March 16, 2011

My Heart Soars

This song by Buffy Sainte-Marie is one of my favorite songs in the world (and i do love music from almost every culture in the world!).  It is in a category all its own.  It is in the realm of spirit, a chant, a prayer, a sacred celebration, as well as a somber melody expressing the pain of injustice that touches peoples' lives.  It touches me in a way that goes very deep.

Back in 1992 i went to live and serve the Navajo people at NABI (Native American Baha'i Institute) on the Navajo Reservation.  As a Baha'i, i wanted to volunteer my time and give my heart in service to others -- sometimes this is done when a person is an older youth or young adult and it's called 'a year of service'.  At the time i had no money saved and my life was a bit depressing.  I had graduated college and was working at Jenny Craig, a weight-loss program, as a 'Client Coordinator' -- a fancy name for a receptionist and cashier.  By mid 1991 i was praying for a husband** and desiring with all my heart to arise to serve in any way possible.  I didn't have enough money to travel far, but my love for the Native American people led me to write NABI to see if i could be of service there.  The Administrator, Lorraine Kahn, welcomed my request to serve.  By December 1991 I decided to take a round-trip train ride there even though i could only afford to sustain myself for 3 weeks -- all i wanted to do was put my trust in God and make an effort to do something that was for God, not myself.  I was lovingly greeted by the caretakers, Bert & Joanne Marian.  Almost immediately after meeting me and seeing my desire to serve, they invited me to continue living with them for a year without any concern for buying food or having spending money.

It was during my stay at NABI that the Marian's played an old vhs recording of Native American prophesy by Lee Brown.  It also shows many photos of Native Americans throughout the Americas -- photos that leave an imprint on your heart as a result of knowing their struggle, their hardships, their oppression, and all that was sacrificed and lost.  The video ended with Buffy Sainte-Marie's song -- i just sat there and cried.  Her chanting penetrated my heart in a way i had never experienced.  The drums pounded in my heart and i never wanted the song to end.  It felt like my soul was lifted up into the realms above and beyond, and i wanted to stay in that state of being forever.  Her cry infused me with inspiration to be tireless in my efforts to create justice in my daily relationships with others.  This song was like a homecoming to my heart which grew up in this life very attuned to the downtrodden, the teased, the oppressed, the marginalized -- it fulfilled my inmost desire to expend all my life energy on readjusting antiquated, old-world paradigms for how people are valued.

**Right before leaving for NABI, on December 28, 1991, i met Dashiel.  He was the soul i was praying for that year.  God brought our souls together in a mysterious, magical way.  I believe our souls were destined to meet, though i realize it was necessary for me to turn to God in prayer to be able to recognize his soul.  I had never experienced love until i met him.  I was very attracted to the light around him (i can still see it in my mind's eye across the dance floor where we met).  I was very focused on arising to be of service when i met him and didn't immediately recognize that this was going to be my soul's beloved throughout all the worlds of God.  As the story goes, i had to return home after 3 months anyway to attend my dad's 50th birthday celebration.  It was during this visit that i fell in love with Dashiel and we were inseparable from that moment on.  I returned to NABI though it was now a challege to arise to serve knowing that Dashiel was the one for whom i had been praying to God.  Dashiel was able to visit NABI 2 times -- offering his heart, time and skills to a people who he loved as well and who touched his heart forever.  We both love this song by Buffy Sainte-Marie. :)

March 14, 2011

Moment of Silence: Japan

i feel so quiet but my mind is busy and full of thoughts.  my silence is helping me process and reflect all that is happening in the world.  i feel content but troubled by turmoil, calm but agitated by crimes against humanity, and full of certitude but wondering what next will test humanity's collective will  to help each other in times of crises.

Photo gallery

i think each of us who learns about news that troubles our heart and soul yearns to make the world a better place.  beyond the yearning must come tireless action toward achieving eternal impressions in this world.  right now my silence is necessary, kind of like refueling with petrol when the tank gets low, in order for me to arise with full energy to make a difference wherever and whenever possible.

i continue to wonder how people rebuild their lives -- whether it's in Haiti after the earthquake.. or any woman who was raped.. or the people who lose everything after a tsunami destroys their land -- and how the will of the human spirit is remarkably able to endure, persevere, and be full of long-suffering.

it is time to pick up the children from school.  i hope that my morning of silence, reflection and prayer has strengthened me enough to spiritually manage all that will inevitably arise in the form of mini crises. :)

Bahá’í Thought

"'A financier with colossal wealth should not exist whilst near him is a poor man in dire necessity...Men must bestir themselves in this matter, and no longer delay in altering conditions which bring the misery of grinding poverty to a very large number of the people. The rich must give of their abundance, they must soften their hearts and cultivate a compassionate intelligence, taking thought for those sad ones who are suffering from lack of the very necessities of life.' (Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 153)"

March 04, 2011

Outstanding characteristics of a decadent society

The recrudescence of religious intolerance, of racial animosity, and of patriotic arrogance; the increasing evidences of selfishness, of suspicion, of fear and of fraud; the spread of terrorism, of lawlessness, of drunkenness and of crime; the unquenchable thirst for, and the feverish pursuit after, earthly vanities, riches and pleasures; the weakening of family solidarity; the laxity in parental control; the lapse into luxurious indulgence; the irresponsible attitude towards marriage and the consequent rising tide of divorce; the degeneracy of art and music, the infection of literature, and the corruption of the press; the extension of the influence and activities of those "prophets of decadence" who advocate companionate marriage, who preach the philosophy of nudism, who call modesty an intellectual fiction, who refuse to regard the procreation of children as the sacred and primary purpose of marriage, who denounce religion as an opiate of the people, who would, if given free rein, lead back the human race to barbarism, chaos, and ultimate extinction -- these appear as the outstanding characteristics of a decadent society, a society that must either be reborn or perish.

(Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 187)