November 4, 2016

What's Happening This Week at SpiritualityandPractice.com

Editor's Pick   

By Mary Oliver

In these essays, Oliver dependably waxes poetic about the natural world, love, death, time, power, and a place of one's own. Her reverence is abundantly clear throughout, as in this excerpt reminding us that "the farthest star and the mud at our feet are a family; and there is no decency or sense in honoring one thing, or a few things, and then closing the list."
Practices   

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Giving thanks takes practice. We get better at it over time. And November is an especially good time to make gratitude our spiritual discipline, putting us in the right frame of mind for the gift-giving holiday season.

 
E-Courses   

A new e-course by Cynthia Bourgeault  
October 31 - December 2, 2016

This e-course conveys visionary insights clearly laid out step-by-step with practices that help us both remember and embody the wisdom of Teilhard de Chardin. There's still time to sign up and engage in conversation with kindred souls and one of the finest teachers on the planet. Read more and join us!
 www.SpiritualityandPractice.com/TeilhardforOurTimes 
A 21-day program by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat    
October 31 - November 20, 2016

Day by day, receive quotes from great thinkers who have plumbed the depths of what it means to be at home with what you already contain. This course not only inspires but also helps you hold on to and build on any changes you make, so that a spirit of satisfaction and gratitude becomes second nature to you. Join us:
www.SpiritualityandPractice.com/CultivatingContentment 
Films

Directed by Kelly Reichardt

This subtle, spare drama gently probes the lives of four women in Livingston, Wyoming. The struggles of these solitary souls, who are moody and wary of change, mirror our own.
 
More Films: All Governments Lie, Before the Flood, Finding Babel, Fire at Sea, Into the Inferno, The Ivory Game, Southwest of Salem, A Stray  
DVDs

Directed by Matt Ross

A father and his six children live a seemingly idyllic life off the grid. But the death of the children's mother brings them into revealing encounters with their relatives and the world beyond the wilderness, testing their self-reliant lifestyle.

More DVDs: My Love, Don't Cross That River; Among the Believers; CafĂ© Society; Circle of Poison; Free to Run; Gleason; Indian Point; The Kind Words; The Little Prince; Microbe and Gasoline; Milton's Secret; Our Kind of Traitor; Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict; The Sea of Trees, Star Trek Beyond  
Books   

Uncommon Prayer
By Michael Plekon 

In this substantive work, Plekon turns to poets, saints, writers, theologians, and activists who demonstrate that "there is no time of day, no activity, no place that cannot be prayer." We are delighted with the ecumenical sweep of these prayer practitioners and the rich array of quotations from their writings.
   
More Books: The Divine Dance, The Gardener and the Carpenter, Christian Mystics, Who Rules the World?
Children's Books   

By Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston

This invitation from a "child of books" -- who says she comes from a world of stories and floats on her imagination -- tempts us into a treasure hunt through children's literature that is made all the more alluring by the talents of two collaborative artists.

More Children's Books: I Am a Story; Mom, There's a Bear at the Door
 
Arts   

By John Powell

In this delightful and enlightening book, Powell discusses the salutary connections between repetition and music; the arousal factor in music that leads to goose-bumps; the value of our first exposure to music in childhood; and the healing powers of music as it helps us deal with pain, depression, many diseases, and much more.

More Arts: How to See 
Blogs   

KidSpirit Youth Voices Blog
By Prerna Chaterjee

Diwali has always been an important Indian festival, essentially of Hindu origins but celebrated throughout the country by people of different faiths (Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, etc.). Chaterjee writes about her personal experience of the day and its ray of new hope.
 
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Bob Dylan has always impressed us with the lyrics to his songs and now he has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. In its citation, the Swedish Academy credited Mr. Dylan with "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

From Our Wisdom Archive   

Compiled and Designed by Darren Polito

Hope is an emotion, a passion, a prayer, and a verb. We find it in everyday life and unexpected places. Best of all, we can plant it ourselves.


 
A Music Feature by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Hope lends a forward thrust to bold projects and dreams begun with great commitment, ardor, and idealism. No wonder the preacher and social activist William Sloane Coffin said, "Hope arouses as nothing else can arouse, a passion for the possible." So here's a collection of YouTube videos of songs about hope for you to enjoy.
 
A Thought to Carry with You  

When you consider the tools at your disposal for healing, do you include stories? Joan Aiken, in The Way to Write for Children, reminds us that stories aren't mere idle pastimes: "From the beginning of the human race stories have been used -- by priests, by bards, by medicine men [and women] -- as magic instruments of healing, of teaching, as a means of helping people come to terms with the fact that they continually have to face insoluble problems and unbearable realities."

You can even find cultures in which a story is considered the most healing gift you can offer to a neighbor or a loved one who is ill or sad. In The Healing Art of Storytelling, Richard Stone explains that in some Islamic societies, "You would never bring a sick person flowers and candles. . . . Instead, you would tell them a story of patience, endurance, and triumph. The images such a tale would plant in their awareness would circulate through their souls just as powerfully as a medicinal elixir would travel to the diseased cells by way of the bloodstream. The more the story is considered, the more it can empower the body's own healing mechanisms."

This is one among many reasons why we have always loved children's books, but of course you can also find healing stories in your own life, in the biographies of people who inspire you, in scripture, and in literature for grown-ups. This week, think of one way you can avail yourself of a good story, for your own sake or for someone else. If you're stuck for ideas, stop by the children's section of your local library and browse through the array of colorful, magical tales. Some of them may seem fantastical, but they nevertheless hold kernels of truth that make the vicissitudes of human life navigable. 
 
Blessings, 
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Darren Polito