Archives for category: from the web

I’ve been dealing with a fair bit of upheaval in my life in the last week or so. Honestly, people are surprised that I’m taking it as well as I am, especially when I regularly crumble when faced with less serious crises. The thing is, I’m ornery by nature. If people around me are comfortable, I have this unbearable itch to point out the flaws in our precious plans. When they’re sad, I’m inexplicably cheery. And when disaster strikes, I’m at my best: calm, collected, and organized. I should work in an emergency room. (Except that needles make me woozy and I can’t stand up for longer than an hour without my hip giving out or function without consistent sleep. Okay, I should definitely not work in an emergency room.)

So I don’t have a ton to share right now, except that this song by Luke Slott has kept me going through a lot of trials over the last several months. Something about the combination of the words, the voices, the contemplatively shifting time signature that gives space to hold it all … it just works for me, whether I’m sitting alone or walking outside. It’ll get stuck in your head in the best way, reminding you that struggles and sadness aren’t unique, they’re necessary.

The lyrics are from The Hidden Words, a brief book of aphorisms written by Baha’u’llah. Half of them were written in Arabic, while the other were written in Persian. This is Arabic Hidden Word #48:

O SON OF MAN! For everything there is a sign. The sign of love is fortitude under My decree and patience under My trials.
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“Bahá’u’lláh has drawn the circle of unity …”

-Abdu’l-Baha

It’s apparently Look for Circles Day. As someone who was very proud of her elementary school photo essay titled “Triangles Around Berea,” this idea appeals to me. So what could I do but assemble a Pinterest board of some circles that mean the most to me?

shrine of Baha'u'llah

Besides the obvious symbolism of unity and eternity, the circle motif is lovely to look at in its symmetry. If you’ve got a young child at home, go ahead and take a moment to find some of the circles? Or just enjoy adult moment of looking at beautiful architecture.

I hope you enjoy a well-rounded day!

I know how awesome teens can be. But so often, it seems like they don’t know. Sure, some of them get positive messages from their parents or teachers: “You can be president! You can be an astronaut! You can be anything you want when you grow up!”

But not so much about what they can do right now.

This isn’t about self-esteem. There are plenty of resources out there telling kids that they’re cute enough, smart enough, cool enough, whatever. I know that spending your whole day feeling ugly is a problem, but I’m not sure thinking about how pretty you are is the solution. Feel noble because you act noble. I don’t think most people need an ego boost. I think they need an example.

And, while it’s important, it’s not enough for me to be that example. Why? I’m an adult. I can be an astronaut. I can be president. (Not really. I’m physically unsuited for the one and underage for the other. But still.) 12-year-olds don’t have raging doubts about what a 28-year-old can accomplish.

So I’ve taken to collecting news articles about young people. Mostly middle school students, but some younger and some older. They’re not just articles about youth who, wonder of wonders, aren’t killing each other or vandalizing their neighborhoods, or even those who win spelling bees or Citizen of the Month awards. These are kids who are looking for cancer cures, creating systems to protect victims of abuse, starting businesses, and acting as stewards of the planet. Little things and big things, but things that have an impact outside of their classrooms and their families.

It’s so easy to let youth live down to our expectations. Why not invite them to live their dreams for the future, instead?

A few examples to get you inspired:

If you run into any good articles or videos like this, be sure to send them my way. I’m always looking for more!

A diversity of opinions doesn’t always have to mean an argument. This was the tail end of a conversation I had with my friend Oliver on Facebook today, and it made me smile:

friendly disagreement in facebook comments

For those who can’t see the image clearly:

Oliver: I get that. Sounds like we have different priorities on this, which is totally okay. 🙂

Me: Yup!

Me: Oliver, you’re one of my favorite people to disagree with. We do it so nicely!

Oliver: You’re one of my favorite people to disagree with, too! *hug*

The skill of maintaining unity in the face of differing opinions isn’t impossible to master, although it can be extremely difficult when emotions and stakes run high. Part of the problem is that we’re taught to either to shy from differing opinions because such a diversity is confused with “conflict,” or to barge right in, guaranteeing that conflict will ensue. There are so few models available to us of people actually enjoying the way their perspective can be expanded or clarified by differences of opinion, which is all the more reason to draw attention to it when it happens.

One quote for the road, because I’ve been on a quotation kick lately:

Likewise, when you meet those whose opinions differ from your own, do not turn away your face from them. All are seeking truth, and there are many roads leading thereto. Truth has many aspects, but it remains always and forever one.

Do not allow difference of opinion, or diversity of thought to separate you from your fellow-men, or to be the cause of dispute, hatred and strife in your hearts.

Rather, search diligently for the truth and make all men your friends.

(Abdu’l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 53)

 

 

Know what? The internet doesn’t suck. Despite the ads for weight loss and brand-name garbage that accost me every day, here’s so much out there that’s beautiful. New stuff, old stuff, all kinds of stuff. I share a lot with friends, but I haven’t done so in this blog. Why haven’t I? No good reason whatsoever, so here’s the first installment.

The theme is: video! Here are just a few of the the videos that make me fall in love with the web.

LaLaLa Human Steps- “Amelia”

  • If you think you’re too cool for ballet, this is the dance like you’ve never seen it before.

Mitchell Rose- “Islands in the Sky”

  • Dancing, daydreams, and heavy machinery!

ISME Opening Ceremony

  • My dad was at this conference in Beijing. Go ahead and skip to 2:00 in the video to get to the dancing. PS- all the dancers are Deaf students.

Playing for Change-“Stand By Me”

  • The original Playing for Change video, featuring street musicians from around the world.

Kutiman- “I’m New”

  • Unlike the Playing for Change piece in which musicians from afar collaborate on a musical performance, Kutiman takes bits of videos off of YouTube, mixes them, and creates new compositions from the pieces.

Stjepan Hauser and Luka Sulic- “Smooth Criminal”

  • Covered by a couple of insane cellists.

Extreme Trombone Quartet- “Toccata and Fugue”

  • “Never look at the trombones. You’ll only encourage them.” Richard Strauss

Jake Shimabukuro- “Bohemian Rhapsody”

  • Okay, so this one is audio only. I’ve never heard Queen sound so peaceful!

The Muppets- “Bohemian Rhapsody”

  • No discussion of Bohemian Rhapsody covers would be complete without this video.

Big Bird Learns About Breastfeeding

  • While we’re talking Muppets, there are all kinds of sweet Sesame Street moments online.

Taylor Mali- “What Teachers Make”

  • This has been one of my favorite poems for a long time. [A little bit of mild profanity here.]

Embrace Life

  • Most gorgeous seatbelt ad ever. Surprisingly, not an oxymoron!

Idiot With a Tripod

  • The beauty in a New York blizzard.

Of course there’s so much more. Got any favorite video beauties to share?