January 6, 2017

What's Happening This Week at SpiritualityandPractice.com

Editor's Pick   

By Frederic Brussat 

Frederic has been keeping an informal Commonplace Book -- an annotated personal anthology -- for most of his life. Lately, he has been picking out favorites from his collection which he is eager to share with you! Read about his inspiration in this "welcome" entry of his new blog and take to heart the prayer and practices of his  second entry, " O Mystery, Alive in Me."

The universe got off to an enthusiastic start, according to the first chapter of the book of Genesis. Why not use that model to rouse enthusiasm in your life day by day?  


Renowned folksinger, songwriter, and activist Joan Baez continues to inspire us all with her music and her exemplary dedication to pacifism and social causes. This short biography accompanied by quotes and a video help you celebrate her January 9th birthday and a worthwhile life that calls each of us to our best.


Journey into the Light
A Year-Long Program with Contemplative Outreach       
January 8 - December 31, 2017

According to Fr. Thomas Keating, transcendent light forms the basic energy of everything that exists. Join us for three e-courses and a year of Sunday reflections that bring this teaching right down into your everyday world. Read more and sign up here:
A new e-course by Frank Rogers, Sally Taylor, Ted Falcon, Jamal Rahman, Philip Goldberg, and Thomas Moore        
January 16 - February 23, 2017

If you are looking for an e-course that is substantive and heartfelt, you have come to the right spot. Six presenters take one week each to share the depths of wisdom about compassion practice in their tradition. Read more and sign up here: www.SpiritualityandPractice.com/PracticeofCompassion 
A new e-course by Roger Housden (all new poems!)       
January 1 - 31, 2017

No, you haven't missed out! Registration for Roger Housden's new e-course -- every bit as good as the past two years -- is still open. Be inspired by a poem a day throughout January, then bring it into your own life with the help of Roger's commentary, a daily reflection, and a suggested practice. Read more and sign up here:

Directed by Theodore Melfi

Although white men were the face of the early days of the U.S. space program, three African-American women contributed their shining intellectual and leadership gifts even in the the face of blatant prejudice.


There Is No Card for This
By Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell

Subtitled "What to Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love," this creatively designed resource helps you move past just thinking about a suffering person, to actually doing something (even a small thing) if the situation calls for it -- and doing it with confidence instead of fear of what could go wrong. 
Children's Books   

By Claire A. B. Freeland and Jacqueline B. Toner 

Two clinical psychologists -- with more than 30 years each in private practice -- guide children to greater comfort in social settings through specific exercises like identifying how they feel in their body, drawing pictures of times they felt too shy, and naming ways to relax.


By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 

A captured moment of playfulness drawn in pen, ink, and colored pencil by this unconventional artist reminds us that catalysts to reverie and a harvest of memories are all around us. 


KidSpirit Youth Voices Blog
By Melynn Hui Oliver

A young woman raised as a Catholic takes preparation for confirmation as an opportunity to "read the fine print" of different faiths and make an informed decision authentic to her core values.

Praying the News Blog
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Cheetahs may be at greater risk of extinction than previously thought, according to a recent study. These magnificent cats, built for speed, are the world's fastest land animal.  We pray to find ways to protect them from being poached and driven out of their historic ranges.


Internationally known and revered as the premier teacher of world religions, Huston Smith introduced countless students to the gifts of religion through his 15 books, award-winning documentaries, university teaching, and -- even more fundamentally, his modeling of multifaith practice. On December 30, 2016, he peacefully transitioned out of this life, leaving us with an abundant archive of wisdom and saddened hearts.

From Our Wisdom Archive   

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

"An entire house can be transformed into a temple of reverence for the myriad of feelings, memories, and interactions that constitute our lives," writes Anthony Lawlor. These blessing prayers and practices help make your home a place where you can nourish and nurture your body, mind, and soul.

A Thought to Carry with You  

So many things we consider superfluous -- an overheard song, a stranger's smile, a teacup's warmth -- provide raw material for full enjoyment of life. After all, "superfluous" literally means an overflowing bounty, a super flow.

Describing what it's like to be content with small means, William Henry Channing writes: "To seek elegance rather than luxury; and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable; and wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to listen to stars and birds, to babes and sages, with open heart; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasion, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony."

How different from needing more and more things! We easily get sucked into a societal whirlwind of unfulfilled desire. Hoping to be picked up and carried to a place of no want, we instead find ourselves dizzied by its faster and faster spin. Our fear that we're somehow incomplete adds to the velocity.

When instead we appreciate what is right before our eyes, ears, and touch, the whirlwind recedes. In the resulting calm, we can let in more and more of that symphony of elegance, refinement, and worthiness that Channing describes as the legacy of those who embrace contentment.  
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Darren Polito