What's Happening at

May 8, 2020
Editors' Pick
By Mary Ann Brussat and Patricia Campbell Carlson

It's easy to envision a fairy tale that begins, "Once upon a time there was an illness so terrible that children had to stay home all the time." Its theme would be overcoming difficulties. Books in this collection -- on dealing with emotions, developing useful practices, embracing loss, and gaining perspective -- could help us find our way through that tale safely.
Partner with Us to Provide Pandemic Support

#GivingTuesdayNow was this past Tuesday, and we are very grateful to all of you who donated to help us expand our outreach during the pandemic. We've been posting a "Daily Resource for the Pandemic" on the homepage at SpiritualityandPractice.com and keeping up an index of these resources -- spiritual practices, movies, poetry, prayers, and readings. Thank to a generous friend of S&P, all donations (including those resulting from this newsletter announcement) are being matched. We invite you to participate in this effort!
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

Greeting card companies tend to define Mother's Day narrowly. But there are many mothers in our lives and many kinds of mothering. Here you'll find art, a teaching story, films, a ritual, and spiritual practices to enhance your experience of motherly nurture and wisdom.
By Patricia H. Livingston and Patricia Campbell Carlson

Those of us not living with saber-tooth tigers at our doorstep can retrain our brains so that we see the myriad of details in our lives that can make us happy and deserve our gratitude. When we notice them, we can cheer the lives of others by sharing them.

More Practices : Birthday of Rose Hawthorne Lathrop, World Day for Cultural Diversity
By Br. David Steindl-Rast, Patricia Campbell Carlson, and Margaret Wakeley
May 4 - 29, 2020

Imagine that you are on a ship visiting the coast of Alaska -- with its glaciers, historic towns, and wide-open wilderness -- and that while at sea, you can gather with others who know and appreciate Br. David Steindl-Rast to listen to his teachings on grateful living in the forms of Faith, Hope, and Love. We cannot offer you the Alaska part of that experience, but we are happy to share with you Br. David's lively and breathtakingly insightful teachings videotaped during a 2011 Alaska cruise. This course with his teachings on the second great virtue, hope, began Monday, and you are still most welcome to join.

Read more and sign up:

Living with Uncertainty. Dealing with Disappointment. Working with Worry. Mastering the Art of Resilience. If any of these themes are cropping up in your life, these specially selected e-courses -- for as little as $14.70 with a special 30 percent discount -- can provide vital support. You get to choose your own start date and pace.
Streaming Film Releases
Directed by William Nicholson

In this revealing and poignant drama, a high school history teacher and a gifted poetry anthologist approach their 29th wedding anniversary, having weathered storms but now seemingly running out of strategies. When he decides to retreat from their unhappy marriage, she reacts explosively.
Directed by Cesar Diaz

Winner of the Camera D'or at the Cannes Film Festival and several other awards, this film about a strong and tender man helping others bring closure to horrific experiences in Guatemala illustrates the practice of compassion.

More Streaming Releases : Asia; Martin Eden; Never Rarely Sometimes Always; Someone, Somewhere (Deux moi); Spaceship Earth; A White, White Day
By Christine Valters Paintner

Thanks to Earth, Paintner writes in this vital book, "we learn our most fundamental prayers, hear the call of the wild arising at dawn that awakens us to a new day, participate in the primal liturgy of praise unfolding all around us, and experience the wisdom and guidance of the seasons."

More in Books : Laughter Yoga, Voices of the Land
Children's Books
By Beatrice Alemagna

The idea of impermanence is a sensitive one to introduce to children, for after all, it means the loss of cherished as well as dreaded things. The poster artist who wrote and illustrated this charming book has just the right touch for sharing such a truth.
By Annika Dunklee

William has his very own hot air balloon, where his sometimes annoying younger brother Edgar never comes ... until one day he wants to. This story will appeal to cooped-up children trying and sometimes failing to be patient with each other.
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Short & Sweet Spirituality Blog
By Frederic Brussat

"Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes you get rained out," American baseball pitcher Satchel Paige reminds us. Given that level of unpredictability, why not make your own dwelling -- your home, even your body -- your temple? May these pieces of bite-sized wisdom help you in doing so.
KidSpirit Youth Voices Blog
By Ranjita Lama

When a seventh grader writes, "My mom is my heart / She is the everything of my life," you know that the sentiment is utterly sincere. This poem serves as a reminder of the preciousness of the mother-child bond.
Praying the News Blog
By Micah Bucey

It's surprising the depth of soul a single sentence can convey. This week, thanks to Micah's seemingly boundless creative energy, we have added prayers for transit workers, the youngest among us, those feeling more tired than usual, those who don't want things to return to "normal", and more.
Practicing Democracy Project
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

"We long for peace," observed Daniel Berrigan, "but we wish also to keep undisturbed a social fabric of privilege and power that controls the economic misery of two-thirds of the world's people." Time has only made his words and his peacemaking more relevant.

More Naming the Days Practices in the Practicing Democracy Project : Anniversary of Brown v Board of Education and the End of Segregated Schools ; Birthdays of Gary Snyder , Bono , Stephen Colbert , Studs Terkel
By Ben Gundersheimer

This is a perfect book to introduce a young child to what it means to be a refugee. A family sets out from their home, carrying bundles of their most needed and cherished belongings, while their little girl, wrapped in love and trust, says good night to everything that they pass and leave behind.

More in the Practicing Democracy Project : Blog posts: Advancing Freedom in Athletic Training , A Troupe of Very Determined Ground Squirrels
From Our Wisdom Archive
By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

If you're spending more time than usual in your own yard or patch of turf along the sidewalk, you will especially appreciate this exploration of a watercolor masterpiece that reminds us to sense all the details in the blades of grass, the leaves, the flowers, and the ground nearby.
A Thought to Carry with You
Matsuo Basho, the 17th-century master of haiku, gives us this gigantic yet gentle contrast:

"Here on the mountain pass,
    somehow they draw one's heart so --
         violets in the grass."

Pause to take in this scene with the full powers of your imagination. Can you feel the cragginess of the mountain stones, the vast scale of the mountain itself, and then these most delicate violets at your feet in the grass, rejoicing in whispers of the fresh, wild air? This is not a mountain top; it is a pass. You have slipped between barriers to come here. You have found both solidity and these momentary, here-for-you blossoms. Your heart bows to meet them.
Basho is not the only one to write in this vein. You may know of "A Sort of Song" by William Carlos Williams, which ends: "Saxifrage is my flower that splits the rocks." Saxifrage, that low-growing flower often grown in alpine gardens, literally means "stone-breaker" (Latin saxum -- "rock" or "stone" -- and frangere -- "to break"). Williams uses it as an image of the way our creativity breaks through to unfathomable new territory, as can happen in unprecedented circumstances like those we face during the pandemic.

Is there something in you of utmost beauty and delicacy that knows how to find its way between barriers and even through rocks? Whatever your subtle "stone-breakers" are -- those insights which are "quiet to wait," as Williams writes -- trust them. The forever-ness of mountains holds you in its embrace and gives you the ephemeral violets that greet you this very moment. And without the violets and the surrounding grass, what would the mountains be? 
Your Spirituality & Practice Team 
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat 
Patricia Campbell Carlson 
Keziah Grindeland
Sue Tracey