March 10, 2017

What's Happening This Week at

Editor's Pick   

Directed by Evgeny Afineevsky  

This masterpiece HBO documentary debuts Monday, March 13, the sixth anniversary of the Syrian revolution. (Check cable listings for repeat dates and times.) Its footage of unrelenting violence against the people of Syria is morally staggering. Children's voices contribute to this history lesson, and though our hearts break as we realize what trauma they are enduring, we owe it to ourselves -- and to them -- to learn about what is happening today in their besieged country.

Determination, faith, courage, and compassion flowed through Harriet Tubman's rescue of some 70 friends and family members from slavery through the Underground Railroad and extended to everything from her serving as a U.S. army spy to providing elder care. If you're looking for a model of resistance, here's an unwavering one.

More Practices: Purim, Birthday of Albert Einstein    

A new e-course by Cynthia Bourgeault   
Feb. 27 - April 10, 2017

Still accepting registrations. This e-course helps us to shoulder what Gurdjieff describes as "the cost of our arising": to be conscious of our footprint, to live within our means as a lifetime covenant, and to bring about a palpable increase in compassion and forbearance. Read more and sign up: 
A new e-course by Contemplative Outreach      
March 1 - April 14, 2017

Still accepting registrations. Together we explore the transformation of suffering within the liminal time of Lent -- a time of rending of hearts, surrendering to what is, and seeing with eyes illumined by liturgy, teachings, stories, beauty, silence, reflection, and stillness. Read more and sign up here: 

Directed by Simon Aboud
An oddball young aspiring writer finds the path to freedom, love, and fulfillment lies in relationships with three others who have their own special brands of oddness. The first step: creating a garden! 

More Films:
Burning Sands, The Ottoman Lieutenant, Personal Shopper, The Sense of an Ending  

Directed by John Musker and Ron Clements

This 2016 S&P award-winning CG animated adventure features a new Disney heroine: a resilient, patient, and noble Polynesian girl whose quest transforms her into a wise leader of her people.

More DVDs: The Brand New Testament, Jackie

Prayer Seeds
By Joyce Rupp 

These never-before-published prayers and rituals by Joyce Rupp are, like seeds, harbingers of new life. They cover the liturgical seasons, celebrations, difficult times, grief and loss, marriage, Mary, ministry, New Year, transitions, and more. The excerpt is a body blessing to be used during a Lenten prayer service.
More Books: Animal Frequency, The Art of Stillness, Caring for the Dying, God Moments, Whereas  

By Judith Clancy, photos by Ben Simmons

Thirsting for Spring? Let this book exploring 30 gardens tide you over with its gorgeous photographs and edifying commentaries on interesting details that can be traced back to the original intentions of each garden's founder.


By Patricia Campbell Carlson

Islamic theology school Bayan Claremont was all set to receive $800,000 in funding through the Obama administration's Countering Violent Extremism grant program. But with the change of the administration and Trump's alarming rhetoric against Muslims, the school's board decided to decline the grant. We offer a prayer of thanks for their integrity.

KidSpirit Youth Voices Blog

Congratulations to KidSpirit for winning their fourth Wilbur Award for Youth Books! We are so pleased to be partnering with them as an outlet for vibrant young voices and to be celebrating the first anniversary (March 11) of posting their blogs on S&P. Enjoy these previous blogs, and look for more to come. 

The Transformative Power of Sufficiency & Gratefulness
An e-course with Lynne Twist and Br. David Steindl-Rast
March 29 - May 3, 2017  

How can contentment help us transform our lives? How does gratitude generate needed changes in our world? What are the gifts and opportunities we tend to take for granted? This new e-course from one of our Living Spiritual Teachers and our partner explores these questions and more.
From Our Wisdom Archive   

"The winds of change are gonna blow you away,
seek the center of the storm each day.
The winds of change are gonna tear you apart,
find the silence of the peaceful heart." 
May you be heartened by this abundance of musical encouragement to make needed changes -- and, when unwanted changes threaten you, to hold fast.  
A Thought to Carry with You  

We tend to think of limits and boundaries as a drawback, but they often play a vital role in helping things flourish. For instance, tenemos -- drawing a circle around yourself or a piece of land -- is an ancient way of inviting protection from threats, setting aside a holy and inviolable place. Roman priests -- and possibly the Etruscans before them -- would lead two oxen in plowing a sulcus primigenius or "original furrow" to establish a sacred area within a new city. Drawing a circle around yourself robs isolation of its terrors, said Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, and endows it with meaning and purpose. 

We also see this principle at work in the Judeo-Christian tradition, which teaches that God is present even before creation as ru'ah: Hebrew for breath, wind, and Spirit. The ru'ah not only stirs stagnant waters but also restrains chaotic waters so that creation can happen.

Are there limits in your life that you find constricting? This week, consider in what ways, if any, they may be responsible for clarifying your purpose. Keep this practice in tandem with the practice of seeking freedom, so that you learn to discern when to work within limits and when to overcome them. 

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