Universal Heart Newsletter

Dear Universal Heart friends

In this newsletter: Sydney support group for those suffering life-changing illness * Visiting Melbourne 10 March * Easter & Kyoto Retreats * Links to articles: Work/Life; Challenging religious bigotry * On-line book buying * Would you like to “like” Facebook ?!* Prayers and loving thoughts for all suffering nature’s disasters *

Heartfelt greetings and prayers with all of you suffering in any way from the exceptional events of these last weeks and days. Floods, appalling earthquakes, drought still for some, extreme temperatures around the world: what cataclysmic disruptions these cause to our most basic needs for security and safety. To say I am praying seems so tame under the circumstances, yet I do believe that prayer is needed, not least to bring good wishes to those who suffer, rather than our feelings of hopelessness or helplessness. Prayers, love and courage to all – and again and again. Also know that you will not be forgotten when the news stories on our TVs turn to something else. You need sustained help – and with kindness and prayers and donation and concern we will give it.

As I said in last month’s newsletter, these events – and much less dramatic ones – show dramatically how great our need is to support one another. Our interdependence remains inescapable. And also our realization how even small gestures of kindness make the most significant and sometimes life-saving difference. I remember so vividly how we anticipated and feared earthquakes during the Wellington years of my childhood, but always assuming it would be Wellington, never Christchurch. Special, special love to all who have lost loved ones, homes, inner peace. We are with you.

From 11 April (with Easter Monday off) I will be offering support of a different kind in a new 6-evening workshop for people who have suffered a life-changing illness or diagnosis. This could be cancer, heart disease, diabetes, MS or any other serious illness that turns our lives upside down. Sydney-based, the workshop is aptly called “Support for Life” and I am offering it with Petrea King’s widely-loved organisation, “Quest for Life”.

It would be great to have your help with this one. The 6-evening series of workshops is open to women and men of all ages, and a partner or loved one can also participate. All bookings through Quest. http://www.questforlife.com.au/support-for-life We can’t take more than 22 people in the group so early bookings are vital. Dates are 11, 18 April; 2,9,16,23 May. The venue is in Crows Nest, North Sydney, 6.30-8.30pm. If you know anyone who would benefit from this sustained practical and emotional support, please pass on this information as soon as you can.

Are you living in Melbourne? If yes, I am visiting briefly on 10 March for a Dymocks event in the city (5.30pm for 6pm start). This should be very lively. It is a free event but you should book. Please email levents@dymocks.com.au or telephone 03 9660 8500. The address is 234 Collins Street, Melbourne. I will be talking about the continuing journey of Seeking the Sacred – and would love to see you and your friends. And please never hesitate to mention that you are a member of this Network!

If you are still considering the Easter Retreat at Mana Retreat Centre, Coromandel, NZ, you will need to contact Mana as soon as possible. I will be teaching this year on some of the key themes from Seeking the Sacred – particularly on identifying and drawing on our spiritual identity and strengths. Enquiries to Mana Retreat Centre, Telephone (NZ) 07 866 8972. email: be@manaretreat.com This is our 10th Easter Retreat and it really is a highlight in my teaching year. (Mana is easily reached from Auckland airport.) When you call, do say you are from this Network.  Gorgeous photos of Mana on my Facebook page. It’s as beautiful as that – and more!

A prompt, too, about the Writing in Kyoto workshop (31 Oct- 8 November 2011). This is open to people keen to explore their creativity and joy in writing at all levels – professional writers and tentative beginners. Because we will be a small group I can respond to each person individually but also teach some liberating writing principles of benefit to all! Kyoto is one of the world’s most beautiful cities and you can join us there from anywhere in the world. To register your interest please email william Suganda, our Japanese-speaking, infinitely patient tour manager: william@inspiredtraveller.com.au You can check out his website for past pictures of our shared Japan trips! And you can check on my events or keep up to date via this link.

Details follow for the Interfaith services in Sydney. Meditation is weekly; monthly services each 3rd Sunday at 3pm. We got off to an inspirational start this month by reflecting together on the precious riches of the “everyday”.

More details below also for the on-line bookshop that directly supports the work of this Network. Thank you so much to all who continue to buy books in this way.

I am continuing to post new articles on a regular basis on my redesigned website. Here is a link to a recent article on work/life that may be helpful to some of you who are struggling a little with this, as I am. A quite different article is one I wrote against the totally unacceptable violence of religious prejudice and bigotry – whatever its source (or excuses).

If you haven’t already, do visit my newly redesigned website and enjoy its variety.  (Thank you, Lloyd – it’s beautiful!) My books are and always will be my deepest way to communicate with you, but in an immediate “newsy” way the website is my key “interface” with readers. It also gives you a chance to  “like” the new Facebook page (please, ONLY the “Official Stephanie Dowrick” FB page).  FB lets you write comments etc etc and I post there at least once each week.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. May the blessings of peace and kindness be with you always.

Stephanie Dowrick

Breathing in I calm my body.

Breathing out I smile.

24 brand new hours are before me.

I vow to look at all beings through the eyes of compassion.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Please scroll down for more complete information on Interfaith Services and the on-line Bookshop.

Interfaith service, Sydney, 20 March, 3pm

These spiritually inclusive services are held on the third Sunday of each month at 3pm – except January. They 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, exquisite music, a short talk, and a time of social gathering and conversation for those who want that.

Details: Interfaith with Rev 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.

We also offer meditation each Wednesday at Pitt Street Uniting, 6-6.45pm. This is suitable for all levels. There is no charge.

Books/CDs on line.

The bookshop is a portal to Seekbooks, Australia’s biggest on-line booksellers. You can order at a small discount from their complete range. All sales directly benefit the Universal Heart Network via a small refund. Forgiveness & Other Acts of Love is again available. In the Company of Rilke,  my newest book, Seeking the Sacred, and the beautiful guided meditation CD I made with musician Kim Cunio, Peaceful Mind, are all there – as are my other books and CDs, plus a million (or so!) other titles.  I am gathering comments about Seeking to post on my website. If you want to send your thoughts on this book, or any of the others, then email me at uhn@stephaniedowrick.com.

Bookshop postage is $6.95 for an unlimited number of items. Down the right-hand margin of the bookshop page is a list of books I currently recommend. Some of you are loving Abraham Verghese’s totally absorbing, dramatic novel, Cutting for Stone. For novel-lovers, I can also suggest Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto. And for non-fiction lovers Jack Kornfield’s The Wise Heart is beautiful and perhaps less well known are Parker Palmer’s The Active Life and Stephen Post’s Why Good Things Happen to Good People. Enjoy!