"Reverend Vennard is fearlessly awake to the wild dance of life. Rather than sleeping through life, she awakens to it. Rather than escaping from reality, she embraces it. Rather than distracting herself with a life to come, she dares to live the life that is. And she wants you to do all this as well. Read this book. Live this book. Wake up."from the ForewordIn a culture enthralled with technology, striving and speed, people of many faith traditions and no faith tradition long to slow down, pay attention and wake up to the present moment. They want help in realizing their hope that they can become more truly alive.This engaging and highly readable book offers you guidance for the journey. Sharing stories from her personal life as a spiritual seeker and from her professional career as a retreat leader, spiritual director and teacher, Reverend Jane Vennard illustrates the joys and frustrations of spiritual practice, offers insights from various religious traditions, and provides step-by-step exercises and meditations to practice:Caring for the body • Rest • Silence Solitude • Letting go • Community • Hospitality • Service • Living gratefully
Related collections and offers
|Publisher:||Turner Publishing Company|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Rev. Jane E. Vennard, a popular teacher on prayer and spiritual practice, offers lectures and leads retreats in ecumenical settings in the United States, Canada and abroad. She is the author of several books, including Fully Awake and Truly Alive: Spiritual Practices to Nurture Your Soul and TeachingThe Sacred Art: The Joy of Opening Minds & Hearts (both SkyLight Paths), and a long-time active member of Spiritual Directors International. She is ordained in the United Church of Christ to a ministry of teaching and spiritual direction.
Rev. Jane E. Vennard is available to speak on the following topics:
- Fully Awake and Truly Alive: Spiritual Practices to Nurture Your Soul
- Spiritual Practice: A Way of Life
- Spiritual Practices for the Second Half of Life
- The Art of Teaching Spiritual Practice
- Spiritual Practices in the Ministry of Spiritual Direction
Click here to contact the author.
Rami Shapiro, a renowned teacher of spirituality across faith traditions, is an award-winning storyteller, poet and essayist. He is author of The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Preparing to Practice, RecoveryThe Sacred Art: The Twelve Steps as Spiritual Practice and The Divine Feminine in Biblical Wisdom Literature: Selections Annotated & Explained (all SkyLight Paths), among other books.
Rami Shapiro is available to speak on the following topics:
- WritingThe Sacred Art: Beyond the Page to Spiritual Practice
- Stop Playing God: 12 Steps as Spiritual Practice
- Biblical Wisdom for Post-biblical Times: An Exploration of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job
- The Sacred Art of Lovingkindness: Cultivating Compassion in Daily Life
- Hasidic Wisdom: An Exploration of Hasidic Storytelling, Theology and Contemplative Practice
- Saints and Sages: Biblical Prophets, Ancient Rabbis and the Building of a Just World
Table of ContentsForeword by Rami Shapiro xiiiIntroduction xvExpanding Our Understanding of Prayer and Spiritual Practice xviDefining Terms xviBecoming Fully Alive xviiiExamining Our Practices xixOn Cushion, Off Cushion xxA Variety of Practices xxi1. The Practice of Caring for Your Body Finding New Images, Deep Wisdom, and Blessings 1Body Image: Experiencing Your Body as a Gift 3Befriending Your Body 5Embodied Wisdom 7Healing the Divide 10How Are You Called to Practice? 11Guidelines for More Extended Practice 13Writing a Letter to Your Body 13Body Blessing 142. The Practice of Rest Restoring Your Energy, Your Creativity, and Your Spirit 15Cultural Perceptions of Resting 16Restful Activities 19Biblical Call to Rest 21Four Steps of the Creative Process 23Sabbath Rest 24How Are You Called to Practice? 26Guidelines for More Extended Practice 27Grateful Breathing 27Resting While You Walk 283. The Practice of Silence Finding Spaciousness, Stillness, and Inner Peace 29Discovering Well-Being in Quiet Places 30Listening to Ourselves and Beyond Ourselves 31Honoring Effortless Silence 34Practicing Silence in a Supportive Community 35Exploring the Shadow Side of Silence 36Be Still and Know That I Am God 39How Are You Called to Practice? 41Guidelines for More Extended Practice 43A Variety of Meditation and ContemplativePrayer Practices 43Breath Counting 43Centering Prayer 44True Meditation 454. The Practice of Solitude Making Friends with Yourself 47Facing the Dragon of Loneliness 50Early Experiences of Being Alone: Avoided or Encouraged? 52The Journey Is the Destination: Walking Nowhere Alone 55The Capacity to Be Alone: Self-Discovery, Creativity, and Intimacy 57Silence and Solitude Together: A Furnace of Transformation 60How Are You Called to Practice? 62Guidelines for More Extended Practice 63Exploring Your Experiences of Loneliness 63Walking Meditation: Slowly Going Nowhere 645. The Practice of Letting Go Releasing Your Attachments, Your Past, and Your Future 67Letting Go of Material Things 68Fasting: Making Space for the Sacred 70Forgiveness: Letting Go of Hurts and Leaving the Past Behind 72Nonattachment: Letting Go of the Outcome 75Accepting the Life That Awaits Us 78How Are You Called to Practice? 81Guidelines for More Extended Practice 82The Courage to Forgive 82Dancing Nonattachment 836. The Practice of Community Discovering Support, Encouragement, and Interdependence 85The Rhythm of Contemplative, Communal, and Missional Spiritual Practices 87Singing Together We Become the Music 89Dancing, Moving, and Playing Together 91Making Music Together:Surrendering to the Whole 93Spiritual Direction 96How Are You Called to Practice? 98Guidelines for More Extended Practice 100My Communal Spiritual Practice: ExaminingIts History and Discovering Its Future 100Playful Body Sculpting and Creative Naming 1017. The Practice of Hospitality Inviting, Welcoming, and Nurturing the Stranger 103The Three Movements of Hospitality 104Hospitality: A Two-Way Street 107Practicing Communal Hospitality:Blessings and Challenges 109Welcoming the Stranger Within 112Cultivating the Hospitable Heart 114How Are You Called to Practice? 115Guidelines for More Extended Practice 116Welcoming the Stranger Within 116The Welcoming Prayer 1188. The Practice of Service Cultivating Generosity, Kindness, and Joy 121Hidden Service: The Power of Practices That No One Notices 125The Practice of Discernment: Deciding Who, Where, and How to Serve 131Bearing Witness: No Need to Fix Anything 134Many Hands Make Light Work: Practicing Service in Community 135Responding to the Needs of Mother Earth 138How Are You Called to Practice? 138Guidelines for More Extended Practice 140Letting the Mud Settle and Becoming Still 140Listening with an Open HeartIncluding Silence in the Conversation 1429. The Fruits of Practice Living Gratefully, Humbly, and Compassionately 145The Experience of Living Gratefully 149Surprise Is the Wisdom of a Grateful Heart 151Humilitythe Forgotten Virtue 152The Gracious Gift of Humility 154Cultivating Humble Hearts 155Discovering the Depth of Your Compassion 157The Courage to See, the Courage to Feel,and the Courage to Act 159How Are You Called to Practice? 162Guidelines for More Extended Practice 163Keeping a Gratitude Journal 163Discovering Your Image of Humility 164Knowledge of the Stranger Deepens Compassion 165Acknowledgments 167Notes 169Suggestions for Further Reading 175Index of Practices 179
What People are Saying About This
"Refreshing, broad-ranging exercises for body and soul.... A treasure trove of stories, practices and resources, this book is a gift to people both within and outside of traditional faith communities."
"With remarkable clarity of language and depth of insight, Jane Vennard invites us and startles us into being alive and awake.... A fine book for spiritual directors to know and to recommend."
"Illumines a broad spectrum of spiritual practices, making them available and accessible to all who seek to enrich their lives. [Invites us] on a journey inward toward the home that awaits us within and on a journey outward in meaningful connection to those around us."
"Elegant guidance, generous invitations to practice and potent questions. How useful for the newly awakened to soul and the spiritual director who wants to stay awake to body, mind, heart and spirit! [This book] will be dancing off my shelf into the ready hands of those I serve and love."
"Offers bountiful gifts and delightful surprises.... I loved itand will recommend it widely, because this is a book for everyone."
"Rich with transformational potential.... Actively engaging with this book's contents could alter positively the quality of your life."
"Jane Vennard scores a bull's eye with this masterful and down-to-earth resource on spiritual practices that bring zest to everyday life. A rich blend of action and insight."
"We wake up through Jane Vennard's words to recognize the innate spiritual nature of living immediately and directly into our experience of our bodies, into silence and solitude, into community, hospitality and service.... Our response is gratitude for Jane Vennard's masterful teaching."
"I'd fallen asleep and didn't know it, and this book called to me in the nick of time. With quiet wisdom, moving stories and inviting practices, Vennard awakens us to new life."