Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Friendship; or "I Think I Need a Break"

Dear Reader,

It has been some time now since we talked. Just you and I.

We've looked at many of the Writings together, taken time to glance at the first few paragraphs of the recent messages from the World Centre, and talked about the Administration. But when was the last time we saw a movie together? When was the last time we walked on the beach? Have we ever gone bowling?

Today, I'm going to take a break and just talk with you. One on one. (I'd say "mano a mano", but it may be "mano a womano".)

I've noticed, as I've mentioned before, that there is so much in the Writings about friendship, and taking the time to really be friends, with no hidden agenda.

So, have you seen any good movies lately? Or any good videos?

I recently saw a few amazing talks on One was a look at a study of the big cats (no, not like George, who is now eating the kitchen, but the REALLY big cats) and how they can teach us a lot about life. If you want, you can see it here. This couple has done some amazing work in Africa and they come to some great conclusions about it. They talk about how we sometimes give up, but then a spark occurs and we suddenly get back on the ball, and perform miracles. They talk about love and unity, and the need for really developing our spiritual connection with the Earth.

This reminds of something my wife and I talked about the other day. Baha'u'llah said, "The country is the world of the soul, the city is the world of the bodies." Why would this be? Because when we encounter nature, take the time to really commune with it, there is a presence of spirit that affects us. I think the Aboriginal peoples of the world were onto something when they spoke of the totem spirit of the various animals. It is as if really taking the time to be in the presence of the animals, watch them, listen to them, even talk to them, resonates something within us. It may be trite to say that we can sense their inherent virtues, for I think it is more than that. It is as if we inbibe that virtue in a purer sense, helping develop our own sense of it. It is sort of like two strings on a guitar (or a violin, or perhaps even a ukelele) that resonate with each other. Being in the presence of a natural power, like a whale, or a deer, or even a little mouse, begins to get the harmonic virtue within us vibrating, too.

One of my great joys right now, at this stage in my life, is to sit on my front step and watch the deer, listen to them, smell them, talk to them, as they walk literally just a few steps away from me. I could practically reach out and touch them. I feel that they are giving me a gift of spirit as I sit there and... how to phrase it? Show them respect? Appreciate them? I don't know. But I can show you, if you want. Come on by sometime.

There was another Ted talk that I saw, just this morning. It was by a secular Jewish woman who decided to read the Qur'an. You can see her talk here.

What I really love about it is that she shows such gentleness, such respect, and such curiosity. This is a woman I would love to meet. Her name is Lesley Hazleton, and she lives just across the water from me, in Seattle. On a houseboat. Perhaps I should see if I can visit her, or take her out for tea or coffee. (Lesley, if you happen to be googling yourself and see this, please feel free to make the invitation. My treat.)

Shoghi, Marielle and I watched Despicable Me yesterday. That was fun. We also saw Megamind recently, and they were very similar. Loved them both. I think they were very good for helping Shoghi begin to understand that there are no "bad guys". Even the "bad guys" can have a change of heart. This has been a tough lesson for such a little guy (remember, he's not yet 6), but I think he's beginning to understand it. Maybe it will help him understand later in life that we shouldn't judge people. (I don't know how many times I've heard people say that they wouldn't talk about the Baha'i Faith with people who are drunk, or on drugs. Ok. Maybe they're not the most receptive population on the planet, but so what?)

Marielle and I have also been reading a silly science fiction novel together, called "Agent to the Stars", by John Scalzi. Wow, that's a wonderful read. Silly, meaningful and full of good ideas. If you haven't had the pleasure of reading John Scalzi, I would highly recommend him.

Oh, my first introduction to his work was with a book called "Old Man's War". It starts off "I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday. I visited my wife's grave. Then I joined the army." It just gets better from there.

Other than those two books, I haven't really read much else (outside the Faith) that has caught my attention. I'm just starting a book by Tanya Huff, whom I quite enjoy, but am finding it a bit confusing right now. Perhaps that is because I'm reading it in 3 minutes bursts. Maybe if I actually got an hour or two to read it at a time, it'd make more sense. But it is enjoyable.

Today I was hoping to go for a long walk, but the chill rain is putting a damper on that plan.  Maybe I'll just go off and get some hot chocolate, instead.

Whatever I decide, I think it would be nice if we could do it together. So give a call, or stop on by sometime. I'll put on some tea, maybe some nice music in the music-thingy, and I'll let you feed George. Then he'd be your friend, too. Kismet? Well, if you just pet her a bit, that's good enough for her.

Anyways, thanks for letting me chat for a bit.

Hae you seen any good movies lately? Or read any good books?

With love and prayers,



  1. Yesterday I went to the movies and saw "The King's Speech." To be quite honest it's now one of my favorite films of all time, and the story is just wonderful. I've read a bunch of Bahai books lately, such as "Thief in the Night." Right now I'm reading the Soulpancake book and am starting to read "Invictus."

  2. Thanks Justin! I've really been wanting to see "The Kings Speech". Thanks for the recommendation. Perhaps this will get me to drag my wife to see it with me (willingly, of course).

    I saw the movie "Invictus" recently, too, and absolutely loved it. It was brilliant. Thanks for the reminder.

    And a Soulpancake BOOK? I didn't know there was one. I guess I know what's going on my Ayyam-i-Ha wish list.

  3. Hi Mead,
    So glad you wrote this post! I've been reading your blog for quite a while now and I absolutely love it.
    Based on interests you have, I think you might enjoy the "On Being" NPR podcasts here: . The journalist is Krista Tippett and she interviews a wide variety of people on themes related to spirituality and meaning. You might like her most recent show "Evolving Faith" because she does a nice recap of many recent shows. You might also like the episode "Whale Songs and Elephant Loves" mentioned on the site.

    I have a real weakness for buying books and have a hard time restraining myself when a new publication from Baha'i Publishing comes out. I have the SoulPancake book and you will love it. Lots of "food for thought" (pun intended). I actually think it might be a fun way to start spiritual discussions in a mixed group of people.

    Last movie I saw was Date Night with Steve Carell and Tina Fey, but I generally gravitate to foreign films and documentaries. Loved My Name is Khan, The Visitor, and No Impact Man (a family that lived with no negative environmental impact for a year).

    Thanks again Mead for your friendly post. Wish I could take you up on your offer and meet you and Marielle and Shoghi someday!


  4. I've been listening to a lot of audiobooks lately as I've discovered which is a volunteer based community project where people read works that are in the public domain so that people can download them for free. I just listened to a Philip K. Dick novel and before that to Little Women. I highly recommend Little Women, especially to parents to read with their kids one chapter at a time as there are so many lessons about striving to live a virtuous life and overcome our imperfections. It's delightful.

    While we can't have tea together since I live in Texas, next time I have tea I'll try to think of you and all I've learned about and meditated on through this blog, so that it will be like we are together.