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HEALING THROUGH UNITY

January 2005

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of
physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 9, Issue No. 1

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Contents

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- Quote of the month
- From the Editor: An Introduction
- This Month's Theme: Breastfeeding
- Response to Last Month's Question
- Benefits of Breastfeeding
- Breastfeeding and Parenting Links
- Whole Foods Recipe Swap
- Book Corner
- Question of the Month
- Letters
- Web Site
- Purpose of the Newsletter
- Subscription Information
- Next Month's theme: Beating Fatigue.

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QUOTE OF THE MONTH

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"You live to do good and to bring happiness to others. Your greatest longing is to comfort those who mourn, to strengthen the weak, and to be the cause of hope to the despairing soul. Day and night your thoughts are turned to the Kingdom, and your hearts are full of the Love of God.

"Thus you know neither opposition, dislike, nor hatred, for every living creature is dear to you and the good of each is sought."

('Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, pp. 112-113)

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FROM THE NEW EDITOR

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Greetings from Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. My name is Cheryll Schuette, and this is my introduction and first editorial as the new editor of Healing Through Unity Newsletter. I want to share with you a little about myself and why I wanted to be a part of this project.

I come from a family of readers and thinkers, people who were among the first generation in their families who had access to free public education all the way through high school. My mother was the first and only member of her generation to attend college. All of us children were expected to follow suit.

While they were not religious in the sense of belonging to an organized church, my parents were always very clear how we kids were to behave and to treat others, that we were responsible for our behavior true to ourselves, to our family, to the world. Prayer and worship in general were a vital but private personal part of those behavioral choices. Discussion was allowed, but not proselytizing, no matter the subject. Children were encouraged to ask questions and be part of the family mealtime forum.

It never occurred to me that my family was different from the norm until I entered public school at age 10. Looking back, however, I can see that it gave me a uniquely powerful beginning upon which to base future independent thinking.

I encountered the Baha'i Faith in the late 1960s and found it was the first organized religion into which I could fit both my love of science and questioning reality and my deep longing for a spiritual connection. The ensuing years have provided me with a wonderful community without whom I would be a much narrower, emotionally and intellectually impoverished person. The Baha'i writings have given me insights and a yardstick by which to measure my experiences and my study.

Trained as a research scientist and as an educator, enriched by the Baha'i teachings and its worldwide community, I am now closing in on menopause with the deepening conviction that human beings cannot be healthy as islands unto themselves. I don't hold with the current notion that insights and personal growth can only be reached independently of society, or that codependence is wholly dysfunctional. I think it's okay to love parents, friends and mentors, and that their advice even when it proves wrong is generally better for me than that provided by marketing companies and professional politicians.

I believe that we humans are a tribe, with each member's experiences and insights vital to the health and growth of all. In the past, tribe was defined very narrowly, by geography or by family, for instance. Today, Baha'u'llah tells us that the entire planet constitutes our borders.

Thanks to the Internet, we have a tool which can for the first time allow direct contact with the far flung members of our tribe and with this connection, the hundredfold enrichment of our lives. We can build our own supportive "family" even if our birth family might be short of like-minded folks. The Healing through Unity Newsletter is at the beginnings of that world tribal support.

Baha'u'llah, Prophet-founder of the Baha'i Faith, tells us that every atom of creation is there to educate us in this plane of existence, and no one of us can encompass it all. He gave us the pattern for a social order designed to enhance our perception and provide a nurturing environment for learning and growth. For the first time in human history, this pattern is not limited by boundaries like language, nationality, caste, or even time. Healing through Unity is one window through which we can catch a glimpse of the future He promised: one world and one caring human family.

Every one of us has gifts of talent, experience, insight and commitment to share gems mined and polished by life on this plane virtues upon which we are working. The ultimate goal is the same for all of us, but each of us has a path, and our place on that path. Those who have gone before can reach back to help others along. We can extend a hand to encourage our brothers and sisters as they step along with us and reach forward for assistance from those who have passed our place before us.

We will all achieve our goals, with a little help from each other. I look forward to sharing, caring and building community with all of you, as editor of this newsletter.

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THIS MONTH'S THEME: Breastfeeding

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The Baha'i writings do not specifically endorse a particular method of feeding children, except in a metaphorical way that can reveal remarkable depths of spiritual meaning when we meditate on it. The period of time spent feeding a child at the breast seems peculiarly conducive of meditation. And there are fathers who report similar experiences when feeding a baby, even though they had to use a bottle, which suggests that the method and source of nourishment are less important than the chance to be part of the metaphysical moment.

Here are some nuggets from the Baha'i writings about the care, feeding and training of children:

"...in this New Cycle, education and training are recorded in the Book of God as obligatory and not voluntary. That is, it is enjoined upon the father and mother, as a duty, to strive with all effort to train the daughter and the son, to nurse them from the breast of knowledge and to rear them in the bosom of sciences and arts. Should they neglect this matter, they shall be held responsible and worthy of reproach in the presence of the stern Lord."

(Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 398)

"BAHA'O'LLAH [sic] declares the education of woman to be of more importance than that of man. If the mother be ignorant, even if the father have great knowledge, the child's education will be at fault, for education begins with the milk. A child at the breast is like a tender branch that the gardener can train as he wills."

('Abdu'l-Baha, Divine Philosophy, p. 86)

"As to thy question concerning training children: It is incumbent upon thee to nurture them from the breast of the love of God, to urge them towards spiritual matters, to turn unto God and to acquire good manners, best characteristics and praiseworthy virtues and qualities in the world of humanity, and to study sciences with the utmost diligence; so that they may become spiritual, heavenly and attracted to the fragrances of sanctity from their childhood and be reared in a religious, spiritual and heavenly training. Verily, I beg of God to confirm them therein."

(Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith - Abdu'l-Baha Section, p. 383)

"These children must be reared with infinite, loving care, and tenderly fostered in the embraces of mercy, so that they may taste the spiritual honey-sweetness of God's love; that they may become like unto candles shedding their beams across this darksome world, and may clearly perceive what blazing crowns of glory the Most Great Name, the Ancient Beauty, hath set on the brows of His beloved, what bounties He hath bestowed on the hearts of those He holdeth dear, what a love He hath cast into the breasts of humankind, and what treasures of friendship He hath made to appear amongst all men."

(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 21)

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READER RESPONDS TO LAST MONTH'S QUESTION

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Regarding breastfeeding, I breastfed both our children, now ages 10 (Liana) and 16 (Karl). This was before I became a Baha'i, so I do not know what the Baha'i writings say on the subject. However, I thought I would share my experiences and perhaps it will help someone.

When our son was born, he was three weeks late and born by C-section. He had inhaled meconium (baby's first bowel movement) while in utero, so was sick when he was born and put into intensive care. Meanwhile, I was incapable of doing anything for several days. After that, I started pumping breast milk, which was bottlefed to him by the nurses in the ICU. Excess milk was frozen and used when needed. We brought him home a week later. He was hungry a lot, and I breastfed often. I decided to supplement with formula, but when he was

3 months old, decided to give up the formula and just give it my best effort to breastfeed. Everything was fine, and I was able to produce enough milk.

The lesson here: Feed the baby as often as necessary, even if it is every hour and a half, or whatever it takes. A schedule is difficult to try and establish; it's what the baby needs.

I decided to let Karl self-wean; I had read that is the preferred method. He did not totally give up his nursing until he was almost age 4, but that was just a quick "sip" right before bed. I had also read that in native cultures, 4 years old is not an uncommon age to wean a child, so I didn't worry about it. He is now a robust 16 year old making straight "A's" in school and plays the trombone in the band, as well as having won several scholarships.

Our other child, Liana, was born with a heart defect, Transposition of the Great Arteries or TGA. All the "plumbing" in her heart was backwards. Again, I had a C-section. So she underwent open-heart surgery at 9 days old. Again, while she was in the hospital, I got a room at a nearby hotel and started pumping milk again. I also would go to the hospital and breastfeed her when possible before the surgery. After the surgery, I roomed in with her in the children's wing (this was in Charlotte, North Carolina, at the Carolinas Medical Center; Sanger Heart Institute was connected). She had to be tube-fed immediately after and during recovery, so they were able to use the milk I pumped.

We came home when she was 3 weeks old, and we never stopped breastfeeding. I also joined a La Leche League group, which I highly recommend to any nursing mother, regardless if you are having trouble or not. The support is wonderful, or even just the camaraderie. At any rate, Liana self-weaned at

18 months. I was amazed, and admittedly, somewhat disappointed. I enjoyed nursing our children, but knew that it was natural. Liana is gifted artistically and also doing very well in school. She is also very healthy now and has had no further problems. Her heart doctor has told me she is one of the healthiest patients he has. She still goes in every three years for a checkup.

The interesting thing is that Karl is not a risk-taker, so it seems clear to me that nursing gave him the comfort he needed. Liana is very outgoing, lively, and although very attached to me, is of a much more independent nature. I think those traits are reflected in their early experiences with breastfeeding.

I hope this has helped, and if anyone has any questions for me, I would be more than happy to help. Just e-mail me at: rstadelmann@charter.net.

With Warm Baha'i Love and Prayers,

Lynnea Stadelmann

Landrum, South Carolina, USA

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BENEFITS OF BREASTFEEDING

A Report from the Front Lines

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By LYNN ASCRIZZI, Staff Writer

Katherine Kollman has her arms full. A stay-at-home mom, she is nursing her newborn baby girl, Piper, and also taking care of little Chloe, age 3 1/2.

It's hectic, but Kollman, a former retail manager, is glad to have this time at home to spend with her children.

"Absolutely. It's hard work, but it's so important," she said, of mothering.

"It's such a brief time."

Kollman, 34, is a proponent of breastfeeding and a member of the La Leche League of Augusta/Gardiner, Maine USA, a local support group for breastfeeding.

"There are health benefits for the child," Kollman said. "Studies show it greatly reduces the risk of childhood asthma, obesity and ear infections.

The body metabolizes breast milk so much better than formula. Breast-fed babies can get ear infections, but it is much less likely. Chloe has never had one.

"The milk is a living substance. The cells in the milk are alive. The babies are getting lots of antibodies from their mom," she added.

Kollman has learned a lot of what she knows about nursing from the local La Leche League group.

The Augusta/Gardiner group is a local chapter of La Leche League International, a support group for breastfeeding since 1956, a time when only 20 percent of U.S. mothers were breastfeeding. "Leche" means milk in Spanish; the name was coined at a time when the word, breast, made people feel squeamish.

And for some people it still does, said La Leche League co-leader Jill Greenlaw of East Pittston, Maine. The local chapter, organized by Greenlaw and Rosie Curtis of Washington, Maine, has grown since it first got started several years ago, Greenlaw said.

"When we started, we had only one or two mothers; now, we're up to about 10.

We've also grown from two leaders to six leaders." Kollman and about 12 current members learn about the art of breastfeeding and also field the questions and anxieties of new mothers.

Greenlaw and Curtis first had joined a La Leche League group in Damariscotta. "Two years later, we became leaders. It's a year long application process. We do training and studying to become a certified La Leche League leader," Greenlaw said.

"La Leche believes mother-to-mother support is best. If a mother has a baby that is fussy or not sleeping well, she may wonder if that is because her baby is breastfeeding, and another mother may offer up what she has done.

There is a lot of shared parenting."

Their local chapter grew rapidly and a dozen or more members at a meeting is commonplace, Greenlaw said.

For "toddler's meetings," members meet in each other's homes. "A lot of mothers breastfeed their child into toddler age. We have others that come for a couple of months and go back to work, and we never see them again."

"Morning meetings" are held at the Lithgow Public Library in Augusta, in a downstairs room next to the children's library. "This is usually for mothers with babies. At morning meetings, we stick to the topic of breastfeeding for an hour and a half. Every mother is in charge of her own baby, toddler or child. If held at a home, there is usually a playroom," she said.

Topics might include: "At home with your baby," "Adjustments for the father and siblings," and "Benefits of human milk."

"We have a huge lending library with lots of books on breastfeeding and parenting. The benefits of breastfeeding are really tremendous. Besides information, Kollman and other group members find friendship.

"After La Leche gets you over your breastfeeding hurdles, you find a group of like-minded women. The kids play together. You find things in common,"

Kollman said.

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Lynn Ascrizzi is contributing editor of this newsletter, has been an editor and feature writer for more than 20 years and lives in Freedom, Maine, USA

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BREASTFEEDING AND PARENTING INFORMATION LINKS

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- La Leche League www.lalecheleague.org, these folks have been supporting mother and baby health for a while

- Breastfeeding info & products www.breastfeeding.com

- National Woman's Health Information Center www.4woman.gov/breastfeeding

- Baha'i Parenting eMagazine www.bahaiparent.com, a bimonthly electronic newsletter dedicated to raising families with strong spiritual values

- Virtues Gazette www.virtuesconsulting.com, a free monthly e-zine that brings the virtues to life

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LETTERS

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Enjoyed Even-Handed Reporting

I appreciated the handling of the subject of "Glyconutrients." I enjoyed reading comments pro and con about the potential benefits. Such even-handed non-strident reporting is welcomed by me at least. Thanks and keep up the good work.

Don

Eating Healthy is Cheaper

I can't find it now, but somewhere in the last newsletter, someone mentioned that many of the healthy sugars we need are not present in our overprocessed diets. Hence the need for supplements. I would suggest that a cheaper and more enjoyable way to get the appropriate nutrients is to eat fewer and less processed foods. Another reader had commented on how they had done a cleanse and diet alteration to alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Since the Baha'i writings say that the foods of the future will be fruits and grains and that healing would be accomplished through diet and treatments of waters hot and cold (could this include colonics?), I believe that that is more in line with what we should be doing than spending exorbitant amounts of money on something that may or may not work.

Eating healthily will benefit your body, and you have to eat anyway, so why not give that a try first? I have read some of Dr. Herbert Shelton's books and was for a while a vegan and enjoyed a much healthier existence when I was following those principles. I do it now as much as possible, but not as strictly. I tend to be the healthiest person in my family, and I wonder if it is because I eat very little meat and try to eat at least some raw food every day. It's hard to believe that many people eat no raw food on a daily basis. Raw food is full of live enzymes that our bodies need to repair cells. Just my two cents worth.

Lynn Capps, Asheville, North Carolina, USA

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WHOLE FOODS RECIPE SWAP

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Here are a couple of simple recipes for good things children could help

prepare:

*JUICY JELLIES

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4 envelopes unflavored gelatin

(equals 4 Tablespoons)

1+1/4 Cup cold water

1 6-ounce can frozen concentrated juice, thawed, undiluted

Sprinkle gelatin over water in a medium sized saucepan (or in microwave safe bowl). Stir over moderately low heat for about 5 minutes, until gelatin is completely dissolved. (Or microwave on high for 2 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir, until you can't see any tiny gelatin flecks any more.)

Remove from heat and stir in juice. Pour into an 8-inch square baking pan and refrigerate 2 hours or more, until firm. Cut into 36 squares. Covered, jellies will keep several days in the refrigerator.

Per cube: 14 calories, 0 grams protein, 0 grams fat, 3 grams carbohydrate.

Frozen juice concentrates I have used: cranberry, cherry, pink lemonade, orange, grapefruit, white and purple grape.

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*IMPOSSIBLE GERMAN CHOCOLATE PIE

Makes its own crust!

(This is the dairy-and gluten-free version. You can substitute milk and wheat flour for soy and rice.)

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1+1/2 cups non-dairy liquid (soy milk, nut milk)

4 oz German sweet chocolate, melted

1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup rice flour

3 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 cup shredded coconut

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Blend everything but nuts and coconut in blender for about 3 minutes. Stir in nuts and coconut. Pour into deep, greased, 9-inch pie pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes, or till knife inserted in center comes out clean. Chill before serving.

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BOOK CORNER

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In honor of our first snow of the season here in Ann Arbor, Michigan, here is a book about the health benefits of snowshoeing. The big winter play equipment this year appears to be snowboards and snowshoes and not the bent wood and leather thongs of old Hollywood movies, either.

As a winter sports activity, snowshoeing doesn't have the high profile of downhill skiing or snowboarding. But along with allowing one to commune with nature away from lift lines and crowds, snowshoeing can provide a terrific cardio and leg workout, according to the author of "The Snowshoe Experience"

(Storey Publishing, 2004).

This comprehensive guide to snowshoeing offers a wealth of information about the sport, from gear and clothing to snowshoeing techniques, precautions for being outdoors, and exercise benefits. There are listings of snowshoe trails at resorts and national parks across the country, as well as various competitive events for those who get serious.

Colorado-based author Claire Walter writes that snowshoeing, on average, burns 25 percent more calories than a comparable exercise on dry land. And, she adds, it's fairly easy to learn.

"Walking on snow has a cushioning effect," says Walter, who's been snowshoeing for a decade, "so it's very kind on the joints. And you're really working the leg and (gluteus) muscles. You're also often in beautiful scenery, which is healthy for the mind and spirit as well as the body."

"The Snowshoe Experience," $9.95, is available at bookstores.

Source: Los Angeles Times, 2004

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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

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Sandeep from Nepal writes:

"I am suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome for more than 15 years. The main symptom of this illness is debilitating and extreme fatigue with slight exertion of the body. I don't know where to ask for help. My problem is misunderstood everywhere; the isolation and despair is too much. Nobody can feel the pain I am going through. Getting the daily necessity stuffs is hard here and treatment of illness is a distant thing, but I am in desperate need of help. Will you please help me some way to cure my condition?"

It is hoped that among our readers there are people dealing with this challenging disease, and who would be willing to share their information and experiences, especially in how they found the Baha'i teachings to be of assistance. Please send info to the editor: cheryll@gotypist.com

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NEXT MONTH'S THEME

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The February issue of Healing Through Unity Newsletter will be exploring ways to deal with fatigue, including Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and burnout.

Send your favorite remedies physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual.

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PURPOSE OF THE NEWSLETTER

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"Healing Through Unity" is published for the purpose of sharing thoughts, comments and experiences on how the teachings of the Baha'i Faith are being applied to physical and spiritual health. Other than the quoted Holy Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority.

You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article. There are 10 issues per year; it is not published during July and August. The newsletter is produced in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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SUBCRIPTION INFORMATION

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Distribution of this newsletter is free by email. Please email requests for all new subscriptions, subscription cancellations and email address changes (please include old address along with new one) to rocketman@mwt.net.

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PLEASE SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

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All of us have had healing experiences, as well as climbed out of low points along life's way -- physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual. Please share your stories, tips, useful links, and quotes from the Baha'i Writings about staying healthy in a stressful world. Your articles do not have to be long -- even a few paragraphs in length is helpful. Baha'u'llah gave us each other as a big part of a healthy lifestyle, and sharing stories and ideas that work for you brings encouragement to others. Asking for information and support from others can bring encouragement to you!

WHERE TO SEND STORIES AND CORRESPONDENCE: Many thanks to all of you who share helpful ideas for "Healing Through Unity Newsletter." We welcome submissions from everyone, and hope you will continue to share with the new editor as generously as you have in the past with founding editor Frances Mezei and former editor Lynn Ascrizzi, who is now contributing editor.

Please email your stories, comments, suggestions or "Question for the Month"

ideas to the newsletter editor, Cheryll Schuette, at: cheryll@gotypist.com.

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HEALING THROUGH UNITY NEWSLETTER

Founding Editor Frances Mezei

Editor Cheryll Schuette

Medical Reviewer Dr. Diane Kent

Contributing Editor Lynn Ascrizzi

Circulation Assistant Kathy Yonash

Web Master Russ Novak

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