February 10, 2017

What's Happening This Week at SpiritualityandPractice.com

Editor's Pick   

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

Welcome to Lent, Gurdjieff style! This e-course by internationally known retreat leader Cynthia Bourgeault does not emphasize renunciation or "flight from the world." Rather, it draws us into the goodness, trust, and abundance that meet us at every step of the way. We can then move beyond our insular frames of references into co-stewardship of the one body of humanity that we truly -- and ever more inescapably -- are called to become. Read more and sign up here:

What could be a better boost for making your way through the last phase of winter than a New Year for Trees, a Jewish holiday to celebrate their awakening from slumber? Here are ways to honor this special day, which begins this year on the evening of Friday, February 10 and continues into Saturday the 11th.

More Naming the Days: A.J. Muste Day, Valentine's Day, Birthday of Sri Ramakrishna and Nikos Kazantzakis 

A new e-course by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
February 5 - 25, 2017

Anger? Fear? Worry? Self-judgment? Loneliness? Difficult People? Learn how even the greatest challenges we face can be turned into opportunities by understanding them in a new light. This chock-full-of-wisdom course is still open; you will find all sessions archived in your account when you register. Read more and sign up here:
A new year-long series by Contemplative Outreach       
Registration closes on March 1, 2017

There's still time to sign up for this year-long opportunity to practice and consent to the contemplative life with the support of a worldwide community. Three e-courses woven together by weekly reflections enhance this shared journey. Read more and sign up here:

Directed by Ceyda Torun

For an endearing cat's eye view of Istanbul, enjoy this documentary about people who care for strays by putting out food and water, allowing them to relax on café chairs and shop displays, and giving them access to their homes and apartments.

More Films: A Dog's Purpose, A Good American, Chapter & Verse  

Directed by Yael Melamede

This documentary by an Israeli-born Duke University psychology professor offers fascinating but disconcerting insights into the current epidemic of lying and cheating.    
More DVDs: Cameraperson, The Eagle Huntress, Queen of Katwe, Victoria

Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved by Beauty
By Kate Hennessy

The youngest of Dorothy Day's nine grandchildren offers a rousing biography of this extraordinary relative who has been recognized as a Servant of God by the Catholic Church, the first step toward canonization. "The pacifist has to think in terms of a great sacrifice in order to match the heroism, very often, of soldiers," Dorothy wrote. Read an excerpt on peacemaking.

More Books:
The Book of Hygge, The Book of Qualities, The Danish Way of Parenting, Designing Your Life, Letters to a Young Muslim, Quiet Mind, Unlikely Partners  
Children's Books   

By Chelo Manchego
This delightful spiritual parable shows how our wants can get out of control and how we can calm them down and even turn them towards beneficial purposes.

More Children's Books: Antoinette

By Contemplative Photographers' Practice Group

For this special photo gallery, we asked members of the Contemplative Photographers Practice Group to try putting confusion at the center of their contemplative focus, more fully integrating what is an inescapable part of life. Here are their creative responses.

Intrigued by what you see? Read more and sign up here:


KidSpirit Youth Voices Blog
By Nathan Zhang

A young writer shares stories and insights about a core concept in Confucianism: "Honor your dead as you honor the living. That is what filial piety -- or respect and caring for one's parents, brothers, and ancestors -- means in Chinese culture."


Over the course of the year in this program from our friends at Sounds True, you will meet a diverse group of influential mindfulness teachers, several of them (including Jack Kornfield, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and Sharon Salzberg) part of our Living Spiritual Teachers Project. Mindfully accepting your present experience allows you to see with more clarity and more effectively serve others, our world, and your own needs. Read more and sign up here: Year of Mindfulness.
From Our Wisdom Archive   

Nature enthusiast Barry Lopez notes: "Birds tug at the mind and heart with a strange intensity." They represent our yearnings for purity, freedom, and play. For people in cold climates at this time of year, they also add a cherished touch of color to a plain landscape. Enjoy these blog posts, books, films, poems, quotes, spiritual practices, and teaching stories to help your heart soar.

A Thought to Carry with You  

In Teachings on Love, Vietnamese Zen Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh invites us to think about our first love -- how it happened, where we were, what brought us to that point -- and then asks a question you may have never before considered: "What is the difference between your first love and your last?" He uses water as a metaphor for how unlikely we are to be able to trace our love through all of its many transformations: "Whether water is overflowing or square depends on the container. Flowing in spring, solid in winter, its immensity cannot be measured, its source cannot be found. In an emerald creek, water hides a dragon king. In a cold pond, it contains the bright full moon. On the bodhisattva's willow branch, it sprays the nectar of compassion. One drop is enough to purify and transform the world in ten directions."

This week, consider the fathomless nature of your love, how it has no beginning nor end. As Thich Nhat Hanh puts it, "Many streams nourish and support the river of your life." Reach for the source of that river, and you may find yourself understanding Catherine of Siena's cry, "O abyss! O eternal Godhead! O deep sea! What more could you have given me than the gift of your very self?" 

As Valentine's Day approaches, let us marvel in the love that wondrously streams through the world -- and through us -- with unbounded and almost unbearable sweetness.
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Darren Polito