April 26, 2013

DUNK ~ hope with hoops

yesterday i took the 'gems of justice' jr. youth group on an outing to watch a performance of cultural dancing and drumming.  we packed up the car and listened to some hip hop basketball songs as loud as possible.  as we turned onto the street upon arriving we were happily surprised to discover a full-sized basketball court with over a 100 kids playing basketball and soccer.  while we waited for the performers to begin, we walked over to see what was happening.  we were approached by the one white woman who caught our attention from the car.  she noticed us as well and came to greet us.  her name is Eve and she is the originator of DUNK:  Developing Unity, Nurturing Knowledge, an organization that promotes basketball leagues while building character and community.  the entire spirit of this undertaking is based on uplifting kids' lives based on virtues through sport.

Eve and her partner see themselves as 'agents of change', a term used by Baha'is to be very socially active in promoting the well-being of humanity.  i feel this organization is proving itself worthy of recognition as it continues to spread throughout the city and demonstrate an effective means by which kids can grow up to be their very best despite all the social and economic barriers they face.

after our kids played some pick-up ball with the starter group of kids, we made our way over to watch the drummers and dancers.  they were tirelessly keeping the beat and moving their bodies in the fastest of ways and in the most intricate of moves.  their bodies were drenched; their faces were beaming with radiant smiles; and their talents were undeniably professional.  they performed for an hour and a half on a cement slab with bare feet.  it was a long-awaited moment for me as i love, love, love drumming and dancing but the boys we brought decided to play some more basketball amongst themselves until returning to sit for the rest of the performance.  the girls and i were very content to watch the entire show, and i couldn't stop moving to the rhythms and feeling the ancestral spirit in it all.  it was amazing!

i think our family's life is about to change as a result of discovering this gem in the middle of the city, a place we had never been before and an organization that we believe in.  at the moment we don't know how we can every coordinate getting there with one car and busy work and school schedules, but we are determined to connect with DUNK one way or another in the near future.  it is an endeavor that is combining core values of character with the great joy of shooting some hoops, providing hope in the hearts of all these kids who are developing who they really are inside.

April 24, 2013

a tranquil heart

“The greatest bestowal in the world of existence is a tranquil heart, and it is impossible for man to obtain a tranquil heart save through the good pleasure of the Lord.  That is, a man may so adorn the temple of his being with lofty attributes and philanthropic deeds as to be pleasing at the Threshold of the Almighty.  This is the only Path and there is no other Path.  My point is this:  Let all your thoughts, your ideals, your aims and purposes revolve day and night around one common object – that is, to live in accord with the good pleasure of the Lord.  Then all the doors of felicity will be opened before your faces, you will become successful in all your undertakings, and you will be confirmed in all your accomplishments.  The basic principle is the good pleasure of the Lord:  and the good pleasure of God is obtained through a tranquil heart, and the tranquility of the heart is only gained by living in accord with the Divine Teachings and Exhortations.  When a person attains to this station he is contented and peaceful.  Then he will become prosperous in all affairs and enter into Paradise.”
 ~ Abdu'l-Baha, Star of the West, vol.16, p.401

garden view outside the Shrine of the Bab
just hearing the word 'tranquil' lends to a calmness of my being.  it is the one virtue of my soul that seems to stretch as i breathe in deeply and embrace the moments as they come throughout the day.  it is also the one virtue that is almost nonexistent in moments when life seems to bombard me with chaos and the shortcomings of human character.  i cherish those moments when i am riding the wave of tranquility while all else around me is crashing and stumbling, arguing and deceiving, hurting and hating.  but it is not easy for me to always ride those waves..

tranquility of heart is a state of being that comes and goes in daily life.  it is a balancing act to maintain that deep serenity as life's challenging circumstances and happenings oftentimes easily disturb it.  i love this quote because it brings tranquility to my consciousness in a way of having the power to choose how to respond to the tests of life rather than react to them.  i feel empowered to draw upon the virtues latent in my soul and use them as my spiritual swords to combat the negative forces that are affecting me.  this quote strengthens my ability to remain still while moving, to remain focused while disturbed, and to remain calm while upset.  

all i truly desire in this life is God's good pleasure.  the difficulties, injustices and sufferings of life are meant to strengthen our souls as we practice using our spiritual powers rather than being defeated by the enslavement of our material traits -- anger, frustration, impatience, etc.  the more i can fix my gaze, my perspective and my vision on attaining the good pleasure of God, the more i will tap into remaining calm, considerate, courteous, forgiving, patient, long-suffering, etc. because i am ever aware of God's desire for how i can best be His servant.  this is best demonstrated as a parent but even in our safe-haven of a family, i lose my balance and succumb to my lower nature and express anger and frustration..

i carried this quote in my heart all day yesterday while my children were at school.  i was preparing myself for the moment when a conflict may arise between them.  i was determined to demonstrate tranquility; i wasn't going to let it be a wave i might miss riding.  my consciousness was so heightened, so aware of needing to be patient, wise and compassionate that when they started yelling at each other about something they both felt very strongly about, i was able to keep that inner peace.  i listened.  i let them vent their anger without becoming upset at their anger and hurtful words.  i asked them to silently reflect.  i encouraged the best in them.  i waited patiently for them to let the anger dissipate.  after a while (that seemed long but worth it!) they had sincerely apologized and the storm was over.  the calm resumed and soon became joy again.  they needed me to listen and give them the strength they have within them to look at their own shortcomings and not be stuck in the rut of blaming the other person.  the more i can demonstrate a tranquil heart in our family life, the better i am able to manage the greater struggles of disunity and disintegration that face humanity -- and certainly humanity needs to be healed by the powerful force of a tranquil heart.
Create in me a pure heart, O my God, and renew a tranquil conscience within me, O my Hope! Through the spirit of power confirm Thou me in Thy Cause, O my Best-Beloved, and by the light of Thy glory reveal unto me Thy path, O Thou the Goal of my desire! Through the power of Thy transcendent might lift me up unto the heaven of Thy holiness, O Source of my being, and by the breezes of Thine eternity gladden me, O Thou Who art my God! Let Thine everlasting melodies breathe tranquility on me, O my Companion, and let the riches of Thine ancient countenance deliver me from all except Thee, O my Master, and let the tidings of the revelation of Thine incorruptible Essence bring me joy, O Thou Who art the most manifest of the manifest and the most hidden of the hidden!
~ Bahá'u'lláh

April 18, 2013

John Hunter: Teaching with the World Peace Game

perhaps some of you have heard of John Hunter and his 'World Peace Game'.  i learned about it for the first time today when reading a review about it and his new book. watching this TED talk made fueled my desire to engage kids this way.  the way in which he taps into all of the essential themes for gaining skills -- like critically thinking and patience while resolving an issue -- is beautifully blended with how he demonstrates his humility, respect and honor toward the students.  the game itself is genious.  ah! i just love it!  it's a phenomenal way of engaging children, allowing them the opportunity to learn how to collaborate to ensure that everyone in the game is a winner -- for the sake of humanity's well-being rather than an individual's!  this is an example of how to be an educator, how to impart wisdom to a child, how to stimulate their inner capacities and become a compassionate thinker of the great problems of our time.  every school needs an educator like John Hunter and a game like this..

April 04, 2013

cancer 'facts'

"... The Báb hath said that the people of Baha must develop the science of medicine to such a high degree that they will heal illnesses by means of foods. The basic reason for this is that if, in some component substance of the human body, an imbalance should occur, altering its correct, relative proportion to the whole, this fact will inevitably result in the onset of disease."

('Abdu'l-Bahá: Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, pp. 152-155)

the following list about cancer was recently circulating on Facebook.  apparently it falsely claims that Johns Hopkins has released new information about cancer and cancer treatment.  it lists the natural ways in which we can most effectively help heal our own bodies from this disease.  even if Johns Hopkins is not the source of this circulated email, when i read the 'facts', they were in sync with what my Nutritional Healing book prescribes as the best supplemental means by which to help strengthen our bodies' ability to combat this disease.

this knowledge is widely accepted amongst nutritional and traditional healers of the world but will not be found uttered by most of the highly educated cancer specialists when you go to them for treatment.  chemotherapy and radiation are the only suggested treatments -- there is no advice or pamphlets provided to educate the masses about how the body needs to eat what will drastically reduce, if not eliminate, the proliferation of cancer cells in our bodies.

allopathic doctors and specialists are caught up in a system which solely promotes chemotherapy and radiation treatment without regard for nutrition.  they are not willing or able to educate us about the nutritional impact on healing from cancer.  for example, they will be the ones to prescribe Ensure as the most effective way to replace nutrients back into the body after treatment (rather than any of the green powder products) even though each bottle contains mostly sugar, thereby creating an environment for the cancer cells to thrive once again. 

i believe that chemotherapy and radiation play a role in treating cancer, but i do not believe they are the sole remedy, nor do i believe they can be most effective unless the patient's diet and way of life conform to a physiological environment that is conducive to healing.


*****

1. Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size.

2. Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person's lifetime.

3. When the person's immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumors.

4. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has multiple nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, environmental, food and lifestyle factors.

5. To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet and including supplements will strengthen the immune system.

6. Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastro-intestinal tract etc, and can cause organ damage, like liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc.

7. Radiation while destroying cancer cells also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs.

8. Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumor size. However prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumor destruction.

9. When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb to various kinds of infections and complications.

10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites.

11. An effective way to battle cancer is to STARVE the cancer cells by not feeding it with foods it needs to multiple.

What cancer cells feed on:

a. Sugar is a cancer-feeder. By cutting off sugar it cuts off one important food supply to the cancer cells. Note: Sugar substitutes like NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc are made with Aspartame and it is harmful. A better natural substitute would be Manuka honey or molasses but only in very small amounts. Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in colour. Better alternative is Bragg's aminos or sea salt.


b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting off milk and substituting with unsweetened soy milk, cancer cells will starved.

c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic and it is best to eat fish, and a little chicken rather than beef or pork. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all harmful, especially to people with cancer.

d. A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into an alkaline environment. About 20% can be from cooked food including beans. Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes t o nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells.

To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C).

e. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine. Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer-fighting properties. Water--best to drink purified water, or filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it.
12. Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines will become putrified and leads to more toxic buildup.

13. Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body's killer cells to destroy the cancer cells.

14. Some supplements build up the immune system (IP6, Flor-ssence, Essiac, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, EFAs etc.) to enable the body's own killer cells to destroy cancer cells. Other supplements like vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the body's normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or unneeded cells.

15. Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor.

Anger, unforgiving and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.
16. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercising daily, and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells.