July 19, 2017

What's Happening This Week at SpiritualityandPractice.com

Editor's Pick   

By Contemplative Photography Practice Group 2  

Wikipedia reminds us that "natural patterns include symmetries, trees, spirals, meanders, waves, foams, tessellations, cracks and stripes." We asked the current Contemplative Photography Practice Group members to look for patterns in nature. This gallery gives you a sample of their remarkable findings.

Contemplative Photographers Practice Group - Year 3
August 6, 2017 - July 29, 2018    

Join us for a new year of sharing photos and ideas with weekly prompts for inspiration. This is a wonderful opportunity for community building at S&P, and to encourage deep and growing relationships among the members of the Practice Group, we will open enrollment to new people only twice a year. You can enroll for the coming year until August 31, 2017. Read more and sign up:

By Frederic Brussat

"Simplicity is the seedbed for sane, free, and illumined holy living," writes Tilden Edwards. This retreat -- which you can fit into a small wedge of time -- brings you an invocation, quotes for reflection, a discernment practice, and a closing prayer to help you rediscover the joys of simple living. 
A Bouquet of Kindness Practices
By Rami Shapiro

Treat yourself to an array of practices that help plant in your mind "seeds of lovingkindness that will soon grow and awaken in you the spacious mind that is your holy and most true self."

More Practices: Anniversary of the First Lunar Landing, Birthday of Amelia Earhart  

A new e-course by Ron Pevny     
July 31 - August 25, 2017

Going through a transition? Explore the dynamics of life's passages through topics like shedding old skins, living in between, and recognizing and supporting your emerging new chapter. Your guide on this exploration will be Ron Pevny, Director of the Center for Conscious Eldering. Read more and sign up:
An e-course by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
August 6 - 26, 2017

Freedom, the wisdom traditions all say, comes from letting go. By giving, releasing, and clearing out things, we open up new pathways for the Divine energies to enter and transform us. Read more and sign up:

Directed by Michael Showalter

This dramedy with sweet, rich performances mixes laughter and tears as two young people struggle to work out their love for each other in the midst of familial clashes, religious pressures, health crises, traditional values, and the cultural criticism of young comedians.

More Films: Almost Sunrise, A Ghost Story, Last Men in Aleppo, War for the Planet of the Apes 

Directed by Elisabeth Subrin  

The 44-year-old star of a popular television melodrama, brought low by midlife malaise and a mysterious auto-immune disease, tries to move through the messes she has made and emerge in fresh territory.

More DVDs: The Lost City of Z, Norman, The Promise, A Quiet Passion, Tommy's Honour  

No Is Not Enough
By Naomi Klein 
This practical guide to the ever-changing "political zeitgeist" is a welcome sign that progressives might work together in a grass-roots resistance that applies its creativity and ample energies to protecting the planet and sustaining life on Earth.

More Books: Everywhere Home, Heartwork, The Road to Character, Yawn   

Children's Books   

By T. Nat Fuller 
Every time Mr. Brown steps outside, he encounters a different situation requiring a different hat. This fun book, with colorful and clever illustrations by Rob Hodgson, encourages children to use their imaginations to envision what they might run into during a day.


Spiritual Literacy Blog
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Between 20% and 25% of American malls will close within five years, according to a new report from Credit Suisse. But is this blow against malls a sign that the consumerist way of life is dying?

Elder Spirituality Project

By Sebastian de Assis

With great gusto, de Assis shares his expansive ideas on how elders can set out on the Zen path, seeking to expand their horizons and look for ways to advance the common good.  

From Our Wisdom Archive   

By Frederic and Mary Anne Brussat
Photography challenges us to make the most of those moments that matter to us. It encourages us to be spontaneous. It exercises our ability to see. Read more reasons -- supported by quotes from photographers -- why we welcome photographs along our spiritual path.
A Thought to Carry with You  

If you have a little extra time to spend with children this summer, perhaps you will get to read or reread The Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis's fourth chronicle about his magical land of Narnia. In the story, Jillian has come through a door in our world into a bright, cool, lonely forest with her schoolmate Eustace. She almost immediately has the alarming experience of watching him careen off a cliff after he tries to keep her from falling. That's followed by an equally stunning moment: She watches as a huge lion rushes to the cliff's edge, leans over it, and blows out steadily. The lion then walks off into the forest.

Jillian cries over the loss of Eustace and then discovers she is dreadfully thirsty. She's terrified of the lion, but knows she must venture deeper into the forest to find water, even if she meets with him again. She discovers an open glade with a stream running through it ... but the lion is guarding it. In a "heavy, golden voice," he tells her, "If you're thirsty, you may drink." Frightened, Jillian asks if the lion will go away while she drinks; he answers with a very low growl. She realizes she may die if she moves closer, and says that she does not dare. The lion reminds her that she will then die of thirst.

The whole passage is worth deep meditation, but let's stop right there. The lion, Aslan, is one of the most compelling God figures in all of literature, and Jillian, faced with no easy choice, finally does what she must. She moves right next to the lion to drink of "the coldest, most refreshing water she had ever tasted."

We have heard of this living water before, in the fourth chapter of the Gospel of John. But we sometimes forget how terrifying the choice can be: to drink of that living water in a presence so untamed and strong -- or if not, to perish. This week, look for your moments of desperate thirst for something genuinely charged with life. And then listen for and respond to the invitation: "If you are thirsty, you may come and drink."
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Darren Polito