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Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a mother, a wife and a bookworm but professionally she is a museologist and a library technician. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.

The Trumpet Blast: Music Inspired by the Life of Baha’u’llah

Nikolai Clavier is the creative mind behind The Trumpet Blasta musical score for a play about the life of Baha’u’llah by that same name. Performed in Norway to celebrate the Bicentenary anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, this 14 track instrumental album includes pieces titled ‘Ridvan’, ‘The Heavenly Maid’, and ‘The Mansion of Bahji’, among many others. 

Nikolai Clavier’s Trompetstøtet, or The Trumpet Blast, premiered in Beitostølen, Norway in July of 2017. Each song accompanies a scene about the life of Baha’u’llah but listening to the soundtrack, even without the dialogue and action of the play, is nevertheless a dramatic experience. Nikolai gladly agreed to tell us more about this musical arrangement and the performance it accompanied. I hope you enjoy our conversation! Continue reading

Jacqueline Claire’s Soul-Nourishing Artworks

Every morning of the Fast I received an email from the talented and jubilant Jacqueline Claire (you may remember her as the author of “My 9 Tips for Creating Imaginative Spaces for Elevated Conversation” or “My 9 Practices for a Spiritually Restorative Nineteen Day Feast”). Each email was part of a project called “19 Days of Inspiration” and each message featured a quotation from the Baha’i Writings, one of her artworks, and a few words that linked the two.

I have yet to meet Jacqueline personally, but her sense of creativity and joyfulness is contagious! Here we share a few of her works, and a few of her words about them. It may no longer be the Fast, but I hope you find them soul-nourishing nevertheless!  Continue reading

Cultivating a Relationship with Joy | Tatiana Zamir

In this talk, produced by Bahaiteachings.org, choreographer, performance artist and holistic healer Tatiana Zamir explains why more than 300 million people suffer from depression around the world — and why she does, too. With alcoholic and drug-addicted parents, and her father incarcerated for most of her life, Tatiana felt her sense of self being crushed at an early age, and grew up “a really sad child.” In adulthood, though, she learned that joy is a virtue — a spiritual quality that allows us to tap into our higher self — and discovered a spiritual path to happiness, intentionality and self-fulfillment.  Continue reading

BBC Pause for Thought: “Where there is love nothing is too much trouble, and there is always time.”

Pause for Thought is a BBC Radio 2 program about religion and ethics that features different contributors from a variety of faiths. In this clip aired on 5 March 2018, we hear from Yas Taherzadeh who describes a powerful instance of love in her family and her conviction in Abdu’l-Baha’s words: “Where there is love nothing is too much trouble and there is always time.”  Continue reading

Materialism: A Book by Dr Abdu’l-Missagh Ghadirian

Abdu’l-Missagh Ghadirian’s book, Materialism: Moral and Spiritual Consequences, is now in its second edition! Examining psychological, sociological and spiritual perspectives and substantiated by extensive scientific research, this book focuses on the moral and social consequences of materialistic mindsets. It advocates for a sensible balance between the spiritual and material aspects of life as two pillars of an equitable civilization.

The book is thorough and beautifully marries empirical scientific and economic concepts with spiritual principles and ideas. It is both an ethical guidebook and a thoughtful analysis. The first edition of this book received the Distinguished Scholarship award of the Association for Baha’i Studies in 2011 and I’m really thrilled that it is now in its second edition.

Dr Ghadirian kindly agreed to share a little about his book. I hope you enjoy our conversation:  Continue reading

BBC Heart and Soul: Faith in Freedom

Heart and Soul is a weekly half-hour programme produced by the BBC which aims to explore different experiences of spirituality around the world. On its 11 March 2018 episode, titled “Faith in Freedom: Dr Sina Hakiman”, we meet Dr Sina Hakiman who was imprisoned three times by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard for being a Baha’i. Sina explains to John McCarthy, this episode’s host, his belief that all religions are valid. Sustained by a philosophy of “constructive resilience” he worked inside the prison as a doctor, while his wife Sholeh continued her husband’s fight for his human rights by setting up a medical clinic.  Continue reading

New Books About the Hands of the Cause for Children & Youth

Two new biographies are available about the lives of the Hands of the Cause for young readers! These books, published by the Baha’i Publishing Trust of India, are the result of true team-effort and international collaboration between Elika and Tarrant (Tarry) Mahony and Vered Ehsani. The first volume describes the lives and heroic acts of service of Amelia Collins, Dorothy Baker and Tarazu’llah Samandari, the second; Martha Root, Enoch Olinga and Rahmatu’llah Muhajir. A third volume is currently in progress. All are meant for a young audience — which makes them all the more special!  Continue reading