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Which Will It Be?

What will it be in this New Yearlove or fear?

My question will be an over-simplification to many, but I maintain it's a fundamental dilemma for everyone, regardless of circumstance. With any situation we might encounter in 2021, which basic human impulse will prevail: love or fear?

Goodness knows, there's been plenty to fear in the past 12 months. Not just the coronavirus pandemic, but the seeming inability of our country to come together to successfully tackle this and so many other momentous challenges. Love, on the other hand, has not received nearly as much press. Thinking back, I've seen love displayed in the sacrifice of front-line workers, especially those in medical settings, to care for the most vulnerable. And I've seen it in many others who set aside their own fears to do what needs to be done for their families and neighbors. They are what love-in-action looks like.

(read the rest of this reflection HERE)

- By Rob Field, CSW Director

‘Death Makes Life Possible’ Sunday, Jan. 24th

with Paula Hartman-Stein, Ph.D.

Spaces Remain for This Webinar — Register to Reserve Yours

Have you ever wondered about the mystery of death: its meaning, its connection to life, and whether there might be something beyond it?

If your answer to any of the above is Yes, please join us online Sunday, Jan. 24 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. for a special event: Death Makes Life Possible. We will watch the documentary of the same name, followed by a discussion led by psychologist Paula Hartman-Stein (pictured here).

The documentary’s subtitle explains its focus: “Transforming the Fear of Death into an Inspiration  for Living.” It offers multiple perspectives on the topic, interviewing experts as well as non-professionals. The hour-long documentary will provide a springboard for the discussion that will follow.

To register, learn more about this event, and Dr. Paula Hartman-Stein, go HERE.


Reel Spirit Movie Project Continues in 2021
January Selection Is Secondhand Lions

On Thursday, Jan. 21 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Eastern, the Center will discuss the next film in its monthly Reel Spirit Movie Project series: Secondhand Lions (2003), starring Haley Joel Osment, Michael Cain, and Robert Duvall (pictured above).

Join us for a discussion of this delightful film, about a boy coming of age in Texas with two eccentric uncles. The facilitator for Secondhand Lions is Jean Woods, a CSW Associate and a repeat facilitator in the series.

There is no charge for this event, which is open to all. Learn more and find out how to register HERE.

Brevard Jewish Community Presents
Dr. Ellen Davis Lecture "Holy Fear" Jan. 15

The first annual Ken Wallston Community Talk will be held online Friday Jan. 15th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern. It will be delivered by Duke University Professor Ellen Davis. The title of Dr. Davis' presentation will be “Ungodly Facts, Real Power, and Holy Fear.” Professor Davis asks, “Can the biblical story really help us to think about and respond to the ‘ungodly facts’ of contemporary climate change? We will look at the book of Exodus, seeking insight, wisdom, and hope for our own time and culture.” Read more about the event HERE.
TOGETHER, WE DID IT! Thanks to our many supporters, we reached our fourth-quarter goal of raising $20,000 to help us cover end-of-year expenses and give us a head-start for 2021. On behalf of the staff and board of directors, THANK YOU for helping us reach our goal! You are an important part of the Vibrant Spiritual Life we were founded to promote. The Center's need for support will not end in the New Year. If you would like to make a tax-deductible gift to Center for Spiritual Wisdom, please visit our Donations Page, where you can make a convenient online donation. Gifts of any amount are welcome and much appreciated.  (photo credit: Daniel Andrade on Unsplash)

CSW to Welcome the Return of Pilgrimages

With the advent of effective vaccines against coronavirus and COVID-19, CSW is planning for the return of pilgrimages to our list of offerings. We will travel to Israel-Palestine in 2022 for our third Holy Land pilgrimage. And we will announce shorter domestic pilgrimages, perhaps by the end of 2021, when we're assured that we can do so safely. Watch our web site, Facebook page, and future editions of our e-news for updates.
FRED BAHNSON understands the longing shared by seekers from a Christian background to connect more deeply with God, their souls, and their neighbors. Bahnson demonstrates his understanding beautifully in his newly-published essay, "The Gate of Heaven Is Everywhere." It appears in the January 2021 edition of Harper's Magazine. Regarding the early Christian contemplative impulse, Bahnson writes, "What the early monks and the Christian mystics who followed sought was union—an intense experience of inwardness that is glaringly absent in what many of us get from American Christianity today." The article profiles Fr. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan friar and author, and several others on the contemplative/mystical path. Bahnson is a former resident of Brevard, N.C. and an acquaintance of CSW Director Rob Field. Read Bahnson's "The Gate of Heaven Is Everywhere" HERE.


Dr. MaryAnn Iyer, a friend of the Center, recently composed this poem
that names the fundamental challenge faced by
everyone on the spiritual journey.

We want to have arrived.
We want to be free
of grief and fear,
No longer pummeled
by waves of anger.
Never realizing.
This is it.
This is the task at hand.
The ever present invitation
to remember
to turn our faces and open our hearts
to the Divine.

Many thanks to MaryAnn Iyer for her permission to reproduce this work. Find out more about MaryAnn — holistic physician, writer, teacher, and mind-body connection visionary — at her website.
photo credit: Vladislav Babienko on Unsplash
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