April 7, 2016

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... Read more

June 18, 2015

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 Ekman, who is... Read more

December 8, 2014

One way we practice our spirituality in everyday life is to go to the movies. As film reviewers for SpiritualityandPractice.com, 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... Read more

May 28, 2014

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 SpiritualityandPractice.com. The first day of our pilgrimage to the Holy Land a few years ago,... Read more

February 27, 2014

Lent is traditionally a season for reflection, revision, and renewal. It’s a time when we set aside a little extra time for spiritual reading. We know that each year our Lenten e-courses, such as this year’s Practicing Spirituality with Brian McLaren, are very popular because they focus on short readings perfect for daily meditation. Reading — whether a book, an article, or an email — is one of the ways we practice gratitude, meaning, hospitality, openness, and enthusiasm, and we... Read more

October 31, 2013

We have a guest blog this week from our friend James Kullander. He’s leading a one-month e-course on “Mastering the Art of Resilience” starting next Monday, November 4, from our website SpiritualityandPractice.com. We’re sure you’ll understand why we invited to do this once you read about what he’s learned about resilience through his own personal experience. In the late autumn of 2001 as I watched my former wife, Wanda, die of cancer, I felt so heartbroken that I was going... Read more

September 19, 2013

It happens all the time. A song comes on the radio, and we hear a lyric in a new way. We notice an interesting sign while walking in the city – like “Look” at a crosswalk. We’re paging through a book or browsing the Internet and a picture catches our eye. We pass a playground and remember a childhood game. What if these are signs? What if they are messages from the Divine? We talk a lot about spiritual literacy... Read more

September 4, 2013

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... Read more

August 26, 2013

Spirituality is a way of being in the world, and it is marked by activities and experiences. We didn’t learn a lot about it when we were growing up and going to Sunday School, confirmation classes, and youth group, although we were taught the beliefs of our faith. Spirituality came later when we met a variety of teachers and attended conferences and workshops.  So when Patheos asked us to reflect upon how we would pass it on to children, we... Read more

July 22, 2013

This is the fourth year in a row that we’ve seen record high temperatures in July in many parts of the United States. To the usual tips for staying cool (drink more water, stay in the shade, find an air-conditioned spot) we would add some spiritual ways of dealing with heat — tips from sages and seers who have lived through hot times. See Your Connection to the Weather The world-famous Catholic monk Thomas Merton sets the tone for our... Read more

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