May 3, 2019

What's Happening This Week at

Editors' Pick   

A conversation with Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat  

Welcome to Spiritual Literacy Month! Please join us for an online conversation about reading the sacred in everyday life. The Brussats believe that spiritual literacy is a skill that can be learned -- and illustrations are our best teachers. For this one-month program, we'll be focusing on the examples in eight half-hour films about spiritual practices like wonder, enthusiasm, kindness, and appreciation of beauty. These films are some of our favorites from a 26-part series, now available as videos-on-demand to rent or purchase here. (If you already own the Spiritual Literacy DVD series, you are all set.) Sign up to receive emails on Mondays and Thursdays from the Brussats with reflections and practices to deepen your experience of everyday spirituality, and also to get access to the online forum (open 24/7) to discuss the films. 


By Jay McDaniel
Movie trailers -- watched on your own or with friends -- can function as lures for thought and reflection that have artistic merit of their own, in addition to being envoys for the films they promote.

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat  

On May 3 we celebrate Pete Seeger's 100th birthday. 
The legendary singer and songwriter was committed to turning the world around with songs about peace, social justice, the environment, and to lifting up people mired in poverty. His ability to sing truth to power made him an extraordinary advocate for democracy. Read our tribute and then enjoy a playlist of his music.

More Practices: Kent State Shootings Remembrance Day, Ramadan Mubarak, Be Kind to Animals Week, Rabindranath Tagore, Gary Snyder, Daniel Berrigan, Bono, Stephen Colbert, Studs Terkel

A new e-course by Thomas Moore
May 6 - 31, 2019 
Approach fairy tales like "Rapunzel," "Rumpelstiltskin," and "The Blue Light" through their imagery, looking for metaphors that can shed light on the perplexities we face in our own lives.   
Read more and subscribe:

Directed by Jonathan Levine

A rambunctious satirical comedy about the U.S. Secretary of State and a liberal journalist turned speech writer who fall in love, while changing the rules of the game by which powerful women and men interact in relationships and in politics.

Directed by Garth Davis

This reverent and creative account of a devout, caring, and wise apostle of Jesus fills a big gap. It affirms the role that woman can play -- and always have played -- in spreading the teachings of Jesus and his deep respect for women. As such, it could not be more relevant to today's concerns about women's rights and power. 

More Films: Clara, Family, A Fortunate Man (Lykke-Per), High Life, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, Peterloo, Red Joan, Sauvage/Wild, Transit, Us

Directed by Joseph Dorman and Toby Perl Freilich

Watching this bold documentary, we witness American politician and diplomat Daniel Patrick Moynihan's determination and resilience in fighting for his political initiatives. We also get a glimpse of what new possibilities can grow out of political cooperation.
More DVDs: A Dog's Way Home; Love, Gilda

By David R. Loy   
This blueprint for action based on Buddhist principles helps us come face-to-face with the havoc which has been wrought on the Earth by our aggressiveness and greed. It presents how engaged Buddhism can encourage people to become Ecosattvas for the liberation of all beings and the Earth. 

More Books:
Last Call for Liberty, The Pursuit of American Character, Resilience, Sacred Living, Worried?, Zen Traces

Children's Books   

Children's Book Week
By Patricia Campbell Carlson       
Children's books are magic vehicles at the perfected intersection of art and literature. So we are delighted that a whole week each Spring is devoted to their appreciation. We celebrate the 2019 theme -- Read Now. Read Forever -- with quotes from some of our favorite children's books and a spiritual practice.  

Noah Builds an Ark
By Kate Banks      
When a massive and powerful storm approaches, a young boy reconstructs an old wagon to rescue backyard creatures, demonstrating the creativity and elbow grease we need in an era of climate change.   
More Children's Books: The Boy Who Touched the Stars, The Song of Spring, You Are Light

Praying the News Blog
By Aizaiah Yong

As of this writing, Cyclone Fani is battering eastern India, forcing nearly 1.2 million people to move to higher ground. As such storms and other signs of climate change become more frequent, one of our Practicing Democracy Fellows has composed a prayer to comfort our grieved hearts.
KidSpirit Youth Voices Blog
By Ryeaan Chaudry

A teenager writes that although religious and cultural values play a significant role in his life, he chooses as a conscientious individual to embody and possess the best of those values, in order to become a better human being.


By S&P Team   
The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley notes that appreciating diversity is "a prosocial skill, like empathy or forgiveness, that can be developed over a lifetime with intentionality, knowledge, and practice." We trust that this topic will help you hone this essential skill through a myriad of resources: articles, books, films, quotes, spiritual practices, and much more.   
Practicing Democracy Project  

Each month we post on a different theme that can help to strengthen democracy. May's theme is "Diversity." We would love it if you would respond, re-tweet, share, and like our posts through  Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to spread what we are doing to your own networks and encourage online conversation about these topics.  
By Leslie Marmon Silko  
Please join us for a discussion of Ceremony, a story of loss, discovery, and healing on a Laguna reservation in New Mexico. Heartening, troubling, inspiring, and illuminating, it tells the story of Tayo, a mixed-race veteran who returns to the reservation after fighting in World War II. A downloadable Reading Guide to Ceremony will be available here next week.
Directed by Ben Masters   
The five friends in this film take advantage of their youth, enthusiasm, stamina, and knowledge for an unusual venture designed to raise awareness of the area -- and the environmental treasures -- along the path of President Donald Trump's proposed border wall. 

More Films: Backs Against the Wall: The Howard Thurman Story, Hesburgh, Knock Down the House
From Our Wisdom Archive   

By Patricia Campbell Carlson
It seems some days that the news (at least in the United States) is taking very strange turns, revealing things we had not expected and signaling tensions and conflicts with which we are not used to dealing. At such times, it's helpful to remember the wisdom of Etty Hillesum, whose gallantry amidst Nazi occupation of the Netherlands during WWII gives testimony to the best of the human spirit. Her words remain crucial anchors for us in the face of threats to pluralism -- respect for religious, racial, and other differences.
A Thought to Carry with You  

One of the movies we reviewed this week, Peterloo, illustrates that "as things stand now, it may well be that the survival of the species will depend upon the capacity to foster a boundless talent for compassion. In the alchemy of a man's soul almost all noble attributes -- courage, love, hope, faith, beauty, loyalty -- can be transmuted into ruthlessness. Compassion alone stands apart." These words by moral and social philosopher Eric Hoffer find resonance in the pithier saying of Danish polymath Piet Hein: "Coexistence -- or no existence."
Many of us in the Spirituality & Practice community have chosen to make a focus on compassionate coexistence a keynote of our work. To find compassion for a family member or even the broken parts of ourselves can be surprisingly harder, but these more immediate relationships tie in integrally with our wider spheres.  
This week, consider one part of yourself that you have not treated with boundless compassion and resolve to listen more deeply to and respect more fully that voice. This is a valuable act in itself: a non-egotistical one, because it causes us to see ourselves as part of the whole. It is also a practice run for how to treat others.  
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Margaret Wakeley