August 24, 2018

Dear Colleagues,
We hope you are having a good summer and are ready for the excitement that the fall -- including midterm elections -- will bring to our democracy. 

We have been busy these last months mapping out new initiatives for the Practicing Democracy Project, while continuing to curate content on topics. You can read about one initiative, the We the People Book Club, and a new topic on Humility below.

In June, Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat and Patricia Carlson traveled to Kalamazoo, Michigan, to join with our partners at the Fetzer Institute for a gathering of spiritual teachers. In that intimate setting, we shared experiences and practices for practicing democracy in different settings. We'll be writing up our our gleanings from that convening in the months ahead, including some rituals we designed together. Beginning next month, the Fetzer Institute will  be posting videos of some of the teachers, which we hear are full of wisdom and practical advice. 

Meanwhile, we hope you continue to visit the website to explore ways you can practice democracy in your daily life.
Salaam, Shalom, Shanti, Peace,

The Practicing Democracy Project Team

We the People Book Club
A Discussion Group and Practice Circle
September 2018 - August 2019

We are very excited about this year-long program being led by Julie Davis, one of our Practicing Democracy Fellows. Here's an opportunity for you to strengthen your vision of democracy by contemplating classic and contemporary literary voices. When book club members passionately share responses to a text, connections are forged, consensus arises, differences are respected, and unity is built as each person has a chance to speak and be heard. In other words, the group practices democracy. 
We will be starting with John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath in September and exploring different selections each month through August 2019. You can sign up to discuss the books with others from around the country in an online Practice Circle for $24 (for the whole year) or you can download book guides for free each month. Learn more and sign up:
Topic: Humility
"Humility is not one virtue among others," wrote Leonardo Boff, "but an attitude by which we stand on the ground alongside things. From this position we can be reconciled with all things and begin a truly cosmic democracy."  
But for an apparently simple virtue, humility has a complex relationship with civic affairs. On the one hand, it's desperately needed to enable us to truly listen to, understand, and respect others. On the other hand, as Ruth Braunstein points out in an article on "Good Troublemakers," groups who are oppressed or marginalized rightfully distrust humility practices, "which offer the appearance of an equal playing field, but on which they are barely considered players."

That's one reason why a careful examination of the many facets of humility matters to democracy. The spiritual practices, articles, book recommendations, book excerpts, e-courses, prayers, quotes, and teaching stories in our new topic on "Humility" aim to help us build a core dimension of balanced confidence that meshes seamlessly with reverence and service to others. Here is a sampling of this content.

Articles about Humility
Humility has layer upon layer of dimensions, and people have different opinions about it, too. Through these articles, you can discover what elements of humility make sense to you.

Humility in Books
Whether you're looking for authenticity, justice, increased simplicity, or an evolutionary path to the future, these books have much to offer you. We also offer book excerpts illustrating humility.
E-Courses that Cultivate Humility 
This array of e-courses share a strand in common: mentoring, insights, and practices for developing humility as a character trait.

Humble Prayers
When the woes of the world weigh on our hearts, there is no better medicine than bowing in prayer.

Quotations for Understanding Humility
Humility -- a doorway to truth and an expression of great valor -- seems to be underestimated. These quotes, which include an illustrated gallery, give you a rounded picture of this virtue.

Spiritual Practices for Developing Humility
From being a countercultural activist to admitting what you don't know, these practices help you make humility an everyday practice. 
Teaching Stories 
Tales from the Tibetan Buddhist, Christian, Sufi, and Hindu traditions provide windows into humility in action. 
These reviews and excerpts from books on democracy give ample room for thought:

Howard Zinn Speaks
by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove (editor): A sturdy, radical, and thought-provoking collection of speeches.
The Rich and the Rest of Us
by Tavis Smiley and Cornel West: A challenge to change America's dialogue on race and justice to include concern for the poor.
The Second Coming of the KKK
by Linda Gordon: Insightful analysis of the scary impact of the KKK in the 1920s and its enduring legacy. 
The Practicing Democracy Project is a collaboration between The Center for Spirituality & Practice and the Fetzer Institute. Seek more at