Conversations of Grandeur

So last night I met with my community and we read a letter together. I appreciated the letter so much, I found a way to put the whole thing in my journal.

Among the many bits that struck me in this letter, there’s one in particular I wanted to talk about.

How can we engage in “meaningful conversations” with the greatest possible number of our fellow citizens, representing the rich diversity of our nation?

For one, I’m just starting out with this blog and I find myself trying to balance on this idea. I want what I post to be meaningful, but I also want it to be able to speak to a diverse group of people.

But besides a personal, “I’m a blogger now” level, it also made me contemplate the use of the word citizens. Now, I’m sure by citizens, this quote is referring more to inhabitants and not just legal citizens. But I’m also surprised that the word community wasn’t used instead.  So often I hear people within my spiritual group refer to community to mean that spiritual group, but I also hear them use the word to refer to the people who live in the same areas of us- sometimes instead using the term “wider community.” This confusion has been so expected by me that such an elegant solution seemed startling. “Our fellow citizens” captures our relationship to the people we interact with every day. We may think we have no relationship with people we pass at the convenience store or in our cars but, like us, they are a contributing to the society we live in. We’re all on the same team, trying to make things as good as they can get in whatever way we see fit. It may just be my liberal arts background, but I see the word citizen and I think “societal partner.”

And what better way to interact with people in a meaningful way?

We must value the diverse opinions of our fellow citizens, or we will never be able to engage in meaningful conversations. I think that’s part of the “How”. As far as “the greatest possible number”-hopefully blogging helps a little.

I’d love to hear your own answer to this question!

Love&Light
A Half Hollow Reed

BONUS PICTURE OF MY JOURNAL SPREAD:

On the left is an attempt at the word Grandeur(Azamat) in Farsi, my to-dos, and the reading I shared. The letter on the right was cropped, folded, and then each page is held in with washi tape.

Advertisements

Junior Youth’s Perspective on Diversity

Good day!

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a small art exhibit at a local library. I’d consider myself a pretty artsy person so any sort of visual experience I’m be invited to I’m likely to attend. But this particular one I felt compelled to go to. The art in the library was produced by students attending the local middle schools and high schools and the pieces were expressions of their ideas on diversity; as I’m currently involved with a junior youth group, I thought it would be beneficial to me in understanding my new friends.

I was blown away not only by the technical abilities of some of the artists, but also by the depth of ideas that were presented. Some common themes arose that made me think about common perceptions on what diversity is, and others made me think about more latent effects of our differences that we may not be conscious of.

Overall I thought it was such a great thing to be put on by the library, it empowered the junior youth (and youth) as creators in the community and also directed their artistic efforts towards meditation on a topic that effects everyone.

One of themes I saw was the use of flowers as a way of celebrating diversity. It reminds me of this quote

Ye are all fruits of one tree, the leaves of one branch, the flowers of one garden.
-Bahá’u’lláh

And this one

Each flower has a different charm, a peculiar beauty, its own delicious perfume and beautiful colour…It is just the diversity and variety that constitutes its charm; each flower, each tree, each fruit, beside being beautiful in itself, brings out by contrast the qualities of the others, and shows to advantage the special loveliness of each and all.
-‘Abdu’l-Bahá

The use of color was also often a highlight to the beauty of diversity, especially contrasted with grayscale.

The exhibit also showed the rising awareness of diversity in gender expression beyond a dichotomy

The top two on the left show melded male and female symbols, the photo on the right shows how monstrous gender roles can feel. Gender equality is near and dear to my heart so these pieces really speak to me.

Here are a couple other pieces I was lucky enough to get pictures of. You can see a puzzle motif, and beautiful displays of diverse women .

I’m excited to see what’s next in the community and I’ve been inspired to do something with a similar impact myself. I hope to hear what sort of projects you are engaging in with your own community!

Love&Light
-A Half Hollow Reed

What Are Hollow Reeds?

A little over a year ago, early into my current spiritual path, I heard a prayer that spoke to everything I felt in my soul.

half quote

Oh, God, make me a hollow reed, from which the pith of self hath been blown so that I may become as a clear channel through which Thy Love may flow to others.

Sometimes it’s attributed to `Abdu’l-Bahá and sometimes George Townshend and sometimes to someone else unknown. Honestly, I like the mystery, it seems to be in a beautiful dance with the humility and loss of ego this quote speaks to.

I wanted to let my material sense of self melt away, to act as a pure spirit, to let the light of love shine unimpeded by the shadows a physical body casts. I wanted to be a hollow reed.

Love&Light
-A Half Hollow Reed