February 22, 2016

What's Happening This Week at SpiritualityandPractice.com

Editor's Pick   

By Frederic Brussat and Patricia Campbell Carlson     

Whether you wish to deepen your practice of nonviolence, encounter the Divine in a tangible way, or feel a connection to more than 900 million adherents of the world's third largest (and perhaps oldest) religion, you will find much to contemplate on the pages devoted to this religious tradition in our "Explorations" section. We recommend books, films, practices, teachers, e-courses, video clips, and more.

Give yourself the joy of these five practices that help put you in touch with the universal flow of blessings:
Blessing with Water by John O'Donohue 
Bless Here and Bless There by Nancy Roth
Blessing Your Home by William John Fitzgerald
Blessing of the Body by Joyce Rupp
Blessed with Friends by Alan Epstein


Open your eyes, mind, and heart to the contemplative possibilities of being behind the lens, whether you're brand new to the art of photography or have long relished the pause for perspective that taking pictures provides. Enrollment closes at the end of this month.

Directed by Ciro Guerra

Winner of the Directors' Fortnight prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2015, this cross-cultural masterpiece tells the stories of two Western scientists trying to locate a potent sacred flower in times of growing conflict: European greed and domination clash with indigenous people's harmonious embrace of nature.

This film is one of the five nominations for Best Foreign Language Film at next Sunday's Oscars. Other nominated films we've reviewed are Mustang, A War, and Theeb. We'll have a review of Son of Saul soon.

  More Films: The Lady in the Van

Directed by Jay Roach

Bryan Cranston delivers a high-caliber performance as Dalton Trumbo, a top Hollywood screenwriter who holds tight to his ideals even as he is jailed and blacklisted in Hollywood during the Cold War.
More DVDs: Black Mass, Steve Jobs

Gifts of the Dark Wood
By Eric Elnes

With pastoral wisdom and autobiographical insight, Elnes writes of the treasure to be found in uncertainty, emptiness, and lostness. 

More Books: Birthings & Blessings, Birthings & Blessings II
Children's Books   

By Richard Torrey  

The first day of school can be tough for a kid, especially when her alter ego is a dinosaur. Thank goodness school turns out to be a place that affirms diversity.


By Brandon Stanton 

This follow-up to Stanton's photographic census of New York City captures dialogues of astonishing breadth and candor, with New Yorkers talking about their lives, values, hopes, and dreams. We celebrate his empathy and his desire to walk in others' shoes.


Civility and Spirituality
By Frederic Brussat

The Aspen Institute fosters the common good and lasting bonds of mutual support, accountability, and friendship. 
Other Posts : The Spiritual Significance of Tattoos
From Our Wisdom Archive   

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Welcome to a month's worth of blessings to temper our lives and bring joy to others.
A Thought to Carry with You  
Around this time of year, ancient Romans celebrated a festival of ritual cleansing, "Februa," to mark an important time of clearing fields, pruning fruit and olive trees, and tending vineyards in preparation for Spring. You can see the connection to our word "February" from the Latin februarius mensis or "month of purification."

In keeping with this spirit of tending, pruning, and purifying, here is a simple, concrete suggestion from the writings of Bulgarian philosopher Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov: "From time to time during the course of the day, take a look inside yourself. If you notice any tension or agitation, stop immediately; otherwise this state will go on indefinitely with negative effects on everything you do. Once you have stopped, concentrate for a few seconds in order to calm yourself and make contact with the light, and then start again on a different note.... Only when you have calmed yourself can you continue your work in the best conditions."

As each of us reading this message remembers to restore our inner calm, surely that calm will also reach others. In our shared yearning for that which is true and good and beautiful, we are more closely connected than we realize. 

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