November 3, 2017

What's Happening This Week at

Editors' Pick   

By Toinette Lippe 

For Toinette Lippe, who had no art training, learning the time-honored craft of East Asian brush painting turned out to be a long and thorny road. But she is transforming her "works on paper" into "plays on paper." Read a description of her learning curve, and then enjoy some of her beautiful paintings -- the fruit of her dedication -- in this gallery.  

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Here's a countdown to Thanksgiving made up of an array of gratitude practices. The more ways we find to give thanks, the more things we find to be grateful for.
More Practices: Birthday of Albert Camus, Dylan Thomas Day, Birthday of Dorothy Day

A new e-course by Margaret Silf
November 6 - December 1, 2017 (Begins Monday!) 
A cannonball shattered the leg of Inigio Lopez -- later known as Ignatius Loyola -- and triggered a radical conversion in his heart. During a painful convalescence, he had time to reflect on his life and what he intended to do with it. For countless spiritual pilgrims his insights have been life-changing. Read more and sign up: 
A new e-course by Sage-ing International, Marilyn Loy Every, Carol Scott-Kassner, and Joanne Turnbull        
October 30 - November 24, 2017 
This encouraging and reflective e-course started Monday and is still open if you would like to join. The basic premise is this: With the strength of maturity, we have the capacity to loosen the grip of troublesome memories so that we can take full advantage of our latter years. Read more and sign up: 

Directed by Scott Haze
Charles Mully devotes his money and time to creating a life of meaning and beauty for thousands of children in Kenya. This astonishing documentary opens our hearts, minds, and souls to the difference a good person can make in the lives of others by putting them first. This film is showing in special theaters on November 9. Don't miss it! 

More Films:
Bill Nye: Science Guy, Breathe, Félicité, God's Own Country, Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold, Mark Felt: The Man Who Took Down the White House, Marshall, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), Motherland  

Directed by Martin Provost 
In this French dramedy on the ambiguities of middle age, Claire, a midwife in a busy clinic, is at a crossroads in her life. She is not sure where she wants to go next, and her experience of taking stock is complicated by news from her son and the resurfacing in her life of her late father's mistress.
More DVDs: Personal Shopper, War for the Planet of the Apes  

10 Years of KidSpirit
By Kidspirit
This anniversary anthology brims over with vision and prophetic wisdom by 11- to 17-year-old writers and artists at KidSpirit, the sole spiritual magazine by and for global youth. If you enjoy the KidSpirit Youth Voices blog on our website, you are sure to like this volume, too.

More Books: 
Living Tao, The World Wisdom Bible   

Faces Places
Directed by Agnes Varda and JR
An 89-year-old New Wave French director and a playful 34-year-old photographer and visual artist decide to travel through rural France in order to ponder the faces of ordinary people and the places that diminish or nurture them. As part of their project, they paste huge photographs on the sides of buildings, trains, and even a water tower.

More Art: Loving Vincent

KidSpirit Youth Voices Blog
By Grace Snarr 
Forgiveness can be life-changing, a feeling akin to flying -- no less so when it is aimed towards ourselves than when we offer it to others.
More Blogs: D Is for Devotion, The Religion of Small Things 
The Practicing Democracy Project

Multiple directors; curated by Jeff Deutchman 
U.S. Election Day 2016 decisively changed history. Deutchman enlisted 18 filmmakers with ties to different regions of the country "so that we could create a sweeping canvas of a single day. We wanted to make sure that we captured as many aspects of American life, and of American opinions as possible."

If you have not already done so, please help us shape our newly launched project by taking this short survey to let us know your hopes, fears, needs, and ideas. We would like to get as broad a range of responses as possible, so please share the web-address with your friends, family, colleagues, worship community, and anyone else you know who might be interested:

Elder Spirituality Project

Directed by John Carroll Lynch 
This well-realized, well-acted, and soulful film reveals the challenges and the setbacks of old age as a period of life where we are compelled to forge our characters as we struggle with bodily changes, fear, changing friendships, loss, impending death, and spirituality. 
From Our Wisdom Archive   

By Kathleen Deignan  
If you are distressed, shattered, or heartbroken by grief and sorrow in the world or in your own situation, this song based on one of St. Julian of Norwich's revelations can be deeply restorative. (Lyrics included.) 

A Thought to Carry with You  

Our brains are wired in surprising ways. One of the most curious of these ways involves first impressions. According to an article by Karla Starr in Psychology Today, we quickly -- sometimes within seconds of meeting someone -- sum them up, quite literally. We assign them a value, using the parts of our brains associated with giving prices to objects.

Yet most of us have had the experience of having a first impression dashed, for better or for worse. So we nod our heads when we read Amor Towles' words in A Gentleman in Moscow: "What can a first impression tell us about anyone? Why, no more than a chord can tell us about Beethoven, or a brushstroke about Botticelli." With the minimal data of a first impression to go on, if we aren't careful we fill in the sizeable gaps in our knowledge with assumptions based on our own preconceptions.

Being careful is exactly what spiritual practice calls forth from us: To fully care. One form that full caring takes is to be present to the extraordinary quality of our companions. Towles continues: "By their very nature, human beings are so capricious, so complex, so delightfully contradictory, that they deserve not only our consideration, but our reconsideration -- and our unwavering determination to withhold our opinion until we have engaged with them in every possible setting at every possible hour."

Although doubtless you will not have time this week to engage your friends and acquaintances "in every possible setting at every possible hour," try carrying the spirit of this practice with you. Notice when an opinion about someone arises in your thoughts, thank it for the information it is trying to provide, and then set it aside and pay attention to what's actually before your eyes and ears. Be ready for some delightful surprises! 
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Darren Polito