The dead tree stump had deep roots and did not let go. But our team was not going to take no for an answer. Before embarking on the difficult task, we came together, and had a relaxation, prayer and meditation exercise focusing on acquiring certain strengths mentioned in the prayers. One person chose the quality of becoming radiant, the other wanted to free the captives, another selected, to ask for added strength at the start of each day, acquiring the strength of compassion was another person’s goal of the day, and so on. Our whole team, including adults, joined forces and with a brief consultation decided what task to tackle first. Everyone wanted to volunteer for a task. Everyone knew what tools we need and where to get them.
Soon every one wanted to have the chance to help loosen the hold of the dead stump. The joy of the hard labour became quickly contagious. The stump had deep roots and was not going to surrender without a good fight. As soon as one person got exhausted, another would jump in. Nobody wanted to stop. This was by all means a very hard job under the hot sun. Labourers charge to get the job done. But our team had invoked the spirit of serving together. Everyone wanted to have a share of hacking at the stump’s roots until victory was ours. “Conquering the stump, was like conquering our own selves”, said one team member.
There was so much wisdom shared when we started to explain what we learned about our own spiritual and emotional selves. One junior youth said I learned that when I develop deep roots of self and faith, no one, no matter what they say or do, can get to me! They would not be able to anger me or make me sad. The day before, our team walked through the beautiful campus of Claremont College. Once we arrived at our beautiful classroom, everyone explored and employed the language of emotions by identifying specific words, metaphors, shapes, drawings and nature to talk about feelings and emotions. We learned that to manage our own emotions, we need to pause, observe and identify our emotions. Then we can learn to adjust and tune its volume, intensity, pitch and melody by keeping our eyes on the signals of the universal conductor. To create a pleasant sound we must learn to play in harmony. Art helps us develop the capacity to employ words, pictures, metaphors, nature and other creative means to properly share and communicate our emotions. Drawing our emotional map gave us a chance to share our everyday feelings.
We used the two prayers we are memorizing and the powerful metaphors in these prayers both in English and Spanish to get us started. Like a sunflower, we realized how much all of us like to turn towards the sun of reality and become illumined. Activities like the drawing experience and digging the stump has enriched our exploration of ourselves and has enhanced our understanding of the prayers we say for each other. In everything we do, we continue to look for a better understanding of our two selves and recognize the powerful role of metaphors in nature in enhancing our communication and power of expression.
Keyvan Geula is a licensed Marriage, Family, and Child Therapist; LMFT. She received her Master of Science in Marriage, family, and Child Therapy from the University of La Verne, in La Verne, California. She employs the latest research in behavioral sciences, neuroscience, and the Baha’i principle of the oneness of all humanity to serve the well-being of her clients.
She offers her services as a clinician, lecturer, trainer, and supervisor to a global set of clients in person and online. In her clinical work, she incorporates the wisdom of the Baha’i Writings, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy research, Mindfulness meditation, and consultation skills, as well as knowledge of the spiritual self.
She is an adjunct professor of Behavioral Sciences at Citrus Community College, faculty of continued education at Claremont Graduate University. She teaches psychology online to students at Baha’i Institute of Higher Education.
She is the Founder and Executive Director of Center for Global Integrated Education (CGIE), a non-profit Baha’i-inspired educational organization, which explores oneness of all humanity, and teaches the integrated mind-body-spirit approach in education.
She has served for two years as the producer and host of a two-hour weekly live radio show for the Persian community in Sothern, California focusing on the role of the psychology of spirituality in personal and social transformation, creativity, emotional and social intelligence, and a greater sense of harmony in a global society. She also has been the host and producer of TV series called Transforming Human Consciousness for eight years. She regularly writes and blogs on www.cgie.org/blog on topics related to integrated education, the oneness of humanity, the powers of the human spirit in the betterment of global society, elimination of all prejudice, equality of women and men, and education reform. Some of her shows are posted on her; Keyvan Geula YouTube Channel.
Mrs. Geula has served in several Baha’i institutions since her youth in Iran and USA.