Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lauren Conrad launched her Fall 2011 clothing line for Kohl’s last week. I have never even been inside a Kohl’s department store so I really had no expectations. Her line is sweet, very dreamy and whimsical. Not sure if I would actually try to find my nearest Kohl’s to buy her clothes, but in a moment of boredom anything can happen, right?

Reading about LC’s charmed life got me thinking about The Hills and I started watching past episodes. It made me realize why I like Lauren and why I have been able to relate to her so much. She put forth her feelings and emotions in every situation. She openly communicated, knew the difference between right and wrong, and held her friends to the same standards and expectations she put forward. Watching Lauren deal with friendships, relationships, family, career, or even the basics of navigating through a fast-paced materialistic city, allowed me to see myself in her scenes. It was not the story of LC, but the story of all twenty-somethings, figuring out who we are and who we want to be while putting our lives together, even when we don’t have all the pieces. Pairing together Lauren’s facial expressions with some of my most favorite touching and poignant quotes shows that hardships, heartbreaks, and pain are universal, and we should use these tests as blessings, learning from them, and developing our personal and spiritual growth. “Grief and sorrow do not come to us by chance, they are sent to us by the Divine Mercy for our own perfecting.” -- ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

"Stop torturing yourself, her friends said. Stop living in the past. He was gone. Capital G--Gone. He wasn't coming back. She should focus not on the pain, but on the possibility. Something good would come from all this heartache, something always did. Everything, her friends told her, happened for a reason. She should start looking for the silver lining. She thought she might start looking for new friends." -- Aryn Kyle

"Closure is a greasy little word which, moreover, describes a nonexistent condition. The truth ... is that nobody gets over anything." -- Martin Amis

"Perhaps this is what the stories meant when they called somebody heartsick. Your heart and your stomach and your whole insides felt empty and hollow and aching." -- Gabriel García Márquez

"Later, her first intense, serious love affair, yes then she'd lost something more tangible, if undefinable: her heart? her independence? her control of, definition of, self? That first true loss, the furious bafflement of it. And never again quite so assured, confident." -- Joyce Carol Oates

"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." -- Anaïs Nin

Monday, August 15, 2011

I just got back from a weekend in San Francisco where I attended the Association for Bahá’í Studies Conference. The sessions of the conference focused on “Transforming Habits of Thought” in which the theme name came from a message the Universal House of Justice addressed to the Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellors on December 28, 2010: “Apart from the spiritual requisites of a sanctified Bahá’í life, there are habits of thought that affect the unfoldment of the global Plan, and their development has to be encouraged at the level of culture. There are tendencies, as well, that need to be gradually overcome. Many of these tendencies are reinforced by approaches prevalent in society at large, which, not altogether unreasonably, enter into Bahá’í activity. The magnitude of the challenge facing the friends in this respect is not lost on us. They are called upon to become increasingly involved in the life of society, benefiting from its educational programmes, excelling in its trades and professions, learning to employ well its tools, and applying themselves to the advancement of its arts and sciences. At the same time, they are never to lose sight of the aim of the Faith to effect a transformation of society, remoulding its institutions and processes, on a scale never before witnessed. To this end, they must remain acutely aware of the inadequacies of current modes of thinking and doing—this, without feeling the least degree of superiority, without assuming an air of secrecy or aloofness, and without adopting an unnecessarily critical stance towards society.”

Attending the sessions and listening to the varied disciplines in which participants interpreted their “habits of thought” supported my understanding that Bahá’í values can be transformative, but in order to have a positive effect on society, we must align our thoughts with our actions. Nothing will change if we do not act; we cannot act without first transforming our thoughts; and our thoughts must reflect our spiritual nature and values. The conference concluded with a talk by Rainn Wilson, who appropriately quoted a statement by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”