the ultimate contradiction i find myself in while i write my thesis:

AKA why it has taken me so long to write my thesis (BORRRRINGGG).

my favorite book of all time, like, my professional (and personal, as everything is interconnected, right??) "bible": THE MORAL IMAGINATION by John Paul Lederach.

This part really resonated with me today:

In the professional world of writing, we view with caution, even suspicion, the appearance of the personal, and lend a higher accent of legitimacy to models and skills, theory, well-documented case studies, and the technical application of theory that leads toward what we feel is the objectivity of conclusion and proposal. In the process, we do a disservice to our professions, to the building of theory and practice, to the public, and ultimately to ourselves. The disservice is this: When we attempt to eliminate the personal, we lose sight of ourselves, our deeper intuition, and the source of our understandings - who we are and how we are in the world. In so doing we arrive at a paradoxical destination: We believe in the knowledge we generate but not in the inherently messy and personal process by which we acquired it.


i just realized to a deeper level why this paper has been so brain wrenching for me. its not that i dont know how to write strictly academic papers, but its that my spirit has to be compleetely ignored, shoved off, seperated from my focus. How can i seperate myself that way? i am a person who lives from my spirit, incorporating that into everything i do. no wonder this has sucked. duh! thanks, JPL.

phew. someone feels me.
holler if you hear me, folks.

one of thousands of reasons i married baktash.

a gchat from him today @ work:

"did i elbow you last night. i had a dream i was fighting against some karate master. sorry."


i'd been itching to shoot lately, especially in downtown rapid city on a weekend when its ABSOLUTELY dead. like, instead of ten people out on the town, there are none. i really had been wanting to shoot for about a month down here. these buildings are really beautiful old, industrial buildings, which i find very romantic. i will shoot more soon, though it was so cold to shoot yesterday for too long.

this shoot was done right before we went to the....RODEO. shots of that soon.

p.s. which is your favorite shot?
p.s.s. if you would like to see the shots bigger, just click on the images.


take a look, give it a whirl, trip out!

the second vid is really funny and was intended to be the one and only, but as you'll see, it became the outtake. heh.

p.s. this is all true and you should also try it at home. or @ your office. or on your basketball court while you're hooping with the homies -- whatever you do, this is bound to make you popular and magical.


Attitude adjustment hour has descended upon us, yet again.

A dear friend called me today and I told her about how stressed I was with my thesis, and how these are the last couple of days before it has to be turned in. I told her how I wasn't able to really focus on working forward with it, but rather, bogged down by the challenge of it, even though I am SO CLOSE to being finished. She sent this to me in an email, a quote she felt moved to share with me, which I found so pertinent to my day today and my headspace as of late. This was a great attitude adjustment for me, as I am sure it can serve you all in some way or another. It IS important to be able to give ourselves credit for where we ARE and how we got HERE and to celebrate all of our accomplishes...as opposed to letting our negativity or self- doubt get the best of us. word em up.

"Rather than dwelling on limiting patterns and inner blockages, begin by seeing your early life experiences as stepping-stones that led to increased wisdom and mastery over your physical circumstances. Continue reviewing all of your life experiences leading up to the situation you find yourself in today, and affirm that your progress will continue as long as you embrace the process of growth and evolvement.

By honoring the ways our past experiences have contributed to who we are, we feel empowered by our progress rather than hindered by our challenges. We often take a harsh, critical view of our progress through life, focusing on the failures and mistakes we’ve made. By instead choosing to see that each experience contributes powerful wisdom and insight that move us along the path of progress, we are able to honor our growth and look forward with excitement to the next phase of growth to come. As you acknowledge the ways your experiences have contributed to your growth today, you can enjoy a sense of accomplishment and eagerness to continue along the path of progress."

Thank you, Josie.


A nice fall day with my folks in sodak

we trekked around the Black Hills National Forest this weekend with my parental unit. it was so beautiful, so amazing to get outside, away from my laptop, twisting my brain around my thesis. and its ALWAYS good to have visitors, especially those that love you unconditionally. being around my parents is very healing in a sense, or therapeutic. everytime my father and i get in the woods we just start running around. it has always energized us. i love our time with them...i am so lucky.


for my brothers and sister

DANG. i miss me some israeli food.
not to mention how AWESOME that bald headed dude is! and the music tops it all off.


sooooo excited for this book

meeting with wonderful Paul Lample last year about dialogue, conflict transformation, consultation and the social reality of the Baha'i Faith, made me overwhelmed with anticipation for this book to be printed!!!

its finally out (!!) :

"Revelation & Social Reality

Learning to Translate What Is Written into Reality
It is incumbent upon every man of insight and understanding,” Bahá’u’lláh states, “to strive to translate that which hath been written into reality and action.” When a new Revelation is brought to humanity, it upsets the equilibrium of the old social order. It unites the hearts and minds of those who recognize it, forging a community that must learn to apply the new teachings in order to contribute to the betterment of the world. This book explores how, as Bahá’ís, we try to understand Bahá’u’lláh's Revelation and act on our understanding to achieve His purpose. Topics discussed include the nature of change in social reality, Bahá’í understanding and practice, learning and growth, participating in the advancement of society, and problems of knowledge and power."

you can purchase this book here. (i just did)

sooo excited! it will bring so much solid dialogue, can't wait!

on another note: its SNOWING here in rapid city. yea, you heard me. SNOWINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG....


I make sweet jewelry and I will be donating a portion of the proceeds to a SAMOAN TSUNAMI RELIEF FUND:

Some of you are privy to the fact that i make jewelry.
My business is names LISH and i focus on using semi-precious gemstone,
and sterling silver and gold wire.
i strive to make my designs unique and one of a kind.

for the next week and a half, i will be donating 20% of my LISH proceeds to a Samoan Relief Fund. At the moment, I am currently donating to Raw Shakti fund (a local fund in Apia), and soon a Baha'i Relief Fund will be set up (I believe tomorrow) and then I will be donating to that fund.

please go to my LISH jewelry website/store and help support a great cause + get yourself a great pair of earrings at the same time!

my site is: www.lish.etsy.com

thank you for supporting this cause!

big love,


In regards to the Baha'is of Samoa after the Tsunami and such: an update

My blog has been a hot spot these last couple of days with a lot of people from all over the world emailing me with questions and asking for updates and what they can do to help...There hasn't been much out at present in regards to the Baha'is in Samoa and their status. I will do what I can to continue to keep you all updated with what I hear from my dear friends located in Apia, Samoa - Wendy & Steven Percival. I will post updates as I get them from Wendy and Steve.

Some Baha'is in Savaii:
Two email updates from Wendy that came in last night regarding Samoa and the Samoan Baha'is:

"Hi Layli,
The House of Worship is fine. All Bahai's have survived, apart from MoanaLei, a young girl from Lalomanu. Out at Lefaga, Siomia and Shirley's home was badly damaged but they're ok . Fortunately their Baha'i Preschool wasn't in session.

For those who wish to help with relief, I suggest going through some friends here who have set up a fund and are taking food and supplies to villages. They are trustworthy and dedicated, with a Yoga company here This is the link. It's also possible to donate to Red Crross New Zealand through this link.:

"Dear Layli:

By now the magnitude of the devastation in Samoa has become evident. Steven and Iosefa have been visiting the villages in the South and Eastern districts of Upolu and have been absolutely horrified. Entire villages are gone. The Lalomanu peninsula with it's many resorts is now a tangle of debris. They are still finding bodies. Cars have landed in trees and fishing boats are sitting in the remains of houses. A family we know well ( the Tafua family, Sili, Tai, Lumepa& clan) have lost 13 family members. In many cases there was nowhere to run to; either a cliff or swamp prevented an inland retreat. Some people were killed in cars and pickups as they tried to flee. The hospitals are full. Relief efforts are beginning in ernest now, with NZ and Australia sending in supplies and doctors. At least 110 have died, others injured or missing and an estimated 32,000 people affected. Some worry of disease as bodies not yet buried begin to decompose . Many individuals are helping by taking food and supplies to the coastal villages. We are concentrating on the village of Tafitoala and gathering sheets, clothing and food for the families we know there. This is one on the villages where Joe always surfs. Both he and Manu have stayed down there lots.
At home we have a steady stream of folks coming and going. I make pots of soup and coffee, homemade bread. A cousin of Steven's from NZ is visiting with his children. They had actually been booked to stay at the Tafua resort but the children got sunburned at Palolo Deep and they cancelled. The CNN reporter is with us- a 6'11' Australian named Hugh- and yesterday Joe (Iosefa) was his guide and camera man as they drove around doing interviews. Steven accompanied the Head of State and his wife on a similar tour and all returned here for dinner at the end of the day, thoroughly depressed. At this moment (Thursday morning) Steven and Hugh are out filming together on the South Coast and gathering reports. Steven has given CNN about 5 phone interviews by now. Maybe you've seen something?"

Baha'i Youth in Apia, came to visit me one night:


Steven on CNN, a personal interview regarding Samoa's tragedy

more on Samoa- phone transcript of my dear friend, Steve Percival

My friends in Samoa just emailed me again. She mentioned the the CNN reporter, Hugh Williams was staying with them and that her husband & son were taking Hugh Williams around Samoa to witness and report on the devastation. I found this phone conversation transcript on CNN. The Percival family being like my second family, I will do whatever I can to cover any work that they do regarding the situation there currently.

Steven Percival recounts:

JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: That brings us to the top of the hour. Thanks for joining us on the "Most News in the Morning" on this Wednesday, the 30th of September. I'm John Roberts.

KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Kiran Chetry. Glad you're with us.

Here are the big stories that we're going to be breaking down for you in the next 15 minutes.

First, a powerful earthquake triggering a deadly tsunami in the South Pacific. More than 80 people have been killed. The director of health services in American Samoa said he thought that it was, quote, "the end of the world." We're going to be getting a live report from Samoa in just minutes.

ROBERTS: President Obama meeting today with his national security team to figure out a strategy for the war in Afghanistan. The cost of the conflict in both lives and dollars is mounting, while support among Americans is waning. Our Barbara Starr is live from the Pentagon this morning on the difficult options facing the president.

CHETRY: And, who would think that what you do online could have the police watching you if you're doing something innocent. Well, it does happen. Our special series "Watching You 24/7" will show you the secret centers all over America where privacy and security can sometimes collide.

First, though, dramatic developments in the South Pacific right now. An absolutely disastrous scene in what was a true paradise. A magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck the Samoan Islands triggering a massive tsunami and waves that flattened villages, swept cars and people right out to sea.

Joining us on the phone for the latest is journalist and filmmaker Steve Percival, with a look how things are there.

Steve, what -- what are you seeing around you today in the wake of this tsunami?

STEVE PERCIVAL, JOURNALIST, FILMMAKER (via telephone): Well, we're beginning to see a grieving process come into play where the people who have lost members of family and relatives are coming together to grieve their loss and to say farewell to their loved ones. I just myself returned from a funeral of a first cousin.

So, it's going to be quite devastating to many, many, many people throughout the country because it's a very close knit community and the loss of life will be felt throughout the country.

CHETRY: And such a tragedy, it came so quickly and most people were just powerless to do anything. Can you explain why -- you know, where it hit and why some parts of the island are OK and others are just completely devastated?

PERCIVAL: Well, the epicenter of the earthquake was some 200 kilometers south of the two islands that make up Western -- what was formerly called Western Samoa, and some 35 kilometers deep in the Java (ph) Trench. So, when the epicenter -- when the earthquake took place, the fingers of waves' energy that was released from that traveled northwards and hit the south coast of this country and American Samoa and neighboring country that make up Samoan archipelago.

And fingers of energy -- wave energy traveled south, southwest, and actually went as far as New Zealand and hit some of the countries in that area. And I believe that the same earthquake triggered reaction in other parts of the fault line causing another earthquake to occur in other parts of the region.

CHETRY: Yes. We are hearing reports...

PERCIVAL: So, the north coast of -- the north coast of this island, for example, will not have much of an impact, although witnesses observed that the ocean did in fact (INAUDIBLE) as it did in the south coast, but not as much. And there was not the wave formation the way it formed in the south.

CHETRY: And as we understand it, they are saying that it could actually get worse in terms of the number of dead as rescue workers are still in the process of trying to access parts of the island that were, you know, just completely cut off because of the damaged infrastructure. So, this could get worse.

PERCIVAL: It is expected to get worse. A lot of the villages are very, very low lying. And villages are typically made up of some (INAUDIBLE) inhabitants of the village, on a general rule. And so, looking at the number of villages that could have been affected in the region, that district, looking at significant numbers of homeless this evening who are going to be trying to seek shelter further inland or with villages that have been spared by the waves -- because some neighboring villages look completely normal as if there's been no water intrusion and yet the neighboring village a few hundred meters away could be completely flattened.

So, the landscape changes as you travel around that area, and I'm sure that the number of casualties will be rising as more and more comes to light. And probably by the end of tomorrow, authorities will have a much clearer picture of the extent of damage and the extent of loss of life.

CHETRY: It's a devastating situation there. Steve Percival, giving us a first hand account of what is going on -- thank you for joining us this morning.

I will keep you all posted, and thank you for all of those that have visited my blog from all over the world today to see how things are going and the status of the Baha'i House of Worship in Apia. Again, keep them in your sweetest prayers.


of dear Samoa...

Most of you have hard about the destruction and chaos that has descended in the South Pacific, specifically Samoa. Most of you might not know that I used to live there, doing service for the Baha'i Faith for about six months. I became extremely close to the Samoan community and feel extremely bonded to the people and the place. What has happened recently with the tsunami has been utterly heartbreaking. I am posting to ask you to please keep them all in your best thoughts and prayers in this extremely challenging time.

I am attaching an email from one of my dearest friends who lives in Apia, Samoa, as she writes me a personal account of what has happened:

"Here life seems surreal. No time for sleep. News drifts in on people we know on the south coast. Lalomanu has been decimated. Do you remember Tafua beach fales- Loumepa's place? (she and her dad are Baha'is) Its gone. Soumepa and Tili are in the hospital, the little girl has drowned. It's dreadful to see the destruction.

Here is my account of what happenned in our house:
I was making breakfast yesterday when the house began to shake. It's
not uncommon to have tremors and I usually stop what I'm doing and
marvel at the peculiar sensation of the earth moving. It got stronger
and pottery rattled; items from the third floor loft began falling
over the railings. I was loosing my balance as I went to wake Ben for
school. " Think you better come stand in the doorway Ben!" I called.
As the house began to sway and shake forceably I added " get outside!"
and Ben bounded out of bed. The violent shaking continued, meanwhile
Steven emerged and Joe who had been wondering who was hitting
the boxing bag so hard.
(this always causes a bit of shaking
upstairs). Our home is well designed for earthquakes, being of a pole
construction; it would take alot for it to fall. But as we stood
outside waiting for the quake to stop I wondered what you do when the
gound begins to open? Yikes.....I wondered whether there might be a
tsunami....After five minutes of feeling the earth move beneath our
feet (I actually felt motion sickness) it subsided and we returned
indoors and got ready for school.
I turned on the radio as we drove..
Half way down the mountain the alert came. The coastals areas had been
told to evacuate, sirens were sounding. Ninety five percent of Samoans
live in coastal areas! A bit later we were visited by Joe's Japanese
friends, the 2 Judo sensei . They came up the mountain on motor bikes
and reported on the chaos in Apia. Apparently people were running
everywhere, trying to jump onto crowded buses. Some were hanging on.
The ocean had been sucked out and the reef was bare. Police were
waving people away from the beach
road and pointing up the mountain.
Then we started hearing police sirens as they sped over the mountain.
The south coast had been hit by a seven meter wave. Poutasi, Sinalei,
Maninoa, all the villages we know so well. We were having lunch at
Sinalei only last week and I knew that the restaurant on the pier
would have vanished. I suddenly realised how fortunate we were that
Joe hadn't gone surfing! He gets up at 5:30 most mornings for an early
morning surf. Last night I'd heard him talking to one of his buddies
about going out. He was telling his f
riend that today's wave was going
to be the BEST and biggest of the year. (he reads the surf forcast on
the internet). "what?" I had said in amazement. "Tomorrow is the best
wave of the year and you're NOT going out??" He said he was a little
tired from the intensive Judo training and his surf board had a crack
in it. But what a strange coincidence that the tsunami would hit along
with the "best" wave of the year.

We have relatives in Poutasi. Steven's cousins Sui and Joe
and Ginger's older sister Annie. We tried to call but no answer. We
eventually heard that Sui has been swept out to sea and drowned. They
were in the car trying to escape and it was overturned. Her 95 year
old mother survived! (our)Joe's surfing friends just had time to jump
onto a small boat and get
far enough out to deep water and safety. The
surfers who tried to make it back to shore were lost. Coconuts Beach
resort got wiped out and tourists have disappeared. All the resorts on
the south coast and all the villages were affected; any building by
the sea is gone. I heard on the BBC news that some lives have been
lost. There have been many.

Steven has been reporting for CNN (phone interviews) and this morning
a reporter from CNN flew in and will be staying with us.
Today Steven is accompanying His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese
Ta'isi (the Head of State) around the island. Iosefa is taking the CNN
reporter out and translating for him. I am at home feeding visitors.

The death toll currently stands at 110 but when we today traveled the
south coast area where the waves hit we saw more bodies being
transported to Apia and we heard of many still missing.
Will keep you posted.


The Baha'i House of Worship, Apia, Samoa:

My Baha'i friends in the village I taught in for a while:
Again, the village:
A Buddy:

Me with my dearest friends, Wendy & Steven:

The Baha'i Montessori School in Apia:

This is Lalomano Beach, seriously one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever experienced, now completely devastated:

if you feel like you can donate anything to help with a relief fund, please click here.


i have had a couple people ask me if there was any destruction to the Baha'i House of Worship. As it is located on the top of the island, it remained safe and undamaged.