July 24, 2018

What's Happening This Week at SpiritualityandPractice.com

Editors' Pick   

By Mark Nepo

This masterwork on community, twelve years in the making, brings together Nepo's skills of observation, universal outlook, and personal openness to the many ways people approach their life together. This excerpt on eight worldviews beautifully illustrates the spiritual practice of connections and concludes, "The health of all community depends on how we treat each other."

By Patricia Campbell Carlson

We need reminders that "love never quits, even when an enemy has hit you on the right cheek and you have turned the other, and he's also hit that." Clarence Jordan -- co-founder of Koinonia Farm and author of the Cotton Patch Gospel series -- wrote those words from experience as he took to heart the Gospels as a model for his actions. 

More Practices: Birthdays of Amelia Earhart and Gerard Manley Hopkins, Anniversary of Jackie Robinson's Induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame

A new e-course by Roger Housden
August 1 - 31, 2018 
The poems in this e-course can give you a needed boost of clarity and insight as you seek to bring a courageous, loving heart to the current world situation. We often hear the call to "be the change you wish to see in the world," and poetry is one powerful tool to build that way of being. Read more and subscribe:
An e-course by Nancy Rowe
August 6 - 31, 2018 
Our connection with nature is about slowing down to the rhythm of the landscape and quieting both our internal and our external chatter. This e-course encourages radical respect, appreciation, and humbleness as we notice that we are one small being within the vast community of living beings. Read more and subscribe: 
Practice Group  

August 12, 2018 - July 28, 2019 
For three years, a community of people at all skill levels have been gathering online to explore contemplative photography together. Participants create photos in response to a weekly theme we provide. We encourage an atmosphere of acceptance, mutual support, and delight in the wonders that this artistic medium opens for us. Read more and subscribe:

Directed by Marc Turtletaub

Agnes is a disciplined and dutiful housewife with a passion for jigsaw puzzles. When she meets a puzzle champion "desperately seeking" a partner, the puzzle pieces of her own life begin to shift. 

More Films: Far from the Tree, Leave No Trace, Woman Walks Ahead, Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Film Features

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

We couldn't wait! Every December we announce our choices of the Most Spiritually Literate Films of the Year. Yet the "off-season" yields some surprising and inspiring movies. So we wanted to give you a preview of our best films lists at mid-year.


Directed by Andrew Haigh

In this intense and sobering drama, a lonely 15-year-old boy is drawn to Lean on Pete, a quarter horse who is past his glory days. When the boy becomes orphaned and homeless, he drives off in search of his aunt, bringing the horse to save him from slaughter.
More DVDs:
Back to Burgundy, Isle of Dogs, Jane, The Leisure Seeker 

Training in Tenderness
By Dzigar Kongtrul    
This accessible paperback celebrates our most valuable resource, tenderness of heart. It manifests in strong ways like vicarious joy, generosity, mental clarity, courage, and resilience -- and, as this excerpt so beautifully states, our future depends on it.

More Books:
The Ashokan Way, The Courage Way, How to Raise Kind Kids, People Get Ready, Richard Rohr: Essential Teachings on Love, You Are Special

By the Contemplative Photographers Practice Group - Year 3 
The image of a gate or gateway is often used as an invitation for change or moving into spiritual practice. The members of our third Contemplative Photographers Practice Group take this theme and express it through their own lens in this captivating gallery.   

Spiritual Literacy Blog
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Marion Woodman, a psychoanalyst and best-selling author, died on July 9. We are fortunate to have her learned and liberating teachings on wholeness, addiction, perfectionism, aging, and the depths of feminine identity.
Process Musings Blog
By Patricia Adams Farmer
The quiet and ordinary act of gardening takes us out of ourselves and into the invisible web of connection that keeps the earth spinning in its orbit. When we dare to plant a garden, we embody the kind of hope that William Sloane Coffin called "a passion for the possible."
More Blogs: Finding Comfort in Numbers
The Practicing Democracy Project 

By David Runciman   
This ambitious and astute overview of democracy in trouble and potentially on its way to downfall is supplemented by a search for alternatives in pragmatic authoritarianism (China), epistocracy (the rule of the knowers), and liberated technology.  
From Our Wisdom Archive   

Curated by Frederic Brussat and Patricia Campbell Carlson
If you would like to live sustainably and with intention, respect the life in all aspects of nature, and consider your ancestors and descendants as you make choices about how to act, then this tradition can truly guide you.
A Thought to Carry with You  

Have you ever looked for shapes in clouds? Hey, look, an ice cream cone, and there's a heart! If so, you know something about pareidolia which, according to Wikipedia, describes how sometimes "the mind responds to a stimulus, usually an image or a sound, by perceiving a familiar pattern where none exists."
Pareidolia can lead to some strange perceptions and reactions. In November 2004, for instance, a decade-old toasted cheese sandwich said to bear an image of the Virgin Mary caught attention on the Internet and sold on eBay for $28,000. The combination of the unusual medium and the monetization of it make us raise our eyebrows skeptically, even if we can't claim to be authorities on toasted-cheese visions.
But "not all wonders and marvels are the result of pareidolia," points out Rob Brezsny in his book Pronoia. He gives the example of looking at an oil stain and seeing in it "a horse imprisoned in a cage with a ribbon wrapped around it, and that spurs you to realize that lately you've felt trapped by something that is supposedly a gift." He notes that such an experience "may really be a communication directly from an angel of mercy to you" and that striking a balance between skepticism and open-mindedness can help us tell the difference between a real message and something random and faulty.  
This week, stay open-minded about surprising symbolism in your surroundings that might be more than merely random. At the same time, trust that straightforward miracles like sunshine, rain, and your next breath are of inestimable value. 
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Margaret Wakeley