Sea of Mystery: An Interview with Sonbol

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There are some people whom, when you cross their path, you can immediately tell that they’re passionate about everything they do. Whether it be their work, their faith, their service, their family or their art, they pursue it to their utmost, and Sonbol is one of those people.

Sonbol is a New Zealand based singer and songwriter, and in fact her husband played a big role in my family’s life, as it was him who told my parents about the needs in Papua New Guinea, which then resulted in my family moving to Papua New Guinea and living there for 20 years, so I’ve always been profoundly grateful to them for this.

I first heard Sonbol perform about 20 years ago while I was studying in New Zealand, and our paths have continued to cross in different parts of the world over the years. She’s produced several albums, and the last time I saw her, we were both passing through the US about a year ago, when she was on her way to Prague with Tom Price to record her new album with the Czech National Symphony Orchestra.

Sonbol has now finished that album titled Sea of Mystery, and so I decided it was time to catch up with Sonbol to find out more about her, her music, and her new album. Continue reading

Diet and its Impact on Our Health: A Baha’i Perspective

Diet and its Impact on Our Health A Baha'i Perspective

During the Fast, I often find myself contemplating my diet – more often than not, with a mouth full of saliva as I watch the clock tick closer and closer to sunset!

It is a time as good as any to reflect on something we, as a society, are making increasingly complex as the years roll on: our diet. It seems that there is a new fad diet every couple of years and everyone you ask has a varying opinion about the best diet for your health (or the “fastest way to lose ten pounds” as it is often titled by the media).

But what do the Baha’i scriptures say about health? What do the central figures of the Faith recommend regarding our diet? As Baha’is, we look to the Baha’i Writings to guide us on all matters of life. But how much are we guided by the Writings as to what we put into our mouths three or more times a day? Continue reading

Listen to Great Baha’i Music, Talks and Podcasts via Baha’i Blog

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Since we launched Video here on Baha’i Blog, it’s quickly become one of the most popular parts of the site – showing that Baha’is are interested in all types of media. We’re always on the lookout for ways to serve the community better, so we’ve taken what we’ve learnt and created another new section of Baha’i Blog that we think you’ll love. We’re super excited to announce our new Audio section! Yaaaay! Continue reading

Tahirih – The Force of a Pure Heart

Force, the old standard, is losing its dominance, and intuition, insight, glimpses of cosmic consciousness and the spiritual qualities of love and service in which woman is strong are gaining ascendancy. And you see that this new epoch is an age in which masculine and feminine elements of civilisation are becoming more evenly adjusted. Man and woman are as the two wings of the bird of humanity and this bird cannot attain its highest flight until these two wings are equally strong and equally poised. One of the important teachings of the Baha’i Faith is that women should be regarded as the equals of men and should enjoy equal rights and privileges, equal education and equal opportunities. Tahirih had to die for these ideals but today our task is to live for them. – Martha Root

To commemorate International Women’s Day, which falls on 8 March, I would like to honour a remarkable woman who lived a century ago. Her radical life was not only significant then but remains profoundly relevant today. She had passion, determination, guts and grit running through her veins. A warrior for the emancipation of women. A force to be reckoned with.

A life tragically cut short at the age of thirty-six, she was the first woman suffrage martyr. Put to death by strangulation, her immortal words ring through the ages:

You can kill me as soon as you like, but you cannot stop the emancipation of women.

Her name was Tahirih – “The Pure One”. Continue reading

The Baha’i Fast: Learning to Realise How Much You Have, by ‘Not Having’

Bahai Fast Learning Realise How Much You Have by Not Having

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

An Introduction to Ayyam-i-Ha

Photo courtesy of Paul Vreeland

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

In Pursuit of Happiness

In Pursuit of Happiness

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

Love Story – A Matchmaking Site for Baha’is

LoveStory

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

Failure…You’re Doing It Wrong

Failure...You're Doing It Wrong

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