Universal Heart Newsletter (& invitations) September 2014

“Rising”: an evening of opera, Brisbane, Thursday & Saturday, 18 & 20 Sept; Interfaith service, Sydney, this Sunday 21 Sept 2014, 3-4.30pm: Closing the Sydney Sacred Music Festival * Next retreat at glorious Mana starts 25 Sept for 3 or 6 days (one or two places left)  * Daily inspirations

Stephanie Dowrick on Facebook

A link to purchase Guided Meditations (including Peaceful Mind)

YouTube talks (Interfaith in Sydney)

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Dear friends

Some of the most fulfilling and delightful work I have done in the last ten years has been with my friend composer and performer Kim Cunio. You may have heard him at our beautiful services in Sydney, or enjoyed his work on two CDs we have made together: Peaceful Mind and Heavenly. This week another of our shared projects comes to fruition – a short opera, “Rising”, we created together as part of the whole-evening “Floods” project to be performed by and at the Queensland Conservatorium. Do please look at the website to check other Queensland venues also. Kim is currently in Brisbane where the very talented musicians are rehearsing and I will join them for opening night, this Thursday. Kim tells me the entire evening will be quite exceptional, so if you are a lover of music (and many of you are), and want to experience something deeply beautiful and heartfelt, this will be a rare treat. We loved creating this work together and as Kim wrote the music (the words are mine) I can very proudly say that it will be sublime!

In Sydney, Sunday 21 September?  A sacred music lover?  Kim – and other exceptional musicians, including Heather Lee and Bronwyn Kirkpatrick, Shohrat Tursun, chanters from Sydney Zen Centre, plus Richard Petkovic and Maria Mitar – are also joining for the forthcoming Sydney service, which closes the Sydney Sacred Music Festival. THIS Sunday, 3pm, Pitt Street (264) Uniting Church, Sydney.  More details from this link. This is a major event in the sacred music calendar and we will also have exquisite elements of our usual service, ensuring this transcends mere “performance”. It is FREE; we only ask for donations. I do want to add, too, that this will be our last big music event for some time. The organisation required is very great!  So are the joys…but we need to treasure this occasion as there really will not be another for quite some time.  We would love to welcome you. And please, do take the necessary moments to send this invitation on to others who may benefit.

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We have had two last-minute cancellations (due to serious ill-health) for our next spiritual Retreat at the glorious Mana (Retreat Centre) in Coromandel, New Zealand. It starts on the evening of 25 September for 3 or 6 days. My experience is that when someone  takes up a last-minute cancelled place there is often a very powerful reason to be there. If this interests you, please use the link above and contact Mana without delay (Tel: NZ 07 866 8972). They can help with a shuttle service from Auckland airport if needed. I am looking forward to it so much!

We are continuing to publish articles on non-violence on the website of the Universal Heart Book Club including precious thoughts from Thomas Merton and Thich Nhat Hanh.  We live in a world in which thinking seriously about non-violent living is no longer an option. We have to find far more compassionate and intelligent ways to keep the most vulnerable among us safe – whether this is in our own homes or towns, or in countries that, really, are not so far from our own.  I write so much about peace in our hearts and lives in Seeking the Sacred; also, and differently, in Forgiveness and Other Acts of Love – and in The Universal Heart, which was very much my book about living the “Golden Rule”. (Links to QBD – who will post out books free in Australia.)  It’s definitely worth visiting the Book Club – your Book Club. I have been reading with deep fascination Andrew Solomon’s exceptional study of identity, Far From the Tree, reviewed there by Joyce Kornblatt.

And now, a reminder that you can purchase the meditation CDs from Millthorpe Blue. They are not widely available. As always, you can catch up with service talks via the InterfaithinSydney YouTube channel. Spoken retreat talks can be found at my own website via this LINK.

I will leave you with a particularly beautiful blessing from John O’Donohue that I posted on my Facebook page last week – many responded. It speaks to the heartache that is also part of life…but takes us so much further.  May each of you be well. And may you be happy.

Blessings to all. Peace in our world, Stephanie Dowrick

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

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