Those who know me, know that the period of the Baha’i Fast is my favourite time of year. I find that it is a time to exfoliate myself, to get rid of the husks of nonsense that seem to wrap themselves around me throughout the year. It gives me a chance to remind myself that I have willpower, and that I can strengthen it. Fasting gives us the chance to remind ourselves of our true nature, to reconnect with the world, and with ourselves. You train yourself to be content and come to realise how much you have, by ‘not having’.
This year is going to be a little different for me. Scratch that. Might be a little different from me. Scratch that. A lot different for me. Scratch that. I don’t know what it’s going to be like because I have never been in this position before. At the most basic, during the period of the fast, one does without food and water between sunrise and sunset. This year, during the fast I have to learn to do without my mother – she passed away in June last year. Continue reading
Photo courtesy of Paul Vreeland
Ayyam-i-Ha is a multiple-day Baha’i festival that is joyously celebrated in countries and territories all over that world. It typically falls around the end of February and beginning of March (with the recent worldwide implementation of the Baha’i or Badi calendar the exact dates of Ayyam-i-Ha shift and move within the Gregorian calendar).
Now let’s briefly look at what Ayyam-i-Ha is, what it means, and how it’s celebrated: Continue reading
I am looking directly into the eyes of the stranger sitting opposite me. His face is tired, his eyes a little sad, worn out perhaps with the heaviness of thoughts. As he looks at me, a light suddenly gleams in his eyes and his mouth slowly begins to curve up at the edges. Within a few seconds I startle myself by unexpectedly and spontaneously smiling widely back at him. He throws his head back and erupts into raucous laughter. It is infectious. My giggling gets louder and louder until, I too, am unabashedly laughing, tears running down my cheeks. Continue reading
In the Baha’i Faith, marriage is not a law, but it’s definitely encouraged, and when we’re getting to know a potential life-partner, we’re supposed to become thoroughly acquainted with the character of the other. But what about the step which comes before getting to know someone? The step of meeting someone who may be a potential life-partner.
Hello online world of dating, and hello Love Story!
Love Story is a new online matchmaking site created by a good friend of mine Dr. Mieko Bond. The site is aimed at helping Baha’is around the world find their future partner, and like most other dating sites, you can sign up to the site and add your profile picture and basic information, but what’s really cool and unique about Love Story, is that they offer a ‘matchmaking service’ where you can privately be ‘matched’ and introduced to potential life-partners.
More and more of my friends have met their life-partner online, and it totally makes sense considering how so many of us seem to have less-and-less time to meet people, and how geographically scattered so many of us all are nowadays, so I decided to get in touch with Mieko to find out more about the site and this initiative: Continue reading
Reading to young children not only encourages a love of reading but it can also be an opportunity to teach children about the virtues they are endowed with, the principles of the Faith and its history. This short list includes some of my favourite titles for little ones that I have come across in my adventures as a mother. Continue reading
A young Baha’i couple has an imaginative eight-year-old daughter who spends her birthday each year painting a picture of her family on a large canvas, which they proudly display above the dining room table. Throughout the years, the couple has helped her to experiment with different artistic mediums and taken her to community workshops and classes.
For the last six months, this same couple has been hosting a junior youth group. They start with seven youth, but eventually only four come regularly, and the couple is disheartened that they must go around the neighborhood each week to invite them to attend. Alas, they report at an annual reflection meeting that they are failing to find receptive youth and are not sure that the group should continue.
In situations such as this, what motivates the couple to support their daughter’s artwork year after year, yet become disheartened by the group after six months? Surely they have come across challenges in encouraging their daughter’s developing interest.
The answer, in one word, is “perspective”. Continue reading
Many Baha’is around the world have listened to the smooth and funky sounds of Baha’i RnB/Hip-hop duo Nabil & Karim, but perhaps many haven’t heard the solo albums of these two great artists!
One half of the well known Baha’i duo Nabil & Karim is Nabil Moghaddam – or ‘Nabilinho’ as he’s known by his Portuguese friends and fans. Of Persian descent, Nabil was raised in both Portugal and Canada and he’s a musician, sound engineer and producer who’s passionate about using the arts and music to serve the Faith and to celebrate the Revelation of Baha’u’llah. I’ve spent hours on Skype with him, and I really love his dedication and passion for the Faith, the arts, and life in general.
Nabil has just released his third solo album called Nabilinho Vol.III, where he continues to serve up smooth RnB tracks based on the Baha’i Writings, so I thought it was time to do a Baha’i Blog interview with him to find out more about his new album and the man behind the music: Continue reading
Whenever I face a long afternoon of work with pressing deadlines, I decide to put off knuckling down and getting on with it.
But this reaction is not one of those inevitable procrastinations that nearly all of us are prone to at various times. I see it rather as an important decision which leads me to undertake a major refuelling, without which my afternoon might just splutter on in an unsatisfactory manner.
The reason I don’t start immediately on the nitty gritty of work, is that it is my time to say the long obligatory prayer as revealed by Baha’u’llah. Yes, that prayer may be said at any time, but for me, when the day is on the verge of waning, I opt for revival.
I find this prayer to be a daily energy source, the equivalent of plugging into the essence of reality for about 15 minutes to obtain the force that comes with it, a power that can mysteriously inspire and direct the rest of the day. Baha’u’llah did say, after all, that through obligatory prayer we may draw “nigh unto God.” That will do me. Continue reading
Pictured above is the Brilliant Star team and key contributors at their 2013 Annual Meeting. From left to right is Annie Reneau, Susan Engle, Lisa Blecker, C. Aaron Kreader, Amethel Parel-Sewell, Amy Renshaw, Donna Price, and Foad Ghorbani.
In the Baha’i Faith we know that “Children are the most precious treasure a community can possess, for in them are the promise and guarantee of the future”, so there’s no doubt that coming up with creative and meaningful ways to support our children is important, and that’s why I couldn’t wait to do a post about Brilliant Star!
Brilliant Star is an award-winning Baha’i-inspired children’s magazine and website aimed at children of all faiths, and invites them to explore concepts based on principles central to the teachings of the Baha’i Faith, like encouraging their development as world citizens, their appreciation for cultural and racial diversity, peace among all religions and nations, the equality of women and men, and the elimination of prejudices.
The magazine really had a profound effect on me when I was a child, and I remember how I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it whenever a new issue came out. Now, some 45 years on (yep, Brilliant Star first started in 1969 as Child’s Way and then became Brilliant Star in 1983), Brilliant Star continues to publish six times per year with subscribers in over 40 countries, coming from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and faiths.
I decided to touch base with Brilliant Star’s Editor and Creative Director Amethel Parel-Sewell, to find out more about this wonderful resource: Continue reading
Whether it’s an individual initiative or a community-backed idea, projects in the Baha’i Faith often need resources to get off the ground. While the institutions are certainly an option for finding support, a number of Baha’is have begun taking to the web, specifically to crowdfunding sites, to find backers for their projects. And they’re finding success too.
Kickstarter and Indiegogo are the most popular platforms. Here are five recent successfully funded Baha’i-related campaigns. Continue reading