January 8, 2016

What's Happening This Week at SpiritualityandPractice.com

Editor's Picks   

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 

What movie most moved your spirit in 2015? Out of the hundreds of films and DVDs we reviewed last year, we offer you this selection of ones that are especially recommended for your spiritual journey. You will find foreign language, animated, and documentary categories in addition to 20 of our favorite features.
The practice of reverence transforms us, as individuals and societies. It is a core ingredient of human rights, animal welfare, environmental activism, healthy families, peacemaking, and more. Here's an abundance of resources -- art, blogs, books, films, music, poetry, practices, prayers, and much more --  to guide you in this beneficial way of life and help you catalyze changes for the common good in your community.  

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Cultivate the art of making connections. Spell out your days with a grammar of gratitude. Each resolution on this page is grounded in a spiritual practice you can explore in depth to turn your resolutions into realities.

More Practices: House Blessings, Naming the Days - Feast Day of Brother Lawrence, George Fox Day, Birthday of Albert Schweitzer

A new e-course by Joanne Turnbull and Claire Willis        
January 11 - February 5, 2016

Our ancestors understood that grief is meant to be shared in community. They accepted grief as a lifelong companion, whose intensity might change over time, but who never entirely disappears. Join us starting on Monday in a community where your grief is welcomed. 
A new year-long program with Contemplative Outreach

Throughout 2016, meet with spiritual companions consenting to the contemplative life ever more deeply together. Lenten and Advent e-courses, two e-courses in Ordinary Time, and a Word of the Week Practice Circle provide a steady stream of insight and an opportunity to practice with kindred spirits around the world. 

Directed by Douglas Mackinnon
PBS's Masterpiece Mystery brings you Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freedom as Dr. Watson in an ingenious and entertaining 90-minute special that is being rerun this Sunday, January 10.

More Films: Concussion, Anomalisa, Boy and the World

Directed by Denis Villeneuve

Emily Blunt gives a standout performance as a principled young woman struggling to hold on to her ideals in a heavily militarized operation with men willing to do anything needed to bring down a Mexican drug lord.

More DVDs: The Walk, Experimenter, A Walk in the Woods, Pawn Sacrifice

Eastern Light
By Steve Smith

Smith's insightful spiritual memoir sparks our attention to the bounties of Quakerism, Zen, and Christianity, reminding us how to bear our burdens well and espouse peace over the engines of war. 

More Books: Seeds for a Boundless Life, The Lioness in Winter    
Children's Books   

By Jean-Francois Dumont   

In this sensitive reflection on homelessness, a bear sleeps on cardboard boxes, wears tattered clothes, often goes hungry, and receives hostility from passersby. Can a girl who sees his worth bring some light to him?
More Children's Books: Bulldozer's Big Day, Dojo's Day Trip, Little Big    

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 

Look what happens when you create a composite photo of a cathedral's aisle and a busy city street. Mutter's artistry reminds us to shift our perspective so that we can see the holy even in -- and especially in -- our hectic everyday circumstances.

Spiritual Literacy Blog

Every day we encounter signs that point to the active presence of Spirit in the world around us. In this blog, we share what we've deciphered from articles we've found on the Internet.

Recent posts: Novelist John Irving on Fear, Variety's Best Movie Scenes of 2015, New Line of Books for Seekers
From Our Wisdom Archive   

"All phenomena -- including bad weather -- contribute to our experience of life," Alan Epstein reminds us. "Don't discriminate. Enjoy the adventure." This and other practice suggestions remind us that this season can be a playful, creative, hospitable time, if we make it so.


From going barefoot to cherishing summer stillness, making poetry pebbles, and floating, these 31 practices will tickle your fancy but will also provide you with the renewal and grounding you need in this season of warmth and vitality.

A Thought to Carry with You  

Whatever weather greets you this week, consider it through the lens that Alan Epstein offers in How to Be Happier Day by Day: "Look forward to the approach of strong or unusual weather. Instead of griping when the days turn foul -- snow, sleet, freezing rain, or rain with cold temperatures -- see them as an exciting adventure, as a time when nature reminds you that she exists, that when it comes to the earth, it is her domain."

Let yourself be reminded of the loveliness and awe that can be present even in weather about which we are inclined to complain. Patricia Hampl models this attitude for us in A Romantic Education: "The cold was our pride, the snow was our beauty. It fell and fell, lacing day and night together in a milky haze, making everything quieter as it fell, so that winter seemed to partake of religion in a way no other season did, hushed, solemn."

In weather as in all aspects of life, our freedom lies most of all in how we choose to respond to what is given. As we go deeper into the season, we wish you winter's solemn serenity or -- if you live in the southern hemisphere -- a playful, soaring heart.  
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Darren Polito