● World Interfaith Harmony Week ● Abraham Jam Store ● Arizona School Project ●
Greetings of peace dear friends,
Hoping all of you in the Northern hemisphere with me are keeping cozy during these wintry days…and that all of you Equator region and Southern hemisphere dwellers are grateful for the warmth you may be enjoying.
Frequently I tell people: the reason I pen poems and songs is because, I can’t afford a therapist. Indeed, my writings are always born out of a need to purge thoughts from my mind that may otherwise break me down with overwhelming emotions, on a spectrum anywhere between happiness and heartache. So I write and sing and record ~ tossing songs out into the world like frayed messages in fragile bottles. They are flung out with a hope that they may catch a current and bob along to other distant shores, where simple souls similar to mine may find them washed up on the sands of their own lives.
At times when I have literally thrown notes in bottles out onto ocean waves, I have wondered: Will anyone ever really get the messages? Likewise, when I have set my songs to sail and watched them float out of sight, I have wondered: Where will they drift and dock? Will they actually be scooped up by others as a reminder that, we are not alone on our journeys and not as far apart as geography may suggest? In fact, all of our paths are very much connected and, in many cases, intersect and intertwine.
Happily, over the years, very sweet people have contacted me to let me know they have indeed found my bottles, read my messages, swallowed my songs and have even started writing and singing their own. Naturally, that feels wonderful and inspires me to keep writing and singing out. At times, I’ve received letters and songs from various countries, and I am always amazed by the places and people who’ve taken the time to be in touch.
Recently, this old Luddite realized that he can view the statistics of this site to gauge it’s traffic and, once again, I was struck into surprise at seeing the diversity of subscribers and visitors from so many regions of this great earth! We’ve all gathered here over the last three months from 65 different countries, and I simply cannot tell you how overwhelming it was for me to discover that.
Though all of my writings are in English, it shocked me even further to see that Bosnia, Pakistan, China, India and Turkey were among the top ten countries (along with the expected English territories of UK, Canada, USA, Australia and South Africa). Thanks to all of you for visiting here. Drop me a message in a bottle too when you get a chance, so this communication isn’t all one-way!
World Interfaith Harmony Week
A unique idea for promoting interfaith harmony was first proposed at the United Nations General Assembly in 2010 by H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan. It was unanimously adopted by the UN with the first week of February now being observed as World Interfaith Harmony Week. It stemmed from the hope of having Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders engage in a dialogue based on two common fundamental religious Commandments; Love of God, and Love of Neighbour, without compromising any of their own religious tenets. The two commandments are at the heart of the three traditions (as well as many, many others) and therefore provide the most solid theological ground possible.
It will be my pleasure to share some songs at a few WIHW events this week in my own locality: Waterloo’s Conrad Grebel University College on Wednesday and then Darchei Noam Synagogue in Toronto on Thursday. View event details here.
Abraham Jam Store
Though I have never personally been a “merchandise” toting minstrel (beyond the books and CDs I used to carry along with me in an old suitcase to performances), there has been a recent buzz of interest from audience members at Abraham Jam shows for AJ merch. Billy, David and I have mused about what sort of items we could offer to concert attendees who share our music and want to take “piece of us” home with them. We’ve toyed with making “Abraham Jam” ~ a sweet, organic blend of pureed fruits and berries grown in our own back-yards. We’ve discussed selling “AbraHAM”, but given that Billy’s Jewish, I follow Qur’anic tradition and David is vegetarian ~ selling cured ham didn’t make sense. The idea of a back-yard “Abra-Hammock” swing was a favourite, but we’ve yet to find a manufacturer who is able to meet the specs of a hammock that will comfortably fit three adults with musical instruments. So, while we work out fashion designs and fabric choices for “Abraham Jammies”, we have set up an Abraham Jam store on our website here, where friends may purchase AJ CDs, a USB drive featuring AJ songs and music from each of our individual recordings…and my favourite: Abraham Jam guitar picks!
Arizona School Project
What an honour and delight it was for me to work with my young friend Amana Malik of Arizona, USA on a school project she recently prepared. Amana and her peers were asked by their teacher to research and present essays on their favourite artists for a school Art History Fair. Amana contacted me to ask if she could learn more about my life and share my songs with her teachers and friends. Her interview questions were most probing and profound ~ more engaging than many of the adult journalists I have spoken to over the years! Her final presentation was eloquently delivered, and her accompanying display board was a work of art in and of itself! To top off the entire experience, Amana wrote her own poem to share with the world, entitled “My Peace Place”. Thanks Amana for the wonderful experience and for brining such a beautiful poem into the world!
“My Peace Place” by Amana Malik
When I’m feeling sad or down,
I have a place that will lift my frown.
In that place, I can be alone,
In that place that’s just my own.
It’s a place where I can calm myself,
A place with stuffed animals lined up on a shelf.
A place with my wildest dreams,
My wildest dreams that burst at the seams.
I can laugh, take nap or cry and cry.
In the end I can just feel fine.
I call this spot ~ this glorious, wonderful space ~
My Peace Place.
In the end I feel just fine.
In the end I know it’s mine.
My Peace Place.