hey, just in case you didn’t realize it: that big shake-up last night was an earthquake! The press are saying it was a magnitude 4.5 quake, centred about 45km north-east of Ottawa, just north of Thurso (a little paper-mill town on the Quebec side). It was just big enough to shake things up, but not big enough to cause any serious damage. I was in Tim Hortons’ with some friends when it happened – and watching the big glass windows wobble was a little freaky. We were right next to a busy intersection, so we thought at first it might have been a big truck having an accident or something. When it just kept on rumbling and rumbling though, we clued in. Apparently there are tons of earthquakes in the Ottawa area every year—though too small for most people to feel—and larger ones happen about once every five to ten years.
And among the teachings of Baha’u’llah is the equality of women and men. The world of humanity has two wings – one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of women becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be. (Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, sec. 227, p. 302)
Congratulations to the women among Canada’s Olympians for proving themselves on the global field at the Winter Olympics in Torino. Of 19 medals so far, Canada’s women have brought home 14 – with speed skater Cindy Klassen garnering a whopping 4 medals (1 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze). Way to go – we couldn’t be prouder! [update: as of Saturday night, 16 of 24 medals for women. way to go!]
things have been alright lately. I haven’t been as diligent with my prayers and daily readings as I’d like. maybe I can take care of that before going to bed. speaking of daily readings, check out the Baha’i Quotes Syndication Service — it’s an individual initiative that allows you to have Baha’i quotes pop up in an RSS reader. And for the RSS-disabled among us, it’s a nice blog full of Baha’i quotes illustrated with wonderful photos.
Last night, I acted as a tutor for a study circle covering Book 6 of the Ruhi curriculum. Sahba (our area institute coordinator) called the night before asking me to act as a substitute, and — surprise! — it turned out my evening was open. It was a small group, but it was still a blast. We studied several sections of the first unit, entitled “The Spiritual Nature of Teaching”. It was just the best thing ever to be plunged back into that book again. The whole book is about teaching the Bahá’í Faith — sharing the message of Bahá’u’lláh with the world of humanity. I could go on and on about it, but I’ll leave that for later on. Suffice to say that it was a happy surprise to be given the chance to be there, facilitating the study circle and learning from the other participants. Combined with the Book 3 circle I subbed for last week, I’d say I’m comfortably rediscovering the role of ‘study circle tutor’, and what a bounty it can be. Hopefully I can once again find a nice and special place for it in my life.
…ok, this is weird. I was rooting around through Google to see if I could find the address to the Calgary Baha’i Centre (I don’t even know if there is a Baha’i Centre in Calgary). I couldn’t find anything, so I searched for “baha’i” in the Yellow Pages at Canada411. That’s how I found out about Bahai Furnishings. It has nothing to do with the Baha’i Faith, except maybe some similar spelling. Apparently they do “Asian Inspired Home Decor” – and not west asian (i.e. Iran), more like Thailand, the Phillipines, and so on. I think I’ll chalk this one up to a weird coincidence (much like the notorious refugee camp in Darfur).
It’s been a busy, busy week, between work and meetings and various opportunities for service. Martin reports excitedly that the Teaching Committee’s recent meeting with the Counsellors (including a visiting Counsellor from the International Teaching Centre) was drop-dead amazing, and that big things are in the works for Ottawa’s intensive program of growth. No details yet, but look forward to some exciting news (and maybe some big changes?) after this weekend’s inter-institutional meeting.
Wednesday I had the privilege of acting as a substitute tutor for a study circle of Book 3 of the Ruhi Institute – a training book for teachers of children’s classes. It was an uncomplicated session – we simply studied a couple of lessons and collaborated in presenting them to each other – and it was great fun. We studied part of the 27 December 2005 message from the Universal House of Justice, sang songs, played guitar, and moved around a whole lot. One of the participants joined us via speaker-phone from Val-des-Monts, in Québec – cool, no? I was pleased to be able to serve as a tutor once again. For the time being, I’d like to focus on the training of children’s class teachers – since I’ve been heavily involved in teaching myself, and since there seems to be a need to help individuals rise up and teach.
What’s coming up next? Well, Ayyam-i-Há (Intercalary Days) are coming soon. Bahá’u’lláh said of Ayyam-i-Há: “It behoveth the people of Bahá, throughout these days, to provide good cheer for themselves, their kindred and, beyond them, the poor and needy, and with joy and exultation to hail and glorify their Lord, to sing His praise and magnify His Name.” Good cheer… hmmm… sounds like a great time to invite people over to celebrate, do some early spring cleaning, and bring some items (food, clothing, etc) over to a place like the Shepherds of Good Hope.
After Ayyam-i-Há, the 19-day Fast begins. During the Fast, Bahá’ís refrain from eating or drinking from sunup until sundown. It’s a powerful spiritual experience to be able to rise before dawn, eat breakfast and say prayers as the first rays of sunlight are creeping over the horizon. I recommend it to everyone. In that light, don’t forget to print out your very own list of sunrise and sunset times, and check out some fasting tips to help you get the most out of the Fast this year.
That’s it for now, pilgrims. If you haven’t yet, take a moment to fill out my Johari window (yes, I’m going to keep bugging you until you do it), and I’ll catch you later.