Universal Heart Network March 2014

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Hello dear Universal Heart Networkers,

I do hope that this finds you well? Again thanks to the riches of the internet, comes an amazing picture that seems literally to “light up” our perceptions of the universe we share. Truly noticing that we are in this life together – and that our choices count, therefore – seems increasingly fundamental to me. It can guide our actions and inspire our conduct. It’s also, surely, what gives most meaning to life: to care how we are living and what happiness or encouragement we can bring to others. Various invitations/reminders follow – including a notice about this month’s sacred service,  THE WRITERS’ WORKSHOP – a new course I am offering with the Faber Academy in Sydney – plus a lunchtime talk in Sydney and also TWO RESIDENTIAL SPIRITUAL RETREATS.

Following those essential notices, I’m sharing a poem from Irish writer and mystic John O’Donohue that I could read every day for the rest of my life without tiring. I have been listening to as well as reading O’Dononhue of late; do you know his work? I taught from Divine Beauty (just one of his books) the last two years in Japan and regard him as one of the most spiritually and poetically perceptive writers of our time. He is so abundant and unreserved in his appreciation of life as well as in his understanding. Let me know if you also love this poem. And now to the reminders: all lovely, lovely events, every one of them!

Sunday, 16 March, 3pm, we will have our monthly service at Pitt Street (264) Uniting Church in Sydney. If Sydney is in the least bit accessible for you, please do make time to join us. The services are genuinely spiritually inclusive and so rewarding; I see that on people’s faces as they leave. Liz Lecoanet leads optional community singing before, from 1.15-2.15pm. If you can’t join us in Sydney, you can visit the InterfaithinSydney YouTube website where you will find a good number of talks. The most recent talk is on Illumination (coming “awake”…leading to choice and freedom). There’s also a short informal talk on prayer – and how I came to write a book on prayer and how to pray: how I dared to do that!  Here is the easy, direct LINK for that talk.

You can get that book: Heaven on Earth: Timeless Prayers of Wisdom and Love – which is a “how to pray” book as well as an anthology of truly inclusive, uplifting prayers – on-line (free postage) here. You can also hear some of the prayers from that book on the gorgeous new HEAVENLY album which I recorded with my dear friend Kim Cunio and his ensemble. The CD is now available by mail from Blue at Millthorpe. This link takes you there.

26 March 2014 Spiritual Support in a Secular Age, Sydney 12.30-1.30 pm

You are most welcome to come to this FREE talk at the Tom Keneally Centre, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney. Sponsored by the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, Dr Stephanie Dowrick will be available after the talk to sign copies of her books and to meet readers. Bookings please on 9262 7300 or email: tkc@smsa.org.au

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And now the retreats:  The Retreat at Easter is a highlight in my teaching year. This year the retreat (17-21 April) will, as usual, include ample time for teaching, meditation, rest, optional walks, and the lovely celebratory Easter Sunday morning at the Sanctuary. Our theme is “Sanctuary of Love” inspired in part by the physical Sanctuary at Mana, also by the “sanctuary” of kindness that Mana exemplifies and that is the underpinning theme of all our retreats there. How do you live from that place, draw from it – and replenish it? It is fine to attend the Easter retreat if you are new to a residential retreat, or if you have not been for some time. If you are in genuine need of a partial scholarship and/or a payment plan, please email be@manaretreat.com  Shuttles available from AUCKLAND airport.
Booking details, Easter Retreat, 17-21 April 2014:
http://manaretreat.com/programme/2014-schedule/easter-retreat-2014.html

9-11 May 2014, Spiritual Retreat: Care for ourselves and others, Wilton, NSW

This weekend retreat will be offered at the peace-filled Brahma Kumaris Centre for Spiritual Learning, 150 Macarthur Drive, Wilton NSW 2571.  Inclusive cost: $350. Small number of single rooms available at extra cost. Address your enquiries please to Phillippa Andrew. Tel: 02 4630 8124. For payment: cheque or money order to: Brahma Kumaris Centre for Spiritual Learning. Please include your name, address plus email details for acknowledgement, and state that it’s for the retreat with Stephanie Dowrick. For this retreat you cannot book on-line –  only by phone or mail. Please note that as the 11th May is Mother’s Day, we will finish a little earlier than usual. If you would anyway like to stay on for lunch, please advise Phillippa when you make your booking.

 Keen to free your inner writer? 28 April 2014: 7 Monday meetings plus all day, 21 June. The Writers’ Workshop, Sydney.

Do you long to write with greater ease and skill? Do you long to live more creatively and appreciatively? Then do consider The Writers’ Workshop for sustained support and inspiration. Presented by the prestigious Faber Academy, taught by Dr Stephanie Dowrick, and held at the very comfortable Allen & Unwin offices in Crows Nest, Sydney.  All details from this LINK. Limited numbers; ample personal attention to you and your writing.

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Finally, the poem from John O’Donohue. I hope to see some of you in person this coming month. Always do let me know that you are a member of this Network. And never hesitate to share this with someone else; we can never be sure when a personal invitation or “I care” moment makes all the difference. Blessings to you all. Stephanie Dowrick

John O’Donohue  For a new beginning

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.

It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.

Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.

Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life’s desire.

Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.

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