Universal Heart Newsletter

Reading activism – a request  *  “Speaking” the Sacred (Audio now out) *  Book now for October  Mana Retreat * Melbourne “Mana” group? *  Interfaith service, Sydney, 17 July  *  Share this newsletter! * Social media * On-line bookshop

Dear friends

Over the many years that I’ve been (first) a publisher and then a writer, I have often been asked to speak in public about writing and reading. One of the ways that I do this is to talk about the intimate and sometimes life-changing “conversations” between writers and readers that seldom end when we get to the final page.  If a book works for us – engages, informs, inspires – it lets us go on indefinitely thinking and probably talking about at least some of its themes. It becomes part of our inner reflections. It also often becomes part of our most rewarding conversations with other people.

I love thinking about that widening circle of engagement, sharing not just experiences and insights but also knowledge, in its real sense.  This intensity of conversation and inner dialogue means everything to many readers, yet the reality is that fewer people are reading seriously, and far fewer people are reading (other than on-line or work related). With rare exceptions, individual books are selling ever fewer copies, and that is having a radical effect on writers and writing, as well as publishers and bookshops. On-line bookselling is blamed for much, but that doesn’t make up for the loss of readers. Nor does it make up for the loss of bookshops.  I was told last week when I was in Melbourne that there used to be 12 bookshops in Melbourne CBD and now there are three.  Is that correct? If yes, then for those of us who truly value what we have learned from books, this is serious.

With all that in mind, I want to ask you to consider stepping up your reading activism a notch or two. Where there is a book you care about, please encourage others to buy and read it.  Tell your local bookshop about it. Join or start a study or reading group. Share news on your FB page – or mine –  and encourage conversation. Or – and this is very easy and effective – write a review on public sites, like Amazon. Even if you largely buy from local bookshops, and I hope you do, you will positively influence many people with even a short review that’s personal and appreciative. It really does make a difference. We have got to the point where we can’t leave it to others; truly, it’s up to us.

I would be deeply grateful if you would review any of my books in that way on Amazon or other influential websites. Anyone who has ever bought from Amazon can review there. Do please send a copy to admin@stephaniedowrick.com – so that I can appreciate your efforts.  And please – don’t underestimate your power to influence what people might read, think and talk about!

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Audio available of Seeking the Sacred I’ve been pre-occupied recently – and stimulated – “speaking” my books in unabridged audio editions. Bolinda will gradually publish most of my books in this way, and the first one – Seeking the Sacred – is just out. The production is excellent and, again, I will be most interested to hear how you find this different media.  Perhaps some people who are less keen to read will be keener to listen (iPods anywhere at home, in cars, waiting at bus stops, planes, feeding the baby…). I hope so! But I also hope that some of you who have already enjoyed the books in their print forms will “hear” and receive them more intimately and intensely as you listen to me read it to you. Again, let me know – either by email or, better still, on my Facebook page where it is extremely quick and easy to comment and respond. The Audio is readily available from my website bookshop, from the publishers, and in some bookshops, including ABC Bookshops in Australia.    (Image of the handsome boxed set of 10 CDs at the bottom of this email.)

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Forthcoming Spiritual Retreat at Mana If you are in need of more inner refreshment than any book can offer, then please consider the Spring Retreat, this year 29 Sept-2 Oct, to be held at Mana in Coromandel, NZ,. Telephone (NZ) 07 866 8972. email: be@manaretreat.com (Mana is easily reached from Auckland airport.) Web: http://www.manaretreat.com This retreat is suitable for those who have been on many retreats, as well as complete beginners. It combines some teaching from me, discussion and question time, some lovely social time and great food, but also rest, rest, rest (!), in one of the most glorious spots on earth.  Lots of images on their website, also on my FB page and website.

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A monthly “Mana” group in Melbourne Sarah Waters has been coming to my retreats at Mana for some years now and she has taken it on to co-ordinate a “Mana” group in Melbourne to meditate, reflect, share experiences on a monthly basis.  We have a number of similar self-run groups and they are invaluable for all who participate. If you have been to any of my retreats, or feel familiar with my work and the inclusive ethos it reflects, please contact Sarah direct: swaters@berrystreet.org.au

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Finally, a reminder of the Interfaith service in Sydney this Sunday, 17 July, 3pm (details below). For those of you who can’t be there, please check the video talks on my website which give you at least a flavour of those heart-warming gatherings.  Scroll down for more detailed information on the Sydney Interfaith services, and the on-line Bookshop.

As always, I want to thank you for taking the time to read this. Your continuing support of this Network means so much to me. And I will be delighted to hear if you take up any of this month’s ideas or invitations.

Don’t hesitate to forward this Newsletter on to anyone in your own circles who may be interested.

My very kindest wishes,

Stephanie Dowrick

Interfaith service, Sydney, 17 July, 3pm

These spiritually inclusive services are held on the third Sunday of each month at 3pm – except January. Now in their sixth year, the services may meet your needs for a time of unconditional acceptance, deep peace and spiritual renewal. They include teachings, prayers and readings from a variety of traditions, sacred music, a short talk, and a time of social gathering and conversation for those who want that. Glorious music from Kim Cunio and Heather Lee.

Details: Interfaith with Reverend Dr Stephanie Dowrick. Pitt Street Uniting Church, 264 Pitt Street, Sydney 2000. Nearest cross Street is Park. Some street parking. Excellent public transport (nr Town Hall). Services around 75 minutes. Children always welcome.

Books/CDs on line. http://stephaniedowrick.seekbooks.com.au/

The bookshop is a portal to Seekbooks, Australia’s biggest on-line booksellers. You can order at a small discount from their complete range. This includes the new audio edition of Seeking the Sacred – see image below – as well as the beautiful print edition.  Forgiveness & Other Acts of Love is available, as is In the Company of Rilke, Seeking the Sacred, The Almost-Perfect Marriage, and the beautiful guided meditation CD with musician Kim Cunio, Peaceful Mind, as are a million other titles. I include some wonderful recommended titles also, including, this month, Philip Goldberg’s American Veda. Postage is pegged at $6.95 for an unlimited number of items. All sales directly benefit the Universal Heart Network via a small refund.