Be the Cause

Tsunami Memorial

Later today, I’m going to say a few words at the tsunami memorial being held at the Los Angeles Baha’i Center. Since I’m speaking on behalf of Be the Cause, I thought I should share with you all more or less what I’m planning to say. Here goes:
This year, we’ve seen so many natural disasters and human tragedies. From the tsunami to the floods in Guatemala to the earthquake in Pakistan and Hurricane Katrina. Not to mention the violence, poverty, and disease that is so prevelent in so many parts of the world. Sometimes just thinking about it can be overwhelming. But the tsunami showed us the capacity of kindness. People from every corner of the earth reached out to help their fellow human beings. That’s very encouraging for a couple of reasons. One reason is that is shows that kindness transcends borders, politics, race, and religion. Another reason is that it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that everything we need to make the world a better place is already here. It’s within our reach, because it’s within us. This new year, I’m challenging myself and I’m offering this challenge to you. Everyday we must choose to do something toward being the change in the world that we want to see. If we want to see peace in the world, then we have to forgive someone who has hurt us. If we want to see equity in the world, then we have to be willing to share or give away things that have value to us. If we all do something everyday, before long, there will be millions of acts of kindness happening in the world at any given moment. Our acts of kindness will inspire other acts of kindness. Everyday, we’ll be doing an act of kindness or benefiting from an act of kindness. Once we’ve created this critical mass of kindness and compassion, dealing with the world’s problems won’t see so overwhelming at all. The tsunami will always stand for violence, death and destruction, but it also stands for survivial, hope, courage and the power that lies in the gerorosity of strangers. Let us honor those lost by focusing on survival, hope, courage and genorosity. Let us start today and now.

What Christmas Means to Me

My Christmas season began when someone gave me some handmade holiday cards that were left over from a 1st grade school project. The person who gave them to me “was just sure” that I could find a proper home for these cards. I had no idea what I would do with the cards, but I couldnt refuse them. I assured the lady that I would indeed find people to give these cards to. I forgot about the cards when I was organizing the Holiday Party at East Africa Community of Orange, but I found them in my car a few days ago. In the last week, Ben and I have been driving all over the place picking up toys in response to the email I sent out requesting toys for our BTC friend, Sonny Bozeman. Sonny delivers toys to needy kids in Long Beach each year and for some reason, he has come up a little short this year. All I did was send out an email and the response has been incredible! A car full of toys will be dropped off to Sonny later today and I’m absolutely so excited that my little effort has resulted in something so tangible- that will make some kids so happy. Now back to the cards…I debated about what to do with them on such short notice, and then hesitantly, I called a local retirement home to see if I could drop off the cards. The man replied that it would be so kind as many of their residents will be alone this holiday. Before I could stop the words from coming out of my mouth, I also volunteered to bring cookies, and some little gifts and sing some Christmas songs. He was so excited. I hung up the phone wondering how in the world I could “organize” an event in 2 days. Suddenly I realized that I dont have to “organize” anything. “I” , myself have everything that I need. I dont need an event. I can go and hand out cards and cookies and sing songs and talk to people. I put the event on the BTC website to give others the opportunity to participate, but so far, only Ben, Todd, Me and Mahsa have committed to going. Somehow, I’m so looking forward to going tomorrow. My brother Todd and I are going to bake cookies tomorrow morning and practice the carols. We’re going to hand out little picture frames with inspirational quotes and talk to the seniors and its going to be simple and fun. Once again, I’m reminded that everything we need to make the world a better place is already here. All we have to do is connect the people who have needs with the people who have things to share. If making those connections turns out to be the purpose of my life, then I should consider myself lucky indeed. It’s been a little hectic, picking up toys and making gifts for the seniors but I’m so happy not to be hectic about packed shopping malls (I dont buy gifts for anyone-I give honorium gifts) and grouchy shoppers who are all stressed out about “having” to give gifts on Christmas. I think I finally figured out that at a certain point in life, the only gift that we can give or recieve that has any real meaning is the gift we give of ourselves. This has been a really great Christmas season for me-filled with meaning. I just wanted to share that with you today. Happy Holidays. 

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