Tag Archives Service

Aligning Personal Will with the Will of God: Some Personal Reflections

As I write this rain is pattering against the window above my desk. Outside, a tree that has been covered in brilliant yellow leaves for the past couple of weeks is in transition—the topmost branches are already bare. A slow but steady release is happening lower down, and the bottom is still blazing colour against the slate grey sky. Around me the world is in a season of radical transformation. We’ve come to a point where none of us can avoid the truth that individual wellbeing is inseparably connected to the wellbeing of all. Personally, the physical separation from those I love, coupled with a heightened awareness of the brevity of this earthly life is making me ask myself bigger questions than I had been previously. Three that come up for me a lot are: What is God’s Will for humanity? How do I align my life’s purpose with the Will of God? And what specific capacities can I strengthen in myself right now that will help me to better serve the needs of humanity at this pivotal time? Continue reading

Caring for the Poor: Some Stories to Reflect Upon

Every year in our village, our Baha’i community participates in the annual autumn festival. We set up a beautiful booth with Baha’i literature and information, and photographs of the Shrine of the Bab and the Baha’i Houses of Worship. We also have a fun game for the children to play, where the prizes are candies and small gifts, but more importantly, they are also given the opportunity to write their name on a can of soup or vegetables that will be donated on their behalf to a local charity.

This year, because of the pandemic, our annual autumn festival was cancelled. In order to be of service to the poor in our community, my husband Robert and I organized a delivery of canned goods to our local charity.

This is one small action, inspired by the many beautiful examples from the lives of Baha’u’llah, Navvab, and Abdu’l-Baha. Here are a three of my favourites. Continue reading

Finding Yourself in Service to Others

Photo courtesy of the Baha'i International Community.

So many people in the world, especially young people, are looking for their calling and something to cling to, something that gives life context and a purpose, something that bathes everything else in meaning, magically making sense of life. For me, this yearning for a deeper meaning to life is a sign that humans have souls, and it is a reminder that we are not content with simply getting on with life. We seek connections and a path to channel our energies. This search for deeper meaning can lead to wonderful things: some examples that come to my mind are when people become very devoted to their field of work, which leads to much-needed discoveries and advancement, or when people dedicate their lives to the spiritual education of children and empowering junior youth.

But what is finding oneself really? And how does one find oneself? Continue reading

My Reflections on True Friendship

I have been thinking about the concept of friendship lately and the positive impact it can have. Friendship is a powerful force and its influence can extend beyond homes, workplaces, and schools to every setting and scenario imaginable from a visit to the doctor’s office to being on vacation. Imagine living in a world where everyone was welcoming, kindness reigned, individuals of all backgrounds came together and people were frank in their views. Is that only a thought reserved for imaginary utopian societies? I don’t think so.

I feel like this quote from Abdu’l-Baha can be a source of inspiration as we strive to create genuine friendships with everyone:

Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path.

Continue reading

Linking Motherhood, Service, and Happiness

Motherhood is described in the Baha’i Writings as a vital and elevated role. Being a mother is a noble aspiration and undertaking. Abdu’l-Baha tells us:

O ye loving mothers, know ye that in God’s sight, the best of all ways to worship Him is to educate the children and train them in all the perfections of humankind; and no nobler deed than this can be imagined.

In honor of Mother’s Day in North America, and based on an online course called “Embracing a Spiritual Identity of Motherhood” we recently gave through the Wilmette Institute, we’ve been reflecting on the role of motherhood and its links to service and true happiness.  Continue reading

What Ayyam-i-Ha Means to Me & My Family

Three years ago in February, our family was united after an arduous adoption journey. We arrived a family of four to the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the first day of Ayyam-i-Ha and left a complete family of six. That year, the days of this festival were marked with exceptional joy, fellowship and opportunities for service; and as a family, we see the days of Ayyam-i-Ha as a gift and opportunity each year to remember how thankful we are for one another, for our wonderful Faith, our community and the opportunity to be of service wherever we are.  Continue reading

Creating a New Culture for Singles Who Want to Marry

The path to finding a mate for life is not easy. Through my personal life and my work as a marriage and relationship educator and coach, I have seen how perseverance, courage, discernment, and commitment are all essential. We and the world need strong, happy marriages that are fortresses of well-being.

We are not yet living in a world that has established a common pattern of courtship based on the Baha’i Teachings. As a result, individuals and couples are experimenting and trying to find their way – sometimes joyfully and sometimes with more difficulty.

As you know, courtship practices differ greatly from one culture to another, and it is not yet known what pattern of courtship will emerge in the future when society has been more influenced by Baha’i Teachings. However, there is no indication that it will resemble the practices extant in existing cultures…. In this interim period, the friends are encouraged to make great efforts to live in conformity with the Teachings and to gradually forge a new pattern of behavior, more in keeping with the spirit of Baha’u’llah’s Revelation.

The challenge we face is how to engage in patterns of courtship that strive to implement Baha’i principles in a world that is “a bewildering moral environment” and in “a society in which materialism, self-centeredness and failing marriages are all too common.”

So, when we look at what possibly aligns with Baha’i courtship, what is important?  Continue reading

6 Methods I’m Using to Better Myself

We are all human and that means we are in the same predicament: we are like a bird that is stuck in the clay of the world, its wings sullied and heavy; we have two selves, one lower, the other higher. So, our task in life is to elevate our souls and escape the grip of the ego. But how?

This is no easy endeavour. But according to the Baha’i Writings, there are a number of ways through which we can grow spiritually. Here are six ways that I’m striving to better myself:  Continue reading

Some Thoughts on Mutual Support and Assistance

Photo: courtesy of the Baha'i International Community

The materials prepared for the 114 youth conferences held around the world in 2013 tell us that youth have a great responsibility to contribute to the betterment of society. Their efforts are more effective if they are able to multiply their society-transforming powers by developing the capacity to create an atmosphere of mutual support and assistance among themselves and in their communities. This can complement their reliance on God’s unfailing assistance and act as a positive force that helps them overcome the negative forces in society which attempt to sap their powers and lead them astray from their purpose.  Continue reading

Purity of Motive in Worship and Service

(Photo courtesy: Baha'i International Community)

“It’s the thought that counts” is a common English expression. Perhaps we give someone a present that we think they will love, and either they already have it, or they just don’t like it. The person is (hopefully) pleased anyway because they know that we meant well.

Abdu’l-Baha says that purity of motive is extremely important:

Your hearts must be pure and your intentions sincere in order that you may become recipients of the divine bestowals… This is the day when pure hearts have a portion of the everlasting bounties and sanctified souls are being illumined by the eternal manifestations.

So, in regards to the “failed” present, it doesn’t matter so much that the present was not loved or needed by the recipient. It is that we gave it out of the goodness of our heart.  Continue reading