Universal Heart Newsletter from Stephanie Dowrick

Dear Universal Heart Networkers

*Sustaining hope    *CDs available (plus books & audio)   *Easter Retreat 2018

I very much hope this newsletter finds you well – if somewhat weary from a year that seems to have been difficult for many. I have been asked a great deal in recent weeks about sustaining hope. There’s no easy answer, but I can urge you please to give real time (not just good intentions) to whatever most truly sustains you. We cannot be present for others in a heart-filled way if we ourselves are depleted. That is so obvious, yet we can easily forget it.

Sustaining hope

What I am suggesting is a genuine “audit” of choices that create your daily life: which choices sustain you, which merely pass time or even harm you? Does this mean shifting your priorities somewhat? I hope so! Writing down your insights makes them far clearer – you will recall help with this in Creative Journal Writing and also Choosing Happiness.

When it comes to friendships and times with other people, it’s more complex. (Other people have their own agenda…!) Many connections are of the “obligation” or “proximity” variety; that’s fine and can be lovely, but it may not be enough to feed the soul. Others may be pretty unilateral (no real interest coming back) – but it’s not always the other person who is paying little attention! It can be us – and we can do something about it. Checking that each person is “leaning in” and giving something, your conversations come alive. It always helps, too, when you feel understood: that makes understanding others more likely. Where you do have a connection that is sustaining, why not give it more time, cherish it more lovingly? Always worth it.

The primary relationship to look more deeply into is the way you feel about your own self. That will express itself in everything you do and feel. Sustaining hope becomes very natural when self-acceptance and kindness to yourself and others grows – even in hard times. That takes courage and  wise self-motivation: another way of thinking about kindness.

Gifts of love are always what matter most, but gifts of “things” are also in our minds this week – also for yourself perhaps? I have posted on my public Facebook page a link to a couple of books plus two inspirational CDs, made with my talented composer/sacred musician friend, Kim Cunio, plus two books: all available from MILLTHORPE BLUE.   The CDS are ONLY available from this website and are truly soothing and uplifting. Do meditation and prayer sustain hope? I believe so: they move us from ruminating or worry to a much more spacious sense of life’s possibilities. Quick summary to help you make your choices:

Peaceful Mind is your daily go-to meditation CD, short and long meditations. Instantly accessible, practical guidance for every situation.
Heavenly is a…well, quite heavenly (!) mix of meditative music, plus Psalms, poems and blessings read by me with music from Kim and his visionary soprano partner, Heather Lee. (Includes from Heather, “Lead Kindly Light. Gandhi’s favourite hymn.)
Everyday Kindness is a warm, practical book, lots of stories, anecdotes to bring kindness to life. Happiness inevitably follows.
Heaven on Earth is my book of prayers, each one universal and inclusive, some of which I have written myself, many are the timeless, sublime invocations of comfort and hope. This edition is hardcover, and the book is intended for people of all backgrounds. I’m offering prayer here as true support, inspiration and as a sublime expression of human thought and need.
My books are generally available from on-line bookstores in both e-book and printed form. Some are also available as audio books from Bolinda (either MP3 or CD sets): https://www.bolinda.com/aus/search/results.aspx?/1/-/10/0/1/1/1/1/1/3/Stephanie%20Dowrick
However, Millthorpe Blue is the ONLY supplier of the meditation/inspiration CDs.  They will gift wrap whatever you choose from their website if requested and mail direct to the addresses you nominate.

Easter Retreat 2018 (29 March – 2 April)

Some of you have been asking if there will be a Retreat at Easter for 2018 (29 March – 2 April). I am delighted to say that the plans for this are now well underway. The format will be somewhat different as I will be co-teaching in the morning sessions with my very good friend, Buddhist teacher and wonderful writer, Joyce Kornblatt. Our theme is Embodied Self-Compassion and it was during a discussion about this subtle, deeply healing way of looking at our lives and ways of being that I asked Joyce if she would be willing to come to Mana and co-lead the Retreat with me. She is trained in Hakomi which offers insights around the effect of our emotions and attitudes on our physical wellbeing (and vice versa). I will also be teaching each day, and will lead the morning meditations and our inclusive, joyful service in the Sanctuary on Easter Sunday.

We will strictly limit numbers so if this is for you, please register soon. The link for more details, and for registering, is https://manaretreat.com/events/embodied-self-compassion-a-retreat-at-easter/.

Please note that there will be periods of carefully observed silence. Do be sure you are comfortable with this.

I will end by wishing you peace in your hearts, peace in our world, and an increasing gentleness of spirit and heart. Whatever our beliefs, that is truly the message of this Christmas time. Thank you so much for your faithfulness to our Heart-led Network – now almost 20 years old! Loving blessings, Stephanie Dowrick