15 seconds of fame

a warm welcome to all of you who found this website thanks to the recent Canadian Baha’i News article on Baha’i blogging! I think I speak for all those mentioned in the article when I say that it’s an honour for my random musings to be highlighted in such a way. I can only hope that they live up to the expectations of the souls whose curiosity has brought them to investigate this far. if your curiosity has been satisfied, don’t hesitate to come back again—sign up for email updates or bookmark my rss feed to know when I post updates. I try to post at least once a week, and when possible several times a week, with engaging, inspiring, and thought-provoking content.

Be sure to check out some of the other blogs mentioned in the CBNS article—some of them are in my blogroll (look through my friends’ blogs links). for those of you who haven’t read the article yet, here’s a little excerpt:

[S]pend a little time exploring his blog and one […] finds that Jones’ interests are decidedly spiritual, and his opinions reflective of his devotion to the Bahá’í Faith.

Earlier in the month, he shared his thoughts about the fasting period that Bahá’ís go through every year for nineteen days. Prior to that, he posted several entries on his pilgrimage to the Bahá’í holy land in Haifa, Israel, including a poem about his experience.

Jones’ blog is one of a growing number of sites started by Bahá’ís who are keen to share their beliefs and opinions with fellow residents and web surfers around the world.

In Jones’ hometown of Ottawa, there are about half a dozen Bahá’ís who maintain blogs, a high proportion for a still relatively small community of about 1000.

[…] The writers are, in fact, all friends and have benefited from each other’s enthusiasm for the medium. Their camaraderie is, according to Dan Jones, one of the reasons why their blogs survived those critical first months when many bloggers lose their enthusiasm and let their sites fizzle out.

“Back in the day, we would all post announcements for various events on each of our websites,” recalls Jones, “and we were almost vying to outdo each other sometimes. We just worked well together, and I think it created an atmosphere where we were able to try anything and see how it worked.”

happy naw-ruz

happy naw-ruz (combo)!Happy Naw-Rúz everybody! As announced earlier, We had a real great celebration here in Ottawa: lots of people showed up to break the Fast at Boofs, more showed up at Persian Cuisine Express downtown (or so I heard) and the St. Elias Centre was filled to the gills with people. Check out my Naw-Ruz 164 photos and see what it was like! altogether, it was a really awesome evening and a fitting end to the Fast. I hope your celebrations, wherever you are, were just as joyful and fun.

Joyeux Naw-rúz tout le monde! Tel qu’annoncé auparavant, nous avons eu une excellente célébration ici, à Ottawa: beaucoup de gens se sont joint à nous chez Boofs (et davantage encore chez Persian Cuisine Express au centre-ville, entendis-je) et le Centre St. Élie était noir de monde. Regardez mes photos de Naw-ruz 164 pour voir comment c’était! En gros, c’était une soirée impressionante et une fin digne au jeûne. J’espère que vos célébrations, où que vous soyez, ont été tout aussi joyeux et amusants.

To close off, here’s an awesome Naw-Ruz video (part of a series) put together by Olinga Walker and Charlie Changizi, both friends of mine from Montréal. Enjoy! / Pour terminer, voici un vidéo super sympa sur Naw-ruz (un parmi une séquence) mis ensemble par Olinga Walker et Charlie Changizi, deux amis de Montréal. Amusez-vous!

goodbye fast, hello naw-ruz

lamps“…Thou hast endowed every hour of these days with a special virtue, inscrutable to all except Thee, Whose knowledge embraceth all created things.” (Bahá’u’lláh)

This year’s Fast is almost over, and the new year almost begun. I know I’m echoing a widely-felt sentiment when I say that this year’s Fast has been particularly profound and powerful. (right?) As blogged in a previous post, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá notes that the physical fast (not eating or drinking from sunup to sundown) is a symbol—an outer token—of the spiritual fast. So the whole point of this not eating thing isn’t just some random exercise in austerity. Just as fasting helps us to reset our metabolism and clean the body of its toxins, fasting helps us cleanse our souls from selfish desires, makes us more aware of those toxic spiritual habits we’ve picked up over the course of our lives—gossip, backbiting, excessive attachment to comfort, ease, or luxury, or whatever—and, hopefully, helps strengthen our resolve to eliminate them from our lives.

Isn’t it cool that the Fast always happens just before Naw-rúz—the Baha’i New Year? Imagine if everybody fasted before the Gregorian New Year. All those people who made resolutions to lose weight, eat right, and start waking up earlier in the morning would have a tremendous head start. Perhaps I’ll make some resolutions this Naw-ruz—to be more kind and loving, to snap at people less often (or maybe that only happens when I’m hungry from fasting—lol), to take more interest in others and to be a better friend to everyone. Whatever your resolutions might be, may you all have a happy and joyous Naw-ruz, and may you celebrate this new day with a smile or your face!

video by papijoon.

kebab it up for naw-ruz

Joyous Naw-Ruzuh oh. it’s time for the annual Naw-rúz blowout! professional marketing executive and fellow webmaster Martin reports that on Tuesday evening, March 20th, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm, Boofs (at 730 Industrial Ave.) is the place to be. there will be many, many, many of us (“us” hopefully meaning “your good friends and kindred”) there, enjoying a sumptuous Persian kebab buffet to break the Fast together after 19 long days of daylight fasting. consider coming out to enjoy the evening with us before continuing on to the Baha’i community’s Naw-rúz celebration at the St. Elias Centre (750 Ridgewood Ave.). Busing it to the celebration? Don’t forget, the St. Elias Centre is just across from Mooney’s Bay, and the 87 goes all the way there from downtown. So (to risk sounding like some sort of event promoter) dress to impress, and bring a friend! And as Martin so categorically states (in all caps, at that): this will be huge.

On Facebook? Join up with the official Baha’i Naw-rúz group!

fasting through daylight saving time

for all the Canadian and American Baha’is out there who are fasting right now: here comes the fun part.

as mentioned in a previous post, we’ll be switching to daylight saving time (DST) during the Fast this year. Unless you live in Saskatchewan, Arizona or Hawaii, DST will come into effect in the wee hours of March 11, 2007, or the ninth day of the Baha’i Fast.

So how will it work? well, let’s say you’ve been waking up at 5:30 AM local time, having breakfast and saying prayers at sunrise (which varies by location, but let’s suppose that happens around 6:30 AM). on the morning of the 11th, you’ll be waking up at the same time reckoning by sunrise, but the clock time will be one hour later. so instead of setting your alarm for 5:30 AM that morning, you’ll set it for 6:30 AM—and reckoning by sunrise, you’ll be waking up at the same time as before. At sunrise, your clock will say 7:30 AM. Confused yet?

I’ve compiled a list of links to fasting calendars for major Canadian cities, along with the 2007 fasting times for Ottawa. You’ll note that all of these include the changeover to DST on March 11; sunrise and sunset will appear to jump ahead one hour.

As long as you set your clocks ahead the night of the 10th, you should be fine—and even if you don’t, your alarm should wake you up before sunrise. Note also that sunset will appear to come one hour later—which may screw up your dinner plans. Unfortunately, your computer will probably be affected too—if you’re running Windows, check the Microsoft DST site to find out how to patch your computer, so that your computer time updates correctly. If you’re running a Mac, chances are your system is patched already—but check Apple’s DST switchover article to be sure. And if you’re running Linux—well, you probably already know what to do. 😉

to rise at dawntide

dawn of a new dayFrom March 2 to March 20, members of the Baha’i Faith begin their annual Fast, in which they abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset.

Fast talk: Baha’i’s begin 19 days of daylight fasting for ‘inner refreshment’, us.bahai.org

The past month or so has been very odd indeed. first off, a rather large one-centimetre-wide kidney stone floors me in the middle of the night and sends me packing to the emergency room; then, upon returning from the hospital, I spend a good week or so recuperating at home without even leaving the house (not cool), all the while working from home; then, upon seeing my doctor and being declared fit to return to work, I do so and promptly get a nasty case of the winter blues—just in time for Ayyam-i-Há (blah). I want my month back.

The brightest spot in all of this is that, along with sending me back to work, my doctor indicated that I would be OK to observe the Fast. ever since I reached the age of fifteen, the 19-day Baha’i Fast has been a special part of my life—full of serenity, challenge, and “ah-ha” moments (as one friend described them to me). for me, the physical Fast isn’t all that hard—I actually enjoy it, because it helps me reset my metabolism and my eating habits—it’s the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of the Fast that are the biggest challenge for me. The following tidbit from South African Baha’i blog 1863 Unity Road offers a good glimpse into the challenge of the Fast:

It is not enough to just abstain from food and drink though, it is the spirit in which one approaches the Fast that is important. One should spend time in prayer and meditation and consider how to improve our lives. This spiritual preparation helps us begin the new year, which starts immediately after the Fast, strengthened and invigorated.

Well is it with you, as you have followed the Law of God and arisen to observe the Fast during these blessed days, for this physical fast is a symbol of the spiritual fast. This Fast leadeth to the cleansing of the soul from all selfish desires, the acquisition of spiritual attributes, attraction to the breezes of the All-Merciful, and enkindlement with the fire of divine love.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting (compilation)

I’ve blogged before about finding it difficult to keep myself in that spiritual mode—the “state of prayer” also described by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. “remember” is what I always mumble to myself. remember your obligatory prayer. remember to show virtues and spiritual attributes during the day, and remember not to fly off the handle or get bitter when things don’t go your way. remember the sufferings of Bahá’u’lláh, the sacrifice He made to bring us His Revelation and to fulfill God’s Covenant with humanity. I guess I can easily use my imperfection as a reason to get all down on myself—especially if I’m already predisposed to getting the blahs—but it’s normal for people to have ups and downs, especially when wack things like gigantic kidney stones come to screw you up.

It helps a lot to remember that God has shown us the way to fulfill our part in His Covenant—he takes care of us by sending His Messengers to educate humanity, and we recognize those messengers and follow their laws, including of course the well-known requisites to spiritual growth. in fact, whenever I remember those simple actions—obligatory prayer, meditation on the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, teaching His Cause, serving humanity, and so on—it seems to fill my soul with a new spirit, chasing away thoughts of inadequacy and negativity and replacing them with something positive and beautiful. vivid memories and impressions of pilgrimage help me shake myself out of the stupor of day-to-day life, too. whenever I say the Long Obligatory Prayer I’m reminded of being within the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh, turned towards that most sacred spot, the inmost Shrine, my heart burning as I offered that daily devotion.

So day three is done, and it’s on to day four of the Fast. To cite Coué‘s affirmation, every day, in every way, I am getting better and better. You may want to browse through some other Baha’i blogs to see what they’re writing about the fast: Delara has been sharing daily insights about her Fast, and Barney, Philippe and Leila have recently written about their thoughts and personal experiences while fasting. Ciao and happy fast!