By a Reader who Wishes to Remain Anonymous
I have a solution that has been working wonders for me. It’s just a suggestion, which you might find useful in some form or to some extent.
When I felt off-center (multiple issues, from discomfort to distress), I met a Baha’i woman in a Baha’i online group (Yahoo group). Long story short, we became a teaching team. She’s in California and I’m in New York.
First, we studied all the guidance we could find about the nature and scope of teaching teams.
Then we learned how to consult, by practicing the actual, technical principles of Baha’i consultation.
Then we did a whole Ruhi Book Six refresher. We made our Personal Teaching Plans and have encouraged, supported, and accompanied each other ever since.
We began to share with our Cluster, our ABMs and her LSA about our team activities. We have been a little ahead of the curve on this activity, and they were curious and receptive, but our Cluster still hasn’t caught on to the potential of this kind of teamwork.
Now she and I are collaborating on developing and disseminating some teaching materials.
One component of her individual teaching plan is Facebook teaching. She is very active, and has had all sorts of encounters, good and bad, like you’re experiencing. The teaching team keeps her grounded.
We have been meeting weekly by telephone for a couple of years now. At present we’re studying the document, Insights from the Frontiers of Learning, reporting on the aspects of our Personal Teaching Plan goals, and beginning to learn how to collaborate with each other and reach out to others. We stay in touch throughout the week by e-mail and occasionally a quick phone call.
So, the idea is that I have a home base or default setting, so to speak. We’ve both been through various personal struggles within the Baha’i community, within our families, and with the people we’re trying to reach, etc. Maybe you could call it a sort of sponsorship or therapeutic alliance, but as a teaching team, we know whatever we’re going through, we teach our way through it.
During this time, we’ve both written to the Universal House of Justice for guidance, and then studied the responses, and tried to support each other in carrying out the suggestions. The teaching team has made everything systematic, sustainable, responsible, and accountable.
When a Baha’i friendship becomes a teaching team, it seems to attract the Concourse. We never cease to be awestruck by the power of unity. If you can find anybody to team up with, to any extent, in any way, I think you’ll see what I’m trying to describe. I’m always happy to team up!!! You have such a bounty to maybe team up with youth, family, Baha’i community…the thing is, to be conscious of the teaming up, to pray together, to describe the teamwork somehow (we named ours heart-by-heart), to set a small goal, to reflect, revise, and move forward, whether it’s an ad hoc association for a short-term project or a long-term vision.