Universal Heart Newsletter

Appreciation and why it matters  *   Sept/October Retreat *  YouTube link on Transformation *   Visiting USA 12-17 June  *  On-line book buying including Bread of Angels *  An appreciation reminder from Sufi poet Rumi  *  Interfaith service, Sydney, 19 June  * Peter Damo “Sunrise”

Dear friends

My thoughts and prayers are with you far more often than these Newsletters! I am also sending out more frequent shorter messages via Facebook – which increasing numbers of you are joining. I know some of you want to avoid social media but it does allow for brief messages to be posted, also photos and, perhaps best of all, for easy comments and conversation to be shared. I will, nevertheless, continue to write these Newsletters. And continue to value this Network and all that it means.

“Kindness” has been my big writing theme over these last few months and in that context I have written a small article on appreciation that I would very much like you to share. It’s quite short and was inspired by pioneering psychologist William James’s suggestion that “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” If he is even half right, that means we need to take very seriously our power to appreciate our own lives AND, of course, our power to offer the comforts of appreciation (affirmation, gratitude, kindness) to one another. I see this as a daily practice that’s far more active than gratitude alone. It involves consciousness of what we owe one another for our happiness and also our safety. And of course it makes clear how much power we have to positively or negatively affect other people.  I will continue to write about it but if this interests you please do read this short preliminary article at http://www.stephaniedowrick.com/frontpage/profound-appreciation/ (There’s more on this theme in both Choosing Happiness and Seeking the Sacred.)

I have also been keeping up the YouTube postings of my talks at the Interfaith services. This is such a lovely way to share what we can have here in Sydney! The most recent one is on transformation of view and an appreciation (again) of who we are. I look quite pale (I had the flu), and had to go straight home afterwards, but for all that we had a wonderful service and the energy of that is reflected in the talk. http://www.stephaniedowrick.com/frontpage/claiming-our-beauty/

You will also find a YouTube posting for my talk on sustaining our inner stability or peace of mind: http://www.stephaniedowrick.com/category/news/ – which I also gave since I last wrote to you. And a final reminder from the world of video is that social activist Gina Lazenby, visiting from Britain (via Bali), interviewed me and posted a short, informal interview that was in part about transitions –  Gina’s big passion – and in part about identity and especially whether the inevitable stories we tell ourselves are working for us or are due for a shake-up. Watch it at:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD5_erla87I

Because my work more generally is still focused on Seeking the Sacred, I am delighted to let those of you in the United States – are you out there?! – know that I will be there (New Jersey, New York, San Diego, Tustin, San Francisco) from 12-17 June, with a public event in each place.  Time and place details are below and I would so much appreciate your sending them on to any others who might be interested. I’ve not been in New York since I was ordained there (on a boiling hot day in 2005 –  a day of such joy and excitement). This year I will have the privilege of again attending the ordination ceremony for the 2011 graduates. If you are able to attend any of these public events, please do take a moment to say hello. Long-time members will know how much I value that.

It’s time, too, to remind you of the Spring Retreat, this year 29 Sept-2 Oct, to be held at Mana Retreat Centre in Coromandel, NZ. (Easily reached from Auckland airport.)It’s perfect if you need some deep inner refreshment. As with the Easter Retreat, places are limited and you need to book early. Telephone (NZ) 07 866 8972. Web: http://www.manaretreat.com You can stay for a few days either side if you need a longer break. Body treatments are available. This retreat is suitable for those who have been on many retreats as well as complete beginners.

This month I have a special book that I want to recommend through the on-line bookshop. It’s called Bread of Angels and is written by Stephanie Soldana, an exceptionally fine young American writer who has lived and traveled in many countries. She went to Syria on a Fullbright scholarship to study, but even more to further and deepen her spiritual seeking and understanding of who she is and what life is asking of her. I love spiritual memoirs and this one truly does stand out.  I was so moved by the beauty and insights of her story and also by what I learned from her about life in Syria among Christians and Muslims. The book is available in both hardcover and paperback editions.

The on-line bookshop more generally directly supports the work of this Network. It’s our only source of funding so I am most grateful to any of you who by-pass the amazons of this world and continue to buy books in this way. They do also have my CDs, including Peaceful Mind – made with master musician Kim Cunio, Heather Lee sings on one of the tracks. You can order books by virtually any writer – they access over a million different titles. We get a small sum for the Network on every sale. I see they also have the Daily Acts of Love inspiration cards which really surprises me. (I will get some too!!)

Please scroll down for detailed information on the events in the United States, for the Sydney Interfaith services and the on-line Bookshop.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Your continuing support of this Network and its values means a great deal to me. I was looking for a few inspirational line to leave with you, and found these from Rumi. They richly evoke the appreciation for life that’s so close at hand.

My kindest thoughts to each of you, Stephanie Dowrick

Rumi:  To be or not to be

Is not my dilemma.

To break away from both worlds is not bravery.

To fail to wake to the wonders

that exist now, within me –

That is real madness.

USA, 12 – 17 June 2011/ Stephanie Dowrick’s public events

Stephanie Dowrick’s highly praised new book, Seeking the Sacred, will be published June 2011 by Tarcher Penguin (USA) Public events include:

12 June  11am  Center for Spiritual Living, 662 Eagle Rock Avenue, West Orange NJ, where Stephanie will speak as part of the Sunday service.

13 June  6.30pm Book signing and talk, Namaste Books,  2 West 14th Street, btwn 5/6 Avenues

15 June  7-9pm Workshop, Unity of Tustin,Tustin CA  http://www.unitytustin.org/events/

16 June 6.30-7.30 Book Signing Joyful Living Church, San Diego, 3505 Camino del Rio South, followed by 7.30-9pm Workshop. http://www.joyfullivingsandiego.org/special-events

17 June 7-9pm Conversation with Stephanie Dowrick, moderated by Lisa Webster of Religion Dispatches, California Institute for Integral Studies, San Francisco

Interfaith service, Sydney, 19 June, 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, exquisite music, a short talk, and a time of social gathering and conversation for those who want that. The June service will be led by Dr Kim Cunio.

Details: Interfaith service 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.

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 more than a million titles. All sales benefit the Universal Heart Network via a small refund. Forgiveness & Other Acts of Love is again available. Also In the Company of Rilke, Seeking the Sacred, Choosing Happiness, The Almost-Perfect Marriage, and the beautiful guided meditation CD with musician Kim Cunio, Peaceful Mind. Postage  $6.95 for unlimited items.

2 June 2011. Photo below: thanks to Peter Damo  “Every day a new beginning”.  Blessings.