Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

November 20, 2007

non-sequitur life

Teresa: (while eating a cracker) When am I going to be the crushed ice person?
Me: I don't know, when are you going to be the crushed ice person? (this is the most logical response, I think)
Teresa: It's just about when you were going to turn off the light at bedtime.
Teresa: (continues to eat her cracker)
Me: (walks away bemusedly)

Posted by Bahiyyih at 02:40 PM | Comments (1)

the learning from my trip

The girls and I all have lingering colds that we're trying to get over before Thanksgiving. We've gotten some cabin fever to be sure but I think the end is in sight so I won't complain too much.

I've been thinking about what the result of my vacation has been so I can evaluate it and see what it's worth was. I feel a growing sense of confidence from having undertaken such a journey by myself. It's given me more perspective about my life, including the overwhelming feeling that I do a LOT of things. I have a lot of jobs and they all take time and energy and since I've taken them on one at a time I haven't noticed them piling up except that I often feel really busy and tired. I can't get myself to list them all here because I start to feel really self-absorbed and ungrateful for the jobs other people do in my life. OK, scratch that. Lists are good. Here are my jobs, some of which are shared with other people:

1. Mother of three children
2. Homeschool kindergarten teacher
3. Cook for a household of six, all with multiple, varying allergies that requires cooking almost everything from scratch.
4. Grocery shopper- from three stores and a farmer's market to get all the odd things we eat.
5. House cleaner
6. Serving as the Treasurer of our Local Spiritual Assembly
7. Serving as the Treasurer of the Baha'i Center Executive Board
8. Serving as a Cluster Institute Coordinator (this is an organizational job to help Baha'i tutors of study circles be more effective)
9. Serving as a tutor for a Baha'i study circle
10. Teacher of a Baha'i children's class
11. Occasional babysitter for a small baby

I think that's about it, if you count things I spend time on every week. I thought about listing my hobbies but they're more like necessary entertainment. I considered counting 'Wife' but decided it was much more of a benefit and a relationship than a job.

So the point of all that is that since I came back from vacation I have been very conscious about what it feels like to take each of those jobs back on after being away from them. Mostly it's been good, but I really feel how much time and energy each one is taking and can see more clearly which ones give me back enough energy to feel sustaining. Like anyone, I sometimes really like certain aspects of each of these jobs. On really bad days I don't like any of them. Sometimes I really love and am SO joyful about whatever I'm doing.

The thing I'm trying for that has been elusive is the feeling that everything is in balance and makes sense together- something I think Husayn was talking about in the Treasurer's Forum as 'integration'. Where every job informs the others and can benefit from the wisdom gained in the other jobs. I assume there is some multi-tasking involved too. One part of integration that I'm just starting to get a feeling for is something I learned in labor where you get super still, super internal, accepting, and get under the (fill in the blank). In labor it was pain, of course, but here it's more confusion, disjointedness, or even disdain. When I can get to that super-still feeling I can just watch what's going on from a detached perspective so that I can ask the job: What are you really about? What qualities do I need to develop in order to do this job well?

Being far away from all the jobs really helped me make a space for all those questions. Definitely time well spent in that regard.

Also, from a wish-fulfillment perspective, it was a very good trip. Just getting a taste of hiking on the Appalachian Trail was so powerful and beautiful that I feel like I'll always want more of that. But it was also very satisfying because I often have to forego that basic need for hiking in the woods for more important jobs and needs and it's really good to have that experience squirreled away in my memory to take out whenever I feel trapped in the house or too busy to look at the sky.

The confidence I mentioned at the beginning came from doing all that driving by myself. I always thought I was no good at driving long distances. What I discovered is that I'm very good at driving during the day- from dawn to dusk even- without distractions or aggravations, with beautiful scenery too look at, and with good music and books to listen too. I could do that for weeks, at least. What I can't do is drive at night or on a crazy schedule with anxiety-producing time restraints or with children crying and whining and fighting all day. Not so surprising when you think about it.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 01:31 PM | Comments (1)

November 12, 2007


Happy Birth of Baha'u'llah!

I've posted pictures in my post from my first day of vacation. More will be up soon.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 12:35 PM | Comments (2)

November 05, 2007

Day 8

Fallingwater- the guide book view

I drove through a wide valley in southern Pennsylvania this morning that was like a bowl. I like being closer to the mountains so it feels like it's hugging me. I got my chance later, driving through small hilly roads to Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater house. It was really beautiful and seemed so much like an extension of the valley it was built in.


Fallingwater- about 55 degrees counter clockwise and up a hill from the guide book view above

While it rained this afternoon, I finished listening to 'The Life of Pi' that I got on CD. A good story. I feel like I made a friend. I really liked the main character. More later. I'm almost out of battery, sitting outside the Panera off the highway. Tonight I stay with Ann and Rich again, dear people. I'll be home tomorrow!
Update: They fed me homemade carrot cake! Yum!

Posted by Bahiyyih at 05:08 PM | Comments (0)

November 04, 2007

Day 7


I have risen this morning by Thy grace, O my God, and left my home trusting wholly in Thee, and committing myself to Thy care. Send down, then, upon me, out of the heaven of Thy mercy, a blessing from Thy side, and enable me to return home in safety even as Thou didst enable me to set out under Thy protection with my thoughts fixed steadfastly upon Thee.
There is none other God but Thee, the One, the Incomparable, the All-Knowing the All-Wise. --Baha'u'llah

I'm leaving Green Acre at dawn, and everthing is still and calm. Just the sun rising and an occasional seagull flying around.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 05:41 AM | Comments (0)

November 03, 2007

Day 6

Green Acre photo quilt, detail

More talks and workshops today. My mind has long ago gotten full and everything's all backed up, waiting to be digested on the trip ahead so I couldn't tell you what I learned today. What I can tell you is the spirit of this place that I've felt and will try to put a word to. By 'this place' I mean Green Acre, not necessarily the Treasurer's Forum. It's delicacy of a spiritual nature, reflected in the physical place and it's operation. It's not weakness. It's refinement and exquisiteness. It's in the architecture and the Persian carpets and lots of little details.


(This is either a heating vent or a speaker on a beam- something utilitarian, yet very beautiful.)

There's a concert tonight that's about to start. I'm sure it will be lovely, but I'm not used to sitting still for a long time and doing just one thing so we'll see how I do. Tomorrow I start on the road home.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 06:09 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2007

Day 5

Quilt of Sarah Farmer Inn, Green Acre

Today my brain was flattened with a slow moving truck and then suddenly brought to life again. Here's the schedule:

9:00am - 4:30pm Flattening effect of large amounts of technical financial information squashed onto my head: How to buy a Baha'i center, online contribution system, leaving a last will & testament, using Quickbooks. By the end, my mind was darting around like a cornered bird, my butt felt cemented to the chair, and I had to drag myself to the last workshop through tears of having had enough and just wanting to do something completely different for a while.

4:30pm - 5:30pm Sudden light feeling of finally hearing what I could understand, groove on, and use the way my mind already works. Husayn gave his talk to the whole group about fund education for youth and young adults. Maybe it's because I'm somewhat still a youth, maybe it's because I come at the world from the perspective of education and understanding people, but that was the perfect antidote to the flattening. I think that the way I can really serve people as the Treasurer is through education and integration of spiritual and material resources. It is not through technical expertise of accounting software. The financial knowledge may come, but only if it is within the framework of the spiritual education. I can't do it the other way around.

More help with the flattening: A walk by the salt water river in front of Green Acre.




Posted by Bahiyyih at 06:00 PM | Comments (0)

Some more Day 4


Here's a weird internal thing. I have spent so little time just with myself in reflection and had so few moments where I felt I could really think things through that I've become sort of a stranger to myself. It became very acute just as I was leaving for this trip because I didn't know how to put my mind around doing something alone for so long. It got to where I would look in the mirror and get really uncomfortable because at some level I didn't recognize myself. So when I got in the car and started off, I felt really anxious at being alone with this person I didn't know. I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. Who would I be without my kids? They define my every movement and most of my thoughts. All signs that I REALLY NEEDED this trip. It took about a day and a half of feeling really uncomfortable and strange before it started to shift. Listening to whatever music I wanted to helped. Striving to do something new and challenging helped. What really cured me of that awful feeling, though, was arriving at this beautiful B&B that I had arranged for myself and finding a loving hostess that made me feel really special, like I was her favorite customer, and all the fun things about that place. It cured me because I made that happen. I did that for myself weeks ago, and now I felt that love and that part of me that loved me had my full attention. I got settled, took a walk in the woods, took lots of pictures, and had a wonderful evening of reminiscing with my aunt and uncle, who also praised my adventurousness and self-care. Good Stuff. I decided it was high time I turned all my mothering skills onto my own poor self and be the only child for a while. Now that I know so much more about mothering, I can do a much better job taking care of my inner child and helping myself grow and be healthy. It is very clear to me that this will help me be of service to others because I have to be able to be aware of myself and my feelings in order to be aware of my love for people.

The next thing that happened was that I got really weirded out at how many different sorts of voices I had going in my head. When I started paying attention to it all, there was a lot there. I had to be really patient with myself when I started to get whiny or timid and just pick a different voice to listen to. I had to calm myself any time my mind raced forward to the next thing I had planned, and the next and the next, and just try to be present in the moment. I realized how although this was an important strategy when caring for little kids and babies, it was counter-productive when I was alone. It seems to be from a feeling that the present and where I am at that moment are not enough. But there's so much in this moment that those little kids could benefit from. I might be able to think of an important story to share or notice something about them that needed attention.

I can see why people who are alone for long periods end up talking to themselves. The internal dialog is going on anyways. Why not voice it? I didn't go quite that far, but I think a few more days and I would have.

Now, having re-entered an intensely social life, I feel confident and aware of my needs and able to appreciate people and see them. Basically, I can think straight.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 09:45 AM | Comments (0)

November 01, 2007

Day 4

Now I'm tired. Driving 10 hours I can take, sitting in class all day... now that takes stamina. The mental effort is harder really, than the physical. I am striving to be active and not fall into that passive state of reception that dulls my brain. So far, it's been a good struggle.

Getting to say prayers in the room Abdu'l-Baha stayed in when he visited here helped.



A beautiful sunset with a rainbow?! helps.


Meeting new, interesting people and trying to communicate the struggles and successes in my Baha'i community helps. That's Mehran from Minnesota. She is so hilarious and silly and loving. I met and got to know quite a few really stellar people that I'm really glad to have shared time with. Mehran is one of them.

Catching the beautiful spirit of love from Dr. William Roberts, who is the Treasurer for the whole national Baha'i community helps. I've known him since I was sixteen and he's always been such a great father figure in a spiritual sense. He told us today that he was also slightly horrified to be elected as the Treasurer and thought surely there would be somebody more fit for the job than himself. He's a psychologist by profession and a people person, not an accountant, spreadsheet, numbers-are-my-passion person. So I'm watching him very closely to see how to proceed.

What I really want to talk about tonight is the concepts in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance because they are floating around, co-mingling with the ideas here at the conference, and I really want to get them straightened out but they are so big and complex that it's kind of hard to get started. I'll try tomorrow. Right now I'm going to play Scrabble with the Fund Development Office (also known as the Cubicle Kids). They're going to beat me so bad. But then I'll teach them speed scrabble and maybe I'll have a chance.

Posted by Bahiyyih at 08:17 PM | Comments (2)