April 22, 2016

What's Happening This Week at SpiritualityandPractice.com

Editor's Pick   

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat  

This innovative documentary -- marveling about the ways we are able to feel our oneness with trees, animals, the sun, the air, water, plants, and much more -- inspires us to honor and protect the Earth. Quotes and questions on seven themes in the documentary can be discussed before or after seeing it.


From Attention and Being Present to Wonder and You, these selections based on the Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy remind us to look for God's fingerprints in nature, watch out for a waterway's welfare, and in many other ways to live lightly and respectfully on the planet.

More Practices to Celebrate Earth: Child Pose, Iroquois Prayer, Watering the Plants, The Tapestry of Life  

Every Body's Prayer
A new e-course by Lindsay McLaughlin and
Patricia Campbell Carlson
May 2 - 27, 2016 

What better time than May to stretch into your body's marvelous ability for prayer in motion? Everyone is welcome, at any level of mobility. Read more and sign up here:

Wisdom Stories from the Sufi Tradition
A new e-course by Kabir Helminski
May 1 - 28, 2016

Study the heart-opening wisdom of Sufi stories with Shaikh Kabir Helminski, translator of Rumi, cofounder of the Threshold Society, and Muslim educator and retreat leader. Read more and sign up here:


Directed by Jon Favreau

This Disney 3-D live-action and CGI feature about a boy's quest to see where he belongs will keep you on the edge of your seat. It looks incredibly realistic, even though all the talking animals and the sets were computer generated.

More Films: Born to Be Blue, City of Gold  

Directed by Stephen Olsson
Free webcast tonight, April 22, 7 pm PT/10 pm ET

Phil Cousineau explores the origins, translations, and interpretations of sacred texts with three esteemed guests: biblical studies scholar Willis Barnstone, Episcopal writer and retreat leader Cynthia Bourgeault, and Tibetan Buddhist translator and author Ken McLeon.


Directed by Nicholas Hytner 

Inimitable actress Maggie Smith steals this show with her emotionally rich performance -- alternately troubling, funny, and sad -- as a homeless elderly woman who lives in her van for a mere 15 years in the driveway of a lonely playwright.

More DVDs: Jackie Robinson  

By Margaret Silf 

Ignatian spirituality retreat leader and prolific writer Margaret Silf, one of our Living Spiritual Teachers, sees and shares evidence of the Holy in the mundane as well as the magnificent.  
More Books: Body Intelligence, October 31, 1517   

By Roger Sherman 

Jean-Paul Sartre wrote of him, "One of Calder's objects is like the sea and casts a spell like it; always begun over again, always new." This one-hour segment of PBS's American Masters series, available on DVD, won a Peabody Award in 1998 and is an evergreen delight.

By Darren Polito

"Open all your pores and bathe in the tides of nature," wrote Thoreau. These quotes and photos allow us to bask in Earth's beauty and also remind us of our sacred responsibility to her.


KidSpirit Youth Voices Blog
By KidSpirit Online

A young writer, Nimai, shares how Vaishnavism, a monotheistic tradition within Hinduism, envisions Earth as a person, a mother. "One doesn't treat a person as an exploitable source of resources, just as one doesn't wish death upon one's mother."  
Spiritual Literacy Blog
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Whether we work overtime or seek a place for our vocation in a world of constricting job prospects, it's helpful to remember John Updike's explanation of his work aspirations: "I will try not to panic, to keep my standard of living modest, and to work steadily, even shyly, in the spirit of those medieval carvers who so fondly sculpted the undersides of choir seats."

Once you hit bottom and discover the ladder of a Twelve-Step program, you are surely among the most grateful people in the world. On these pages you will find many of the gifts that are part of the path of recovery from addiction, coming to you through books, an e-course, films, quotes, spiritual practices, teachers, and video clips.

From Our Wisdom Archive   

Did you know that our Arts "What's New" page features videos? Scroll down the page to see "Performance of Pixel," "Works of Calder" and more. Check out our frequent video updates not only for Arts, but also on "What's New" pages for Practices, Films, Elder Spirituality, and the Reverence Project. (Hint: Videos are always at the bottom of these pages; scroll down.)

A Thought to Carry with You  
In her piercing poem "Once Only," Denise Levertov reminds us that all which was "flame and song and granted us joy" cannot be revisited, even though we may wish to go back.

"... the marvelous
did happen in our lives, our stories
are not drab with its absence: but don't
expect now to return for more."

How easy it is to slip into that state of mind -- or state of "mine" -- in which we want to gather a moment of joy between closed knuckles and preserve it forever, always to return and dip into its bounty! But in our own lives -- and even more tellingly, in the life of our planet -- what we bind to ourselves gets crushed. We have only one real and vital option, as William Blake famously observed. He or she who "kisses the joy as it flies, lives in eternity's sunrise."

"As it flies" happens quickly ... often much too quickly for our tastes, our reflexes, and our ability to assimilate what has happened. Levertov nudges us to be on the lookout: "Try to acknowledge the next song in its body-halo of flames as utterly present, as now or never."

How fitting her insight is for this week of Earth Day, too! What are we overlooking that may never come again?

This week, take these three words -- "now or never" -- as if they were the sound of a dawn bird's song lifting you out of sleep. Say them to yourself whenever you can. Post them on your mirror or another place where you know you will see them. Use them to lift yourself into this moment of pristine awareness: of your own precious life, of what it means to be human, and of our call to care for our life-giving Earth.

Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Patricia Campbell Carlson
Darren Polito