Universal Heart Newsletter February 2014

Dear friends

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What a fantastic universe we live in. On the web (a dazzling resource), I found this photograph of the Milky Way over Switzerland. And with contemporary media, we can share the wonder of it effortlessly!

I do hope your year is beginning well? With dear friends we resolved that this will be our year of particular APPRECIATION and also ADVENTURE – which may mean doing some of the same old things a bit differently, especially when they feel stale (or we do). It also means appreciating ourselves and our possibilities, and practising encouragement from the inside out. Delighting others, YES; also delighting ourselves. It is never an either/or. As we grow in happiness, we benefit others. As we benefit others and consider them, we grow in happiness. Please share those resolutions with us if they appeal; find your own and share them around if inspiration takes you in a different direction.

Tomorrow (Sunday, 16 February), we begin again with our monthly services at Pitt Street (264) Uniting Church in Sydney. These began in 2006 and we are doing so well, creating a community of support that reaches way beyond the four walls of the beautiful church where we are lucky enough to meet. If Sydney is accessible for you, please do make time to join us – prompt start: 3pm. Always magnificent music. Liz Lecoanet leads optional community singing before, from 1.15-2.15pm. If you can’t join us in Sydney, then do please visit the InterfaithinSydney YouTube website where you will find a good number of talks.   It’s not the same as “being there” but does have the advantage that if it is a theme that resonates with you, you can hear it more than once. And hear what you need at your own pace.

A reminder also that you can listen regularly to prayers on the new HEAVENLY album which I recorded with my dear friend Kim Cunio and his ensemble. The only way to get the CD – other than at the services – is from Blue at Millthorpe. This link takes you there. The album grew out of my 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. A link to purchase on-line (free postage) here.

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You may also be ready to begin now to think ahead about retreats – perhaps the Easter one at glorious Mana particularly…or are you ready to dream of Bhutan…or go there in October?!  Details on my website – front page article on EVENTS. I am quite dramatically reducing my public engagements as from this year. Some of you will be kind enough to cheer me on this adventure…of less. But I love giving the retreats more than any other aspect of my work, so will continue as long as I possibly can.

Many of you are visiting my frequent encouraging posts on Facebook: thank you for that. Again, an astonishing way to inspire and support. Today I am posting these thoughts on thoughtfulness and want to share them also with you.

Are there opportunities in your day for greater thoughtfulness? It’s a timeless quality that’s so urgently needed. It can be expressed in countless ways; each makes a difference. Consider especially how the OTHER person is feeling…what they may want or need. It’s empathy in action.
Thoughtfulness frees you from anxious self-obsessing.
It brings lasting comfort to others.
It deepens your sense of inner security and wellbeing.
Our world becomes kinder.
I wish you the most thoughtful of days, now and always.

My kindest wishes to you. Prayers with you all.  Stephanie DowrickSD_0064