Thursday, November 23, 2017

Into the Virtuous World

 Into the Virtuous World: 

a look into the acquisition of virtues in a virtual workplace


The separation of work and religion

For years, a lot of us has successfully evaded discussion of our Faith and the practice of our religion at our workplace with studies indicating that it is not in alignment with the corporate goals as it evokes conflict particularly stemming from differing religious backgrounds as one article expounds.

It is with sadness that a disconnect of the employee from his core spiritual being is enforced in the spirit of material benefits leading to an artificial  dichotomy of the individual. Research, however, contradicts competing interests of said tenets. As the paper suggests, the decision to embrace organizational spirituality have in fact far-reaching benefits that embraces religious diversity and impacts all including non-religious workers.


The rise of the virtual work world

Recently, I chanced upon  upcoming business trends and one prediction that struck a chord is the rise of remote workers by 2020 resulting from one of the  global business leaders’ summit.

A 2017 blog for remote predictions is proving to be right on the spot as this year ends. And this is particularly felt even in this far-flung area in the Pacific where I am located, Manila. Being a virtual worker myself for 8 years now, I went on to research about what it means to have a virtual team having been immersed in such an environment with nary a formal training on what it means to be “virtual”.  A Project Manager, by profession, I am accustomed to running project teams with members spanning across the globe and working at various time zones to ensure efficient communication flows through the entire project lifecycle which would be tantamount to successfully completing a project. Thus, it is essential for me to make virtual teams work.


A changing society

Evidence of moral degradation greets us daily as we connect to various news media. Almost half of the society perceive it as the reality of our times.

In the iOT (Internet of things) age, a lot of us are threatened by the possible negative outcomes that come with it. In a study by Pew Internet Project , the survey results indicate an almost split perception on the impact of technology on the brains of our youth. Fears of loss of deep-thinking capabilities and face to face social skills compete with the idea that the change in the youth’s learning behavior and cognitive abilities are positive steps in the human evolution. One of the interviewees mentioned that “The human brain is wired to adapt to what the environment around it requires for survival …


A future framework for work relationships


The co-dependent nature of being virtual and virtuous and their future roles in the business arena excites me in a way that it connotes the beginning of an era where global business leaders begin to embrace pursuits of knowledge beyond material and human education into the divine or spiritual thus paving the way to the breakdown of prejudices and mediocrity as well as the practice of genuine respect for others. It leads to a different level of conflict management that favors a more holistic benefit for all.


1.      Developing the moral man

One core element of a virtual team is the presence of high morals and standards. Just imagine the abuse of the privileges of working from home or from any location by an individual that is less spiritually developed. Without the presence of trust, such a setting will not persist.  A virtual team leader will be spending less productive time monitoring and disciplining  his members as opposed to empowering them to produce positive products for the company. It is then, imperative, that the corporate culture should consider the spiritual education of its employees as key in all its learning and development programs. In the book, “New Approaches to the moral education of children” * by Dr. Martha Taylor, she presented the educational philosophy, the principles and teachings of the Baha’i Faith and some of their implications about values education. It pertains to an unbiased method of inculcating deep religious values among children, regardless of their faith. It is with this, that I endeavor work organizations to view the development of the moral man in a similar fashion as instrumental to business success

 “Man is, even as steel, the essence of which is hidden, through admonition and explanation, good counsel and education, that essence will be brought to light. If, however, he be allowed in his original condition. the corrosion of lusts and appetites will effectively destroy him.” (Bahá’u’lláh, B.E, p.3)

2.      Unleashing the innovative mind

As the world surrounding us spins in an accelerated pace, mental re-wiring is inevitable and judgment skills need to be heightened as we attempt to process multiple sources of information in search of truth.

Working physically away from team members unburdens the individual of actual physical distractions of co-employee relations where only necessary interactions are maintained. During these less frequent required interactions via the aid of technology, there is increased cooperation and doubled effort to communicate to compensate for the lack of non-verbal language and perceived lower engagement.  More focused participation and understanding of time limitations typically breeds a more positive result for brainstorming sessions aiding to better decision-making capabilities.

Such a virtual structure while encouraging absorbed team interaction also promotes isolation. As most experts say, isolation and quiet time facilitate the creative process.

Veering away from the comforts of a brick and mortar infrastructure to a totally different way of collaboration such as a virtual organization most often fosters creativity and innovation as the organizational shift translates to a paradigm shift of the mind.


3.      Alignment of goals

The beauty of the socio-economic framework presented by the Bahai Faith lies in the strong belief   that we “have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization”. Bahá’u’lláh, the Faith’s Prophet-founder, wrote, “Be anxiously concerned with the needs of the age ye live in, and center your deliberations on its exigencies and requirements.”

Thus, a spiritually-charged individual is of the notion that one’s mission in the world is to promote and seek its betterment. This principle aligns to a company’s goals of providing quality service to its customers and being attuned to its needs and requirements. A perception of the extension of one’s work task of one’s life mission provides the work-life balance and motivation that attracts and retains employees. It perpetuates a desirable output of values contribution.


The rapid growth of the “work from home” phenomenon has been a prediction that continues to next year therefore, a trend that even small enterprises would have to embrace and prepare for. One article indicates that it is an attractive option for seeking talent that places a high premium on lowering stress and reducing transport costs. It also seems in congruence with the working styles of the millennial youth  that will serve as our prime resource pool of the new age. However, preparation and support of said trend needs to be charted with an appropriate strategy of spiritual education for it to be sustainable. Although models for spirituality in the workplace are made available, a more encompassing framework espoused by the Bahai Faith allows a systematic application of the principles of shared values amidst diversity. Working remotely allows prioritization of a shared value such as the family unit. Ensuring that spirituality is present in this unit and spills over to the workplace and other stakeholders such as the customers is essential in its continuance.


*Taylor, Martha., “New Approaches to the Moral Education of Children”, Third edition, 2017.    

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


My Michael is out. He brought the kids to school this morning as I was not feeling well and then proceeded to his workplace. After the morning rush and cajoling  the kids to eat their breakfast , take a bath, brush their teeth, wear their uniforms  ( all in 45 minutes tops) and then have Mommy fix the little girl’s hair, I feel a spiraling down of adrenaline  as I sat here alone in front of my computer. Suddenly, there was quiet, a little time squeezes in to reflect on the events of the past 5 days. You see, just last weekend I found I was pregnant  or should I say I am pregnant, one can’t really be sure what the right grammar to use at this situation. Everything was stacked against the little one from the moment that he made his presence felt three times via a pregnancy test kit result  and  his mother’s reaction has ranged from extreme shock, hysterics and denial. Yes, this one was definitely unplanned. The financial implications, the sacrifices that would come with his birth have been primary on his parents’ minds. And so as to get professional confirmation of his existence, an ultrasound was in order. And there he was, hanging midway from the opening of the fallopian tube going into the uterus, uncertain of taking the plunge. The chances of him surviving is very very low said my OB. Even if he did decide to fall rightfully into the uterus in the next week , my endometrium lining is too thin and below normal and he will not be able to implant properly. However, the doctor said the little one is a jumper as he was conceived from the right and for some mysterious reason , the gestational sac was found in the left edge of the tube instead of falling into the ovary pit. And just to up his probability of non-existence, I experienced spot bleeding early in the morning a couple of days ago and had to repeat the ultrasound. We searched and searched but we can no longer find him. He might have washed away with the blood is the most likely explanation said the OB. So my doctor just to officially rule out the pregnancy’s viability recommended HCG levels monitoring for three days. If the levels are going up then the pregnancy might still be a possibility, he may just be in hiding so we were not able to see him earlier. If the HCG levels goes down, that confirms the miscarriage. The probability of him surviving is really almost nil. I am 41, had two caesarian operations , one miscarriage and my pelvic bone has been broken in a past accident of 16 years ago. At night when all is quiet, I had a chance to really talk to him, convey my sincerest apologies for my initial reaction. I told him to forget about the first day and that rest assure that if he did plan to come to this world, mommy will welcome him with open and loving arms. If he wants to fight this out, mommy will fight with him.  Tears have not stopped rolling down my eyes for the past 5 days , It has been a roller coaster of emotions mixed with bodily pains. And then last night, the first day’s HCG level was released. The trend is going up and the HCG level indicates pregnancy. If the value doubles today then a miracle is at work and we are in for a very long haul. There is hope., slim and most likely false but still …hope .
‘ Mommy, did you have a bad egg?’. That was Jena after hearing the news that the baby did not make it.
“‘Next time, mommy, when you have a baby, you make sure to hold on to it.”, that was Bonn with his disappointed tone.

“Yes, dears. I’m sorry, Bonn. Next time, I will….. I’m really very sorry…”

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Generosity and I

My sleeping routine has been a mess lately resulting to times like this when I am wide awake at 2:22 am wide awake and writing this piece on an  Easter Sunday.

I have never fully understood the saying that when you give more, you get more probably until now.
Of course, having been raised Catholic by my dear mother, she has always ingrained in us the importance of giving to charity and attending to the less fortunate. This is mostly driven from her experience of having totally none and dependent on relatives to survive.And out of all the people she have helped in her life from relatives to non-relatives to better their lives financially, she has been several times heartbroken because not most will be thankful. I would hear her complain about so and so being rude to her and ungrateful and how she could not fathom why their lives continue to be miserable despite all her assistance. But she is always at it, giving what she got even if she doesn' t have enough.

Money problems always stress me out.When I start my numbers crunching and comes to the conclusion that our income is less than our actual spend, I panic. My whole body tense and my emotions hype up to an all time high.I worry myself to a point that I can't sleep at night.
I remember a time in the past during which I  found myself at a situation when I can't pay my employees' salary for the month and have to close shop for my first and last little marketing business, my knees weakened. Prior to that episode, I have only read in books about how knees can tremble and shake from weakness to a point that you fall on the ground and can't get yourself to stand up. that was what happened to me. I hate money. I love doing things but I hate money. Money talks scare me.
I am never one for attending financial seminars or discussing investments that involves my personal undertakings. All the terms of my life insurance has been pre-negotiated by my mother. And now in investment for my kids' future, loans that we have to enter to, bills that need to be paid,  I let my husband do it because these things scare me. When I let myself go into the small details, I change to a totally different person, I become Mr. Scrooge by thinking how can you give away money to others that you don't have.

You have to share what you got if you don't have enough
It's a simple thing you can do with your friends and family , too.

Above are the lyrics of a song I have been teaching my pre-school (2-4 yo)  virtues class at my home every Mondays and Wednesdays for the entire month of March. The curriculum which focuses on one virtue per month was lifted off the Bahai inspired website
My primary motivation for starting the classes was my own children. And from these classes, I gained new  friendships with other moms in our condominium and playmates for my own kids.

I have always wanted to teach. Back when I was a new Chemistry graduate, I have considered teaching in universities as a career but for some reason, I ended up in the research field and eventually management roles. There was a time I have considered teaching management part-time in a university but my employer at that time has a policy against work outside the company.
And now, I am a teacher of something more than the subjects of Chemistry and Management.
 Every weekend, I  look foward to my sessions with the youth aged 14 to 17. Teaching them about moral values and the importance of growing  the spirtitual life have been quite fulfilling.

I sometimes reflect with my husband how I am doing so many volunteer work already and maybe its time to lay low given I'm also a working mom. And yet, deep inside me, I can feel change. I can't stop now. I don't cry and complain as much as I used to. I am developing calming techiques as I teach. I had succesful brief conversations with my husband about our money situation where I don't end up shouting or crying. Somehow, there resides in the deep recesses of my mind the assurance that everything is going to be all right. My kids will grow up all right.I don't have to worry all the time.

Another song I have taught the kids ,

" I'm a clean kid, I keep my life in order. I'm a clean kid, I wash my hands everyday."

I sing this with the kids a lot of times and somehow, it takes a whole new different meaning for me as an adult. It becomes a personal challenge to keep my life in order and to keep my heart pure every single day.

And my last children's song for you...

"Happiness is something that you give away, give away, give away.
Happiness is something that you give away and it comes right back to you."

To my husband and kids, thank you for all the happiness you give me. Happiness that I can share to others.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I was walking Bonn to school this morning when he decided to ran ahead of me. With that, his shoe flew off to the side of the street with its insole coming out. Bonn’s face became really distraught as he called out to me. “ Mommy, Mommy. My shoe!”. I hurriedly picked up the shoe and the separated shoe sole. And then I heard him cry out  “ Oh No! I will never go to school ever again.”……..

“Because of the shoe?”, I asked. “ But Mommy is gonna fix it, see?”   I went up to him and showed him how to stick back the inner sole into the shoe and then I placed it back on his right foot. “ but it’s broken, Mommy…I’m never ever going to school again.” I looked him straight to his face with all the reassurance I can muster  and told him. “ It’s not broken anymore, Mommy fixed it.” He looked back with uncertainty as if he doesn’t believe me. “it’s broken, Mommy, it’s broken.”  “Now, try to walk….” . He stepped forward slowly and went back to his happy self, hopping merrily off to school as I followed right behind him.
I’m not sure if he has forgotten the incident by now but it has surely got me to thinking and writing. First, I wonder how he came to the conclusion that a broken shoe will stop him from attending his pre-school classes. Well, that would probably be easy as he needs his shoes to walk to school but what got to me were the words “never ever”. Ok, at this point, most of you would probably stop me and say, stop overthinking, it was just child talk. Still, it bothered me. Am I lacking in instilling in my child the notion of putting less value on material things and more on important stuff like learning, joy, kindness, thoughtfulness, …you know all the real good values. How could his world fall apart over a broken shoe? Is this a vision of things to come? I can’t remove the picture of his crestfallen face out of my mind.
Or maybe its just a case  of ensuring next time I put aside budget concerns in buying his personal stuff and really ensure high quality ones. I always try to be in the middle, you know like that EQ diaper commercial, quality without the added expense. Still, I wonder.. . should  I learn something more from this incident/ should I double time in telling him stories of children poorer than him than goes to school barefooted. He is only 3 years old, would he understand that?  Maybe more VALUES stories vs Disney junior adventures?

It’s nearly time to pick him up from school so I should put the keyboards to rest now. I need to review my parenting strategy again and be always vigilant. If things need to be corrected, it has to be done sooner than later.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


I just realized its almost two years  since I last wrote an entry. What happened between then and now can be summarized in one name "JENA". I gave birth to a healthy baby girl February 8, 2013. With her birth was another change in residence this time to a two bedroom unit in Siena Park Residences. I would say its an upgraded " boxed living"  as we have an extra bedroom to serve as playroom for the kids.The amenities. however, are the same....pool, playground. clubhouse.

The dynamics have changed somehow and the demands of motherhood have amplified  to a level that I have foregone writing for some time. Every now and them , I would be able to write a few verses and post them in my facebook account. Those couple of verses plus  give or take a few  more sums up my writing diet.

I am writing this  9 minutes before midnight just after my last audio conference meeting for work and I would say I am dead tired. So this would be very short as I do want to lie down and rest  for Jena's wake up time at 5AM when everyone gets up even Bonn. My Michael prepares to go to work, my Jena and Bonn heads to the other room where their bookshelf and toy boxes are while I get breakfast ready to feed my kids.I would have difficulties carrying out these tasks so my first order of the day is heat up water for coffee.This is regardless of the fact that I just consumed a cup of coffee three hours ago so I can stay awake for work.My Michael leaves at around 6 to 630 AM but not before he rounds us up to say a morning prayer. Once he is gone, I would be alone with the kids. I would start preparing items to put in Bonn's snack box.Yes, Bomn is now going to Nursery to a school within walking distance from our place.I would turn the TV on to Disney Junior so that I can be sure Bonn is not actively playing with Jena. Bonn would be watching TV typically bananas in pajamas while Jena either sits  browsing over the pictures of a book or following Mommy around in the kitchen requesting water, or yoghurt drink or biscuits or just wanting to be carried.. If I do allow them to play together, it would be when I am 100% focused on watching them and not doing others tasks.The reason is because Bonn, at his young age, gets streaks of jealousy and would push Jena.There were times in the past that she had incurred a small bump in the head which thankfully did not worsen. With Bonn's snacks secured, all his school stuff ready, the biggest hurdle for the day would be to give him a bath , change him to his school uniform and beg him o put on his black shoes. This , while Jena is in full sight from the open bathroom door and not allowed entry. The difficult task done, I now change clothes to accompany Bonn to school. Ideally, the stay out help arrives 730 am so I can leave Jena behind. Most times though , she will be absent or late so I simply get the stroller ready, strap Jena to it and then with the other hand guide Bonn out of the door.

Bonn arrives at school around 8 am and then will let out his standard scream and cries  when Mommy leaves.I have to whisper to him again saying , "Mommies are not allowed inside the classroom. Mommy loves you very much.Follow what Teacher says.I'll come back for you after school (which is 1030 AM)."

I head home within 10 minutes and will now be exposed to Jena's crying, a signal that she is sleepy.Mommy would then cradle her in her arms and sing her a lullabye to sleep,.1030AM arrives and I go pick-up Bonn.The help would have arrived this time so I can leave Jena behind.

I would open Bonn's snack box and will ask him to finish his left overs. This he will gamely do if you let him play with his cars first or his playdo. Lunch is prepared and served, kids are fed and Bonn is changed to naptime clothes. I prepare his before sleep milk bottle and accompanies him to the room.Hopefully Mommy gets to sleep a couple of hours with Bonn if he doesn't scream "NOT TOO SLEEP WITH MOMMY! PLAY OUTSIDE!' And the daily battle begins involving tears, catch me if you can game, to mommy pleas and negotiations such as  if you sleep, we will go swim in the pool when you wake up or if you sleep Mommy will make an angry bird from your play doh, etc..etc..or sometimes I just will be direct and tell him. Mommy is very tired and sleepy so please would you sleep with her because she won;t be able to sleep if you don't an dof course, that doesn't work. There are times I get to put him to sleep in an hour. If I don't , then it would simply mean I have to put him to sleep at night two hours earlier than his 830PM bedtime,

That rounds up my morning routine. The afternoon will all come rushing in with putting Jena to sleep after Bonn, trying to do some work, afternoon meetings over the phone.Thinking what to give the kids for afternoon snack....thinking what to cook for dinner...daddy arriving...mommy putting the kids to bed again...mommy rushing to the computer for meetings and reports and everything ends like tonight did.Computer is shut down. Doors are checked if locked.Lights are turned off at the living room.I enter the bedroom and lie besides Jena who hopefully won't wake up between now and 5 AM.Sometimes, I would continue to be awake until 2 AM due to the coffee taken.

Then it all starts again the following day.

It took me thirty minutes to write this entry.Precious sleep time gone. but I wanted to document this part of my life so one day I can look back and say 'it was all worth it".

But I guess I don't have to wait for a couple more years to read this entry again and say that.

Just as I finish this up, I already know "it's all worth it.."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I know its 5 AM in the morning and time to get up when I hear my toddler humming his morning song. He will twist and turn in the bed checking if his companions are awake. And if they are not, he will be sure to wake up his mommy and daddy by poking at their faces, tapping his daddy’s tummy like a drum or pinching his mommy’s nostrils.

It’s the start of one more day at our one bedroom unit at Tribeca. Sleep still tries to overpower me as I have just gone to bed midnight due to my office work. Automatically, I will get up and get a change of diaper for Bonn. Straight to the kitchen, I’ll be preparing Bonn’s morning milk. As I get up and head outside the room, Bonn is sure to follow me around while his daddy goes to the bathroom for his bath to prepare to leave for work in Quezon City.

With a typical breakfast of coffee, hotdogs, eggs, toasted bread, jam and butter, Bonn will be insistent to sit on his daddy’s lap and join us in the table. He would completely whine if you insist he sits on his high chair and will totally ignore the oats Mommy prepared for him in favor of the juicy hotdog he sees us seemingly enjoying. Of course, later on when he starts watching his DVDs after his father leaves, he will finish his oats.

As soon as his daddy approaches the door, Bonn will hurry up to get his shoes, give it to me so I can put it on him. Soon as it is on, he will hurry to his daddy to carry him out of the door.

Once the door opens, he will let out a squeaking sound of glee and wave his arms up in excitement. He will gamely push the “down arrow” button in the elevator and watch in amazement the neon light change from G to 2 to 3 to 4 and finally G and the door finally opens.

Going down, he presses the “G” button and wait in anticipation for the door to reopen.

“dingdong” ,The elevator announces that we have reached ground floor. Bonn echoed the sound and also joyfully sang “dingdong” in such a cute baby tone.

We will head directly to the playground . Daddy will then leave us there and Bonn will wrap his arms tightly around Daddy ‘s neck in an attempt to stop him. But I will gently coax him out of his Daddy’s arms and hug him tight so he will not cry. Daddy will kiss us both goodbye and I will silently say a prayer in my mind for his safety.

The playground is empty and its just Bonn and myself usually at this early hours of the morning. This will not stop him from running around one playhouse to another playing peek a boo with his mommy from inside the little windows of the make believe fire stations, car shop, parlor and cottages.

He will then insist to climb up the yellow slide wherein I will simply lift him up a little so he can slide down with me holding him tight. He will then start climbing the wooden ladder and I will follow him, up and down…then up and down again until he loses interest and start playing with the sand on the sandbox. After some time, I will feel tired and I will grab him and sit him on my lap as we do the swing. But his energy will seem endless so I will just watch in one of the bench as he kicks his small football around.

Sometimes, a plane will hover from the sky and he will automatically stop what he is doing to look up. “ Plane” , I will tell him.

After non -stop running around, I will notice his moves to slow down and I will gently carry him back to the unit . He will so charmingly lay his head against my shoulders to rest in agreement.

Soon as inside, he will pick up a couple of his books from the bookshelf and carry them with him up into the bed. I will get one and read to him as he lie down quiet sleepy. Once the book reading is over, he will wrap his arm around my neck, hug me and close his eyes. I, too will close my eyes as I hum lullabyes. Soon both of us will be sound asleep.

One more morning has passed and we both groggily get up from bed to greet “almost” noon. I will put on his DVD of “Your Baby can Read” and he will sit quietly watching the TV as I mouthed the words along for him. He will have his yoghurt milk drink and biscuits in both hands and in some points will lose interest. I will then get his LEGO blocks, build a structure so he can tear them apart. He loves tearing the lego blocks apart instead of the other way around. Before lunch will be filled with playing with his toys …riding in his toy car around the small sala space mostly with Mommy pushing him around as the remote control has been defective for a time now. That or we will be downstairs at the swimming pool doing “ Catch me, Mommy” sessions in the water with his floating red car and his friend, Dolphin.

We both will have rice meal for lunch and then take our baths after. I will do a little TV watching mostly on ETC channel or 2nd adventure while he tinkers with his toys on his own.

It will be really hot around this time especially with the aircon off so I will take him to the room, turn the aircon on, close the door and begin the process of making sleep again. In a while he will be sound asleep once more.

At that time, I will get my laptop and do work as I watch him sleep. Sometimes, I will stop for a long time and just stare at his sleeping figure overwhelmed with affection for the little active tyke.

A couple hours and he will be up and perky again, ready for another round of play. After a quick snack, we will head back down for playtime in the soccer field. He will used up his energy running around the field, kicking his soccer ball around.

Shortly, 6 PM will arrive and his Daddy will be home. Dinner will be served. Milk will be prepared. Bonn will have his sponge bath and night clothes and I will rock him sideways again to sleep with Mommy’s routine “go to sleep” songs. As I leave him in his peaceful slumber, I will be able to concentrate on work once more til midnight. At times, when I have early evening calls, it will be his Daddy who would put him to sleep.

Midnight, I’ll climb to the bed where my sleeping boys are. I will stare at their sleeping faces for a while and mutter a quick thank you to Above for the blessings I have.

This is a slice of my life in a small box. It can be routinely unexciting but somehow, there’s this inkling of contentment. Because my world is my child and I am endlessly amazed at how fast he grows every day. I am just glad I am here beside him to witness this miracle everyday.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Naw Ruz Reflection

Lately, I have been afraid to write about things that are really important, about things that matter for the reason that I am afraid not to give justice to it or diminish its value. I wanted the words to be perfect and the intended message extremely loud and clear. I have been so used to writing about myself, my feelings, my thoughts with nary an intention but self expression. Writing , with the goal of reaching out to people and communicating an urgent message that impacts their lives is to say the least, difficult , scary and intimidating. But at some point in time, I have to gather my nervous guts into doing it.


On March 30, I will be flying to Bangkok to a seminar on “Involvement in the Life of Society” as a Philippine external affairs delegate for the Bahai Philippines Community. The seminar has been called upon by no less than the Universal House of Justice.


I have been involved with the community for a little less than 2 years. Sometime ago when I declared myself as Bahai, I knew it was not a decision I made just because I wanted a unified marriage and family life. I was leaving behind a whole set of beliefs and a way of life I have been passionately involved in for all of my life until that moment. I was terrified. I remembered crying a lot about it. It was then, according to my God-given logic and intellect, an obvious path to be taken. Someday, I said, my heart will follow.


The other day, the Las Pinas Bahai Community celebrated NAW RUZ. It signifies the end of fasting and the start of the Bahai New Year on March 20, 2012. Hosted by the Reyhanis, our resident Persian Family, we were treated to exquisite Persian dinner and dessert. Pizza and cake, however, were made available for those with western tastes. The occasion, as other Bahai holidays, was marked with chants, prayers, readings from the writings and a brief talk and reflection.

In a country where Christian traditions and celebrations are deeply felt across an entire nation, maintaining the festivity of the event for me is a challenge to the community. Still, the simple celebration in comparison reverberates with a subtle sense of simple joy and peace to everyone present. At least from my end, that is how I felt. I am happy I am able to complete the required 19 days of fasting from sunrise to sunset. It was my first year and I am thankful to my husband for his support and faith in me.

Fasting, similar to the Christian’s holy week commemoration, is an opportunity to cleanse one’s body and soul to prepare for the coming New Year.


Words, sometimes, are like hidden tools more potent in creating understanding and empathy amongst readers. I have always been a very social person but I do not wish to be in dichotomy any further and be a dual person. I remain who I am as before being Bahai. Although I hope, now, I’m just a bit more of a better person with a conscious effort to be a contributing individual to the betterment of society. But all such goals are realized only through prayers and so I end with this prayer.

O Thou most glorious Lord! Make this little maidservant of Thine blessed and happy; cause her to be cherished at the threshold of Thy oneness, and let her drink deep from the cup of Thy love so that she may be filled with rapture and ecstasy and diffuse sweet-scented fragrance. Thou art the Mighty and the Powerful, and Thou art the All-Knowing, the All- Seeing.

                                                                                              - Abdul- Baha