What's Happening at

September 25, 2020
Editors' Pick
By Habib Todd Boerger

Our lives gain deeper meaning and purpose when we place the good of the country and its collective citizenry above our individual interests. The 13 practices and extensive resources in this guide suggest ways to promote democratic virtues like fairness, social conscience, and service.
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Jelaluddin Rumi's mystical poetry has been loved, recited, and sung for centuries in Islamic countries -- Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey claim him as their own poet. He now has an equally large following in the West. He speaks to the universal yearning for a closer connection to the Divine.

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

St. Francis of Assisi is a beacon for those seeking a life of meaning and service. Here's an invitation to walk with him on the path of peace, openness, mysticism, poverty, reverence for nature, and love of animals.

More Practices: Birthday of Confucius, Feast Day of St. Therese of Lisieux, Guardian Angels Day, Birthday of Desmond Tutu
Zoom Retreat
A Zoom Retreat with Susan Carpenter
Saturday, September 26, 2020

Spiritual texts and teachers tell us to love ourselves, to love our neighbors, and even to love our enemies. Having productive and open conversations is one way we do that. In the months leading up to the U.S. election, this kind of engagement is a critically important spiritual practice. We hope you will join Susan Carpenter and our S&P community for this important retreat.

Read more and sign up:
By Contemplative Outreach

In Open Mind, Open Heart, Fr. Thomas Keating wrote, "The Welcoming Prayer practice is a way of 'letting go' into the present moment in the ordinary routines of daily life. It is a way of turning everything over to God. . . ." Read more about this Welcoming Prayer e-course and sign up:
By Jan Phillips

Any one of us can override the prejudices, opinions, and programming that we’ve been subjected to. All the intelligence of the cosmos is in our cellular makeup. Join us for an opportunity to develop a deeper, more authentic spiritual practice, leading to clarified insight about what you are being called to do. Read more and sign up:
DVDs and Streaming
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat and Micah Bucey

When we lived in New York, this festival was one of the highlights of our year. Held in September/October, it gave us a chance to see some of the films that would be award-contenders at year's end as well as many foreign language films we might not have seen otherwise. This year the press screenings have been in a virtual theater, so we have been able to attend them from our California living room. Since the public screenings are also virtual, you can see them too! Check out our coverage here. We will be adding new films to the list in the coming days as we see them, and Micah Bucey, who also reviews films for S&P, will be adding some more.
Directed by John Sheedy

In this coming-of-age comedy set in a colorful Australian coastal town, a smart and empathic young teen decides to do everything she can to "save her family" from their troubles. Along the way, she models optimism, kindness, and a vibrantly happy outlook.
Directed by Rodd Rathjen

This harsh tale of contemporary slavery and human resiliency follows the journey of a 14-year-old boy as he escapes his farming life in Cambodia only to be duped into hard, unpaid labor aboard an ocean trawler.

More DVDs and Streaming: The Artist's Wife, Blackbird, The Grand Unified Theory of Howard Bloom, The Nest, Oliver Sacks: His Own Life, Softie
By Scott Russell Sanders

Sanders asks the right questions in these essays. He keeps us alert to challenges and delights such as bears, chanting, the reckless behavior of human beings which is doing irreparable damage to the earth, the problem of lies, the nature of conscience and resistance, and much more.

More Books: Embracing the Inconceivable by Ellen Birx, The Great Conversation by Belden C. Lane, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas by Matthew Fox, Writing Straight with Crooked Lines by Jim Forest
Book Excerpt

In The Great Conversation, author Belden C. Lane retells a story from Nikos Kazantzakis about a monk who has saved alms throughout his life so that he can make a journey to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. But no sooner has he stepped outside his monastery gates than he meets a man whose family is starving. Now what shall he do about his planned pilgrimage?
Short & Sweet Spirituality Blog
By Frederic Brussat
"Big-heartedness is the most essential virtue on the spiritual journey," theologian Matthew Fox writes. And an Irish proverb reminds us that "It is in the shelter of each other that the people live." Enjoy these quotes and more wisdom about essential virtues, attitudes, and practices.
Process Musings Blog
By Jay McDaniel
Intellectual excellence. Courage. The dream of equal citizenship. Fidelity to the bonds of friendship. Devotion to family. Zest for life. All these high ideals were woven into the life of a single, remarkable woman.

Practicing Democracy Project
By Habib Todd Boerger

The power of coming together in prayer for a common cause is inestimable. From planning suggestions through a sample format and sample prayers, this feature provides an abundance of resources for creating a service that reflects on and promotes democratic values.

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From Our Wisdom Archive
Compiled by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Designed by Darren C. Polito

Looking for courage to face what's going on in the world or your own life right now? Here are 12 uplifting quotes to help you "let your center speak," which is how priest and writer Henri Nouwen described what it means to have courage.
A Thought to Carry with You
In Let Your Life Speak, Parker J. Palmer points out that going on a spiritual pilgrimage is hardly a trouble-free vacation. In a traditional pilgrimage, he reminds us, "hardships are seen not as accidental but as integral to the journey itself. Treacherous terrain, bad weather, taking a fall, getting lost -- challenges of that sort, largely beyond our control, can strip the ego of the illusion that it is in charge ..."
Does this sound a bit like current circumstances to you? If so, you are not alone. From the tragic losses of the pandemic to the surge of striving for racial justice to political turmoil and climate catastrophe, we are living through unusually painful times.
If we think of the world's current woes and throes as a pilgrimage, let's bear in mind that we may or may not reach distant destinations. What pilgrimages -- and current challenging circumstances -- offer us is a mysterious opportunity to give ourselves over to something greater than we are. We just may find that that's what we need, even more than ease or knowing our bearings: a moment-by-moment connectedness that sustains us in the midst of whatever comes and reveals the next, illuminated steps to take.

A Note from Patricia: In the realm of next steps, please let me take this moment to thank all of you in the Spirituality & Practice community for many wonderful years of being together in various ways, including sharing these Thoughts, which it has been my pleasure to write. As I move forward to focus on a caregiving job and helping my son build an artists' retreat, I will hold you all in my heart with all the well wishes and gratitude I can muster. I know that I leave you in the best of hands with the strong, wise, and caring S&P Team.

Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Patricia Campbell Carlson (goodbye!)
Keziah Grindeland
Sue Tracey