“Let not conventionality cause you to seem cold and unsympathetic when you meet strange people from other countries… Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path.”5
Last week I drove home to Colorado to attend my Father’s funeral and celebrate his life. (Driving through Iowa in summer is at once a soaring and grounding sight!)
Wanting to look our best when honoring our Father, my Sister and I wandered into the Paisley Salon and Spa in Aurora, Colorado. Little did I know that I was about to make a new friend, expand my knowledge and see beauty in action.
The first thing I noticed was the phrase, “Kindness Matters,” painted in calligraphy on the wall. A far cry from the standard salon wall decorations of oversize pictures of beautiful, airbrushed, early teen girls with emotionless faces. Nahid Mahmoudi, the salon’s owner and a charismatically attractive woman, immediately greeted us with the sort of smile that lets you know that you are safe with this person. That they “see” you. And that there is love in their heart.
This was not the usual suburban salon.
When Nahid learned the reason we were in her spa, she smiled broadly and said:
“I will make you beautiful for your Father.”
She quickly set to work, sharing her story with us as she worked. We learned that Nahid is from Iran. Her many siblings are scattered across Europe and Scandinavia. Her smile disappears when she talks about not being able to see them in person, but it returns when she laughingly recounts their almost daily Zoom calls:
“The problem is that everyone wants to talk, and no one wants to listen. Which is a problem because there are so many of us!
As we talked casually, Nahid said:
“Human beings are like flowers in a garden. God made flowers in many different colors and types so we would have beautiful gardens. Why wouldn’t God make people in all different colors and types too? If everyone were the same color and type it would be boring. We are all flowers in a garden.”
I knew at that moment I would be visiting Nahid and her salon whenever I go to Denver. How can you NOT want to spend time with such a beautiful soul?
“In my faith, we believe that we belong to one human family. If you accept we are all one, then there is no room for prejudice- whether racial, religious or gender.
We believe that the prophets of all religions, including Abraham, Krishna, Buddha, Jesus and Muhammed, are messengers from the same source and represent evolving chapters of one religion from a universal God. This was explained to us by our prophet. We believe there is not one understanding of truth, rather that all religions and messengers help us understand and achieve our goal of promoting unity and alleviating human suffering.”
Curious, as I had not heard these principles in any religion I am familiar with, I asked Nahid what her faith community is:
“I am a Bahá’íst.”
Images of the gorgeous Bahá’í House of Worship  in Willamette, Illinois warmed my brain. I have been intrigued by the building since the moment I saw it in the early 1990’s, trying fruitlessly many times to convince my driving partners to stop and tour it with me. I had always been curious about the Bahá’í faith but never took the time to learn about it. Thankfully, life sent me a teacher in an unexpected time and place.
Every day Nahid works creating beauty in the world – both literally and figuratively. She makes people beautiful with her talented hands. She makes them feel better by doing so.
And she also makes the world a beautiful place to be by living the loving foundational principles of her faith. She sees people as flowers in a garden – different from each other but creating, in unison, a beautiful, colorful place of beauty and joy. Everyone is welcome in her salon.
Enjoy the human garden this week! Know that you are a unique flower that contributes to the joy and pleasure of the world. We would miss you if you weren’t in the garden!
P.S. Shall we show Nahid some love and unity?? https://www.facebook.com/paisleysalonandspa
P.S. Next week we will have a guest essay from one of our community members. You will appreciate her sense of humor and I am eager to share this wonderful flower in the garden with you!