Blogs by Bahais

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Let’s Talk About Beauty

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Image by June Perkins

From the Two Stringed ukulele

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Let’s talk about beauty…

By the time I graduated high school, I still didn’t know how to swim.
I’d never learned, not properly, and there was a reason.

To this day I remember my first swimming lesson. My PE teacher’s voice was yelling instructions at me as I awkwardly splashed my way through the water.
But only part of my attention was focused on staying afloat, because meanwhile on the sidelines some boys from my class were laughing together. You see, they’d always thought that ‘whales were supposed to know how to swim‘.

I didn’t cry, or make a fuss.
But when I reached the end of that pool, I got out, and didn’t get back in again.
Not for a long time.

A lot of us have stories just like this one.
And consequently, we know what it’s like to look at the cover of a magazine and feel a pang of innocent determination… that one day, we want to look ‘just like that’.

I remember being one of these girls.
I’d always press the ‘fat burn’ button on the treadmill,
believing that somehow this convenient little setting would live up to its name and get me the body I’d always wanted. (False advertising if you ask me!)
I’d spend years looking down at my annoyingly stubborn scales, which never had anything new to say.
I’d listen attentively to people I trusted, as they’d offer me ‘constructive criticism’ on how to be more beautiful.

You see, I know what it’s like to be afraid of the water.
Of avoiding the deep end at all costs and wanting to hide in the locker room so that nobody would ever have to know how slow, overweight or uncoordinated you are.
But that’s not how you learn to swim.
You learn to swim when your fears stop being as important as your desire to become better.

And it was here, at a very simple realization that I found my turning point.
I don’t want or need to be skinny to be beautiful.
I needed to be strong.

And the moment I made this decision, that was what I became.
Because the beautiful thing about strength, is that it doesn’t begin with a simple gym membership.
It begins with you.
In the world beneath your skin.

I don’t like talking about ‘imperfections’…
Because it implies that to be ‘perfect’ is the standard we are striving for.
And I don’t believe that this is realistic, or even possible.

I think it’s about time we start setting ourselves new standards.
To be whole.
To be happy.
To be strong.

Because beauty is a whole lot more than a pretty face and a winning smile.
Beauty is nonexclusive.. and a gift we all share, at the heart of who we are.
Some may say it is fleeting, but I disagree.
I believe it grows with us, as we move through life…
Along with our capacity to seek it out and find it in each other.
Because isn’t that one of the most beautiful things of all?

I’ve recently committed myself to being a bigger part of this conversation, and the way I see it, there are two ways to do this:
1. When you see beauty in someone, tell them about it.
2. When someone sees beauty in you, believe them.

I’ll be the first to admit that this isn’t always easy.
Often, something as simple as acknowledging the beauty in ourselves, can take a hell of a lot of strength.
But I hope you can find it.
Because you deserve to understand how beautiful you are.

In many ways, it’s easier to shape ourselves from the outside.
We can diet, apply make-up, do our hair… all sorts of things.
But it’s a lot scarier, to stop relying on what our eyes are telling us, and to start believing in this ambiguous ‘inner’ type of beauty, that you can’t see in the mirror.
Because you can’t SEE it.
And as a result we are left with two options.
To trust in each other,
and to trust in ourselves.

May you always find the courage to climb back into that pool,
and just keep swimming. 🙂

Peace and love,

Inga. x
(c) Ingrid Johnsen

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Baha’i Blogging News: Baha’i Blog Announces Studio Sessions


(C) June Perkins – Image Featured in the Month of Mercy Nineteen Months

It’s a small world.

Recently I was surprised to meet Naysan Naraqi who works on Baha’i Blog.  He was visiting Australia and came up and introduced himself at the wedding of some mutual friends.

It was great to meet someone who is just as passionate about the powers of blogging.

He asked me what I thought of Baha’i Blog, which I love.   He asked me if it was a useful and interesting site.  Well, it sure is.  I especially love the features on musicians and artists, but also there are many well written articles on topical issues.  He was then very encouraging of my own projects.

I love to interact with people of any background, cultural and religious, but also love catching up with my Baha’i blogging buddies (haha now that’s a lot of alliteration).

This year I joined the team at Nineteen Months, as a contributing photographer, as well as that I am helping administer a couple of on line Baha’i arts groups.

Slowly but surely I meet more of the people I know through their projects and blogs in real space.  I love this, because no matter how much I love blogging, connecting up with people in real space is brilliant.

Naysan recently let me know  you can now catch Baha’i Blog Studio Sessions: HERE

Another project that I adore is Baha’i Chronicles  which features inspiring Baha’i biographies, from the past, and more contemporary.   They are always looking for contributors.

Another project I love is  UK Baha’i Histories, who feature stories of Baha’is with any connection to the UK.  I regularly blog their stories here.  I hope more Baha’i communities around the world establish ongoing heritage projects like this to collect stories of some amazing people.

So every now and then I hope to feature a bit of a news wrap up of Baha’i blogging projects from around the world.

(c) June Perkins

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From the online Archives

This article can be found at  Australian Baha’i Community

Blogger active in aftermath of Cyclone Yasi

Blogger active in aftermath of Cyclone Yasi
Dr June Perkins

Witnessing the spiritual capacity of the local community has been the “the most amazing experience” in the past year for a Bahá’í blogger contributing to ABC Open’s Aftermath project.

June Perkins was at home in Tully with her husband, three children and a multitude of pets when Cyclone Yasi struck North Queensland with devastating force on 3 February 2011, one year ago today.

A huge mango tree fell through the roof of their house, splintering the ceiling. Terrifying winds struck the house from all directions.

Then, in the calm of the eye of the storm, the family fled their damaged house for a safer, low-to-ground brick home of one of their neighbours.

The next day they returned to find their home was wrecked. They have recently moved to Murray Upper.

After a local told the ABC about postings by Dr Perkins on Pearlz Dreaming, her long-running blog on life, poetry and virtues, she was invited to be a guest blogger representing North Queensland for ABC Open’s Aftermath project.

The project follows the stories of people trying to rebuild their lives and their communities and to recover from recent natural disasters.

Dr Perkins was asked to write a blog at least once a fortnight on her experiences following the cyclone. Her posts can be viewed here.

“So far I have contributed thirteen written blogs, one video and 24 photographs to the project,” she says.

“The most amazing thing about everything our family has been through in the last few months has been witnessing the spiritual capacity of our community.

“In terms of spiritual and faith themes I focus on themes to do with virtues people are displaying in the recovery process, such as resilience, caring and helpfulness.”

In one posting, she writes about “Ute Angels”, people who “walk the spiritual path with practical feet”.

“How do you picture angels?” she writes.

“For me they are dressed in shorts and t-shirts with big smiles on their faces as they help load a ute of more sodden belongings to sort. These angels are the ones who are there for you —  unasked and rarely publicised.

“Some of the best days during the recovery process in the Cassowary Coast have been the unexpected and unasked for assistance from many people we never knew cared about us and also from complete strangers.

“The day we arrived at our new home there were fresh new sheets, towels and pillow cases waiting on the doorstep. It felt like some angels put them there. We made so many trips back and forth between our old and new home that we needed more angels, specifically ute angels, and as if our prayers were answered, they appeared!”

Dr Perkins’ postings cover a range of themes, including helpful visits by people from outside the district.

“I have covered the role of the arts in the healing process at some length – with visits from musicians, songwriters, and writing mentors playing an important role in assisting people to be inspired to get back on their feet.

“I plan to do about six more written blogs and am collaborating on a video documentary of our family’s experience of the cyclone, recovery and aftermath. I am producing several small video documentaries of local stories and am sharing these on Pearlz Dreaming and ABC Open.”

Read June’s story on ABC.

If you have an article on your blogging or arts experience as a Baha’ i please send a link to it here.

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Pearlz Dreaming’s Blogger’s Manifesto

Pearlz Dreaming

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Creative Commons rjacklin1975

1- Save all things I am keen to publish in other formats by NOT placing them on my blogs.

2- Blog the process and support materials that assist me to create my memoirs, poetry, booka and films (cool things like letters, programs and historical hyperlinks.) Share some RAW MATERIALS (try not to give too much, but just enough away).

3- Sometimes share short EXTRACTS, covers, or drafts for reader feedback with specific questions.  Make these extracts examples of my BEST WRITING.

4- Share the occasional poem or piece that I want the blog to be its publication and it is shared to inspire not for any profit or expectation (but still make sure people respect copyright by attributing it to me if reposting or sharing). STILL HAVE NOT FOR PROFIT writing.


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Writers New to Blogging – Handy Tips 1#

Pearlz Dreaming

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Ivanneth Creative Commons

So you’re a writer and have started a blog because everyone has told you to do so. Now you’re wondering how to go about it.

1) Pick your theme. With themes it’s a good idea to check what they look like on phone and tablet as well, as some themes translate better across devices and people may read your work on their tablet rather than laptop or pc. Personally I like clear uncluttered layouts. The theme used on this blog at the moment is sketch.

2) Choose interesting and related topics. 1)How you researched or created your book (really interesting for historical books) 2)Typical days in your writing life 3) Interview with a character or expert in your field 4) Interviews or reviews of works in your genre that you admire 5) Great news you want to share (be humble though). I…

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