’s free and I’ve got nothing to lose, why not give it a go?! And the first time I chanted, everything fell into place, it all just fitted. And I’ve never missed Gongyo since, not even when I was in labour!”

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The Undefeated Mind – a great new book about resilience…

… which, says the author encourages: “us to stop hoping for easy lives and instead to focus on finding the inner strength we need to enjoy the difficult lives we all have.” Wise counsel, don’t you think?  If you read nothing else from this book, read the 10 brilliant chapter titles listed below, even without the other 277 pages, the Contents page is very powerful…Image

The book’s author is my fellow SGI Nichiren Buddhist Alex Lickerman, MD. He is an assistant Vice President at Chicago University with student counselling a major part of his role. ‘The Undefeated Mind’ is a book about resilience and about cultivating joy no matter what is happening in our lives.

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The ABC CDE of success

Someone asked me recently if I had a simple formula for success that was easy to remember and would help them geabct the best from the people they led.

So I went back through notes of my client conversations, looking for a pattern. I also looked back at my own failures and the blockages I was facing in my life at the time. From this exercise sprang a simple formula which I now call my ‘ABC CDE of success’:

  • Ability – do I have the skills and knowledge to achieve this goal?
  • Belief – do I believe I can do it and do I believe I deserve it? This includes having high self-esteem
  • Clarity – am I definitely sure this is what I want?

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