Tag Archives community building

My Reflections on Gratitude During Times of Crisis

A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from one of my local city council representatives. The council had recently launched a podcast in order to cast the spotlight on how people were adapting to the coronavirus pandemic, and they were wondering if I would speak on the topic of gratitude from the perspective of a person of faith.

It was the perfect chance for me to explore and (strive to) articulate exactly why I was grateful to be a Baha’i, particularly during a time of crisis. The most obvious source of gratitude is that the Baha’i Faith provides me with the guidance, strength and perspective I need to carry forward amidst times of intense difficulty – guidance to seek happiness in the happiness of others, to serve others, and to care for others. It is this outward focus that I truly believe gets us through trying times. It gives us purpose and brings us real joy. As Shoghi Effendi says: Continue reading

My Home of Peace and the Devotional Character of My Neighborhood

I have a 450-square foot studio apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. My bed folds into a discrete cabinet against the wall, and my sink is always full of dishes. I have a tuxedo cat named Emma who doesn’t like anyone except me and has scratched up the ends of my armchair and leaves fuzz and hair wherever she sits. She tracks small pieces of litter across the apartment. My coffee table is covered with plastic bottles, coasters, leftover takeout containers, and graded papers. Working sixty to seventy hours a week, I roll in and out, often too tired to even put my clothes or shoes away in the right place, leaving them instead to hang out in piles on the floor or over my barstools. 

On Fridays, I hurry home from work, turn on bad reality television (Hell’s Kitchen mostly) whilst drinking a frappuccino, and start vacuuming. I sweep up all the white and black cat hairs, and vacuum them out of the sofa and throw pillows. I mop until the floors smell like lemon, sweep and wipe down the bathroom, throw my trash out, put away my recyclables, and finally fold my clothes or put them in the laundry. I take off all the extra things from my coffee table, light a candle, put a record on the turntable, turn on my string lights, change out of my work clothes, and wait for the first guest to arrive.  Continue reading

Extra Features to ‘A Widening Embrace’: 3 New Short Films

Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community

The Baha’i World Centre has announced the release of three new short films, companion pieces to A Widening Embrace, an innovative documentary film commissioned by the Universal House of Justice about the community-building efforts of the Baha’i world, as seen through the eyes of local populations. The three films are titled Nurturing Younger Generation, Exploring the Empowerment of Junior Youth, and Communities Learning to Advance Together. Their total running time is approximately 32 minutes.  Continue reading

Nancy Campbell Academy: An Interview with Founder Gordon Naylor

When I was visiting Toronto, I had pleasure of meeting Gordon Naylor, founder and principal of Nancy Campbell Academy, a Baha’i-inspired intermediate and secondary international school in the quaint small town of Stratford, Canada. It’s a small school with a big impact that aims to foster moral development alongside academic achievement and artistic exploration. Curious to find out more about the school, named after the Baha’i dancer Nancy Campbell, I sat down with Gordon to hear more about it:  Continue reading

Advancing Civilization: A Personal Reflection

Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community

I know we have all been there. That moment (which happens way too often, unfortunately) when you watch or read the news or hear stories about the most terrible violence, injustice and corruption happening right before our eyes, all over the world. You might feel almost powerless, or that no effort you make could save the world from so much pain and suffering.  Continue reading

How is Community Building like Farming?

There are many topics worthy of focus in the 29 December 2015 message from the Universal House of Justice: it is packed full of wonderful insights and guidance that generations of people around the world will continue to learn about as they work together to build a new society. I chose to look at the analogy of farming as it relates to the community building process. At the very end of the message, the Universal House of Justice states: Continue reading