Haifa Life

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Garden Memoirs

thought it would be fun to write about the experience in the gardens today.. it all started on one of those early morning rises, the closest thing to a fall day in Washington, which only means that the summer roasting heat has subsided for a short while... the army gathers at base camp... a slightly messy enclosure smelling like gas and home to the off green gardeners.... our choice weapons... hard rakes, tillers, soft rakes, hose, pitch fork, skin pores, and bottles of water... our destination the banks of heavenly delight or in reality the steepest slopes of soil you ever want to work with again... the peat is layed... the hundreds
of bags of good clay soil from the stars is spread awaiting its underground resting place...Jody, Muhammad, Nezar, and Jon gather their wits about them and prepare for a grueling day only possible through the sustaining grace of Bahá’u’lláh... Adriana smiles and approaches... "Since you don’t have so much work right now tilling all of the begonia beds and removing hundreds ofpounds of worthless junk, would you be so kind as to remove the cycads around the Greatest Holy Leaf", Jon replies, "O yes that would be my pleasure as we are so excited about the prospect of removing a mammoth log without the help of a car"... the daylight is leaving the gardens... souls have come and gone... more and more groups from the offices arriving to say prayers... hope they are not saddened by the complete removal of all old santolina and companion flower beds, empty begonia beds, and butchered frangipani trees, courtesy of Mr. Ben... 4:10 we have finally finished leveling the large bank above the Monuments... the body is tired and the soul is happy and expectant. Muhammad and Nezar have headed home and Jon sits down with Jody for a while reminiscing over such
a crazy day of sweat, love, purpose, and life. All Praise be to God for having offered us and all those come before us a chance to serve in these gardens upon the Vineyard of God.

love,jon

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ponderments

July 2006

When we sit and the red streaks throb,
Sending mental reminders of too many hours,
Caught in the clutches of one’s own mind,
Hungering away to serve the all-pervasive Truth,
Lost in friendship or disgrace,
More acutely away of inner failings than ever before,
Tiredness in lost time and frustrated sighs,
Ponderments over sweet lamb dinner, white rice,
Laughs that hold many smiles,
Realizing that death is a veil without fear,
The hand has stretched forth to move the carpet,
Many have been swept aside into the night,
Teary eyes and groaning hearts remain on vigil,
To see a pain soul deep bends emotions,
Lingering testimony to these few days,
Raising above a Haifa skyline,Another rocket falls.

Midnight dark

July 2006

What has become of nobility and the righteous heart,
Where sings the fair voice of ethics,
Upon which branch is the bird of equity,
From what harbor will sail the ship of might,
Where are the stars of heavenly light,
What time are the limbs to wail,
Why are we questioning endless questions,
Do they even hear the constant barrage,
Curiosity, pain, sadness, prayer, hope, peace,
All pin pricks of the expansive vision,
The cycling of cataclysmic events into waves of purity,
Time signs and repeated warnings of underlying intention,
A world to emerge purged from its past,
Prepared for its future, stretching into the far reaches of time,
The body of man shall have prayed, “my steps be made firm.”,O Lord, Who guidest in the midnight dark.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Wonderful Stories about Ridván Gardens near Bahji

Please take these stories as passed down accounts of the beautiful history of the Ridván Gardens at the very center of the world.


1. The custodian of Ridván Gardens near Bahji always took pains to make sure that the tiles under the two giant Mulberry trees, overshadowing the still bubbling fountain and blue benches, were always cleaned and swept for Baha’u’llah as the tree would continually drop berries that attracted flies and bugs. It was a tedious service and one that had to be done on a continuous basis. One day Abdu'l-Karím was cleaning the Mulberry fruit from off the marble tiles around the fountain in what Bahá’u’lláh termed His “Green Island” when Bahá’u’lláh arrived and the cleaning had not yet been finished.

Abdu’l-Karím was very sad that he was not able to have the place ready for the Blessed Beauty and he mentioned this to His Holiness. Bahá’u’lláh then said that those two trees would not produce anymore fruit the next year. This came to pass much to Abdu’l-Karím’s happiness and these two mulberry trees did not produce any fruit ever again. During the time of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá the trees were replanted with the same species and once again this blessing of Bahá’u’lláh continued and even to this day the two Mulberry trees produce no messy fruit.


2. Another story that has been passed down from this Blessed Spot is about a ravenous bunch of locusts. One day a swarm of locusts moved into the Garden and began eating all the green leaves and plants. Abdu’l-Karím at first explained the situation to Bahá’u’lláh and He replied that they should be left alone as they needed something to eat as well. Again Abdu’l-Karím exasperatedly asked Bahá’u’lláh if nothing could be done as these locusts were eating the very shade that was sheltering His head. Bahá’u’lláh then shook His garment and the locusts obeying their very Source of Life flew away as quickly as they had come.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Pictures of Junior Youth Ecological Camp

Days are speeding by, a good mix of ups and downs, one especially happy endeavor has been working with the junior youth group that is part of the Bahá’í school at the Bahá’í World Center. Getting to know such junior youth, becoming their friends, and actively working with them to build capacity and be involved with projects of service has been a tremendous learning experience into the nature of souls at this age period of transition and identity formation. These young people have endless potential and capacity to serve and take on the responsibilities of the Cause and I hope that you are able to see that with your own eyes back home in your communities. The Universal House of Justice has joyfully said, “So impressed are we with the results already achieved, and so compelling is the need, that we will urge all National Assemblies to consider the junior youth groups formed through programmes implemented by their training institutes a fourth core activity in its own right and to promote its wide-scale multiplication.” With Theresa Kipp, whom I have had the privilege of teaming up with, we recently went on an ecological camp with the junior youth that has been designed by the Ruhi Institute in Columbia. It was loads of fun and we all truly had a packed, eventful day of studying the Writings about nature, barbequing, a mountainous trail into the riverbed, improvisational theater, and games.
Landscape of Yehiam Fortress

Amelia in a crevice at the castle

Tower stairs with arrow slits



Part of group goes into valley trail to the river

Saturday, March 25, 2006

An Example Chart- Intensive Programmes of Growth

Saturday, February 04, 2006

The Second Group of Pictures from Panama








Tribute to Candace and Sheyda
Music flying like gentle breeze, vibrations into the realm of love’s connection,
Calling me down, opening all the tears,
Soothing reminder of her smile within the luminous haze of service,
An innocence that the world has not ripped completely from her experience,
A duet of friendship she shares, side by side little sister,
As if the same blood runs in each other’s veins, and rivers of spirit flow from one source,
Wonder what she does as reading these words,
If they reach towards the far-off notion,
Can she ever be thanked for the change produced in this undeserving wanderer,
Prayer in all direction,
Bring to her support Thine unfailing protection, delicate healing, heart-conquering power,
Even in her darkest trial let the light of Bahá dawn upon her lips,
Sweep before her all obstacles,To follow her in this life and the next.

Pictures from Panama

For all the Homies and Amigos! Enjoy!








Thursday, February 02, 2006

To Capture Panama in Verse

The Heart of Panama

Sleepy eyes no longer understand time,
As if the sun had been eclipsed,
And the moon began to give off afternoon dazzle,
Boarding tickets, passports, paper waste now,
This is the last ride home,
Peculiar how home is Haifa,
The friends, the Shrines, the struggle,
Dunbar, classes, evening dinners from a package,
And everything that was physically left behind,
Implanted, their roots sinking deeper into the heart’s soil,
Sheyda beats within my being, crystal clear,
As much a part of me as the air around,
She infuses me with hope, with sparkling sighs,
She smiles back at me through the thoughts,
And I feel to soar, to dip wings, migrate towards heaven,
To seek the apex of reality and be able to look out at that level,
See her silvery glow, her beauteous form, her simple nature,
And laugh just for the sake of laughing,
Leap with joy at this life of remembrance,
Action, teaching, reflection, pain, suffering, tests,
Continue the ring of adoration, circumambulation of Bahá’u’lláh,
How sweet, how delightful His Most Great Name,
Adorning lips the hidden letters have been manifested,
Fulfilling all promises, acknowledging all faith,
The pivot of our beings is the Source,
Strengthened, refined in the connection between east and west,
Illumined, confirmed, dancing with excitement,
The beat of Panama was fervor in tempo,
Perking the very nerves, enhancing the senses,
It was a learning centre of love, the for-front of Latin American action,
Prejoveniles the arena of training, 18 books envisioned,
Mighty burdens, heavy responsibilities, everlasting life,
A path few will walk, less will fulfill,
A path I wish to burn with her,
Forgetting all else save Bahá’u’lláh.