September 21, 2018

What's Happening This Week at

Editors' Pick   

By Craig Detweiler

Why do we spend so much time taking pictures of ourselves? "We want to be recognized, to be noticed, to feel loved and adored," writes Detweiler. He covers core questions of identity -- who we are as individuals and as persons created in the image of God. He even encourages us to think about how we can use selfies to envision the best we can become.

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat   

The International Day of Peace was established by a United Nations resolution in 1981 as a reminder to promote and strengthen the ideals of peace. To celebrate this day, you can light a candle for peace, sign up for an e-course to practice spirituality with peacemakers, join synchronized meditations and prayers for peace, and more.
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
From balancing darkness with light to letting go to acknowledging impermanence, Autumn has much to teach us. For our friends in the southern hemisphere who are starting Spring, we offer 12 Ways to Inaugurate the  Season

More Practices: Birthday of Leonard Cohen, Birthday of F. Scott Fitzgerald

Poetry and Prayer from the Celtic Tradition
A new e-course by Carl McColman
October 8 - November 2, 2018  
Join us for a four-week journey into the book Carmina Gadelica -- the "Charms of the Gaels." We will explore some of the most beautiful and inspiring poetry and prayers from this ancient text of mystical wisdom and reflect on how ancient Celtic lore can bring light and wisdom to our spiritual lives today. It's our pleasure to welcome back Carl McColman, whose e-course last year on "Celtic Spirituality" was enthusiastically received. Read more and subscribe:
An e-course by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
October 1 - November 9, 2018 
"The earth is too small a star and we too brief a visitor upon it, for anything to matter more than the struggle for peace," wrote Coleman McCarthy. This point in history, especially as U.S. midterm elections approach, is a good time for us to bear witness to this truth. Join us for an e-course exploring an alternative way of living, built on nonviolence, living harmoniously, forgiving and being reconciled with others, and seeking common ground. Read more and subscribe:

Directed by Wash Westmoreland

In a richly-detailed belle epoque Paris setting, a poor country girl turned literary sensation develops an artistic and sexually assured stature, straddling the reality of her times with a modern sensibility. Colette's story is especially sure to inspire those who resist oppressive ordinariness in order to blaze their own trail.

Directed by Nicole Holofcener

This engaging midlife drama of humor and heartache vividly conveys the losses and the disappointments of failed marriages and change-plagued lives -- with a dose of turtle medicine that brings essential nurture back into the picture.

More Films: Alpha, American Chaos, A-X-L, Bel Canto, The Bookshop, The Cakemaker, The Children Act, City of Joy, Do You Trust This Computer?, I Am Not a Witch, Intelligent Lives, Madeline's Madeline, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Museo (Museum), Pick of the Litter, Tea with the Dames, A Simple Favor, We the Animals

Directed by Morgan Neville

2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the national debut of the public television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. For Fred Rogers, love is the matrix of the world in which we live. On his immensely popular program, he advised us all not to give up or exclude anyone from the marvel and mystery of the banquet of life. 
Films about Survival
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Movies often show us characters struggling to survive in dire situations. This scenario is common in science fiction stories and thrillers set in distant lands. But many are based on true-life stories. All share the theme that really intense situations can become transformative moments in our lives.  

More DVDs:
Adrift, Damsel, First Reformed, Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story, Thelma, Woman Walks Ahead

The Unquiet Monk
By Michael W. Higgins     
A certain unmistakable essence of Merton shines through this book about the "perpetual pilgrim" of the mind, imagination, and spirit. Rather than being told about Merton, we as readers become part of his quest to find the point where the divine and the human uniquely and inviolably intersect.  
What I Am Living For
Edited by Jon M. Sweeney    
In this pensive and timely survey of Thomas Merton's animated faith, 20 popular spiritual writers -- including Robert Ellsberg, James Martin, Paula Huston, Pico Iyer, Sylvia Boorstein, and Sue Monk Kidd -- shed light on Merton's interfaith probes, his sexuality, and his cultural assessments of the civil rights movement, the Vietnam war, and the creative resources of the 1960s.

More Books:
The Art of Mystery, Desert, Howard Zinn Speaks, Letters to a Young Activist, The Splintering of the American Mind, They Will Inherit the Earth, Tribe, Walls, Why We Live in Community, The World-Ending Fire

Process Musings Blog
By Jay McDaniel

God can shift into shapes that are not named "God." This is especially important for people for whom the very word "God" is alienating. They want nothing to do with a king or a dictator. God then shifts into a shape that is right for them.
KidSpirit Youth Voices Blog
By Vanita Sharma
A 12-year-old philosopher observes that difficult questions about the unknown "have the power to begin a relationship, spark love, or help you make a new friend. They can not only create a platform for exploration but also build up self-confidence."
The Practicing Democracy Project  

Alternative National Anthem
A Short History of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and
a call for alternatives 
Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics to "The Star-Spangled Banner" in a flurry of passionate patriotism during the War of 1812, and they remain moving to many people even today. The lyrics are, however, unmistakably militaristic. We are scouting out alternative national anthems and appreciate your ideas!
A Discussion Group and Practice Circle
September 2018 - August 2019
On Monday, October 1, we will be starting The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel traces an intentionally dehumanizing enslavement system that is inexhaustible in its ability to reinvent cruelty. These shadows of democracy follow the characters of The Underground Railroad as they travel north, west, and throughout history. Join the Book Club to discuss the monthly book selections with others in an online Practice Circle or download reading guides for each month. Learn more and sign up:

From Our Wisdom Archive   

The Reverence Project: Spiritual Practices
Whether you feel like you have all the time in the world or you wonder how you'll ever get everything done, a pause for reverence is always in order. These practices expressing reverence for God, for life, for self, for others, for nature, for animals and plants, and for things provide ample guidance.   

A Thought to Carry with You  

"Once a century, all of a certain kind of bamboo flower on the same day," writes Chickasaw poet and novelist Linda Hogan in Sisters of the Earth, an anthology of women's reflections on nature edited by Lorraine Anderson. Take a moment to try to imagine all this flowering in far-flung places, intricately and intimately synchronized. What could possibly account for such coordinated timing?  
"Whether they are in Malaysia or in a greenhouse in Minnesota makes no difference," Hogan tell us, "nor does the age or size of the plant. They flower. Some current of an inner language passes between them, through space and separation, in ways we cannot explain in our language. They are all, somehow, one plant, each with a share of communal knowledge."
Clearly, we tend to underestimate plants. Nobel Prize-winning geneticist Barbara McClintock observed that plants have many sensitivities and "do a lot of responding to their environment ... But just because they sit there, anybody walking down the road considers them just a plastic area to look at, [as if] they're not really alive."  
This week, look each day for something marvelous about plants that can lift your spirits. You may even want to thank a plant for the beauty, breath, vitality, or nourishment it's giving you. 
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Margaret Wakeley