October 13, 2017

What's Happening This Week at SpiritualityandPractice.com

Editors' Pick   

By Thomas Moore  
Thomas Moore sees aging as "not just adding years to our total on earth," but rather "a process of humanization, of becoming more spiritually and culturally complex." Abounding with vigor and a cascade of keen insights, he assesses the challenges and opportunities we go through in the mysterious unfolding of our later lives. In the excerpt, he comments on the value of religion for elders.

One in nine people in the world will go to bed hungry tonight. Here are ideas of ways you can help as part of World Food Day on October 16 -- but also year round. This practice by Donald Altman reminds us that each meal -- even each mouthful -- and everything in our lives is a gift.
More Practices: Feast Day of St. Teresa of Avila, Diwali   

A new e-course by Carl McColman    
October 2 - 27, 2017
There's still time to join S&P's October e-courses! When you do, you will find in your account an archive of the sessions already covered, and you can join into the Practice Circle discussion at any point. So far, "Celtic Spirituality" has explored topics like holy wells, "thin places," and animals in Celtic lore -- with much more to come! Read more and sign up:
A new e-course by Sage-ing International, Bob Atchley, and Pat Hoertdoerfer        
October 2 - 27, 2017 
"Spiritual Elder Activism" is also still open to you. It's well suited to anyone troubled by current events, especially those in later stages of life who are looking for ways to be fruitfully engaged in service that springs from contemplative practice. Read more and sign up:

Directed by Steven Lewis Simpson  
Based on the award-winning book by Kent Nerburn, this powerful film tells the story of Dan, a Lakota elder who lives on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and chooses Nerburn to write a book from his unflinching words about Indian life, past and present.
A Values and Visions Guide by Linda J. Vogel serves as a companion to the film review to spur discussion around key themes.

More Films:
Brad's Status, Earth: One Amazing Day, Goodbye Christopher Robin, The Great Day, Human Flow, I Am Another You, Monogamish, The Mountain Between Us, Una, Victoria and Abdul  

Directed by David Lowery
This sad and enchanted horror movie has a moving and minimalist screenplay that refuses to succumb to this genre's usual violent hysterics of blood and gore.  
More DVDs: Alex and Eve, The Farthest: Voyager in Space, Maudie

Desert Voices
By Tessa Bielecki and David Denny 
A diligent and spunky spirit shines through this harvest of the Desert Foundation's first decade of writing, which includes essays about reverence for wilderness, interfaith dialogue, building trust in areas of political conflict, and reframing loss, grief, and death as spiritual teachers. This excerpt on wonder draws out the spirit of children's books by Byrd Baylor, three of our favorites!

More Books: A Retreat with Desert Mystics; Sex, Love, and Dharma; Voluntary Simplicity  
Children's Books   

By Victoria Ying
Described on the jacket as "wordless," this book  -- which allows children a chance to interpret the "meows" of a playful kitten -- actually says quite a bit about how animals, including humans, can express their feelings.

Process Musings Blog
By Jay McDaniel
Epiphanies aren't always from a cosmic source. Some are more practical and pertain to how we might live our lives -- like the lesson of pumping a swing, a metaphor for reinventing ourselves in light of new situations.
More Blogs: How to Change Someone's Mind, Walls  
Elder Spirituality Project

Directed by Jonathan Teplitzky 
Even for a charismatic statesman like Winston Churchill, there is no escape from the changes that come with old age as the body fails us and self-doubts dog us. We come away from this film buoyed by its portrayal of a man who proves himself capable of transformation.
From Our Wisdom Archive   

Seeing the sacred, the infinity of mercy, the human core, and the potential for nonviolence -- and then translating all of that into form -- was Frederick Franck's forte. In a time when that translation is sorely needed, we are honored to share these photos of Franck's work. This art meditation on his Pieta for Darfur and Iraq and a Solstice painting also captures Franck's longing for a peaceful world.
A Thought to Carry with You  

Back in 1969, Monique Wittig wrote, "Today, together, let us repeat as our slogan that all trace of violence must disappear from this earth; then the sun will be honey-colored and music good to hear." How beautiful, how poignant, and perhaps how unrealistic! Is there even any chance that all trace of violence could disappear, when even people within nonviolent movements hurt each other? "Nonviolence is a flop," was Joan Baez's honest, sobering assessment in her memoir, Daybreak. But she immediately adds, "The only bigger flop is violence."

Baez rightfully goes on to place the responsibility on each of us: "Only you and I can help the sun rise each coming morning. If we don't, it may drench itself out in sorrow. You special, miraculous, unrepeatable, fragile, fearful, tender, lost, sparkling ruby emerald jewel, rainbow splendor person. It's up to you."

For sure, these are words of a young person: Baez was only in her mid-twenties when she wrote them. But one responsibility of those who have seen many years is to drink in the idealism of younger people, lest we become jaded. And there is no doubt that her hope is mixed with grief: grief over the state of the world, a grief that everyone reading these words will know keenly. She had already seen enough to break the heart, but she wanted to choose hope.

This week, let's take the risk of keeping that slogan of Wittig's close to our hearts: "... all trace of violence must disappear from this earth; then the sun will be honey-colored and music good to hear." We can only build a peaceful future if we continue to envision it ... and if we remember that peace must foremost be a personal investment on each of our parts.
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Darren Polito