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Desperate Times Call for ... 
Our Best Spiritual Practices

By CSW Director Rob Field

You've probably heard the aphorism, "Desperate times call for desperate measures."

For those with no control over Coronavirus or mandatory stay-home orders, I'd like to propose an alternate saying:

Desperate times call for our best spiritual practices

With all the changes in the past few weeks, I've found it hard to stick to my daily meditation practice. After comparing notes with family and friends, I've discovered many of us are finding it hard to maintain a consistent daily routine. Sound familiar?

Spiritual teachers and psychologists tell us this is a common occurrence in times of crisis, high stress, or momentous change. At the very time most of us need a way to find inner peace, create balance, or connect with a higher power, we find it harder to do so.

What to do?

1. Good spiritual practices such as meditation, prayer, yoga, and lectio divina  are designed to help us stay in touch the best part of ourselves and the world around us. A simple act of remembering why we maintain our spiritual practice can motivate us to return to it if something throws us off balance.

2. Think of your spiritual practice as a medication prescribed by a medical professional. Fr. Thomas Keating, the late Trappist monk and founder of Contemplative Outreach, encouraged Centering Practitioners to think of their daily "sits" as a dose of antibiotics. For the "medication" to be effective, the cumulative effects have to build up in our system over time.

3. Consider a change in your practice or try something new. When circumstances beyond our control throw us a curve ball, it might be time for a different response. If a baseball player anticipates a curve ball, he will swing at it differently than some other pitch. Consider: might it be time to modify your practice or try something else? Luckily, there are many kinds of practices available. Some, like the Welcoming Prayer, are easy to learn and begin practicing.

The mission of Center for Spiritual Wisdom is to support all seekers in deepening their inner lives through spiritual practices. During the Coronavirus outbreak, we are adapting some of our services to continue our outreach, and postponing others until a safer time. When the worst of the crisis is over, we will again gather people in groups, workshops, conferences, retreats, and pilgrimages to engage the things that help us stay sane, centered, and balanced.

Meanwhile — peace and blessings to all!

BEN LONG FRESCOES PILGRIMAGE - WE'RE ON!
JUNE 15-16; REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

 
This 2-day pilgrimage will depart from Brevard, N.C. the morning of June 15. We will take in 5 different sites in our region, all featuring frescoes by renowned artist Ben Long, before returning the evening of June 16. (The above photo features Long's frescoes at St. Mary's in West Jefferson, N.C.)  The pilgrimage will explore the history and beauty of frescoes as art and storytelling. All are welcome to join us, regardless of background. Don't hesitate to register now and save your space, because fees will be fully refundable in the event of postponement or cancellation. The pilgrimage is being organized by CSW Operations & Communications Manager Cindy Decker and will be led by CSW Associate Tom Lewis, who has led numerous pilgrimages through the years. Cost is $195 per pilgrim, including transportation and overnight lodging. This one is starting to fill up, and spaces are limited. Get further details and register HERE.
 
 
BREAKING BREAD WITH JESUS OF NAZARETH

Artist Ben Long (see article above) created this stunning fresco at a church in Glendale Springs, N.C. The work is his interpretation of Jesus' final meal with friends the evening before his suffering and death. Christians throughout the world will be remembering this pivotal event in the coming days, on Palm Sunday and later in Holy Week. Instead of gathering with fellow believers, however, most will be home to comply with health guidelines and government orders. This will be the case for our friends in Judaism at Passover, and was true for Hindus a short time ago during Holi. We offer this image for your reflection and contemplation. Here are some questions to aid you in your reflection: Do I feel invited to join the others at the table? What are the sources of my deep hunger and deep thirst? In the end, what satisfies the desires of my heart and soul?
 
'CREATIVE PLAY' EVENT POSTPONED

Due to Coronavirus and the April stay-home order in North Carolina, the Center's planned 'From Inspiration to Creative Play' event with artist Costanza Knight and writer Karen Luke Jackson is being postponed. All who have registered will be offered the option of a full refund or a credit that can be applied to the re-scheduled event or any future CSW offering. A new date for the Creative Playshop will be announced in the Center's next newsletter in early May. Meanwhile, please use our contact form if you have any questions.
 
 
PILGRIMAGE TO MONTGOMERY OCT. 22-24. Center for Spiritual Wisdom is one of several groups organizing an interracial community pilgrimage from Brevard, N.C. to Montgomery, AL to visit the new Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice — both founded by bestselling author & attorney Bryan Stevenson. Representatives of Brevard College and Transylvania County NAACP are also part of the planning team. Deposits and registration forms are now being accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Remaining spaces are limited. Contact Bill Livingston, who will respond with information and a registration form if spaces are still available.
 
WILL YOU HELP?

Our intention during the Coronavirus pandemic is to support your spiritual well being. But we also want to be here when times are better, promoting vibrant spiritual life in our region. As a young non-profit organization, we need your help. Please consider a donation or recurring gift to help us cover our operating expenses at a time when our revenues are diminished. A modest commitment of $25 or $50 per month will be added to the gifts of others to make a critical difference for the Center. With a debit/credit card and few clicks, you can set up a monthly donation or make a one-time gift. ALL gifts will be greatly appreciated and acknowledged in a timely way. DONATE HERE.
 
Thank you. May peace & health be yours!
 
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