March 17, 2017

What's Happening This Week at

Editor's Pick   

Directed by Bill Condon    

The long-awaited live-action version of Beauty and the Beast is more than just an entertaining romantic story. It offers children (and probably a lot of adults as well) the benefits of a good fairy tale, including valuable explorations of self-esteem, bullying, ignorance, imagination, and problem-solving.

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat   

Spring begins this Monday, March 20. It is a time to revive our senses and expand our horizons. Enjoy these personal explorations, spiritual practices, prayers, and more to usher in the new season. If you live in the southern hemisphere -- at a different movement in the year's symphony -- enjoy these autumn reflections.  

We agree with Lewis Thomas who, when contemplating what message we should send to an extraterrestrial civilization, suggested "...Bach, all of Bach, streamed out into space, over and over again. We would be bragging of course."

More Practices: St. Patrick's Day, Birthday of Sir Richard Burton, Feast Day of St. Cuthbert, World Water Day

A new e-course by Cynthia Bourgeault     
February 27 - April 10, 2017

A considerable body of data shows how effective Gurdjieff's principles are as problem solvers and impasse breakers. Imagine how our planet might change for the better if the word got out! There's still time to join this course. Read more and sign up here: 
The Transformation of Suffering: A Lenten Journey
A new e-course by Contemplative Outreach       
March 1 - April 14, 2017

"Suffering leads to wisdom when it's accepted. And wisdom is the perception of the divine goodness and purpose in everything that happens," observes Fr. Thomas Keating in one of this course's videos. Join us for contemplation of Scripture and practices to more deeply root you in silence, stillness, solidarity, and service. Read more and sign up here:

Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda

This touching film zeroes in on middle-age malaise, which strikes men all over the world and brings their lives crashing down. The character's inner and outer challenges converge as a typhoon rages outside.

More Films:
David Lynch: The Art Life; A Woman, A Part; When the Bough Breaks: A Documentary about Postpartum Depression  

Directed by David Frankel

Will Smith plays a father in deep mourning over the death of his six-year-old daughter. The grief-stricken questions he raises get direct answers from Death, Love, and Time, drawing him closer to a full palette of emotions that includes "collateral beauty."

More DVDs: Being 17, Fences

The Nature Fix
By Florence Williams 

Let the author whisk you away to forest bathe in Japan, enjoy parks in Helsinki, and get a taste of Korean wellness philosophy, all while learning how to improve your memory, slow aging, and lower anxiety through direct contact with nature. Especially interesting are her reports on scientific research studies about the positive effects of regular experiences in nature.

More Books:
The Complacent Class, L'Art de la Simplicité, The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down
Children's Books   

By Isabelle Simler 
"The day ends. The night falls. And in between ... there is the blue hour," Simler begins, and then introduces us to blue skies, animals, and plants. The gorgeous illustrations remind us to pay attention to all the variations of each color we encounter.

More Children's Books: A Greyhound A Groundhog 

By Kyung An and Jessica Cerasi 

The authors believe that art is contemporary when it "speaks to our globally influenced, culturally diverse, and technologically advancing world." Those who view it seek an escape from everyday pressures, a spur to think about life's bigger questions, and the thrill of probing layers of meaning.


Civility and Spirituality Blog
By Frederic Brussat

Teddy Wayne, in an article in The New York Times, laments that a "culture of nastiness has metastasized in which meanness is routinely rewarded, and common decency and civility are brushed aside." He offers some corrective measures.
Spiritual Literacy Blog: An Internet Sabbath
Elder Spirituality Project

By Frank J. Cunningham 
With gusto, Cunningham discusses five experiences of aging -- acceptance, intimacy, gratitude, diminishment, and memory. He uses the image of evening prayer as a framework for his stories, anecdotes, and insights.

From Our Wisdom Archive   

Happy St. Patrick's Day! To celebrate, soak up the intricate beauty of artwork from the Irish film The Secret of Kells, full of traditional Celtic symbols. It's a landscape alive with swirls, spirals, vivid lush scenes of light, and dramatic haunting scenes of darkness. 

A Thought to Carry with You  

Here we are at another changing of the seasons.
"Spring passes and one remembers one's innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one's exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one's reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one's perseverance."
These words of Yoko Ono sum up the value of constantly remembering, even when we're sorry to see a season of life pass. This is not a remembrance based in sentimentality, regret, or inability to face the present. It is remembrance as harvest: drawing forward with us the best of what the past has offered, the qualities it has evoked in us: innocence, exuberance, reverence, perseverance, and much more.

This week, let yourself gratefully remember. Hold the focus not so much on events as on what was emerging in you, called forth by the people, creatures, or happenings in your life. You were given an inheritance in those moments. Allow yourself to be filled in the present with that inheritance's riches.
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Darren Polito