Crossing Thresholds

Since we moved to California, our cat Merton has taken to lying on thresholds. His favorite one is the doorway between our media room and our screened-in porch. Whether we are watching a movie or having supper enjoying a view of trees, Merton will be right there with half his long body inside and the other half outside.This behavior has got us thinking about thresholds.We could give Merton a nickname, we realized. He could be "Sufi cat," since Sufis are those who stand on the threshold … [Read more...]

Bringing Your Emotions to Life

In the Disney Pixar animated feature Inside Out, the filmmakers bring five emotions to life: Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger. We watch them walking, talking, and otherwise expressing themselves with vigor and variety. It's easy for us to identify with these characters, their moods and their reactions.Director Pete Docter seeks to both entertain and leave viewers with a deeper understanding of the emotions which animate our lives. He and his team spent time with psychologist Paul … [Read more...]

The Most Spiritually Literate Films of 2014

One way we practice our spirituality in everyday life is to go to the movies. As film reviewers for, we review 300 films a year, always looking for how the stories and the characters illustrate spiritual qualities and practices. At the end of the year, we choose the 45 "Most Spiritually Literate Films" of the year in five categories.Every time we head out to a screening (or catch a film on DVD or streaming) we make an intention to be open to its potential … [Read more...]

Travel Presence

Whether you are doing a "staycation" this year in your backyard or going on a trip to a distant place, you can turn your journey into a pilgrimage with a few simple spiritual practices. Below are some we have used. For more, we invite you to sign up for our e-course "Transformative Travel: The Art of Finding Meaning on the Road with Phil Cousineau" at first day of our pilgrimage to the Holy Land a few years ago, our camera broke. Standing on the Mount of … [Read more...]

Welcoming the Spiritually Independent

Let's stop being so negative about the group that is transforming religion and spirituality in the 21st century. One-fifth of the American public – and a third of adults under 30 – do not identify themselves with a religion. This is a growth from 15% to 20% of the population in just five years, and we have no doubt that similar trends are happening around the world.Some of this number (6%) describe themselves as atheists or agnostics, and the other 14% say they have no particular rel … [Read more...]

Handle Your Things with Care (Part II)

Here are more thoughts and practices for finding spiritual meaning in things.Appreciate Wabi SabiLeonard Koren is an expert on the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi Sabi which he defines as "a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is the beauty of things modest and humble." We have a chipped tea pot which we have had for years and still it has a special place in our hearts for its flawed beauty. Identify a few favorite objects in your home that have Wabi Sabi.Hold … [Read more...]

Easter: Resurrection as a Spiritual Practice

On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, an event many consider to be the centerpiece of their faith. But Easter is more than just a day. What happens when we think of it as a verb? Then the resurrection becomes a spiritual practice in daily life.Megan McKenna, the prolific and profound Catholic writer, saw it this way when she was leading a Bible study. She shares the following vignette in her book Not Counting Women and Children: Neglected … [Read more...]

As Outside, So Inside. Observing the Winter Solstice.

Friday, December 21, is a momentous day. The Winter Solstice synchronizes exactly with the end of the 5,125 year cycle of the Mayan Calendar. We plan to make a special effort to observe this day. It's a time to notice the changes outside and inside. In the northern hemisphere, the days of light are shorter, the darkness is longer, the weather is cold, the trees are bare, and snow is often on the ground. John Matthews, who has lectured widely on Celtic and Arthurian traditions, has written this … [Read more...]