Tuesday, May 29, 2012


"Dance is bigger than the physical body. Think bigger than that. When you extend your arm, it doesn't stop at the end of your fingers, because you're dancing bigger than that: you're dancing spirit." -Judith Jamison

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Eggs, Birth, and Life

I recently happened upon on a nest of robin's eggs, and am now determined to watch these little birdies hatch. I've been visiting the nest every day, and am hoping they'll be ready to experience life outside the shell sometime next week. 

How cool will it be to witness new life be brought into this world? 

This is something I've yet to experience, but I realized that an even more profound experience, must be bringing that new life into the world oneself.  I'm not a mother yet, I have no idea what it will be like to give birth, but the concept of the way humans (and animals) create new life fascinates me. Isn't it amazing what our bodies can do? Isn't it awesome that we don't have to think about it? Our bodies take care of everything themselves. Or as I believe, God takes care of everything. 

Life is such a miracle. I was sharing my thoughts on birth, bird eggs, and babies with some friends in the dining hall, when one of the women who works in the dining hall turned around and shared a remarkable story with me. When she was 17, she was told that she would never have children. She accepted that this is the way it would be, and eventually married a man with two children from a previous marriage. When she was 27 she felt sick often, but didn't think much of it, until one day it was particularly bad and she decided to go to the doctor. He told her she was 6 months pregnant! She barely gained any weight, but the baby was born perfectly healthy three months later! Almost exactly a year earlier, her father had passed away, so she says the birth of her son was God's way of giving her new life in exchange for the life he had taken away. 

Life is precious, birth is beautiful. Its such a wonderful gift that we have the capacity to share in the creation of life. I know I'm probably romanticizing it a bit. I can't quite fathom the pain that is also associated with birth. Yet, I think the pain is a gift too. The deepest part of love is the willingness to suffer, to sacrifice, and still love unconditionally. God planned that part out too. 

As much as I look forward to a future involving my own motherhood, for now I'm completely satisfied waiting for Mama Robin's baby birds to hatch. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Do not what is evil. Do what is good. Keep your mind pure. This is the teaching. -Buddha

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Family is the school of love. Its where we learn what it means to love unconditionally, sacrificially, and happily. I want to take the time to thank my mother for all the ways she's loved me, my siblings, my dad, and her own parents. Throughout my life, my Mom has constantly brushed her own needs aside for the sake of loving others. My mom is one of the most creative, talented and artistic people I know, but she gave up many of her own dreams in order to be a mother. Not a day goes by when I don't think of all the ways she sacrifices for our family. I guess thats what being a Mom is all about: putting others before yourself, loving your family enough to make them your number one priority. I'm not a mother, but I hopefully will be one day. I don't think I'll ever fully be able to understand the heart of a mother, until I am one myself. But I do know and understand that it takes a lot of love to do what my mother has done throughout my life. It takes a lot of patience, faith, prayer, hope, ingenuity, and positivity, to be the kind of mother that I have. For all this, I am so unbelievably grateful.

I love you Mom!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Musings on Mutli-faith

A few day ago my college hosted Eboo Patel as a speaker on religious pluralism. I was lucky enough to be invited to a special reception for Mr. Patel at the house of our college president, and a dinner and discussion after the talk. After spending about five hours of my day around Eboo, I am extremely grateful for many of the ideas he shared.

Between quoting Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Rumi and many others, he spoke of his own personal experiences growing up Muslim, and engaging in interfaith work. What stands out to me most is a story of how after failing to stand up for a Jewish high school friend who was facing antisemitic bullies, his father told him he had not only failed his friend, but also his own faith. What a powerful notion: when we fail to love and protect those of other faiths, we fail our own faith. Inherent in all religions is a sense of love, and compassion towards others.

Love doesn't have to be agreement, but it does have to be acceptance. A common misconception with interfaith work is that we have to establish that all our religions are true. I think we can have mutual respect for each other's believes while still holding our own faiths dear. I do believe there is one universal truth, but small pieces of that truth can be found in different cultures, traditions and faiths around the world. My life has sincerely been enriched by the multi-faith dialogues and experiences I have had. My own faith has been strengthened by learning about others, and I do right by my faith by loving those who have different views.

Above all, Eboo Patel called our campus to action. He called us to put aside our differences to make the world a better place. In a world facing a lot of religious turmoil, persecution and prejudice we need to use our common ground to build a more peaceful world.

“To see the other side, to defend another people, not despite your tradition but because of it, is the heart of pluralism.  ~ Eboo Patel