Thursday, October 28, 2010

Work Ethic

Jordanian work ethic can not even be compared to the American idea of what work is.  There is no way, no how, that the Jordanian culture can holistically comprehend of how Americans work.  I try my best to put in a full 8 - I mean 9 hours a day of work here. It's a 6 day work week here, 8 hours a day, but because at my office we get Saturday off, we should work from 9am - 6pm. I literally have no way to fill 9 hours with work in my last week at the office.  I can't take on new clients, the ones I have don't follow up, respond to e-mails, or call back. I have work to do with the designers, but because we are going to print on Sunday, they are too busy to sit with me - so literally I have nothing I can do, so kill me, I'm taking 15 minutes to blog at work this afternoon.

The silly thing is, even with nothing to do, I'm working to Jordanian standards.  As long as I finish my work, I should be ok right? Nope. I can't even take the necessary 1.5 hours per day of unpaid leave to file my visa paperwork as often as I need to.  Why not? You're not paying me for it and I finish my work, so why does it matter? Oh, apparently it matters, but I haven't found out why yet.  I've learned to just stop asking questions and just accept it for what it is.  I'll go with the system  for the next few days until my job changes to something I'm overwhelming passionate about - education and kids!

I'm looking forward to being a Kindgarten 2 and Grade 1 teacher at a renowned school here in Amman.  I can't wait to be apart of community building and knowledge empowerment, instead of lying, cheating, and scheming that most of the marketing and publishing world is about.  The task of being the change I want to see in that realm is way too overwhelming for my spirit right now.  Instead I'll be willing to trade that for blessed little 5 year olds and a smile :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I want to grow.

I think I decided to name a goal and work to achieve it. This is my motivation. A goal to make each morn better than the previous eve. A goal to grow in my faith. A goal to better myself each day and not dwell on my faults. A goal to learn how to talk about faith, life, and unity.  I want to build my spiritual toolbox.  I want to have a full service garage when I get to the next place. I want to teach. Teach children, not fill their cup, but teach them that knowledge is something to be embraced and to empower themselves. To watch them grow, to make each of their morns better than their previous eves.

I want to study more. I want to learn more. I want to be more. I want to detach from my love for a land, not to say that is a bad thing, but to know that my soul and heart can be free to do the will of God's and not my own.  I want to be a useful being, to use all of my capacity. I want to use my talents - although sometimes I don't always know what they are.  I want to give all of myself so I can do the work that is right for me, knowing that he will give me something I will love to do and will be good at. That is what I so eagerly want. I want to return home to visit and see my friends and know they are growing also... maybe alongside me or maybe apart... but to know they are growing too. That is all I want.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Anniversary of the Birth of The Bab

So it's my first Anniversary of the Birth of The Bab and I'm Amman, Jordan.  I am not allowed to take the day off from work because I am still in my probationary period but here is a neat article I came across from the Huffington Post.

Celebration of the Birth of the Bab: Dawn of the Age of the Maturity of Humanity

By Brent Poirer

It's the height of autumn's radiant color here in New Hampshire. As I look at the oranges and reds and yellows of the maple trees in the yard, I reflect on one of the divine attributes: uniqueness. Not only every tree, but every leaf on every tree that has ever existed or ever will exist is unique. This difference lends to the beauty and overall harmony of the earth, and it is a sign of the sacred uniqueness that is an aspect of the human soul.
Today, Baha'is in 188 countries worldwide celebrate the Birth of Siyyid Ali-Muhammad, the Herald of our Faith, whom we know as the Bab, a title that means both "Door" and "Gate" in Arabic. The first of the two Manifestations of God -- Prophets -- of our faith, the Bab was born in 1819 in Persia, today's Iran. The Baha'i writings state:
"The appearance of the Bab resembles the dawn, for the dawn holds the promise of the sun. The dawn of the Bab promised the rising of the sun of truth that is to envelop the whole world."

The House of the Bab, Shiraz, Iran, before its destruction in 1979 Copyright © 2007 Baha'i International Community, Used with permission

To Baha'is, his birth represents the dawn of a divinely promised Day in humanity's life, the age that will witness the maturity of the human race. That maturity will be reflected both in its collective unity and in the uniqueness of its individual elements. This is the dawn of a day during which we Baha'is believe the human race will create "a world organically unified in all the essential aspects of its life, its political machinery, its spiritual aspiration, its trade and finance, its script and language, and yet infinite in the diversity of the national characteristics of its federated units."
In the 1840's, the Bab called humanity to unity:
"We have created you from one tree and have caused you to be as the leaves and fruit of the same tree, that haply ye may become a source of comfort to one another. Regard ye not others save as ye regard your own selves ... It behooveth you all to be one indivisible people."
His advent signaled the termination of the "Prophetic Cycle" and the inception of the "Cycle of Fulfillment." He publicly claimed to fulfill the promises of all faiths:
"I am, I am, I am, the promised One! I am the One whose name you have for a thousand years invoked, at whose mention you have risen, whose advent you have longed to witness, and the hour of whose Revelation you have prayed God to hasten."
When he sent his first disciples into the world to proclaim his Faith, he summoned them to loftiness, to sacrifice for the proclamation of the truth and to a unified view of the world's great faiths:
"O My beloved friends! You are the bearers of the name of God in this Day. You have been chosen as the repositories of His mystery. It behoves each one of you to manifest the attributes of God, and to exemplify by your deeds and words the signs of His righteousness, His power and glory. The very members of your body must bear witness to the loftiness of your purpose, the integrity of your life, the reality of your faith, and the exalted character of your devotion ... The time is come when naught but the purest motive, supported by deeds of stainless purity, can ascend to the throne of the Most High and be acceptable unto Him."
In his farewell address to these disciples he quoted verses and used imagery from the Hebrew Bible, the Gospel of Matthew and the Quran, and he sent one of his disciples to the peoples of India.

He was intolerant of mediocrity, and wrote that "Everything must be brought to its utmost limit of perfection." We Baha'is often emphasize unity, but the call in our Faith to uniqueness is no less important. Each of us is compared to "a mine rich in gems of inestimable value." We are assured that in this day the "potentialities inherent" within us will be attained, and the "innate excellence" of our reality will be demonstrated. Experience tells us that our destiny, our ultimate self-awareness, comes through our common service to humanity.
These two aspects of spiritual maturity -- the expression of our own identity, and the harmonization of our beliefs and goals -- will only be brought about by the utmost effort. Our writings, speaking of the attainment of world civilization, state:
"A few, unaware of the power latent in human endeavor, consider this matter as highly impracticable, nay even beyond the scope of man's utmost efforts. Such is not the case, however. On the contrary, thanks to the unfailing grace of God, the loving-kindness of His favored ones, the unrivaled endeavors of wise and capable souls, and the thoughts and ideas of the peerless leaders of this age, nothing whatsoever can be regarded as unattainable. Endeavor, ceaseless endeavor, is required. Nothing short of an indomitable determination can possibly achieve it. Many a cause which past ages have regarded as purely visionary, yet in this day has become most easy and practicable. Why should this most great and lofty Cause -- the daystar of the firmament of true civilization and the cause of the glory, the advancement, the well-being and the success of all humanity -- be regarded as impossible of achievement? Surely the day will come when its beauteous light shall shed illumination upon the assemblage of man."
This effort is worthy of the wholehearted commitment of our life's energies. Today, we celebrate the birth of One who gave his life for this goal.

My two cents:
I think the fact that I know I can't take off work from this day to observe in makes it that much more real to me.  The Bab suffered immense persecution and his followers the same.  He eventually paid the ultimate price for this Cause, so how can I be so effected by not being allow to not work? I know the American Baha'is are the spiritual descendants of the Dawn Breakers and we will not suffer in the same way as they once did... but recognizing the rights in America and the place where America is at makes me so grateful.  Like I have said before, Americans are so blessed.  Share and spread the unity and love that has been learned. Help it grow. Be thankful.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Indefinite Needs to Become Definite

I have learned in the short amount of time here that my soul is so completely unprepared for the challenge that is picking up one's entire life to place it in a foreign land and at the same time sustaining one's personal growth.  Who was I to think I was at all capable of that? Yeah, I am endowed with the same attributes as all others, but my capacity is not at a level that can sustain this.  I am seriously considering where it is best for me to be.  I have so much opportunity to serve in Minnesota. Although working and career goals were completely absent there, I had so much chance to help my community. Here, I have work and great opportunity for experience in that realm, but my service is absent. What is my problem? I feel truly alone in this effort, I am not connected to my community, simply because I am a foreigner and I know no one and no one wants anything to do with me because I am an American woman. I starting to understand I chose the wrong place to be. Time to go home? I don't want to give up that easily, but I want to see the confirmation.  I think I am ok with leaving if that is what I'm suppose to do, but I don't want to... learning detachment is my biggest challenge.

I know it is not at all the Baha'is here responsibility to tell me when feast is or where it is... but I seemed to have missed it.  I e-mailed the one Baha'i I have an e-mail for to attempt to get in contact with one from my area, no response.  The other Baha'i I know, who also knew I moved to a different area didn't know who I should have contacted either.  Maybe it's time I really get motivated to meet some Baha'is here.  But I feel like I don't know where to start.  Religious freedom is something I think about daily.  Jordan is very tolerant in general, but I'm not allowed to take off work for the Anniversary of the Birth of the Bab because I'm still in my probationary period for work. Yet, I am allowed 1.5 hrs a day unpaid leave if I want it. I don't quite understand, but regardless it really saddens my heart.  It also makes me realize how much potential there is in America. Hey, American Baha'is you are blessed! Please run like the wind with your opportunity! It's so great a gift!

I think in the end, I need to put a time limit on my stay in Jordan.  This way I can establish goals and have the hope of returning home to a place I truly love and feel I can prosper in.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cultural Rejection

It seems as though I have transplanted myself in a place that I thought I understood and have come to find out I know utterly nothing about.  Sitting in my bedroom of my apartment near Durwa Al-Waha in Amman, Jordan... I see the radio tower on the building cross the way, though metal bars on a window with an additional metal shade.  Why are these "security" measures need on the top floor of an apartment building? They aren't.  Why are the middle aged men in my building silent as I walk past? Because I'm a western woman, I'm 7aram.  There are far too many things I thought I understood, that know I realize I know nothing about.  My ignorance hinders me. I don't go out on errands because I have been spoiled with personal transportation in the states and the "luxury" of finding everything at Target in one shopping trip.  I don't want to have to figure out where to go to find a proper lamp, shoes, or band-aids.  I rather stay at home, eat nothing - because I won't go to the produce shop, and do laundry, but I'm wasting water.

Personal challenges are one thing, but this is about spiritual challenges in the end. And not having the right to ask for a religious holiday off from work because one - I'd have to use personal time off and two - I'd still in my probational period. But I can take up to 1.5 hrs off per day unpaid leave? I don't understand. I just don't get it. And these, "I just don't get it" moments are turning into the ultimate frustration and instead of wanting to understand, I push away and reject it.  How can I say, "I love Jordan and want to move my life here," but then end up wanting to push away the entire culture? I'm at a loss for words and patience. I'm so privileged to have been raise in America. So, why is it so hard to sacrifice that priviledged living environment to attempt to teach others? I knew this would be difficult and a great test - but I had no idea that it would be in such a realm I never knew I possessed.