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spiritual practice

Guest Author: 
Steven Crandell

Editor's note - If you wish, you may turn this blog-post into a practice. I call it the "Practice of Joy." It's straightforward, open-ended and it involves drinking your favorite hot beverage.

1) When you have some space and quiet, read the post below. 

2) Make you favorite hot drink. 

3) As you make it, give thanks -out-loud if possible - for everyone and everything that makes your hot drink possible. Use your imagination - sometimes I even thank the power company for the electricity to boil the water. 

4) After you pour your coffee or tea or whatever, but before you drink it, observe the steam rising from the cup. 

5) As you watch the tendrils of steam wend skyward and disappear , let go of each and every thought that comes to you - no matter how profound! Simply watch the steam rise and disappear.

6) When you're ready and the drink isn't too hot, close your eyes and take your first sip.

7) Taste it fully with eyes shut.

8) Open your eyes and watch the steam rise and disappear.

9) Close your eyes and take a sip, tasting fully.

10) Repeat until the drink is done.  Discern.

Blessings to you all. May you welcome love -- in yourselves, in the world around you and amongst you and all beings. 


It seems counter-intuitive to practice joy. Joy seems to move like a hummingbird, flitting where it will, bringing delight and then disappearing. Can we control the hummingbird? Doubtful. When we try, we usually just chase it away.

Yet, in my life, practice often grows the flowers that attract the hummingbird. When I was young, I practiced basketball for hour upon hour. Later, I wrote every day -- as an artistic practice. (Still do.) Now I also have a practice of praying morning and night to God and the ancestors as I seek to make my life one of service, healing and celebration.

Guest Author: 
Janice L. Lundy, DMin

Our spiritual health is intrinsically tied to the well-being of others.
It’s true, isn’t it?  We feel the best (body, mind, heart and soul) when we know that those we love are doing well.  When our dear ones are having difficulties, naturally their plight weighs upon us. If we are spiritually healthy and well adjusted, we’ll hope that they will be free of struggle. We hold this hope because we are self-aware, mindful, and in touch with just how difficult it is to be a human being. 

Guest Author: 
Steven Crandell

Did you know you are shining like the sun this very minute?

Guest Author: 
Brian J. Plachta


I wake early so I can light a candle and place it in my window. 

Its light illuminates my darkness and, perhaps, the darkness of the world. The reverent glow flickering from quiet candlelight serves as a beacon for the birds who visit the feeder outside my sill.  As they find morning nourishment, they feather simple joy upon my heart.

I wake early because when I do, I recall the miracle of my breath. I feel the beating of my heart. And my dog’s snoring at my feet becomes a choir.

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