Universal Heart Newsletter June 2012

Greetings to all Universal Heart Networkers!

Appreciation – that glorious quality! * Special DISCOUNT on all books & CDs *  Reader activism  * Interfaith in Sydney 17 June 2012 – anniversary service  * Spring Retreat in New Zealand * Writing Retreat in Kyoto *  YouTube talks – direct support  *  June events * A brief hymn to life * visit www.stephaniedowrick.com (including “What is an adult?”)

As I begin to write this, it’s chilly and already dark. My dear old cat is in faithful attendance, purring on his stool next to mine. Rather than putting a heater on quite yet, I’m keeping warm by wrapping my knees in a gorgeous green shawl a friend bought for me some years ago when she visited Hong Kong. Isn’t it always these small details of life that make a difference…? And perhaps especially it’s the associations we have with loved people, pets or treasured things bought with love that may not have been expensive, but are timelessly precious.

As some of you know who follow my (near-daily) inspirations on Facebook, I have just posted a note about appreciation, and then another remarking that in my couple of years of writing this page appreciation seems to be emerging as the theme I write about most often.

We all know what a difference it makes to our personal well-being when we feel appreciated. And how normal it is to feel hurt or diminished when what we do or who we are goes unappreciated. How we show our appreciation (gratitude, support, concern, interest) makes a huge difference too to the way we regard as well as treat other people – and then how they respond to us. This is truly a case of practising making quite good-enough. Be lavish in your gratitude, kind words, your listening and noticing, and your speaking up for what matters most. You will be so well rewarded and so will everyone around you.

Self-pity, self-righteousness and self-absorption are the three biggest hurdles for most, and oh how tempting they are. Yet the moment we begin to appreciate life more robustly, and appreciate other people more despite their inevitable faults and failings (so like our own), our world grows far livelier and so much more enjoyable. We benefit immeasurably. We all benefit immeasurably.

Some of you may recall that in Everyday Kindness I not only write a good deal about appreciation (as I do in Choosing Happiness), but also quote early psychologist William James who said that above everything human beings crave to be appreciated. In EK, I comment that we don’t want to be appreciated just for what the world admires – success in whatever form – but for who we are. The person we are, the inner life we are cultivating, the vision we are growing of what life is and can be: that’s what counts.  What’s more, it’s what counts increasingly. When it comes to living more appreciatively, we have no time to waste.

On an entirely different note, the books on my on-line bookstore are all discounted by at least 10% for the coming month. Please don’t hesitate to take advantage of this. It is not an elegant or beautiful on-line bookstore (I’m in Seek’s hands), but the range of books is vast and postage in Australia is only $6.95 however large your order. A small % of those sales supports this Network and my social media, so it really is a positive act of reader engagement when you purchase books this way. There’s a long list of books I particularly recommend on the site.  Some of you will be interested in, as I was, Richard Holloway’s remarkable memoir Leaving Alexandria or Marina Endicott’s lovely new novel, The Little Shadows (I also loved her earlier gem, Good to a Fault) or perhaps Geraldine Brooks’ prize-winning Caleb’s Crossing. Some may want the beautiful new edition of The Universal Heart (the inspiration book for this very Network). Or the new audio edition of Choosing Happiness read aloud by Melbourne actor and meditation teacher, Carmen Warrington.  There’s a feast of choice.

For e-book readers, I notice that the e-book edition of The Universal Heart is currently heavily discounted on the Amazon Kindle site – except for those of you in the USA or UK where it’s not yet available. Their discounted price may not last so do pick it up if reading on an e-reader is what you like best. I don’t have an affiliate relationship with Amazon – so no benefits to the Network – but if you are an e-book reader this is too good to pass by.

All kinds of “reader activism” are needed if writers, bookstores, publishers are to survive and produce anything other than potboilers and cookbooks.  (How nicely odd that genre fiction used to be called potboilers… Yes, of course some are brilliant, but we also need books that break boundaries and borders.) The world of words has become tougher than at any time in my decades of writing and publishing and while we all love to borrow books or find them at garage sales, as long as the writer is still alive  – and writing – it’s worth buying new. It’s also better than worthwhile to write reviews on the public on-line bookstore sites like Amazon. A comment or review can be brief, yet so effective. Have you considered doing this? Please let me know if you send a review out of one of my books. I’d love to hear.

A reminder, too, of the YouTube talks that increasing numbers of you are playing and enjoying.  Thank you! One of you wrote recently to say she was getting a great deal of support by watching the talks daily during a hard time of illness and debilitating treatment. They can all be accessed via this link: http://www.youtube.com/user/interfaithinsydney   The most recent talk is on “Transforming your view“. Feel free to share this link or any UHN information with your own circles. You can always comment on Facebook if you have insights to share.

Details also follow for the next Interfaith service and two quite exceptional, very different retreats, plus two other June events.  At the end of the letter, you will find part of a longer hymn to life and the joys of appreciation.

I wish you peace, joy and much appreciation – given and received – in these coming weeks.
Very kindest to each and every one of you, Stephanie Dowrick

Sydney, interfaith service, 17 June 2012, 3pm
Exquisite music, universal, uplifting teachings. Offered on the 3rd Sunday of each month at 3 pm, these services may meet your needs for a time of unconditional acceptance and spiritual renewal. The  experience of gathering together each month is, for many, deeply healing. June is a particularly special service as it celebrates SIX years of unconditional spiritual welcome! Please come if you can.

Details: Interfaith services with Reverend Dr Stephanie Dowrick. Music Dr Kim Cunio and Heather Lee. Pitt Street Uniting Church, 264 Pitt Street, Sydney 2000. Nearest cross Street is Park. Some street parking. Excellent public transport (Town Hall). Services around 75 minutes. Tea, coffee, fellowship and a welcome to all. Joyful singing before the service: 1.15-2.15pm with Elizabeth Lecoanet.

Books/CDs on line. http://stephaniedowrick.seekbooks.com.au
Please note the list of books I particularly recommend. The bookshop is a portal to Seekbooks where you can order safely from a vast range. All sales directly benefit the Universal Heart Network. Postage is pegged at $6.95 for an unlimited number of items. All books discounted currently by at least 10% off the recommended price. Please note that with my own books you may need to click on highlighted title to arrive at the new discounted price. That is the price that will appear at checkout.

Peaceful Mind: Spring Retreat at Mana Retreat Centre 4-7 October 2012
Spring is the perfect time for inner and outer renewal and this year at the Spring Retreat at Mana with Dr Stephanie Dowrick we will focus on the timeless theme of “Peaceful Mind”. Together we will rediscover what best supports inner stability and confidence that makes the most of life, whatever our outer circumstances. Enjoy the exceptional community experience of retreat life, along with rare care for mind, body and spirit. Massage and watsu also available and please contact Mana if you would like to extend your stay at either end of the retreat. Shuttles and ferry service available from Auckland. Mana Retreat Centre, RD 1, 608 Manaia Road, Coromandel 3581, New Zealand   (+ 64 7) 866 8972   Mana Retreat Centre be@manaretreat.com

Writing in Kyoto   29 October – 6 November 2012
If you feel at all drawn to this exceptional writing retreat, please contact William as soon as possible. In one of the world’s most enchanting small cities you will find a new level of writing confidence and creative pleasure. Morning workshops with Dr Stephanie Dowrick followed by afternoons in Zen gardens, sublime temples and little known tea houses with Inspired Traveller’s William Suganda. The itinerary also includes a day trip to the famed Reiki mountain.  All levels welcome. Numbers strictly limited. Single room option available. Accommodation is in the very comfortable Westin Miyako Hotel. Further details from: william@inspiredtraveller.com.au

Two June events:
LifeCircle Annual Conference, Sydney, 14 June 2012, 9-4.30pm
Dr Stephanie Dowrick will give the closing address at this intimate, inspiring conference on living and dying well. Further details at http://www.lifecircle.org.au/events-list/live-talk-die-conference  Open to the general public and essential for professionals working for greater compassion in the lives of the dying and those who support them. Concessions available.

Breast Cancer Network Australia  Lismore, 19 June 2012
Please check with BCNA website for full details of this event.

And now, a return to appreciation:



Reach out.

Reach inward.

Speak up for whatever touches your heart.

Sing. Dance. Play. Yodel if you must.

Worry much less about being “right”.

Live with love blazing from your eyes.

Don’t linger over what is petty.

Wipe small-minded thinking from your mind.

Don’t placate, don’t shrink, don’t hide.

Stretch out your arms.

Open your chest.

Caress the earth with the soles of your feet.

Know you live in a world of infinite wonder.


Stand tall and wide and strong and free.

Close your eyes.

Then open them again.


Breathe into this precious moment.

It will not come again.

You will not come again.

Treasure this life, this moment,

this fullness, this love, this everything.

Every thing.