April 3, 2017

What's Happening This Week at SpiritualityandPractice.com

Editor's Pick  

By Frederic Brussat

"Never fear periods of darkness in life," writes Joan Chittister. "They are the atrium to new phases of life." 
All you need is a brief wedge of time to spare. We provide an invocation, quotes, a practice, and closing words that encourage you to enter this atrium.

We salute the inter-species peace ambassador who wrote: "We still have a way to go. But we are moving in the right direction. If we can overcome cruelty, to human and animal, with love and compassion, we shall stand at the threshold of a new era in human moral and spiritual evolution -- and realize, at last, our most unique quality."  

Carolyn Forche writes that "poetry is the voice of soul, whispering, celebrating, singing even." Every April is National Poetry Month in the United States; here we offer seven years' worth of daily poetry collections to refresh your spirits. (See links in the right column.)

More Practices:
Golden Rule Day, Birthday of Ram Dass  

An e-course by James Kullander 
May 1 - 26, 2017

This e-course reminds us that loneliness and lack are not always satiated by surrounding ourselves with more people. Learn ways to embrace solitude, whether you occasionally find yourself alone, deliberately take some time to be alone, or live alone. Read more and join us:
A new e-course by Drew Leder        
May 1 - 26, 2017

In the last day you've taken roughly 23,000 breaths. How many have you noticed? How do gender, race, and social class affect your ability to take a full and healthy breath? Join us to explore these and other dimensions -- personal, medical, political, ecological, and metaphysical -- of this precious resource. Read more and sign up:

Directed by Niki Caro

In this true portrait of courage, Antonina Zabinski and her husband Dr. Jan Zabinski save hundreds of endangered Jews in Warsaw, Poland, by providing an escape route through the zoo they manage.

More Films:
All These Sleepless Nights, All This Panic, For Here or To Go, God Knows Where I Am, The Last Word, Robert Klein Still Can't Stop His Leg, The Women's Balcony

Directed by Mike Mills 

A divorced, middle-aged single mother enlists three individuals to help her 15-year-old son find the answer to the question that pesters, intrigues, and inspires her: "How do you be a good man?"

More DVDs:
Ali and Nino, Fire at Sea, Julieta, Miss Sloane, Silence 

Three Memoirs
By Sue Monk Kidd

From bestselling novelist Sue Monk Kidd come new editions of three memoirs: God's Joyful Surprise, about awakening to divine love; When the Heart Waits, a summons to watch for grace; and The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, a life-shaking encounter with sexism and an adventure with the Divine Feminine.   
James Martin: Essential Writings
Edited by James T. Keane 

Part of the Orbis Modern Spiritual Masters series, this volume gives us the best writings of James Martin, a Jesuit priest, editor-at-large of America, and bestselling author of numerous books.  He focuses on the quest for God in all things, care of the soul, models of holiness, and compassionate service of the poor.   
More Books: Jesus, A Pilgrimage; Love, Henri; Sacred Journeys

KidSpirit Youth Voices Blog
By Chris Woods

A homeschooler from Chicago tells us about his experience with a beautiful ancient tradition and reminds us of the role that sorrow plays in discovering depths of joy.

Spiritual Literacy Blog
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

In his American Catholic blog post, Ragan Sutterfield quotes Wendell Berry: "We all live by robbing nature, but our standard of living demands that the robbery shall continue." The 40 days of the penitential season of Lent are a good time to repent of this behavior and look for ways to simplify.

"Love is the only bridge that hearts can toss across the yawning void of emptiness that the mind will make," writes David Richo in Unexpected Miracles. "It is the only fire on earth that can melt the ego in an instant." Visit his new profile in our Living Spiritual Teachers Project to read more quotes, reviews, interviews, and articles, and to watch videos of his teachings.
From Our Wisdom Archive   

Contemplative and songwriter Kathleen Deignan has turned St. Julian of Norwich's famous statement into a musical meditation well suited to Spring, Lent, and our need for essential reassurance in these times. This page provides both the audio recording and the lyrics.
A Thought to Carry with You  

Great wisdom often lies hidden in deceptively simple language. Scottish author George MacDonald's At the Back of the North Wind contains this little gem among many:

"The lightning and thunder,
They go and they come;
But the stars and the stillness
Are always at home."

Lightning and thunder come and go in the literal sense of weather changes, of course, and they are also familiar metaphors. In our personal lives, things may move along "as usual" for a while, but sooner or later a storm bursts in: a family argument, an accident, a ravaging illness, the death of someone we love. Beyond our own horizons, we are saddened to hear about upheavals in the lives of our sisters and brothers around the world: wars, famine, political oppression, refugee crises, and more. Tempestuous forces may sometimes clear the way for us to break free of limitations, gain courage, and come more fully alive. But there's no doubt that they are emblems of impermanence and can lead to terrible loss.

Dramatic storms tend to stand out in our memories. It's rarer for us to recall the stars and the stillness that outlast the wild whims of weather. This week, be on the lookout for a steady, sure vantage point from which you can sense the stars firmly situated in their celestial home. Rooting yourself in stillness fosters serenity, calm, and clarity like that of a clear night sky -- qualities that last even when storms are raging.   
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Darren Polito