Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On Reading the Liner Notes to Lunar Drive: Baha'i black top techno, Pueblo trance and high desert trip-hop

The liner notes for Lunar Drive's 1996 Here at Black Mesa Arizona include the quote by Abdu'l-Baha that forms the basis of the song "Transcend the Murmur." Kevin Locke sings on "Stacked Up Clouds," that incorporates a traditional Lakota melody. A flute sample from "Lakota Prayer" by Kevin is used in the song "MoBrigde, South Dakota," and his vocals are included in "Crying, Looking For You." A spoken sample by Phil Lane, Sr., is part of "The Sky So High." A picture of Kevin hoop-dancing is included in the centerfold collage. The album reached #5 on the Billboard World Music chart. There are nine tracks on the album.


There is the familiar face of Franklin Khan on the Lunar Drive's "All Together Here." Phil Lane contributes to the vocals on "Square World, and Franklin Khan on "A Great Traditional Word." -gw

While producing dance music in London, Hoover began to experiment with Navajo melodies. During visits to Big Mountain, Ariz., on the Navajo Nation, Benally's voice inspired the first song for the release. "Jon can really express that human feeling of desperation versus hope," Hoover said.

After being hit by a car in London, she returned to Flagstaff to recuperate. While living with her mother on Lunar Drive, she met Minkler, a neighbor.

"Sam knows lots of traditional songs from his family and he is also a natural composer and improviser. I would put together some beats and then he improvised new melodies over them. Or he would sing songs and I would try to build other music around his songs."

Hoover and Minkler performed in London last summer and young people were soon humming Navajo and Lakota melodies. The music mix, released by Nation Records in England, was described by "The Guardian"as black top techno, Pueblo trance and high desert trip-hop.

"Sampling Native American songs and chants into a prefab dance beat would have been one thing, but to have the various elements rippling into and around each other like this is really special," "The Guardian" wrote in a recent review.

"Here at Black Mesa, Arizona," has been broadcast in Latin America on the BBC World Service, in England on BBC regional stations and on local radio stations in Portugal and Germany.

Preparing for an upcoming tour of the South Pacific, Locke said folk art is a tried and true means to express what is in one's heart. At the core of one's being is the universal language of the spirit. "This is the basis which connects all people." Locke said he seeks to infuse his music with the teachings of Baha'u'llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha'i Faith. The Baha'i Faith teaches the oneness of religion and mankind. Baha'u'llah taught the arts are a gift from the Creator.

Music can take people to an entirely different level of consciousness and transcend prejudices and divisiveness, he said. "As a Baha'i, my goal is to celebrate the nobility of the human spirit through music and dance."

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On Summer School As a Seat of Baha'i Learning: Immaculate's photos from the 2010 Western Washington edition

Immaculate was kind to share with me the photos she took of the 2010 Western Washington Baha'i Summer School. If you were a kid, what memories would you have of such an experience? If you are a parent, what memories will you have of contributing to your child's sense of being a Baha'i were you to ensure that your family went every year. How I regret not having taken my children every summer to Baha'i summer school. -gw

Letter of 5 November 1949

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Monday, August 30, 2010

On Honorable Souls Building Community: A persian lady of about 80 years old had her children class at the park (with 19 participants)

Yesterday, in cosmos city (a township full of children and interesting people around Johannesburg in South Africa) a persian lady of about 80 years old had her children class at the park (with 19 participants), not far from there a young man was busy with his junior youth group. And still around the corner, were people basically busy with the same kind of activities. These honorable souls are all living very far from that place but they made themselves a priority to visit and help building the community of this township at least once a week.
Fascinating excerpts from the blog Nathy n' Kangami on Baha'i efforts on community building in South Africa. -gw
Then, we decided to visit newly declared baha'is or people simply interested in the Faith. It was really interesting and warming and we discovered that people have been waiting for our visit for months. We are now trying to implement a new system... and it is all about thinking, studying & acting systematically... It is also about trying and learning with courage, wisdom, humility, patience, obedience and perseverance. Hopefully that we will show more commitments at this task.



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On the Conduct and Manner of Baha'is: We should become so forgiving

Two entries are side by side in my keyword search this morning of mentions of "Baha'I" on blogs. The first entry is to a post that calls the Baha'i Faith "homophobic" because of a presentation made at the recent Association of Baha'i Studies Conference and the second to one that outlines the position Baha'is are called upon to take towards those who fall into error. -gw
We should become so forgiving that if a person “falls into error for a hundred-thousand times” we would still forgive him

O ye friends of God! Show ye an endeavor that all the nations and communities of the world, even the enemies, put their trust, assurance and hope in you; that if a person falls into errors for a hundred-thousand times he may yet turn his face to you, hopeful that you will forgive his sins; for he must not become hopeless, neither grieved nor despondent. This is the conduct and the manner of the people of Baha'. This is the foundation of the most high pathway! Ye should conform your conduct and manners with the advices of 'Abdul-Baha. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha v2, p. 436; compilation Excellence in All Things, p. 7)

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On Music That Is Not Happy Clappy: A reflective spirituality radiates from these settings of Baha'i sacred texts

I've loved his compositions ever since I first heard them. I find it difficult to describe Richard's music. Perhaps it's easier to say what it is not than what it is is: it is not 'happy clappy'; it is not formal classical music; it is not pop. ...Overall, a reflective spirituality radiates from these settings of Baha'i sacred texts. This is serious music, but not self-important. It acts as a setting for the jewel-like texts, enhancing our appreciation for the Word of God without drawing attention to itself.
It's great seeing Barney's posts on Posterous. Here he introduces new music (for me, at least) from Richard Leigh. -gw

New CD Seed - 12 new settings of the writings of Baha'u'llah, Abdu'l-Baha, & The Bab is being recorded at present. written for both adults and children, it features the exquisite voices of Rachel Major and Emma Lewendon as well as Richard on guitar, violin, viola, accordion, kantele, voice & piano. Co-production is by Pete Maguire.

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Saturday, August 28, 2010

On Canoeing the Columbia: Off the hook

"You put up dozens of photos of one bird, but you didn't put up the photo set of our canoe paddle.," my wife told me this morning. I bet her $5 that the photo set -- with her favorite photo of the whole trip -- was already up on Baha'i Views. I just checked.  I owe her $5. But then I realize that in the Baha'i Writings it says that ...
Gambling is forbidden, although nowhere in the scriptures does it specify exactly what does and does not constitute gambling. Currently, each believer is expected to make the best determination for himself.
So am I off the hook? -gw

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Friday, August 27, 2010

On Hell As Spiritual Distance: Baha'i belief

The problem with hell...
  1. Hell doesn't avenge evil or reveal God's power.
  2. Hell heralds eternal hopelessness.
  3. Hell keeps evil in eternal existence.
  4. Hell creates a clash between justice and love.
  5. Hell assigns eternal violence to God.
  6. Hell executes eternal punishment for temporal sin.
Hell is actually ... -gw
... Spiritual distance. This is my belief as a Baha'i.

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On Baha'i Prayers and Songs in Hindi, English and Other Indian Languages: For free download

There are 75 items  for free download here of Baha'i songs and prayers. -gw

Download now or listen on posterous
Aaya_Dharm_Bahai_Hai.mp3 (7228 KB)

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On Saying Hello to Young Lovebirds and Having Dinner with a Dipper: The trip home

This weekend can't possibly measure up to last weekend, so I'm going to linger a bit more with the memories. Here are the remaining photo sets from last weekend's photography extravaganza. Please indulge me this one more post.
After we left the Hanford Reach we headed to the nearby TriCities to see Matt and Ruhiyyih.
Then we took I-82 West to Hwy 12, taking 410 towards Cayuse Pass. We stopped for a streamside dinner prepared by Bonita by the side of the van.
We continued over the pass by Tipsoo Lake in Mt Rainer National Park.
It was an alternate route to our usual way home via I-90. -gw

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On Appreciating Critters: And empowering the human race to assume the trusteeship toward which history impels it

When we go camping or canoeing, we aren't necessarily looking for wildlife, but critters always seem to find us.  Seeing a pelican or a coyote or a snake, for that matter, makes a trip to the country all that more worthwhile. The Hanford Reach afforded many critter glimpses.
Humanity must take steps to protect the world of nature. There are limits to what the natural world can bear in terms of the demands we put upon it. To say, just let nature take its course, is to deny the the responsibility that is ours alone to address. There is a moral crisis in the degradation of the natural world, as is alluded to in the 2004 document "The Prosperity of Humankind" by the Baha'i International Community. -gw
The fallacies in theories based on the belief that there is no limit to nature’s capacity to fulfill any demand made on it by human beings have now been coldly exposed. A culture which attaches absolute value to expansion, to acquisition, and to the satisfaction of people’s wants is being compelled to recognize that such goals are not, by themselves, realistic guides to policy. Inadequate, too, are approaches to economic issues whose decision-making tools cannot deal with the fact that most of the major challenges are global rather than particular in scope.
The earnest hope that this moral crisis can somehow be met by deifying nature itself is an evidence of the spiritual and intellectual desperation that the crisis has engendered. Recognition that creation is an organic whole and that humanity has the responsibility to care for this whole, welcome as it is, does not represent an influence which can by itself establish in the consciousness of people a new system of values. Only a breakthrough in understanding that is scientific and spiritual in the fullest sense of the terms will empower the human race to assume the trusteeship toward which history impels it.

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On Musical Accompaniment: Do'ah with the windows rolled down

Classic Do'a (alternately, Do'ah) adds the perfect ambiance to a ride in the country. -gw
Representing the combined vision of multi-instrumentalists/composers Randy Armstrong and Ken LaRoche, Do'ah (also: Do'ah: World Music Ensemble) was one of the first bands in the western world to blend musical traditions and instrumentation from around the globe. Devotees of the Baha'I religion, Armstrong and LaRoche used music as an expression for their message of peaceful coexistence. Formed in 1974, Do'ah initially came together as a duo. Ohio-born Armstrong had previously played guitar with rock and pop bands in the Midwest. During a tour of New England, he fell in love with the region and dreamed of making it his home. Moving to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Armstrong began to seek musicians with whom to play. Compiling a list of over 100 musicians, he loaded his VW bus and went off in search of a musical partner. Armstrong's search led him to Peterborough, New Hampshire-born Ken LaRoche, a classically trained flautist who had performed with the New Hampshire Philharmonic Orchestra while still in high school. His musical interests, however, were extremely eclectic. When Armstrong showed up at his doorstep, he was working with an avant-garde jazz band. Agreeing to pool their resources, Armstrong and LaRoche took their name, Do'ah, from an Arabic/Persian word signifying a call to prayer, meditation, chanting, and worship. The group added the "h" to its name in 1987 to avoid confusion with punk rock band D.O.A.. Simple instrumentation was used at first, with Armstrong on acoustic guitar and LaRoche on bamboo flutes and kalimba. They soon became obsessed with collecting, studying, and playing instruments from around the world. "I had a dream," Armstrong, a devotee of the Baha'i faith, said during a late-'80s interview. "I was walking down a cobblestone street that looked very much like Old Jerusalem. A man in a striped turban motioned for me to follow him into a store, where there were all these instruments hanging in the window. I kept studying them, very perplexed. I wasn't really sure what was going on. After that, I was led into a room where Abdu'l-Baha, the son of Baha'u'llah, the prophet/founder of the Baha'i faith, was sitting before me. It was a very powerful feeling. I wanted to turn away because I didn't think that I was worthy to be there. But, I couldn't take my eyes off of him. He was sitting there smiling and he began showing me instruments from around the world, one at a time."

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

On the Salishan Children Say Thank You: Baha'i Assembly members feted

There were too many people to fit into Lisa's home last night, so we met at the Salishan community center instead to hear the children who went to Brighton Creek for the Children's Retreat say "Thank you!" The members of the Tacoma and Pierce Peninsula Baha'i spiritual assemblies and staff from Brighton Creek were invited to attend. Also present were many parents of the children. -gw

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On We Are All Yaran: Friends, Baha'is

On a Baha'i Chalk Talk: The curve of growth

From the album:
ISGP España 2010 by Rubén
Here's the curve of growth in Baha'i Intensive Programs of Growth from 1996 to the present. I note that at the time of the 41 conferences back in late 2008-early 2009 called for by the Universal House of Justice, we were at about 1000 IPGs. By Ridvan 2010 we were at 1500. Now that's expansion. -gw

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On Some Blogs by Baha'is: Starting a new list

Every so often it's good to sorta start over. I'm in my third version of Baha'i Views, for example. I have liked the clean look of Baha'i Views on Posterous, but recently I began to add links to the side-bar of blogs by Baha'is, blogs constituting my first love on the Internet. I still have a blog roll on Baha'i Views (dot) net. But this is a new list.
Personal blogs are notorious for going dormant. So this list reflects active blogs. Some are new discoveries for me, and others are old favorites. The list is in no way intended to be comprehensive. When I've had a moment, I've added a blog to the list, one or two at a time. And I'll keep doing this. -gw

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On the View from Camp Nuclear: Power to the people

Nuclear power

Bahá'u'lláh wrote:

"Strange and astonishing things exist in the earth but they are hidden from the minds and the understanding of men. These things are capable of changing the whole atmosphere of the earth and their contamination would prove lethal."[25]

Bahá'ís later pointed to this as a statement about the discovery of nuclear energy and the use of nuclear weapons.[26]

Bonita and I camped just across the River from the Hanford nuclear power site, adjacent to an area along the Columbia River known as the Hanford Reach. 
Nuclear power is controversial, in the States and, lately, in places like Iran. It was at Hanford that the nuclear bombs were made that were dropped on Japan during World War II. Nuclear clean-up is a vigorous driver of the local economy in the nearby Tri-Cities. There is a reactor still operating that is producing electrical power, the only one in the state, Washington being much more known for its clean and cheap hydroelectrical power.
The view from our campsite was scenic and natural. The Hanford Reach is a wild place. We are so glad we went. -gw

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Monday, August 23, 2010

On Checking for Music Updates on Facebook: It's almost 2011 already, people!

Checking my Live Feed on Facebook ...
Just wait until Lisa hears all the new Baha'i music!
This girl already is deep into music; she's gonna have that much more to love.
Chelsea-Lyne has put up a bunch more videos. Four in the last hour.
Harri's pick for the day is Gia:
Coming back from camping in E WA, Bonita's pick to listen to while we road in the the van was Matthew Levine. She loved his A House Divided CD. The CD may have come out in 2006, and it's 2010 already, but this is the first time she's heard it. Oh, his lyrics, the complexity of his music! Timeless songs. He's a songwriter's songwriter. -gw

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On River Banks and Marvelous Bones: God giveth, God taketh away

The Apostle of God—may the blessings of God and His salutations be upon Him—hath also said: “He 181 that looketh upon the sea at eventide, and saith: ‘God is Most Great!’ at sunset, God will forgive his sins, though they be heaped as piles of sand. And he that counteth forty waves, while repeating: ‘God is Most Great!’—exalted be He—God will forgive his sins, both past and future.”
We went to sleep by the banks of the Columbia River, along the only stretch of river that still runs wild in the State of Washington. We gloried in the sunset. The next day we ventured up a rocky cliff and marveled at bones and the laws of nature. -gw
O My friend! Many a hound pursueth this gazelle of the desert of oneness; many a talon claweth at this thrush of the eternal garden. Pitiless ravens do lie in wait for this bird of the heavens of God, and the huntsman of envy stalketh this deer of the meadow of love.

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On Deciding to Stop Teaching Baha'i Children's Classes: There is a Great Law of the Universe called “Ask and Ye Shall Receive"

Thought you all would burn with the love of this post as I did! From our dear former NW & NEasterner Denali now pioneering on the island of Dominca in the Carribean. Enjoy!


Stephanie shares this learning, via a lovely blog post, for what is, undouctedly, the next step for a lot of Baha'i communities involved in the Institute Process  -gw
We stopped teaching our children’s classes immediately after returning from Trinidad. It may seem like a strange course of action, as part of the reason we’re here is to help establish and promote these classes…but the main reason we’re in Dominica, as articulated by the Universal House of Justice in the 2010 Ridván Message is to help “raise capacity within a population to take charge of its own spiritual, social and intellectual development.”

That time and energy we spent preparing for and teaching those children’s classes, we realized, could be much better spent training and accompanying children’s class teachers. Pretty obvious, right?

There is a Great Law of the Universe called “Ask and Ye Shall Receive”…and I guess I need constant reminders that—in this earthly experience—it’s as dependable as the law of gravity (provided we’re not asking for something that will impede our, or others’, development). Predictably, once we started focusing our prayers and efforts in the direction of finding children’s class teachers, two of them dropped from the sky…and are now bringing more vim, vigor, and creativity to the St. Cyr class than we ever could have hoped for.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

On The Names of God: Jamie's photo set for the Baha'i month

The ninth month of the Baha'i year is Asma, the 'Names of God' ..... all the other months of the year are the attributes , this one is all the names ..... all that yin and all that yang ....
Another Feast day begins this evening for Baha'is. Another moving set from Jamie on flickr. -gw
The Bahá'í scriptures often refer to God by various titles and attributes, such as Almighty, All-Powerful, All-Wise, Incomparable, Gracious, Helper, All-Glorious, and Omniscient.[
19] Baha'is believe the greatest of all the names of God is "All-Glorious" or Bahá in Arabic. Bahá is the root word of the following names and phrases: the greeting Alláh-u-Abhá (God is the All-Glorious), the invocation Yá Bahá'u'l-Abhá (O Thou Glory of the Most Glorious), Bahá'u'lláh (The Glory of God), and Bahá'i (Follower of the All-Glorious). These are expressed in Arabic regardless of the language in use (see Bahá'í symbols).[20] Bahá'ís believe Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, is the "complete incarnation of the names and attributes of God".[21]

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On Fanaticism: On interfaith matters, I am walking on sacred ground

I have noticed that those people who judge the followers of any one faith by a few fanatics or terrorists, also tend to be the very ones who are fanatical about their own path whether they are Christian, Muslim, Atheist, Baha'i, or any other path you care to name.

For myself, I tend to hold as sacred what you do for the mere fact that you hold it as sacred. In fact, when discussing interfaith matters, I try to make sure my shoes are off, for I am walking on sacred ground.

Mead Simon, now in Victoria, blogger of One Baha'i's approach... -gw

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On Derrick at Devotions: Some answered questions

As Bonita has already shared on Facebook, Derrick and his mother came to devotions at our home last night. After a round of prayers and music selections, Derrick answered for us some of the questions about God that the children at the Baha'i Children's Retreat at Brighton Creek raised last week. He also danced up a storm. -gw

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On One Nation, One People: Tierra a guest at L.A. event along with Prince Ali and Michael Beckwith

August 12th Rocky's granddaughter Tierra Crockrell was an invited guest along with a variety of national celebrities at a Los Angeles event with a noble purpose, bringing diverse communities together and promoting volunteerism. -gw

Prince Ali, Dr. Michael Beckwith, Other Celebrities Have Confirmed Attending Operation Confidence's United We Serve Fair in Support of Consuella Mackey, Founder/Event Planner. Other guests include Peter Rafelson, writer/ music producer, Tierra Crockwell, 8 yr old 2010 National Champion and World record holder, Keith Robinson, star of 'Dreamgirls' and Sara Stokes, P Diddy's 'Making the Band'

Prince Ali, renowned international pop artist and social activist, twice-platinum composer and singer joins in support of The United We Serve Fair and brings with him Dr. Michael Bernard Beckwith, Founder of Agape International, featured teacher in the movie "The Secret," Peter Rafelson, writer/music producer with legendry artists that include Madonna, Britney Spears and most recently the "Glee" soundtrack, and son of Hollywood legend Bob Rafelson, and Tierra Crockwell, the 8-year-old running phenomenon representing the U.S. Also supporting and attending will be Keith Robinson, star of "Dreamgirls," Sara Stokes from P Diddy's 'Making The Band," and Iceman of Iceman Music Group/Koch.

Operation Confidence's free community event will take place this Saturday, August 14th, at Exposition Park on the Figueroa Pad, (directly in front of the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena), 3939 Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, Ca. 90037, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Consuella Mackey, Founder and Executive Director of Operation Confidence, a local nonprofit organization, took heed to President Barack Obama's inaugural speech when he said, "Go back to your townships, villages and cities, and band together in support of each other, all races and ethnicities to encourage volunteerism. Then show the world what America is all about, the practice of being a humanitarian and working together side by side to bring our nation back to its greatness."

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On Going to Church Makes You a Christian: True or false?

Found on Likey via a link on my wife's Facebook. OMG, I just said "my wife's Facebook." Bonita's on Faceboooooooook! Old poodles can learn new tricks. -gw

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On Baha'is and Blue Men: I don’t approve of chanting Baha’is blocking my way through public facilities

I found this intriguing sentence in a blog post about tolerance. I think I'll skip the link.
I don’t approve of groups of chanting Baha’i blocking my way through public facilities, but I tolerate them on free speech grounds (among other reasons).
"Chanting Baha'is" blocking public thoroughfare. Now that's a picture that's rather hard to imagine! My guess is the blogger (1) has never met a Baha'i, and (2) doesn't know much about the Faith.
A seeker who has just begun investigating the Faith and who had shared this fact with a friend, said the friend asked if we were the people who worship the blue man. No, I said,.No blue man worshipping for us.  -gw

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On Attending a First Baha'i Study Circle: It was interesting to tease out what certain words meant to each person

Forgot to mention, last Sunday evening I went to my first Baha'i study circle meeting. There were only three of us, including the leader, but there may be additional people joining up. I enjoyed it very much. It consisted of us using a workbook to read various quotes from their prophet and/or his son, and answering questions about them, like what the quotes meant on a deep level. It was interesting to tease out what certain words meant to each person; no two (or should I say, three) perspectives were alike. The other non-leader participant was kind of cute. I think he is of Iranian descent though he grew up in the states. He's divorced, so hey, he might be available! But hey, I am not looking for romance, so it's just fine if he's not, or if I'm not his type, or whatever!! :-)
This spiritual seeker after truth writes of attending her first Baha'i study circle. She is also studying Judaism, and has been attending a Unitarian Universalitst workshop on creating your own theology. A few weeks later she is studying the Baha'i writings about detachment and posting about that. But first, an appropriate photo from flickr with cutline. -gw
By "accident" I bought some new clothes yesterday. >__> I meant to go out and buy one dress that I liked, but I ended up buying half a new wardrobe. Oopsie? Anyway, my closet seems to be getting more crowded. (The closet is actually bigger; I just had trouble opening the doors all the way today...)

Uploaded by Happily Candied on 16 Jul 10, 9.38PM PDT on flickr

I am reading some Baha'i writings, and they talk quite a bit about detachment - not being wrapped up in the material things of this world, that are temporary and ultimately meaningless. As I look about my bedroom, overrun by dirty clothes bags (even as my closet overflows with clean clothes), I realize how misplaced my value of clothes (and shoes, which have also taken over my apartment) has been. In an effort to fill an empty place inside, and/or motivated by manic frenzies in which I wanted every pretty thing to wear that I saw, I have amassed more clothes than 10 women could ever need in a lifetime. Or worse. I can't even find any of my jeans in my mountains of dirty clothes, so I can't do "casual week" at my workplace. Now, THAT is definitely a sign that I have way too many clothes!

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On O What a Glorious Day: How much it meant to our Salishan kids to go CAMPING

Lisa came on flickr to say... -gw
> lisamiller9 said:
> at the risk of sounding like a complete sap - may i say i get teared up when i think of how much it meant to our Salishan kids to go CAMPING- wow - they were radiating love and yesterday they came an looked at the pics and we sang "WHAT A GLORIOUS DAY"  That weekend may very well change the course of alot of kids lives- we have no idea the impact that little acts of love do
Say: O children of dust! He Who is the Spirit of Purity saith: In this glorious Day whatsoever can purge you from defilement and ensure your peace and tranquillity, that indeed is the straight Path, the Path that leadeth unto Me. To be purged from defilement is to be cleansed of that which is injurious to man and detracteth from his high station—among which is to take undue pleasure in one’s own words and deeds, notwithstanding their unworthiness. True peace and tranquillity will only be realized when every soul will have become the well-wisher of all mankind. He Who is the All-Knowing beareth Me witness: were the peoples of the world to grasp the true significance of the words of God, they would never be deprived of their portion of the ocean of His bounty. In the firmament of truth there hath never been, nor will there ever be, a brighter star than this

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

On Laughing During Feast: As devout as she was

As devout as she was, I do not recall her ever judging a human being or even taking herself too seriously. We always attended the Baha’i community’s 19-day Feast. It was inevitable that during the opening devotional portion of Feast, as everyone’s eyes were closed and their foreheads furrowed in a serious expression as someone recited a prayer, there would be a suspicious sound—someone’s stomach rumbling, a bare leg moving awkwardly on a leather chair, anything. I would hear the sound and my eyes would fly open and search the room for Maman Bozorg. And there she would be, eyes still closed, lips pressed firmly together, but the entire trunk of her body bouncing up and down in silent laughter.
I've plunged back into Baha'i blog reading. I love the (sometimes highly) personal perspectives. -gw

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On the Value of the Association for Baha'i Studies Conference: Feeling a presence of the Divine and a sense of unity

Seeing David's pictures from the Association of Baha'i Studies Conference on Facebook reminded me of an event that I didn't intend to miss, but which I did. I will strive to experience it vicariously by reading the posts I can find on the Internet, such as this one from Heather. -gw
The value of being at the conference, for me, was that I was reminded, again, that I am not alone in feeling a sense of the presence of the Divine. I was amongst over a thousand people, gathered from all over the continent and beyond (several Australians, even!), whose sole purpose was to participate in an event designed to raise our spirits in the sense of unity provided when listening to elevating thoughts, participating in wonderful conversations, and meeting old and new friends, most of whom are adherents of the Baha'i teachings. A panel of scholars from the First Nations offered insights into breaking down barriers between cultures; a Canadian-Iranian lawyer gave a profoundly deep assessment of the gravity of the human rights situation for the Baha'is of Iran, based in his extensive work with peacekeeping and important organizations; a Chinese choir came and sang and several of the women danced in a gorgeous traditional piece; an excerpt was offered from a play by the Asplunds; various wonderful musicians, including Eric Harper, Mo Carlton, RoseMarie Peterson, and Nancy Ackerman, performed a wide-range of types of music; I was offered the opportunity to share my poems with a thousand people, along with fellow poet Jim West; we were addressed by a woman who serves to counsel and encourage the Baha'is of the world

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On 22 Video Clips from the Baha'i Children's Retreat: Unedited and cute

Without further adieu, here are 22 unedited and cute video clips from last weekend's Baha'i Children's Retreat at Brighton Creek. -gw.

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On Tierra Touches the Sky: O God, make of me a shining lamp and a brilliant star

Tierra Crockrell jumping in the Jr.Olympics. Wow, Rocky, who took this great shot?!? This reminds me of the impact that spiritual training has on children. They reach for the sky. -gw

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On What Baha'is Were Doing in Japan in 1925: Caring for kids

Monday, August 16, 2010

On After the Group Photos: Staying for ice cream

The Baha'i Children's Retreat at Brighton Creek wasn't over after the group photos were taken in the main hall. There was still ice cream to eat with all the toppings. The temperature was in the 90's. That cold and creamy sweetness hit the spot. -gw

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On Children's Questions About God: Be ye as chldren

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light
The children listed all the questions they had about God at the Baha'i Childen's Retreat. Really good questions. -gw

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On the Most Musical City: Is it NYC?

Is PraVeen right? Is NYC the most musical city? -gw
Can you imagine a city in the future where every corner has a Baha'i musician on it? Baha'i buskers, left and right,making good money, too. -gw
Katharine Key

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On Rowshan: Celestial soul music

Rowshan is on the move. -gw
Rowshan have made two albums available from: Amazon, iTunes, Rhapsody, Spotify, and Napster.
Rowshan are cousins Payam and Naim, who write and record musical arrangements and melodies to the mystical writings of the Baha'i Faith. Their self titled first album released in 2004, accompanied by an acoustic tour of the UK and beyond, had a significant impact on the Baha'i community not least the cousins themselves. After much anticipation 2008 finally welcomed their second album, released through the Make It Nice Records label. Entitled "Celestial Soul" the cousins beleive it's a landmark album...enjoy!

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On Cognitive Distortions: Mental repair

Adapted from You Can Beat Depression: A Guide to Prevention and Recovery (Fourth Edition),, by Dr. John Preston. Available at online and local book­stores or directly from Impact Publishers, Inc., PO Box 6016, Atascadero, CA 93423-6016, http://www.bibliotherapy.com/
Part of my job as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor is to address "stinkin' thinkin'" -- destructive thoughts or cognitive distortions -- that people have, especially parents. My photographer friend Jamie (who is a REAL photographer, not like the rest of us wannabees on Fliickr) thinks this shot should go on my business card. OK. -gw

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On a Baha'i Children's Retreat: Attended by a dozen children from Salishan

Deb calls and Tim emails. Wants us to go see the kids at Brighton Creek. Twelve kids from our children's classes at Salishan are there, a part of the mix. Bonita insists that we go.
The Baha'i Children's Retreat, facilitated by Randi Gottlieb of Yakima, was a rip-roaring success. It was so in great part because it connected to the institute process by through the inclusion of the Salishan children in the event. We Baha'is are incredibly good at putting together programs that honor and teach the values and perspectives of our faith. Combine that propensity with the core activities and you have a winning combination.
Parents were there, folks. We've been teaching the Salishan children and their parents are slowly being drawn into the Baha'i activities.
Here are the photos. I have video clips, too, but can't wait for them to be downloaded to get this up.  -gw

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On Searching for Kiskadee: Links found

In my effort to be more systematic in my study of Baha'i-inspired music and the friends who create it, I decided to do a keyword search for a Baha'i artist and see what I come up with. I typed in "Kiskadee." This is what I found.
I learned that this Baha'i musician sells pesonalized birthday greetings online, offers steel band music-making as a team-building exercise for companies, in addition to her song and album sales. -gw
... the Delray Beach Interfaith Clergy Association will hold "Many Paths - One God," a celebration of our "unity in diversity" at the Duncan Conference Center, 15820 S. Military Trail.  Representatives from Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Bahai, and Hindu faith traditions will offer prayers for peace.  The Delray Beach Chorale (directed by Eric Keiper), Margaret Schmidt, Cantor, and Vocalist Kiskadee (Baha'i tradition) will provide music. People of all faiths are encouraged to attend. Date: Thursday, May 6, 2010
Kiskadee's Caribbean Birthday song is featured on the massive BBC soap Eastenders. It plays as a singing birthday card on the 30 July 2010 episode.
YouTube - Kiskadee and the Voices of Baha Choir live in Florida This song features Kiskadee. The concert was in Florida 2005.

In 2005, the vocally strong singer, pan player and pianist, featured alongside Grammy winner KC Porter on a 6 country Caribbean tour.

In 2006 and 2007, Kiskadee recorded backing vocals for Michael Jackson and was part of his production team.  In 2008, Kiskadee performed in China, Bahrain and all accross the UKIn 2009, Kiskadee performed weekly at Sarin's Island Bar and Grill in Southern Florida



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