Tuesday, March 29

Home --- this is the poem I performed (with some corrections, adjustments and embellishments not featured in this text version) at the Just Poetry Slam last night. I went first, which is always a nightmare...

You’ve never really known love until

You’ve seen your own eyes, so still

Reflected, brilliant, in your child’s gaze.

And in these eyes within that gaze,

The maze of your crazed universe is at peace

And love is all that remains.

I held my stare, scared that even this light might not tell me where to go

To extinguish all the pain, delusion and anguish that impaired me so…

But as I came to, I breathed my answer:

Maybe home is where

The sun was blazing in our backs

As we set sailing to the West,

And we left failures and solitude, sadness and all the rest

To build a home sweet home away from all the drone.

Bundled in a cozy blanket by the fire,

Hunting game and cutting chunky meat to dine on,

Jumping in and out of rivers, climbing tall branches

fixing small lunches, digging long trenches, taking our chances…

I just thought he’d been out berry picking…

There! He’s screaming, sinking, flailing!

I rescue him.

He’s cold, I hold him tight.

He panics, yells in fright,

“I don’t wanna go back home! I hate home! It’s cold and dark and empty!”

And in this moment, our bodies clutching,

I realize that my mind had devised a disguise

And divine that my heart should define the answer,

Love! Love is all we need, and I breathed,

Maybe home is where the heart is

Indelibly, I etched this mantra thick

And deep, the soul-filled air exuding strength.

And every moment stretched beyond a flick

And of sleep, hugs and kisses all, we drank.

I cooked for him, and sang for hime,

And gifts, games, walks, sights, love and more love,

I showered all on him.

Jumped around, acted a clown,

Gave him piggyback rides, matched his strides,

Whispered funny things in his ear, pretended to disappear…

No two days could stay the same.

My love for him is all I could claim.

They say it’s the worst pain anyone will ever suffer…

He lies there, frozen, neither dozing, crying nor posing.

As I hold him, tired and sinking, fire is dwindling, ire is swelling, I die and…


Crass calamity, crafted infamy, blasted enmity,

The last ignominy of passed infirmity!

The fates be warned, awake and learn:

I fake a mourning to bait and fool you!

For now I see through it all!

Home is where the heart is given up!

Death and suffering is just math and cluttering;

One thousand deaths is a statistic, one death is a tragedy.

Call me bereft or sadistic – all that’s left is this strategy.

Laugh at me, clap for me, I don’t care,

All I see is you and me, him and her.

Surely you’ll understand why I have succumbed

And become comfortably numb…

The price of love is your heart – I am now debt-free!

The vessel has been emptied and turned upside down;

All grace and misery burn or drown as far as I’m concerned!

And if this gathering wishes,

This can be the end of my tale.

Why not!!


Because I’m empty!? What’s so wrong with being empty!?

I have heard the words, and now I see,

Empty though I thought I was, in truth,

I was full of thoughts of heresy

(What is more heretic and uncouth

Than conviction that I’m in control?)

Life was never where, but how I seek.

Souls are never solaced when unmoved.

All we learn from what our lives enfold

Comes from scorching heat and breaking cold,

For then alone we truly turn to the One…

The One we call the Friend,

The One we call beauty, transcendence, God,

What else?


Maybe home is where the heart is given up to the One

Sunday, March 27

Terrace --- How many times can someone have the time of his life?!?

Love is all around! Having the day off for Naw Ruz was beautiful! I just love having a chance to chant the Long Healing Prayer - it's the prayer that makes me feel the closest to God!

LSA on Wed was really awesome - it's incredible how much I feel the institution is growing! We got lots of challenges on our hands, for sure, especially for this new "Richmond Year for the Protection of Children", so I hope we will keep progressing at least as quickly as we have been. Choir was also very nice.

Thu Robbie and I were playing ping pong right next to another pair of cool cats, so we offered to swap and play each other. It turns out we're all around the same level of play, so it was extremely gratifying for all of us!

We had another play practice for "In His Presence" at the Connor home. We ate a delicious dinner together and moved on to a series of theatrical excercises I prepared, which they all seem to love to pieces! We're now sufficiently in tune to one another to move on to the very important step of lining up all the scene work and really putting this show together - only four more weeks!!! Prayers would be most appreciated. Just this morning I saw Niki's Easter musical about the life of Christ (Niki's my co-worker). It was so beautiful, powerful, and harmonious that I was crying pretty much the whole way through. It's so extraordinary to get the opportunity to connect to Christ my Lord in a new way! Niki is a wonderful singer! I'll have to make sure to incorporate some of the elements of spiritual integrity and collaborative energy that "The Borrowed Tomb" had!

I went to a special gathering of French-speaking people, organized by the Richmond French Club! Sherry and I were there together. It was such a very nice group of people! There was a great variety of experiences in the language, but one thing that really stood out for me was the open-mindedness of these people. Hanging out with a bunch of people who have traveled outside the country for extensive periods, and are actively engaged in learning about different cultures brought out again the contrast between the closed-mindedness and isolationist/compartmentalizing philosophy of this country and the outward-looking orientation that this age of humanity requires... watchou gonna do?

I've had still more dreams about Martinique and pioneering. I spoke with Ariana at the National Office of Pioneering, who helped me out with some steps of the process. I met with the LSA, too, to discuss my plans and get them to send a recommendation to the national office. I'm still praying for guidance and open to new opportunities, but my current status is "planning to pioneer to Martinique in the Fall". I'd like to produce/direct Shawn's play before I head out.

Well, we've done it again, with my friends in Baltimore... I am so extremely enamored of these beautiful souls. I honestly think about them all of the time! And every visit only strengthens my love for them... Nina's best friends, Caity, who is to a large extent the reason I got so close to the lot of them, was visiting town from New Jersey, so I took the opportunity to join them all. I got there mid-day Sat, and we had a scruptuous Indian lunch together, with fantastic chats on many spiritual matters. We visited an unusually snazzy vintage store, then I spent the bulk of the afternoon serving as Nina's personal assistant at the screen-printing lab. It was incredible! I learned every step of the process! Nina is an inspired and dedicated hard-worker!

Our evening program was probably as good as it could have been! For starters, we got together at Jacobs to make a big ol' dinner together, and sharing a most convivial fellowship. The gathering was composed of Jacob, Nina, Caity, Nikki, Ruth, Adarsh, Omid and myself - and Sally joined us later. It was a very intimate and comfortable group, which was exactly what we needed for what we were to do:

Poetry: after beautiful Arabic chanting offered by Caity, I performed "Home", which I am entering at the Just Poetry Slam tomorrow, then Caity shared a couple of her own pieces.

Energy: Nikki lead us in a session of energy-focus, where were learned to concentrate on our 7 chakras, and breathe in the energy of the universe (or, rather, be aware that we already do). This energy was first used to create a ball of energy between our hands, then we stood in a circle and passed the energy around. We were also all sharing how it felt to experience this energy, and learned from each other. It was fascinating tuning into the energy signature of each person!

Deepening: I had an idea on how we might all consult on how we can go about connecting ourselves to God by relating our personal experiences to "The Seven Valleys" - Baha'u'llah's exposé on the various steps along the journey of the soul, as it advances toward the Beloved.

At this point we had a session of singing many beautiful prayers.

The Nikki & danio Show! Nikki and I used our super power to perform a celebration of sponteneity.

Monday, March 21

Drastic --- Yo yo yo!! I had three dreams about pioneering last week! None of them told me where I need to go, though. I saw Alex Donote from Martinique. He was visiting here for a series of play that I was attending, so I asked him how the theatre scene was in Martinique, and found out general info about what's going on down there. In another dream I was trying to get into China, but they wouldn't let me in because I didn't have $4... There's one girl that got in for $1! I even tried sneaking in with my mad spy skills and my tight black suit (you should've seen how buff I was!), but I ended up at the same customs spot, and was denied again, so I ended up in the giant indoor park, walking around with friends and hearing about the birthing of pharaos ensuing from rape by a long haired pretty-boy. Then mages (members of "The Chamber") invaded the island, with war and magic, until one of them turned kamikaze at the top of the tower, and merged with the town chief into a giant dragon who went off to summon a "double-stunami". At this point, I went to the spot where the scary-faced, giant-jawed stunami was to hit except that Chrono (from the video game Chrono Trigger) hit the shiny jewel with his sword, which cancelled the tsunami. But right before the sword hit, since everything was in slow-mo except me, I got to check out the hotel lobby and other sets of the movie, which was kind of cool...

I'm not supposed to know, but my friend Sneha just declared (herself a Baha'i) last night, which actually made me cry for joy! I can't wait to visit them all (Baltimore friends) next weekend.

We had our first play practice for "In His Presence" on Saturday, which was a lot of fun, as well as highly encouraging. It's so amazing to work on a play that's explicitly spiritual in orientation!

I'm a gangsta!

Bea and Ralph Wiggins brought a CD of Brian's music (their son) to Feast tonight, which was really awesome! There are 5 CDs total, which I plan to purchase. He past... gosh... over six months ago now. He was the primary person to motivate me to learn to play myself! Some months ago I got to make him a hot meal, like he used to ask me when I'd go over to visit with him... I miss him.

Holy Smokes!! The Naw Ruz (New Year) party was super-radical! We had such a blast. The Cook family was sorely missed, though - their presence was very felt on the occasion last year. Our choir finally performed the beautiful song entitled "He Verily Loveth the Spot". It's got all kinds of overlapping parts and lyrics that make a surreal harmony, both intriguing and enchanting. We reportedly pulled it off alright. I danced, of course, showing this odd talent of mine to moved perfectly with the music, in an esthetically chaotic series of motions. One day I'll actually learn some kind of form dancing and further validate this talent...

Well, the Fasting period is over, and it was truly amazing. It's definitely still getting better every year, but I'm also still very aware that I have a lot to gain and learn from the true spiritual value of fasting. I had no trouble eating during the daytime today, though, especially that I had lunch at my favorite restaurant, down the street from my house, called Jumping J's Java. It turns out they get their veggies from this micro-farming place! plus they cook all of their stuff on location according to what goods they have; they've got the great fair-trade coffees, all kinds of international food and other products for sale; they play Putumayo's international music non-stop, and I just got a date with the server...

I read some Rumi at the Just Poetry Jam, which was very well received. I also read some lyrics from The Mars Volta, which expectedly went over all our heads. Plus I just finished the poem I will recite at the Just Poetry Slam (competition) on Monday. It's called "Home" and is pretty intense! I saw "The Forgotten" last night, which has several related themes - always cool when that happens. I also saw "The Incredibles" this weekend, which was exceptionally entertaining in its rich humor and tickling plot.

Robbie and I have been having a BLAST playing ping-pong, recently instituting mutual training, where we come up with excercises for each other to improve. These improvements have now become what we call super powers, each of us having developed a very distinct style.

At the moment, I'm thinking of going to Martinique, Mali, or China, but anything can still happen. It was definitely inspiring and helpful to have a pioneer to pray for each day during the Fast (several members of our communities had one or two pioneers to pray for during this period).

I finished my new d-Plan (a "spiritual transformation plan" which lists all the projects I'm working on at the moment, with lines of action to fulfill over the next period of time - generally 2-3 months)

Tuesday, March 15

Farmer --- Yippie!!! acceleration after acceleration, dear me dear me! I have almost doubled the number of weblos on my list of "to visit"s! This whole networking is fantastic!

So this whole directing a little play is moving slowly but surely. I've been in touch with just about all of the would-be performers, and we should be having just one or two practices per week between now and April 23, when it goes up. It's been just wonderful working with JoAn.

And Shawn has just done a major revision to the opening of her play, and I feel it's safe to say I really want to direct it. We've been dialoguing about it, and we'll be bouncing ideas back and forth, and most likely getting more serious about putting her play up after "In His Presence" is completed. Wow!

The poetry jam was great last night, and people really took to my performance of a Rumi piece. Great crowd, delicious coffee, beautiful words, and inspiration for the piece I'm preparing for the poetry slam in two weeks (competition).

Our visit up to Baltimore (actually Cockeysville, just past Baltimore) was just extraordinary. We were 7 driving up from Richmond, in two vehicles, for just one evening. It was a straighforward party at a Persian home, with lots of food, ping pong, foosball, hanging out, and lots of dancing (happy happy happy danio!) It's always so wonderful to see my friends up there. I got to see Nina, Ruth, Adarsh, Jacob, Sneha and Megan, and it brought such joy to my heart - especially a very spirited chat with Ruth, which lead to further thoughts and inspiration upon my return. The drive both ways was also fun, what with the energy of Shawn, Zarasun, Jasmin and David. Peter and Orion were in the other car - THE RICHMOND CREW ROLLS THICK!!

I once again substituted for the youth class at Baha'i school on Sunday, and we had a really good time. I bet it's a shocking change of flavor from when Steve Connor teaches!!

I've been studying "Perspicuous Verses", a passage where the voice of Revelation answers the questions of the doubters among men. It's fascinating and intriguing, and the text for one of the scenes in "In His Presence".

E-mail is incredible.

I still don't know where I'm going in the Fall. Summer plans are also very much up in the air, except for my week-long trip late May. Martinique? Congo? One of the many other French-speaking countries in Africa? China? Latin America? Where, oh where to go!? God willing I will receive guidance soon. And then I might still go to grad school if I'm accepted at Simon Fraser U in Vancouver.

Sunday, March 6

Done --- I guess some of my posts are being lost... There doesn't seem to be any info about last weekend up... I went back up to Baltimore to see my new friends!!! There was a fantastic Ayyam-i-Ha. I've made a CD compilation for some of my friends, and was able to deliver some on time on this visit! I addition to Omid, Nina, Nikki, Adarsh, Ruth and Jacob, with whom I traveled to NEBY Fest, I met up with some of the other wonderful Baha'is I had met a few months earlier. Unfortunately, I was not able to meet up with my friend Sam from Anchorage (we both went to APU together). It was so wonderful a visit. We ate cake, hung out, and then danced danced danced - hard core! It was a packed house, and we were having ourselves a party! When I got up Saturday morning, I decided to stay to help Omid move his new couch into his dorm. That gave me the excuse of having lunch with my new friends again! I also met Sneha, who might put me into animation!

Yippie! I'm directing a musical! It's called "In His Presence", written by JoAn Martin (her and her family are a somewhat recent addition to our Richmond Baha'i community). It focuses on the lives of a few people around the time in April 1863 when Baha'u'llah revealed His Message and Station. It's so fantastic! and it involves a whole bunch of people from the community. I'm just kind of taking care of the dramatic part of the production, which will take place 4/22 I think... not much time! It was great working on it yesterday! Noel is a wonderful girl, and she and I spent a bit of time working on her motions for the song "I have wakened in Thy shelter".

The fast started on Tuesday evening. My favorite time of the year! We had a beautiful feast at Marions, for which I prepared the devotional portion. I had a delightful visit at Anita's home on Fri. She made a delicious dinner for us, and we chatted for a couple of hours. Two dinners at JoAn's home, actually - her husband Eddy cooks great food! Oh! and Thursday, after Robbie and I worked out, we went out to the Cheesecake Factory with Mishkin from Toronto - he's back in Richmond with a contract which keeps him in town on many weekdays. Wow! what a great restaurant! Wow! what great company!

Shawn, Rudy and I went out to play pool last night, which was a nice change of pace.

I'm working on my "d-Plan" - it's a personal plan which lists all of the main projects I'm currently working, updated every 2-4 months. I'm also working on my Individual Teaching Plan - to spread the Message of Baha'u'llah!

So I got the new Tori Amos album, The Beekeeper, and the new Mars Volta, called Frances the Mute. Both are exceptionally good! The Mars Volta is SO VERY CRAZY!

Everywhere, Love is All Around!