April 21, 2017

What's Happening This Week at SpiritualityandPractice.com

Editor's Pick

Good books are treasures beyond compare: sources of wisdom, wit, knowledge, pleasure, historical record, beauty, and so much more that sustains and advances the best of humanity. We offer quotes, films, and practices to honor the love of reading during this April 23rd opportunity and beyond.


From Attention and Being Present to Wonder and You, these practices 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.

The Miracle of Breath
A new e-course by Drew Leder   
May 1 - 26, 2017

To breathe well is to come fully alive. Explore breath meditations that help with relaxation, focus, and compassion. Consider the politics of breath, the ecology of breath, and breath as inspiration. Your guide for this retreat will be Drew Leder, a Loyola philosophy professor who gives talks and workshops around the world. Read more and sign up:
A Field Guide to Solitude
An e-course by Jim Kullander  
May 1 - 26, 2017

Tap into the many opportunities that solitude offers you, including creative nurturing, psychological healing, independent travel, improved relationships, attunement to nature, and spiritual exploration. James Kullander -- who has led or co-led four other S&P e-courses, all of them warmly received -- will be guiding this course. Read more and sign up:

Directed by Cyril Dion and Melanie Laurent
This documentary bubbles over with practical solutions to today's problems, showcasing how activists around the world are working hard in agriculture, energy, economics, democracy, and education to create a sustainable future.

More Films: Citizen Jane, Gifted, Obit  

Directed by Josh Aronson

This entertaining and delightful documentary maps seven years in the lives of Paul Katz, a master cellist, and four of his students at New England's Conservatory of Music in Boston.

More DVDs: Before the Flood, Love Thy Nature

The Souls of China
By Ian Johnson 

Many in this changing society are not satisfied with the rampant materialism of China and are desperately seeking religious and spiritual alternatives, finding them in an array of places: Taoist rituals, Buddhist temples, new churches, and even mosques. 
More Books: Pi Gu Chi Kung, Anatomy of Love
Children's Books   

By Victoria Turnbull
Pandora has the rare gift of bringing lost and forgotten things -- including an injured bird -- back to life. This fable designed for children ages 4 - 7 touches us with themes of loneliness, nurturing, kindness, and renewal.


By Frederic Brussat

"At the heart of creativity is diversity. Diversity is at the core of the universe and is its art form," writes James Conlon in Lyrics for Re-Creation. This collection of quotes on diversity covers the gambit from the exuberance of nature to celebrating religious differences.


KidSpirit Youth Voices Blog
By Anna Zimmer

For someone who grew up in a family where religion did not play a big role, the discovery of acceptance, a globally oriented community, and a Green Sanctuary project at a Unitarian Universalist parish come as welcome surprises.

"May we grow in grace / may we grow in gratitude /
may we grow in wisdom / that our enemy may become our friend." International peacemaker, Celtic scholar, and poet John Philip Newell offers words much needed for our time, captured here in quotations, videos, articles, interviews, and prayers.
An e-course with Lynne Twist and Br. David Steindl-Rast
May 17 - June 21, 2017  

This six-week program with Br. David Steindl-Rast, one of our Living Spiritual Teachers, explores the power of focusing awareness on the gifts, opportunities, and commitments in our lives.
From Our Wisdom Archive   

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
This Earth Day, in spite of doubt being sown by people in power, we are confident that climate-change awareness is growing among spiritual people of all stripes. This topic brings you a large crosscut of our best content on this subject: blog posts, memes, prayers, films, e-courses, and much more.
A Thought to Carry with You  

Even a child knows that God is not only represented by the grandest, brightest, fastest things we can imagine, but also by the smallest and gentlest. Anne Morrow Lindbergh put it like this, "One can get just as much exultation in losing oneself in a little thing as in a big thing. It is nice to think how one can be recklessly lost in a daisy!"

This thought is a relief to contemplate; it reminds us of divine presence in simplicity. As we learn what it takes to live our lives with unexpected turns in our material wealth, there's nothing like recognition of the sublime, unearned gifts in every moment to keep us aware of how rich we really are.

Surely this reminder has everything to do with Earth Day, because there is no greater antidote to the fear, greed, exploitation, and arrogance that plague our culture and threaten our environment than appreciating the simple things freely granted to us. Breath. Water. Skies. Spring blossoms. Friendship. The opportunity to serve. Common sense to perceive truth. As Indian poet Kabir observes, in Robert Bly's translation,

I said to the wanting-creature inside me:
What is this river you want to cross?
There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road.

What happens to desire when we realize that there is no river to cross -- that what we need is already present? This week, allow yourself to be overwhelmed by the peace that comes from being grateful.

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