September 16, 2016

What's Happening This Week at

Editor's Pick 

By Frederic Brussat

"An infinite light is hidden in every good deed," Rabbi Shneur Zalaman of Lia reminds us. Let your light increase and shine on your surroundings through this mini-retreat designed to refresh you with prayers, readings, and practices that fit easily into the time you have at hand.

By Patricia Campbell Carlson 

Warning: If you view this practice, you may find yourself singing, "Someday we'll find it -- the rainbow connection -- the lovers, the dreamers, and me." Let your spirit breathe a sigh of relief that the laughter and wonder of the likes of Kermit, Miss Piggy, and Elmo are alive and well in this world.

More Practices: Reflections on Autumn, Dag Hammarskjold Day, International Day of Peace, Birthday of Leonard Cohen

A new e-course by Ted Falcon and Jamal Rahman       
October 3 - 28, 2016

Rabbi Ted Falcon and Imam Jamal Rahman of the Interfaith Amigos help us explore why peace has been so elusive and how we might better achieve that peace in our lives and in our world. It's full of ideas and practices for the last month of the U.S. presidential campaign. Read more and sign up here: 
A new e-course by Contemplative Outreach        
October 3 - 28, 2016

The Welcoming Prayer offers us the opportunity to respond instead of reacting to the present moment. Those who have faithfully been traveling with us (and may have taken a course on Welcoming Prayer before) will be happy to know that this retreat includes all new video teachings. Read more and sign up here:

Directed by Werner Herzog

The inimitable documentary filmmaker tackles the complex, controversial, and mysterious internet, which he refers to as "one of the greatest revolutions" in human history. Learn about its early days, its glories, its dark side, and its future.
A Film Festival

These new and classic French films smash the trope of the ingénue with captivating, vital portraits of girls who are anything but innocent. They will be presented on Tuesdays in September and October 2016 in New York City; many are also available on DVD.

More Films: A Family Affair, Three Days of Terror, The Vessel  

Directed by Emmanuelle Bercot

A juvenile delinquent with an explosive temper suffers dire fallout from his inability to manage his anger, in spite of counselors, teachers, and others trying to help him. After all the anguish he brings to those who truly care for him, we felt how hard it is to be merciful ... but Bercot has a surprise ending in store for us.

More DVDs: Captain America: Civil War, The Measure of a Man, Misconception

America at War with Itself
By Henry A. Giroux

Whether he is pondering the racism of police in Ferguson or Donald Trump's American-style form of proto-fascism, the author reveals what this all means for us today, as the United States embraces a new brand of toxic authoritarianism. 

More Books: Prayers of a Roadside Contemplative, Do Parents Matter?  
Children's Books   

By Paul Meisel  

Is it within the realm of possibility that a nighttime and a daytime creature could become friends? Yes, when kindness, courtesy, and playfulness are present.

More Children's Books: What Is a Child?  

Spiritual Literacy Blog
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

NATO announced in June that it was designating cyberspace as an "operational domain," but cyberwar battles are kept secret and hidden inside intelligence operations. Getting informed and figuring how what we can do are spiritual challenges in our times.
KidSpirit Youth Voices Blog
By Khalid Husain

There are many reasons why teaching "proper" morals to our children is necessary. Without the right ideals, how will they grow up into responsible and successful people? How do we know, though, when we are restricting their independent thinking and reinforcing conformity?

From Our Wisdom Archive   

At this time a year ago, our wisdom archive of 16,000 books was moving across the country from Manhattan to Claremont, California. The trucks arrived on September 8 to load the library, and the books were delivered to our new Center for Spirituality and Practice on September 22. (Appropriately, the second truck was named "Serenity Movers"!)

A Thought to Carry with You  

On September 16, 1620, the pilgrims on the Mayflower left behind the Speedwell (which had not sped well at all), and headed into an array of mostly dire possibilities. Imagine setting sail across the Atlantic Ocean in an aging English merchant ship, only 25 feet across at her widest. Imagine it's this time of year, when the prevailing Westerly winds make sailing arduous at best, and temperatures steadily grow colder. Imagine already having been delayed for more than a month from your intended early August departure, because the ship that was to accompany you had sprung leaks, and you spent funds you couldn't spare trying unsuccessfully to fix them. Imagine the crowding as you double your passengers and crew with those who left the leaky ship. Imagine knowing you can expect nearly two months aboard before reaching land ... if you reach land at all.

Does this description make you wonder whether we use the word "pilgrim" too blithely? In Let Your Life Speak, Parker J. Palmer points out that pilgrimage "bears no resemblance to the trouble-free 'travel packages' sold by the tourism industry." In a traditional pilgrimage, he reminds us, "hardships are seen not as accidental but as integral to the journey itself. Treacherous terrain, bad weather, taking a fall, getting lost -- challenges of that sort, largely beyond our control, can strip the ego of the illusion that it is in charge ..."

He goes on to say "and make space for the true self to emerge." But for today, as we pause to observe the start of the Mayflower's Atlantic crossing, let's bear in mind that we may or may not reach the distant shores. What rough seas offer us is a mysterious opportunity to give ourselves over to something greater than us and find that Presence, in and of itself, to be what we truly need. 
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Darren Polito