Tag Archives: Baha’i World Faith

“When the waters rise, so do our better angels.”*

“Get busy helping someone else and see — over time — the things you might have in common, instead of only the things that might divide you.”

“Remember what can happen when we love our neighbors as ourselves. There are storms that bring us together and storms that divide us. We have a chance now to choose. Harvey already has reminded us what we’re capable of, when we come together.”

Angelic Meowie from CATNIPblog

“The recovery ahead will be long. Our neighbors need to know they can count on us. The families affected will need our help and our attention as the work of rebuilding unfolds. If we hold our focus on the important matters at hand, we can use the power of the people to create that world we all know exists — if we will simply give it life.”  

*Jimmy Carter

Read entire article by Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the United States.

Everything in life ministers to our development. Our lesson is to study and learn… Tests are either stumbling blocks or stepping-stones, just as we make them.

Abdu’l-Baha, The Baha’i World Faith

Spinning in control

It’s been a rough year.  Maybe it’s the media bombarding us with political enmity, flood, fire, war, death, illness . . .  but it does seem rougher than usual.   My resiliency is running low.  

To put things in perspective on this last day of the year I remind myself that this earth has been around billions of years and I am standing on a planet hurtling through space and haven’t fallen off . . . yet

NASA archive image, relase date October 17, 2000. This true-color image shows North and South America as they would appear from space 35,000 km (22,000 miles) above the Earth. The image is a combination of data from two satellites. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument aboard NASA’s Terra satellite collected the land surface data over 16 days, while NOAA’s Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) produced a snapshot of the Earth’s clouds. Image created by Reto Stöckli, Nazmi El Saleous, and Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, NASA GSFC Credit: NASA Earth Observatory NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission. Follow us on Twitter Like us on Facebook Find us on Instagram
NASA archive image, release date October 17, 2000.
This true-color image shows North and South America as they would appear from space 35,000 km (22,000 miles) above the Earth.  Image created by Reto Stöckli, Nazmi El Saleous, and Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, NASA GSFC
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

The earth is moving about our sun at a speed of nearly 30 kilometers per second, or 67,000 miles per hour.  Our solar system–Earth and all–whirls around the center of our galaxy at some 220 kilometers per second, or 490,000 miles per hour.

“There are anywhere between 200-400 billion stars in the Milky Way and an estimated 100 billion planets. Around one in five stars are like our sun, and astronomers have estimated that about 22% of them have planets the size of Earth in their habitable zone, where water can exist as a liquid. This means there could be 8.8 billion planets within the galaxy capable of supporting life (not accounting for composition of the planet or its atmosphere).”

“God has created the world as one—the boundaries are marked out by man.”

‘Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith

 

The HeART of Spirituality – Journey from Dark to Light

The theme for July is “Journey”.  Held a special 4 hour – yes, count ’em FOUR hours of creative energy – workshop yesterday.  The participants focused on a painful experience, what strengths they developed as a result of the pain and how God’s love or “the universe’s grace” touched them.  

People could share as much or as little as they chose.  It was a wonderful group of women.  (All you men, where are you?!!!!)

Take a look at a sample of wonderful paintings and mini-journals the participants created yesterday!

To see all the paintings and journal pages click HERE!

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Process painting, Journey from Dark to Light

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“Everything in life ministers to our development. Our lesson is to study and learn… Tests are either stumbling blocks or stepping stones, just as we make them.” Abdu’l-Baha, The Baha’i World Faith

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Mini journal – 2- page spread

I believe in love . . . and love love-bugs

I’m ushering in February my birth* month and the month of love with Pope Francis (who, as far as I’m concerned, is a love-bug).  

Watch Pope Francis’ FIRST YouTube video!!!!

Question: “Is peace a greater word than love?”

Answer: “No! Love is greater than peace, for peace is founded upon love.”

Abdu’l-Bahá, The Baha’i World Faith     

“If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another.”
Gautama Buddha

*Just to set the record straight,  I was immaculately conceived because I refuse to think of my parents ever having sex. 

"She's as delusional as ever . . . "
“She’s as delusional as ever . . .”

 Click here:  Next HeART of Spirituality Workshop, February 17th! Guided Imagery Meditation on LOVE.

The HeART of Spirituality – Virtues – Take 2

In case you need a refresher on what a virtue is here are a few:  Patience, Responsibility, Joy, Love, Compassion, Justice, Generosity.

 Can you guess the virtue* I need to work on?

Take a look at the second group of fabulous prayer/contemplation cards!  Here’s the first group – Take 1

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“Consider the virtues of the human world and realize that the oneness of humanity is the primary foundation of them all. 

Read the Gospel and the other Holy Books. You will find their fundamentals are one and the same. Therefore, unity is the essential truth of religion and, when so understood, embraces all the virtues of the human world.”

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” . . . we must endeavor to promulgate and practice the religion of God which has been founded by all the Prophets. And the religion of God is absolute love and unity.” – Abdu’l-BahaThe Promulgation of Universal Peace. p. 32.

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Another Spontaneously posed picture of those who were able to stay till the END.
Another SPONTANEOUSLY POSED picture of those who were able to stay till the END.

(Try out the exercise we did after making the cards.  Click here for the entire list of virtues and the worksheet on the TUTORIAL PAGE)

*The Virtue of Moderation 

10 packages, possible trans fats

Another Spontaneously posed picture of those who were able to stay till the END.
Another SPONTANEOUSLY POSED picture of those who were able to stay till  the END.

The HeART of Spirituality – Communion – Take 1

Ten amazing people made room in their holiday schedules and came to Tapestry Unitarian Congregation for . . .  TA DA!!!

A HeART of Spirituality workshop!

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 Seven spontaneously posed participants

Reverend Kent Doss talked a bit about the history of communion before making the prayer/contemplation cards,  The group was small enough for each person to share what their cards represented.  The evening  ended with a discussion about virtues.

Card #1 – The love of God, love of self – the spark within or what is holy to you

Card #2 – Virtues that connect you – unity with family, friends, colleagues and the world

Here’s the first group of cards and the spiritual principle of unity, oneness and love guiding my choice of focus for the cards.

Can you tell which cards reflect LOVE and which cards express VIRTUES?

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“All the divine Manifestations (Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, and, in more recent times, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh) have proclaimed the oneness of God and the unity of mankind. 

They have taught that men should love and mutually help each other in order that they might progress. Now if this conception of religion be true, its essential principle is the oneness of humanity.”

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“The fundamental truth of the Manifestations* is peace. This underlies all religion, all justice. The divine purpose is that men should live in unity, concord and agreement and should love one another.”  – Abdu’l-BahaThe Promulgation of Universal Peace

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*Throughout the ages, God has sent Divine Messengers known as Manifestations of God among them – Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, and, in more recent times, the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh)—to cultivate humanity’s spiritual, intellectual and moral capacities.

(Click here for the second group of the cards . . .

. . . and the virtue I need to work on . . .)

Dieu a créé le monde comme l’un

“God has created the world as one—the boundaries are marked out by man.”

Baha’i World Faith

earth-full_940_160x120 “Whoever destroys a single life is as guilty as though he had destroyed the entire world; and whoever rescues a single life earns as much merit as though he had rescued the entire world.”

-The Talmud Mishna Sanhedrin 37a

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

 – Mathew 22:37-40.

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The good deed drives away the evil deeds.

– the Qur’an, Sura II, 116

“If we go to the fundamental level, we are the same human being. . . Seven billion human beings are the same human being.”  

 –Dalai Lama

“L” is for the only word that matters

“If you truly loved yourself, you could never hurt another.”

Gautama Buddha

“ . . . Love is greater than peace, for peace is founded upon love.”

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Are we alone in the universe?

One septillion stars – 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.   That’s a lot of stars.

“The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens”  

Bahá’u’lláh, Baha’i World Faith

 

 

My Tasty Recipe – it’s JUST so easy!

Compassion Compote,  3 steps

Take human beings

peel, discarding all ego

gently fold and mix

 

add justice and love.

Gorge yourself on compassion

easy to digest

Haiku Horizons - prompt JUST
Haiku Horizons – prompt JUST

“Let us pray for eyes to see and ears to hear, and for hearts that long for peace.”Abdu’l-Baha- Paris Talks, Baha’i World Faith

 

 

FIGHTING for Peace – an Oxymoron

 “God has created the world as one—the boundaries are marked out by man.”

‘Abdu’l-Baha

Earth’s soil fertilized

artificial poppies grow

in human blood, bones

*     *     *

Fallen in battle 

 It’s time for falling in love

Soul’s soil fertilized

SEa of Poppies
Sea of Ceramic Poppies, Tower of London, England
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The exhibition entitled Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red, is the work of Derbyshire-based ceramic artist Paul Cummins, and was set up to Commemorate the 100 years since the beginning of the First World War Each poppy representing each British and Commonwealth death during the conflict.

See view from drone http://bcove.me/qgvfevz2

poppy installation London Tower 6

One of the reasons I follow the Baha’i World Faith:

“To be a Bahá’í simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood.” 

Abdu’l-Bahá

Haiku Horizons - prompt FULL
Haiku Horizons – prompt FULL

Are the Rumors True that I’m Retiring?

I’ve bitten the bullet (while I still have my teeth) and am taking the leap (while I still can leap) into the next phase of my life (which is getting shorter by the day)!  

judy's journal
judy’s journal

My office lease is up this February 2015 and coincides with my (gulp) 70th birthday.  

I have wrestled with whether to sign a new lease, rent space from another clinician, buy a van to set up a Therapist-on-the-Go practice (kidding), move to the South of France (sorta kidding) or fade into memory . . .  I will close my office along with my 69th year (no kidding).

Being a psychotherapist has been one of the most gratifying things I’ve done in my life. I’ve been blessed to have had thousands (yup, count ’em thousands) of people profoundly touch my life.  Therapy is a two-way street.  I’ve learned and grown along with my clients.  Their pain, hopes, struggles and faith have helped inform my choices, strengthen my faith and deepen my belief in human courage, resiliency  and ability to learn & change.

It is almost inconceivable to me that I will be 70 years old and have been “practicing” psychotherapy for 30 years.  It is hard to admit that in the last several years I have less physical energy and resiliency.  But it’s true.  (I like to blame my declining energy on fibromyalgia more than aging  because fibromyalgia should be good for SOMETHING).

As I take the leap I will try not to lose my grip on the cord of these words that I do my darndest to tether me in my life:

  • “Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity.  (THIS is a hard one!!)
  • Be worthy of the trust of thy neighbor, and look upon him with a bright and friendly face.
  • Be a treasure to the poor, an admonisher to the rich, an answerer of the cry of the needy, a preserver of the sanctity of thy pledge.
  • Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech.  (GOTTA WORK on this – my speech isn’t always guarded as my friends can attest)
  • Be unjust to no man, and show all meekness to all men. 
  • Be as a lamp unto them that walk in darkness, a joy to the sorrowful, a sea for the thirsty, a haven for the distressed, an upholder and defender of the victim of oppression.
  • Let integrity and uprightness distinguish all thine acts.
  • Be a home for the stranger, a balm to the suffering, a tower of strength for the fugitive.
  • Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring.
  • Be an ornament to the countenance of truth, a crown to the brow of fidelity, a pillar of the temple of righteousness, a breath of life to the body of mankind, an ensign of the hosts of justice, a luminary above the horizon of virtue, a dew to the soil of the human heart, an ark on the ocean of knowledge, a sun in the heaven of bounty, a gem on the diadem of wisdom, a shining light in the firmament of thy generation, a fruit upon the tree of humility.”  (A TALL ORDER for us humans – one “leap” at a time).

(The Baha’i World Faith, Baha’u’llah)

I’ll keep you “posted” (on this blog) where I land.  

Say a prayer that I land on my feet and not my head . . .

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 Post: I Have 17 Years and 4 Months to Live 

Living with God, Aliens and Pain

I was asked to give the keynote address for the 2009 Fibromyalgia Awareness Day at Cal State Fullerton.  I’ve given it many times since.  Here’s an abbreviated version:

I became symptomatic in 1996 when Fibromyalgia was considered a Hysterical Middle Aged Woman’s SYNDROME.  By the time I was diagnosed I met that criteria.  Doctor after doctor with a wink and a knowing pat on my shoulder (at least that was what I perceived) let me know nothing was PHYSICALLY wrong with me.
I decided I was inhabited by Aliens who were using me as a Southern California time-share.  It gave me comfort to find the cause.
Years passed, the Aliens stayed and the pain turned into depression, into exhaustion, into despair.  My body betrayed me, my mind fogged, the medical community  abandoned me,  family & friends were powerless. 
I was both sustained and drained by my psychotherapy practice.
Raised as a non-practicing Jew, whose father and mother were professed agnostics. I now had no faith – in my body, mind or a God. I had nothing to hold onto for comfort much less hope.
I didn’t matter.  Now THAT’S a depressing thought which I suspected was part of the Alien’s plot to render me completely helpless & hopeless in order to take over my time-share real estate.
I didn’t matter.  There was no purpose to my life.  I started making pictures: Ugly pictures, scribbling pictures, angry pictures.  I would paint and paste, scribble and scrawl without any conscious thought. 
Weeks later, months later, in some cases years later I would put words and meanings to my unconscious expression.  That body of work  turned out to be a visual document of my journey with the aliens.
I realized I had been mourning.  Grieving my loss of identity, a loss of purpose. I mourned for that energetic person: The one who worked a 60 hour week and went to school for two Master’s degrees; who jogged 10 miles in 100 degree heat; who saw 8 clients in a row and remembered the details of their lives a year later…

She was dead. I was angry. Now I had to check my appointment book to remind me of my clients’ names. I could work only for 3 hours before I had to take a nap.  Walking around the grocery store was exhausting.  I didn’t want to talk to anyone.  Holding the phone to my ear hurt my arms. Walking burned my feet. I didn’t make commitments other than work because I never knew how I would feel.

Life as I knew it was gone.  What was I?  Who was I?  Why was I here?  If there was a purpose to my having fibromyalgia it could only be an alien plot.

Without any pre-determined intent I drew a picture of my fibromyalgia:  Three eyes, three-tongues and spontaneously titled it “The Soul Slayer

Until that moment I had been focused on my body and mind, never my soul.   Since I’d been searching for the cause and a cure for my fibro for over a decade it was natural to now start searching for my soul.
Where does one look for a soul?  I went to synagogues and churches .  Found wonderful people but no soul – at least not mine.  I read about the world’s religions and searched SOUL on the internet.  I was sure that everyone else had a soul and it was only time that they discovered mine was missing.
Accidentally (maybe not?) I was introduced to a spiritual mentor, no more no less.  He was Baha’i, a faith I was familiar with but about which I knew only some basics.  He asked me to examine my life, my choices, my beliefs.  I had long known from a psychological perspective about my choices and beliefs but now that my mind and body had betrayed me it all rang hollow.
He told me to repeat out loud “Say, all are created by God” and “Thy Name is my healing.” each, 95 times every day. (95 is a sacred number to the Baha’is.)  There was nothing to lose.  Unlike everything else I had tried as a “cure” this Rx didn’t cost me a penny and had no side effects (or so I thought).   
I needed a time and place where my fogged brain would remember to repeat each of these sentences 95 times out loud.
So I started walking and repeating “Say, all are created by God” and “Thy name is my healing.” 95 times.  It took my mind off the pain in my legs & hips and burning feet as I walked.  I started talking to God.
beginnings of Faith – My Servant of God explained to me that ALL souls recognize each other in passing.  I smiled at everyone I passed wherever I went, secretly delighted their souls knew my soul, even if I didn’t.
Exercising, smiling, talking to God!  
I’m not sure I’ve mastered listening to God but suddenly at the ripe old age of 66 I discovered faith. 
Walking, talking and smiling may not be the cure for fibromyalgia but they are damn good medicine (God, forgive me for swearing  – it’s the only way I can underscore my point)  and faith that the Aliens can’t destroy me.  I’m much more than just a convenient timeshare.
My soul  knows.  I can live with that.

“Know thou that the soul of man is exalted above,  and is independent of all infirmities of body or mind. That a sick person showeth signs of weakness is due to the hindrances that interpose themselves between his soul and his body, for the soul itself remaineth unaffected by any bodily ailments.”

“Consider the light of the lamp. Though an external object may interfere with its radiance, the light itself continueth to shine with undiminished power. In like manner, every malady afflicting the body of man is an impediment that preventeth the soul from manifesting its inherent might and power. When it leaveth the body, however, it will evince such ascendancy, and reveal such influence as no force on earth can equal. Every pure, every refined and sanctified soul will be endowed with tremendous power, and shall rejoice with exceeding gladness.”