12 December 2014 to 7 February 2015 (171 B.E.)
Masá’il* | Sharaf** | Sultán ***
Objective: Nurture emerging patterns of renewal while navigating healthy boundaries
Select Lines of Action:
- Take time to explore creative outlets one Saturday every Bahá’í month (19 days)
- Remove Facebook app from devices (e.g., phone, iPad)
- Deepen on the wisdom and responsibility of writing a will
- Continue to be mindful and intentional with regard to participating in activities we feel are most life-giving, and further explore the idea of limiting our hosting responsibilities to one gathering per Bahá’í month
The family unit, the nucleus of human society, constitutes a space within which praiseworthy morals and essential capacities must be developed, for the habits and patterns of conduct nurtured in the home are carried into the workplace, into the social and political life of the country, and finally into the arena of international relations.
~The Universal House of Justice, 24 November 2009
Given our intention during previous cycles of activity, we felt it was best to foster some of the emerging patterns of activity while not over-committing to new ones. Per limiting our commitments, mentioned in the reflections for learning cycle #2, we felt we would continue to consult on whether a commitment was life-giving. And, the more experience we had asking the question, “Is this life-giving to us as individuals and to our institution?” the clearer the answers became. Further, this line of action started to bleed over to other strategies we wished to implement. Take for example disengaging from social media. Contrary to popular held beliefs, we noticed that “connecting” on Facebook or Twitter sapped our energy. So, we decided to test out, over a particular period of time, how our energy would be affected by “unplugging” for awhile. And, much to our surprise and excitement, we felt that stepping away from “being on” all the time was quite refreshing. This is not to say that some day we will not re-engage with social media. Rather, it is to say that as humans and as institutions, we can reclaim our agency with a little intentionality. Finally, in an effort to fulfill our obligation as Bahá’ís to write a will, we deepened on its significance; reading quotes and exploring “how to’s” in preparation for lines of action in subsequent cycles. In other words, we started thinking in terms of a process. That is, we started to deconstruct larger lines of action over various learning cycles. For example, we would study guidance in one cycle, take action in another (e.g., actually write a will), and all the while reflect and consult on the process as it unfolded. Consequently, our strategy in learning cycle #3 brought intentionality and generated tangible results. Further, it was decided that the three Bahá’í month cycles worked well for us. And, we noticed that the pattern of our lives we strove to develop was enhanced when we fully committed to our midpoint reflections. Ultimately, we realized that something unique happened when the shape and meaning of the work done in our marriage took place within the framework we are building, recognizing that we are cultivating our marriage out of love. Having had the experience of three cycles, we decided that certain tested approaches, applied organically, started to cement our institution’s framework for action. And, as a result, the process we engaged in further solidified trust in our relationship and helped us to identify individual and institutional needs, to plan accordingly, and to provide space for the most pressing needs. In short, we nurtured emerging patterns of renewal and navigated healthy boundaries.
*Questions **Honor ***Sovereignty