19 February 2011

Shogi Effendi

Otavalo is having an avanza. So there are 25+ amazing people from all over Ecuador coming together to study Ruhi books (specifically 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7...I don't know what happened to 2), pray, and eat together from 7 am to 10 pm every day for 10 days.

My spirit is so uplifted when I see this. I am filled with this hope: Its like I'm actually seeing the New World Order materialize in front of me. The sense of community is amazing. People come together with a spirit of unidad y amistad, raising their capacity to serve when they return to their home communities.

Sadly, I'm not able to participate fully in the intensive, because I have to be at school for a lot of the study time (although tomorrow I get to work a bit further in book 7!). However, I am helping with logistics, being a messenger-girl and toilet paper refiller when I can. I am so lucky to be part of this!

Today, I was there, but not doing anything with logisticas. So I started reading Principles of Bahai Administration. I really like Bahai administration, it makes so much sense and is such a brilliant way of living in harmony. Its the same kind of wonder  I have when looking at cells under a microscope: how simple laws (things move from a high to a low concentration until they reach equilibrium; the polarity of phospholipids) can support such complex and organized systems (cell membranes, sodum-potassium pumps, endocytosis) that get bigger and more and more complex to form life.

 Principles of Bahai Administration is a compilation of writings by Shogi Effendi. This is Shogi Effendi:

Shoghi Effendi was the Guardian of the Faith. He worked tirelessly on spreading the Bahai Faith throughout the world and keeping it unified and safe from harm. He also was extremely eloquent and a brilliant writer. His writings clarify many of the laws of Baha'u'llah and describe how the concepts of Baha'u'llah (like the New World Order) can be practically put into action. Here are two quotes I read today that I simply love:
Now that they (the American believers) have erected the administrative machinery of the Cause they must put it to its real use -- serving only as an instrument to facilitate the flow of the spirit of the Faith out into the world. Just as the muscles enable the body to carry out the will of the individual, all Assemblies and committees must enable the believers to carry forth the Message of God to the waiting public, the love of Baha'u'llah, and the healing laws and principles of the Faith to all men.*
 Deep as are family ties, we must always remember that the spiritual ties are far deeper; they are everlasting and survive death, whereas physical ties, unless supported by spiritual bonds, are confined to this life. You should do all in your power, through prayer and example, to open the eyes of your family to the Bahá'í Faith, but do not grieve too much over their actions. Turn to your Bahá'í brothers and sisters who are living with you in the light of the Kingdom.**
    *Shoghi Effendi, Principles of Bahai Administration, page 2 **In a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, 8 May 1942 to an individual believer

18 February 2011

Life Directions

When I was deciding to go on my year of service, one of the big reasons could be decided by the following flow chart:

I have no idea what I want to do with my life>>>I have chosen to go to a very exciting yet expensive school>>>I do not want to pay a ton of money to go chill without any direction whatsoever>>>Taking a gap year will let me explore more options.


Spending time doing service brings divine confirmations>>>I could use some confirmations right now>>>Then when I actually start university I possibly have more direction>>>like maybe an actual major or career plan, sort of.

So one of my goals was advancing in the process of Hey I Actually Know What I Want To Do With My Life. Which had kind of been floating in the background of my thoughts and prayers for the past, well, 19 years, but in a more concentrated form the past 5 months. To no avail, decision-wise.

At least until last week.

And last week, a few things became apparent, and flowing together, and talked about by people who I trust and whose advice I take (like my parents and roommate and friends and other friends) until it culminated in this super exciting moment. Those things were:

I love the West Wing, but I actually don't want to work in an uber-political position, because politics is just not me.

I want to learn lots of languages, like French-than-Farsi-than-Portugese. Also, I am good at learning languages. And as boring as this sounds, I am good at learning grammatical structure.

I want to travel for the rest of my life.

As much as I said I don't want to be political, I'd like to work in community development. Especially in developing countries. The way I see it, is developing countries are like Junior Youth; they are forming habits and values and personalities that they will have their whole life. They don't have to un-learn habits (for instance, a country with literally no government, that is in the process of writing a constitution and set of laws can incorporate themes such as equality of men and women, universal education, and elimination of the extremes of wealth and poverty much more easily than a country that needs to reverse laws and change habits that have already been made.) And so if I could animate a developing community like I animate junior youth groups, I could help emphasize things like the importance of education and justice, things that I truly believe in.

I miss We the People and talking about governmental philosophy.

So, these, along with some other vague thoughts that can't be described even in a roundabout way (see previous) led me to this:

I found a major/minor combination that I like, that makes sense, that has career options, and that is offered at both schools I am considering.*

What? you may ask. And, of course, this whole post has basically just been building the suspense in the audience. Unless you scrolled down to the end after you figured out what the gist was, in which case GO BACK AND READ THE BEGINNING YOU SNEAKY LITTLE SNEAKSTER.

If I went to Lewis and Clark: I would major in Foreign Languages (probably with the two language concentrations of Spanish and French) and minor in political science, in which I would take a lot of international government classes as well as We The People type classes. And I would spend a semester abroad (Can you say FRANCE?) and enjoy every minute of that school.

If I went to University of Alaska Fairbanks I would wear thick socks 98% of the time, major in Foreign Languages (same concentrations), have an amazing roommate, and minor in Global Studies. And I might go abroad a semester, and I might go abroad on my own one summer (because I would be able to afford it.) And I would be able to ski.**

So people, there's my exciting moment. Even though statistics and experience and everybody tells me that there's a good probability I'll change my mind, I have at least a plausible future. And that makes me happy.

In other news, there is a killer fly in our house.

*For those of you who don't know: Paying 20$ a month rent has possibly changed my thinking a little about how much I want to spend on an education. I mean, I still LOVE Lewis and Clark. To the tune of, I read about every single residence hall and the 26 page housing contract last night (they say in there that the vacuums will not pick up small animals. I thought that was funny.). Its just a super lot of money to be paying. A super lot. And so I am also exploring UAF as a backup if financial aid is not a miracle package.

**Which  I actually started missing. Not the competing, just the skiing and hanging out with friends and hot chocolate afterward.