Sunday, April 5, 2015

UNDERSTANDING YOU...



My love, it has taken me some time to understand you...
to grasp your moods without being touched by them so deeply...
to see your pain while witnessing the little boy you still are inside...
to understand your depth that you hide so well...
to kiss the lack of experience, yet still remain the most kissable of all lips, of all time...
to hear harsh words that stab the soul, and become stronger for it...
to be annoyed by grandiose dreams, which will never happen...
to listen to threats, which I know now will never fruit...
to think your love has ended, when you refuse to ever say it...
to know you are true, even though I doubted you...

My dear, it has taken me a great amount of time to understand you just this much...
and I will still need more time to understand the rest of you...
I hope time, we have.
I pray love, we will.

Friday, April 3, 2015

BAHA'I VERSES I LIKE: OTHER WORLDS

I like this! I took a scientific stance over the YEC (young earth creationist) view a long time ago! That's when I started believing that science and religion MUST match up or else I might otherwise believe in folly. Would rather stand for truth than get hung up on dogma that is illogical. We exist. The earth revolves around the sun. There are many suns, galaxies, and likely many universes as well as worlds with intelligent life. And I'm sure those worlds were all made much longer than 6kya too. LOL

“When we contemplate this vast machinery of omnipresent power, perceive this illimitable space and its INNUMERABLE WORLDS it will become evident to us that the lifetime of this infinite creation is more than six thousand years; nay, it is very, very ancient”. (Abdu'l-Baha, Foundations of World Unity, p. 108).

RELATIONSHIPS THAT CUT LIKE KNIVES

This story is an exercise in dynamics of control in relationships. This actually happened to someone I know, so I reproduce her story here, names changed. It's a simple story, and is probably rather harmless, but the implications--once magnified and taken to an extreme circumstance--can be dangerous to a relationship.

The questions to ask are, what is the real desire behind why a man would do this? For control? To not feel controlled by the woman's requests in "her domain"? To teach a lesson about life? Or to not care that she could be harmed.

Read the story... then you decide...

RELATIONSHIPS THAT CUT LIKE KNIVES

Tamara always put the silverware with the handles down in the dish drainer, but not the sharp knives... she always put them with the sharp point down and the handles sticking up so no one would get hurt if they were reaching in to get the silverware.

But Brett always put all the silverware with the handles down, including the sharp knives.

Tamara warned Brett that this was a dangerous practice, so showed him to put the sharp blade of the knives facing downward. She said, "I have to reach over the silverware every day to get my water glass and I almost cut my forearm the other day because the knife was sticking up. Can you please point them down?"

Brett said, "You simply need to pay attention to what you are doing. Life has things we need to watch out for, so pay attention so you know what you're doing at all times. Just be more careful."

Tamara thought it was unwise to ignore something dangerous and possibly put others in danger, and why should she have to take extra care every single time she reaches over the dish drainer to grab her water glass, which she does numerous times a day? Instead, turn the knife downward the first time and it saves time and effort and possible issues later.

Time passed, and Tamara mentioned the knife situation again, but Brett kept putting the sharp knives facing straight up when he would help with dishes.

One day, Tamara was busy cooking and realized she had not drank water for several hours, so she reached over to grab her water glass, but a knife was sticking up at just the right angle and it cut a scratch into her forearm near her elbow between two and three inches long, which bled, not to mention hurt.

Tamara was disgusted. She had not learned Brett's lesson about being careful every single time about the knives.

But another lesson she learned was not that she was just not being extra careful, but that she shouldn't have to in her own home. Home should be a place of comfort and safety, away from the dangers of the outside world. Her environment was hers to control, not be controlled by. The kitchen was her domain, yet somehow she had not had any control over this knife issue.

Was she wrong in not taking care every time she wanted water to drink? Was she being selfish?

She didn't think so; the real lesson in her mind now was that Brett had not cared about her. He would rather be right about his own position on the knife being up so he did not have to go to the extra effort to be mindful and point it down, she thought. He was more interested in being right than taking care of her and ensuring her safety.

Brett hurt Tamara, in her view, because he refused to do what she had asked, since it was a safety issue. Yet she did not mention this to him because she knew he would just cause him to yell at her and say something like, "See, I told you to be careful! But you don't listen. You don't pay attention," like times he had said before to her about other things.

Perhaps he was right, too, and it was her own laziness in not wanting or feeling the need to double-check for knives every time. Perhaps she wouldn't have gotten hurt (by the knives or by his attitude) if she would have simply paid more attention each time.

Does this HAVE to be my life with Brett? she thought... will she constantly have to be on the defense with him and watch out for his sharp points that can and will hurt her? Simply because he refuses to care for her by putting away his sharpness so she can feel safe?

Ultimately Tamara found a different way to solve the problem... she simply put her water glass on the opposite side of the counter after that, away from the dish drainer, and away from Brett's upward facing knives.

Tamara pondered if avoiding Brett would follow, in order to save herself from being hurt.

*******************

REFLECTION QUESTIONS

Which is the more important life lesson... realizing that life can hurt you and to be careful at every turn, to be aware of everything around you? Or realizing that people can harm you and that perhaps we sometimes need to be careful of their own "sharpness" that can "cut" instead?

In this case, Tamara found another way out... but is it indicative of her ultimately just finding a solution somewhere else so she didn't have to deal with a man who would rather see her risk harming herself than to actually care about her welfare MORE than being right?

I guess one has to ask if putting her in harms way was really worth the lesson he was trying to "teach" her... in Tamara's eyes, she merely learned that Brett represented the knive that could cut her.

Friday, March 20, 2015

BECOMING BAHA'I

It's funny how memories can surface, after the fact... this happened to me recently as I was in the process of becoming Baha'i (more about that in a minute).

I remember taking a cultural anthropology course in college and learning about different religions and religious views. At the time I was a fairly new Unitarian Universalist and had Christian roots, yet was interested in many spiritual paths. I had, many years before, heard about Baha'is but I did not know anything about the faith. But in class as a mature adult I remembered distinctly that I was familiar with the name "Baha'i" and that it had a favorable feeling in my soul, yet I had no idea why.

There I sat, reading about the Baha'i faith in my college textbook... about the universalist principles of love for all mankind and overcoming prejudice, and equality of the sexes, no proselytizing allowed (totally agree!), there is no clergy (spiritual education is the responsibility of the individual, although there are many functions and classes and books!), education is highly promoted (there is a saying that if you have two children, a boy and a girl, and only enough money to educate one of them, you should educate the girl because she will teach her own children), there is a strong interfaith stance, the concept of Satan is that of man's lower nature rather than an actual imaginary being, the promotion of world peace instead of war, a united planet and positive one-world government (not the fear-based New World Order that some fundamentalists teach), the avoidance of politics, concepts like Progressive Revelation, spiritual leaders coming in and going out and being replaced by people more appropriate for each age (whether Adam, Zoroaster, Abraham, Mohammed, Buddha, Jesus, etc.), and even being open to other worlds existing in the universe. I agreed with all of these concepts.

Yes, I was a Baha'i at heart. I thought to myself, "I'm already a Baha'i and didn't even know it!"

I decided right then that if I ever stepped off the agnostic fence and chose the path of no god, then I would become Buddhist, but if I chose the path of a God (and although I know there are many gods, I am inclined towards monotheism as a greater power of spirit/energy that pervaded the universe(s) and beyond) then I would become Baha'i. However, I sat on that fence yet another 10 years.

Then I met my present husband, who happens to be Baha'i. Fate? A manifestation of my own subconscious, since even while agnostic I sometimes caught myself praying to or complaining to the God I said I didn't believe in? The Buddhist route just never took hold anyway, for whatever reason (I did manage to go to a Buddhist temple once with a friend and enjoyed it immensely). But the powers that be, whether from within or without, took hold of my path and set me on it.

So back to how memories can surface when you least expect it. I was recently watching the film "To Light a Candle" about the Iranian Baha'is who were being kept from a college education, yet they studied and learned anyway. Many eventually fled Iran to other countries because of the religious persecution. My heart went out to these people who have experienced this, and then, while hearing--during this film--about the Ayatolla Khomeini, who in 1979 led a revolution and took over Iran from the Shah, a blast of memories of my dad watching the news (he loved politics and world events) popped up and suddenly I remembered the Baha'is and who they were! I did not like politics as a kid (or an adult) but I watched and kept up with what was happening at the time. I understood and my heart had reached out as a 10-to-12-year-old child to these people.

Today, although far from being oppressed, I am one of them. I am proud that today I will be declaring myself as a Baha'i on Naw Ruz (Baha'i new year at spring equinox) so it is very fitting. I have been learning, watching videos, reading books and scripture, talking and meeting with friends, going to gatherings and participating in devotionals, learning Book 1 (Ruhi), and attended my first feast and practiced the fast.

So now I feel I have finally come home, full circle, to where I had learned about Baha'is as a kid, then about what the faith was really about as an adult, and now am learning what it means to be Baha'i and practice those ways. Next I get to do what I was meant to do, and be a part of a much bigger plan.

No religion is perfect, but the concepts and matters of faith that are part of the Baha'i path are more in unison with what I already believed, and has a beautiful image and focus and actual plan to bring in God's desires for humanity and an ever-advancing civilization towards world unity--and although I am not perfect either, all of this is intrinsically and together a big part of who I already am.

This time, "I am Baha'i and I know it."

The best is yet to come!

Friday, February 27, 2015

WAITING FOR THE NEWS...

I know something.
Something that happened today.
By June I will be able to tell people if I was right.
Waiting sucks, doesn't it.

Monday, February 16, 2015

NO BABY



No baby...
As good as barren, when again no baby?
When pregnancy arrives, but blighted ovum erupts in red waterfalls.
Tissues of life, containing nobody.
Hope and happiness, birthing emptiness two minutes apart.
Reaching down below, deep into the heart of the womb,
below the exit where all comes to light,
Rivers of blood shed out from the depths.
No baby.
Then anger, and grief, and fighting between,
like a symbol of the death of something that never was,
the reality hit...
it kicked in the windshield that held it captive
behind the hands that held it in place,
packed behind shadowed allusions,
and painted words dark and gruesome,
unforgiving, and hard.
No baby, no sanity, no chances.
So the slap of life was never to ring true,
and the abuse of the words 'no baby' would be to worsen
over time
possibly forever... because of everything.
Even a list of 15 sorries could never fix this.
No guilt or shame, just no baby.
"I only did it for you"
lies hiding the pain.
Just no baby came,
and no baby will ever arrive.
What was a hope and a wish for over a year,
has died,
with the baby,
the baby that never was...
the little one who would never be held,
and never will breathe or say I love you,
without a change of heart,
a new heart, and mind, and body.
No baby then, no baby now.
As for the future... the only baby
that could be real, will be what business,
a substitute,
or nothing at all.
No baby will ever know that it never existed...
and may never become real again.
No baby will ever feel it's parents' arms,
or to learn and grow and play.
No baby was.
No baby is.
It is deemed so, therefore...
No baby ever.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

GIVING IN TO THE GREATER WILL

I am watching as a dear friend of mine goes through relationship problems. Her husband is mentally ill and continually goes through cycles of being a wonderful husband, but then everything turns sour. Up and down, up and down. She is sure it is his brain and body chemistry all out of whack. But she asked, "What do I do when he doesn't want me around, calls me names, demeans me, tries to control me, treats me like I am a child, is unforgiving, unrealistic, illogical, unbending, argumentative, relentless, goes off the deep end with exaggerated threats (like kicking her out or even divorce), and is generally not nice?"

She says it doesn't happen often, but lately it has been happening more. He admitted to her that he does not know how to be a husband and that it's all new for him, yet his desire to be alone--like the bachelor he was for almost all of his life--is too strong. "It is the easier way than to actually take responsibility," she insists, "and he's setting up our whole relationship for failure. Every time he mentions divorce it is because of his own issues, not mine."

She came to me, emotionally distraught, but I told her... GIVE IT OVER TO THE GREATER WILL.

This can mean different things to different people. For some it might mean that he has a greater will than she does. In some things, her will might be greater. For instance, regarding his will... his desire is for his happiness and to not be accountable to anyone, and if that means being alone then she may need to make arrangements to move out, if he tell her to leave. Or it could mean her will in some things are greater, such as not accepting his low opinions of her. She could just simply learn to ignore them, figuring he is just having outbursts when his mental issues are on the rise; and although she would choose to love him anyway, she might prefer to walk away until those tough moments pass.

Still yet there is an even better way to give it over to the greater will. It doesn't just mean allowing yourself, in your unbending decisions, to stand up to someone (not fight, necessarily), or to let them have their way (but conceding might keep the peace, or allow him to realize he is making a mistake)... but it can mean giving up our own desires and disappointments to a greater power. Whether this is God, or the gods, or the universe, or nature, or whatever it is that works for you, you can choose to find peace by letting go.

Since I told her this she made a list of all the things he didn't like and she started crossing them off one by one, doing what he wanted, or being ready to go at a moment's notice (if he kicks her out, for instance), while still standing strong on her convictions of not accepting his belittling comments, or refusing to divorce him (although if he chooses he can try). This list she made has given her a sense of having control of her own life back... whether that choice is to let go, give in, or stand strong, depending. She is prepared no matter how it turns out.

In this giving in to the greater will, including her greater power, through prayer and an earnest heart, she has found a sense of inner peace. Even if she is not happy with something, she can fall back on her inner peace.